Gluten-free Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies

These gluten-free chocolate gingerbread cookies are unbelievably soft and chewy! They’re naturally dairy-free and can also be made vegan.

I adapted this recipe from my adaptation of Ina Garten’s Ginger Cookies. In that version, I used less sugar, made them whole grain, and used olive oil instead of canola oil.

They really are all you could want in a ginger cookie! In the chocolate version, I added cocoa powder for part of the flour and added chocolate chunks.

I still love the original ginger cookies, but these are better because… chocolate. Lots of gooey, melty chocolate.

Even at room temperature, they’re amazing. They hold up well, too, making them perfect to give away during the holiday season.

If you want to use whole wheat flour or all-purpose flour for the chocolate gingerbread cookies, you can view that version on my other blog → Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies.

It’s too confusing to have both versions (gluten-free and not) in one recipe because the measurements and other details of the recipe are too different.

Buckwheat flour

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When a commenter asked if she could use buckwheat flour in the old version of this recipe, which called for wheat flour, I didn’t expect to have to experiment so much. I’m flabbergasted by the huge reduction of flour needed.

I’ve subbed buckwheat for regular or whole wheat flour in several other swees recipes, like this Kladdkaka and never had such a drastic difference.

But for these cookies, instead of 1 2/3 cups of regular or whole wheat flour, or even 1 1/2 cups like in the paleo version, you need 1 cup.

I first tested them with Bob’s Red Mill Organic Whole Grain Buckwheat. This is known as dark buckwheat. Note! If you’re gluten-free, this product isn’t labeled as gluten-free.

If that’s important to you, then find a brand that’s labeled as gluten-free.

I also tested them with light buckwheat. This one has always seemed less absorbent than dark buckwheat, but I still just needed 1 cup. Even 1 cup + 2 tablespoons was too much flour.

Another issue is that you could taste the olive oil, which is what I used in the old version. Not a lot, but I didn’t like it inferring with the gingerbread spices.

But the biggest problem was that the dough was super sticky. It’s normal for cookie dough with molasses to be sticky, but this was over-the-top.

So I used refined coconut oil, knowing that using coconut oil in the dough would firm up the dough in the fridge, and it worked great. The dough is still a little sticky, but totally manageable. Because the dough was too sticky with olive oil, I’ve nixed that option in this gluten-free version.

Can I use a different flour?

I first posted this recipe in 2014 with whole wheat. I also tried them with Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten-free Baking Flour and had terrible results. Now that I figured out how to make them with buckwheat, I think I know how to make the Bob’s version work.

If anyone is interested, let me know in the comments, and I’ll try it out. I also have King Arthur Flour Gluten-free Measure for Measure Flour I could try. I wanted to do that before posting, but my resupply of molasses isn’t arriving until next week.

I live in Germany, and molasses isn’t a commonly found ingredient here. I would say cookies like these Almond Paste Cookies are much more popular.

Germany also has its version of gingerbread, Lebkuchen, but of the 10 recipes I just looked at, they all use honey, lots of gingerbread spice, and no molasses.

Paleo version

If you’re paleo, today’s recipe isn’t for you. I do have these Paleo Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies which call for Bob’s Red Mill Paleo Baking Flour.

I used 1 1/2 cups of flour instead of the 1 2/3 cups of regular flour called for. It was an easy sub.

Can you use almond flour, coconut flour, cassava flour, etc.? Unfortunately not. But I have these Paleo Gingerbread Cookies! They use almond and coconut flours and are adapted from my Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Figuring out how much cocoa powder to add and how much to reduce the flour by would require a lot of experimentation. I recommend just adding chocolate chips. Then you get the same chocolate gingerbread combination and you’re sure to succeed. :)

Blackstrap vs. regular molasses

I’ve made these cookies with great results with blackstrap molasses. It was definitely labeled as blackstrap. Then I tried another brand of blackstrap molasses, and they were horrible.

So I’m no longer recommending blackstrap molasses. Just use the regular stuff like Grandma’s Original. If you decide to use blackstrap molasses and hate the cookies, you don’t need to yell at me. 😄 But if you try it, please let us know in the comments how they turn out with your specific brand. Then the people who only want to use blackstrap will know which brand is good or awful in these cookies.

