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Vegan Gingerbread Men

These vegan gingerbread cookies are soft, chewy and can be decorated however you like. They make beautiful edible gifts and are perfect for festive snacking!

vegan gingerbread man cookie on a plate

If there’s one thing that makes me feel festive, it’s gingerbread. I’ve been making gingerbread men (and women!) pretty much every year since I started baking.

The sweet, slightly spicy smell that fills the houses as they bake never fails to put me in the Christmas spirit. So delicious!

The best thing about these gingerbread cookies is that you can decorate them however you like. It doesn’t have to just be vegan gingerbread men, you can make Christmas trees, snowmen, hearts, or even just simple round cookies. Or you can do a mix- whatever takes your fancy!

I used 3 different cookie cutters this time and made some gingerbread men, trees and love hearts.

a variety of vegan gingerbread cookies decorated with icing

I think they would make a really cute edible gift or addition to a festive buffet table!

Want More Vegan Christmas Desserts?

How To Make Vegan Gingerbread Men

I would recommend using a scale for this recipe for best results!

Step 1:

The first step is to preheat your oven to 180C/ 350F and line two large baking trays with parchment paper.

You’ll get up to 25 cookies from this recipe depending on their size so keep that in mind!

Step 2:

In a large bowl, mix together 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, 2 tablespoons of agave or maple syrup and 1 tablespoon of molasses. (You can substitute the molasses for black treacle if you need to.)

Once you’ve mixed that together, add in 2 tablespoons of plant-based milk (I used soy) and give it another good stir until everything is well incorporated.

wet mixture of molasses, vanilla and agave syrup mixed together

Step 3:

Next, to a separate bowl, add 210 grams of all-purpose flour (around 1+ 2/3 cups), 1/2 a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda, 2 teaspoons of ginger and 1/2 a teaspoon of cinnamon. Mix well.

Add 60 grams of vegan margarine (4 tablespoons) to the bowl and rub it into the flour mixture until it resembles breadcrumbs.

Now stir in 100 grams of caster/ superfine sugar (1/2 cup).

Step 4:

Pour in your wet ingredients and mix until everything starts to stick together. Use your hands to form a dough.

mixing wet mixture with the dry mixture
hands pressing the dough together

The mixture will look crumbly at the beginning but keep kneading and working it in your hands and it will eventually come together to make a perfect, rollable dough.

Step 5:

Roll out your dough to around 1/2 an inch thick and cut out your cookie shapes. I used 2.5 inch cutters and got 25 cookies.

cutting gingerbread man shapes out of the rolled out dough

Step 6:

Lay your shapes out on your lined baking tray and place the whole tray in the fridge for one hour. This will help the cookies to hold their shape and stop them from puffing up as they bake.

If you’re pinched for time, you can also place them in the freezer for 20 minutes instead.

gingerbread men on a tray

Step 7:

Remove the cookies from the fridge and bake for 12-15 minutes. 12 minutes will give a soft, chewy gingerbread and 15 minutes will produce a slightly crunchier cookie.

Step 8:

Once the cookies are cool, prepare your icing by mixing together 200 grams of icing/powdered sugar (1+1/2 cups) and 3 tablespoons of cold water.

Add food coloring if desired and spread the icing over your cookies. Alternatively, place different colors into small piping bags and pipe the icing on for precision.

decorating vegan gingerbread cookies

Top with vegan sprinkles of choice and leave at room temperature for ~30 minutes until the icing hardens.

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gingerbread man standing in front of a plate of gingerbread men


Can the cookies be frozen?

Yes! Just make sure to freeze them before you put any icing on them. This can be done on the day you want to serve them.

You can also freeze the dough if you want to make it ahead. I’ve done this many times and the dough holds really well after defrosting. I let it thaw at room temperature for a few hours before rolling it out with a little flour, cutting my shapes and baking as per instructions.

What can I use for the vegan gingerbread men buttons?

For the “gum drop” buttons, I used the purple sprinkles from the Dr. Oetker unicorn confetti and stuck them on with a bit of white icing.

If you don’t have access to these sprinkles- substitute them with any other vegan sprinkles or some purple fondant icing rolled into small balls.

Which type of icing is best for vegan gingerbread?

To top the tree and heart cookies, I used a simple mix of icing sugar, water and food coloring which settled nicely without dripping down the sides.

