Ultimate Ginger Cookies


Eating these cookies is like being wrapped in a big fleece blanket in front of a crackling fire. They will make you yearn for hot spiced cider, pumpkin pie, and cooler days watching the leaves change colors. I am a fall girl. I love the crisp air, jeans and hoodies, football Sundays, and the smell of hearty dishes like stew and chili simmering on the stove. One bite of these cookies and I could feel myself smack dab in the middle of October, ready to usher in the holidays with all of the warmth and spice that the season brings.

When I asked everyone what their favorite cookie is while holding a giveaway, Sherri of Eat.Make.Live. said her favorite are these Ultimate Ginger Cookies by Ina Garten. After compiling a round up of the top 10 favorite cookies and seeing that ginger cookies made the cut, I knew immediately that this recipe would be the one I’d use. Ina Garten never disappoints; she is one of the few Food Network hosts that I know will always deliver fool-proof recipes.


These cookies are incredibly easy to make and went from separate ingredients to in the oven in less than 30 minutes. I am going to once again get on my soapbox about the benefits of using a kitchen scale. Even though I used mine to measure most of the ingredients in these cookies, the real bonus came when it was time to shape and bake them. Ina’s instructions are a little vague – “using two spoons or a small ice cream scoop” – well, how big is that? A tablespoon? A ¼ cup? I wasn’t sure, but what WAS a certain was the yield – this recipe makes 16 cookies, so says Ina. So I simply weighed all of the dough on my kitchen scale (in grams, which is more accurate than ounces), divided by 16, and then portioned out each cookie to that amount. Not only is it easier than trying to gauge scoops, but it also guarantees uniform-size cookies which will bake more evenly and make a beautiful presentation. (And in case you’re wondering, the sizing ended up being around 2 heaping tablespoons worth of dough for each cookie.)

As you might expect from a cookie that is comprised primarily of dark brown sugar and molasses, these have a chewy interior, with a nice crackly-crisp exterior as a result of pressing the cookies into granulated sugar before baking. I was wondering what effect that would have on the cookies, and it added the perfect contrasting flavor. The sugar provided just the right amount of balance to the spices in the cookie and the bite from the crystallized ginger such that the flavors didn’t overpower but rather all melded together in an incredibly perfect, warm blend. Speaking of crystallized ginger – if your local grocery doesn’t carry it you can purchase it at Williams Sonoma (where I bought mine) or order it from Penzeys or King Arthur Flour.

What is your favorite recipe for the crisp autumn months? Share a link if you have one!


The rest of the Top 10 Cookies:
Better-than-Brownies Chocolate Cookies
White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies
No-Bake Chocolate, Peanut Butter & Oatmeal Cookies
Almond Macarons filled with Nutella
Chocolate-Dipped Coconut Macaroons

Ultimate Ginger Cookies

Yield: Makes 16 cookies

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 13 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes


2¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1½ teaspoons ground cloves
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
¼ cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup unsulfured molasses
1 egg, at room temperature
1¼ cup chopped crystallized ginger (6 ounces)
Granulated sugar, for rolling the cookies


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger and salt and then combine the mixture with your hands.

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the brown sugar, oil, and molasses on medium speed for 5 minutes. Turn the mixer to low speed, add the egg, and beat for 1 minute. Scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula and beat for 1 more minute. With the mixer still on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the bowl and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add the crystallized ginger and mix until combined.

4. Scoop the dough with two spoons or a small ice cream scoop. With your hands, roll each cookie into a 1¾-inch ball and then flatten them lightly with your fingers. Press both sides of each cookie in granulated sugar and place them on the baking sheets.

5. Bake for exactly 13 minutes. The cookies will be crackled on top and soft inside. Let the cookies cool on the sheets for 1 to 2 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

(From Ina Garten, online and in Barefoot Contessa at Home)


91 Responses to “Ultimate Ginger Cookies”

  1. Maria on July 29, 2009 at 10:24 am

    The cookies look superb and your photos are good too:)


    • Betsy on August 2nd, 2010 at 8:35 am

      These cookies are phenomenal! I made them to add to a care package to send to my boyfriend, and he can’t stop talking about them. Thanks!


  2. Tracy on July 29, 2009 at 11:11 am

    These look AMAZING! I am also a fall girl, so you had me at big fleece blanket, haha. I am so going to try these!!


