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Easy Soft Gingerbread Cookies with a Cake Mix

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This easy and soft Gingerbread Cookies with a cake mix recipe is the perfect holiday cookie. The dough comes together quickly, rolls out perfectly and bakes up with a soft bite that is totally delicious.

Decorated soft gingerbread cookies on a black cake plate.
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Should Gingerbread Cookies be soft or crunchy?

There is a time and place for both soft and crunchy gingerbread. Some of this is based on personal preference. In my opinion, the best Gingerbread cookies should be hard enough on the outside edges that they hold their classic shape but soft cookies on the inside.

However, when you are making gingerbread houses you want it to be super strong.  Strength means that the end product needs to be hard {and crunchy}. This recipe is not that, it makes the best soft gingerbread cookies.

What goes into this Recipe

Ingredients needed to make gingerbread cookies with a cake mix.
  • Spice Cake Mix: This mix is the perfect base for these cookies because it has all of the warm spices. It is used to make this Gingerbread Bundt Cake too!
  • All Purpose Flour: Added for additional structure to the cookie dough which allows you to roll it, cut it and bake them while holding their shape.
  • Eggs: A couple of eggs are added for even more structure and to help with leavening.
  • Butter: Using melted butter helps to bind all of the ingredients together and ensures a soft chewy cookie.
  • Molasses: This is an ingredient that is important in a good gingerbread recipe.  It also helps give the cookie a great texture but it also gives the deep color and an amazing gingerbread taste.
  • Ground Ginger: While there are already spices in the spice cake mix, adding extra ginger gives you perfect gingerbread flavor.

See recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

Variations

If you don’t want to make gingerbread men, use different shaped cookie cutters to make gingerbread cookies in the shape of Christmas trees, snowflakes, snowmen, or any other shape you’d like. You can also use cookie stamps to get a gorgeous cookie that doesn’t need to be decorated.

Go crazy with the frosting, too. By using a piping bag you can decorate your soft gingerbread cookies in all sorts of creative ways. You can also use candy melts to decorate the gingerbread people cookies.  There are so many colors to choose from. The white chocolate version would be perfect for decorating.

How to make Soft Gingerbread Cookies

  1. Combine the spice cake mix, flour and ground ginger in a large mixing bowl.  Whisk the ingredients together until everything is mixed well. In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, melted butter and molasses.  Whisk the ingredients together until everything is evenly distributed. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix the ingredients together using an electric mixer {or by hand} until you have a thick dough.
  2. Place the dough on plastic wrap.  Wrap the dough into a disc and refrigerate for at least two hours.
Steps 1 and 2 of making gingerbread cookies. 1, make the dough. 2, refrigerate the dough.
  1. After the dough has been chilled, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Roll the chilled dough out onto a lightly floured surface.  Use a gingerbread man cookie cutter to cut out cookies.
  2. Place the cookie cutouts onto a silicone mat {or parchment paper} lined baking sheet.
Steps 3 and 4 of making gingerbread cookies. 3, roll out chilled dough and cut out cookies. 4, place cookies on baking sheet.
  1. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the cookies are just set up. Allow the baked cookies to cool on the baking sheet for a while before moving to a cooling rack.
  2. For these cookies I used store bought vanilla frosting, but this Glace’ Icing recipe is awesome, too! Using store bought frosting made the process so simple.  I added the white frosting to a piping bag {but a zipper bag works too}, cut a hole in the bottom and piped all of the white areas. Then, I colored a small portion of the frosting red and added it to a piping bag to add the bow tie or bow for the head.  So simple, super cute and sweet!
Steps 5 and 6 of making soft gingerbread cookies. 5, bake cookies. 6, decorate cookies.

