Gingerbread Reindeer Cookies

Gingerbread Reindeer Cookies are crisp spiced cookies made with a gingerbread man cookie cutter and decorated like reindeer for Christmas.

Gingerbread Reindeer Cookies

Gingerbread Reindeer Cookies

By Sue Lau | Palatable Pastime

I first saw these last year when they were everywhere on Pinterest. I have seen them done many ways with quite a lot of variation. The basic idea is an inverted gingerbread boy cookie with a reindeer face as decoration.  You can use a combination of purchased candies and royal icing to do this. The icing can even be bought already mixed should you choose.

The recipe for the cookies is an adaptation of a Cook’s Illustrated recipe. The ingredients are slightly different, but it is essentially the same. The cookies come out nice and hard and crisp- perfect for their use here. Should you want to hang these on your tree, use a wooden skewer to punch a string hole into the cookie dough before you bake them. Don’t forget the hole will be “between the legs” and not on the head in this case.

I hope you enjoy- these are quite a bit of fun and taste good to boot.


Gingerbread Reindeer Cookies

  • Servings: 20
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Gingerbread Reindeer Cookies

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar ( packed)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 6 ounces unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes
  • 3/4 cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons warm milk

To decorate:

  • Royal icing
  • Cinnamon red hot candies
  • Preshaped holly candies and eye candies


  1. Mix molasses with warm milk until combines and molasses is thinned and set aside for a moment.
  2. Mix together flour, sugar, spices, salt and baking soda in a food processor or stand mixer until blended.
  3. Gradually add butter chunks to the flour, pulsing or mixing a couple times after each addition to mix it in before adding more.
  4. When all the butter is in and mixture resembles fine crumbs, add molasses mixture and mix until  smooth.
  5. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work space and divide into four pieces.
  6. Place one piece between sheets of parchment and roll out until thin; repeat with other dough pieces and parchment paper, leaving the dough rolled out in between the sheets, and either freezing for 20 minutes or refrigerating overnight to chill the dough.
  7. Adjust your oven racks to the two middle positions and preheat it to 325ºF.
  8. Line cookie sheets with parchment or a silpat mat.
  9. Take out one of the dough sheets and remove one piece of parchment then lay it back down on the dough to loosen it up, then flip over and remove the other sheet, discarding that one.
  10. Using a gingerbread boy cookie cutter, cut dough into pieces and place them on the lined cookie sheet about an inch apart.
  11. Save scraps to a small bowl and set cookie sheet aside before putting in the oven, and take out another dough sheet and repeat, filling up another lined cookie sheet as needed.
  12. When you have two full cookie sheets, place them in the preheated oven, one sheet per rack.
  13. Bake for 7-10 minutes, then switch rack positions, moving the top rack to the lower shelf and vice-versa, turning the sheet around front to back as well. Bake for a further 7-10 minutes or until cookies deepen in color and are firm to the touch. Do not overbake.
  14. Cool cookies on the sheets for a couple minutes them finish cooling them on wire cookie racks.
  15. Any saved scraps you can roll out again and repeat.
  16. Once the cookies are cool, use a royal icing mix (do not use gel icing or buttercream, the royal icing being either store-bought or your own recipe) to decorate with eyes, nose, antlers, mouth, and ears. I used some premade icing eyes on these as well as some cinnamon red hots for the nose and candied premade holly leaves. But you can also make them yourself with royal icing and gel colors in red, green, and brown. You can attach the candies with a dot of icing. You could also cut up some gumdrops to use for the nose or holly leaves. There are many ways these could be done. Refer to the cookie photo for placement of the decorations.

From the kitchen of

Gingerbread Reindeer Cookies

You might also like:

Frosty Snowball Cookies

Cranberry-Orange Pistachio Chip Cookies

Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies

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4 responses

  1. Oh my goodness you are amazing..I didn’t dare try the gingerbread recipe but copied your design with sugar cookies…Perhaps, I will get braver next time. You will have to check out my snowflake sugar cookies though..a bit more impressive : )

    • I have some snowflake cutters around here somewhere and have been meaning to try to Martha Stewart snowflake cookies for a couple years now but haven’t managed to get around to it. I always plan so much more than I have time for! This year I was going to do snowman milano cookies but those but set aside. And I wanted to make Starbuck’s Cranberry Bliss bars and get a good photo of it and missed doing that as well. I hope my track record is better with Valentine cookies. LOL You know how it is. ~s

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