Gingersnap Cookies

These Gingersnap Cookies are the perfect balance of sugar, spice and everything nice. With both fresh and ground ginger, these cookies aren’t too spicy and just sweet enough. Makes 26 cookies.

Sugar-coated gingersnap cookies in a cookie tin on marble

When it comes to food, everyone has certain flavors they like and dislike. 

Me? I loathe goat cheese, and I have the cilantro soap gene. I’m also not big on ginger. 

I’ve always wanted to like ginger, but it can just be too dang zippy and punchy! Ginger is great in Moscow mules and gingerbread creamer but in those recipes, it’s just an ingredient and has other flavors to balance it.

But my husband and several friends absolutely love ginger cookies. I really wanted to perfect the perfect ginger cookie recipe just for them.

I am so happy with the way this recipe turned out! They’re a little bit spicy, but in a good way. These gingersnap cookies got rave reviews from the hardcore ginger cookie lovers who tested them for me. 

These cookies have the most incredible texture and flavor. They are crispy on the exterior but soft in the middle. They crisp up even more as they cool off and the ginger flavors get stronger the longer they sit.

Why I love this recipe:

Any ginger-loving fiend will adore these flavorful cookies, and here’s why: 

  • These Gingersnap Cookies are perfectly balanced with ginger spice and sweetness. 
  • Their ginger flavor is not overwhelming and doesn’t punch you in the face.
  • Even though it needs a couple of hours of chill time, the dough is a cinch to put together.
  • It makes a ton of ‘snaps for sharing!

More cookie recipes to try: Classic Snickerdoodles | Ginger Rosemary Shortbread Cookies | Chocolate Gingerbread Biscotti | Potato Chip Cookies | Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies | Drop Sugar Cookies

Gingersnaps vs. gingerbread cookies

Though both gingersnaps and gingerbread are ginger-flavored desserts, they’re quite different. 

Gingersnaps, or ginger snaps, are ginger-flavored cookies. Also called ginger biscuits, they are usually flavored with ground ginger and a mixture of other spices, including cinnamon, molasses and clove. 

They are usually either drop cookies or hand-formed (like mine) and have a soft, chewy texture with a crackled exterior. 

While gingerbread cookies have a similar flavor, their texture is crunchier. The dough is rolled out and cut into shapes with cookie cutters, à la gingerbread men (and women) and gingerbread houses. 

Gingerbread cookies are also usually decorated with icing, sprinkles and/or candies, so their overall flavor is sweeter. 

Ingredients to make ginger snaps on a marble background with a dark green striped towel

What you need to make this recipe:

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Let’s talk ingredients!

In addition to the tools above, you’re going to need some ingredients to make this recipe, too! Chances are, you might already have some of them in your fridge or pantry. Scroll down to the recipe card for the full measurements and instructions.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • All–purpose flour — we keep unbleached AP flour at our house, but you can use the regular kind, too. 
  • Baking soda — this will give our cookies some lift. Make sure that yours is fresh!
  • Kosher salt — I like to use medium-grain kosher salt here. You could also use a similar size of sea salt, too.
  • Spices — we’re using a combination of ground ginger and ground cinnamon. Check your spice cabinet before baking these because spices do go bad. I go through mine every holiday season. Fresh spices = the most flavor, and that’s what we want from the cinnamon and ginger in these cookies! 
  • Unsalted butter — this is the fat for our cookie recipe. It’s important that it is unsalted so we can control the amount of salt added. Set it out the butter 30-45 minutes before you plan to mix the batter so it blends easily.
  • Fresh ginger — it’s better to grate the ginger with a fine grater like a Microplane than to chop it finely, but if you do — chop it really finely. Make sure the ginger is peeled before you grate it on the zester. (Here’s a tutorial on how to peel ginger.) If you don’t want to fuss with this, you can purchase jars or squeeze bottles of grated ginger at the store.
  • Dark brown sugar — dark brown sugar is similar to light brown sugar, but has a higher molasses content, a richer flavor and a darker color. 
  • Unsulphured molasses — most commercial molasses is unsulphured molasses, meaning that it doesn’t contain sulphur dioxide as a preservative. The sulphur dioxide additive slightly alters the flavor of the molasses, so the unsulphured version tastes stronger and purer.
  • Granulated sugar — also known as white sugar, this is what we roll the gingersnaps in before baking them. It’ll caramelize and crackle up as the cookies bake.

