Hi, friends! Welcome to yet another year of AK Cookie Week; I’m so excited that you’re joining me for another week of delicious cookie recipes — from indulgent to a little bit better for you, you’re bound to find a cookie recipe to inspire you in the kitchen.
We’re kicking off cookie week with these beautiful soft ginger cookies, a classic ginger molasses cookie with crispy edges and soft, chewy middles. But what really makes them special? They’re made with brown butter and topped with a deliciously sweet and tart lemon icing. YESSSSSS.
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Ingredients in soft ginger cookies
These amazing, soft ginger cookies have delicious molasses flavor, cozy spices and hints of brown butter in every bite. Here’s what you need to make them:
- All-purpose flour: these cookies are made with regular, all purpose flour. I haven’t tested them with any other flours, so I would not suggest subbing any others. Try my paleo ginger molasses cookies for a gluten free option!
- Baking soda: to help these babies bake up properly.
- Spices: we’re using a mix of ground ginger, cinnamon, allspice & salt to give the cookies that perfect, cozy flavor.
- Butter: browning the butter makes these cookies extra special and enhances the flavor.
- Brown sugar: these cookies are sweetened with brown sugar & molasses for a rich flavor.
- Egg: you’ll need one egg in this cookie recipe.
- Vanilla extract: for a little boost of flavor.
- Molasses: the key to a true ginger cookie is using molasses. Blackstrap molasses has a wonderful flavor and is actually packed with iron!
- Granulated sugar: I love rolling the dough balls in some granulated sugar for a festive look!
Lemon icing for cookies
For the lemon icing, you’ll only need 3 ingredients: powdered sugar, fresh lemon juice & lemon zest.
The trick to the best lemon icing for cookies is to make sure it’s fairly thick so that you can create a glaze that doesn’t run off the edges too much. In fact, we want the icing to harden nicely, so a thick icing is always best. If you’re icing is too thin, simply add a few tablespoons more of powdered sugar to thicken.
How to brown butter
The key to these soft ginger cookies is the rich flavor of brown butter. If you’ve never browned butter before it can seem intimidating, but it’s easier than you think! Follow my tutorial here or get the basics below:
- Add your butter to a large saucepan. Once your butter begins to melt, start swirling the pan or whisking to promote melting.
- Next, begin whisking your butter. You’ll want to whisk it frequently and often! You’ll start to notice small bubbles.
- Finally, the butter will foam again and the bubbles will become smaller. Keep whisking! This is when the magic happens.
- You should smell a nutty, delicious aroma. The milk solids at the bottom of the pan will begin to darken and turn a light caramel amber color. Once this happens, immediately turn off the heat and continue to whisk, then transfer to a bowl. That’s it!
How to make soft ginger cookies
- First, whisk together your dry ingredients in a large bowl and set them aside.
- Next, make that delicious brown butter and set it aside to cool.
- Beat together your cooled brown butter, brown sugar and the rest of your wet ingredients.
- Slowly add in your dry ingredients and beat until everything is well combined. Chill your dough for 20-30 minutes.
- Next, roll your dough into balls, roll each ball in sugar, and bake for about 10 minutes.
- After you bake your cookies, make your lovely lemon icing. Dip the top of each cooled cookie in the icing and enjoy!
Tips for making soft ginger cookies
- Do not use substitutes. Please be sure to follow the recipe as-written unless substitutes are noted in the notes section of the recipe. Changing the flour will greatly affect the taste and texture of these cookies.
- Make sure your ingredients are at room temperature. After you brown your butter you’ll want to make sure that it is cool so that it doesn’t coagulate the other ingredients. The same goes for your egg — simply run an egg under warm water for about a minute (or place an egg in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes) before cracking your egg.
- Use fresh baking soda. Make sure your baking soda is fresh to ensure that these ginger cookies bake up properly.
- Measure your flour correctly. Do you know the best way to measure flour without a scale? Get my tips & tricks in this video!
Freeze your cookie dough for later
The great part about this cookie recipe is that the dough can be frozen for later!
- Roll your cookie dough into balls and place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Chill the dough in the freezer for 30 minutes. This is known as a flash freeze.
- Once the cookie dough balls firm up, you can transfer them to a reusable freezer-safe bag or container. Cookie dough will keep well for up to 3 months.
- When ready to bake, simply bake the soft ginger cookies as directed in the recipe. You’ll likely just need to add a few extra minutes of baking time!
How to freeze soft ginger cookies
If you want to freeze ginger cookies that have already been baked, simply wait for them to cool completely, then transfer them to a reusable freezer-safe bag or container lined with wax or parchment paper. I like to place them in a single layer to avoid any cookies breaking. Cookies will keep well for up to 2 months. Once ready to eat, simply thaw out at room temperature and enjoy.
These ginger cookies can be frozen with or without the icing!
More holiday cookie recipes
Brown Butter Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
Death by Chocolate Peppermint Cookies
Incredible Gingerbread Oatmeal Cream Pies
Italian Chocolate Orange Cookies with Orange Icing
Healthy Homemade Fudge Striped Shortbread Cookies
Soft Cut Out Sugar Cookies (gluten free, grain free, paleo friendly)
I hope you love these soft ginger cookies with lemon icing! If you make them, be sure to leave a comment and a rating so I know how you liked them. Enjoy, xo!
