Healthy Gingerbread Cookies (Vegan & Paleo!)

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These healthy Gingerbread Cookies taste remarkably like the real thing, but they’re made without white flour or refined sugar. My whole family (including my picky kids) love them!

healthy gingerbread cookies with coconut sugar icing

How to Make Healthy Gingerbread Cookies

These cookies are made with protein-rich almond flour, so they are naturally gluten-free and will leave you feeling satisfied and nourished after eating one (or two).

Paired with arrowroot starch, these cookies have the perfect texture when stored at room temperature, so you don’t have to keep them in the fridge like you do with other almond flour cookie recipes. Arrowroot starch is thought to be easily digested, may help with stomach upset, and may be a potential source of prebiotics, too. (source)

The arrowroot starch also acts as a binder, so you don’t need to use eggs or even an egg substitute, like flax eggs. You can mix the ingredients together all in one bowl, then chill the dough for a few minutes before rolling it out and making cute cut-out shapes.

cutting out and baking gingerbread cookies

Time-Saving Tip

If you don’t want to use cookie cutters, you can skip the chilling portion of this recipe and simply drop the cookie dough by the tablespoon onto a baking sheet and bake as directed. You can roll them in a little coconut sugar to make them extra-special!

Personally, I prefer decorating gingerbread cookies with icing. It’s a memory I want to make with my kids (just like I did with my mom) so I’ve tested naturally-sweetened frostings made with honey, maple syrup, and coconut sugar to see what works best.

gingerbread cookies on a pan

This coconut sugar frosting is by far the best result, both in taste and texture, and even though it’s not pure white like the versions made with refined powdered sugar, it’s ridiculously tasty and doesn’t melt at room temperature.

You might want to plan on making a double batch of these cookies because I’m confident they will disappear very quickly!

This icing doesn’t harden, so I recommend storing these cookies on a flat surface to keep the frosting in tact. They will dry out at room temperature after a couple days, so you’ll want to freeze them in an air-tight container if you want to make them much further in advance.

healthy gingerbread cookies overhead on pan

For best texture, don’t store these cookies in an airtight container at room temperature. They will get softer when sealed in a bag, but they stay firm if left on a plate uncovered.

healthy gingerbread cookies overhead on pan
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4.9 from 29 votes

Healthy Gingerbread Cookies (Vegan & Paleo)

These healthy gingerbread cookies are made without white flour or refined sugar, but they taste like the real thing!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword healthy gingerbread cookies
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 15
Calories 103kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour (almond meal works, too)
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot or tapioca starch
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 Tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses
  • Extra arrowroot or tapioca starch , for rolling & cutting
  • 1 batch of Coconut Sugar Icing , for decorating

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large mixing bowl combined the almond flour, starch, ginger, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda and stir to combine. Add in the coconut oil, maple syrup and molasses and stir again until a sticky dough is formed.
  • To make cut-out cookies, place the dough in the freezer for 30 minutes to help it firm up. (Or you could place it in the fridge overnight, if you want to make this a day in advance.) Place the dough in the center of a large piece of parchment paper and sprinkle it with a bit of arrowroot or tapioca starch to help prevent sticking. Using a rolling pin to roll the dough into a flat sheet, about 1/4-inch thick. Pull away the excess dough to reveal each shape, and re-roll the dough to create more shapes. (I ended up with about 15 cookies using cookie cutters about the size of the palm of my hand.)
  • Alternatively, you can skip the cut-out cookies and just roll the dough into tablespoon-sized balls, roll them in a bit of coconut sugar, and flatten them on the baking sheet with your hand. They are amazing this way, too!
  • Bake the cookies at 350F for about 10 minutes for cookies with a soft center, or 14 to 15 minutes for a more crisp cookie. (The edges should brown for a crispier cookie.) Allow them to cool completely on the pan before icing and serving. They will firm up as they cool.
  • Leftover cookies can be stored uncovered on the counter for up to 3 days, or you can store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. (Freeze them for up to 3 months.)

Video

Notes

The coconut sugar icing doesn't harden, so I recommend storing these cookies on a flat surface to keep the frosting in tact. They will dry out at room temperature after a couple days, so you'll want to freeze them in an air-tight container if you want to make them much further in advance. For best texture, don't store these cookies in an airtight container at room temperature-- they get softer when sealed in a bag, but they stay firm if left on a plate.

Nutrition

Calories: 103kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 38mg | Potassium: 16mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 1mg
Healthy Gingerbread Cookie Nutrition Note: The values listed above are calculated per cookie, without the frosting. These are only general estimates, so be sure to check the labels on your ingredients for more accurate calculations.

