Crispy Ginger Cookies

Piled crispy ginger cookies

These ginger cookies are thin, crispy, not too sweet, full of warm ginger taste, and smell like orange. This combination makes them perfect Christmas cookies.


I did not want anything soft or chewy here, crispy cookies that keep their shape well while baking (does not puff, or spread) were what I aimed for, so I skipped leaveners and melted butter instead of creaming it – the less air in the dough, the better.

Magic ingredient – orange zest 

No, this one is not optional, so don’t skip it. Orange taste and smell are what lift simple ginger cookies to yummy ginger cookies! I had an idea of adding some orange zest from the start but, of course, forgot about it for the first two test batches. When I finally added some, the dough smelled amazing, the cookies smelled amazing, and the taste got a lot better. Keep in mind that orange quality varies (especially if you live far north like me), so to really feel and smell it in cookies, make sure you use well-riped orange, the zest is easy to grate and it smells strong when grated.

Crispy ginger cookies

Lot’s of ginger

I wanted to feel a strong ginger bite in these cookies but had no idea how much to add. I started with one teaspoon, tasted the first cookie, decided that my ginger was old and not spicy anymore (I was wrong), bought fresh ginger, and more or less doubled the amount in each other test batch. The fourth one (!) was close to what I was looking for. So don’t be alarmed by the amount of ginger in the recipe: it’s not overwhelming, it’s just perfect! However, if you are not a big fan of ginger spiciness, reduce the amount to 10 g / 0.35 oz. You will get a lighter ginger taste and orange will come more upfront.

Baking Time

10 minutes worked the best for me, but you will probably have to adjust it. Baking time depends on how thin you roll, what size cookies you cut out, and… your oven. So watch your first batch closely: cookies will get lighter in color when baking (unexpectedly!), but if they start browning again, most probably unevenly, they are burning. It will also add burned bitterness to the taste so shorten the baking time by a minute or so for the next batch if it happens. Keep in mind that these cookies are still soft when taken out of the oven and will get harder and crispier while cooling.

Crispy ginger cookies
Close up of a crispy ginger cookie

Crispy Ginger Cookies

Piled crispy ginger cookies

These ginger cookies are thin, crispy, not too sweet, full of warm ginger taste, and smell like orange. This combination makes them perfect Christmas cookies.

  • Prep Time20 min
  • Bake / Cook Time10 min
  • Rest / Chill Time1 hr
  • Total Time1 hr 30 min
  • Yield25-30 cookies


  • 300 g / 10.6 oz wheat flour (all-purpose or plain)
  • 1 medium egg (50-60 g / 1.8-2 oz without shell)
  • 150 g / 5.3 oz dark muscovado sugar
  • 150 g / 5.3 oz unsalted butter
  • 1 medium orange
  • 15 g / 0.5 oz (~2 tbsp) ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 0.5 tsp ground cardamom
  • 0.25 tsp ground cloves
  • 0.25 tsp ground nutmegs



Clean orange thoroughly with a sponge and grate the zest (orange part only).


Crack an egg into a small bowl and whisk it lightly to make mixing it with flour easier.


Mix flour with ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and nutmegs. Sift the four mix once through a fine sieve to make sure no spice lumps are left.



On medium heat melt the butter. When the butter has melted, add sugar, and while still heating, mix till you get an even mixture with no sugar lumps. It will have the texture of honey and look as dark as melted chocolate. Do not bring to boil.



Add orange zest, egg, still warm (straight from heat) sugar-butter mixture (see notes) to the flour and mix till it comes together. The dough will be soft, slippery from melted butter, and slightly warm to the touch. Even if it looks a little too soft, resist adding more flour. If you taste the dough, it will be slightly bitter from spices, that’s perfectly normal.



Wrap the dough to parchment paper or plastic wrap and refrigerate for about one hour till it gets stiffer and easier to roll.


Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F (without a fan).


Roll parts of the dough (see notes) on a piece of parchment paper to ~3 mm / ~0.1 inch thickness and cut out desired cookie shapes. I used 8 cm / 3 inch diameter cutter. Dust your rolling pin lightly with flour if it sticks. Reroll the scraps.




Carefully lift the cookies and transfer them to baking sheets. Bake one sheet at a time for about 10 mins. These cookies will get lighter in color while baking, when taken out of the oven they will feel dry but still soft to the touch and will harden while cooling.



Cool for a few minutes on a baking sheet and transfer to a rack to cool completely.


  • It’s important to mix in the sugar-butter mixture till it’s still warm (40-50°C / 104-122°F) or the dough will not come together so well.
  • You can leave the dough in the fridge overnight, or even for a few days if you need to, but it will get too stiff to roll. In this case, keep it at room temperature to thaw and soften for an hour or two before rolling.
  • When you try to roll the dough thinly, it’s a lot easier to work with a smaller amount. I usually divide the dough into 4 portions.
  • You can roll on a flour-dusted surface if you prefer, but keep in mind that you will roll in more flour and make your cookies tougher and drier, so try to use as little flour as possible. Also, with white patches of flour, cookies will not look as good.
  • Baking time is orientational. If you make thinner or smaller cookies, you will need to shorten the baking time. Color should be still even after baking. If cookies are unevenly browned, they are overbaked.
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