This gingerbread men recipe makes the easiest, fastest, cheapest, unfussiest gingerbread men cookies we’ve ever encountered. They come together in minutes from a minimum of ingredients, all of which are pantry staples. They’re so simple, even your preschooler could practically make them.

They’re also the subtlest gingerbread men we’ve tasted in terms of spice, though they’re still quite, quite nice, so even the aforementioned preschooler is pretty guaranteed to like these mild and chewy cookies that almost taste more like a honey cookie than a traditional gingerbread cookie. So much so that you could get by with making these all year round, which is good, because after your first batch, we think you’ll be craving these cut-out cookies far more frequently than just at the holidays.

david caricature

Why Our Testers Loved This

Tester Carol Anne G. and her tasters enjoyed these cookies immensely. She loved that they were easy to make, didn’t require chilling, and are made with pantry staples.

What You’ll Need to Make This

  • Ground ginger–Using 1 1/2 teaspoons will lend these cookies a subtle spice. If you prefer a more ginger-forward cookie, use up to 3 teaspoons of ginger.
  • Unsalted butter–Since this dough doesn’t need to be chilled, it’s important to start with cold butter.
  • Honey–Use good-quality honey here, but avoid very strong ones, like buckwheat or chestnut as their flavor will be too intense.

How to Make This Recipe

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Dump the flour, baking powder, ginger, butter, sugar, and honey into a food processor and pulse to combine. Drizzle in the water and process until it forms a dough.
  2. Roll the dough to 1/4-inch (6-mm) thick. Use cookie cutters to cut out gingerbread men. Re-roll and cut scraps.
  3. Bake the gingerbread. Cook until set, then cool completely on a wire rack before decorating.

Recipe FAQs

Where did gingerbread men come from?

Gingerbread men are believed to have originated in England, where Queen Elizabeth I had them made and served to visiting guests.

Can you freeze these cookies?

Yes. You can freeze the unbaked gingerbread dough for up to 3 months, and baked, undecorated gingerbread men can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before baking or decorating.

Can I use this dough to make a gingerbread house?

We don’t recommend it. If you’d like to make a gingerbread house, we recommend using our light or dark gingerbread recipe, as it is sturdier.

Helpful Tips

  • Dip your cookie cutter in flour before cutting out the gingerbread men. This will give you clean edges and will help the dough release from the cutter.
  • If your dough seems too soft and sticky to roll, refrigerate it for 30 minutes.
  • Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks or freeze them for longer storage.

Write a Review

If you make this recipe, or any dish on LC, consider leaving a review, a star rating, and your best photo in the comments below. I love hearing from you.–David

A selection of decorated gingerbread cookies in the shapes of men, stars, and trees.

Gingerbread Men Cookies

5 / 3 votes
Gingerbread men cookies are that are simple to make and subtle in taste. Our kinda Christmas cookie.
David Leite
Servings4 large gingerbread men
Calories363 kcal
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time1 hour


  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the work surface
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger, or more to taste (up to 3 teaspoons is safe if you like a truly gingery gingerbread)
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
  • 3 tablespoons granulated or light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon cold water
  • Royal icing, melted chocolate, nuts, candied ginger, and dried fruit


  • Preheat the oven to 325°F (163°C).
  • Place the flour, baking powder, ginger, butter, sugar, and honey in a food processor and pulse until you get crumbs. Add the water and mix until a ball of dough forms.
  • Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and roll it out with a rolling pin until about 1/4 inch thick. Dip your cookie cutters in flour and then cut out gingerbread men and carefully transfer the dough shapes to the baking sheet.
  • Bake for 20 to 30 minutes if using large cookie cutters, less time if using small cutters. Let the gingerbread people cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet prior to transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • To decorate the gingerbread men cookies, pipe icing or melted chocolate onto the gingerbread people as clothes, using a pastry bag or a resealable plastic bag with one corner snipped off. You can also accessorize the gingerbread people with chopped nuts, candied ginger, dried fruit, whatever you please.


  1. Storage–You can store the gingerbread cookies an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
  2. Freezing–Gingerbread dough or baked undecorated gingerbread men can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before baking or decorating.
  3. Chilling–If your dough is very soft, chill for 30 minutes before rolling.
Popina Book of Baking

Adapted From

Popina Book of Baking

Buy On Amazon


Serving: 1 cookieCalories: 363 kcalCarbohydrates: 55 gProtein: 5 gFat: 15 gSaturated Fat: 9 gMonounsaturated Fat: 4 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 38 mgSodium: 7 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 22 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2010 Isidora Popovic. Photo © 2010 avdeyukphoto. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

Everyone really enjoyed these gingerbread men cookies, though the general consensus was “more ginger!” I would think twice before offering them up as gingerbread, as the honey flavor was equal to the ginger — though, of course, this will vary depending on the freshness and quality of ground ginger you use. At any rate, despite minor quibbles over naming, they were lovely.

I made them by hand rather than in a food processor, working the butter into the other ingredients with my fingertips to create breadcrumbs, then stirring in the water with a knife until the dough was thickened enough to bring together by squeezing it. It’s a little slower to do this way but still far from difficult, and with the ingredients all being cupboard staples, it’s a great recipe to have on hand.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Do you think I could sub equal amounts of corn (or other) syrup? Can’t eat honey, but I love a ginger cookie without the heavy spices, and so easy to make! Thanks!

    1. Hi Ruthie, although I haven’t tried substituting in this particular recipe, you can usually exchange honey for corn syrup, molasses, golden syrup or even agave nectar. Let us know how they turned out!