Gingerbread Cookie Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting - Handle the Heat
Filed Under: Bar Dessert | Christmas

Gingerbread Cookie Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

By Tessa Arias
November 28th, 2017
4.12 from 9 votes
4.12 from 9 votes

 Gingerbread Cookie Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting are ultra thick, soft, and chewy with tons of aromatic spices and a generous layer of tangy frosting!

Yield: 12 large or 24 small bars

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook: 20 minutes

Tessa's Recipe Rundown...

Taste: These bars are loaded with the essential gingerbread flavors: molasses and warm spices! The tangy cream cheese frosting on top is the perfect complement.
Texture: Soft yet chewy, and thick enough to be substantial so these bars are perfect for both casual gatherings or even a more special occasion.
Ease: Super easy.
Pros: Quick and easy twist on a classic holiday treat that everyone will love.
Cons: I can’t think of one!
Would I make this again? Absolutely. These travel well so they’re perfect for bringing to a party, or delivering to your friends, neighbors, or school teachers!

These Gingerbread Cookie Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting are ultra simple and easy. They’re basically foolproof! But they check every box for what you’d want from a Christmas-time recipe. If you’re looking for more easy but impressive Christmas cookie recipes, be sure to check out Tessa’s Christmas Cookies!

Is there anything better than the aroma of sweet warm spices coming from your kitchen when it’s a chilly winter day? Baking during the holiday season is one of life’s greatest simple pleasures.

There’s something just so comforting about it. This time of year is usually busy with events, shopping, family, and work. But when you take a couple hours away from the craziness to just unwind in the kitchen, all of that stress seems to just melt away.
slice of homemade gingerbread cookie bar on a glass plate with cream cheese frosting on top

Especially if you’re baking a tried and true recipe, or one that’s simple enough to not cause you extra stress!

Since I have a few friends who are obsessed with cream cheese frosting, I’m always finding ways to add it to new recipes. I love it on these gingerbread bars, but feel free to leave it out if you’d prefer. The bars are ultra tasty all on their own.

soft gingerbread cookie bars on parchment paper with cream cheese frosting being lathered on

Enjoy these easy homemade gingerbread cookie bars with a mug of something warm and near the twinkling lights of your Christmas tree. There’s no better way to enjoy the season in my mind!

bite taken out of homemade gingerbread cookie bars with cream cheese frosting on top

How to Make Gingerbread Cookie Bars

What you need for homemade gingerbread cookie bars:

  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking soda & baking powder
  • Spices: salt, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, ground nutmeg
  • Butter (make sure to use unsalted, room temperature butter!)
  • Light brown sugar
  • Molasses
  • An egg

What can you use instead of molasses?

If you cannot get molasses where you live, you can try substituting honey or dark corn syrup, though the results will NOT be exactly the same. Need more baking substitution ideas? Check out my Ultimate Guide to Baking Substitutions. 

How to make SOFT gingerbread cookie bars:

Frosting ideas:

Not a fan of cream cheese frosting? You could also top these cookie bars with my Best Ever Buttercream or Brown Sugar Frosting.

P.S. Some Christmas sprinkles would be adorable on these cookie bars!

How to store gingerbread cookie bars:

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

If you opt to leave off the cream cheese frosting, these bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature.

easy and soft gingerbread cookie bar with thick layer of cream cheese icing

More Christmas Dessert Recipes:

More Gingerbread Flavored Desserts:

4.12 from 9 votes

How to make
Gingerbread Cookie Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: 12 large or 24 small bars
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
 Gingerbread Cookie Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting are ultra thick, soft, and chewy with tons of aromatic spices and a generous layer of tangy frosting!


For the cookies:

  • 3 cups (380 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 sticks (170 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (170 grams) unsulfured molasses
  • 1 large egg

For the frosting:

  • 8 ounces (227 grams) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 stick (113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla paste (or extract)
  • 2 cups (250 grams) powdered sugar, sifted


Make the cookie bars:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg to combine.
  3. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the butter and brown sugar on medium-high speed until well combined and smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the egg and molasses and beat until combined. On low speed slowly add the flour mixture and beat until incorporated.
  4. Press the dough evenly into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until cooked through but still moist and soft. Can be made ahead of time and stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Make the frosting:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla on medium-high speed until very light, creamy, and smooth. On low speed gradually add in the sugar and beat until fluffy.
  2. Spread the frosting all over the cookie. Cut into squares and serve. Cover and refrigerate any leftovers for up to 3 days.

Recipe Notes

Course : Dessert
Cuisine : American
Keyword : gingerbread cookie bars, gingerbread cookies

Tessa Arias
Author: Tessa Arias

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

Tessa Arias

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

Find Tessa on  

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Recipe Rating

  1. #
    ankasan — December 14, 2021 at 11:28 am

    How would you describe the textural and taste differences between these and your gingerbread blondies?

    • #
      Emily — December 15, 2021 at 12:21 pm

      Hi there! Think of these cookie bars as being an ultra thick and chewy cookie, whereas the blondies have the texture of a brownie (with a crinkly top!). They’re both chewy, but two completely different types of desserts. Taste-wise, they’re both loaded with the flavors of gingerbread, but while the cookie bars having tangy cream cheese frosting on top, the blondies have white chocolate chips inside. Each are both perfect for this time of year, but just a bit different! I hope that helps. Let us know what you think if you give either recipe (or both!) a try 🙂

  2. #
    Peggy — December 15, 2020 at 11:12 am

    I’ve loved gingerbread in cake form since I was a kid. I love it as soft cookies, too. These bars are a nice way to change it up, and the frosting puts them over the top!

