Ina Garten’s Ginger Cookies

by Erin @ Food Doodles on December 5, 2021

Ina Garten’s ginger cookies can be made traditionally or you can make these cookies in a healthier way. This recipe also has a vegan option. Seriously the best ginger cookies ever!

I make these chewy gingerbread cookies throughout the year, but nobody wants ginger cookies in July, so here they are now. They’re one of my favorite cookies ever.

Crystallized ginger is really expensive here, so when I went back to Texas the last time (2015!), I brought back over six pounds of the stuff just so that I could make loads of these cookies.

If you dislike crystallized ginger, use chocolate chips! Or chunks. Or try these milder Whole Wheat Gingerbread Men which call for just a bit of ground ginger.

ina garten ginger cookies pin

I know this person who ate one of my cookies, and now every time I see her, I get asked when I’m making chewy gingerbread cookies again.

And that is seriously the only thing this person ever says to me. I’m not exaggerating. “Hello, when are you making ginger cookies? Can I have? Gingerbread cookies? When are they coming?”

As Ina Garten would say, “One of the great gifts that you can give people is to cook for them.” So let’s get to it.

Ingredients:

  • All-purpose or whole wheat flour
  • Ground cinnamon + cloves + nutmeg + ginger
  • Baking soda
  • Salt
  • Brown sugar
  • Oil 
  • Molasses – no sub for this
  • Egg – you can also use a chia egg for a vegan option!
  • Crystallized ginger – optional
  • Raw sugar – for rolling the cookies
  • Orange zest – optional

ingredients for ina garten ginger cookies

How to make these ginger cookies:

  1. Mix flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger and salt.
  2. Beat sugar, olive oil, molasses.
  3. Add egg and beat for another minute, scrape sides of the bowl, and continue to beat.
  4. Slowly add dry ingredients and mix on medium.
  5. Add the crystallized ginger and mix until combined.
  6. Roll cookie dough into balls and slightly flatten with your fingers.
  7. Press each cookie in sugar with orange zest.
  8. Place them on a lined baking sheet and bake.
  9. Take them out when they’re crackly.
  10. Let cookies cool on baking sheet for 2 minutes and transfer to wire rack.

Remember, if they’re not crackly, they’re not ready! As long as you rolled them in sugar, that is.

You can store the cookies in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

These cookies freeze great, too. So you can make them today and be ahead of the game for the holidays.

Healthier options

If you want to make the original Ina Garten ginger cookie recipe, it’s down below. But I’ve also included some options to make them a bit healthier, should you want to do that.

I followed the original recipe the first time and kept adding more and more whole wheat until they were 100% whole wheat. And they taste just the same.

And the same thing with olive oil and less sugar. These healthier ginger cookies are seriously just as amazing as the original!

Flour

You can use all-purpose flour, but I find that the result tastes exactly the same with whole wheat flour. Under all the spice, you can’t taste a difference.

100% whole wheat cookies that actually taste good?! Yes, please!

You can use regular whole wheat or white whole wheat. Whole spelt would likely also probably work, but you might need another tablespoon or two, as it’s not as absorbent as wheat. 

Oil

I used olive oil, but you can’t taste it at all. In the raw dough, you can. Once they’re baked, you can’t.

I always use the regular organic extra-virgin olive oil from Lidl or Aldi. I wouldn’t recommend using a super expensive and flavorful olive oil as you might then taste it in the baked cookies.

The original recipe calls for vegetable oil and you can, of course, use that or any other neutral-tasting oil you’d like.

If you use coconut oil, I’d recommend refined coconut oil so that the coconut flavor of unrefined coconut oil doesn’t do weird things mingling with ginger, cinnamon and other flavors in these molasses cookies.

Sugar

You’ve got a few options here. You can use brown sugar sugar, like the original recipe calls for, or raw sugar or coconut sugar.

The result is the same, so feel free to use whatever you have.

