The only gingerbread recipe you need this Christmas (2024)

This gingerbread recipe is perfect to make with kids, and to eat with the rest of the family at Christmas or any time you fancy.

By The Good Housekeeping Cookery Team

The only gingerbread recipe you need this Christmas (1)

Nothing says Christmas quite like the scent of gingerbread filling your kitchen or a quaint Christmassy scene made out of gingerbread on proud display. These simple gingerbread cookies not only taste delicious, but they are also really easy to make, perfect for keeping kids entertained during the Christmas holidays. Whether you are stamping out star shapes, gingerbread men, or constructing a Christmas gingerbread house, this classic recipe will be enjoyed by the whole family.

Follow our top tips and you'll be rewarded with perfect gingerbread dough every time!

Gingerbread recipe tips:

  • Make sure to melt your butter and sugar over a low heat in order to prevent the mixture from burning before the sugar has had time to dissolve
  • Chill your dough for at least 30min. It will make rolling the dough out much easier as it won't stick to the rolling pin or worktop. Alternatively roll your dough out between two sheets of baking parchment once chilled
  • Chilling your dough will also allow the dough to rest and therefore the gluten to rest, preventing your biscuits from being tough
  • Don't overwork your biscuit dough when bringing it together or rolling it out. Overworking will result in a tough biscuit
  • As per the tip above, be clever when stamping out your biscuits in order to prevent having to re-roll your dough out too many times. Pre-plan where your cutter will be go each time, in order to optimise the surface area of the dough
  • Spare biscuits will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 weeks. Make sure it is truly airtight to prevent the biscuits from softening
  • You can freeze unbaked dough, wrapped in clingfilm, for up to one month. Defrost overnight in fridge and complete recipe

You can make plenty of things with gingerbread since it's very sturdy once baked. So, once you have perfected the recipe below, get creative with our other gingerbread recipes and build your own 3D constructions. Follow our template and guide to a gingerbread wreath, our Alpine Christmas cake, or draw up your own template to construct your favourite landscape!

Here's our foolproof gingerbread cookie recipe ready for the snuggly season ahead!

Ingredients for gingerbread

  • 75g unsalted butter
  • 100g light brown soft sugar
  • 100g golden syrup
  • 225g plain flour, plus extra to dust
  • 2tsp ground ginger
  • 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 8cm gingerbread man cutter
  • Coloured icing pens

      How to make gingerbread biscuits:

      1. In a small pan, heat the butter, sugar and golden syrup over low heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Set aside to cool for 5min.
      2. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, ginger and bicarbonate of soda. Make a well in the centre and pour in the butter mixture. Stir to combine. Using your hands, bring together to form a soft dough and knead briefly until smooth. Wrap and chill for 15min to firm up slightly.
      3. Line 2 large baking sheets with baking parchment. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 3mm thick. Using the gingerbread man cutter, stamp out shapes, re-rolling trimmings as needed. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet, spacing apart. You should have about 20 biscuits. Chill for 30min.
      4. Preheat oven to 190°C (170°C fan) mark 5. Bake the biscuits for 10min, or until sandy to the touch. Leave to cool for 5min on the sheets, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
      5. Decorate with icing pens and serve.

      Per serving:

      • Calories: 96
      • Protein: 1g
      • Total fat: 2g
      • Saturates: 1g
      • Carbs: 18g
      • Total sugars: 9g
      • Fibre: 0g

        Gingerbread biscuit recipes to try

        If you would like to make a gingerbread house this gingerbread recipe is simple to assemble using our gingerbread house template which you can download. Or try this spooky gingerbread Haunted House around Halloween time! You can then decorate it however you like.

        The only gingerbread recipe you need this Christmas (2)


        We also love these gingerbread wreaths. This recipe is enough to make a batch of gingerbread dough large enough for two wreaths. So you can keep on for yourself and give the other to a friend as a thought homemade Christmas gift.


        A great Christmas activity for kids is our gingerbread advent mobile. This is an advent calendar in mobile form, iced with numbers counting down the days to Christmas.

        The only gingerbread recipe you need this Christmas (4)


        These are our favourite Christmas biscuit recipes

        The only gingerbread recipe you need this Christmas (5)

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        The only gingerbread recipe you need this Christmas (2024)


        What are the three types of gingerbread? ›

        The three distinct types of gingerbread are brown gingerbread, wafer-based gingerbread and honey gingerbread.

        What is the significance of gingerbread at Christmas? ›

        In the late 17th century, gingerbread became associated with Christmas. Russian bakers prepared gingerbread men and women, usually as replicas of those people attending parties. Gingerbread houses were introduced about 200 years later, when the Grimm brothers wrote Hansel and Gretel. A new holiday tradition was born.