Soft Brown Butter Ginger Cookies with Lovely Lemon Icing
Traditional soft ginger cookies made a little extra special with the addition of brown butter, molasses and a lovely sweet and tart lemon icing. These chewy, soft ginger cookies are perfect with a cup of coffee for an afternoon treat and make the best Christmas cookies for sharing!
- For the dry ingredients:
- 2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- For the wet ingredients:
- 3/4 cup butter (1 ½ sticks butter)
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 egg, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup molasses
- For rolling:
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar, for rolling
- For the icing:
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (start with 1 tablespoon!)
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
Whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and salt in a bowl and set aside.
Make your brown butter: add butter to a saucepan and place over medium high heat. The butter will begin to crackle and then after a couple minutes, foam. Make sure you whisk constantly during this process. After a couple of minutes, the butter will begin to brown and turn a nice golden amber color on the bottom of the saucepan. Continue to whisk and remove from heat as soon as the butter begins to brown and give off a nutty aroma. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes or until cool enough to touch.
With an electric mixer, beat the cooled brown butter and brown sugar until thoroughly blended. Beat in the egg, vanilla, and molasses until smooth and creamy. NOTE: Make sure your egg is at room temp before using! Just place in a bowl of warm water for 2 minutes.
Add the dry ingredients slowly and beat on medium low-speed just until combined. Chill dough in the fridge for about 20-30 minutes.
While your dough chills, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Grab a heaping large tablespoon or so of dough and roll into a ball then roll in sugar. Place dough balls on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 10-12 minutes. It’s best to underbake these just a bit, so 10-11 minutes is usually perfect. If you like cookies with a crispier edge, bake for about 12 minutes.
Remove from the oven and cool the cookies on sheets about 5-10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack. They will still remain soft on the inside. Repeat with remaining dough.
Once cookies have cooled completely, you can make the lemon glaze: in a medium bowl, mix together the powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and lemon zest with a spoon. You may need to add more lemon juice to help reach the consistency you want for the icing, but it’s important that the icing isn’t too thin! Dip the top of the cookie in the icing, or spoon a little on top. Allow icing to harden, then enjoy! We love these with a cup of coffee. Makes about 20-22 cookies.
How to freeze soft ginger cookies
If you want to freeze ginger cookies that have already been baked, simply wait for them to cool completely, then transfer them to a reusable freezer-safe bag or container lined with wax or parchment paper. I like to place them in a single layer to avoid any cookies breaking. Cookies will keep well for up to 2 months. Once ready to eat, simply thaw out at room temperature and enjoy. These ginger cookies can be frozen with or without the icing!
Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by: Eat Love Eats
Holy cow these look incredible. Stunning, friend!
Thanks Dana! So delicious 🙂
These are so gooey soft and they smell like Christmas morning! I followed the recipe exactly; brown butter is amazing!!!
Absolutely! Glad you loved them 🙂
Hello. These cookies look great! Particularly since I like both ginger and molasses. Also lemon, yeah! Can you tell me, please, is the texture more chewy or soft like cake? Thank you.
The best flavors! They’re more chewy 🙂
Made these this afternoon and these are sooooooo good, easy, and fast to make. What a unique combo – – ginger cookies and lemon icing!
Aren’t the flavors amazing? Glad you loved them!
Made these last night and they were so good! I’m not a big molasses fan or a fan of ginger so I thought they’d be all for my husband… I was wrong. Three cookies later, I had to pack them away so I wouldn’t eat more. Will definitely make again for the holidays.
Amazing! Glad you loved these!
AMAZING! Truly best gingerbread cookies I’ve had. So soft, chewy and gingery. I didn’t make the icing out of laziness – just rolled them in sugar. I imagine they are delicious with the icing but they are also amazing without. Saved for the future – going to be a holiday cookie staple for me.
Love it! Great idea to roll in sugar 🙂
I made these tonight with the help of my toddler so it took a little longer than expected, haha, but we absolutely loved the ginger cookie itself! My husband isn’t typically a fan of ginger cookies, but he couldn’t stop eating them straight out of the oven, so much that I had to hide the cookies in hopes to have some for the weekend! We found these cookies to be great on its own without the lemon icing. While the flavors of ginger and lemon do compliment one another, we found them to be a bit too sweet. This is by far our favorite ginger cookie recipe and I can’t wait to make it again!
Is it possible to freeze the dough if I wanted to make a double batch for the holidays or would you suggest freezing the cookies after they are baked as mentioned in your notes? Thanks in advance!!
So glad they were a hit! And yes, check out the full blog post for freezer instructions 🙂
These ginger lemon cookies were simply amazing! If you love ginger these you will love!!
Agreed! Glad you loved these!
This are DELISH. Great chewy texture. Mine didn’t quite flatten out when baking as much as in the pictures… wonder where I could have gone wrong. Any ideas?