Customizations and substitutions

If you don’t have dark brown sugar on hand, you can make a quick brown sugar substitute. Simply, you add molasses to either granulated sugar or light brown sugar.

You can also use light brown sugar instead, but it may affect the color and flavor of the cookies. I personally enjoy these cookies with the deep molasses flavor of the dark brown sugar.

I’ve not tested these with 1:1 gluten-free flour, but it should work as a substitute. 

How to make gingersnap cookies 

Gingersnaps are a pretty easy cookie to make. Let’s get out the baking supplies and get to baking! 

First, measure out the flour, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, baking soda and kosher salt into a large bowl. Whisk to combine, and set the dry ingredients aside.

Next, cream the softened butter and fresh ginger together until light and fluffy in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or with a hand mixer/electric mixer).


Add the brown sugar to the butter and ginger mixture.

Whip until smooth.


Pour the molasses into the butter mixture and mix on medium speed until combined and fragrant.

Mix half the flour mixture into the wet ingredients, mixing until combined and scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. 

Pour in the rest of the flour mixture, and mix until just combined. Don’t overmix them! 


Cover the bowl with a sheet of plastic wrap and place the dough in the refrigerator to chill for at least two hours.

This is super important because it helps the cookies get that perfect shape and also not be sticky as all get out when you roll them.

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line one large baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat* (affiliate link)


Scoop the dough with a 1-tablespoon cookie scoop* (affiliate link).

Roll the dough in the palm of your hand, then roll in the granulated sugar

Place on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 16-18 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the cookies have flattened and firmed up. 

Let cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to finish cooling.

Enjoy them warm — that’s my favorite — but once they have reached room temperature they’ll have the perfect texture and will also be crispier.

How to store

Store your gingersnaps in an airtight, food-safe container. They will taste freshest if enjoyed within 3-4 days. 

How to freeze and bake from frozen

If you want to freeze cookie dough to make cookies later, you can!

Freeze the cookie dough 1-2 weeks in advance, then bake them fresh just before guests arrive or whenever you need them. (I call these “emergency cookies.”) 

  • Chill the dough then roll out the balls, as described in the instructions.
  • Store them in the freezer until ready to bake, then roll them in the sugar just before baking. 
  • I usually let the dough sit out on the counter while I preheat the oven, then the outsides are just sticky enough for the spice mixture.  
  • Bake frozen for 18-20 minutes, or a little longer.
Gingersnap cookies cooling on a wire rack

Erin’s Easy Entertaining Tips

  • Double the batch and freeze half the dough so you can whip up this gingersnap cookies recipe anytime you need a quick cookie! 
  • Add them to a cookie tray, cookie box or serve them at a cookie swap. (Everyone else at cookie swaps seems to go for chocolate, peppermint or sugar cookies, so a ginger cookie is a great way to stand out.) 
  • Use these cookies as garnishes for cocktails, like this Gingerbread Mule, or serve them alongside coffee for a holiday treat.
A stack of ginger snap cookies on a plate on marble

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between gingerbread cookies and ginger snap cookies?

Though similar in flavor, gingerbread cookies are rolled out and cut into shapes. Once baked, their texture is crunchy. Ginger snaps are softer, chewier cookies with a hard, crackled exterior. They’re formed by rolling dough into balls. 

Why are my ginger snap cookies hard?

Your cookies might be overbaked! 

What are gingersnap cookies made of?

Gingersnap cookies contain the usual cookie ingredients of flour, baking soda, sugar, butter and salt, as well as unsulphured molasses, grated ginger and ground spices. 

Why are ginger snap cookies so good?

It’s all about the texture and the flavor, baby. These gingersnap cookies have a light crackle on the outside and are soft and chewy on the inside. Their perfectly balanced ginger cookies are full of flavor but aren’t overly gingery or spicy. 

Why is it called gingersnap?

According to the book American Cookie by Anne Byrn, gingersnaps likely get their name from the German or Middle Dutch word snappen, which means “to seize quickly.” The first mention of them dates back to the early 1800s. 

The name has also come to refer to the ginger flavor. It also references the “snap” sound they make when you break or bite into them.