Recipe Notes:

  • I’ve made these cookies with almond meal and almond flour, both with good results. If you need a recipe that doesn’t use starch, try my original ginger cookies.
  • Melted butter can replace the coconut oil, if you don’t need a dairy-free or vegan cookie.

If you try this recipe, please leave a comment below letting me know how you like it! And if you make a modification, I’d love to hear how that works out for you, too. We can all benefit from your experience!

Reader Feedback: What’s your favorite holiday cookie? These are definitely the winners for me, but my husband’s favorite are these Peanut Butter Balls (or “Buckeyes”).

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Comments

Karen

Finally! I’ve been waiting for these cookies to be published on ur site! Question: I don’t do a lot of piping or decorating. What are your favourite piping bags that you use?

    Megan Gilmore

    I have one reusable Wilton bag that was a hand-me-down, but most often I just use plastic sandwich bags! I just cut off one tip on the bottom of the bag, place the decorating tip in that corner, and then add in the frosting. Easy cleanup!

    rochelle

    I’m a cake and cookie baker… I myself prefer fat daddio’s silicone reusable bags; however, you can use a heavy duty Ziploc bag and trim a small portion off a corner to use until you’re committed to investing in piping bags and piping tips. Wilton also makes some nice reusable canvas bags, as well as Ateco.

Samantha

Wow I can’t wait to make these cookies! I was wondering if I can sub the maple syrup with date syrup?

    Megan Gilmore

    I’ve never worked with date syrup, so I couldn’t say for sure. I’m guessing date syrup isn’t quite as sweet, so you might be dealing with a spicier cookie. You’ll have to experiment and let us know how it works out!

    Karen

    Date syrup should work just fine……….. It’s very sweet! I think it would be a good combo.

Liz S.

My favorite holiday cookie is Iced Gingerbread Men, so you totally created the best recipe ever! 🙂

    Megan Gilmore

    I’m so glad to hear that! They are my very favorite, too. 🙂

Laura ~ RYG

I’m shocked you can make cookies that are both vegan and paleo and look that good! This year we are making several varieties of cookies for the 3 Santa plates we have. And honestly, based on the Santa’s I’ve seen ~ they could use the paleo option, hehe. Seriously, I can’t believe guys are willing to do that job, imagine how many sick and miserable kids plop on their lap!!!

    Megan Gilmore

    HA! Paleo cookies for all Santas! 😉

rachel @ atheltic avocado

these are so cute! I love that they are both vegan and paleo!

    Megan Gilmore

    Thanks, I hope you enjoy them!

Alina

Do you think I can use more maple syrup instead of the molasses? Or are the molasses used to bind the cookies? Really looking forward to making these. I have tried so many of your recipes and they have all been amazing!

    Megan Gilmore

    Yes, I think it will change the flavor slightly but they should still be delicious!

emily

Can you use almond flour instead of almond meal?

    Megan Gilmore

    I haven’t had the chance to try this with almond flour, but I’m guessing the result will be similar. In my experience, blanched almond flour usually results in a more oily, shortbread-type of cookie, so you might need to reduce the oil a bit in this recipe when making substitutions.

      Andrea

      I used almonds flour (I didn’t even notice until I was reading these comments the recipe said almond meal not almonfpd flour – oops). I did a double batch and they were amazing. My husband ate 1/2 a batch he liked them so much. I took them out at 10 minutes and had a slight crisp outside and a nice moist soft inside.
      I did not due the icing as I cannot find red palm oil shortening in Canada where I live. I can only seem to find the red Palm oil. Regardless, they were perfect to us. Once again thank you for an amazing recipe. 5tars for sure!

        Rachael

        Instead of the red Palm oil I just added that amount of coconut oil! It seemed to work well with the vanilla icing so I bet it would be fine in this as well.

Ebony

Hi from New Zealand! What purpose does the molasses serve? Just wondering if I have a ready-substitute in the cupboard.

    Megan Gilmore

    It gives them a rich flavor that’s hard to describe. I tried substituting coconut nectar for it in a couple of batches when I ran out, and it’s not quite the same without the molasses but they’re still good! You could probably get away with using an extra tablespoon of maple syrup as a replacement if you need to.

    Elbee l

    You can replace molasses in equal measure with black treacle!

Gia

I lovvvvve anything ginger and molasses…but my favorite holiday cookie for every occasion is a simple cut out cookie with a vanilla, cakey taste, sprinkles or colored sugar on top of course! I have yet to come across a Paleo one, so wondering if you could dream up something!? I was thinking maybe cashew butter/bourbon vanilla extract/arrowroot powder- maybe a sugar cookie-like batter!? If there’s a girl for the job, it’s you!:)

    Megan Gilmore

    I actually tried one with cashew butter, because my Cashew Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies are my favorite cookies EVER, but the cashew butter was really overwhelming in the sugar cookie version. I have another alternative coming later this week, though! With sprinkles on the frosting and everything. 😉

      Gia

      Omg, awesome! Can’t wait! Thank you, my little sugar cookie, lol…❤️

Delphine

Thank you so much Megan!
You are a star!