Can I just omit the molasses?

Absolutely not. The recipe wouldn’t work at all.

Do I have to roll them in sugar?

No, but it makes them nicer-looking and sturdier. If you’re going to be packing these in a little bag or box to give them away, definitely roll them in sugar.

I gave some of the test cookies to my son’s teachers and didn’t think to roll them into sugar. The chocolate got a little messy in the bags. I’m so embarrassed now when thinking about how much nicer they look rolled into coarse sugar!

The sugar forms a nice kind of shell and prevents them from getting smushed.

Do I have to use crystallized ginger?

These cookies are sweet enough without the added sugar, but I love the kick the ginger adds. You can absolutely omit it, though.

I normally do because I’m in a hurry, and just want the cookies in the oven ASAP. ;)

Vegan version

I tested these with a chia egg. They were perfect! I haven’t tested any other egg subs, so I can’t say for sure they’d work here.

But I’m pretty confident they’d work well. You only need one.

I hope you’ll enjoy these gluten-free chocolate gingerbread cookies! If you try them out, I’d love to hear about it. Thanks! :)

Gluten-free Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies (vegan option)

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Rated 4.8 by 4 readers
Gluten-free Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies
  • Prep Time:
  • Cook Time:
  • Ready in:
  • Yield: 20 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (134 grams) gluten-free1 dark buckwheat flour or 1 cup (144 grams) light gluten-free buckwheat flour
  • 2/3 cup (77 grams) Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup (133 grams) brown sugar or coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup (56 grams) refined coconut oil, melted and still warm
  • 1/3 cup (117 grams) molasses (not blackstrap)
  • 1 large (50 grams, out of shell) egg, room temperature or 1 chia egg for vegan2
  • 3/4 cup (136 grams) chopped crystallized ginger
  • 3/4 cup (128 grams) semi-sweet chocolate chips (use Enjoy Life for vegan/dairy-free)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 °F (175 °C). In a large bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, and salt.
  2. With an electric mixer or stand mixer, beat the sugar, oil, and molasses on medium until well combined. Add the egg, and beat for 1 minute on low. Scrape the sides of the bowl and then beat for another minute. Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix on medium until combined. Fold in the crystallized ginger and chocolate chips.
  3. Roll the dough into twelve 71-gram balls in sugar and place 3" apart on the prepared baking sheet.
  4. Flatten the balls slightly with your palm.
  5. Bake for 10-13 minutes or until crackly. Let the cookies cool for 2 minutes on the baking sheet and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. Then can also be frozen (dough and baked cookies) for up to 3 months.

Notes

  1. If you're gluten-free, make sure your flour is marked as gluten-free. Bob's Red Mill Organic Whole Grain Buckwheat (which is the dark kind) is not.
  2. To make a chia egg, mix together 1 tablespoon ground chia seeds + 3 tablespoons water until goopy like an egg.

Recipe adapted from my 100% Whole Grain Soft and Chewy Ginger Cookies, which were adapted from Ina Garten's Ultimate Ginger Cookies

Recipe by  | www.texanerin.com

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65 comments on “Gluten-free Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies” — Add one!

1 comment is awaiting moderation!

  • Jessica says
    November 24, 2023 @ 1:16 pm

    Hi Erin! Do you think buckwheat flour could be used for these? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Jessica
      November 24, 2023 @ 2:50 pm

      Hi Jessica! Ooh, that’s a good question. I have mixed results with buckwheat in sweets. I have a few chocolate recipes in which it works great, but in others, it gives it some kind of strange floral flavor. I’m thinking all the spices would cover it up, but I can’t be sure without trying it myself. I was going to say I could try it out in a few weeks when I prepare some treats for my kid’s teachers, but I just saw that this recipe has no gluten-free option. 😬 I’m getting up to go to the kitchen now and will report back! What type of buckwheat do you have? I have both types. Please let me know ASAP! I’ve got 2 hours before my son is back home. 😆

      Reply
    • Erin replies to Jessica
      November 24, 2023 @ 2:55 pm

      And what type of molasses do you have?

