This Vegan Gingerbread Cookies Recipe is a real show stopper. This recipe creates a slightly crispy cookie with a tender middle, perfect for decorating. Make vegan Gingerbread Cookies with all the right spices today!
Making the best gingerbread cookies is always a goal during the holiday baking season! I love making a double batch and sharing them with neighbors or as gifts.
I realized at some point I needed to make some gingerbread cookies vegan. It wasn’t that hard!
Why This Recipe is a Winner
- Adding molasses to the cookies makes them darker and softer, keeping these cookies tender and delicious for days
- A combination of spices, including ginger, creates the signature gingerbread flavor that we all love so much
- Decorating cookies with a vegan royal icing is so easy and fun!
What Molasses is Best?
Sulfur dioxide used to be added as a preservative and clarifier, but most molasses these days is now unsulfured. For this recipe, you’ll use fancy or light molasses (referred to as treacle in the UK) rather than blackstrap, which has a bitter flavor and is not preferred for baking.
What You Need
You can find the full printable recipe, including ingredient quantities, below. But first, here are some explanations of ingredients and steps to help you make this recipe perfect every time.
- Lemon — We’ll use both the zest and the juice of the lemon.
- Oats — I used rolled oats for this recipe, but you can substitute instant oats.
- Chia — We’ll add some ground chia seeds to create a thicker texture. You can use whole chia seeds; I just prefer ground because it creates a smoother finished texture.
- Syrup — I used maple syrup, but you can substitute agave nectar.
- Milk — We’ll use almond milk for the best overnight oats! Substitute your favorite plant-based milk.
- Yogurt — I love adding some plant-based yogurt (plain, unsweetened) for an even more tangy flavor.
- Protein Powder — I add some vanilla protein powder for increased flavor and nutrients. If your protein powder is not sweetened, you may want to add an extra teaspoon or two of sweetener.
- Cornstarch — We’ll use cornstarch to thicken the lemon curd topping.
- Turmeric — A pinch of turmeric makes that lemon curd sunny yellow.
- Ground flaxseed — We’ll be using ground flaxseed as an egg replacer. You can substitute chia seeds.
- Cornstarch — Make these cookies nice and tender by using cornstarch or substitute an equal amount of arrowroot powder, tapioca starch, or potato starch.
- Plant-based milk — My preference is for soy milk, but you can use your favorite plant-based milk.
- Vanilla extract — I like to add a bit of vanilla extract, but this is optional.
- Vinegar — Apple cider vinegar keeps these cookies soft and tender. You can substitute white vinegar.
- Vegan butter — Use store-bought vegan butter like Earth Balance or Miyokos or make your own vegan butter. I don’t recommend softer tub margarine.
- Brown Sugar — Use light, dark, or homemade brown sugar.
- Molasses — We’ll be using mild unsulphured molasses for this recipe.
- Flour — I used whole wheat pastry flour, but you can substitute all-purpose flour.
- Baking Soda — Is your baking soda fresh? Test it by dropping a bit of it into vinegar. If it bubbles, it’s still good.
- Salt — A touch of salt adds depth of flavor.
- Spices — We’ll be using ground ginger, ground cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice.
- Royal Icing — Use my favorite vegan royal icing to keep this recipe egg-free!
If you’re wondering how to make vegan gingerbread cookies, I’m glad you’re here! The thing is, I love making gingerbread cookies! Here are the steps involved:
To make the gingerbread cookie dough, in a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Then add the spices — ground ginger, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, and ground nutmeg. Stir and set aside.
Now it’s time to make your egg replacement. In a small bowl, combine soy milk with 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and 1 tablespoon of cornstarch. Set aside.
Why is there vinegar in my gingerbread cookie dough? I love this explanation from Eating Well on why adding vinegar to cookie dough helps tenderize the dough.
Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, beat together the sugar and vegan butter for about 2 minutes until light and fluffy.
Add in the soy milk egg replacer and molasses. Beat a little longer until all the ingredients are combined. This may cause the butter to separate, but that’s ok. This will be resolved in the next step.
Mix in flour/spice mix and stir until a soft dough forms and the dry ingredients are incorporated.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it chill out in the fridge for an hour or two (this will make the dough much easier to work with).
Step 2: Roll the Chilled Dough
- Cut the dough in half, so you can roll half of the dough, and return the other half to the fridge to stay chilled.
- Use a rolling pin to roll the dough between 2 sheets of waxed paper (you can substitute parchment paper).
- Use your favorite cookie cutters to cut out gingerbread people shapes. Be sure to press the cookie cutter through the dough. That helps to remove them and transfer them easily to the cookie sheet.
Most gingerbread men cookie cutters are labeled as male, but personally? I think they look pretty interchangeable.
- Gingerbread dough is sticky, so refrigerating it helps. If the dough gets to sticky to work with during the rolling process, you can return it to the fridge for more chilling time.
