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Easy Gluten-Free Gingerbread Cookies (Dairy-Free)

Crispy on the outside, and soft and chewy on the inside, these easy gluten-free gingerbread cookies are insanely cute, can be made into whichever shape you like. Bake a batch or two of these cookies for homemade gifts during the holidays, Totally dairy-free too, but no one would know!

Gluten-free gingerbread men cooling on a wire rack.

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Christmas is Almost Here!

I can’t believe that Christmas is literally just around the corner! At this time of year, as Christmas decorations start to appear and light up the city, the much needed holiday cheer inevitably starts to brighten up my mood.

Christmas baking has also started at my house, and I imagine the great annual cookie exchange has also begun for you. Over the past few weeks, I’ve made crunchy almond biscotti, snickerdoodles, molasses cookies, and of course, we definitely can’t miss out on gingerbread cookies, one of the most classic Christmas cookies ever (and probably my favorite Christmas cookie, apart from biscotti)!

What are Gingerbread Cookies?

Gingerbread basically refers to a wide category of baked goods, which tend to be flavored with ginger, cloves, nutmeg or cinnamon, and sweetened with honey, sugar or molasses.

In this case, gingerbread cookies are basically cookies made with gingerbread, and are often shaped in the form of a little man (gingerbread man), while other forms with seasonal themes are also very common.

These cookies are often baked during the Christmas holiday season, and the classic gingerbread cookies shaped in the form of little men are insanely cute and definitely bring plenty of holiday cheer!

Also, there’s probably nothing better than the smell of gingerbread cookies baking in the kitchen!

cornbread in a cast iron skillet
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Hand holding up a gingerbread man from a plate of cookies.

A Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Version

There are many gingerbread cookie recipes out there, but I really wanted to create both a gluten-free and dairy-free version so that both Celiacs and those with lactose-intolerances can also enjoy.

In this gingerbread recipe, I’m using a gluten-free all-purpose flour blend instead of normal wheat flour, and I’ve substituted butter with coconut oil.

Why This Recipe Works:

  • Simple Ingredients: The key ingredients required to make these gluten-free gingerbread cookies are easily accessible at the local grocery stores (nothing fancy required!).
  • Easy to Make: Preparing the gingerbread cookie dough is as simple as combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients. Next, let the dough chill before rolling it out and cutting into shapes. Bake, and violà! Gingerbread cookies are done in just slightly more than an hour!
  • Crispy Exterior, Chewy Interior: Turns out that these cookies are amazingly good! Crispy on the outside and still soft and chewy inside, the way a good gingerbread cookie should be.
  • Flexible: These gingerbread men cookies are great for snacking on even without icing sugar. But if you feel like decorating them, go ahead!
  • Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free: The best part is that these cookies are totally gluten-free and dairy-free, which means that even if those with Celiac disease or gluten or lactose intolerances can still enjoy them without worries.
  • Perfect Homemade Gifts: These gluten-free gingerbread men are perfect as homemade gifts to treat our family and friends this festive holiday season, and great for bringing in holiday cheer.
Hand holding a rack of easy dairy-free gingerbread cookies (gluten-free).

Ingredients You’ll Need:

Here’s a visual overview of the ingredients required for this gluten-free gingerbread cookies recipe.

(For exact measurements, please scroll down to the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.)

Labeled ingredients for gluten-free gingerbread cookies recipe laid out on a marble board.

Ingredient Notes/Substitutions:

  • Coconut Oil: I prefer using refined coconut oil as it has a neutral taste (as opposed to extra virgin coconut oil that has a strong coconut flavor and smell). You can also use unsalted dairy-free butter (vegan butter) or palm shortening if you prefer. Alternatively, if you are not lactose-intolerant, feel free to use unsalted butter in equal quantities.
  • Sugar: I like using light brown sugar, but feel free to use normal white sugar, dark brown sugar or even coconut sugar if you prefer. If you are diabetic or insulin-resistant, I highly recommend using granulated monkfruit sweetener (which is a 1:1 sugar substitute that has zero glycemic index and will not raise your blood sugar).
  • Molasses: Blackstrap molasses are essential in this recipe (in addition to the sugar) to add moisture and give the cookies the soft, chewy interior. It also imparts the characteristic dark brown color to the gingerbread cookies.
  • Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour: I like using a gluten-free flour blend consisting of lighter flours/starches (such as rice flour, corn starch, tapioca starch, or potato starch) as this helps to keep the texture lighter. I do NOT recommend using a flour blend that includes heavier flours (such as garbanzo bean flour) as it results in a denser final texture.
  • Xanthan Gum: Xanthan gum is the replacement for gluten in many gluten-free baked goods, as it helps to better bind the ingredients together. Make sure you add it if your gluten-free flour blend does not already include it.
  • Baking Powder: This gluten-free gingerbread cookies recipe using baking powder as a leavening agent, so definitely add this in! If you are Celiac or gluten-intolerant, make sure to use certified gluten-free baking powder.
  • Spices: I like using ground gingerground cinnamon, and ground cloves because these warm spices impart the characteristic flavor of gingerbread to these cookies, so I would definitely not omit them.