  3. Jenn on July 29, 2009 at 11:14 am

    Wow those look so yummy! Gorgeous phtoos! I love love love ginger cookies!


  4. bakingmomma on July 29, 2009 at 11:35 am

    These look so delicious. I agree with everyone your photos are amazing! One day I wish to take photos as good as yours.


  5. sherri on July 29, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    I want one now! Wonderful recipe- amazing photos!


  6. Mary Teresa on July 29, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    I hate you…lol. Just a little though. These look DELICIOUS, but I have gestational diabetes and cookies are a no go. Trust me though in 2 months I will be making these and will no longer be angry with you for making good food. Lol.


  7. Erin Brooks on July 29, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    I’m not a big fan of ginger but I might have to give these a try! Great photo’s girl!


  8. Danielle on July 29, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    I absolutely love ginger!! these cookies look wonderful! I can’t wait to try them.


  9. Kat on July 29, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    Oh mama! My favorite cookies are ginger, and this recipe sounds sooo good! I totally agree on the kitchen scale; I use mine for dividing my bread dough up into three even loaves every week. I’m not sure a lot of folks use it “subtractionally” like that. I think most only use it for its “additionally” properties. Yeah, I’m making up words, but it’s over 100 degrees here, and I have no air conditioning. When the heat wave breaks I’ll talk better and bake up these beauties. :~)


  10. Katherine Martin on July 29, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    As I am “The Ginger Cook” I will be making these ASAP!!


  11. Jen @ MaplenCornbread on July 29, 2009 at 2:18 pm

    I LOVE ginger cookies! These look incredible!!!!!


  12. delben on July 29, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    I’m a Fall/Autumn kinda gal myself! I voted for the Ginger cookie when the poll was taken earlier, so I’m pretty excited to see ’em posted! I <3 ginger cookies with a nice, hot cup of tea, or light vanilla flavored soy milk!


  13. Recessionipes on July 29, 2009 at 4:35 pm

    Those look terrific! I’m going to have to try them!


  14. food librarian on July 29, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    I love love ginger cookies! I love Ina’s recipe. So delicious.


  15. Jacqueline Malan on July 29, 2009 at 5:04 pm


    I have a weakness for ginger cookies and Ian Garten is my absolute favorite food artisan! I will def. give it a try.

    Also, the thumbnails look great! Glad we gave it a try!


  16. Chris on July 29, 2009 at 5:40 pm

    I love the way the cracks are a nice dark brown and the top a little lighter, makes my artistic eye glint and my stomach growl.


  17. Kimberly (LonghornBabe) Pevoto on July 29, 2009 at 6:09 pm

    Those look sooooo yummy! I am definitely going to try!


  18. Becky on July 29, 2009 at 6:23 pm

    Wow! Those cookies look great and your pictures are wonderful. I am craving ginger cookies now.

    Thanks for the tip about the kitchen scale for uniform looking cookies, that’s a great idea!


  19. Jessie on July 29, 2009 at 7:17 pm

    ginger cookies or ginger snaps as I call them are one of my favorite cookies, your cookies look chewy and delish!


  20. Katrina on July 29, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    I have never made Ina’s recipe, but love ginger cookies at the holidays! I love pumpkin things in the fall.
    These pumpkin chocolate chip cookies are probably my favorite!


  21. Tracey on July 29, 2009 at 8:41 pm

    I heart Ina! Her recipes never disappoint. These ginger cookies look awesome – I’ll definitely make them this fall!


  22. Jamie on July 29, 2009 at 9:23 pm

    These look delicious!!


  23. bridget {bake at 350} on July 29, 2009 at 11:34 pm

    I’m with you all the way…I’m a fall girl. Of course, fall doesn’t really get HERE until December, but I love it! 🙂

    These cookies sound perfect! I can almost taste them. I love Ina, too! Wouldn’t you love to be her neighbor?!?


  24. stephchows on July 30, 2009 at 11:19 am

    seriously the prettiest ginger cookies I’ve ever seen! great job!


  25. kristina on July 30, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    These sound fabulous! You already have me longing for the autumn–my favorite season, too! Then again we’ve had some rather autumnal days here in London this summer… K x


  26. Kerstin on July 30, 2009 at 11:19 pm

    Wow, that’s a lot of crystallized ginger – they sound fabulous!


