Gluten-Free Gingerbread Cookies
Why this recipe works
Who doesn’t love classic gingerbread cookies? The holiday season just wouldn’t be the same without them. But what if you can’t have gluten? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered with this recipe for gluten-free gingerbread cookies.
These cookies are made with a gluten-free flour blend, so they’re perfect for those with celiac disease or a gluten intolerance. And they’re just as delicious as traditional gingerbread cookies, so you won’t be missing out on any of the holiday fun! So preheat your oven and get ready to bake up a batch of these festive cookies.
I love this recipe for gluten-free gingerbread cookies because they are easy to make and the cookies are always so delicious! Gingerbread spices, like ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, give the cookies a warm, cozy flavor perfect for the winter months.
Eat these cookies plain, with a sprinkle of powdered sugar or decorate with royal icing. With these adorable Christmas tree and gingerbread men cookie designs, they’re sure to be a hit with everyone! They’re crisp on the edges with a slight chew in the center. Absolutely delicious!
You’ll love this recipe because:
- gluten-free flour blend – I have tested this recipe with both Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten Free Flour Blend and King Arthur Baking Measure-for-Measure Gluten Free Flour Blend. Both of these flour blends are meant to be a 1:1 swap for all-purpose flour and both already contain xanthan gum. There are other flours under both of these brands that DO NOT contain xanthan gum and are structured differently. Be sure you are using the correct flour blends.
- xanthan gum – Xanthan gum is a common ingredient in gluten-free baking. If your gluten-free flour blend does not contain xanthan gum in it, you will need to add it to the recipe. Xanthan gum improves the elasticity of gluten-free baked goods so that they do not crumble and fall apart.
- Unsalted butter – I prefer to use unsalted butter instead of salted butter. The salt content in salted butter can vary, so using unsalted butter lets you control the amount of salt that you add to the recipe to ensure that your gingerbread cookies are not too salty.
- Molasses – Blackstrap molasses is also known as black treacle in some parts of the world. Molasses will give these gingerbread cookies their classic flavor and brown color. Molasses also gives these cookies a little bit of chew in the center and keeps them very moist. Don’t skip the molasses!
- Brown sugar – Brown sugar keeps these cookies moist and chewy with a touch of additional molasses flavor. If you’re in a pinch, you can use granulated sugar instead.
Vanilla extract – Use pure vanilla extract for best results. Imitation vanilla extract does not have the same flavor as pure vanilla extract. Imitation vanilla extract doesn’t contain any vanilla at all. Instead it’s made from synthetic ingredients and is flavored with corn syrup to get a “vanilla” flavor.
For best results, use a food scale and follow the metric measurements stated in the recipe card. Baking with a food scale is far more accurate for dry ingredients, especially gluten-free flour that can vary easily depending on the way you scoop it.
These gluten-free gingerbread cookies are so simple to make with just a handful of ingredients. They are minimally decorated, making them the perfect gluten-free Christmas cookie to make, no matter your decorating skill level.
The step-by-step instructions with matching photos are meant to show you the recipe at various stages. Play close attention to the dough consistency and the thickness that we roll out the dough.
For the ingredient list with measurements, full instructions, printable recipe, and additional notes, please scroll down to the recipe card.
Typically, gingerbread cookies contain gluten because they are made with all-purpose flour. To make this recipe gluten-free, we use a gluten-free flour blend.
If your gluten-free flour blend already contains xanthan gum, you DO NOT need to add it to this recipe. If your blend does not contain xanthan gum, you will need to add ¾ teaspoon of xanthan gum to the recipe. Xanthan gum is an often corn-based food additive that is used as a thickener in many foods. In gluten-free baking it helps provide some elasticity so that your baked goods don’t crumble and fall apart.
I’ve tested this recipe with both Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour (in the blue bag that already contains xanthan gum) and King Arthur Baking Measure-for-Measure Gluten Free Flour Blend. Both of these flour blends are meant to be used as a 1-for-1 swap with all-purpose flour and both already contain xanthan gum. If you use a different flour blend, I cannot verify how the results will turn out for you as I have not tested other flour blends with this recipe.
No. Almond flour and coconut flour behave in different ways that a gluten-free flour blend, which is typically a blend of rice flours and gluten-free starches such as tapioca starch or potato starch. These blends also contain xanthan gum typically which is a binder used in gluten-free baked goods. If you want to use almond flour or coconut flour, please use a recipe that was specifically created using these flours. They will not work in this recipe as written.
hints & tips
How to store gingerbread dough
- Refrigerator: You can store the prepared dough in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap before storing.
- Freezer: For longer storage, freeze the dough in the freezer for up to 6 months wrapped tightly in plastic and placed in a freezer-safe bag or container. You can also cut out the shapes with cookie cutters and place them on a baking sheet in a single layer and freeze for an hour, or until solid. Then place the cut out shapes in a freezer safe container or bag, with parchment paper between each layer so that the cookie dough does not stick together. You can bake off just what you need and leave the remaining cookie dough shapes in the freezer until later.
How to store gingerbread cookies
- Room Temperature: Store leftover gingerbread cookies in an airtight container for up to a week.
- Freezer: You can freeze leftover gluten-free gingerbread cookies for later. Place leftover cookies in a freezer bag or container and freeze until ready to eat. Let them defrost at room temperature for about an hour before serving. If you plan on decorating with coloring icing, keep in mind that defrosted cookies may cause the color to run a bit. It works best with white icing. You can also wait to frost the cookies until after defrosting, which is a great way to get ahead of cookie decorating for the holidays!
More delicious cookies to try
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Gluten-Free Gingerbread Cookies
- 3 cups gluten-free flour blend, see notes (420g)
- 3/4 tsp xanthan gum (if your gluten-free blend does not already contain it)
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger (5g)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (3g)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves (1g)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (1g)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt (6g)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder (2.5g)
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (softened (113g))
- 3/4 cup brown sugar (150g)
- 1/2 cup molasses (170g)
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the gluten-free flour blend, xanthan gum (if using), ground ginger, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, ground nutmeg, kosher salt, and baking powder. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together the softened butter and brown sugar for 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Add the molasses, egg and vanilla extract and mix an additional 2 minutes, until combined.
- Slowly add the flour mixture, mixing in between each addition, until no more streaks of flour remain.
- Turn the dough out onto parchment paper or plastic wrap and pat into a disk. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours until chilled.
- Once chilled, preheat the oven to 350F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- Dust your surface and rolling pin with additional gluten-free flour or confectioners’ sugar. Roll out the cookie dough to ¼ inch thickness and cut with desired cookie cutters.
- Place the cookie dough shapes onto the prepared baking pans, leaving about 1-2 inches in between each cookie. Keep remaining dough in the refrigerator or freezer if you are baking in batches.
- Bake at 350F for 9-11 minutes, until the cookies are fragrant and the center of the cookie no longer looks shiny.
- Let sit on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
- Once cooled, decorate cookies as desired with royal icing or your favorite icing recipe. Let the decorations harden completely before serving.
- This recipe was tested with Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour and King Arthur Measure for Measure Gluten Free Flour. Both of these flours already contain xanthan gum so there is no need to add it to the recipe. If your blend does not contain xanthan gum, you will need to add it to the recipe. I recommend adding ¾ teaspoon of xanthan gum to this recipe.
- For best results, follow the weight measurements instead of the volume measurements. Scooping the flour with a measuring cup can be very inconsistent and may result in too much flour, making your gluten-free gingerbread cookies very dense.