Gingerbread Bars are here to change up the gingerbread game this holiday season. These chewy and delicious dessert bars are full of festive holiday flavor. Paired with cream cheese frosting, they are a perfectly flavorful match made in heaven. In less than 30 minutes you’ll have an incredible holiday dessert that is sure to impress.
Reasons You’ll Love This Recipe
Gingerbread Fanatic – Gingerbread was never my go-to, but these bars have changed my mind completely!
Match Made in Heaven – If you’ve never tried gingerbread and cream cheese frosting together, get ready for a burst of rich, amazing flavor when you take that first bite.
Christmas Party Ready – These gingerbread cookie bars are super simple to make, they can be ready just in time as you’re rushing out the door to get to your holiday gatherings.
Santa Loves These – Looking for something else to put out for Santa this Christmas? I heard he loves these cookie bars!
The most difficult part of this process is deciding whether to bring these cookie bars to the holiday festivities this year, or enjoy them with a glass of milk by the fireplace. Regardless, this is a recipe that will make anyone drool at the thought. So, light your favorite holiday candle, put on some Christmas tunes and get to baking these gingerbread bars!
Ingredients and Substitutions
Let’s discuss how to make this recipe, as well as the ingredients that are needed. Please take note that below you will find discussion, expert tips, and answers to frequently asked questions about this recipe to help you recreate it in your kitchen. If you *just* want the recipe itself, scroll down. The full printable recipe itself, with exact measurements and instructions, is found at the bottom of this page.
- Unsalted Butter – You’ll want the butter completely melted for the batter, softened for the frosting. If salted is what you have on hand, you can use this as well.
- Molasses – Molasses is the key ingredient for gingerbread. It may not always be the easiest to find, but I don’t recommend substituting this ingredient. Avoid using blackstrap molasses as it’s a bit too bitter for this gingerbread bar recipe.
- Brown Sugar – Even though brown sugar has molasses in it, you still need molasses for this recipe.
- Powdered Sugar – Powdered sugar is the best sugar option when making a frosting, I don’t recommend substituting this ingredient.
- Cream Cheese – Use the block of cream cheese, not the tubs.
- Vanilla – Vanilla flavoring or vanilla extract will work.
- All Purpose Flour – Make sure you don’t pack the flour when you’re measuring your ingredients, otherwise these bars will come out dry and won’t be chewy.
- Spices – For this recipe you’ll need the following spices: cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.
- Salt – You don’t have to use salt in this recipe, it does however help cut the sweetness of the bars a bit.
How To Make Gingerbread Bars
- Start by preheating your oven to 350° and line a 9×13 baking dish with aluminum foil. Make sure the ends of the foil hang off the edge of the dish for an easier time pulling the bars out when they’re cooked. In a large bowl, add in your flour, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger. Whisk the dry ingredients together until combined and set this mixture aside.
- In a separate large bowl, use an electric hand or stand mixer to beat together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar.
- Once smooth, add in the vanilla extract and molasses and beat that together as well. Lastly, mix the egg in until combined.
- To the wet ingredients, add in all of the dry ingredients and use a spatula to mix it together. Try your best not to over mix the batter, it will be thick.
- Spoon the batter evenly into the pan, and press in gently so the top is as flat as possible. Put it in the oven to bake for 15-20 minutes.
- While that bakes, begin on the cream cheese frosting. In a large bowl add your butter and cream cheese. Use an electric hand or stand mixer to beat them together until it’s completely smooth.
- Once smooth, add in the powdered sugar and vanilla and continue to beat it together for 1-2 minutes or until it’s smooth and creamy.
- When the bars are done baking, take them out of the oven. They will seem like they are undercooked, but don’t worry they will firm up as they cool. Leave them in the pan the entire time they cool.
- Once they’re completely cool, frost the top with the cream cheese frosting. Pull the bars out of the baking dish and slice them evenly. Serve with a glass of milk and enjoy!
Recipe Tips and Advice
Storage – When storing these delicious gingerbread bars, be sure to cover them completely and store them in the fridge. If you don’t frost them with the cream cheese frosting, they can be left out at room temperature. If you want to frost them and not refrigerate them, I recommend using a Buttercream Frosting instead. Either way, they’ll last in the fridge for about 3-4 days or you can freeze them, in which they will last up to 3 months.
Equipment – For this recipe, you’ll need either a hand or stand electric mixer, mixing bowls, a 9×13 baking dish, aluminum foil, a spatula and a whisk. The aluminum foil is not a necessary step if you’re good at slicing things while they’re in the baking dish. I find these bars come out prettier, and more even when they are pulled out of the baking dish.
You can absolutely top these gingerbread bars with some festive sprinkles, a dusting of cinnamon or cinnamon sugar, marshmallows, crushed up gingersnaps or anything you can think of. Happy decorating!
For this recipe, they should be fairly soft and easy to bite into. If they’re not, this could be because you added too much flour to the dough or over baked them.
Yes, parchment paper works just as well as foil.
More Gingerbread Recipes to Try
Tis the season for gingerbread! Try out a few more of these delicious and festive recipes.
- Gingerbread Cupcakes
- Soft Gingerbread Cookies
- Gingerbread Man Cookies
- Gingerbread Pancakes
- Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls
- Ginger Molasses Cookies
- 1/2 cup butter melted
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/3 cup molasses
- 1 egg
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 3 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ginger
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp salt
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 4 oz butter softened
- 4 oz cream cheese softened
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp salt you can omit this, but I find it helps cut the sweetness a bit
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Line a 9×13 baking pan with foil, letting enough foil hang over the edges so that you can grasp it to pull the bars out after baking. Spray lightly with cooking spray.
- In a large bowl with an electric mixer, combine butter and sugars, beating until well mixed. Add in vanilla and molasses and beat until well combined. Mix in egg until combined. Combine flour, baking soda and spices. Mix dry ingredients with wet ingredients until well combined, but do not over mix. Batter will be thick. Press batter evenly into pan.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes. They will seem undercooked, but firm up as they cool. Once cooled completely, frost with cream cheese frosting. Store covered in refrigerator.
- In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat together butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add in powdered sugar and beat until well combined. Add in vanilla, and continue to beat for 1-2 minutes, until light and fluffy.
Nutrition information is estimated as a courtesy. If using for medical purposes, please verify information using your own nutritional calculator. Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.