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Christmas Gingerbread People Table-Setting Cookies

Elevate your holiday tablescape game with these festive Christmas Gingerbread People table-setting cookies. Use delicious cookies as place cards or a festive centerpiece and eat them later.

Decorated 3D cookies are displayed on a black tray; around a small decorative tree.

updated from 2012


Make this year’s Christmas dinner even more special with edible personalized 3-D gingerbread people table-setting cookies. In this tutorial I used my honey cookie recipe (mild gingerbread) to make the cookies and to decorate I optioned for Fresh Lemon Royal Icing. Lemon paired with gingerbread is a stellar combination. I often use this combination to make other treats like Gingerbread Cupcakes with Lemon Frosting or Lebkuchen Cookies with Lemon Glaze.


  • Gingerbread People Cookie Cutter
  • Holy Leaf Cookie Cutter
  • Piping Bags
  • Leaf Piping Tip #352 – optional
  • Gel Food Colors: Ivory, Brown (optional), Pink, Green, Black, Red
  • Black Edible Marker
  • Sprinkles: rainbow and gold nonpareils, red and pink heart sprinkles
  • Concentrated Gel Food Colors
  • Cooling Rack

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  • Ivory-Brown Icing: 15-second consistency – flood the cookies. I used an ivory gel color to color the icing and added a touch of brown gel color to achieve a deeper color.
  • White Icing: stiff and 20 to 25 – second consistency – hair, feet, loops and zic zag
  • Pink Icing: 20 to 25 – second consistency
  • Black Icing: 20 to 25 – second consistency – eyes, mouth
  • Dark and Light Green Icing: 15-second consistency
  • Medium and Dark Red Icing: 25-second consistency, dark red is optional, used for shading
Plate with a cookie.


Let’s start by outlining and flooding the cookie with ivory-brown icing (15-second consistency). Use a scribe to smooth and distribute the icing (steps 1-8). Let the icing dry.

Cookie flooded with royal icing.

Add the hair and feet, use 20-25 second consistency, and immediately dust icing with rainbow nonpareils sprinkles (steps 1-8).

Icing the feet of a gingerbread man with white icing and dusting with rainbow nonpareil sprinkles.

Pipe facial features with black icing (20 to 25 second)- make eyes and smiling mouth (steps 1-2.) And with pink icing pipe 2 dots on the each sides of the mouth (step 3). To personalize cookies you can use a black edible marker and write the name onto the icing. It’s important that icing is dry, otherwise tip of the edible marker will break thru the icing (step 4). Now, you can add the heart buttons. For these, I used red heart sprinkles. Pipe small dots of white icing-glue where you want the buttons. Then, glue the heart sprinkles onto cookie (steps 5-6). And lastly, pipe the zic zag line across the arms (steps 7-8).

Cookie decorated with icing and sprinkles.


To decorate gingerbread woman cookies, most of the decorating steps are exactly the same as in gingerbread man cookies. So, first, outline and flood the cookies, and let the icing dry (steps 1-8).

Cookie flooded with a light brown icing.

Now, pipe white icing on the head and immediately dust it with rainbow sprinkles (steps 1-3). Follow with piping the eyes and mouth with black icing and cheeks with pink icing (steps 4-6). Write the name across with a black edible marker, and attach pink heart sprinkles.

Gingerbread people decorated with icing.

Lastly, add white piped details on the arms and bottom of the dress – pipe a zig-zag line across the arms. And a looping line across the bottom of the dress.

Piping white loops with royal icing onto a cookie.


If you want to make 3-D cookies, you need a base that the gingerbread man or woman will stand on. I decided to use festive holy leaf shape, but you can get away with another shape if you don’t have a holy leaf. I used this same cutter to make simple Holy Leaf Cookie Platter.

Outline the leaf with dark green icing and fill the inside with light green icing (both icings should be 15-second consistency). Use a scribe to smooth the icing (steps 1-5). Then, immediately pipe dark green icing lines onto the light green icing. This technique is called wet-on-wet. Use your scribe to accentuate the points and shape the dark green icing lines (steps 6-8).

Holy leaf cookie decorated with green icing.

This next step is optional. Use gold nonpareils sprinkles to decorate the top of the wet icing. Use sprinkles sparingly (steps 1-3). let icing crust well before adding the berries.

A holy leaf decorated with green icing and gold nonpareils.

To make the berries, pipe mounds of medium red icing (25-second consistency) into the far corner of the cookie (steps 1-2). Smooth the dot with a scribe. Then if using, pipe a small curved line with dark red icing on the edge of the medium red dot (step 3). Follow with black icing, and pipe a small dot in the middle. Shape a black dot with the tip of a scribe tool into a star shape (steps 4-6). And if you are feeling adventurous, add reflection dots onto the red berry, using white icing (steps 7-8).

Piping red icing dot onto a holy leaf cookie.

Repeat until you have three berries. Before you pipe the next berry, it is important to let neighboring berries crust for 10-15 minutes so they don’t blend.

Leaf-shaped cookie decorated with green icing and large red dots.


Assembly is easy. Grab a cooling rack. It will help us during the drying time, to keep the cookies upright. Place holy leaf cookies underneath. Pipe stiff icing on the bottom of the gingerbread people. I used a leaf piping tip to pipe leaf shapes on the bottom (steps 1-2). Align gingerbread people cookies with the holy leaves and glue the gingerbread people onto the holy leaves cookies (step 3).

3D cookies drying on a cooling rack.

Let the icing dry for several hours, best to let it dry for 6-7 hours. Then carefully lift the cooling rack.

Gingerbread people cookies decorated with royal icing and sprinkles.


Store cookies in a tall box until ready to use. Arrange them on a plate or place individual cookies on a plate for each guest.

Several cookies decorated with royal icing, displayed around a small decorative tree.


I first created this festive 3-D cookie design many years ago. You can see in the picture below I used white icing and my first design was simpler.

Gingerbread Cookies decorated with white icing, are displayed on a table.

You can also package cookies in clear poly bags, store them on a tray, and then arrange them on your holiday table.

A small 3 D cookie packaged in a clear poly bag.


Gingerbread and Honey Cookies can last for up to a month. Sugar Cookies keep well for 2-3 weeks.


This post was originally published on December 18, 2012. On August 2, 2023 I updated this post with new step by step pictures and written text.

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