Learn how to make gingerbread snickerdoodles from scratch with this simple recipe! Spiced cookie dough rolled in a sweet coating then baked to perfection, cozy flavors fill every bite of these festive treats. Soft and chewy inside with a hint of crispness outside, these “gingerdoodles” are a wonderful addition to any holiday cookie tray — and easier to make than classic cut-out gingerbread!

 

easy gingerbread snickerdoodles – aka gingerdoodles – healthy holiday cookies recipe – soft, chewy, low calorie & clean eating

 
One December while in college, I decided to make a dozen different holiday treats to celebrate surviving a particularly grueling finals week. After searching the internet for inspiration and scribbling down a list, I turned on my oven and got to work.

Even then, baking put me in a state of peace and bliss. With Christmas carols softly playing in the background and my large bin of flour permanently planted on the kitchen counter, everything else the weightier topics filling my mind melted away. Exam scores, grades, transcripts, grad school applications… Along with the smaller stresses of holiday shopping, gift wrapping, and travel all disappeared, along with the worry lines on my forehead and tension between my shoulder blades.
 

easy gingerbread snickerdoodles – aka gingerdoodles – healthy holiday cookies recipe – whole wheat, clean eating, no refined sugar

 
I lost track of time as I rotated baking sheets and transferred cookies to wire racks. Festive aromas filled the air — cozy spices, rich chocolate, earthy molasses, fruity jam, buttery caramel — and I smiled at the massive stack of dishes piled into the sink. Instead of a burden, they were a sign of contentment and sheer joy, feelings that only grew stronger as I began to sample my homemade sweets.

Since I planned on sharing and giving many of them away to neighbors and friends, I stuck with classics and more familiar favorites. I baked trays of jam-filled thumbprint cookies, chocolate peanut butter blossoms, crunchy biscotti, and even regular chocolate chip cookies. I also included fudgy brownies, peppermint bark, and a pan of sprinkle-topped Rice Krispie treats for the adorable little kids next door.

As much as everyone thoroughly enjoyed those fairly traditional treats (including my family and me!), I quickly grew more adventurous and looked forward to baking fun and creative ones too as the years passed by. And this December…
 

easy gingerbread snickerdoodles – aka gingerdoodles – healthy christmas cookies recipe – soft, chewy, low calorie, no refined sugar

 
These healthy gingerbread snickerdoodles are at the very top of my list! They combine two favorites into a single cookie, one that’s undeniably festive and perfect for the holiday season.

Something else I love about them? Other than their irresistible taste and texture?

They’re simple and straightforward to make — and require zero cookie cutters or decorating skills! 😉
 

easy gingerbread snickerdoodles – aka gingerdoodles – healthy holiday cookies recipe – gluten free, dairy free, low calorie, no refined sugar

 

QUICK OVERVIEW – GINGERBREAD SNICKERDOODLES

Difficulty: Fairly easy, including for many beginner bakers. (The tiny tricky part is just rolling them in the coating!)

Taste: Really comforting, with plenty of rich spices, cozy sweetness, and notes of earthy molasses.

Texture: Soft and chewy inside, with hints of crispness from their sweet outer coating.
 

easy gingerbread snickerdoodles – aka gingerdoodles – healthy christmas cookies recipe – whole wheat, clean eating, low fat, no refined sugar

 

INGREDIENTS TO MAKE HEALTHY GINGERBREAD SNICKERDOODLES

Let’s go over the ingredients that you’ll need to make these healthy gingerbread snickerdoodle cookies! I’m assuming that you already have staples like eggs, vanilla extract, and salt, so we’ll mainly cover the more interesting and important ones.

Flour. To make these cookies healthier, I used white whole wheat flour. I know… That might sound a bit strange — and almost like an oxymoron! However, such a thing actually does exist, and it’s not just a combination of whole wheat flour and white (aka all-purpose) flour!

Here in the US, farmers grow a few different kinds of wheat. Red wheat is the most common type, and it’s used to make regular whole wheat flour. White wheat is another variety, and it’s used to make (you guessed it!) white whole wheat flour.

White wheat has a lighter appearance, taste, and texture compared to red wheat, so white whole wheat flour behaves and tastes a bit more like all-purpose flour in baking recipes — yet it still has the same health benefits of regular whole wheat flour, such as extra fiber and micronutrients. It’s basically the best of both worlds!

Hint: It’s similar to the difference between red and green grapes. Different appearance and taste, but similar health benefits!

