Gingerbread Halloween Skeleton Cookies

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Gingerbread Halloween Skeleton Cookies are a great break from all of the Halloween candy!  This easy, small batch recipe for gingerbread cookies makes cookies that are tender and full of ginger flavor.  Decorate with royal icing and your favorite sprinkles for a fun Halloween treat!

Cute Halloween Cookies

Tis the season – for decorated cookies!  I never would have thought it started as early as Halloween though.  But, it makes sense.  The plethora of baking decorations in the stores right now, and the opportunity to make spooky cute treats.

And I’ll be honest, these little gingerbread skeletons put a smile on my face.  More so this year.  I think we can all use a cute little treat to make us smile right now.  I felt this way when decorating my pumpkin spice sugar cookies.  Pulling out the piping bag, tips, and sprinkles was a welcome distraction!

And for Halloween, I’m all about cute.  It still needs to be a little spooky, but always cute.  Take my Halloween chocolate cupcakes and double chocolate chip gluten free cookies for example – cute.  I spend waaayyy too much time in the Halloween decorations aisles at Target.  

Cute gingerbread skeleton cookie

Gingerbread Skeleton Cookies

To keep it real, these gingerbread Halloween skeleton cookies aren’t revolutionary.  Some other genius thought of the idea to take the Christmas cookie cut-out and tailor it to Halloween. 

I love the idea of re-purposing decorations and accessories for any time of the year.  So it only seemed fitting that if we are using a gingerbread cut-out, that we make a gingerbread cookie.

And please don’t laugh at the piping work.  Hee hee.  As I mentioned in the pumpkin sugar cookie post – I am by no means, nor do I claim to be, a professional cookie decorator!

Though, isn’t that what baking is all about – putting your own spin on things?  I must have looked at 2 dozen skeleton cookies to figure out how to decorate these little spooks.  Of course my go-to is Pinterest for some creative and fun inspiration.

Is This A Hard Or Soft Gingerbread Cookie Recipe

I’m going to say somewhere in between.  This gingerbread cookie is tender.  The cookies are not like a chewy chocolate chip cookie, but they also are not crispy like a thin mint or shortbread cookie.

You will hear/see some bakers prefer a gingerbread with a ‘snap’.  These cookies do break nicely, but they are by no means strong enough to construct a gingerbread house out of.  All that – if you want a gingerbread cookie with a snap, bake them for 1-2 minutes longer.

Small Batch Halloween Cookies

If you’re like me, you have already gone through 1 or 2 bags of Halloween candy.  Ok – maybe I am alone in that, but it is hard to resist.  And with all of the candy already being consumed, a change of pace and taste is welcome.

And of course, a small batch is a good thing this time of year.  I think.  With that, a small batch of these cookies can yield more or less than 12 cookies.  The number of cookies you will get from this recipe on 2 things:

  1. how thick you want to roll out the cookie dough
  2. the size and shape of cookie cutters you use

As you can see from the photos, I used both large and small cookie cutters.  So, I had a few more than 12 cookies.  The small gingerbread skeletons were fun – easy to just pop in your mouth!

A tray of decorated Halloween cookies

Tips For Making Gingerbread Skeleton Cookies

  • The number of cookies you get from this recipe will depend on:  how thick you roll your dough; the size and shape of your cookie cutter.
  • Chill the dough – This will help hold the shape of the cookies and keep them from spreading too much when baked.
  • Chill the cut-out dough – Naturally, you are going to heat up the butter in the dough when you are rolling it out.  I like to chill my cookie cut-outs one more time before baking.  At least for 10 minutes.
  • Bake one baking sheet at a time – This is my personal recommendation.  It helps the cookies bake evenly, and saves me from having to switch and rotate pans half-way through baking.
  • For crispier cookies – Bake for 1 to 2 more minutes.  Just keep a close eye on the cookies so they don’t burn.
  • Cool the cookies before decorating – This may seem obvious.  But, we don’t want your cute piping work to melt.

Happy decorating!

More Small Batch Cookie Recipes Great For Halloween and Fall

Spooky cute decorated cookies
Gingerbread skeleton cookies for Halloween
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5 from 4 reviews

Gingerbread Halloween Skeleton Cookies

Yield: 1 Dozen (see notes)
Gingerbread Halloween Skeleton Cookies are a great break from all of the Halloween candy!  This easy, small batch recipe for gingerbread cookies makes cookies that are tender and full of ginger flavor.  Decorate with royal icing and your favorite sprinkles for a fun Halloween treat!
Prep10 minutes
Cook10 minutes
Chill Time1 hour
Total1 hour 20 minutes


Gingerbread Cookies

  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 3 tablespoons molasses, unsulphured
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Royal Icing

  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1-2 teaspoons milk, any kind
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • In a small mixing bowl, add the butter and brown sugar. Use a hand held mixer and beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Add in the egg yolk, molasses, and vanilla extract. Continue to beat until the yolk and molasses are mixed in well. The batter may look a little curdled – which is ok.
  • Sprinkle, or sift, the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and salt over the top of the wet ingredients. Mix on low speed until not dry streaks remain.
  • Pour the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and gently form into a disc. Cover the dough tightly in the plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 350o degrees and adjust the oven rack to the middle position. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Remove the dough from the fridge and place on a lightly floured work surface. Roll the chilled dough to 1/4 inch thickness. If you want thicker cookies, don't roll the dough so thin.
  • Use a cookie cutter to cut out your shapes, and place the cookies at least 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. Re-roll any scraps to cut into more cookies. I don't recommend re-rolling the dough more than twice.
  • I recommend baking one baking sheet of cookies at a time. While the first batch is baking, refrigerate the other baking sheet of cookies. If the cookies feel as though they got too warm while rolling and cutting, place both baking sheets in the refrigerator to cool for about 10 minutes.
  • Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes, or until the edges are set. If you want crispier cookies, bake for a couple minutes longer. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet set on a wire cooling rack for 10 minutes. Then transfer the cookies to the cooling rack to cool completely.
  • Once the cookies are cool, make the royal icing and decorate the cookies!

Royal Icing

  • In a small mixing bowl, add the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and 1 teaspoon of milk. Whisk together until the powdered sugar is moist. Add a teaspoon of milk at a time to get to your desired icing/decorating consistency.
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  • The number of cookies in your batch will depend on how thick you roll out your cookie dough, and the size of your cookie cutters.
  • I recommend refrigerating the cut-out cookies before baking.  This helps them not spread too much.
  • I also recommend baking one baking sheet of cookies at a time.  For an even bake and not having to worry about rotating baking sheets in the middle of baking.
  • For a crispier cookie, bake for 1-2 more minutes.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Erin Cernich

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