    • #
      Tessa — December 16, 2020 at 9:52 am

      I’m thrilled you enjoyed these cookie bars!

  3. #
    Lori Loeb — December 11, 2020 at 3:35 pm

    These worked out and were quite pretty when I decorated them with green and red sprinkles on the white icing. But the bottom was quite dry, despite me being careful not to overbake them. But fun to try. Thanks for the recipe.

  4. #
    Dalia — December 9, 2020 at 10:47 am

    Made this last night, so delicious! Definitely I am going to make this again. Thanks for the great recipe 🙂

    • #
      Tessa — December 10, 2020 at 1:23 pm

      Thrilled to hear that you enjoyed these cookie bars!

  5. #
    Alison Wightman — October 25, 2020 at 8:40 pm

    I would make it again. It was a little dry but it was very cold today. I warmed up the butter but I think the house cooled it down. Great flavour!!

  6. #
    Katie — December 4, 2019 at 2:43 pm

    Beyond DELICIOUS!!!! This is my 3rd year in a row making these and I look forward to it every year!! Definitely a tradition I’ll carry on for future holiday baking! Once cooled and frosted I cut into squares and freeze on a sheet pan for an hour or 2 and then put into freezer bags to store! Taste amazing straight from the freezer! I can snack on them all holiday long! Sad when the last one is gone though!

  7. #
    No ads please! — December 3, 2019 at 9:05 am

    Too many ads!!!! I can’t get to the recipe! Delete.

  8. #
    Sarah — January 11, 2019 at 9:36 am

    I made this for my blog as a gingerbread bar bottomed cheesecake. Boy did it turn out better than I expected!! Thank you for the recipe! It really is DELICIOUS!
    I sourced your recipe at the bottom of my blog post.

  9. #
    Kristina — December 21, 2018 at 7:44 pm

    I tried these tonight and had to throw them out. ): They came out oddly salty and extremely dry with a sandy texture. I’m going to try to make them again tomorrow because I’m convinced I must have accidentally made a mistake somewhere ! I’ll comment again after the second batch

    • #
      Tessa — December 22, 2018 at 9:39 am

      Oh no! How strange. I’ve just had a couple other readers tell me they made this recipe with success on Instagram so hopefully the 2nd try will be a winner! Good luck 🙂

    • #
      AnneMarie Charland — December 21, 2019 at 7:09 am

      I made these 2 days ago and despite the wonderful flavor, mine too were very dry. Did not go over the cook time and prepped everything as listed except I omitted the salt due to some of the comments. Taste was very very good, but they were not soft and chewy, they were firm and dry. Will have to rectify the recipe somehow.

  10. #
    Katie — December 11, 2018 at 10:07 am

    I think this is a great recipe, however, I omitted the salt and still found them overly salty. Not sure what made them taste like this but would be amazing without that saltiness!

  11. #
    Diane — December 6, 2018 at 10:29 am

    OMG!! I made these Gingerbread Cookie Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting and they are so good! They have just the right amount of spices and the frosting like puts them over the top. I would definitely recommend this recipe. It is now my favorite cookie bar recipe! Thanks Tessa for this great recipe!

    • #
      Tessa — December 6, 2018 at 4:57 pm

      I’m so pleased you liked the recipe! Thanks for letting me know 🙂

  12. #
    Linda — December 1, 2018 at 10:55 am

    Can the gingerbread be frozen until needed.

  13. #
    Anne — November 22, 2018 at 7:22 am

    I made these. We all liked them. Great texture and flavor. Best cream cheese frosting recipe. Thank you!

  14. #
    brookiebaker — December 4, 2017 at 4:19 pm

    These are a new favorite winter dessert for me!!! They taste like all good things Christmas all in one!!!! Yummy, I will definitely make them again!

    • #
      Tessa — December 5, 2017 at 9:53 am

      Woohoo!! That makes me very happy to hear!

  15. #
    CHRISOULA VLAHAKI — December 2, 2017 at 10:40 am

    Dear Radha I was also looking for a substitute and I found some in this site

  16. #
    Jamie — December 2, 2017 at 6:32 am

    I was all set to make another dessert for a family dinner on Sunday but then I saw these…now I think these have to be made! I don’t know if I can wait till Sunday…

  17. #
    Raeanne — December 1, 2017 at 10:59 am

    These look so good! I have actually been avoiding sugar for the past nine months, but I might just have to try this recipe. Can’t wait!

  18. #
    Radha — November 30, 2017 at 10:42 am

    Hi, what can i use instead of molasses?

  19. #
    Erica Lea | Buttered Side Up — November 30, 2017 at 10:16 am

    Reuben is a cream cheese frosting fanatic as well. And he’s a big gingerbread fan, so this looks like his dream holiday dessert. 😀

  20. #
    Tori// — November 28, 2017 at 5:20 pm

    Omg, these look like a piece of heaven!

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