Easy gingerbread men recipe for kids
This easy gingerbread men recipe for kids, is a fun Christmas bake but that doesn’t mean you can’t make them all year round!
This is the perfect easy gingerbread men recipe for kids to make at Christmas time. What smells more festive than fresh homemade gingerbread baking in the oven?! And this recipe is so easy, kids will love making and decorating these gingerbread cookies.
There are some Christmas traditions I always look foward to – decorating the tree, visiting Santa, listening to Christmas carols, and watching Nativity plays. And baking traditional Christmas cookies like these gingerbread men with my kids goes right alongside those.
This recipe is so simple it’s perfect for making together with your family. It’s also makes a great gift during the holiday season.
Although these gingerbread men scream Christmas to me you can, of course, making them at any time of year.
My children have always liked the toddler snack version of gingerbread men you find in shops, and these homemade ones go down just as well. They’re not too spicy (you can always adjust the ginger to taste), so they do make a great snack for children of all ages.
This gingerbread men recipe makes cookies that are soft and have just the right amount of ginger flavour. Of course, if you like your gingerbread cookies to ‘snap’ when you break them you can add a little extra flour and cook them for slightly longer. My kids and I prefer them to be softer
How can kids help make gingerbread men?
This is a great recipe for children to make at Christmas time (or all year round).
Kids will love getting their hands messy making the dough. It’s a really hands on recipe which my kids always enjoy and it means you don’t need any specialist equipment like mixers to make them.
Kids will also love getting to roll out the dough and cutting out the gingerbread man/women shapes. If you’re children enjoy playing with playdough, they’ll enjoy getting to roll and cut out these cookies.
There are a few steps in this recipe so even if your children don’t help make the dough, get them involved in making the cookies. Even young children and preschoolers should be able to do this with a little help.
And finally, there’s a job that everyone will enjoy – decorating the gingerbread men! Whether your’re using icing writers or homemade icing, or just adding smartie buttons, this is a fun job to do together at Christmas time.
Decorating the gingerbread men
To make things really easy, you can use writing icers to decorate your gingerbread men. These come ready made, and are a fun and easy way for kids to add buttons, eyes, mouths etc.
You can also use regular icing in a piping bag or freezer bag to add detail to your cookies. We just mixed icing sugar with water until it was quite thick and the kids piped that onto their cookies and used it to stick the smarties and chocolate drops on. Or why not try decorating your gingerbread men with just a spot of icing if you don’t have lots of sweets to add – draw an outline, the face and some buttons on.
If you want something a little more robust that will harden nicely, and keep a bit better (perhaps if you’re planning to give these away as gifts) royal icing is a better option. You can find the recipe for this in our gingerbread house post. It uses egg white to stiffen the icing, and as it hardens when it dries it’s less likely to get accidentally wiped or knocked off.
Lastly, don’t worry if the gingerbread men look a little wonky once your kids have decorated them. My kids loved adding all the icing and smarties etc, but they certainly look a little rough around the edges. I think this is part of the fun of baking with kids – letting them use their imagination, and really take ownership of the things they make.
How to store the gingerbread men
You can make the gingerbread dough in advance and keep it in the fridge for a few days. Just make sure to take the dough out the fridge at least 30 minutes before you want to roll it out so that it’s not too hard.
Once you’ve baked the gingerbread cookies they’ll keep in an air tight container for a week or so. This makes them the perfect gift for friends and family in the holiday season.
Tips for making this easy gingerbread men recipe for kids
Chill the dough before you bake them. This will stop your gingerbread people from spreading too much in the oven. Just 20 minutes in the fridge should do the job.
If you don’t have any golden syrup you can use treacle in it’s place.
Equally, you can swap the ground ginger for a little mixed spice or cinnamon for a Christmas treat that’s just as tasty.
If you don’t have gingerbread man cookie cutters, you can use this recipe to make any shaped ginger cookie you like. If you still want to be festive, try a star or Christmas tree shape or use any other shape you have.
Should gingerbread men be soft or crunchy?
You can make your gingerbred men more crunchy if you bake them for an extra couple of minutes. All gingerbread cookies will be a little soft as they come of the oven but will crisp up a little as they cool.
Does Santa like gingerbread men?
In our house it’s always a choice between mince pies or these gingerbread men. Either seem to go down a treat with Santa and his reindeer!
Other easy Christmas bakes for kids
Find all of our easy Christmas baking recipes or check out some of our favourite Christmas bakes for kids below.