Amazing texture

The texture of these cookies is perfect. They’re crisp on the outsides, but perfectly chewy. 

Just the way cookies should be. At least in my opinion. 😉

If you bake them longer than suggested, they do get crisp like a gingersnap.

But you need to keep a close eye on them so that they don’t burn.

Crispy sugar coating

You can, of course, skip the step where you roll the cookies in sugar. I do it because I like the look (it makes them crackle so nicely!), and because I like the crisp sugary coat it creates.

I prefer to use raw sugar when rolling my cookies in sugar, but regular granulated sugar works as well.

Sometimes I add a bit of orange zest to the sugar coating because orange is such a great pair to ginger. I highly recommend it!

Perfect for gift-giving

These healthier ginger cookies are perfect for gift-giving, especially if you add the sugar coating. The sugar coating makes them sturdier, which is a big plus when packing cookies in a little cellphone bag.

I know it’s common to combine different types of cookies in one bag or box, but I would advise against combining very strongly flavored cookies, like these, with other cookies like sugar cookies.

Those other cookies will take a bit of the flavor on from the other cookies if they’re sitting on top of each other in a bag. 

Vegan version

You can also use a chia egg for a vegan version. It works great!

I imagine a flax egg would also work, but I haven’t tried it. If you try out another egg sub, please let us know how it goes!

Gluten-free version?

I’ve tried making today’s cookie recipe gluten-free many, many times throughout the years. It doesn’t work using my usual mixes.

I don’t recommend trying! They’re dry and a bit gritty. If you can’t have gluten, these gluten-free gingersnaps look delicious.

Molasses type

For the molasses, I used blackstrap molasses. I’ve only ever used blackstrap molasses in my baking and haven’t ever found the end product bitter. Neither have my taste testers.

But after getting crazy mixed reviews on another recipe where I used blackstrap molasses and said it was okay to use, I’m not going to recommend blackstrap ever again.

So just use the regular stuff! By regular stuff, I mean “light” molasses, which is what you always find at the grocery store. Brands like Grandma’s and Crosby’s are light molasses.

Definitely buy that kind unless you’re positive you like blackstrap molasses. The original Ina Garten ginger cookies recipe called for the regular stuff, so you’ll be fine using that.

Other easy Christmas treats:

  • These Italian Almond Cookies are the quintessential Christmas cookie. They’re surprisingly quick and easy with 5 ingredients and they’re simply terrific. Naturally grain-free, gluten-free and dairy-free.
  • Instant Pot Hot Chocolate is perfect for holiday gatherings. It’s super easy and stress-free and kept warm until your guests arrive.
  • These Cranberry Shortbread Bars are filled with tart cranberry sauce and make a beautiful seasonal dessert or even for a fruity breakfast bar!
  • These Goat Cheese Balls make perfect appetizers. They’re super quick and easy, made with dried cranberries and pecans. But they can be made nut-free.
  • And of course, everyone wants a white Christmas. Now you can have it in a fancy glass with this White Christmas Cocktail. It’s super quick and fun and made with white chocolate to look like snow.
  • I love this Wassail Recipe with Alcohol! You can make this punch in a slow cooker or on the stove-top. It’s easy and made with fruit juices, spice and spirits. It’s a traditional drink to toast to good health and ring in cheer!

That’s it! Which holiday cookie is your favorite? If you try the healthier version (or the regular version!) of Ina Garten’s Ginger Cookies, leave a comment below and let me know how they turned out! If you post to social media, be sure to tag #fooddoodles recipes so I can easily find them!

Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
 
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: ginger cookies
Ingredients
  • 2 1/4 cups (292 grams) all-purpose flour or whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (200 grams) brown sugar or 2/3 cup (133 grams) for a less sweet version
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) oil*
  • 1/3 cup (117 grams) molasses**
  • 1 large (50 grams, out of shell) egg or 1 chia egg*** for vegan
  • 1 1/4 cups (170 grams) chopped crystallized ginger, optional
  • raw sugar for rolling the cookies
  • orange zest from two oranges optional
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 °F (175 °C).