Tip: If you’d like to make your gingerbread snickerdoodles gluten free, then check the Notes section of the recipe. I’ve included my top recommendations there!
 

easy gingerbread snickerdoodles – aka gingerdoodles – healthy christmas cookies recipe – gluten free, clean eating, low calorie, soft & chewy

 
Baking soda. This is the leavening agent traditionally used to make snickerdoodles. When combined with the next ingredient, it helps create a soft cookie texture. And that ingredient is…

Cream of tartar. This is a key ingredient in snickerdoodle cookies. It’s what gives them their classic snickerdoodle “tang” — that subtle yet still noticeable flavor that rolls around your mouth and lingers on your tongue with every bite. There’s no substitute for it, so if you want your gingerbread snickerdoodles to taste like a true combination of both cookies, you need to include cream of tartar.

The good news? You can find cream of tartar at just about any grocery store! It’s a fine white powder that’s inexpensive, shelf-stable, and stays fresh for ages! Look for it on the spice aisle!

And now for a quick nerdy moment…
 

easy gingerbread snickerdoodles – aka gingerdoodles – healthy holiday cookies recipe – whole wheat, low fat, low calorie, no refined sugar

 
Cream of tartar is an acid. Baking soda is a base. When you combine the two (and add a little liquid!), they create air bubbles. Those air bubbles help give your cookies a lighter, softer, and chewier texture!

Science can be delicious and fun, don’t you think? Or is that just me?? (I was a chemist before I became a baking blogger, so… My definition of “fun” might be on the geeky side. 😉 )

Anyway, moving on to more important things, like…
 

easy gingerbread snickerdoodles – aka gingerdoodles – healthy holiday cookies recipe – soft, chewy, whole wheat, clean eating, low fat

 
Spices. You’ll need a few to create the iconic gingerbread flavor. Those are ginger (obviously!), cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. I love the life that ginger adds to these cookies, that zing that really lifts their flavor and makes them extra cozy, and the deep richness of the nutmeg and cloves really rounds out their taste.

Tip: If you can find Saigon cinnamon, I highly recommend it! It has a stronger and sweeter flavor, which works really well in baking recipes. It’s basically the only kind I use now, and I buy it online here. Worth every penny!

Molasses. Along with ginger, this is the other key ingredient in traditional gingerbread. While ginger provides the bright spiciness, molasses adds the deep, rich, almost earthy undertones. Just like with the cream of tartar, I don’t recommend substituting anything else for it (if at all possible!) if you’d like a true gingerbread cookie flavor.

Tip: For the best results, use regular molasses — not blackstrap! The latter is more bitter and has a much stronger bite to it. I use Grandma’s molasses the most, but Brer Rabbit is another good option.

Since using molasses as the only sweetener would add too much liquid to the cookie dough, you’ll only use a small amount (more on that soon!). Then you’ll also use a granular sweetener to make your cookies sweet enough — without turning the cookie dough into soup!
 

mostly empty glass jar of Grandma's Molasses – used to make easy & healthy gingerbread snickerdoodles for the holidays

 
Sugar. Both coconut sugar and light brown sugar work equally well in this recipe. Coconut sugar is exactly what it sounds like… An unrefined sweetener made from coconuts. However, it doesn’t actually taste like coconuts! It has a lovely caramel-like flavor (very similar to brown sugar!), which accentuates the rich flavor of these cookies. You can often find it on the baking aisle near the granulated and brown sugar.

Tip: If you use coconut sugar, your cookies will be “clean eating” friendly!

Melted butter or coconut oil. Yes, melted! Not softened. In comparison, I’ve found that melted butter creates a more chewy cookie texture. It’s also easier on those of us who regularly forget to set out butter to soften ahead of time! 😉

Tip: If you use coconut oil, your gingerbread snickerdoodles will be dairy free!
 

easy gingerbread snickerdoodles – aka gingerdoodles – healthy holiday cookies recipe – soft, chewy, whole wheat, low calorie, no refined sugar

 

HOW TO MAKE GINGERBREAD SNICKERDOODLES

Got all of those ingredients? Good! Let’s cover how to make the best gingerbread snickerdoodles. Like I mentioned earlier, this cookie recipe is simple to make, but I still have some tips to share with you, starting with…

Measure correctly. This is really important, especially for the flour and molasses! Too much flour will make your cookies cakey or dry, and it can also prevent your cookie dough from coming together. Use this method (and my special fork trick!) or a kitchen scale (← that’s the one I own!) to make sure you add the correct amount!