I just popped my cookies out of the oven and I devoured two already! This recipe is amazing.
So what else could I do? = making a second batch right now (no joke 🙂

    Megan Gilmore

    Yay! I’m so glad you’re enjoying them. 🙂

Talitha

These are so goooooood!!! I also used more maple syrup instead of molasses. I made these for a friend who cannot have gluten, dairy products and eggs. Turns out, I’m going to have to make another batch, I had no idea how amazing ‘healthy’ cookies could be!

Ricki

Hey Megan,
Thought you might like to know that this site is using one of your recipes (and they stole your photo, too): http://meanttothrive.com/naturalalternativestosugar

    Megan Gilmore

    Thank you so much for letting me know, Ricki! I just contacted her– hopefully she’ll remove all of them!

Jill

Just made them! Love them! I love the texture of them! I will make the frosting for next batch! Theses were just balls!

Jaleen

These are very good! My husband ate four of them while they were cooling and has proclaimed them his favorite cookies now (I still have a weakness for the cashew butter). Thank you for another great recipe!

jen

I have actually never liked gingerbread cookies but had to try these because everything you make is so great! My 4 year old son (the pickiest eater I know) said, “Mommy, these cookies are WAY too good!!” Awesome job, we are loving our gingerbread cookies this year!

Kelly

Hi, Love so many of your recipes! My son has a nut allergy, any suggestions for making this one nut free? Thanks!

Beth

My GF son has been asking for gingerbread men, I’m so happy i found this recipe.

Mei

Made these wonderful cookies last night. They were good last night and after sitting on the counter overnight, delicious!! I save up almond meal after making almond milk never knowing what to use the meal for besides smoothies. Now I have cookies to dip in our almond milk.
Merry Christmas Megan!!!

PR

Thanks so much for posting these in time for Christmas! Ever since our children were little, we’ve had a Christmas tradition of decorating gingerbread together as a family. Now that some of us our gluten free, it’s great to have a recipe we all can enjoy! We enjoyed your https://detoxinista.com/2012/10/grain-free-ginger-cookies/ the last couple of Christmases, so I was really excited when you said you were creating a version that could be cutout and decorated. We like to decorate with m&m’s & chocolate chips using a touch of royal icing – chocolate and gingerbread are the perfect combination! Thanks so much for this awesome recipe and making our Christmas a little sweeter 🙂 Hope you had a wonderful Christmas!

Sofia

Just made this! So delicious, by far the best gingerbread recipe i’ve tried. Thank you for sharing!

Teresa

These are absolutely delicious! We’re going to make another batch to ring in the New Year. Yum!!

andrea

I have made these cookies twice now. I think they will be a year long favorite. My kids love them. I love them a bit too much. Lol!!

Vanessa Cassani

Oh my! These look beautiful. I wish I would of found this recipe sooner, you should of seen the mess I made trying to make a vegan version of the ginger bread cookie. Thanks for the post, I’m saving this one 🙂

Faith

I recently saw a recipe that claimed that that omitting the Baking Powder resulted in the gingerbread cookies not spreading.
Do you think omitting the Baking Soda in this recipe would have the same result?
(Btw, I have made several of your recipes, and haven’t had a bad one yet. Thank you!)

    Megan Gilmore

    I’ve always felt like it’s the oil/fat in a recipe that determines how much a cookie spreads, but the baking soda might affect it slightly, too. I add the baking soda so that the cookies will rise a bit, but if you don’t mind a flatter cookie you’re welcome to try it without!

Tiffstitch

This worked perfectly for ginger cookies, I’m attempting the gingerbread cut out cookies now. Thank you for an excellent, healthy recipe for the holidays!

Holli

Hi, can’t wait to make these but forgive me for subbing some ingredients! I need to know if it will work to use corn starch instead of arrowroot starch for the cookies? And will it work to use granulated sugar instead of the coconut sugar for the icing? Will these two substitutes work as well? Thank you!!

Rosamaria

Hi Megan, thank you for this awesome recipe! We loved it! What brand dod you use for Almond meal? My dough was never sticky but I think because I blended my own almonds.
Thank you
Rosamaria

Olivia Morgaine

Aloha Megan,
This looks like a terrific recipe. I’d like to use ingredients I have on hand. Do you think coconut nectar would work well in lieu of blackstrap molasses? Thanks! Happy holidays!
Best,
Olivia

    Megan Gilmore

    The flavor won’t be the exact same, but I think they’d still taste good!

