Skip to Content

Gingerbread Reindeer Cookies

While a lot of us think of gingerbread cookies as hard and crunchy, these gingerbread reindeer cookies are on a whole different level.

They bake up soft and tender and are topped with the most delicious homemade frosting.

And then to make them look just as festive as they taste, we add on a little reindeer face with frosting!! It’s really the perfect holiday cookie.

image of cute buttercream gingerbread reindeer cookies

This recipe is topped with my cinnamon buttercream frosting, which I love on these cookies for two reasons.

The first is that it’s the sweet type of buttercream I grew up eating, and it’s my favorite frosting to eat.

The second reason is that it’s a crusting buttercream, so it will firm up as it sits.

Let’s Make These Gingerbread Reindeer Cookies Together!

To make sure this gingerbread reindeer cookie recipe turns out as amazing as possible, let’s walk through each step together.

Step 1: Cream Together the Butter and Sugars & Add Wet Ingredients

Cream the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric hand mixer or stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment.

Mix on a medium-high speed with an electric mixer until the mixture becomes lighter in color (about 2 minutes).

Then mix in the egg and molasses on a medium speed until combined.

Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed with a rubber spatula.

Step 2: Sift in the Dry Ingredients

Next, we sift the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.

Mix on low until just combined. The dough should be quite thick.

Step 3: Scoop and Bake the Gingerbread Cookies

Use a 3 Tbsp cookie scoop or large spoon to scoop 14 cookie dough balls.

Place the cookies about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets and bake for 11-12 minutes, or until the cookies seem set in the center.

Let the cookies cool on the sheet for 10 minutes, then place them on a wire rack to finish cooling.

Step 4: Make the Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting

While the cookies bake and cool, make the cinnamon buttercream frosting!

Once all the ingredients are combined, mix for an additional minute on a low speed to give the frosting a super smooth consistency.

If the frosting is too thick, add an extra Tbsp of heavy cream. Or if it’s too thin, add in another 1/2 cup of powdered sugar.

If you’re not sure what consistency you’re after, check out my buttercream consistency post.

image of cinnamon buttercream being mixed together with a hand mixer

Step 5: Frost These Gingerbread Reindeer Cookies

Spread a thin layer of cinnamon frosting on top of the cooled cookies, then decorated with the colored buttercream.

Use the black and red buttercream to add a nose and eyes on each cookie, then use the brown buttercream to add antlers.

image of cute buttercream gingerbread reindeer cookies

Gingerbread Cookie Ingredients & Substitutions

While I love this recipe just the way it is, I know you might not have all these ingredients on hand! Or you might have food restrictions or allergies.

Below are some swaps and variations that can be made in this recipe.

  • Unsalted Butter – If you only have salted butter, you can use it and omit the salt that this recipe calls for. You can also use vegan butter.
  • Granulated Sugar – This recipe turns out best with a combination of granulated sugar and brown sugar, but you can also use additional light brown sugar in place of the granulated sugar if that’s all you have on hand.
  • Brown Sugar – I like using light brown sugar but dark brown sugar will work too.
  • All Purpose Flour – You can use a gluten-free flour blend if needed in place of the AP flour in this recipe.
  • Ground Spices – The ground spices in this recipe really amp up the flavor of these cookies and are a must!
 image of ingredients laid out to make gingerbread reindeer cookies

How Many Cookies Does this Recipe Make?

The soft-batch gingerbread cookie recipe makes about 14 cookies using a 3 Tbsp cookie scoop.

If you don’t have that size cookie scoop, don’t worry!

Scoop and roll out one model cookie dough ball with 3 scoops of a Tablespoon.

Then scoop and roll out the remaining cookies using a regular spoon, aiming to make the same size as the sample cookie dough ball.

It’s important that they’re the same size so that all the cookies bake up nice and soft.

image of soft batch gingerbread cookies

You can also make mini gingerbread cookies that are half the size!

Scoop 28 cookies using a 1.5 Tbsp cookie scoop and bake for 7-8 minutes at 350 F / 175 C.

Making the Best Reindeer Cookies

  • Use a cookie scoop to make sure your cookies are uniformly sized.
  • Space your cookies about 2-inches apart before baking them. They will spread as they bake.
  • Don’t over-bake your cookies! They don’t really brown, so you have to keep an eye on the texture of the top of the cookie. Even if they seem a bit soft coming out of the oven, they will continue to bake and set on the tray once they’re out of the oven.
  • I used piping bags to decorate these cookies, but you can also use Ziplock bags if you don’t have piping bags! I recommend using the freezer type because they’re a bit sturdier.
image of a soft batch gingerbread cookie that's been bitten into to show its amazing texture

Making These Gingerbread Reindeer Cookies in Advance and Storing Them

  • This cookie dough can be made up to 2 days in advance. Scoop them into an airtight container and store them in the fridge for up to a week.
  • In the off chance that you have any leftover cookies, frosted cookies can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 2 days or up to 5 days in the fridge.
  • You can also freeze baked cookies for up to a month. I like to thaw them in the fridge overnight, then add the frosting once they’ve reached room temperature and are ready to be eaten.
image of cute buttercream gingerbread reindeer cookies

Let Me Know What You Think!

