Classic Gingerbread Men – Low Carb and Gluten-Free


Classic Gingerbread Men cookies made low carb and gluten-free. Perfect for decorating with your kids and giving as a healthy holiday gift.

Low Carb Gingerbread Cut-Out Cookies

Like most little kids, my children love decorating cookies. I can’t say I feel the same myself. I think much of it has to do with the finicky nature of working with royal icing. My hands, so steady in other times, tend to shake a little as I squeeze the piping bag. Lines I mean to be straight end up wobbly and crooked. Lines that should be curved just end up looking ragged and uneven. I simply do NOT understand how people get those beautiful cookies all perfectly even and filled in. I feel a little like a kid who can’t stay in the lines when colouring at school.  I’d much prefer just to dip the whole lot in chocolate, thank you very  much. Simpler, faster and it satisfies that primal urge for all things chocolate.

Low Carb Gluten-Free Gingerbread Cookie Recipe

But my kids love doing the whole cookie decorating thing, so every year around the holidays I set aside some time for this arduous task. This year I decided I wanted to make the perfect low carb gingerbread  men. As always, I let my kids decorate their cookies with some sprinkles and candies. And as always, I had a heck of time finding the smaller candies that are just right for cookie decorating. Why do mini M&Ms abound when you don’t need them, but when you do, they are nowhere to be seen?

Low Carb Gluten-Free Gingerbread Men

I don’t know about you, but I like my gingerbread cookies to have a little tenderness to them. I didn’t want these to be super-crispy or rock hard, and I wanted them to have just a little chewiness upon biting into them. So I decided to make them with Kelapo coconut oil instead of butter, knowing that coconut oil typically makes baked goods more tender. At first, the dough was a little too soft and overly-fragile, so I added just a bit of coconut flour to make it hold together. And I was careful to take them out just a bit on the early side, to keep them softer. But if you are the sort who prefers your gingerbread cookies crispy, you can also bake these longer at a lower temperature, and they will crisp up nicely.

Low Carb Gingerbread Men Cookie Recipe

In the end, the kids and I had a ball decorating. The sugar-free royal icing recipe from the Swerve website is really quite good (I simply substituted arrowroot for the corn starch), and I gave each of the kids their own little piping bag for decorating. I let them almost have free reign with the sprinkles and candies for their cookies, knowing that the cookies were small enough, they could really only fit on a few anyway. I myself worked hard at making my cookies look like classic gingerbread men. And gingerbread trees, just to shake it up a little. Most of them didn’t turn out half-bad, but by the end I was quite literally drizzling the icing on in a random, abstract-art way, just to be done.

And my son, who had been bemoaning the “boring” weekend we’d been having, had such fun that he declared it the best day ever. Oh, to be so easy to please!

Decorated low carb gingerbread cookies
Apparently my kids inherited my cookie-decorating skills!

Classic Gingerbread Men – Low Carb and Gluten-Free

Yield: Approx. 50 cookies (3 to 4 inch tall)

Classic Gingerbread Men – Low Carb and Gluten-Free

Classic Gingerbread Men cookies made low carb and gluten-free. Perfect for decorating with your kids and giving as a healthy holiday gift.


  • 4 cups almond flour (Honeyville)
  • 1 cup Swerve Sweetener
  • 1/4 cup Coconut flour
  • 2 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup Kelapo coconut oil, melted
  • 3 tbsp molasses
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Royal Icing:
  • 1/2 lb powdered Swerve Sweetener
  • 1 ½ tbsp meringue powder
  • 1 ½ tsp arrowroot starch OR 1/8 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/4 cup lukewarm water (more if needed to thin out)


  1. For the cookies, preheat oven to 275F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together almond flour, sweetener, coconut flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking powder, xanthan gum, salt and cloves.
  3. Stir in eggs, coconut oil, molasses and vanilla extract until dough comes together.
  4. Divide dough in half and turn out first half onto a large piece of parchment paper. Top with another piece of parchment and roll out out about 1/4 inch thick.
  5. Use cookie cutters to cut into desired shapes and gently loosen and lift with an offset spatula. Place onto prepared baking sheets.
  6. Gather up scraps and reroll until too little is left to roll out. Repeat with second half of dough.
  7. Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown and just firm to the touch. Remove and let cool 5 minutes on pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. For the royal icing, in a medium bowl, whisk together powdered sweetener, meringue powder and arrowroot starch or xanthan gum.
  9. Add water and stir until smooth. Add more water 1 teaspoon at a time until desired consistency is achieved.
  10. Pipe icing onto cooled cookies and let set 30 minutes or longer.
  11. *For crisper cookies, bake at 225F for 50 to 60 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. They will crisp up as they cool


Makes about 50 cookies. Each cookie has 4 g of carbs and 2 g of fiber. Total NET CARBS = 2 g.

74 Calories; 6g Fat (68.1% calories from fat); 2g Protein; 4g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 8mg Cholesterol; 47mg Sodium.

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  1. Sarah G says

    And as for decorating, for the kids’ birthday cakes I have finally resorted to store bought cake toppers and then writing a message on an index card and laying it on the cake. That’s how bad MY decorating skills are!