Popsy22

These are very impractical – I made a double batch but they are 2/3 eaten before they’ve even finished cooling! Outstandingly delicious-thank you!

Anna

I loved this! I was able to make a gingerbread house out of the dough and it came out better than I imagined. Thank you so much! I featured it in this blog post: http://todayismyhappiness.com/2016/12/28/christmas-weekend/

Leah Iglesias

Oh my god!!!! These are the best cookies ever!! They taste just like ginger snaps!!!

Kafira Adam

awsome recipe,easy to make and whole family loves it! 🙂

Jen

These were absolutely amazing! I’ve only had store bought gingerbread cookies and never liked them. Having a hard time not eating the entire pan…

Liz

These are absolutely incredible cookies. Such a simple recipe to execute. I mixed this recipe up with a fork! My daughter had a blast making these with me and I felt better making these with her than something loaded with grain flour and white sugar! We made some ginger snaps by adding a little bit extra ginger and letting them cook a little bit longer.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Kristy Powell

I made these with my kids. They turned into the dreaded blob of one large cookie on the pan. I followed the recipe exactly. What happened?! We’d made them into cute holiday shapes and everything. Bummer.

    rochelle

    Just a viewer on this site, but I bake cakes and cookies as an occasionally lucrative hobby. Could be several things. Chilling the dough is important. Cookie sheet should be room temp–never pre-warmed unless directed, or just out of a warm dishwasher. Oven should be preheated and at baking temperature when cookies are put in oven. Could the baking powder possibly be expired or near expired? Are you at a higher altitude? Try placing the cookies approximately 2″ apart on the cookie sheet. Baking on parchment paper or a silicon baking sheet can also help deter cookies from spreading. Hopefully this might help. Happy baking.

Ana

I didn’t have molasses, so I just used honey, and came out great!! Thank you for the great recipe!!!

chelsae

I made a batch of these cookies and to my surprise everyone in my home loved them. Everyone is very different and picky when it comes to foods yet they liked it despite it not being very sweet. I also used a lot more cinnamon and ginger by accident.

rochelle

My poor husband was just smacked with the reality of a 9.0 A1C level, soooo I will be playing with this and using Stevia in an attempt to do my part in removing carbs where I can–really hard when your spouse embraces a steak, taters, gravy and dessert philosophy, but I’m trying to get him to reprogram his customary in-the-box thinking…

Thank you so much, Megan!!!

Annie

Well done on creating a great recipe. Easy to make and very delicious. I can’t wait to make these again. My 5 yr old also loved them.

Maria

Hi there! Why is the carb count so high on these compared to other paleo, gluten free, sugar free cookies? I did make these are they are delicious but 25 grams of carbs 🧐

    Megan Gilmore

    I actually just double checked this and the nutrition info wasn’t correct. (It’s automatically calculated when I enter ingredients, so sometimes it’s off!). I just corrected the numbers, and the carbs are only 10g, not 25!

KE

Hi! I just wanted to thank you for this wonderful recipe… these are delicious!

Cindy

I can’t wait to make these! Can I leave out the oil if I use Almond flour? I am oil free.

Melissa

We made a gingerbread house with this cookie recipe. We used an organic frosting (store bought) to decorate as it mentioned the coconut frosting may be a little drippy. The cookies held up super well as long as I baked closer to 16 minutes. Thank you!

Yanika Cachia

Hi Can I freeze these biscuits? If yes should I do so once baked or before please?

Emma Cramer

Hi there! Planning on making this for a cookie decorating party on Saturday. Do you think I could make the dough today and keep it in the fridge until Saturday afternoon to roll out then? Let me know- can’t wait to make them!!!

    Megan Gilmore

    Yes, I think you could roll it out a couple days later! I’d just keep it tightly covered until then.

Jovana

I have one kind of stupid question. 😂 11/2 cups is actually how many cups/grams? I’m not American, sorry. Thanks. 🙂

Marius

Hey, are the blackstrap molasses necessary?

    Megan Gilmore

    Molasses is a key flavor in gingerbread, but structurally the cookies will probably hold together without it.

Kim Ludeman

OMG! These are DELICIOUS!!! I absolutely love them!!! I don’t even want to decorate them! Trying hard not to eat the whole batch!!!

Cindy

Is there anything I can substitute for the coconut oil?

    Megan Gilmore

    Butter would be the closest substitute, since it’s also solid at room temperature, but another butter substitute should also work similarly.

      Cindy

      I was thinking unsweetened applesauce as an oil substitute?

Catrine Roen

Delicious, I mean delicious! Thanks very much for sharing this incredibly delicious recipe! It’s the best I’ve tried so far! And just in time for the holidays. Seriously, this is killer!

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