      Reply
      • Jessica replies to Erin
        November 24, 2023 @ 3:30 pm

        Hi Erin- wow, thank you so much! I am so excited by your response! My buckwheat flour is Bob’s Redmill organic whole grain. I don’t have my molasses yet so I’m open to different kinds!

        Reply
        • Erin replies to Jessica
          November 24, 2023 @ 4:18 pm

          Oh, you’re lucky! I have half a bag left of Bob’s Red Mill buckwheat that I ordered from the US. Expired a year ago but still smells okay, so I used it. 😄 I used the chia egg, olive oil and brown sugar options. And normal molasses! I recommend getting that. I’ve used some brands of blackstrap that taste great in my recipes, but other brands taste terrible. So I’m just going to go with regular molasses from now on.

          The dough was super dry. I used 208 grams of Bob’s buckwheat. I added a bit of vanilla extract, but had an incident (haha, whoops) and believe it was around 2 teaspoons. The dough was still pretty dry, but I baked it up and the cookies didn’t spread like the original version. So added a little bit of water and baked up the cookies one by one until I arrived at the conclusion that another 7 tsp of water is needed for the full amount of dough, just to make the cookie soft. They’re still not spreading. I only made a half batch, and I’m out of dough, so the experiment’s done for today.

          Adding the same amount of dark buckwheat as wheat flour was stupid. I should have just reduced the amount of buckwheat to begin with. Dark buckwheat is more absorbent that light, which is what I usually use. I suspect that they would have spread if I had just used less flour.

          There’s zero floral weirdness. Bob’s buckwheat is the dark kind which is grittier than light buckwheat, and you can detect that in the cookies. But I actually didn’t notice it until I really thought about it while writing up this report. I’ll also be testing these cookies with light buckwheat because that’s what I can buy easily here (in Germany). But I probably won’t be able to do anything until Monday.

          So! In conclusion, taste is great, but they’re not spreading as they should. So I’ll be back Monday with a better answer. :)

        • Erin replies to Erin
          November 24, 2023 @ 4:24 pm

          Also, once I nail this version, I’m going to repost this recipe. I posted it in 2014, had the photos redone a few years ago, but never refreshed the post and republished. So thanks for the reminder! I’d also love to be able to make it with light buckwheat so I can make these cookies for people during the holidays without using any of my precious US flour. 😆 So all this testing is also benefitting me! Not that you think I’m crazy for running to the kitchen to immediately test these cookies. ;) I was really excited to try it!

        • Erin replies to Jessica
          November 27, 2023 @ 7:45 pm

          I made them again today using 1 cup (134 grams, please weigh it) Bob’s Red Mill buckwheat flour, olive oil, and an egg. You could taste the olive oil a little bit in this version, I guess because the additional 2/3 cup of buckwheat wasn’t there to cover it up. The dough was pretty sticky, but if you let it sit for 20 minutes, it’s less sticky. I’m going to try this version again using refined coconut oil instead of olive oil. That’ll get rid of the slight olive taste, and will also hopefully allow the cookie dough to firm up in the fridge, making it easier to handle.

          I also wanted a vegan version for my son’s teachers today, so I made them using light buckwheat flour (didn’t want to give them cookies with expired flour 😂), a chia egg, and 1 1/2 cups (188 grams) light buckwheat flour. I also used refined coconut oil instead of olive oil. It was way too much flour again! Light buckwheat is less absorbent than dark, but apparently not that different. I added 2 teaspoons vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, but it didn’t get absorbed properly because I added it too late in the process. So there’s still work to do! I’ll stop updating here and will just update and republish the post when I’ve perfected the recipe. :) I hope to have it ready by Sunday.

  • Maureen says
    December 4, 2019 @ 7:13 am

    Hi Erin
    Thank you for all of your amazing recipes.
    When I made these chocolate gingerbread cookies, my mixture was really stiff and hard to work with as though it had too much flour cocoa in it making it very dry. I used Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Gluten Free Flour. I cooked them for 10 mins only and they are very dry, more like a biscuit than a gingerbread. I’ve checked the recipe and I had all measurements right.

