Paleo Christmas Cookies: Grain-Free Gingerbread Men

The snow has started to fall in Pittsburgh, and all the homes are decorated in colored lights. The holiday season is here, filled with warm cozy nights, chilly mornings, comfort foods, and holiday cheer.

With the holiday season upon us, Bill and I had a few recipes on the top of our lists to feature this month. One recipe that we were both looking forward to trying were gingerbread cookies. I have always loved gingerbread cookies, and have fond memories of decorating gingerbread houses over the holidays. I had never made gingerbread cookies from scratch, but Bill’s mom had a fantastic recipe that she wanted us to try. This is one recipe that Bill grew up with, and these gingerbread cookies are a favorite holiday treat item in his parents home.

After a quick gaze over the classic family recipe, it was pretty clear that this was one that we wouldn’t have trouble “primalizing”. With the exchange of a few ingredients, and some much appreciated insight from Bill’s wonderful mom, we created delicious grain-free gingerbread cookies with ease. The recipe turned out beautifully, and according to Bill and his mom, you would never know that the revised recipe did not use white flour or refined sugar.


  • 3 cups blanched almond flour
  • 1/2 cup molasses (if you have an aversion to molasses, another option would be to use yacon syrup, although the molasses is a key ingredient to getting the classic “gingerbread cookie” flavor and color.)
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons palm shortening
  • 1 tablespoon coconut milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • gingerbread men/holiday cookie cutters


  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a sauce pan, heat molasses to a boil.
  3. Add maple syrup, palm shortening, and coconut milk to sauce pan.
  4. Stir ingredients until combined, then remove from heat.
  5. In a small bowl, combine all dry ingredients.
  6. Pour dry ingredients into wet, and mix with a wooden spoon until batter is fully blended.
  7. Roll out dough between two sheets of parchment paper, until about 1/4 inch thick.
  8. Cut batter with cookie cutters of choice.
  9. Bake for 10 minutes on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
  10. Let cool, decorate as desired, and enjoy.

*Possible option for this recipe is to frost cookies with our Cinnamon Frosting. We used Enjoy Life semi sweet chocolate chips and raisins to decorate our gingerbread men and women.

These cookies were delicious and very festive. We used a gingerbread man, a gingerbread woman, a Star of David, a Menorah, and a Christmas tree as our cookie cutters of choice. Have fun with this recipe and make the batter into any shape you desire.

Happy Holiday Baking!

As always, enjoy!

Primal Palate Spice Blends

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    1. December 7, 2010

      Hey guys! Is there an alternative to the palm shortening? Would coconut oil work instead?

    2. December 7, 2010

      We had a few people ask us this question over on Marks Daily Apple (forums) as well. Yes, coconut oil would be a suitable substitution for palm shortening. You could also use grass-fed butter. Hope this helps!

      -Hayley and Bill

    3. December 8, 2010

      I love your vintage looking measuring spoons. Where would I find such a thing?

    4. December 9, 2010

      Hey Stephanie – They're great, huh? We got them at Anthropologie. I believe they're available in their online store. We love the way they look too!

    5. December 22, 2010

      I NEED HELP WITH YOUR GINGER BREAD COOKIE RECIPE. I have it rolled out and have used my cookie cutter, but the dough is so sticky I can't get them off the parchment and they don't look like ginger bread men.


    6. December 22, 2010

      Hey Kyle – We saw your plea for help over on our fan page. Not sure which you'll see first, so here is our answer again:
      You can add more almond flour to the batter if it is not holding up. it can be a little tricky to handle, because it is a softer dough, but it should work. you can do it!
      Hope this helps!
      -Hayley and Bill

    7. December 23, 2010

      I just made these and had the same problem. I added a bit more flour and then ended up refrigerating the dough. It worked wonders! They were so easy to roll out and cut after that! The recipe is delicious! Thank you for sharing!

      I also substituted butter and goats milk for the coconut oil and milk.

    8. December 24, 2010

      Should've read these comments about the batter before my attempt. I had the same issue – my poor gingerbread men look like they have amputated limbs. ๐Ÿ™

      I ended up making gingerbread balls w/the rest of the dough b/c after 3 men I gave up.

      I'll definitely give the refrigeration a try next time. ๐Ÿ™‚

    9. December 3, 2011

      Awesome post! I found you through the From Scratch Club website. I can't wait to make these ASAP.

    10. December 10, 2011

      These are the best cookies. I made half a recipe because I didn't have enough almond flour so I ground up some raw almonds to make the half recipe and the dough itself reminded me of a bit o honey candy. I just dropped them into clumps and they looked like a soft ginger snap when they were done. I only cooked them about 8mins to keep them soft. This is an excellent recipe. Great Job!!thanks for such a great recipe

    11. December 20, 2011

      Love! My favorite cookie growing up and the one cookie I've always made at the holidays is molasses crinkles. This is my first primal Christmas and I decided that I needed an acceptable substitute. I gave these a go – rolling them into balls instead of using cookie cutters. They spread a bit as they cooked and cracked on top, just like my favorites. Crunchy on the outside and a bit chewy on the inside – perfect. My family (who is not primal) gives a thumbs up as well! Thanks so much!

    12. December 27, 2011

      Sad to hear these didn't work for some. I would say to make sure you really refrigerate the dough and even re-refrigerate if they start to get smooshy. We had a terrific experience making these, cutting them and decorating. (And it was me plus two under 4!)

    13. Kristin91
      March 22, 2014

      Just popped mine in the oven ๐Ÿ˜€ They smell and look so stunning! Waiting to see the result. I halved the recipe and rolled out balls to make my cookies. Looking good so far!

    14. Kristin91
      March 22, 2014

      These came out great! I halved the recipe but kept the spice measurements the same (not the salt of course) and they were super tasty! I also substituted butter for the palm shortening. Its a keeper ginger biscuit recipe for me. Thanks for the amazing recipe, my boyfriend just said he likes them better than his favourite the store bought ginger biscuits (which are packed full of sugar and additives might I add), now I can finally enjoy some biscuits too!

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