If you try this recipe for gingerbread reindeer cookies, I’d love to hear what you think! Please leave a rating and let me know your thoughts by sharing a comment below.

If you share on social media, be sure to tag me @chelsweets and use #chelsweets so I can see your delicious creations!

Other Recipes You Might Like:

Yield: 14 cookies

Gingerbread Reindeer Cookies

image of cute buttercream gingerbread reindeer cookies

These delicious gingerbread reindeer cookies bake up soft and chewy and are topped with the most delicious buttercream frosting.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 11 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 56 minutes

Ingredients

Gingerbread Cookie Dough

  • 1/2 cup or 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature (113g)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar (150g)
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar (50g)
  • 1 large egg, room temperature (56g)
  • 1/4 cup dark molasses (70g)
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (290g)
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp fine salt

Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting

  • 1/2 cup or 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature (113g)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (4g)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp fine salt
  • 2 cups powdered sugar (250g)
  • 2 Tbsp heavy cream or whole milk (30g)

Cookie Decorations

  • 3 small piping bags
  • red, black, and brown gel food coloring

Recommended Equipment:

Instructions

Gingerbread Cookies

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F / 175 C and line 2 large cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats. Set aside.
  2. Cream together 1/2 cup butter, 3/4 cup granulated sugar, and 1/4 light brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric hand mixer or stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment. Mix on a medium-high speed with an electric mixer until the mixture becomes lighter in color (about 2 minutes).
  3. Mix in 1 egg and 1/4 cup molasses on a medium speed until combined. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed with a rubber spatula.
  4. Sift 2 1/4 cups flour, 2 tsp ginger, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp cloves, and 1/4 tsp salt into the wet ingredients. Mix on low until just combined. The dough should be quite thick.
  5. Use a cookie scoop or large spoon to scoop and roll 14 cookie dough balls. Use about 3 Tbsp of dough per cookie.
  6. Place the cookies about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets and bake for 11-12 minutes, or until the cookies seem set in the center. Let the cookies cool on the sheet for 10 minutes, then place them on a wire rack to finish cooling.

Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting

  1. While the cookies bake and cool, make the buttercream frosting. Mix 1/2 cup butter on a medium speed in a large bowl for 30 seconds, or until smooth.
  2. Add 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1 tsp cinnamon, and 1/4 tsp salt. Mix on a medium speed until combined.
  3. Mix in 2 cups powdered sugar and 2 Tbsp heavy cream or milk on a low speed. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed with a rubber spatula.
  4. If the frosting is too thick, add an extra Tbsp of heavy cream. If it's too thin, add in another 1/2 cup of powdered sugar. If you're not sure what consistency you're after, check out my buttercream consistency post.
  5. Once the powdered sugar is incorporated, mix for an additional minute on a low speed to give the frosting a super smooth consistency.
  6. Spread a thin layer of frosting on top of the cooled cookies using a small offset spatula or butter knife.
  7. Divide the remaining frosting evenly between 3 small bowls. Use gel food coloring to color the frosting red, black, and brown. Place each color of frosting in a small piping bag fit with a small round piping tip (like a Wilton 5) or use a freezer Ziplock bag and snip a small hole (about 1/2 cm) in one corner of the bag.
  8. Use the black and red buttercream to add a nose and eyes on each cookie, then use the brown buttercream to add antlers.
  9. Store the cookies at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 2 days or in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Notes

Tips for Making the Best Gingerbread Reindeer Cookies

  • Use a cookie scoop to make sure your cookies are uniformly sized.
  • Space your cookies about 2 inches apart before baking them. They will spread as they bake.
  • Don't over-bake your cookies! The color of the dough makes it hard hard to tell when they start to brown, so keep an eye on the texture of the top of the cookie. Even if they seem a bit soft coming out of the oven, they will continue to bake and set on the tray once they're out of the oven.
  • I used piping bags to decorate these cookies, but you can also use Ziplock bags if you don't have piping bags! I recommend using the freezer type because they're a bit sturdier.

Making These Cookies in Advance and Storing Them

  • This cookie dough can be made up to 2 days in advance. Store it in the fridge until you're ready to scoop it out and bake these cookies.
  • In the off chance that you have any leftover cookies that are frosted, they can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 2 days or up to 5 days in the fridge.
  • You can also freeze baked cookies for up to a month. I like to thaw them in the fridge overnight, then add the frosting once they've reached room temperature and are ready to be eaten.

Nutrition Information

Yield

14

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 352Total Fat 15gSaturated Fat 9gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 5gCholesterol 52mgSodium 195mgCarbohydrates 52gFiber 1gSugar 35gProtein 3g

Monica

Thursday 1st of December 2022

Hi. Can this recipe be used for rolled out cookies with cookie cutters?

Santa Cake: Easy & Delicious Buttercream Cake Recipe

Saturday 19th of November 2022

[…] Gingerbread Reindeer Cookies Penguin Cake Christmas Tree Cake Gingerbread Man Cake […]

Skip to Recipe