However, for the molasses, I do not recommend using a kitchen scale. They’re great for solid ingredients — but not so much for liquid ones! Instead, use measuring spoons for the molasses, but be just as careful with measuring it because even a tiny difference can affect whether you end up with…

Thick or thin cookies. When testing this recipe, I made multiple batches and varied the molasses slightly in each one. See those photos below? The amount of molasses determined how thick or thin the cookies were, as well as how wide in diameter they were.
 

how to make cookies spread more, using more or less molasses in the cookie dough – stack of 5 gingerbread snickerdoodles of various thicknesses
overhead view of 3 different gingerbread snickerdoodle cookies – made using different amounts of molasses to make them spread more – from top to bottom, least wide to widest

 
For the batch of cookies on top, I used 4 ½ teaspoons (aka 1 ½ tablespoons). For the middle set, I used 5 ½ teaspoons. For the bottom ones, I used 6 teaspoons (aka 2 tablespoons). I left everything else exactly the same — the way I mixed together the dough, how long I chilled it, how I shaped the cookie dough into balls, and how long I baked them — and only changed the amount of molasses.

Isn’t it crazy how much of a difference 1 ½ teaspoons of molasses can make??

Tip: This is where it’s like a “choose-your-own adventure” book! (Did anyone else read those as a kid??) You get to pick how thick or thin you’d like your cookies to be. I’ve shared what to do to achieve each type in the Notes section of the recipe!

One small thing to note… The cookies made with less molasses will be thicker and not as wide, but they’ll also be lighter in color and a bit less sweet with a stronger spice flavor. (The spices taste stronger just because they have less molasses to compete with — not because you use more of them!) It’s a very small flavor difference, one that some people might not even notice, but I still wanted to mention that!
 

ball of gingerbread snickerdoodle cookie dough resting in a small glass bowl of cinnamon sugar

 
Chill. Regardless of how much molasses you use, the cookie dough will be sticky, so you’ll chill it before baking. This helps stiffen the cookie dough, which makes it easier to work with. Chilling is mandatory, but you only need to pop the bowl in the fridge for 30 minutes!

Coat — then roll. Along with the cream of tartar, another key characteristic of snickerdoodle cookies is their cinnamon sugar coating. It adds a little extra sweetness and coziness, along with a hint of crispness to their texture.

Even after chilling, the cookie dough will still be too sticky to touch with your bare hands, so use a spoon and spatula to drop it into the bowl of coating. Once it’s covered in cinnamon sugar, then pick it up and shape it into a ball. The coating acts like a barrier and prevents it from sticking to your skin!
 

overhead view of 12 balls of gingerbread snickerdoodle cookie dough on a black and white silicone baking mat, prior to baking

 
Bake. These gingerbread snickerdoodles don’t take very long to bake. They’re ready to come out of the oven when the centers still feel a little soft and underdone. (They’ll puff up some while in the oven, but they should collapse back down to “normal” within minutes!)

The heat from the warm baking sheet will continue to cook the centers all the way through while you let them rest before transferring to a wire rack. If you waited until the centers felt firm, then the sides would end up overdone, and your cookies wouldn’t be nearly as soft and chewy… So remove them a little early, and let the metal baking sheet work its magic!
 

overhead view of 12 gingerbread snickerdoodle cookies on a black and white silicone baking mat, just after baking

 
Reshape. This is an optional but bonus pro tip! As soon as you remove the baking sheet from the oven, grab a butter knife and use it to gently but firmly reshape any lopsided edges. You need to act quickly, before the cookies fully set, but this little trick will help smooth out those edges and make your cookies look perfectly round!
 

easy gingerbread snickerdoodles – aka gingerdoodles – healthy christmas cookies recipe – soft, chewy, whole wheat, low calorie, no refined sugar

 

FAQS ABOUT GINGERBREAD SNICKERDOODLES

Are these gingerbread snickerdoodles gluten free, dairy free, clean eating, low fat, or low calorie?
Yes — to all of the above! These cookies are naturally clean eating, low fat, and lower calorie, and they’re dairy free if you use the coconut oil option. I’ve included my top gluten free recommendations in the Notes section of the recipe!

Can I use a different flour?
Sure! I’ve included the other flours that will work in the Notes section of the recipe.

Can I skip the cream of tartar? Or substitute something else?
I don’t recommend doing either of those — not if you want your cookies to taste like snickerdoodles, at least! See the “cream of tartar” header above for more information.
 

easy gingerbread snickerdoodles – aka gingerdoodles – healthy holiday cookies recipe – gluten free, dairy free, low calorie, soft & chewy

 
Can I substitute something else for the molasses?
I don’t recommend doing that either. Molasses is what adds that deep, rich, comforting, and almost earthy undertone to gingerbread cookies. Your cookies won’t taste like true gingerbread without it!

However… I understand that it’s not possible to buy molasses in every country around the world, so I’ve included a few alternatives in the Notes section that will at least achieve the same cookie texture.