How to Make Gluten-Free Gingerbread Cookies

1. Cream Sugar and Oil

In a large mixing bowl, cream the sugar and coconut together until you get a light and fluffy mixture (approximately 2 minutes).

Creaming sugar and oil in a glass mixing bowl.

2. Add Egg and Molasses:

Add the beaten egg and the molasses and whisk well to combine until you get a thick, dark brown paste.

Hand mixing a dark brown mixture in a glass bowl.

3. Sift Dry Ingredients

In a medium bowl, sift in the gluten-free flour, baking powder, salt, ground ginger, ground cinnamon and ground cloves.

Mixing flour in a bowl.

4. Prepare Dough

Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet paste mixture in the large bowl, scraping any dough from the sides of the bowl. Mix very well until you get a homogeneous dough.

Gluten-free gingerbread dough in a mixing bowl.

5. Chill Dough

Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to 90 minutes (important – don’t skip the chilling!).

6. Preheat and Line

Preheat oven to 350F and line two large baking sheets with silpats or parchment paper.

7. Roll Dough & Cut Out Shapes

Once dough is chilled, use a rolling pin to roll the dough out in segments to 1/2 inch thickness on parchment paper (or a smooth surface sprinkled with gluten-free flour).

Use a gingerbread man cookie cutter to cut the dough into shapes of choice. Gather and re-roll any scraps of remaining dough as needed.

Using a cookie cutter to cut out gingerbread dough.

8. Bake

Place cut dough pieces at least 3-inches apart on the prepared baking sheet or cookie sheet (approximately 6 pieces of dough per sheet).

Don’t overcrowd the cookies as they will expand as they bake (unless you want your gingerbread cookies to be holding hands!) Bake for 9 to 11 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through, before removing from the oven.

Gingerbread man dough pieces on silpat-lined baking sheet.

9. Cool Completely

Let the gluten-free dairy-free gingerbread cookies cool for at least 5 minutes on the baking sheet before moving the baked cookies to a cooling rack to finish cooling down completely before storing or decorating.

Gluten-free gingerbread men on a silpat-lined baking sheet.

Dish by Dish Tips/Tricks:

  • Line Baking Sheets: It’s super important that you line your baking sheet with either a silpat or parchment paper so that the dough doesn’t stick to the sheet. I personally love baking with a silpat (silicone mat) as it always ensures that my dough never sticks, but if you don’t own a silpat, parchment paper will work just as well.
  • Let Cookies Cool Completely: These gluten-free gingerbread cookies can be a little fragile fresh out of the oven, so it’s important that you be patient and let them cool fully before eating or handling them for decorating. It’s best to let them cool for at least 5 minutes on the baking sheet before gently moving them to a cooling rack to finish cooling. Note that the cookies will harden slightly as they cool.
  • Crispier Cookies: If you prefer crispier cookies, simply bake cookies for an extra 2-3 minutes.
  • Different Shapes: Feel free to use cookie cutters in any size or shape you prefer (think stars, hearts, animals, letters, etc)! I used a gingerbread man cookie cutter because I wanted it to feel festive and Christmassy, but you can also make these cookies when it’s not the holidays. Simply cut out shapes depending on what holiday or season it is!
  • Decorate with Frosting: I like my cookies simple so I just cut the dough into gingerbread men shapes without any frosting. But if you feel like it, go ahead and pipe royal icing onto the cookies for decoration!
Dairy-free gingerbread men on wire rack.

Recipe FAQs:

How do You Store These Cookies?

To store these gluten free gingerbread cookies, place the fully-cooled cookies in an airtight container and keep at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Can You Freeze these Gingerbread Cookies

To freeze, place the fully-cooled gluten-free dairy-free gingerbread cookies in freezer-safe containers and freeze for up to 2 months. Let cookies thaw completely overnight in the refrigerator, and bake them in the oven at 350F for 5 minutes to crisp them up a little before eating.

Can You Freeze Gingerbread Cookie Dough?

Yes you can! If you prefer to prepare the dough beforehand and freeze, you can wrap the dough in double layers of plastic wrap (to prevent freezer burn) and then freeze it for up to 3 months. When you wish to use the dough, let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator before rolling it out and cutting into desired shapes and baking.

Hand holding cooling rack with gingerbread men cookies.

P.S. If you try this recipe, I’d love for you to leave a star rating below, and/or a review in the comment section further down the page. I always appreciate your feedback. Be sure to check out my entire Recipe Index for all the recipes on the blog. You can also follow me on Pinterest, Facebook or Instagram! Sign up for my Email List to get fresh recipes in your inbox each week!

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Easy Gingerbread Cookies (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)


5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 3 reviews

  • Author: Felicia Lim
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 12 cookies 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

Crispy on the outside, and soft and chewy on the inside, these easy gluten-free gingerbread cookies are insanely cute, can be made into whichever shape you like. Bake a batch or two of these cookies for homemade gifts during the holidays, Totally dairy-free too, but no one would know!