  2. Faye Paetz says

    Hi, I just love your recipes and have made several! Yum, yum… I was wondering if this could be made without the molasses or do you have a recipe for sugar-free molasses? Thank you

  3. Susan says

    Do you think this recipe could be adapted to make a gingerbread house?

    Have you tackled a rolled butter cookie … or a spritz … yet? I really do miss the tradition of making Christmas cookies. My mom and I used to bake a different cookie every weekend day starting after Thanksgiving.

    • Carolyn says

      Hi Susan. I do have a rolled, cut-out sugar cookie recipe. Is that what you are looking for? I have yet to try spritz cookies.

      • Susan says

        Ah, yes, that’s exactly what I’m looking for. I searched your site for it, but didn’t see it. Can you point the way? Thanks!! And I was thinking that a spritz cookie might be a good low-carb makeover, since you don’t need to roll it, and the dough can stay soft. They’re lots of fun for kids to make (or at least I enjoyed it when I was a kid), once they get the hang of the cookie gun/press.

        Also, I’ve been tooling around the low-carb web and noticed a recipe to make almond paste from almond flour, egg white, powdered sugar-substitute and almond extract. Have you tried it? I’ve been hankering for Italian Pignoli cookies, which are really just an almond meringue cookie, and will probably give it a go this holiday season. Almond paste opens up a lot of delicious pastry options, if this really does work.

        Anyway, I really appreciate all your work with these recipes. It’s really great not to feel deprived!

          • Susan says

            Thanks! I’m really looking forward to trying both the gingerbread and the butter cookies. Nothing like a plate of cookies and a cup of tea over Christmas. And, really, we do want to help Santa with his blood sugar!

  4. Jane says

    Thank you thank you! I was just feeling a little blue about the Christmas cookie thing and then I saw this–perfect! Feel that Christmas spirit coming back.

  5. jillian says

    dear your recipes, they all look so is my question…have had bad luck on two i tried. being allergic to swerve and xylitol i have made them with cocnot sugar or even eval. you think that changes the outcome? thanks.jill

    • Carolyn says

      Hi Jill… Yes, it probably affects them a little. Sugar is hygroscopic, meaning it attracts moisture. Erythritol and xylitol are non-hygroscopic, so I have to adjust the liquid content to account for that in my recipes. What recipes did you try with these? For most, it wouldn’t be too much of an issue, but for some recipes, it would make a difference.

      • jillian says

        it was a bread-y thing..sadly i can not remember which…but would like to make the snowballs,gingerbread men, maybe some cake desserts. really, almost everything you make is so appealing. and i like using almond flour. i could use coconut syrup or honey if that would add enough moisture.

        • Carolyn says

          No, the problem here is too much moisture, not too little. Coconut syrup or honey would make that worse. I actually think for these cookies, coconut sugar would be just fine. But if you find the dough too sticky, add another tbsp of coconut flour to firm it up and dry it out a bit. That always helps.

  6. says

    So glad to be back here. My book is finally done and I have time to bake! And now I need to go check out how you managed to make the cardamum cookies sugar free – I’m thinking that’s the Mexican wedding cake recipe, right? I wish I could get the swerve powdered sugar.

  7. Mariruth says

    Can you substitute gluccomanon for xanthan gum? I don’t want to make one more trip to the grocery store. 😉

    • Carolyn says

      I have absolutely no idea because I’ve never used gluccomanon. However, I think it’s worth a try if you’re dying to make them. I don’t know how much you’d put in though.

  8. Becky says

    Dipping in chocolate sounds good to me – they could have boots, gloves, and a little beanie hat. Ganache would make great shorts and buttons, too. I think dark chocolate goes great with gingerbread.

  9. Carolyn Miller says

    Hi Carolyn,
    I was wondering if you have ever used or heard of Whey Low. I have been using it as a sugar sub and really like it, but I think it is higher in carbs than Swerve. Ehat is your opinion. Thanks, Carolyn M

  10. Kristine says

    I just made these….OMG!!! What can I say other than thank you from the bottom of my piggy little low-carb heart!! I put more ginger in than recommended (as I am a ginger freak) and I subbed half of the molasses for ricemalt syrup (so the molasses wasnt too overpowering). I am in love with these biscuits (cookies)!

      • Kristine says

        I LOVE IT 😀 I realise it (ginger) is relatively high carb, but I am trying to up my healthy carbs a little due to a thyroid issue.

  11. Anthony says

    I’m wondering what your thoughts would be for making a thicker, chewy ginger cookie using this recipe–higher heat and shorter bake time? Thanks!

    • Carolyn says

      Hmmm, good question. Obviously cut them thicker. I don’t think you’d want a higher heat but yes, a shorter bake time.

  12. Dorian Ingram says

    Can I use hazelnut flour or for the gingerbread men if I run out of almond flour or would that change the taste and texture of the cookie

  13. Carolyn says

    It’s a little less finely ground than good almond flour like Honeyville. Your cookies might be a bit more crumbly.


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