  27. Patricia Scarpin on July 31, 2009 at 8:23 am

    These look amazing! I love how beautiful they look, aside from delicious.


  28. Martha on August 4, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    As a lover of Fall, Ina Garten, and Ginger Cookies, I can’t wait
    to give these cookies a try.


  29. Brandee on December 13, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    My grandma always made a version of these at the holidays. Only grandma’s version doesn’t have the crystalized ginger and she adds chocolate chunks and chopped walnuts. I’m going to try incorporating Ina’s and Grandma’s recipes to see how it turns out. Thanks!


  30. Nicole on January 15, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    I live in toronto and made these and sent them as a surprise to my boyfriend in scotland i dont want to say they’re the reason but he’s visiting next week! Quite the cookies! Definitely a keeper Thanks!!


  31. Monet on January 29, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    Your blog is beautiful! These cookies look divine and I can’t wait to try them.


  32. Donna on February 6, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    Oh my Goodness! I love ginger! Just don’t say your going to try…..make them, and you’ll have taste treat sensation! The best!


  33. Denise Hughes on February 23, 2010 at 12:53 am

    We made these for our Book Group tonight. They were as easy as you said…. even easier! (we skipped the sifting and beating for five minutes, and they still baked up as perfect as your picture!) They were delicious and several wanted the recipe. Thanks!


  34. hedorah on March 7, 2010 at 11:12 pm

    I made these tonight, they are so delicious! Not too hot at all.


  35. Jenny flake on July 26, 2010 at 10:26 am

    These look so yummy!!!


  36. AsianSupper on July 26, 2010 at 10:38 am

    You have great photography. Everything looks delicious. YUM. This reminds me of a Thai Ginger Cookie.


  37. Carrie on July 26, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    So I thought it said “ground doves” instead of “ground cloves”. The way the font it, it totally looks like it.

    By the way, this looks excellent. I love ginger cookies and I’m always looking for the perfect recipe for them.


  38. Jen @ How To: Simplify on July 26, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    What a tasty looking cookie!


  39. Maggy@ThreeManyCooks on July 26, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    Love ginger, love it even more in a cookie! These look incredible.


  40. Cookin' Canuck on July 27, 2010 at 9:56 am

    We are big fans of ginger cookies and these look wonderful. The crystallized ginger adds such a great kick. I often add ginger in syrup into my version.


  41. Fuji Mama on July 27, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    These look amazing!!! You are always tempting me with these delicious cookie recipes…can I send you my gym bill?? 🙂


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  44. Kristin on October 5, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    Hey Michelle, maybe you can help me figure this out. I’ve made this recipe 2x in the past year. The first time, the dough was so wet/sticky, it was really difficult to roll the balls. The baked cookie was still awesome. This past time, I added more flour to help make it manageable, but have made them too cakey. I’m hoping underbaking will help that texture. I also used 1.5 large eggs the second time since Ina always calls for an extra-large egg. I’m not sure if that makes a difference. However, I’ve only had light brown sugar both times, so maybe that’s part of my problem. I love Ina’s recipes, but this one has gotten me stuck a couple times. I think I need to try it with the dark brown sugar and just a regular large egg. 3rd time’s the charm!


    • Michelle on October 8th, 2010 at 9:55 am

      Hi Kristin, I only ever buy large eggs, and that’s all I use when making, no matter what the recipe says. I figure it can’t make that much of a difference. So I wouldn’t alter the eggs at all. Don’t add extra flour either, as you found, it will greatly affect the texture. The dough is a little sticky, but try dipping it into the sugar before rolling it into the ball, that should help make it more manageable if you can’t work with it at all.


      • Kristin on October 8th, 2010 at 10:35 am

        Thanks for the tips. Fortunately, after the dough had a chance to mellow out in the fridge overnight, the batches have been really good. It’s definitely a different cookie than the original is meant to be, but the flavor is great, the texture turned more chewy/soft. I’ll try it the way it’s written next time, but at least this one was better than I thought it would be!