Ingredients

Scale

Instructions

  1. Cream Sugar and Coconut Oil: In a large mixing bowl, cream the sugar and coconut oil together until you get a light and fluffy mixture (approximately 2 minutes).
  2. Add Egg and Molasses: Add the beaten egg and the molasses and whisk well to combine until you get a thick, dark brown paste.
  3. Sift Dry Ingredients: In a medium bowl, sift in the gluten-free flour, baking powder, salt, ground ginger, ground cinnamon and ground cloves.
  4. Prepare Dough: Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet paste mixture. Mix very well until you get a homogeneous dough.
  5. Chill Dough: Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to 90 minutes (important – don’t skip this step!).
  6. Preheat and Line: Preheat oven to 350F and line two large baking sheets with silpats or parchment paper.
  7. Roll and Cut Out Shapes: Once dough is chilled, roll dough out in segments to 1/2-inch thickness on parchment paper (or a smooth surface sprinkled with gluten-free flour). Use a gingerbread man cookie cutter to cut the dough into shapes of choice and place cut out dough on prepared baking sheets at least 3 inches apart. Gather and re-roll any scraps of dough as needed.
  8. Bake: Bake 9 to 11 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through, before removing from the oven.
  9. Cool Completely: Let the cookies cool for at least 5 minutes on the baking sheet before moving them to a cooling rack to finish cooling down completely before storing or decorating.

Notes

Coconut Oil: I prefer using refined coconut oil as it has a neutral taste (as opposed to extra virgin coconut oil that has a strong coconut flavor and smell). You can also use unsalted dairy-free butter (vegan butter) or palm shortening if you prefer. Alternatively, if you are not lactose-intolerant, feel free to use unsalted butter in equal quantities.

Sugar: I like using light brown sugar, but feel free to use normal white sugar, dark brown sugar or even coconut sugar if you prefer. If you are diabetic or insulin-resistant, I highly recommend using granulated monkfruit sweetener (which is a 1:1 sugar substitute that has zero glycemic index and will not raise your blood sugar).

Molasses: Molasses are essential in this recipe (in addition to the sugar) to add moisture and give the cookies the soft, chewy interior. It also imparts the characteristic dark brown color to the gingerbread cookies.

Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour: I like using a gluten-free flour blend consisting of lighter flours/starches (such as rice flour, corn starch, tapioca starch, or potato starch) as this helps to keep the texture lighter. I do NOT recommend using a flour blend that includes heavier flours (such as garbanzo bean flour) as it results in a denser final texture.

Xanthan Gum: Xanthan gum is the replacement for gluten in many gluten-free baked goods, as it helps to better bind the ingredients together. Make sure you add it if your gluten-free flour blend does not already include it.

Baking Powder: This gluten-free gingerbread cookies recipe using baking powder as a leavening agent, so definitely add this in! If you are Celiac or gluten-intolerant, make sure to use certified gluten-free baking powder.

Spices: I like using ground ginger, ground cinnamon, and ground cloves because these warm spices impart the characteristic flavor of gingerbread to these cookies, so I would definitely not omit them.

Storing/Freezing: To store these gluten-free gingerbread cookies, place the fully-cooled cookies in an airtight container and keep at room temperature for up to 5 days. To freeze, place the fully-cooled cookies in freezer-safe containers and freeze for up to 2 months. Let cookies thaw completely overnight in the refrigerator, and bake them in the oven at 350F for 5 minutes to crisp them up a little before eating.

Freezing the Dough: If you prefer to prepare the dough beforehand and freeze, you can wrap the dough in various layers of plastic wrap (to prevent freezer burn) and then freeze it for up to 3 months. When you wish to use the dough, let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator before rolling it out and cutting into desired shapes and baking.

Crispier Cookies: If you prefer crispier cookies, simply bake the gluten-free gingerbread cookies for an extra 2-3 minutes.

This recipe was originally posted in December 2020, but has since been republished to include clearer instructions and recipe notes.

Adapted from: Bless This Mess Please

  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Chilling Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Category: Snacks
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

8 Comments

  1. Good morning Felicia!

    Thank you for sharing this great idea – the gingerbread cookies being a wonderful blessing gift to loved ones during this Christmas festive season which is just less than a month to go.

    I am planning to make some of these gingerbread cookies to share with family and friends this Christmas!

    Have a blessed week ahead!
    Mum






    1. Hi mummy, I’m sure you’ll enjoy these gingerbread cookies as much as we do!! 🙂 And so will your friends!

  2. Made these this morning with my 8 and 9 year olds. Perfect small batch and deliciously gluten free. Thanks for a timeless recipe made perfect for gluten free enjoyment!






    1. Hi dear, you’re most welcome! So happy your enjoyed these gingerbread cookies with your kiddos! 😉 Happy holidays and cheers to many more gluten-free gingerbread baking!

  3. Good morning Felicia,

    Another great snack to compliment my coffee with friends!

    Thanks and have a great weekend ahead!

    Lots of hugs and kisses,
    Mum






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