A hand holds a gingersnap above a cooling rack of many

Quick tips and tricks to making the best gingersnaps 

  • Measure all your ingredients in advance. There are a lot of ingredients in this recipe and this ensures you don’t miss a single one. 
  • Use a cookie scoop to get evenly-sized portions. Scrape the scoop against the edge of the bowl to even out the amount in each scoop. 
  • Flavor creep is real — if you store these flavorful cookies with a milder-tasting cookie, the flavor might seep into those other cookies. It’s best to store different types of cookies separately. If you’re setting up cookie tins or boxes, prepare them at the last possible minute to minimize this unfortunate flavor transfer. 
The Sweetest Season 2022 banner in purple and gold

Let’s talk about The Sweetest Season and Cookies for Kids Cancer!

The Sweetest Season is my annual holiday cookie week.

In 2011, I decided it would be fun to share my favorite Christmas cookies… then I invited other bloggers to join me. The celebration grew, we changed the name to make it more inclusive (because that matters!), my friend Susannah stepped up to assist with all the things and the rest is history.

And now, every year, food bloggers get together to share new holiday cookie recipes to make and give.

This year, we’re raising money in support of Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, which is a recognized 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to funding research for new, innovative and less-toxic treatments for childhood cancer.

Since 2008, Cookies for Kids’ Cancer has granted nearly $18 million to pediatric cancer research in the form of 100+ research grants to leading pediatric cancer centers across the country. More than 35 treatments that are available to kids battling cancer today have been stemmed from these grants.

We’d love for you to help us raise money for this important cause! You can donate through our fundraising page.

Another exciting thing is that Cookies for Kids’ Cancer is in a matching window with their friends at OXO, meaning OXO will be matching every dollar raised through the end of 2022, up to $100,000. Whatever money we raise will automatically double on our fundraising page!

Sugar-coated gingersnap cookies in a cookie tin on marble
Yield: 26 (1T) cookies

Gingersnap Cookies

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 16 minutes
Chill Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 46 minutes

These Gingersnap Cookies are the perfect balance of sugar, spice and everything nice. With both fresh and ground ginger, these cookies aren’t too spicy and just sweet enough.

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour (180g)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger (6g)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (4g)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda (8g)
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt (1g)
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened (113g)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger (14g)
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar (100g)
  • ½ cup unsulphured molasses (170g)
  • ½ cup granulated sugar (100g)

Instructions

  1. Measure the flour, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, baking soda and kosher salt into a large bowl. Whisk to combine, and set aside.
  2. Cream the softened butter and fresh ginger together until light and fluffy in a stand mixer fit with the paddle attachment (or with a hand mixer).
  3. Add the brown sugar to the butter/ginger mixture. Whip until smooth.
  4. Pour the molasses into the butter mixture. Mix on medium speed until combined and fragrant.
  5. Mix half the flour mixture into the wet ingredients, mixing until combined and scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  6. Pour in the rest of the flour mixture, and mix until just combined.
  7. Cover the bowl with a sheet of plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for two hours.
  8. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line one large baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside for later.
  9. Scoop the dough with a 1-tablespoon cookie scoop. Roll the dough in the palm of your hand, then roll in the granulated sugar.
  10. Place on the prepared baking sheet.
  11. Bake for 16-18 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the cookies have flattened and firmed up.
  12. Let cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to finish cooling.
  13. Enjoy with your favorite beverage!

Notes

Use a cookie scoop to get evenly-sized portions. Scrape the scoop against the edge of the bowl to even out the amount in each scoop.

Flavor creep is real — if you store these flavorful cookies with a milder-tasting cookie, the flavor might seep into those other cookies. It’s best to store different types of cookies separately. If you’re setting up cookie tins or boxes, prepare them at the last possible minute to minimize this unfortunate flavor transfer.

How to store: Store your gingersnaps in an airtight, food-safe container. They will taste freshest if enjoyed within 3-4 days.

How to freeze and bake from frozen: If you want to freeze the cookie dough to make cookies later, you can! Freeze the cookie dough 1-2 weeks in advance, then bake them fresh just before guests arrive or whenever you need them.

  • Chill the dough then roll out the balls, as described in the instructions.
  • Store them in the freezer until ready to bake, then roll them in the sugar just before baking.
  • I usually let the dough sit out on the counter while I preheat the oven, then the outsides are just sticky enough for the spice mixture.
  • Bake frozen for 18-20 minutes, or a little longer.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

26

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 105Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 65mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 0gSugar: 12gProtein: 1g

Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate.

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4 Comments

    1. I think it’s the season to fix this, San! I’d never made one until I was well into adulthood, and they’re surprisingly easier than you’d suspect.

      Either way, I hope if you give these a try that you enjoy them!

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