Learn how to make the best slice-and-bake gingerbread cookies with this easy recipe. You can make this gingerbread cookie dough ahead of time and freeze it to slice and bake for the holidays.
There are so many Christmas cookie recipes that you can bake, and some are more challenging or demanding than others. The trouble is that the holidays are hectic, and you may not have the time, the patience, or the energy for cutout gingerbread cookies made by rolling out disks of dough and cutting it out with cookie cutters before baking and decorating. That's where these slice-and-bake gingerbread cookies can be a real lifesaver!
These slice-and-bake gingerbread cookies have a really festive flavour from the fancy molasses, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Rolling the logs of cookie dough in turbinado sugar gives a lovely crunch to the edges of each cookie.
Why Slice-and-Bake Gingerbread Cookies?
Slice-and-bake cookies, also known as icebox cookies, allow you to produce hundreds of cookies easily without breaking a sweat. The beauty of this type of cookie is that the recipe is just like rolled-out cookie doughs, but the dough is shaped into logs that are easy to store if wrapped tightly. You can make slice-and-bake cookie dough months ahead and store it in the freezer.
Icebox Gingerbread Cookie Ingredients
If you want to make these easy gingerbread cookies, you will need the following ingredients:
- butter, preferably unsalted butter because you will add salt to the dough, but if you have salted, it will work. Just adjust the salt in the recipe accordingly otherwise your cookies may be too salty
- sugar—this recipe calls for both light brown sugar and granulated sugar. The brown sugar adds flavour and softness, while the granulated sugar will contribute to the crisp edges
- molasses, specifically Fancy molasses or light/baking molasses. Do not use blackstrap molasses, which is too bitter for this recipe
- eggs—use large eggs. Don't use smaller eggs because your cookie dough may be too dry and your cookie dough won't roll out nicely, but don't use extra large eggs because they could cause the cookie dough to puff too much as it bakes, leading to a more cakey cookie or a spread out cookie.
- all-purpose flour is needed to bind all the ingredients together and give the cookies structure. If you don't use enough flour, your cookies may spread too much as they bake
- spices—ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves are added to the dough to make these cookies very flavourful. These are the usual spices in gingerbread, though some may add anise or even ground black pepper
- salt is really important to balance out the sweet molasses flavour. Don't skip it. I like to use Diamond Crystal fine kosher salt, but table salt will work, though the cookies will be saltier and you may want to halve the salt in that case.
Substitutions and Variations
- In this recipe, we are baking with Fancy molasses (which you can find on Amazon), which is sometimes called baking molasses or original molasses in the US (available on Amazon). Mild molasses also works.
- Another option worth exploring would be black Treacle, which I used in these soft gingerbread cookies. Lyle's Black Treacle is very popular in Great Britain, and it's used to bake instead of molasses. You can also order it on Amazon.
- Do not use blackstrap molasses. Blackstrap molasses is very dark and has a more bitter taste, whereas Fancy molasses has a milder taste that is more suited for Christmas cookies.
- This recipe works with maple syrup but the colour of the cookies will be lighter. Honey could work as well. In both cases, the flavour will be quite different.
- Spices: typical gingerbread spices include ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, but you may also mix and match these with others like allspice, mace, cardamom, and ground black pepper.
- Nuts: you may want to incorporate finely chopped toasted walnuts or hazelnuts in the dough.
- Crystallized ginger: you may enhance the ginger flavour of these cookies by mixing diced crystallized ginger into the dough.
How to Slice-and-Bake Gingerbread Cookies
Just like classic gingerbread cutout cookies, this slice-and-bake cookie dough comes together easily.
Step 1: Whisk the dry ingredients together (flour, salt, and spices) in a medium bowl (image 1) while you cream the butter and the sugars together with your mixer (image 2). Make sure to stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula occasionally so that all the ingredients are properly mixed (image 3).
Step 2: Add the egg and molasses to the mixer bowl (image 4) and beat it in. Then add the dry ingredients (image 5). The gingerbread dough will be quite thick (image 6).