For the gingerbread men, I used writing icing tubes for extra precision. But if you have some piping bags and an extra small nozzle, you can totally do it that way too! You’ll need 3 separate colors for this- blue for the eyebrows, red for the mouth and white for the body detailing.

Will gluten-free flour work?

I haven’t tested this recipe with gluten-free flour yet. If you’d like to try it, I’d recommend using a ready-made blend that contains xanthan gum, to help to cookies stick together. You may also need to add a little more liquid depending on which brand of flour you use.

Can I make these without molasses?

Molasses is a bit of a weird ingredient! It’s a super dark, sticky byproduct of sugar production. As I mentioned earlier in the post, molasses can be substituted for black treacle if you’re in the UK. They’re very similar in taste and texture!

If you can’t get your hands on treacle or molasses, you can simply substitute it for another tablespoon of agave or maple syrup.

If you do this, I’d also recommend substituting the caster sugar for brown sugar. This way, you’ll still get a nice chewy texture from the little bit of molasses that the brown sugar contains.

I hope that you love these gingerbread cookies. Make sure to share them with your friends and family to spread the Christmas cheer!

Pinterest pin- vegan gingerbread men

Get creative with the decorating and let me know how it goes by leaving a rating or comment below!

Happy baking!xo

vegan gingerbread cookies - a gingerbread man on a plate
5 from 4 votes

Vegan Gingerbread Men

Soft and chewy gingerbread cookies without eggs or dairy.

Course Dessert
Cuisine vegan
Keyword vegan gingerbread cookies
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Chilling time 1 hour
Servings 25 2.5-inch cookies
Calories 63 kcal


  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons Agave nectar (or maple syrup)
  • 1 Tablespoon Molasses (or black treacle)
  • 2 Tablespoons Plant-based milk of choice
  • 210 g All purpose flour (1+⅔ cups)
  • ½ Teaspoon Bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 Teaspoons Ground, dried ginger
  • ½ Teaspoon Ground cinnamon
  • 60 g Vegan margarine (4 tablespoons)
  • 100 g Caster/superfine sugar (½ cup)

For the icing*:

  • 200 g Icing/powdered sugar (1+½ cups)
  • 3 Tablespoons Water
  • Food colouring and vegan sprinkles of choice (optional)


  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F (160°C/325°F if using fan or convection oven). Line two large baking trays with parchment paper.

  2. Mix together the vanilla, agave and molasses together in a small bowl. Add the milk and mix until smooth. Set aside.

  3. In a separate, larger bowl, mix together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, the ginger and the cinnamon. Rub in the margarine until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, then stir in the caster sugar.

  4. Add the wet mixture to the dry and mix everything until it starts to stick together. Use your hands to form it into a dough. Note that it will seem a bit dry at first but keep kneading and warming it in your hands and it'll soon come together.

  5. Roll the dough out to around ½ an inch thick. Use a 2.5-inch gingerbread man cookie cutter to cut the shapes.

  6. Place the dough shapes onto your trays and place them in the fridge for 1 hour. If you're short for time, you can put them in the freezer for 20 minutes. This will help them hold their shape as they bake.

  7. Remove from the fridge and bake for 12-15 minutes. (The longer you leave them in the oven, the crunchier they will be when they cool.)

  8. Allow the cookies to cool completely before removing them from the tray.

For the icing:

  1. Mix together the icing sugar and water until you have a smooth, thick icing. Add any food colouring if using and mix in well.

  2. Pipe or spread the icing onto the cookies. I used writing icing for the details on my gingerbread men. For the purple "buttons" I used the purple sprinkles from Dr. Oetker's unicorn confetti and stuck them on with white icing. These sprinkles can be substituted with small balls of purple fondant. 

  3. Leave the cookies at room temperature for around 30 minutes to allow the icing to set before enjoying.

Recipe Notes

  • *Alternatively, use vegan royal icing.
  • Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
Nutrition Facts
Vegan Gingerbread Men
Amount Per Serving (1 cookie)
Calories 63 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Sodium 32mg1%
Carbohydrates 12g4%
Sugar 5g6%
Protein 1g2%
* All values are an estimate only and will vary depending on the food brands used.
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Recipe Rating


Sunday 13th of December 2020

These were super easy to make and they tasted amazing! I didn’t add the frosting because I didn’t have time but I loved it!


Sunday 13th of December 2020

Thank you Luca! So glad you liked them :)

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