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  46. Martha on December 19, 2010 at 9:27 pm

    Michelle, I had just the opposite problem as Kristin. My dough was very dry and crumbly. I even looked up Ina’s recipe and saw that she had used an extra large egg but I don’t think that extra amount of egg would have made much difference. I re-read the recipe several times to make sure I hadn’t left anything out. I’m usually very careful when it comes to measuring ingredients. The cookies taste fine … they just aren’t very pretty … and aren’t nearly as dark as yours appear in the photographs. I made these for my DIL and she will love the flavor but I’m wondering what I could have done to increase the moisture in the dough. I’m wondering if I should go with 2 cups of flour next time and add 1/4 cup more if the dough is too sticky? Thanks for any input. I’ll definitely try them again after the holidays.


    • Michelle on February 16th, 2011 at 10:27 pm

      Hi Martha, Hmm I’m not sure what to recommend. You could try less flour, but I definitely think it would be sticky. I’d probably try one more time with the recipe as-is and if it’s still dry, do a little less flour.


  47. Hamannde on January 23, 2011 at 10:40 am

    These are my favorite winter cookie! I made them about 6 times in two months. Everyone loves them. I use 1.5 cups whole wheat flour and .75 cup white flour and you really can’t tell any difference at all! Perhaps I’ll up that to 100% whole wheat next time 🙂


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  50. Cornelia Cree on November 25, 2011 at 8:53 am

    I had nothing but grief from this recipe, no doubt cause by the drought-dry temperatures in Texas. Next time I will eliminate 1/4 c flour. There is so little moisture that the 2nd time I made these I pressed them in a mini-muffin tin (muff-ees?) which worked a little better. Also, the cookies were then much smaller. Knowing the weight of the flour would certainly help. BUT the taste beats all! I would put ginger cookies above chocolate chip anytime.


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  52. Cornelia Cree on December 3, 2011 at 9:43 am

    I’ve made this recipe twice. Here in the drought conditions of Texas I found it too dry, almost impossible to shape into cookies. Finally the 2nd I pressed the dough into a miniature muffin tin and baked. New name=muffies. The third time I do these I will decrease the flour by 1/4 and see if molding the dough improves. The taste is so terrific however that it is worth the effort


  53. Cornelia Cree on December 3, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    Also I used raw sugar for rolling cookies. Very tasty.


  54. Ray on December 6, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    Don’t know if any one has posted this but you can purchase the crystallized ginger at world market ~$2-4 (I bought it on a 3 for $5 sale) for 2.5 oz. Bottle says Crystallized Ginger Root diced. Its very hard not to eat it just by its self. Cookies sound amazing. Can’t wait to bake them


  55. Cindysangels on December 9, 2011 at 9:48 am

    I’ve baked these Ultimate Ginger Cookies for the Troops and they are amazing! The key is chopping the ginger up into smaller pieces. If you love ginger, then these are for you. I bake, freeze, and ship in 4″ plastic resealable bags as part of the Bakinggals.com community. My sons are going to love this new recipe for the holidays!


  56. Erin @ Texanerin Baking on December 15, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    I’m Hamannde above and these cookies are still my favorite cookies! I now use 100% whole spelt and they’re just as good. People go nut over them. Amazing, amazing cookies. Thanks again for sharing them with us!


  57. the nonpareil baker on December 16, 2011 at 8:28 pm

    Hi Michelle! I’m thinking of trying these, but I’m wondering about the crystallized ginger. Are the chunks discernible in the baked cookies, or do they melt away? I’ve never really been a fan of crystallized ginger, so I’m wondering if I will like these or not. Thanks!


    • Michelle on December 17th, 2011 at 8:13 pm

      I concur with the two ladies who left comments below. The crystallized ginger doesn’t melt into the cookie, they are distinguishable and the cookies in general have a pretty strong ginger flavor.


  58. Cornelia Cree on December 16, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    To nonpareil baker: No the pieces of ginger do not dissolve. But perhaps you will not be happy with them personally. However, when I make these people scarf them up.


  59. Cindysangels on December 16, 2011 at 10:14 pm

    The ginger is strong in these. If you are not a fan, then they probably are not for you. The key is breaking up the ginger crystals into smaller pieces so as not to get a concentrated piece of ginger. I find them refreshing. Will see how my sons like them and compare with my mother’s recipe.


  60. Cornelia Cree on December 18, 2011 at 11:17 am

    I am paying %4.00 a pound for very fresh candied ginger at Sprouts. The Ginger People’s Ginger Chips is $1.40 / # not including shipping. I will certainly try them.


