Healthy Gingerbread Cookies with Honey

Healthy gingerbread cookies made with whole grains and honey are a favorite Christmas cookie at our house! We’ve been making these cookies for so many years. They’re perfect for the holiday season.

One of our favorite Christmas traditions is making these classic healthy gingerbread cookies. They’re sweetened with honey and molasses, and I usually use spelt flour to make them even healthier.

Healthy Gingerbread Cookies

Healthy Gingerbread Cookies

If you’re looking for healthier cookies to make this Christmas, give these a try! They’re easy, and kids love helping to make them.

And, you don’t have to reserve these only for Christmas. My kids love them all year long. When the kids were all little, we’d use the gingerbread man cookie cutter, and use raisins to make eyes, a mouth, and buttons going down the front of them.

They’re so cute, and a healthy snack for kids, since they’re sweetened with natural sweeteners.

For Christmas, I like to use a variety of cookie cutters, including a gingerbread man, a gingerbread lady, a little gingerbread person, and snowflakes. You can use any cookie cutters you’d like!

healthy gingerbread cookies

This post was originally published December 18, 2011, but I’ve updated the post with new photos and instructions.

Here’s a photo from the past, of gingerbread cookies my kids and I made, decorated with just raisins.

gingerbread boy cookies with raisins in the oven

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How to Make Healthy Gingerbread Cookies

In order to make these cookies a bit healthier, I use either whole wheat pastry flour or organic spelt flour. Whole wheat pastry flour gives you the health benefits of whole grain flour, but it creates lighter baked goods.

Spelt flour is a more ancient grain that still yields lighter baked goods. I usually use spelt, but feel free to use whatever you have on hand.

healthy gingerbread cookies

I use freshly ground flour that I grind myself (learn how to grind your own flour here), but you can also just buy pre-ground flour.

For the sweetener, this recipe uses honey and molasses.

My kids agree that these are delicious even without white sugar!

This recipe makes a very traditional and simple gingerbread cookie, with the perfect blend of ginger and spices.

How to Decorate the Cookies

When we make these for a snack, we just use raisins for decoration. This keeps the sugar content minimal.

healthy gingerbread man cookies
But when we make them for Christmas, we use either royal icing or a stiff buttercream to decorate. This gives them a classic gingerbread cookie look.

Decorating with royal icing or buttercream makes the cookies not as healthy, but so much prettier! That’s why we save these options for Christmas or special occasions.

The royal icing dries harder and stays on the cookie a bit better than the buttercream, but either one works.

The gingerbread cookies in these photos were decorated with buttercream icing, since we didn’t have all the ingredients to make royal icing. If you want to use royal icing, you can find the recipe in this post.

Buttercream Frosting

Here’s the buttercream recipe we use:

Mix 1/3 cup softened butter and 3 cups powdered sugar together in a bowl with an electric mixer (add the sugar to the butter gradually). Stir in 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla and 1 tablespoon of milk.

Beat in another tablespoon of milk gradually. Add just enough of the milk to make the frosting smooth. If you accidentally get it too thick, add in more powdered sugar. Add the frosting to a plastic decorating bag with a tip, so you can pipe on the frosting.

gingerbread christmas cookies

Supplies Needed for This Recipe

Here are the basic tools you may need for making these gingerbread cookies.


healthy gingerbread cookies

Gingerbread Cookie Ingredients

The full ingredient amounts and instructions are found below in the printable recipe card.

healthy gingerbread cookies

Healthy Gingerbread Cookies with Honey

A healthy gingerbread cookie sweetened with honey and made with whole grain spelt or pastry flour. These classic gingerbread cookies are perfect for Christmas or a healthy snack!
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Chilling Time1 hour
Course: Cookie
Cuisine: American
Keyword: gingerbread
Servings: 32 cookies
Author: Joy Kincaid


  • 5 cups of spelt flour or whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks, softened)
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 2/3 cup molasses
  • 1 egg


  • In a medium mixing bowl, mix together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter with an electric mixer. Add the honey and molasses, and cream all together. Then add the egg, and mix well.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the butter and honey mixture in several batches, mixing well after each addition. If the dough becomes too stiff for the mixer, use a spoon to stir in the dry ingredients until smooth. The dough will be soft.
  • Divide the dough in half, and form each half into a round disc. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap. Put dough discs in refrigerator to chill for 1 hour.
  • After an hour (or dough has firmed up), remove one dough disc from the fridge and preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough with a rolling pin to about 1/4" thickness. Cut out gingerbread cookies using cookie cutters.
  • Place gingerbread cookies on a cookie sheet and bake for 10-14 minutes, or until slightly brown around the edges. After removing baked cookies from oven, allow to cool on cookie sheet for a few minutes. Then remove from cookie sheet and transfer to wire racks to cool. Decorate completely cooled cookies with icing if desired.


This recipe makes about 32 cookies, depending on the size of cookie cutters used. 
If you want to keep these cookies healthier, you can add raisins for decoration before putting the cookies into the oven to bake.
Or, you can decorate with royal icing or buttercream.

Royal Icing Recipe:

  • 1 (16 oz) package powdered sugar
  • 3 tbsp meringue powder
  • 5-6 tbsp warm water
  • 1 tsp light corn syrup
Combine ingredients in large bowl and beat at med-low speed with electric mixer 5-7 minutes.


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    1. I have only made these cookies with spelt and whole wheat pastry flour. I’ve heard that cassava flour is fairly easy to substitute for spelt, so that might be an option. However, it might require adjusting the liquid in the recipe to get it the right consistency. If you try a different flour, I’d love to hear how it turns out!

  1. AMAZING ! Love the honey taste in these cookies. snappy if you bake them thin, soft if you bake them thick!

    I doubled the ginger/cinnamon and added nutmeg.;)

  2. Visiting from Esther's cookie swap – these sounds great! I love gingerbread, and I've been trying to find baking recipes that use less refined sugar in them.

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