These vegan gingerbread cookies are both delicious and fun to make! Soft, chewy, and packed with spices, they’re the perfect treat for celebrating the holidays.
A master cookie decorator I am not.
But that’s okay! The great thing about gingerbread cookies, especially gingerbread men and women, is that they look cute even if you’re super unskilled in the decorating department. See? Aren’t these guys adorable?
So, whether you’re looking for a fun and creative holiday activity to do with the kiddos, or just craving something sweet and festive, you should probably make these cookies. They’re super tasty too — softer and chewier than your typical gingerbread, with just the right amount of spice.
Ingredients You’ll Need
This is going to be easy! The ingredients for vegan gingerbread cookies are pretty close to those for regular gingerbread cookies, but without the egg. Here’s what you’ll need:
For the Cookies
Flour. Regular old all-purpose flour is what we’ll be using.
Baking powder. Just a bit is needed in order to get our cookies to rise.
Salt. This is a flavor enhancer, so don’t skip it.
Spices. Lots of them! We’re using ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.
Vegan butter. Look for this near the regular butter in your supermarket’s refrigerator. Some popular brands are Earth Balance and Miyoko’s.
Brown sugar. Make sure to buy organic, to ensure it’s vegan.
Vanilla extract. We’re just using a smidge, because I love the way it compliments the spices.
Molasses. This adds some sweetness and gives our cookies that classic gingerbread flavor.
For the Frosting
Powdered sugar. Again, make sure to buy organic.
Water. Just a couple of tablespoons is all you need to turn that powdered sugar into frosting!
Vanilla extract. For flavor.
Vegan food coloring. This is totally optional, and as you can see, I didn’t use it. I have a box of this brand in my pantry, but again, I didn’t use it, so I can’t (yet) vouch for its quality.
How to Make Vegan Gingerbread Cookies
Make sure to get started early in the day or a day in advance, because the dough will need to chill completely before you can use it.
Start by stirring your dry ingredients together in a large bowl: flour, spices, baking powder, and salt. Set the mixture aside.
Now place your vegan butter (make sure it’s brought up to room temperature) and brown sugar into another bowl, and whip them together with an electric mixer. Once they’re mixed, add the vanilla and molasses, and beat everything together again.
Now start beating in the dry ingredients, just a bit at a time. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Continue adding and beating until everything is mixed and you’ve got a thick dough.
Split the dough in two and roll each half into a ball. Now wrap each ball tightly in plastic and place them in the fridge until they’re completely chilled. This will take a few hours, but it’s important. Chilling the dough will firm it up so it’s easy to roll and cut.
When the dough is finished chilling, sprinkle some flour on the counter. Take one of your dough halves out of the fridge and roll it out. Now use your favorite cookie cutters to cut it into fun shapes. Arrange them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake the cookies for about 10 minutes.
When the cookies come out of the oven you’ll need to transfer them to a cooling rack to cool completely before they’re ready to frost. In the meantime you can whip up your frosting.
Transfer your frosting to a pastry bag and decorate away!
Vegan Gingerbread Cookie FAQ & Tips
- I really enjoy soft gingerbread cookies. For softer cookies, keep the bake-time low. For firmer cookies, bake them longer.
- Do your best to work quickly when rolling and cutting your cookies. The longer the dough is out of the refrigerator the softer it will get, which will make it difficult to work with. This often results in not-fun things like dough sticking to your cookie cutters, broken limbs, and such.
- Be efficient in your cookie cutting. Cut them close together! Because again, the more times you need to roll the dough the softer it’ll get.
- Decorating tip: You’ll probably find that the little bit of frosting in the opening of your pastry bag often dries out between decorating cookies, which makes it difficult to get it to stick when you start a new cookie. Keep a damp cloth on hand to wipe away the dried out bit just before you start decorating each cookie.
- Where can I find vegan butter? You’ll usually find it near the regular butter in your supermarket’s refrigerator. Look for brands like Earth Balance and Miyoko’s.
- Why does the sugar need to be organic? Most sugar in the United States is processed using animal bone char, so it’s not considered vegan. Organic sugar is processed differently.
- Can these cookies be made gluten-free? I’m really not sure, but if you’d like to try it I’d recommend using an all-purpose gluten-free flour blend like those made by Bob’s Red Mill or King Arthur Flour.
- Looking for some more holiday cookie ideas? Try my peanut butter blossoms, vegan oatmeal raisin cookies, or pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.
Vegan Gingerbread Cookies
These vegan gingerbread cookies are both delicious and fun to make! Soft, chewy, and packed with spices, they're the perfect treat for celebrating the holidays.
- 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 tablespoon powdered ginger
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup vegan butter, brought up to room temperature
- 3/4 cup organic brown sugar
- 3/4 cup unsulphured molasses (not blackstrap molasses)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Frosting
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons water, plus up to an additional tablespoon, as needed
Stir the flour, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Set it aside.
In a separate large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the butter and brown sugar together until smooth and creamy, for about 1 minute.
Add the molasses and vanilla. Beat the mixture again, just until uniform and creamy.
Begin adding the flour mixture to the butter mixture, about a cup at a time, fully beating in each addition before adding the next. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. By the time all the flour has been added the mixture should form a dough.
Divide the dough into two halves and roll each into a ball. Wrap each ball tightly in plastic wrap.
Place the dough halves into the fridge to chill for at least 3 hours and up to 2 days.
When the dough has fully chilled, preheat the oven to 350°F and line a couple of baking sheets with parchment paper.
Sprinkle the counter lightly with flour, remove one of the dough balls from the fridge, unwrap it and place it on the counter.
Flour a rolling pin and use it to roll the dough until it's about 1/8 inch thick (it'll be about 12 to 14 inches in diameter).
Cut the dough using cookie cutters, then transfer the cookies to the baking sheets, leaving at least 1/2 inch between cookies.
Reroll the excess dough and repeat steps 9 and 10 until all of the dough has been used.
Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes, then transfer the baking sheets to cooling racks.
Repeat steps 8 to 12 for the second dough ball.
While the cookies cool, mix the frosting ingredients together in a medium bowl. Use just as much water as you need, and keep the mixture relatively thick so it pipes easily.
When the cookies are cool, transfer the frosting to a pastry bag and pipe it onto the cookies to decorate them. Alternatively, you can simply spread the frosting on the cookies.
Let the cookies sit for a few minutes for the frosting to set, and then serve.
This recipe makes about 36 medium-sized cookies. I made a mix of small, medium and large cookies and that's about how many I got. If making larger cookies, you won't get as many, and if making all smaller cookies, you'll get more.
This recipe makes enough frosting to spread it on all of the cookies. If you're planning on piping it you'll probably have extra. You can cut down on the batch size or freeze the extra for another use.