It Wouldn’t Be Christmas Without Iced Gingerbread Men

Last Update: June 27, 2023

For Day 7 of our 12 Days of Christmas cookies, we’re going classic with iconic gingerbread men. This traditional recipe incorporates ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and black pepper to kick the flavor up a notch.

Gingerbread Men

Yield: 16 cookies
Active Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 45 minutes


6 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
4 teaspoons ground ginger
4 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
2 large eggs
1 cup molasses

2 pounds powdered sugar
5 pasteurized egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
Water, as needed
Red, yellow, and blue food coloring


Make the cookies
Whisk together flour, baking soda, and baking powder in a bowl. Set aside.

Place butter and brown sugar together in the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream together on medium speed until fluffy. Scrape down bowl and mix in ginger, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, pepper, and salt. Mix in eggs and molasses. Pour in half the flour mixture and mix on low. Scrape down bowl and mix in rest of flour. Cover dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour, or up to 3 days.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a couple baking sheets with parchment paper.

Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut out gingerbread men and place 2 inches apart on lined baking sheets. If the dough has gotten too warm, place back in fridge for 10 minutes. Bake in oven 12 to 14 minutes. Let cool.

Make the icing
Combine the powdered sugar, egg whites, and cream of tartar in the bowl of the stand mixer and whip on high for 5 minutes until frosting has gone from a gray tone to pure white and is fluffy and stiffened. Divide and color with the powdered dye as needed.

Use the thick icing to pipe around the edges of cookies in a piping bag fitted with a fine tip nozzle. Let icing on cookie dry before adding another icing color on top. Let cookies dry and set completely before stacking on top of each other or serving.

Photo credit: Paul Delmont

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Merce Muse

Thrive Market Food Editor

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