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  62. Alexa on February 9, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    Hey, I’m so excited to make these cookies only i dont have a paddle attachment. Can you give me instructions to do without? Please and thanks


    • Cornelia Cree on February 9th, 2012 at 7:29 pm

      I think I used the whip on my Kitchen Aid with these cookies. It does take a lot of beating.


  63. Cindysangels on February 9, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    This is a very stiff batter and you should use a strong paddle. The whip will work for the wet ingredients, but once you add the dry, the whip attachment may break. Whip attachment should really be used for egg white and fluffy ingredients, I would think. I make these cookies all the time. I tried doubling the batch because I send cookies to the military, but my Kitchen Aid had a struggle. I would only recommend doing a single batch at a time. Hope this helps 🙂


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  66. Kelsay on September 28, 2012 at 2:35 am

    I made these and they turned out great. Mine were not as dark, but I used yellow sugar, not dark brown. I didn’t add the crystallized ginger and instead used half a teaspoon of fresh ginger. I didn’t have all spice either. They were chewy, but also crispy on the outside. I’m really happy with this recipe and I will use it again.


  67. Robin on December 12, 2012 at 11:37 am

    Hi Michelle!
    I recently moved out of the country – to Cyprus- and here I’m lacking many key ingredients for my holiday baking, including CANDY CANES and Hershey Kisses! (I know, get me out of here!) lol
    So I’m not 100% sure I will find crystallized ginger, but I do have fresh ginger in my refrigerator right now.. Should I try it? How much would you suggest I use??
    Thank you! (you rock!)
    Robin 🙂


    • Michelle on December 12th, 2012 at 2:05 pm

      Hi Robin, I don’t think I’d use the fresh ginger in place of the crystallized ginger, it will taste pretty different. Enjoy your adventure, I’m sure you’ll find new and interesting foods over there!


  68. Brit on December 18, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    These cookies are amazing! I love ginger, so I keep the chunks a bit large on purpose. Everyone raves! One slight change I do is that I roll them in sugar in the raw instead of table sugar. It gives them a dark, rich color and a slight extra crunch to to texture. Love! Thanks so much for all of your amazing recipes!

    PS- My source for dark, rich crystalzed ginger has gone away, and the pouch I got from Penzey’s spices is quite light, less rich. Any ideas for a nice dark source of ginger on the East coast or online? Thanks!


    • Michelle on December 19th, 2012 at 10:28 am

      Hi Brit, I alternate between Williams Sonoma and Penzeys for my crystallized ginger, however I am planning to give King Arthur Flour a try the next time I need some!


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  74. Madeline on December 15, 2013 at 11:30 am

    Just made these – had to substitute honey for molasses but they turned out AMAZING!


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  76. Christine on December 18, 2013 at 7:30 am

    I just made these, but instead of using candied ginger I used finely minced ginger…for some reason I’ve never been a big fan of the candied stuff…but I like ginger in pretty much any other form/dish! Thanks for the great cookie recipe!


  77. Kim on July 1, 2014 at 10:29 pm

    I love ginger cookies made with crystallized ginger, but I was very disappointed with these. I followed the directions exactly, and the dough was very dry and hard to stick together. If I would have known they were not going to spread, I would have flattened them more too. I had to toss this batch out. What went wrong?


  78. Carol on November 25, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    I just made these. The dough was too dry to bind together, so I doubled the oil and got something that I could form into balls and flatten. They looked very unpromising when they went into the oven, but they came out excellent and extremely tasty.


  79. Christine on December 18, 2014 at 6:08 pm

    I don’t have crystalized ginger on hand and want to make them soon!! Can you give a ground ginger measurement to substitite?


    • Michelle on December 21st, 2014 at 3:49 pm

      Hi Christine, Unfortunately, crystallized ginger and ground ginger have completely different flavor profiles, so I would not make that substitution, I would just omit the crystallized ginger.


  80. M.A. on February 14, 2015 at 2:43 pm

    I meticulously measured all ingredients and my batter was very crumbly. I added approximately 1/8 cup of milk and that softened the batter. It was sticky to the touch when I rolled each cookie. I used a tablespoon to measure each cookie resulting in 26 cookies. Great consistency and taste.


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