  2. In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, and salt. Set aside.

  3. With an electric mixer, beat the sugar, oil, and molasses at medium speed for 1 minute.

  4. Add the egg, and beat for 1 minute on low. Scrape the sides of the bowl and then beat for another minute.

  5. Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix on medium for 2 minutes.

  6. Add the crystallized ginger and mix until combined.
  7. Roll each cookie into a 1 3/4-inch ball and flatten them slightly with your fingers.
  8. Press each side of the cookie in sugar, which has been mixed with the orange zest, if using, and place them on a Silpat or a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  9. Bake for 13-15 minutes. As soon as they’re crackly, I take them out. If they’re not crackly, they’re not ready.
  10. Cool the cookies on the sheets for 1 to 2 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
  11. Keep in an airtight container for up to 5 days. They freeze great.
Recipe Notes

* For the oil, you can use any neutral-tasting liquid oil. I used olive oil.

** For the molasses, use something like Grandma's Original Molasses, and not blackstrap (unless you know you like blackstrap).

*** To make them vegan, use 1 chia egg. Mix 1 tablespoon of ground chia seeds mixed with 3 tablespoons of water until it's thickened like an egg.

Adapted from Ina Garten's Ginger Cookies recipe

Leave a Comment

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mary December 22, 2021 at 08:02

Outstanding recipe! I just made these for the first time and gave them out to my coworkers for Christmas, and they LOVED them. They all came back saying how delicious they were. The orange zest and candied ginger really made these extra special. They are definitely my new favorite ginger cookies. Since I prefer my cookies buttery, I replaced the oil with 1 stick of unsalted butter at room temperature, based on reviews I read on Ina’s original recipe. The cookies turned out perfectly!

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2 Erin @ Food Doodles December 27, 2021 at 20:13

I’m so glad that you and your coworkers enjoyed them! Butter sounds like a delicious sub. 🙂 Thanks a ton for your feedback! It made my day.

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3 Moop Brown December 13, 2021 at 15:01

These cookies are so festive and I love that they are chewy as well. Thanks for providing a vegan version of this recipe also!

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4 Amy Casey December 13, 2021 at 03:19

I made a batch of these delicious cookies for our Christmas desserts. I especially loved the sugar coating on the cookies!

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5 Aya December 12, 2021 at 13:48

The flavors in these cookies sound delicious. Love the crunchy texture as well! Thank you for a great recipe!

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6 Amy Liu Dong December 10, 2021 at 13:03

My kids always ask for ginger cookies, most especially during holiday seasons.
I will try this recipe. Delicious!

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7 Liz December 9, 2021 at 22:24

I love ginger cookies! My absolute favorite! Excited to give these at try! Your pictures look delicious!

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8 Cathleen December 9, 2021 at 19:17

These cookies are so perfect for the holidays! I crave all things ginger in the winter, so I am definitely making these for my cookie trays 🙂

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9 Dennis Littley December 9, 2021 at 18:26

those gingerbread cookies were delicious!! They went so well with my coffee, lunch and dinner…lol

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10 Allyssa December 9, 2021 at 13:43

Thank you so much for sharing this amazing ginger cookies recipe! Will surely have this again! It’s really easy to make and it tasted so delicious! Highly recommended!

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11 veenaazmanov December 9, 2021 at 12:43

Yummy spices, healthy combination and delicious ginger flavor. Perfect Tea time treat platter.

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12 Jenny December 8, 2021 at 20:03

Great ginger cookies, a classic recipe! Came out fantastic and the kids enjoyed helping me. We will be making them again, they disappear from the plate so quickly!

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13 Charlotte Moore December 6, 2021 at 01:15

These look good but… I don’t see how they could be any better than your recipe I tested for your cookbook a few years ago. I think they were made with whole wheat or spelt flour. Be a while since I made them so not sure but think it was spelt.

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