These gingerbread olive oil cookies will soon become a regular in your holiday baking repertoire. And this gingerbread man recipe is made without butter!
I really enjoy baking. I especially enjoy eating what I bake! My friends don’t seem to mind my baking experiments, either. Every holiday I experiment and try a brand new cookie recipe and mix them in with some tried and true favorites. And this year is no different.
When my kids were younger, they never cared for the strongly spiced gingerbread cookie. So I came up with this mildly spiced gingerbread man recipe. And because I bake with olive oil, these olive oil cookies are just as delicious as their butter counterparts.
Why you must try this recipe
As you may (or may not) know, I bake primarily with extra virgin olive oil ever since I wrote an olive oil cookbook. From pie crusts to scones and even cookies, olive oil can easily replace butter in your baking. And you won’t really miss the butter, either.
And despite some of the myths you may have heard about cooking or baking with olive oil, yes you can bake most anything with this beautiful oil. The key to successful olive oil baking is the quality of olive oil you are using.
This year, I was determined to update the gingerbread cookie by using olive oil instead of butter. It took a few tries, but here it is. The cookie is mildly spicy – enough to give you a kick, but it should not overwhelm you, making it very kid friendly.
As I was experimenting and making batches and batches of my olive oil gingerbread cookies, my kids kept stealing one as they passed by. Middle Child requested them in his lunch box.
My Princess would eat one when she came home from school. The Professor felt a gingerbread cookie (or two) with a glass of milk was a healthy breakfast.
I guess their tastebuds have evolved after all!
Fast forward a couple more years and those kids are now teenagers (GASP!) and guess what? They request these gingerbread cookies more often than they do the sugar cookies. And honestly, I like them more, too.
See my Olive Oil Gingerbread Cookies Web Story for a quick visual guide to making this recipe.
Ingredients you need
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- Extra virgin olive oil: Extra virgin olive oil comes in a variety of flavors, from mild to pungent, depending on when the olives were harvested and pressed. Use a mild buttery olive oil for baking sugar cookies. But with these gingerbread olive oil cookies, you could totally use a more peppery and stronger flavored olive oil. You can learn more about baking with olive oil here.
- Molasses: This is a key ingredient in making gingerbread cookies. It gives the dark rich flavor and color as well as chewiness to the cookies.
- Egg: Large eggs are the standard in baking.
- Pantry staples: All purpose flour, light brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder and kosher salt
- Spices: Ground ginger, ground cinnamon, ground cloves and ground nutmeg.
1. In a medium-sized bowl whisk together flour, spices, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
2. Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, mix together brown sugar, molasses, egg, and olive oil until creamy and combined.
3. Put mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture, and beat until dough starts to form and clump together.
4. Coat flat work surface or cutting board with some all-purpose flour. You can use up to ¼ cup flour. Gently knead dough into a round disk.
5. Olive oil cookie dough is sticky, so you will need to lightly flour a silicone mat and place it (flour side down) over the dough. You can also use two sheets of parchment paper. Carefully roll until out dough until approximately 1-cm thick.
6. Using cookie cutters, cut into desired shape. Dip a thin spatular into flour and gently transfer cut cookies at least 1-inch apart onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
7. Bake at 350ºF for 10 minutes for shapes approximately 4-inches long, 12 minutes for larger sizes. Remember, olive oil cookies do not brown. If you bake for too long, you will have firm, crisp cookies.
8. Let sit on baking sheet for 10 minutes after removal from oven, and then using a thin spatula, transfer to a cooling rack.
9. Serve as is or ice as desired. Store in airtight container for up to 1 week.
Recipe tips and FAQs
I totally admit that I am all thumbs when it comes to decorating cookies. But that doesn’t keep me from trying! One reason I love baking these gingerbread cookies is that I don’t really have to do much to make them look good.
You can full on ice the entire cookie with cute shorts and suspenders. I like to pipe white royal icing around the outline of the gingerbread man. After the cookies were baked and iced, I used a bamboo skewer to pierce two holes in the neck of my gingerbread men and tied some red and white bakers twine.
Feel cut your gingerbread cookies into whatever shape you wan and decorate your cookies any way you want. You can even add sprinkles or leave them plain. Either way, everyone will love these delicious olive oil cookies.
Can’t get enough of gingerbread flavor but don’t feel like dealing with cookie dough? Here is a fabulous recipe for The Hamilton Cookbook Gingerbread Cake.
You can bake any cookies using extra virgin olive oil. Choose a high quality oil that you personally like the flavor of. If the taste of the oil by itself makes you gag, that flavor will come in your cookies. You can use a mild flavored oil or a peppery one for making gingerbread cookies.
My family enjoys gingerbread cookies plain, but we also love decorating them. We usually use plain white royal icing. Sometimes we use different colors of icing and top with festive sprinkles, as well.
- 3 ¼ cup all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ cup light brown sugar, packed
- ½ cup molasses
- 1 large egg
- ⅓ cup + 1 TBS extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat oven to 350ºF and line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- In a medium-sized bowl whisk together 3 cups flour, spices, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
- Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, mix together brown sugar, molasses, egg, and olive oil until creamy and combined.
- Put mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture, and beat until dough starts to form and clump together.
- Coat flat work surface or cutting board with some all-purpose flour. You can use up to ¼ cup flour
- Gently knead dough into a round disk.
- Olive oil cookie dough is sticky, so you will need to lightly flour a silicone mat and place it (flour side down) over the dough. You can also use two sheets of parchment paper.
- Carefully roll until out dough until approximately 1-cm thick.
- Using cookie cutters, cut into desired shape. Dip a thin spatular into flour and gently transfer cut cookies at least 1-inch apart onto prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes for shapes approximately 4-inches long, 12 minutes for larger sizes.
- Remember, olive oil cookies do not brown. If you bake for too long, you will have firm, crisp cookies.
- Let sit on baking sheet for 10 minutes after removal from oven, and then using a thin spatula, transfer to a cooling rack.
- Serve as is or ice as desired. Store in airtight container for up to 1 week.
Serving Suggestions: Serve alone or decorate with royal icing.
Cooking Tips: If you want a harder, crisper cookie, bake for 12 minutes. Remember, olive oil cookies do not brown. For darker cookies, use dark brown sugar.
Serving Size:1 cookie
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 79Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 6mgSodium: 57mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 0gSugar: 7gProtein: 2g
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