Step 3: Divide the dough into three equal portions using a kitchen scale (image 7), then shape each portion of dough into a log (image 8). Each log will measure about 8 inches (20 cm) (image 9). Wrap the logs of gingerbread cookie dough tightly in plastic wrap before chilling overnight (image 10).
Step 4: Roll the chilled logs in turbinado sugar to coat them all around (imamge 11). The slice into rounds on a cutting board using a Chef's knife (image 12).
Tip: If you find that your turbinado sugar isn't adhering well to the logs of cookie dough, you can brush the log with a little egg white before rolling in coarse sugar. The egg white will help the sugar stick.
Step 5: Space out the rounds of cookie dough on parchment-lined half-sheet pans (image 13). Then bake until set (image 14).
Gingerbread Cookie FAQs
If your gingerbread cookies didn't hold their shape, it's likely the dough wasn't chilled enough, the oven wasn't at the right temperature and was cooler, or perhaps you mismeasured the butter, sugars, or flour. Please read about why chill cookie dough, which includes why cookies spread when they bake.
If you want soft gingerbread cookies, bake them just until set, perhaps even slightly underbaked so that they continue baking out of the oven. This way the cookies won't dry out as much.
The tricks for keeping a container of brown sugar moist are the same as the tricks for keeping cookies soft, which means you can add a marshmallow, a piece of white sandwich bread, or a soaked brown sugar saver (a terra cotta disk) to keep these ginger cookies soft.
Other Gingerbread Recipes
If you are a fan of gingerbread and molasses-flavoured baked goods, here are some of my favourites to try:
- For roll and cut-out gingerbread people,
- For muffins, try these gingerbread muffins with cranberries
- For stamped cookies, try these soft gingerbread cookies stamped with fancy and festive cookie stamps and topped with a lemon glaze
- For a soft gingerbread variation, try these German gingerbread cookies
- For drop cookies, these chewy molasses cookies are easy and always a hit, as are these ginger cookies with white chocolate
- For something a little more subtle, simple sugar cookies are also always a hit, whether you feel like decorating or not, and feel free to modify them to make spiced sugar cookies, flavourful but lighter without the earthy molasses!
If you tried this recipe for slice-and-bake gingerbread cookies (or any other recipe on my website), please leave a ⭐ star rating and let me know how it went in the comments below. I love hearing from you!
Easy Gingerbread Cookies (Slice and Bake)
- 250 grams bleached all-purpose flour
- 15 mL ground cinnamon
- 3.75 mL ground ginger
- 2.5 mL Diamond Crystal fine kosher salt
- 2.5 mL ground nutmeg
- 0.625 mL ground cloves
- 115 grams unsalted butter room termperature
- 100 grams light brown sugar
- 50 grams granulated sugar
- 30 mL Fancy molasses
- 1 large egg(s)
- 5 mL pure vanilla extract
- Turbinado sugar lots
- Whisk together the flour, salt, and spices. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and the sugars until light and fluffy. Mix in the molasses, the egg, and the vanilla, and beat everything together for 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Add the dry ingredients to the mixer bowl, mixing on low until everything is evenly combined and you have a soft dough.
- Divide the dough into three and roll each dough into a log of about 8-inches long. Wrap each log in plastic wrap and chill overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF (190 °C) and line a couple of baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Just before baking, remove one log of dough from the fridge, unwrap it and roll log into a shallow plate of turbinado to coat sides.
- Slice cookies fairly thin (⅛–¼ inch or 3–6 mm thick) and place them on the prepared baking sheets. Chill in the fridge for 15 minutes if your kitchen is warm.
- Bake until the edges begin to brown slightly, about 13 minutes. Repeat with remaining logs of dough.
- You can replace the fancy molasses with baking molasses, light molasses, Treacle, honey, or even maple syrup.
- For more ginger flavour, you can mix diced crystallized ginger into the cookie dough before dividing and shaping into logs.
- If your turbinado sugar doesn't stick to the edges of the logs of dough, brush on a little egg white to help it adhere better.
- For a softer texture, insert a soaked brown sugar saver (terracotta disk) in the container of cookies. After 24 hours, they will have softened.