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Maureen
      December 12, 2019 @ 11:32 am

      Hello! I’m sorry for just now seeing your comment. The problem was the flour you used. This recipe calls for whole wheat flour, whole spelt flour or all-purpose flour. Gluten-free flour blends don’t work (I’ve tried many times!). Do you have access to their Paleo Baking Mix? If so, you can try these chocolate gingerbread cookies I posted recently. It’s based off of the recipe you tried! It just works with their Paleo Baking Mix, though, and not the one you used.

      Reply
      • Maureen replies to Erin
        December 14, 2019 @ 5:56 am

        Thank you for your reply Erin. I shall source the flour you’ve suggested and make them again. 😊

        Reply
        • Erin replies to Maureen
          December 15, 2019 @ 7:55 pm

          You’re welcome! But make sure you check out the other link. I made a slight adjustment to make the one using Paleo Baking Flour just as yummy. :) Good luck!

  • Rafaella
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    says
    December 22, 2016 @ 7:18 pm

    Hey Erin, I made the cookies and they are wonderful, so deliciously soft! I made a vegan version using flax eggs and it turned out absolutely perfect! My boyfriend loved it too! Thanks for the recipe!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Rafaella
      December 23, 2016 @ 7:59 pm

      Awesome to know that flax eggs work well! I’ll try that the next time I make these. :) Thanks a bunch for your comment and merry Christmas!

      Reply
  • zahra
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    says
    January 6, 2016 @ 3:50 pm

    I loved these cookies.they were just amazing.I used fresh grated ginger(about 1 tablespoon) and grapeseed oil cause I was out of coconut oil.I didn’t roll them in sugar and they didn’t crackle like in the photos,is it because of not rolling in sugar?
    and I had another question,is it possible to mix by hand with a whisk and not use the electric mixer?
    Thanks for your great recipes,and I hope you post new recipes soon :)

    Reply
    • Erin replies to zahra
      January 7, 2016 @ 10:00 am

      I’m so happy that you enjoyed them! And you’re right about the crackling – if you don’t roll them in sugar, they don’t crackle. You don’t have to use an electric hand mixer but I think the dough may be a bit thick for a whisk. Maybe a wooden spoon or firm silicone spatula would work better? Thanks for your lovely comment and I hope to get back to posting new recipes very soon! I just got back from 3 weeks in the US and I’m finding it difficult to get back to work. ;)

      Reply
  • Sarah Walker Caron (Sarah's Cucina Bella) says
    January 7, 2015 @ 12:43 pm

    That oozing chocolate is calling my name! These look incredible.

    Reply
  • Nikki @ NikSnacks says
    December 16, 2014 @ 6:03 pm

    I *LOVE* the look of these! Those ooey-gooey centers, MMM!

    Reply
  • Jeff
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    says
    December 14, 2014 @ 10:54 pm

    I made these for a cookie exchange for my wife. The taste was great but I found them to be a bit dry. Can you give me some tips to help with the high Colorado altitude?

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Jeff
      December 15, 2014 @ 9:37 am

      These cookies are definitely supposed to be moist and chewy so it seems to be the altitude problem that caused the dryness. I’m sorry they came out that way for you! I don’t know a thing about high altitude baking but I found this. It mentions baked goods coming out dry at high altitude and also exactly what changes to make to prevent it. I hope that helps!

      Reply
  • Julie
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    says
    December 13, 2014 @ 6:45 am

    They don’t just look ooey gooey amazing, they taste that way too! I was searching for an over the top chocolate cookie to make for my husband’s birthday. I had to go with these! I didn’t have molasses, used agave instead. Easy and fabulous recipe. Everyone is in love with them!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Julie
      December 13, 2014 @ 8:04 pm

      I’m so happy that they came out well, especially since they were for your husband’s birthday! And good to know that agave works well here. :) Thanks so much for the feedback and happy birthday to your husband!

      Reply
  • Lauren @ Healthy Delicious says
    December 12, 2014 @ 9:28 pm

    CHOCOLATE gingerbread?! Yeah, I’ll be needing to make these real soon. YUM!

    Reply
  • Angela {Mind Over Batter} says
    December 12, 2014 @ 7:14 pm

    Not only are these cookies mega spiced, but the chocolate. The chocolate!! The idea of biting into this cookie is making my head spin.

