This gingersnap recipe makes the perfect Christmas cookies. Not only are they full of spicy ginger flavor and warm spices, but they've also got plenty of that classic, old fashioned ginger snap cookies exterior with a chewy middle. They go great with an ice-cold glass of milk, a mug of hot chocolate, or hot cup of coffee or tea.
Need holiday cookie recipes for this time of the year? Try the Neiman Marcus cookie recipe, perfect Christmas cut out sugar cookies with homemade royal icing, my mama's Southern Pecan Praline Cookies, or these adorable gingerbread whoopie pies.
The Best Ginger Snaps Recipe! So Easy to Make.
I absolutely love ginger snaps.
My mama used to buy ginger snap cookies in a big brown bag when I was a little girl: those murray old fashioned ginger snaps cookies. Crispy and crunchy, they were one of my all time favorite cookies, even though she rarely brought them around (she probably hid them from me, honestly. I ate way too many!).
As an adult I make my own, especially during the holiday season since these make really great gifts! These old fashioned ginger cookies have a crispy exterior, chewy middles, and are so good when you're pregnant with an upset stomach (ask me how I know!)
So next time you're looking for the perfect gingersnap cookies for your christmas cookie jar or hunting down that familiar brown bag, make a batch of my favorite gingersnaps.
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Why You'll Love these Irresistible Cookies
- Makes Plenty to Share...30 Cookies! - these cookies are so well loved on any holiday cookie platter, you may even have to make a double batch! They move fast.
- Sweet and Spicy - full of ginger and then coated with sugar, these gingersnaps are so flavorful!
- Freezer-Friendly - make these ahead of the holiday season and keep them in the freezer. They're ready when you are.
- Stand Mixer - for ease we whip these up in the bowl of a stand mixer. You can also use an electric hand mixer.
- Mixing Bowls
- Baking Spatula - you need a silicone spatula to scoop the sides of the mixing bowls and get everything incorporated.
- Small Cookie Scoop
- Wire Rack - a must for all baking projects, since it gives your baked goods 360 degrees of air exposure to cool down.
- Cookie Sheets
- Fish Spatula - I use this for so many things, but especially scooping up cookies with ease. Works so much better than a conventional spatula!
Full ingredients, measurements, and printable instructions are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
The ingredients are super important if you want snappy old-fashioned gingersnaps:
- Vegetable Shortening. Butter will give you a chewy cookie, shortening gives us that snap since there's no water in it.
- Granulated Sugar.
- Unsulphured Molasses. Molasses is what gives ginger cookies that rich flavor underneath the spiciness of the ginger. Do not use blackstrap molasses, it's really bitter.
- Vanilla Extract.
- A large egg. Room temperature eggs will give the most consistent results since they won't mess with the baking time.
- All-Purpose Flour.
- Baking Soda.
- Kosher Salt.
- Ground Ginger. We're using a heaping tablespoon (15 grams) of ginger, which gives a great spice to your gingersnaps. If you don't want a lot of ginger spice, use 2 teaspoons instead.
- Ground Cinnamon and Nutmeg. These give the cookies a well-balanced flavor. Make sure you use freshly grated nutmeg if you can find it. I buy my whole nutmeg online here.
- Black Pepper. Want that spicy kick that really hits the taste buds? Adding freshly ground black pepper does that for you without altering the flavor of your gingersnaps.
- Turbinado Sugar. We roll the gingersnaps in a mix of white sugar and turbinado sugar. Turbinado sugar, also called raw sugar in the stores, is coarser than granulated sugar and adds great crunch and sparkle to the cookies, but it's optional if you can't find it.
Step by Step Instructions: How to Make Gingersnap Cookies
Step 1 | So to make the gingersnaps we are going to cream the shortening and sugar together in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed with the paddle attachment. Creaming sugar and fat together isn't just to mix them together, but to aerate the fat, in this case, shortening.
Sugar helps this process, and creaming the fat and sugar together actually gives you more cookies. So don't miss this step, or you'll miss out on cookies.
Step 2 | Stir in the vanilla, the egg and molasses and mix until well combined.
Step 3 | In a separate medium bowl, whisk all the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt, spices) then add the dry ingredients in batches to the bowl of wet ingredients.