Gingerbread reindeer cookies
Christmas tree brownies
Easy mince pie recipe for kids
Easy snickerdoodle recipe
Chocolate crinkle cookies
Easy Christmas sugar cookies
You might need the following baking tools/gadgets to make these ginger bread men
Time: 30 minutes + 10 minutes baking
Serves: approx 30 men
350g (3 cups) plain flour
100g (1/2 cup) butter
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp ground ginger
175g (1 cup) light muscovado sugar
4 tbsp golden syrup
1 large egg
Icing writers, or
1/2 cups icing sugar
Smarties, jelly tots, chocolate drops etc
How to make easy gingerbread men
Pre-heat the oven to 190C / 170C fan and prepare your baking trays
Get your toddler to line 3 baking sheets with baking / parchment paper.
Rub the butter and flour together
Get your child to measure the flour and add it into a large mixing bowl.
Weigh the butter then chop it up with a butter/blunt knife into a small pieces before adding it to the flour. This will make it easier to mix into the flour and it an easy way for little kids to practice their knife skills.
Using your fingertips, rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. This is a step that Hannah always likes getting involved with as she gets to get her hands messy. The idea is to rub and squeeze the butter in with the flour, so it breaks down into small pieces and it well mixed in.
Add the dry ingredients
Get your child to measure the sugar then add it into the flour mixture. Add the ginger and bicarbonate of soda and mix it all in. If your kids are measuring the ginger and bicarb out, make sure they use their finger to level off the teaspoon so that you add just the right amount.
Mix it all together.
Add the golden syrup. The easiest way of doing this is to hold the spoon for your kids and let them squeeze out the syrup.
Crack the egg into a separate bowl (just in case any shell goes in), then add it to your mixing bowl.
Make the gingerbread men
Mix everything together until you have a smooth dough. We started with wooden spoons, then once it was less messy, brought it together with our hands. You’ll need to squeeze it together and keep working it so it stops crumbling apart, and makes a nice ball of gingerbread dough.
The recipe makes quite a lot so, if you need to, divide the dough in half then roll out one half on to a lightly floured work surface until its about 5mm thick.
If you find your gingerbread is sticking to your worktop or rolling pin, try putting a sheet of baking paper underneath and on top.
Cut out your gingerbread men using a cutter or use any other shapes you have to hand – we tried a few different ones. Place them on your baking tray.
Gather up any scraps and roll out again. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Bake the gingerbread men
Bake the gingerbread men in the oven for 10-12 minutes. They’re ready when they have started to become slightly darker golden shade and have crisped up at the edges. If you want a crunchier gingerbread man, bake it for an extra couple of minutes. The gingerbread cookies will be a soft as you remove them from the oven but will harden as they cool.
Leave the gingerbread men to cool slightly for a few minutes then lift on to a wire rack to cool completely.
You can enjoy the ginger bread biscuits as they are but they’re not really proper gingerbread men without adding some icing decorations.
If you have icing writers they’re a simple way of adding mouths, eyes etc, otherwise mix around 1/2 a cup of icing sugar with a teaspoon or so of water and mix it together. You want it to be runny enough that you can pipe it, but not so runny that it won’t hold it’s shape on the cookie.
Add some of it to a piping bag, or use a freezer bag and cut a tiny hole in the corner. Let your kids add the faces, clothes, decorations, and use the icing to stick smarties or jelly tots on to each cookie.
Serve and enjoy!
Easy gingerbread men recipe for kids
- 350 g plain flour
- 100 g butter
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 175 g light muscovado sugar
- 4 tbsp golden syrup
- 1 large egg
For the decoration
- 1/2 cup icing sugar
- smarties, jelly tots etc
- Pre-heat the oven to 190C / 170C fan.
- Line 3 baking sheets with greaseproof paper.
- Measure the flour, and add it to a large mixing bowl.
- Weigh the butter then chop it up into a few pieces before adding it to the flour. Using your fingertips, rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
- Measure the sugar then stir it into the flour mixture with the bicarbonate of soda and ginger. Add the golden syrup.
- Crack the egg into a separate bowl then add it to the flour.
- Mix everything together until you have a smooth dough.
- The recipe makes quite a lot so, if you need to, divide the dough in half then roll out one half on to a lightly floured work surface until its about 5mm thick.
- Cut out your ginger bread men using a cutter or use any other shapes you have to hand. Place them on your baking tray.
- Gather up any scraps and roll out again. Repeat with the remaining dough.
- Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes until they become a slightly darker shade. If your shapes are smaller, check them after 7-8 minutes. Cool slightly then lift on to a wire rack to cool.
- You can enjoy the ginger bread biscuits as they are or add some icing decorations.
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And our other fun festive bakes for kids.
This was originally published in July 2016 and updated with new pictures in October 2020 and November 2023..
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