Soft Gingerbread Cookies (Gluten Free & Vegan)

My best friend Tanya makes these amazing soft ginger cookies called Ginger Sparkles.

I’m serious people, they are the best cookies ever. She has baking them down to a serious art and science. Timed just perfectly to ensure the best chewiest cookies.

She gave me the recipe so I could try to make it vegan and gluten-free. And I have to say … the results were quite impressive.

Update Nov 20/12: After a bunch of reviews the consensus is to bake these just 8 minutes. I’m updating the recipe below to reflect that. Every time I’ve made these the time has varied between 8-10 minutes so start at 8 and go from there. Isn’t it funny how just an extra minute can change these from chewy to crispy?

5.0 from 3 reviews
Soft Gingerbread Cookies (Gluten Free & Vegan)
Recipe type: Cookies
Serves: 2 dozen
  • ¾ cup vegan margarine, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • ¼ cup applesauce + ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1¼ cups sorghum flour
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • ½ cup tapioca starch
  • 1½ teaspoons xanthan gum
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ cup white sugar, to roll in
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Cream margarine and brown sugar together in a large bowl. Add molasses and applesauce.
  3. In a separate bowl mix flours, baking soda, xanthan gum, salt, ginger and cinnamon.
  4. Add dry ingredients to wet and mix well.
  5. Scoop out tablespoonfuls of cookie dough and roll out into a ball. Dough will be rather sticky. Roll into white sugar then place on a cookie sheet.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 8-10 minutes. Keep an eye on them. You would hate to overbake these tasty gems.
  7. Let cool at least 5 minutes on the cookie sheet before removing from sheet.
  8. The cookies will be slightly crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside.


Mmmmmmm. These are not going to last long in our house.

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35 Responses to “Soft Gingerbread Cookies (Gluten Free & Vegan)”

  1. OutdoorMom
    November 29, 2011 at 10:59 pm #

    I made these today and they were so good! I didn’t realize they’d be so fragile, though. I might send cookie crumbs in my kids’ lunches tomorrow.

    • Megan
      November 30, 2011 at 2:15 pm #

      I’m glad that you liked the taste, but am disappointed that they turned out fragile for you. Hmmm, odd. When I made these, mine were crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside. I wonder if it has something to do with varying oven temperatures. I checked on these often through the baking time because I was worried about overbaking them. I wish I had a real solution to suggest for next time … aside from try baking them shorter or at a slightly lower temperature. Thanks for sharing! ~Megan

  2. Alissa Holly
    December 26, 2011 at 10:23 am #

    Just made these – if you undertake them a tad, they come out chewy and wonderful! A great cookie! And I’m not even totally gf!

    • Megan
      December 26, 2011 at 11:50 am #

      Glad to hear they turned out so great for you Alissa. How long would you say you ended up baking your batch? Quite a few minutes shy of the 9 minutes I did them at? I am always looking at ways to improve recipes so I would love to hear the timing you used. :) ~Megan

  3. Marianne Chanth
    September 8, 2012 at 12:21 am #

    I haven’t yet tried these, since I can’t get my hands on sorghum flour. What could I use instead? I’m very new to vegan-gluten free cooking, but I’m quite eager to learn :o)
    Love your website, Megan!

    • Megan
      September 8, 2012 at 10:05 am #

      I would use more brown rice flour instead of sorghum. Or, I’d substitute 1 cup with more brown rice flour and the 1/4 cup with cornstarch.

      Also, if you’re new to gluten-free baking you might want to consider a pre-mixed flour blend. Bob’s Red Mill has a good all-purpose one and so does Better Batter. There are many others though. Just add up the amounts from the flours in this recipe (so 2 3/4 cups) and substitute it with the same amount of all-purpose mix. Some mixes have xanthan gum already added, so read the ingredients. If it does, just omit the xanthan gum in this recipe. Hope that helps!

  4. Patricia
    September 11, 2012 at 1:22 pm #

    I just made these and wow in think these are going to be “The” cookie!
    I used coconut flour instead of rice and baked them for 8 min!!
    Thank you so much for sharing!

    • Megan
      September 11, 2012 at 2:21 pm #

      Awesome to hear Patricia. I want to try these with coconut flour now too!

  5. Laura
    October 14, 2012 at 7:13 pm #

    I can’t find tapioca starch anywhere… Is there anything else I could use? I’m dying to try this recipe! :)

    • October 14, 2012 at 9:00 pm #

      Hi Laura, Just swap it out with some cornstarch and you should still get decent results. :)

  6. Laura
    October 16, 2012 at 6:24 pm #

    Thanks Megan! I found the tapioca starch :) and let me say they turned out delicious!! Making a 2nd batch tonight! Haha thanks for this amazing recipe!

    • October 16, 2012 at 8:29 pm #

      They must be good if you’re making a 2nd batch already!! So happy to hear it. This cookie dough ended up in a pie crust for a peach pie too … which was awesome, if I do say so myself.

  7. Sarah
    October 17, 2012 at 7:59 am #

    I have yet to make these but am going to this weekend. How many cookies does it yield? I’m assuming either 12 or 24?

