Hello, my lovely chickpeas, and happy holidays! It has come to my attention recently that I have yet to post any recipes for vegan Christmas cookies, so today I am here to remedy that with these scrumptious Vegan Gingerbread Cookies! These make the cutest little gingerbread men, are pretty easy to make, and will make a wonderful Christmas treat this holiday season.
I put a lot of time and love into perfecting this recipe, and I cannot wait for you to try it! Now, ONTO THE GINGERBREAD.
Inspiration for Vegan Gingerbread Cookies
My grandmother LOVED Christmas, and especially loved Christmas cookies. Although she passed away when I was pretty young, my mom kept her spirit alive with me by always making delicious and beautiful Christmas cookies every year. These days I make slightly different cookies than the ones I grew up with since I look for vegan versions now, but I still know that my grandma is smiling upon me as I make them.
This year I decided to tackle a classic: gingerbread men. In my 4 years of being plant based I hadn’t yet found a vegan gingerbread cookie recipe that I had fallen in love with, so I figured the best solution was to make my own! I had so much fun experimenting with this one and it brings me so much joy to think that other people may be enjoying this recipe in their kitchens this holiday season. Although this recipe is obviously free of animal products, it can be enjoyed by vegans and non-vegans alike at your holiday gatherings!
Creating this recipe was so much fun for me, and I challenged myself to keep it not only vegan, but also as WFPB as possible! Let’s talk about our ingredients today.
- All purpose flour OR whole wheat pastry flour: all purpose flour is definitely the more traditional option here. BUT if you want to keep this WFPB (aka as little processed as possible), then go ahead and opt for the whole wheat pastry flour! This type of flour is still a whole wheat option but behaves much like all purpose, so your cookies will still come out fluffy and soft.
- Baking soda and apple cider vinegar: these actually work together to replace the traditional egg! Vegan baking is such a creative thing.
- Ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves: our spices of choice! I definitely leaned into the ginger here, because it only seems appropriate for gingerbread men.
- Pumpkin puree: this actually is a fantastic replacement for butter, and the flavor pairs well with our other gingerbread flavors!
- Maple syrup: for our sweetener, and again the flavor goes great here!
- Molasses & vanilla extract: definitely necessary for a gingerbread recipe.
- Optional cookie icing & other decorations: to make your gingerbread men festive, of course!
How to Make Vegan Gingerbread Cookies
These adorable and delicious vegan Christmas cookies are a bit more involved than many of my recipes, but they are definitely worth it! A lot of the time is spent chilling your dough and letting the cookies cool, so it really isn’t that bad! As always, full recipe down below, but let’s talk about the basic steps.
- Using an electric hand mixer or stand mixer, combine wet ingredients in a bowl.
- In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients.
- Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and combine into a dough.
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let chill in the fridge.
- Preheat your oven to 350.
- Prepare your workspace by flouring your surface, rolling pin, and hands.
- Roll out your dough and cut into shapes using a cookie cutter of your choice.
- Place your cookies on a prepared baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until baked to your liking. Repeat this in two batches.
- Once completely cool, decorate your cookies as you wish.
- Serve and enjoy!
Tips & Tricks
Baking recipes are very particular, so I wouldn’t recommend changing up the recipe itself for this one. I put a lot of hard work into getting it just right for you! But of course I still have some fun ideas on how you can enjoy these cookies this Christmas season!
- Preparing Christmas cookies is a great opportunity to make some fun holiday memories! Put on some festive music and have your loved ones help you roll out the dough, cut out the cookies, and decorate!
- These would be perfect for a Christmas party or holiday potluck! If anyone at your gathering is dairy free or egg free, they’ll be so appreciative of these fully vegan Christmas cookies.
- The shapes and decoration options for these are endless! For a more traditional option go with a classic gingerbread man shape and some simple icing additions. Or, use whatever shape and whatever decorations you’d like! I personally am also a big fan of snowflake shaped cookies.
- As much fun as decorations are, don’t forget that these Christmas treats can also be enjoyed plain! If you want a more basic option or just don’t want to put in the time to decorate your gingerbread men, they’re delicious on their own as well.
- In these photos I used Betty Crocker Cookie Icing, but use whatever you wish! (Just double check ingredients lists if you want to keep it vegan!). OR make your own frosting or icing, like this Vegan Royal Icing from the Wallflower Kitchen blog!
- Looking for more holiday-inspired sweets? I bet you’ll also love my Easy Vegan Pumpkin Pie and my Easy Candied Pecans!
The Best Vegan Gingerbread Cookies
These Vegan Gingerbread Cookies are the perfect Christmas treat! They have that comforting ginger flavor we all know and love, are easy (and fun) to make, and the decoration possibilities are endless! Be sure to bring these to your next holiday gathering.
*Note that From Start to Finish is an estimate. This time assumes 30 minutes to chill your dough and 20 minutes to decorate your cookies at the end, both of which could vary.
1/4 cup pumpkin puree (from a can)
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/3 cup all purpose flour OR whole wheat pastry flour* (plus a bit extra for rolling out dough)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 Tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
Optional, for decorating: cookie icing*, sprinkles, candy, etc!
- Prepare your wet ingredients: Add the pumpkin puree, maple syrup, molasses, apple cider vinegar, and vanilla extract to a large bowl or stand mixer. Use an electric hand mixer or stand mixer on low speed to mix until combined.
- Prepare your dry ingredients: In a separate medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
- Combine wet and dry: Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture. Using the electric hand mixer or stand mixer, beat on a low speed until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. The dough will be thick and somewhat sticky.
- Chill dough: Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and place it on a piece of plastic wrap. Wrap the dough in the plastic wrap and create a thick disc shape. Place the dough in the fridge to chill for 30-60 minutes, or overnight.
- Preheat: Preheat your oven to 350F.
- Prepare your work space: Remove the dough from the fridge. (IF your dough chilled for significantly longer than 60 minutes, you may need to let it sit at room temp for 10-15 minutes in order for it to soften just a tad). Flour your work surface, a rolling pin, and your hands.
- Cut out your cookies: Roll out your dough so that it’s about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. Use a cookie cutter of your choice to cut into shapes. Once you’ve cut as much as you can out of the dough, you may combine the remaining dough into a ball, roll it out again, and repeat the process. (You may even need to do this a couple of times).
- Bake your cookies:
-Place a silicone baking mat on a baking sheet. Place half of your cookies on the prepared baking sheet, at least 1 inch apart from each other.
-Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until they are puffed up and baked to your liking. Keep a close eye on them, as different cookie shapes/sizes may differ a bit in baking time (larger ones may even need up to 12 minutes).
-Remove from oven once baked to your liking, allow to cool for 5-10 minutes on the baking sheet, and then carefully transfer them to a cooling rack. (You may notice that as they cool they may darken a bit and become less “puffy” than they first were when coming out of the oven; this is normal!)
-Repeat this whole process with the second half of the cookies.
- Decorate and serve: Once cookies are completely cool, decorate them as you wish! Serve and enjoy!
- *Whole wheat pastry flour: This recipe can be made with whole wheat pastry flour OR all purpose flour. If you’d like the whole wheat pastry flour option, look for this at your local health food store or check out Amazon! I like to use Bob’s Red Mill Whole Wheat Pastry Flour Please note that whole wheat pastry flour is NOT the same as whole wheat flour and that whole wheat flour will not work in this recipe.
- *Cookie icing: use any type you like – storebought or homemade! Just make sure to check ingredient labels on anything storebought to make sure what you use is vegan, if this is important to you. I used Betty Crocker’s Cookie Icing for the photos in this post!
Stay joyfully balanced!