        Should I use light or dark brown sugar for gingerbread? ›

        Taste is obvious: sweets made with dark brown sugar will have a slightly deeper flavor with those notes of caramel and toffee I mentioned. That's why I only use dark brown sugar when making gingerbread; but depending on the recipe, you may not even notice a difference.

        What is the gingerbread man at Christmas? ›

        The Gingerbread man is one of England's most frequently used Christmas decorations. Its creation is attributed to Queen Elizabeth !, who is thought to have served the gingerbread figurines to visiting dignitaries. Lebkuchen, the German gingerbread, is likely to be the oldest Christmas gingerbread cookie.

        What makes gingerbread hard or soft? ›

        Some gingerbread recipes require some time to soften after baking because they are initially firm. Gingerbread is made harder by molasses and honey, but it becomes softer when water is absorbed by the sugar.

        What country invented gingerbread? ›

        According to Rhonda Massingham Hart's Making Gingerbread Houses, the first known recipe for gingerbread came from Greece in 2400 BC.

        What is gingerbread in German Christmas traditions? ›

        The German practice of making lebkuchen houses (gingerbread houses) has caught on worldwide and is a fun and festive tradition in numerous countries around the world. Nuremberg, Germany is considered to be the mecca of gingerbread. Each bakery keeps its recipe a secret.

        What is the gingerbread capital of the world? ›

        Nuremberg was recognized as the "Gingerbread Capital of the World" when in the 1600s the guild started to employ master bakers and skilled workers to create complicated works of art from gingerbread. Medieval bakers used carved boards to create elaborate designs.

        How was gingerbread made originally? ›

        Another key difference from modern-day gingerbread is that the medieval variety is made with honey and breadcrumbs. These were mixed with saffron and pepper to form a stiff paste which was formed into a square, sprinkled with cinnamon and decorated with box leaves secured with cloves.

        Can I use golden syrup instead of molasses? ›

        Golden Syrup

        With its golden, amber color, it is lighter than molasses, though the two are similar in their thickness. Golden syrup also a liquid sweetener, so 1 cup of golden syrup can replace 1 cup of molasses. Golden syrup has a unique flavor, so it may alter the flavor of your recipe slightly.

        Is turbinado sugar the same as brown sugar? ›

        Turbinado Sugar is a type of Brown Sugar, but not the same as what you're probably used to.

        What can you use instead of molasses? ›

        The Best Molasses Substitutes

        "Other substitutes include Sorghum syrup, and Treacle, an English version of molasses, you may find at an international market." Honey, dark corn syrup, and maple syrup can also be used to replace molasses in recipes.

        Why is it called gingerbread? ›

        Originally, the term gingerbread referred to preserved ginger. It then referred to a confection made with honey and spices. Gingerbread is often used to translate the French term pain d'épices (literally “spice bread”) or the German term Lebkuchen or Pfefferkuchen (pepperbread, literally: pepper cake).

        What are some fun facts about gingerbread? ›

        5 Things You Might Not Know About Gingerbread
        • Originally gingerbread was made with honey and breadcrumbs. ...
        • Queen Elizabeth once served her guests miniature gingerbread versions of themselves. ...
        • Children could learn the alphabet using gingerbread letters. ...
        • Queen Victoria enjoyed sharing gingerbread with her dog.

        What is the moral of the story of The Gingerbread Man? ›

        What's the Moral? The gingerbread man story's moral is slightly dark for a fable meant for children: Be careful who you trust. The cookie believed the fox when he said he wasn't tempted to eat him—this misguided trust led to the protagonist's downfall.

        What is Victorian gingerbread? ›

        gingerbread, in architecture and design, elaborately detailed embellishment, either lavish or superfluous. Although the term is occasionally applied to highly detailed and decorative styles, it is more often applied specifically to the work of American designers of the late 1860s and '70s.

        What is the original version of the gingerbread man? ›

        1875 story

        In the 1875 St. Nicholas tale, a childless old woman bakes a gingerbread man, who leaps from her oven and runs away. The woman and her husband give chase, but are unable to catch him. The gingerbread man then outruns several farm workers, farm men, and farm animals.

        What is the oldest version of the gingerbread man? ›

        The American version first appeared in the May 1875 issue of St. Nicholas Magazine. The story tells of a Gingerbread Man who runs away from the old woman who baked him.

        What is another name for gingerbread? ›

        'spice bread') or the German and Polish terms Pfefferkuchen and Piernik respectively ( lit. 'pepper cake' because it used to contain pepper) or Lebkuchen (of unclear etymology; either Latin libum, meaning "sacrifice" or "sacrificial bread," or German Laib for loaf or German for life, leben).

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