I put about a third of the flour mix into the wet ingredients and mix in well with a rubber spatula before adding the next third of dry ingredients.
Step 4 | Chill the dough for an hour. Chilling the dough lets the flour get hydrated by the wet ingredients, giving the cookies a stronger flavor, making them more tender, and giving them a better shape and spreading less during baking.
After chilling, scoop the dough into small balls with a cookie scoop, then roll them in a mix of granulated and turbinado sugar in a small bowl and place the dough balls on your cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. The cookies being coated in sugar helps the outside have more crispness and adds crunch.
Step 5 | Bake at 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) for 12-13 minutes on your prepared baking sheets, let them cool for five minutes on the pan, then use a spatula to move them to a wire rack to cool for at least 15 minutes to cool completely. They will be at supreme crispness once completely cooled.
- Line your baking sheets with parchment paper or sil-pats for easy baking.
- Do not use blackstrap molasses. It's very bitter!
- Making snappy gingersnaps is easy. Keeping them snappy is not if you're not careful. If you keep them exposed, they'll soften up.
- Don't make gingersnaps on a rainy or really hot day, they won't be crisp. Blame the humidity. A cool day is ideal.
- No cookie scoop? Roll the dough between clean hands to form 1-inch balls, then bake cookies
Storing Freshly Baked Ginger Snaps
Keep the cooled baked cookies in an airtight container (like those good cookie jars!) to keep them snappy. Otherwise they'll soften up and become chewy ginger cookies.
How to Freeze Gingersnap Cookie Dough
Nothing is better than a cookie right when you need it right? Freeze your gingersnap cookies in a freezer-safe, zip-top bag for up to 6 months. You can also freeze the unbaked cookie dough balls on a baking sheet until hard, then put them into the freezer-safe zip-top bag to bake whenever needed.
Gingersnaps can be traced back to the European Middle Ages when ginger made it from Asia to Europe, either in Germany or near Germany. As time went on, they were brought to the US by English colonizers.
Gingersnaps were made solely with molasses, which was cheaper and easier to obtain than white granulated sugar, but even with the recipe changes molasses stayed an ingredient. Molasses gives a rich, earthy-sweet flavor and that classic brown-orange color.
Both can be frozen, but I love freezing the dough more. You don't have to thaw it, just place them on the baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes
They both have the same flavors: ginger, cinnamon, molasses, but ginger snaps are a crispy, snappy cookie, while gingerbread can also be a cookie, it's soft. Gingerbread can also be a cake or quick bread.
More Holiday Cookies:
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Old Fashioned Ginger Snap Cookies
- ¾ cup 150 g vegetable shortening
- 1 cup 190 g granulated sugar
- ½ cup 165 g unsulphured molasses
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg room temperature
- 2⅓ cups 350 g all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoon 10 g baking soda
- 1 tablespoon 15 g ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoon 10 g ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg or ½ teaspoon pre-ground nutmeg
- ½ cup 95 g sugar to roll dough in
- ¼ cup 48 g turbinado sugar, to roll dough in
- In a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer, cream shortening and sugar for about 3 minutes.
- Add molasses, egg, and vanilla extract. Mix again until everything is combined.
- In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, baking soda, ground ginger, ground black pepper, ground cinnamon, and the grated nutmeg. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in batches (I did about a third of the dry ingredients at a time, mixing in well after each addition).
- Cover with plastic wrap and chill the gingersnap dough in your refrigerator for at least 1 hour up to overnight.
- When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees (180 degrees C).
- Mix turbinado sugar and the ½ cup of granulated sugar together on a large plate.
- Use a small cookie scoop to scoop out dough and roll gently into balls. Roll the cookie dough in the sugar on the plate until fully coated in sugar.
- Place each sugar-coated cookie ball 2 inches apart on two parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees C (180 degrees C) for 6 minutes, turn the baking sheets 180 degrees for even baking, then bake for another 6-7 minutes.
- Allow the cookies to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet before carefully transferring to a wire cooling rack to completely cool for 10-15 minutes.
- Keep in an airtight container to keep the gingersnaps snappy for 3-5 days. They will soften the older they are.