Expert Tips

  • Don’t skip the step of refrigerating the cookie dough.  If you try to work with dough too soon then it won’t roll out well.  The cookies could also spread while baking. This sugar cookie recipe also needs to be refrigerated.
  • Only use as much flour as you need to roll out the cookie dough.  Using too much flour can make the dough very dry and can also make the cookie very tough.
  • Don’t over bake the cookies.  To get the soft gingerbread cookies that we all love it is important to not over bake them.  It can be a bit hard to tell when they are done because you can’t see if they have browned.  Bake until the edges have set well and then allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes before moving to the cooling rack.
  • Make decorating super simple. Using store bought frosting saves so much time and still results in gorgeous Christmas cookies.
  • Add this gingerbread man cookies recipe to your holiday baking list.  They are perfect for a cookie exchange party.  So are these amazing sugar cookies, peanut butter blossoms and peppermint cookies.

Storing and Freezing

Store: Cooled cookies should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator.  They will keep well for 4-5 days. If they are decorated be sure to store them in a single layer or place a piece of wax paper between layers.

Freeze: Frosted or unfrosted cookies freeze well for up to 3 months. Another great make-ahead option is to make the gingerbread dough ahead of time.  The dough will keep in your fridge for a couple of days and freeze for a couple of months.

Recipe FAQs

Are Gingerbread Cookies the same as Gingersnap Cookies?

No, they are not the same.  While the flavors might be a bit similar the cookie dough is different because you want to be able to cut out shapes with gingerbread.

The texture of the finished product is also much different because while these Gingerbread Men are soft, Gingersnaps are super crispy.

Why is molasses used in Gingerbread?

Molasses is used in Gingerbread Cookies for a number of reasons.  It gives the cookies added moisture which helps add to the softness.

It also gives you the flavor and color you expect from a Gingerbread cookie and couldn’t get from any other ingredient.

How do I prevent my gingerbread cookies from spreading too much during baking?

To prevent excessive spreading, make sure you refrigerate the cookie dough as directed in the recipe.

Additionally, place the gingerbread cookie dough onto a silicone mat or parchment lined baking sheet. Spraying a cookie sheet with nonstick spray can result in spreading.

What’s the difference between royal icing and glace icing for decorating easy gingerbread cookies?

Royal icing is made with egg whites or meringue powder and dries into a hard, smooth finish. This makes it ideal for intricate and detailed designs.

Glacé icing is a simpler mixture of powdered sugar and liquid without the addition of meringue powder. It dries with a glossy finish, and it’s easier to work with for casual or quick decorations. Although, it will not dry quite as hard as royal icing.

Soft gingerbread cookies on a white plate and ready to serve.

Did you try this recipe?

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Gingerbread cookies on a white plate and ready to serve.

Easy Soft Gingerbread Cookies with a Cake Mix

Iconic Gingerbread Men are made with a cake mix but kept super soft and extra delicious.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 24 cookies
Calories: 156kcal
5 from 5 votes
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Ingredients

  • 1 box spice cake mix {13.25 ounces}
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 large eggs
  • cup butter {melted}
  • cup molasses

Instructions

  • Combine cake mix, all purpose flour and ground ginger in a large bowl. Whisk together to combine.
  • In a separate bowl combine eggs, melted butter and molasses. Whisk the ingredients together and add to the dry ingredients. Stir to combine until you have a thick dough. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  • After 2 hours, preheat the oven to 375° and roll out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Use a gingerbread man cookie cutter to cut out cookies and place them on a silicone mat {or parchment paper} lined baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the edge of the cookies are set up but not over baked. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes before moving them to a cooling rack.
  • To frost the cookies, use store bought or homemade Glacé icing. Add the frosting to a piping bag {or zipper bag} and make a sweet face, buttons and a bow.
  • Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Notes

  • Don’t skip refrigerating the cookie dough.  If you try to work with dough too soon then it won’t roll out well and the cookies can spread.
  • Don’t over flour the rolling surface.  Using too much flour can make the dough very dry and can also make the cookie very tough.
  • Make decorating super simple. Using store bought frosting saves so much time and still results in gorgeous Christmas cookies.
  • If you do not have a gingerbread cookie cutter, use a different shaped cutter or cookie stamp.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 156kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 22mg | Sodium: 170mg | Potassium: 156mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 102IU | Vitamin C: 0.04mg | Calcium: 34mg | Iron: 2mg
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