Could just be that your dough was chilled too long or that you may not have scraped all the brown butter out or the flour was incorrectly measured. Next time feel free to flatten them slightly!
These sound so tasteful. I love the lemon icing. What I need to know please how would it taste if I rolled the cookie ball in peppermint pieces instead of the sugar ? Would it mess the whole taste up?
Hi! I think the peppermint might overpower the lemon, so I wouldn’t recommend it. Hope you love these!
The best cookies ever! Perfect! Full of ginger flavor and oooh that lemon icing is perfect.
So glad you love them!
These cookies turned out amazing! Made them with King Arthur’s gluten free Measure for Measure flour and my family couldn’t tell the difference.
I’m glad that worked out well! 🙂
Can you make these without molasses? And can i use brown coconut sugar instead of brown sugar?
I wouldn’t recommend leaving out the molasses as it gives them that true ginger cookie flavor! But yes, feel free to use coconut sugar.
This was a big hit this Christmas. Maybe a new tradition. 😊
Amazing! Love that 🙂
These cookies are amazing! Ginger and lemon are such a delicious combination.
So glad you loved them!
Could not stop eating these cookies, so delicious and lemon frosting was a perfect touch
Easy to make and really good 😊
These are now going to be on the Christmas cookie list- I couldn’t get enough of the lemon icing!! Thank you!
I made this to take to the office and it was such a hit!! One of my coworkers said that he hasn’t had cookies like these in YEARS. I didn’t have all spice so I just threw in half more tsp of cinnamon and half a tsp of nutmeg as a sub and it still turned out awesome! So chewy and delicious. Next time, I would probably cut down on the brown sugar just a little bit because the icing adds extra sweetness to it.
Otherwise, it is an absolute winner! Thank you for a great recipe 🙂
Amazing! So glad they were a hit.
Should the butter be salted?
I prefer to cook with salted butter, yes!
These are seriously the best ginger cookies I’ve ever made. I did half with icing and half without, both were delicious. I will definitely make these again.
Woohoooo! So happy you love these, Lindsay!
I love this recipe and have made it a couple of times before! Do you think I could roll the dough out and do gingerbread cutouts?
Hi! So happy you love it 🙂 Honestly not sure how well it would work to roll it out–let me know if you try it! I also have a gingerbread cookie recipe here!
Favorite Christmas cookies by far! The brown butter gives these so much extra flavor. A must-make recipe for the holidays!
Yay!! Happy you love them!
AK’s recipes are always so easy. I love not having to go grab extra stuff when I want to make Monique’s recipes. Stock the staples and you’ll be set for such a variety of her recipes. Excited to glaze my beautifully looking ginger molasses cookies.
Thank you! So happy you’re a fan 🙂 Hope you love these!
I’ve made these over and over and over again. In fact I can’t seem to make another cookie recipe!! Friends say this is the best cookie they have ever had—and I’m not even a baker! Do your self a favor and make this recipe 🙂
Oh my gosh AMAZING I’m so glad you love them so much! Thank you!
A lovely cookie! BUT use regular Molasses, not Blackstrap,as it can really be bitter! Im also finding sorghum has the best not-so-sweet flavor for many recipes in place of molasses!
Happy you enjoyed these!
Made these cookies for a dear friend’s birthday. They were so easy to make & incredibly delicious!
I’m so happy you loved them, Fran — thank you!
Great cookies! beautiful colour and taste. the browned butter was so worth it
I couldn’t agree more! I am happy you’re enjoying these cookies, Daphine!
i made these cookies for the first time for my work christmas party, cookie swap. Everyone loved them would make them again.
Love this! They are so good 🙂
I made these two days ago with a couple small tweaks. I didn’t brown the butter (not because I didn’t want to, but I forgot and started creaming it with the sugar before I realized). I also omitted the icing because I didn’t have lemons (wholly unprepared for this recipe, but couldn’t resist trying!) and when I tried to use the bottled stuff it came out, well, definitely not as good as a fresh lemon! The cookies came out wonderfully – they were puffy but flattened a bit with cooling. They were delicious and chewy. I brought them to my workplace and everyone was raving and asking for the recipe! I’ll try again and actually brown the butter and make the icing next time, but even without it they were amazing. Perfect amount of spice, texture, sweetness. I’m sure the two steps I missed will elevate them further.
I love this so much! So glad these were a hit ❤️
I tried this recipe today and it was delicious!! I rolled the dough into balls, placed them on a lined cookie sheet, and put them in the freezer for about an hour. Then I rolled them in sugar and baked them for 10 minutes at 375 degrees because I wanted to make sure the cookies wouldn’t spread too much. They came out beautiful. Perfectly round (with a little help from a round cookie cutter after baking) and nicely soft/chewy in the middle. I’ve never even had ginger cookies before and this was a game changer. I didn’t do the icing part though because they tasted amazing without it. Thanks for the recipe!
Of course! So excited to hear that you are loving this recipe, appreciate your comment ❤️
Just made these and they are very moist and soft on the inside. Love the taste and I did not even make the icing! Saving recipe. Very easy to make and a great addition my holiday baking!
Perfect! So glad you enjoyed!