What’s the best kind of molasses to use?
Regular unsulphured molasses! Grandma’s is the brand I use the most. Do not substitute blackstrap molasses; it’s much more bitter in flavor!
 

easy gingerbread snickerdoodles – aka gingerdoodles – healthy holiday cookies recipe – gluten free, clean eating, low calorie, no refined sugar

 
My cookies didn’t spread, but I wanted them to. Why’s that?
There was probably too much flour in the cookie dough — or not enough sweetener! See the “measure correctly” header above for more information. Also, make sure you’re using the exact ingredients called for in the recipe (or the alternatives in the Notes section). Substituting other sweeteners, such as monk fruit or erythritol, will make the cookie dough much drier and prevent the cookies from spreading properly.

My cookies spread too much. I want them thicker. How can I achieve that?
Use less molasses! Adding less of a liquid ingredient will make the cookie dough stiffer and less likely to spread. See the “thick or thin cookies” header above for more information and photos too!

How do you make your cookies so round and perfect?
A little patience — and a butter knife! 😉 Shape the cookie dough to be as round as possible after rolling it in the coating. After baking, use a butter knife to gently smooth out any lopsided edges. See the “reshaping” tip above for more info!
 

easy gingerbread snickerdoodles – aka gingerdoodles – healthy holiday cookies recipe – low calorie, whole wheat, clean eating, dairy free

 
What’s the best way to store these gingerbread snickerdoodles? How long will they last?
Store them in an airtight container at room temperature. They should last for at least three or four days, if not closer to a week or more.

Can I ship these holiday cookies? Will they hold up in the mail?
Yes! They ship quite well. I have a handy “how to mail cookies” guide where I’ve shared the best way to package and ship them.
 

best gingerbread snickerdoodles – aka gingerdoodles – healthy holiday cookies recipe – whole wheat, clean eating, low calorie, no refined sugar, soft & chewy

 
Ready to bake a batch?? And when you make your own, remember to snap a picture and share it on Instagram using #amyshealthybaking and tagging @amyshealthybaking IN the photo itself! (That guarantees I’ll see your picture! 🙂 ) I’d love to see your healthy gingerbread snickerdoodles!

These gingerbread snickerdoodles are perfect for the holidays! Soft & chewy inside, plenty of cozy spice flavors, and a sweet outer coating. A fun combo of two classic cookies — and simple to make too! No cookie cutters or icing needed for these easy gingerbread cookies. Perfect for cookie trays, holiday parties & Christmas Day! ♡ gingerbread snickerdoodle cookies. healthy gingerbread cookies clean eating. gingerbread cookies soft and chewy. healthy gingerbread cookies low calorie.

Healthy Gingerbread Snickerdoodles (Gingerdoodles)

© Amy’s Healthy Baking

Cozy flavors fill every bite of these festive cookies! Spiced cookie dough is rolled in a sweet coating and then baked to perfection. Soft and chewy inside with a hint of crispness outside, these “gingerdoodles” are a wonderful addition to any holiday cookie tray — and easier to make than classic cut-out gingerbread! The cookies will keep for at least three or four days (if not closer to a week or more!) if stored in an airtight container at room temperature.

Instructions

  • To prepare the cookies, whisk together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the butter, egg, and vanilla. Stir in the molasses until thoroughly incorporated. Stir in the sugar. Add in the flour mixture, stirring until incorporated. Chill the cookie dough for 30 minutes.

  • To prepare the coating, mix together the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl until completely combined and no lumps remain.

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F, and line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
  • {See the Notes below about rolling and shaping before beginning this step!} Using a spoon and spatula, drop a small amount of the cookie dough into the coating. Carefully rock the cookie dough back and forth in the coating. (Do not touch the cookie dough with your hands until it’s fully coated!) Once fully covered in coating, roll the cookie dough into a sphere between your palms, and place it on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining cookie dough and coating. (Optional: Gently flatten the cookie dough as a spreading “head start” for cookies that are thinner!)

  • Bake at 350°F for 9-11 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the warm baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

Notes

IMPORTANT MEASURING NOTE – READ BEFORE BEGINNING: It’s really important to measure the flour correctly, using this method or a kitchen scale. (← That’s the one I own and love!) Too much flour will make your cookies turn out dry and crumbly, rather than soft and chewy. If you can’t incorporate all of the flour into your cookie dough, then stir in room-temperature milk (any kind will work!) ½ teaspoon at a time until all of the dry ingredients are incorporated.
 