- I recommend the waxed paper method of rolling so you’re not constantly sprinkling it with flour. To do this, lay a piece of waxed paper on the counter. Place half of the dough on top of the waxed paper. Add another piece of waxed paper on top. Use a rolling pin to roll the gingerbread dough out to about a 1/8″ thickness.
- If the paper wrinkles as you roll the dough, just flip the dough, and then peel off the paper and put it back on. That way, your dough won’t have wrinkles.
Step 3: Transferring the Cutout Dough
- Remove the excess dough from around the cutout gingerbread people.
- Use a thin spatula or even a large kitchen knife to transfer the cutout dough to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
- You may need to adjust the arms or legs and gently press any shaggy edges of the dough. Use your finger or the back of a spoon.
Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes until the edges begin to lightly brown. Place the cookies on a cooling rack to allow them to cool completely before decorating.
Making Chewy vs. Crispy Cookies
For a softer, chewier cookie, bake them for 8 minutes. They will firm up as they cool. For a crispier cookie with more color, bake for 10 or even 12 minutes. The molasses in the dough creates a soft cookie either way.
These are vegan gingerbread cookies, which means we need to use a special frosting. Because most royal frosting recipes are made with eggs, this egg-free royal icing is perfect. Add colorful sprinkles to look like buttons for simply decorated cookies.
If you want your gingerbread cookies to look like mine, here’s how I did it:
- Use the egg-free royal icing in the recipe below.
- I added it to a frosting bottle and a fine, round tip (Wilton #3).
- Keep a toothpick nearby so you can “close the frosting” and prevent it from leaving little trails.
- If you don’t use a toothpick, pull the tip up away from the cookie very slowly. This frosting is very forgiving — if you end up with a trail of frosting, simply use your finger or some other utensil to wipe it off.
- To make the cute scallops for the arms and legs: Face the cookie’s arm towards you, and make the shape of a W with an extra dip (sometimes two if there is room). Turn the cookie with the leg towards you. Add another W with an additional dip or two. Repeat with the other side.
- For a skirt vs. pants, make the “W” pattern across the top of the legs.
Sure, these dairy-free gingerbread cookies are amazing, but here are some more favorite vegan holiday cookie recipes:
So, that’s that for these vegan gingerbread cookies. Enjoy!
- 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- ½ cup plant-based milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- ⅔ cup vegan butter , softened
- ¾ cup brown sugar , packed
- ⅔ cup unsulphured molasses
- 3 ½ cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- To make the egg replacer, in a small bowl stir together the ground flaxseed and cornstarch. Add plant-based milk with vanilla and apple cider vinegar. Stir and set aside.
- In a mixing bowl or using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment add the softened vegan butter. Beat on medium speed for approximately 1 minute until smooth and creamy. Add the brown sugar and molasses and beat again for a minute or so until completely combined and it looks creamy again. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the vegan egg replacer and mix at high speed for another minute or so.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. Slowly pour the flour mixture in with the rest of the dough, mixing at low speed until the flour is incorporated. This creates a thick but soft, somewhat sticky dough.
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it chill out in the fridge for an hour or two (this will make the dough much easier to work with).
- Divide the dough in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.
- When you're ready to bake, begin by heating your oven to 350°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
- Next, prepare your surface by lightly sprinkling it with flour. Alternatively, use a rolling bag or place a piece of waxed paper on the bottom of the dough and another sheet of waxed paper on top. This makes cleanup so much better!
- Take a chunk of the dough and roll it out to about a ¼" thickness. Use your favorite cookie cutters to cut shapes. Place cut-outs on either an ungreased or parchment-lined cookie sheet, approximately 1" apart. Roll again any unused dough and cut into shapes.
- Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes (depending on the size of the cookie shapes – smaller cookies need only 8 minutes, larger cookies need up to 10 minutes). I prefer a soft center and the cookies will firm up as they cool, so don't bake longer than 10 minutes. Remove the cookies when the edges begin to brown. Remove the pan from the oven and allow cookies to cool for a few minutes on the pan before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Decorate cookies once completely cooled.
For the Egg Free Royal Icing
- Combine the egg replacer, water, and extract in a small bowl. Stir to combine. Set aside.
- Pour the powdered sugar into a medium bowl. Add the egg replacer mixture and begin stirring. It will be crumbly at first but keep at it. The mixture will become smooth and creamy. Allow it to sit for 5 minutes so that any bubbles will dissipate. This recipe thickens as it sits so you may need to add ¼ teaspoon of water.
- Add the frosting to a piping bag or frosting squeeze bottles. Once cookies have cooled decorate the cookies (see post tips for easy decorating ideas).
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The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
If you’re looking for some inspiration for your holiday baking, I hope you love my favorite Gingerbread Cookie decorations noted above!