    • October 17, 2012 at 8:20 am #

      Hey Sarah, the recipe should make about 2 dozen cookies. I’ll update the recipe to include that info. :)

      • Sarah
        October 17, 2012 at 8:23 am #


  8. WildHorse
    November 6, 2012 at 7:22 pm #

    These are excellent. We baked 8 minutes and they were perfectly chewy on the inside and crispy on the outside. Even the gluten-eating doubting Thomas will love them. We doubled the ginger and might add some white pepper next time. MMMMMmmmmm.

    • November 6, 2012 at 9:08 pm #

      Yum yum yum! Glad these turned out for you. Love the idea of adding white pepper – that’s something I’ve got to try next time. Never heard of or done that before!

  9. Janet
    November 18, 2012 at 1:23 pm #

    Have you tried this recipe using regular margarine or butter?

    • November 18, 2012 at 8:28 pm #

      I have not attempted making these with regular butter or margarine. That being said, I generally can take a recipe that calls for either of those things and sub in vegan margarine with success so I imagine going the other way would work too if you wanted to.

  10. Bridget
    November 19, 2012 at 8:03 pm #

    Hi! These look delicious! I’m dying to try them but can’t muster another trip to the store tonight. I am missing the brown sugar and the molasses–(sorry if this is a dumb question, I’m new to baking!)–might I be able to substitute those for something else? I have agave nectar, brown rice syrup, honey, etc….. ;) They would obviously be lacking the molasses flavor but could they still be good?? Thank you!

    • November 19, 2012 at 8:34 pm #

      The brown sugar you could swap out with another sugar if you have white sugar I’d go with that. If you use a liquid sweetener like agave nectar or brown rice syrup I would be worried about the cookie dough being too moist/runny even.

      If you have maple syrup you could sub that in for the molasses. It’s not going to be quite the same mind you, but might still work. If you end up trying these substitutions please let me know I would love to know how it turned out. Good luck!

  11. Emmy
    November 20, 2012 at 10:37 am #

    I made these and they’re great! My friend is vegan, and I’m gluten free, so I needed something for both of us. I cooked them for 8 minutes (since I read that in the comments section) and it was perfect! Thanks!

    • November 20, 2012 at 10:05 pm #

      Thanks for the comment Emmy. I’ve decided to update the recipe to reflect the consensus that 8 minutes of baking is best. It seems like it’s the perfect time everyone’s hit on. :)

  12. Christine
    December 3, 2012 at 6:24 pm #

    These are amazing!!! I have some GF friends who just adored these – and so did I! They came out perfect. I am also vegan so it is so nice to find this awesome blog! Your pumpkin cookies and avocado-flourless ones are also incredible! Thanks and keep up the great work!

    • December 3, 2012 at 10:15 pm #

      Thanks Christine! These gingerbread cookies have definitely been a hit now that it’s ‘the season’. Glad you liked the pumpkin ones too. I wish I came up with avocado cookies but I don’t think I did … if you find out where that recipe came from though, come back and share a link because those sound divine! :)

  13. kelley
    October 23, 2013 at 12:00 am #

    well, they certainly taste incredible!! but.. mine didn’t rise, or flatten. they baked all the way through but are more like.. ginger balls. any idea what that is from? thank you for such a yummy food blog!

    • October 23, 2013 at 12:15 pm #

      That’s really interesting Kelley. I’m not sure why yours wouldn’t have risen or flattened. I’ve never had that happen to me before. I’m glad they still tasted incredible despite being balls instead of cookies … I’ll have to play around with the recipe and see what might have went wrong.

  14. kelley
    November 13, 2013 at 12:19 am #

    …just made them for the third time, and still balls! this actually keeps happening in all of my gluten free baking attempts, even with recipes that aren’t from your site. it’s clearly something I’m doing wrong, or perhaps a product I’m using…

  15. Amy
    November 18, 2013 at 2:01 pm #

    Hey there, do you think that this recipe would work for gingerbread cut-outs if the dough was chilled and rolled? I might not wait for an answer and just try it. :)
    Thanks in advance!

    • November 18, 2013 at 2:05 pm #

      Hi Amy, I’m not totally sure how it would turn out. But, the dough is pretty firm so I bet if you chilled it and rolled it gently between parchment paper it could work. The tricky part may be transferring the cut-outs to the baking sheet though. You’ll definitely want to adjust baking time too since they’ll be so much thinner. If you give it a try please comment back and share how it worked! :)

  16. julia
    October 20, 2014 at 6:37 pm #

    These cookies were absolutely a hit! I’m gluten free, vegan and sensitive to most sugars so I used coconut sugar. I also used half a cup vegan butter and a quarter cup coconut oil and the taste and texture are incredible! Definitely trying these again!

  17. Angela
    November 10, 2014 at 2:20 pm #

    Quick question about substitutions…could I sub pumpkin for the applesauce (I don’t have any & don’t want to go to the store!) Also anything I could sub for the vegan margarine? (perhaps coconut oil or something?) Can’t wait to try these! Thanks!

    • November 15, 2014 at 1:45 pm #

      You could definitely try substituting the vegan margarine with coconut oil. You may find that the cookies are more crumbly or fall apart a bit more easily though. I don’t know for sure as I haven’t experimented with swapping for coconut oil in this particular recipe. Also, I say give using canned pumpkin a try instead of applesauce. It might change the flavor a bit but I bet it would still be awesome – maybe even better!


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