HOW MUCH MOLASSES TO ADD TO THE COOKIE DOUGH – READ BEFORE BEGINNING: This actually depends on how thick or thin you prefer your snickerdoodles! If made exactly as written, your snickerdoodles will spread a decent amount and turn out fairly thin. (That’s how I like mine!)
 
For slightly thicker cookies, use 5 ½ teaspoons of molasses instead. For thick cookies (that don’t spread as much while baking!), use 1 ½ tablespoons (aka 4 ½ teaspoons) of molasses instead. (See the photos in my blog post above for visuals!)
 
FLOUR ALTERNATIVES: Whole wheat pastry flour, regular whole wheat flour, or all-purpose flour may be substituted for the white whole wheat flour. Oat flour will also work, but be very careful when measuring it because it tends to be more absorbent than wheat-based flour.
 
CREAM OF TARTAR NOTE: I do not recommend substituting for or omitting the cream of tartar. It’s important for both the taste and texture of these cookies. (See the “cream of tartar” header in my blog post above for more information!)
 
CINNAMON NOTES: I highly recommend using Saigon cinnamon for the best flavor! It’s stronger, richer, and sweeter than common cinnamon. I buy mine online here because it’s so inexpensive and affordable! If you aren’t using Saigon cinnamon, then consider increasing the cinnamon in the coating by ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon.
 
MOLASSES NOTES + ALTERNATIVES: Use regular unsulphured molasses, not blackstrap! The latter is more bitter. I use Grandma’s molasses the most.
 
If at all possible, I do not recommend substituting anything for the molasses. It’s what creates that deep, rich, comforting, almost earthy undertone in gingerbread cookies. Without it, your cookies won’t taste quite like gingerbread.
 
However, I understand not everyone has access to molasses! In a pinch, pure maple syrup, honey, or agave may be substituted to achieve the same cookie texture.
 
ROLLING THE COOKIE DOUGH IN COATING: This cookie dough is sticky, and that’s intentional! It gives these cookies a really soft and chewy texture, and it allows them to spread some while baking. However, that means the cookie dough will stick to your bare hands. So in Step 4, do NOT touch the cookie dough until it’s covered with the cinnamon sugar mixture. The coating then acts as a barrier and prevents it from completely sticking to your skin!
 
SHAPING THE COOKIE DOUGH BEFORE BAKING: For thicker snickerdoodles, roll the cookie dough so that it’s taller than it is wide (aka a cylinder shape!). For really thin snickerdoodles (thinner than in any of my photos!), roll the cookie dough into balls, and flatten them slightly before baking.
 
GLUTEN FREE OPTION: For the gluten free flour, use as follows: ¼ cup (30g) millet flour, ¼ cup (30g) tapioca flour, 3 tablespoons (21g) coconut flour, and ¾ teaspoon xanthan gum. Most store-bought gluten free flour blends (I like this one from Bob’s Red Mill) will work as well, if measured like this. Certified gluten free oat flour will also work, but be very careful when measuring it because it tends to be more absorbent than many other flours.
 
EGG FREE, DAIRY FREE + VEGAN OPTION: Use coconut oil or stick-style non-dairy butter (I like this one and this one). In place of the egg, substitute 1 ½ teaspoons of Ener-G (I whisk this into the dry ingredients!) + 2 tablespoons of warm water + an extra ½ tablespoon (7g) of coconut oil or non-dairy butter. If using the milk option to make your cookies spread more, then use your favorite non-dairy milk.
 
DOUBLING: This recipe is easily doubled!
 
HOW TO STORE: Store leftover snickerdoodles in an airtight container. If left at room temperature, they should last at least three or four days, if not closer to a week or more.
 
FOR MORE TIPS + INFORMATION + STEP-BY-STEP PHOTOS, SEE MY BLOG POST ABOVE!
 
{gluten free, clean eating, low fat, dairy free option, egg free option, vegan option}
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?I’d love to hear what you think of it in a comment below! If you take a picture, tag @amyshealthybaking on Instagram or use the hashtag #amyshealthybaking.

View Nutrition Information + Weight Watchers Points
 
 
You may also like Amy’s other recipes…
  The Ultimate Healthy Snickerdoodles
  The Ultimate Healthy Gingerbread Cookies
  Healthy Carrot Cake Snickerdoodles
  Healthy Soft-Baked Ginger Cookies
  Healthy Gingerbread Thumbprint Cookies
  Healthy Gingerbread Oatmeal Cookies
  Healthy Gingerbread Blossoms
  …and the rest of Amy’s healthy gingerbread recipes and healthy holiday cookie recipes!

best gingerbread snickerdoodles – aka gingerdoodles – easy & healthy holiday cookies recipe – soft, chewy, low calorie, clean eating, no refined sugar

 

 





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