These gorgeous vegan gingerbread cookies are the perfect Christmas treat for baking during the holidays. The cookies are soft with a little crisp to the edges and decorated with white royal icing for the perfect festive gingerbread men and accessories flavored with warming ginger, cinnamon, and mixed spices.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year – time for Christmas baking! This is hands down one of the best vegan gingerbread cookie recipes I’ve ever tried, and I guarantee that this easy recipe will become your go-to recipe for Christmas-themed baking. You’ll also love these gorgeous vegan gingerbread cupcakes!
These cookies are vegan-friendly (so egg and dairy free) but still retain all those wonderfully warming spices that make gingerbread so unique. Make these as treats for your family, or gifts for your friends, and if you have kids, this can be a great activity to do together (especially the icing part!).
These vegan gingerbread cookies take a little preparation as you’ll need to refrigerate the dough before baking (this ensures your gingerbread men keep their shape rather than spreading out into splodges in the oven!).
For the full recipe list with all the correct quantities needed for this recipe, scroll down to the bottom of the page for the full recipe card.
Here’s everything you’ll need for this recipe. Most items listed are simple ingredients you may already have in your pantry – there are just a few items that are a must for that unique, classic gingerbread flavour.
- Plain flour – If you’re looking to make gluten-free vegan gingerbread cookies, you’ll want to swap this ingredient out for gluten-free all-purpose flour, however, I haven’t yet tested this alteration myself.
- Baking powder
- Ground ginger
- Mixed spice – If you can’t find mixed spice, you could sub in some nutmeg instead
- Vegan butter – Using a block of vegan butter is preferable as this has less water content. I love the plant-based flora block for baking. You could sub in coconut oil or vegetable oil but again, I haven’t personally tested this.
- Golden treacle/ syrup
- Black treacle/ blackstrap molasses – This is a must for that classic gingerbread flavour, so don’t omit this ingredient.
- Brown sugar – For this gingerbread cookie recipe, I use dark brown sugar to get that classic gingerbread look. However, you could sub in soft/light brown sugar instead.
- White icing – I actually use a vegan store-bought white icing that comes in a pipable tube already as this is far more convenient. You could make your own icing, though!
You could also consider adding a flax egg to your recipe for extra moisture. However, I personally haven’t found this makes an enormous difference so omitted it from the final recipe for ease.
You’ll likely already have most of the tools you need for this recipe, but here’s a quick breakdown to get you started:
- Cookie cutters (you could stick to classic gingerbread men shapes, or get a set with stars, Christmas trees, and other holiday-themed decorations too)
- A large mixing bowl
- Plastic wrap or an eco-friendly alternative
- A large baking tray or cookie sheet
- Rolling pin
How To Make Vegan Gingerbread Cookies
Combine The Wet Ingredients
To start with, you’ll need to add your butter, sugar, treacle/syrup, and molasses (black treacle) to a saucepan. Place the saucepan over low heat until the butter has just melted and the sugar has mostly dissolved.
Assemble The Dry Mixture
In the meantime, mix together all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Once the wet mixture has cooled slightly, make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet.
Making The Gingerbread Dough
Combine the two mixtures to make your gingerbread dough. You could use a stand mixer or a hand mixer for this, but I just used my good old wooden spoon and it worked just fine!
Once your dough has come together, either wrap it in plastic wrap or in an airtight container and refrigerate for at least one hour.
This firms up the dough and prevents it from spreading and losing shape in the oven.
Cutting Out Your Gingerbread Cookies
Once your dough has chilled, preheat your oven and line a large baking tray with parchment paper. Roll out your dough with your rolling pin on a lightly floured surface to prevent the dough from sticking. Aim to roll your dough out to around a 1/4 inch thickness.
Cut out your cookies using your cookie cutters, and place them on your baking tray (you might want to use an oiled spatula for this to avoid damaging your cookies). Make sure you keep a bit of space between your cookies in case they do spread a little in the oven.
Remember, the smaller and thinner your cookies are, the quicker they’re going to cook – if you’ve made one giant gingerbread cookie (for the walls of a house, for example) your cookies will have a longer cooking time than a standard cookie.
Baking Your Ginger Cookies
These cookies have a baking time of around 8 – 12 minutes, but this depends heavily on the thickness and size of your cookies. Set a time for 8 minutes and check them – you want your cookies to still be a little soft and chewy in the centre.
Remove the baking tray from the oven and allow your vegan cookies to cool for a few minutes before placing on a wire rack to cool completely before icing them.
In this recipe, I use store-bought vegan royal icing as I find it so much more convenient than making my own (I can be a lazy baker at times, guilty!). Of course, just check the ingredients to be sure the one you’re buying is vegan.
If you choose to make your own icing, you’ll need icing sugar and a piping bag with a small nozzle to hand.