    Reply
  • Kim (Feed Me, Seymour) says
    December 12, 2014 @ 2:07 pm

    OMG. Would you look at that chocolate?!?!??! I am dying!

    Reply
  • Kim Beaulieu says
    December 12, 2014 @ 7:06 am

    I freaking love these cookies. I am so over the moon for the photos. I just want to reach into the screen and grab a few.

    Reply
  • Susan says
    December 12, 2014 @ 5:36 am

    Oozing chocolate indeed! Oh, how I’d love a couple of these in my hands!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Susan
      December 12, 2014 @ 11:10 pm

      That’d be far too messy. Your mouth would be better. ;)

      Reply
  • Nutmeg Nanny says
    December 12, 2014 @ 5:08 am

    These cookies are picture perfect!

    Reply
  • Nancy P.@thebittersideofsweet says
    December 12, 2014 @ 4:38 am

    Oh Erin these look amazing! Love the chocolate oozing out of them!

    Reply
  • Beate says
    December 11, 2014 @ 8:23 pm

    I just know the person who will be all over these amazing little beauties. Yes, my chocolate addicted Alena will go crazy for these. So exciting that they are dairy free. Yay – yay – yay

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Beate
      December 12, 2014 @ 11:07 pm

      I’m happy you like the dairy-free part! It’s always nice to hear that people appreciate that stuff. :)

      Reply
  • T says
    December 11, 2014 @ 7:49 pm

    These cookies look amazing! Can I omit the molasses?

    Reply
    • Erin replies to T
      December 12, 2014 @ 9:21 pm

      Thanks! And I wouldn’t do omit the molasses because it’d affect the taste and texture. I’m guessing you could use honey instead but I’m not sure what that’d taste like.

      Reply
  • Heather / girlichef says
    December 11, 2014 @ 5:48 pm

    These look beyond fantastic – and that oozing chocolate is to die for! Want.

    Reply
  • Ginny McMeans says
    December 11, 2014 @ 5:05 pm

    OMG! You win. The Best Chocolate Cookies Ever! Love the crystallized ginger too.

    Reply
  • Coleen @ The Redhead Baker says
    December 11, 2014 @ 4:37 pm

    I like gingerbread, and I LOVE chocolate, but I’ve never thought of pairing them together.

    Reply
  • Brenda@Sugar-Free Mom says
    December 11, 2014 @ 1:54 pm

    These look amazing! Too funny because I also posted a grain free gingerbread cookie yesterday!

    Reply
  • Martha @ A Family Feast says
    December 11, 2014 @ 3:47 am

    This is totally one of those times when I wish I had the ability to reach into my computer monitor and grab a cookie! Awesome recipe!

    Reply
  • Ashley @ Wishes & Dishes says
    December 10, 2014 @ 9:45 pm

    Oh my….love that oozing chocolate!!

    Reply
  • Stephanie @ Back for Seconds says
    December 10, 2014 @ 9:19 pm

    I HAVE to try these. They look incredible!!

    Reply
  • Cookin Canuck says
    December 10, 2014 @ 8:29 pm

    My dad, who is a big crystallized ginger fan, would absolutely love these! And that oozing chocolate could reel anyone in.

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Cookin Canuck
      December 11, 2014 @ 5:42 pm

      You should totally make these as a Christmas present for him. ;)

      Reply
  • Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Dessserts says
    December 10, 2014 @ 8:21 pm

    I love all that gooey chocoalte! Great combination with ginger cookies!

    Reply
  • The Food Hunter says
    December 10, 2014 @ 8:04 pm

    adding these to my must bake list

    Reply
  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar says
    December 10, 2014 @ 8:17 am

    Holy smokes, these DO look super chewy and delicious!! I just love the chocolate and ginger combo!

    Reply
  • Nora (A Clean Bake) says
    December 10, 2014 @ 12:30 am

    The idea of biting into this cookies which is not only oozing with chocolate but packed with chewy ginger is really messing with my head (in a good way) right now. I wish I had time to make these right now!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Nora (A Clean Bake)
      December 11, 2014 @ 5:44 pm

      Don’t be silly! These are full of grains. ;) You should totally come up with a grain-free version!

      Reply

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