'Tis the season for soft & chewy Vegan Gingerbread Cookies! These easy cookies are full of ginger & molasses flavor for an eggless & dairy-free gingerbread cookie that is perfect for decorating.
Though I never grew up decorating Gingerbread cookies (my December was more likely to be full of vegan latkes), I honestly had so much fun making & decorating these classic Christmas cookies. Let's just say- I totally get the hype!
This year, after many requests from you, I decided to make my own version of the classic cookie many of us love this time of year.
While I may not be a master cookie decorator (believe me, you don't even want to see attempts one and two of these cookies), I can say this recipe is absolutely delicious! Plus, at the end of the day, these cookies taste delicious no matter how funky they look. Right?!
I really wanted to make this recipe as easy as possible so it requires pretty simple ingredients and the actual gingerbread cookie dough can be made in ONE BOWL.
- Brown sugar: I used dark brown sugar, but light will also work.
- Molasses: must be light, NOT blackstrap. I used Brer Rabbit brand.
- Flax Egg: mix of ground flaxseed and water.
- Also while it is not pictured, I used powdered sugar, agave syrup, and water to make the glaze on top.
How to make vegan gingerbread cookies
Before we go through the instructions I do want to note that I HIGHLY recommend baking these cookies the day before you decorate them. Since they need to be cooled completely before adding any icing, this just makes it way less stressful.
Cream butter, sugar, and spices
Fun fact, creaming the spices directly into the butter will lead to a more flavorful cookie! That is because the fat from the vegan butter holds onto the flavor better. Plus, creaming everything together gives these cookies a nice, fluffy, and soft texture.
P.S- Make sure the vegan butter is at room temperature before creaming for the best results! For reference, room temperature butter is still solid/ slightly cold, but can be easily indented with a finger.
Mix in wet ingredients
This includes the flax egg (vegan egg substitute), vanilla, and molasses. When it comes to molasses it's really important to note that you want to use light/mild molasses NOT blackstrap for the right flavor. Otherwise, your gingerbread cookies may end up bitter. Then, whip everything together!
Add flor & mix into gingerbread dough
Finally, add in the flour and mix together into a thick dough. Since we are making these as no spread gingerbread cookies, there is no baking powder/baking soda in this recipe.
Chill the dough
Now that the dough has been formed, it's time to chill the dough!
I've seen some recipes that say you need to chill the dough for several hours, but I tested these cookies after just 30 minutes of chill time and that was plenty for this dough. However, if you want you can definitely chill the dough overnight to make it advance.
Roll the dough between parchment paper
Okay, who is ready for this life-changing cutout cookie hack?!
I first tried this strategy for vegan cut-out cookies when I made my Vegan Linzer Cookies and have since used it to make many of my favorite cookies on SGTO!
Simply lay out a sheet of parchment paper, add the dough on top, and cover with a second sheet of parchment paper. Then, use a rolling pin to roll out the dough. Rolling out cookies this way means no extra flour needed and no dough sticking to the rolling pin. Win-win!
If you have limited counter space, you can also cut the dough in half and roll out ½ at a time to make things easier.
Cut out cookies & bake
Next, use your preferred cookie cutters to cut the vegan gingerbread dough into fun shapes. As you can see, I chose some more untraditional cookie cutters to make these a mix of Hanukkah cookies & Christmas cookies!
Then, add the cookies to a parchment-lined baking sheet and Bake at 350F for 8-10 minutes.
Here's a little trick for you as well- the way to get soft gingerbread cookies is simple to bake them for less time. That means not baking cookies longer than 8 minutes. If you like crispier/crunchy cookies, leave them in for the full 10 minutes.
Once the cookies are out of the oven, let them rest on the baking tray to finish cooking for about 5 minutes. Then, transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.
Decorate the cookies!
Now for the final step, decorate those cookies! I chose to make a really simple glaze made of powdered sugar, water, and a little agave for shininess.
However, this vegan royal icing recipe is another great idea involving aquafaba.
FAQ & Substitutions:
personally haven't tried it, but it should work if you use a Gluten-Free 1:1 baking mix like Bob's Red Mill.
Just keep in mind, gluten-free cookies will likely be a bit more crumbly and crispy as gluten helps to hold the cookies together and makes them soft.
You can definitely replace the brown sugar with coconut sugar or maple sugar, though the cookies will be less sweet.
Unfortunately, there is no good substitute for molasses in this recipe.
While the icing will eventually set and be hard, it will take 1-2 hours.
The best way to help it set faster is to let the cookies sit in the fridge for about 1 hour before serving. Just make sure not to stack them on top of each other until the icing has set!
After the icing has set, you can store these cookies between layers of parchment paper in a closed container. They will keep at room temperature for 3-5 days, in the fridge up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 2 months.
To defrost frozen cookies, just let them sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before serving.
I truly can't wait to see you bake these Vegan Gingerbread Cookies! Whether you stick to some traditional gingerbread men or branch out into more exotic cookie shapes, these are sure to be a staple recipe this season. Enjoy & Happy Holidays!
More vegan holiday cookies you will love:
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Vegan Gingerbread Cookies
- ½ cup salted vegan butter
- ½ cup dark brown sugar light brown also okay
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ cup light molasses
- 1 flax egg 1 Tablespoon (8 grams) ground flaxseed mixed with 3 Tbsp water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup powdered sugar
- 1 Tablespoon water
- 1 teaspoon agave optional, leds to a shinier icing
- Add the vegan butter, brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg to a large mixing bowl and cream together with an electric mixer until fluffy.
- Then, add the molasses, flax egg, and vanilla to the bowl and mix together.
- Finally, add in the all-purpose flour and mix until a thick, yet smooth, dough forms.
- Cover the bowl of dough with plastic wrap and add to the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
- Remove the dough from the fridge, preheat the oven to 350F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Next, place the cookie dough onto a sheet of parchment paper. Then, layer another sheet of parchment paper on top of the dough. Use a rolling pin to roll the cookie dough between the two sheets of parchment paper until the dough is about ½-inch thick.
- Remove the top layer of parchment paper and use a cookie cutter to cut out the gingerbread cookie shapes. Take any leftover dough and continue this process of rolling out the dough and cutting out shapes until all the dough has been used.
- Place the gingerbread cut out cookies onto the parchment-lined baking tray. Make sure to leave a little space between each cookie so they do not stick together. It is likely all the cookies will not fit on one baking sheet, but it is best to only cook one tray of cookies at a time for the best results.
- Add the tray of cookies to the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes. For softer cookies, do not bake longer than 8 minutes.
- Remove the tray from the oven and let the cookies cool on the tray for about 5 minutes. Then, transfer the cookies to a wire cooling rack to cool completely before decorating.
- To make the icing mix together the powdered sugar, water, and agave until smooth. Then, add to a piping bag and decorate cooled cookies however you would like. Once the icing is on, it takes about 1-2 hours to harden completely, so make sure not to store cookies until the icing has set.
- Once the cookies are decorated and the icing has set, serve and enjoy!
- If using unsalted vegan butter, add ¼ tsp salt to the dough
- I used Brer Rabbit Light Molasses for these cookies. Their full-flavor molasses also works, but please avoid using black strap molasses or you will have bitter cookies.
- If all of the cookies cannot fit onto one baking sheet, make sure to bake the cookies in batches. Cookies bake best when their is only one pan in the oven at a time.
- Dough can be refrigerated overnight and rolled out the next day.
- Leftover gingerbread cookies can be stored in a closed container between layers of parchment paper at room temperature for 3-5 days, in the fridge up to two weeks, or in the freezer up to 2 months. To defrost frozen cookies, let them sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.