Icing Your Cookies
It’s essential that you wait until your vegan gingerbread cookies are at least room temperature before you ice them. Ideally, you’ll refrigerate your cookies for an hour or so to chill them before icing.
This helps the icing stick nicely to the cookies so you can get a beautiful finish to your creation.
Ice your vegan gingerbread men by adding eyes and a smile, and a few decorations to their hands and feet. Add on any sprinkles, sweets, and extra decorations to your finished gingerbread cookies as you see fit!
This vegan gingerbread cookie recipe will last well at room temperature in an airtight container for around 5 – 7 days.
Keeping them in the fridge will extend this. If you want to freeze your cookies, that should work absolutely fine – just aim to defrost them in the fridge overnight before you need them. Perfect if you’re hosting at Christmas and want to get a few jobs done beforehand!
Swaps and adjustments
- Fat – If you don’t want to use vegan butter, you could experiment with coconut oil, olive oil, or vegetable oil. However, I haven’t personally tried this and it could result in greasy cookies.
- Gluten – Swap out the flour for a gluten-free all-purpose flour if you want to make these vegan gingerbread cookies free from gluten. Gluten-free alternatives such as almond flour and oat flour likely won’t work great in this recipe.
- Sugar – The golden treacle and black molasses are quite essential to this recipe, but you could swap out the dark brown sugar if you prefer. Light brown sugar or coconut sugar are both good substitutions.
Frequently Asked Questions
What size cookie cutter should I use?
This is really up to you – any size cookie cutter will work for this gingerbread recipe, you’ll simply need to adjust the cooking time to match the size of your cookie cutters.
A larger cookie will have a slightly longer cooking time, whereas small cookies will bake faster. Just keep an eye on the oven to avoid your cookies burning!
Can I make the dough ahead of time?
Yes, absolutely! This vegan gingerbread cookie dough will last in the fridge for up to 1 week, and can also be frozen. Simply allow the dough to come to room temperature before you begin rolling it out and cutting your cookies. If you have any leftover dough after making your cookies, freeze it for a later date and cut half the work out!
Can I use this recipe to make a gingerbread house?
Yes, this recipe is perfect for a vegan gingerbread house. Just make sure you cook your cookies a little longer as it will be a bigger structure, and you don’t want your cookies too soft in the middle or your house will collapse!
How to ice my gingerbread cookies?
Here are a few handy tips for icing perfect gingerbread cookies:
- Store-bought is more convenient: It may be a bit of a cheat, but using vegan white icing bought from the store is so much more convenient for neatly iced gingerbread cookies. This often comes in a squeezable tube that makes it very easy to pipe the icing.
- Refrigerate the cookies first: Chilled cookies are far easier to decorate than lukewarm cookies, so pop yours in the fridge for an hour before decorating. The wait will be worth it!
- Add embellishments: Add in some fun pops of colour using sprinkles, classic gumdrops, and more to make your cookies really shine.
How to get soft gingerbread cookies?
If in the past your gingerbread cookies have come out overly crunchy, you simply need to bake your cookies for less time. This will ensure your cookies come out of the oven wonderfully soft and chewy, and not crispy all over!
Can I use a tub of margarine/vegan butter in this recipe?
I would strongly advise against using any vegan butter that comes in a tub for this vegan gingerbread cookie recipe. This will have a high water content that will likely cause your cookies to spread out in the oven and lose their shape. A vegan butter in block form – such as the FLORA plant-based butter – is a much better option.
I’m in the US and can’t find golden treacle, what should I use instead?
Black treacle is known more commonly as blackstrap molasses in the US. However, golden treacle (or golden syrup) may also be difficult to source. Instead, you could use light molasses, or in a real pinch, substitute this ingredient for more brown sugar or maple syrup.
More Vegan Christmas Cookies and Other Recipes:
More vegan cookies recipes you might like to try this holiday season include:
- 365g plain flour
- ¾ tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tap ginger
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- 150g vegan butter
- 75g golden treacle
- 75g black treacle
- 150g dark brown sugar
- White royal icing
- Other decorations!
- Add the butter, sugar, and treacle’s to a saucepan and heat over medium until the butter has melted
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients.
- Make a well in the centre and pour the wet ingredients over the dry, then stir to combine into a dough.
- Put into an airtight container and chill for at least one hour
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C and line a baking tray with parchment paper
- Roll out your dough on a floured surface and cut your cookies out using your cookie cutters
- Spread evenly on the baking tray and bake for 8 - 10 minutes.
- Once the cookies are cool, decorate them with white icing and sprinkles!
You can chill your dough in the fridge for up to 5 days, or freeze it for use later if you prefer. The cookies will last in an airtight container for around 3 - 5 days.