Gluten-Free Gingerbread Cookies

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These gluten-free gingerbread cookies are soft, chewy, and so adorable! Perfectly spiced with a classic gingerbread flavor, you won't be able to tell these Christmas cookies are gluten-free! Eat them plain or decorate with your favorite royal icing recipe. They're a great addition to any Christmas dessert table or place a few cookies in a treat bag for an easy edible gift idea!
A plate of gluten-free gingerbread cookies shaped like Christmas trees and gingerbread men decorated with royal icing.
A cooling rack with gluten-free gingerbread men and gingerbread christmas tree cookies on it frosted with white royal icing.

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:

  • They’re gluten-free. Using gluten-free flour blends that are meant to be swapped 1-to-1 with all-purpose flour makes this recipe easy. Be sure to follow the weight measurements for best results, as gluten-free flour does not weigh the same as all-purpose flour. 
  • They’re simply decorated. You don’t need epic decorating skills to make these adorable gingerbread cookies. Anyone can decorate them!
  • They’re delicious. These gingerbread cookies have a crisp edge and a chewy center. They’re perfectly spiced with ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves and have some great flavor thanks to molasses and brown sugar. You can’t go wrong with this easy gluten-free cookie recipe. 

Ingredients

Ingredients in small bowls to make gluten-free gingerbread cookies, including gluten-free flour, brown sugar, egg, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, molasses, vanilla, baking power, butter, and salt with text overlays over each ingredient.

Ingredient Notes

  • 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.

Step-by-Step instructions

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.

A glass mixing bowl with gluten-free flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, baking powder and salt before mixing together.
Add the gluten-free flour blend, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves together in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk until combined. Set aside.
A glass mixing bowl with creamed butter and brown sugar in it.
Add the butter and brown sugar to a large bowl. Cream together for 2-3 minutes, until light and fluffy.
A glass mixing bowl with butter, brown sugar, egg and molasses in it before mixing together.
Add the molasses, egg, and vanilla to the butter mixture. Mix until combined.
A glass mixing bowl with gluten-free gingerbread wet ingredients with a gluten-free flour blend on top.
Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mixing in between each addition until no more streaks of flour remain.
Gluten-free gingerbread cookie dough on a piece of parchment paper before chilling in the refrigerator.
Turn the cookie dough out onto a piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap. Pat it into a disk, cover and chill in the refrigerator for 3 hours.
Gluten-free gingerbread cookie dough rolled out on parchment paper with gingerbread men and Christmas trees cut out of them.
Roll the dough out onto a piece of parchment paper dusted with gluten-free flour or powdered sugar. Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes. Re-roll out the scraps to cut out more shapes.
A baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat with gluten-free gingerbread men and gingerbread Christmas tree cookies on it.
Place the cookie dough shapes onto a cookie sheet lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper, leaving a few inches of space in between. Bake for 9-11 minutes, until the cookies are baked through and no longer shiny.
A cooling rack with gluten-free gingerbread men and gingerbread christmas tree cookies on it frosted with white royal icing.
Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before moving to a cooling rack to continue cooling. Decorate with royal icing or your favorite frosting when the cookies are completely cool. Let the frosting harden before serving.

Recipe FAQs

Does gingerbread contain gluten?

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. 

Do I need to add xanthan gum to this recipe?

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.

Which gluten-free flour blend works best for gluten-free gingerbread cookies?

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. 

Will this recipe work with almond flour or coconut flour?

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

  • Be sure to chill the dough in the refrigerator for best results. This will allow the flour to hydrate and the dough to deepen in flavor, resulting in delicious gluten-free gingerbread cookies. Chilling the dough also helps the cut-out shapes from spreading in the oven while baking. 
  • Use royal icing to decorate your gingerbread cookies. If decorating isn’t your thing, you can dust your cut-out cookies with powdered sugar instead for a little extra sweetness. This would be beautiful if you cut out Christmas trees and snowflake shapes in your gingerbread dough!
  • Gingerbread cookies are a great edible gift idea. After the frosting has set, pack up your gingerbread cookies in cookie tins or a cellophane treat bag tied with Christmas ribbon. 
Gluten-free gingerbread cookie dough rolled out on parchment paper with gingerbread men and Christmas trees cut out of them.

Storage instructions

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!
A plate of gluten-free gingerbread cookies shaped like Christmas trees and gingerbread men decorated with royal icing.

Did you make this recipe?

I’d love to know! Please rate it and leave a comment below. You can also share your pictures and tag @adashofmegnut on Instagram.

A plate of gluten-free gingerbread cookies shaped like Christmas trees and gingerbread men decorated with royal icing.

Gluten-Free Gingerbread Cookies

These gluten-free gingerbread cookies are soft, chewy, and so adorable! Perfectly spiced with a classic gingerbread flavor, you won't be able to tell these Christmas cookies are gluten-free! Eat them plain or decorate with your favorite royal icing recipe. They're a great addition to any Christmas dessert table or place a few cookies in a treat bag for an easy edible gift idea!
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Chiling Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 40 minutes
Servings: 24 cookies
Calories: 135kcal
Author: Megan

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

  • 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. 

Nutrition

Calories: 135kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 17mg | Sodium: 108mg | Potassium: 128mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 128IU | Vitamin C: 0.01mg | Calcium: 37mg | Iron: 1mg
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