overhead view of ginger cookies on a drying rack

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Why I love these ginger cookies

Gingersnaps have always been a favorite of mine. Growing up we always had Ivin’s in the house, and when we moved to the Midwest, my grandparents would mail us boxes of them.

My mom even mailed me a box when we were living in France. Their flavor is so good, but over time, I’ve realized that I’m a huge fan of soft and chewy cookies. So when I decided to create dairy free gingersnaps, I knew I wanted a soft and spicy cookie.

These cookies are just that. They’re spicy, soft and chewy. I’ve made these cookies dairy free by using shortening instead of butter, just like I did in my favorite chocolate chip cookies.

Luckily, the shortening contributes to the recipe beyond making it dairy free, it also contains less water than butter so it actually makes these gingerbread cookies even softer and chewier than they’d be if they were made with butter.

soft gingerbread cookies on a platter

Here’s what you’ll need to make them

Why are gingersnaps spicy?

Gingersnaps are typically considered spicy because of the fall (a.k.a. pumpkin pie) spices. The ginger can create a bit of heat, especially for people who don’t eat it on a regular basis, but I’ve added a tiny bit of cayenne pepper to this gingersnap recipe.

I think it really help bring out the flavor of the other spices and it creates a beautiful burn that isn’t present in other cookies.

We love the added spice in our cookies, but if you’re worried it will be too much, feel free to leave the cayenne pepper out, and you’ll still have perfectly soft and chewy gingersnaps.

closeup of ginger cookies on a cooling rack

How to make soft gingerbread cookies

These soft gingerbread cookies are really easy to make. They aren’t much different than a roll and bake sugar cookie. What makes them different is extra spices and molasses. It’s also what makes gives them they’re beautiful golden brown color.

First, preheat your oven to 350˚F. You can also line your cookie sheets with parchment paper. It’s not necessary, but it prevents your cookies from sticking. If you don’t have parchment paper, you could also grease you cookie sheet. Next, whisk the dry ingredients together in a medium sized bowl.

In a larger bowl, or the bowl of stand mixer, use an electric mixer to cream the shortening and the sugar until it’s nice and fluffy. Add your egg and molasses and beat until the mixture is smooth and uniform in color.

Next, add your dry ingredients to your wet ingredients. I recommend doing this in smaller increments (about 1/2 cup or so), to prevent the flour from flying all over the place. Once everything is added, you should have a thick dough.

Using a cookie scoop to measure, shape your dough into balls and then roll in extra sugar. Bake the cookies for 10 – 12 minutes. The tops should be set but still soft. The cookies will continue to set as they cool. Allow them to rest of the cookie sheet for a minute or two before transferring them to a cooling rack.

child's hand taking a cookie from the platter

Can I use butter instead of shortening?

Because of it’s low water content, the shortening in this gingersnap recipe helps to keep this cookie extra soft and chewy, which is what I was going for, but you can easily substitute it for other fats, like softened coconut oil.

If you aren’t eating dairy free you could also substitute butter. Just swap equal amounts and the recipe should turn out just fine. The cookies might not be as soft, but they will still be great.

platter of soft gingerbread cookies

More dessert recipes you’ll love:


Ginger Cookies

These homemade soft gingerbread cookies are perfectly chewy with a blend of classic, fall spices and an added kick of spicy pepper.

  • Author: Melissa Belanger
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 24 cookies 1x


  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • Sugar for rolling


  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, salt and cayenne. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the shortening and sugar at a medium speed, until like an fluffy, about 1 minutes.
  4. Add egg and molasses and continue to beat until combined.
  5. Slowly add flour mixture to the mixing bowl, scraping the sides as needed. Continue mixing until a thick dough as formed.
  6. Shape dough into 2 tablespoon balls (or use a cooking scoop) and roll in extra sugar. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes, or until tops are set. Remove from oven and


  • Serving Size: 2 cookies
  • Calories: 146
  • Sugar: 11 g
  • Sodium: 69.6 mg
  • Fat: 6.7 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.7 g
  • Carbohydrates: 20.1 g
  • Fiber: 0.4 g
  • Protein: 1.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 7.8 mg

Last Updated on November 5, 2021 by Melissa Belanger

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Recipe rating


  1. These ginger snaps were amazing! Just enough spice and so much flavor that pairs well with my morning coffee.

  2. This is a great recipe! I substituted butter for half the shortening and added another pinch of cayenne. The cookies were a perfect blend of crisp on the outside and soft in the middle. Next time I think I’ll add another 1/2 tsp ginger and a 1/4 tsp cayenne to add some kick. .

  3. Yummy! I was very skeptical because I do eat dairy and I don’t like shortening. The batter was gross and they smelled gross while they were baking but the end result was really quite good. They were soft in the inside and crispy on the outside. Resist the temptation to small them down! They’re much better thick!

  4. Good ginger cookie – but gingersnaps? No. “Soft and chewy” gingersnap is an oxymoron.