No cookie cutter? No problem! Make these cute & easy gingerbread man sugar cookies just using a circle! Includes step-by-step photos, a free printable instruction guide, and my favorite cut out sugar cookie recipe!
Psst! For more easy Christmas cookie decorating ideas to pair with this, check out my 5 EASY Christmas Cookies for Kids!
Gingerbread Man Sugar Cookies made EASY!
Decorated Christmas cookies don’t have to be hard! I LOVE coming up with new round Christmas cookie ideas & these easy gingerbread face cookies are some of my fave!
- No gingerbread cookie cutter required! You can cut out these round gingerbread cookies using a circle cookie cutter, glass cup, or even the top of a empty aluminum soup can!
- Easy to decorate: decorate these cute gingerbread face cookies with one color of frosting & M&M candies! I’ve got an easy formula below for making the brown frosting color.
- Use premade dough, if you’d like! While I love my thick cut out sugar cookies (recipe below), you can even make these with premade dough from Pillsbury, if you’d like! Or for a fluffier lofthouse style cookie, use my fluffy sugar cookie recipe.
- Includes free printable: To help kids visualize the cookie, you can print off my free cookie instruction sheet which includes step by step illustrations!
Psst! For more cute Christmas sugar cookie decorating ideas check out my 5 EASY Christmas Cookies for Kids!
What You Need to Make Gingerbread Face Cookies
You don’t need much to make & decorate these round gingerbread cookies!
- Cut out sugar cookie dough (recipe below)
- White frosting (recipe & color formula below)
- M&M candy
- Circle cookie cutter or glass cup (approx. 2.5″ diameter)
- Bonus: Free printable instruction guide for kids!
How to Make Gingerbread Man Sugar Cookies
You can watch a quick video tutorial of me decorating these gingerbread face cookies over on my TikTok page! A few readers across the pond referred to these as gingerbread biscuits, which I’ve found fun to learn about all the different cookie lingo and traditions!
Step 1: Make Circle Cookies
Roll out and cut each cookie into approximately 2.5″ circles. Bake and let cool. My sugar cookie recipe is super soft & thick but you can also use a store-bought sugar cookie dough if you’d like! This recipe made 12 circle cookies but you can easily double it for more.
Tip: No circle cookie cutter? You can still make these round gingerbread cookies without a cutter using a glass cup (wine tumblers or wine glasses work well!) or an empty aluminum soup can. That’s the beauty of making holiday circle cookies – so many options with just a round cookie!
Step 2: Color & Frost Cookie
Use a butter knife or spatula to spread frosting on the cookie. You can also use a piping bag for cleaner edges, but it’s definitely not necessary!
Tip: To make the brown frosting, add 4 drops of brown Wilton gel food coloring + 2 drops of Wilton yellow gel food coloring to the 2 cups of white frosting. If you only have liquid food coloring (the small colors from the grocery store), add equal drops of red and green food coloring until you reach the darkness you desire.
Step 3: Decorate Faces!
While the frosting is still “wet”, press on (2) 1/2 brown M&M’s for the eyes, 2 red M&M’s for the rosy cheeks, and (optional) a 1/2 brown M&M for the mouth. Finish it off by piping a squiggly white line on the top of the head & a bow on the bottom to make a little gingerbread boy necktie. To make a gingerbread girl cookie, you can pipe the bow on the top of the head instead!
Tip: Have an adult use a small pairing knife to carefully cut the brown M&M’s in half. You will break some in the process but a good method is to quickly press your knife into the candy (don’t saw it back and forth). You can also use whole M&M’s for the eyes & totally leave off the mouth, if you don’t want to mess with cutting M&M’s in half!
Frequently Asked Questions:
What can I use instead of M&M’s?
You can also use chocolate chips or eyeball sprinkles to create the eyes! If you don’t have either of those, you can also dye a little bit of frosting black & red and pipe on the details (although this is definitely messier & more effort!).
If you’re looking for more round Christmas cookie decorating ideas using M&M’s, be sure to check out my 5 EASY Christmas Cookies for Kids. You can make a whole family of M&M sugar cookies!
How do I make brown frosting?
To 1 cup of white frosting, add 2 drops of brown gel food coloring & 1 drop of yellow gel food coloring. If you only have liquid food coloring (the small colors from the grocery store), add equal drops of red and green food coloring until you reach the darkness you desire.
You can also make these with traditional gingerbread man icing (like a royal icing for an easy glaze), just take note that the M&M’s tend to bleed their color with a wetter icing. If you want to decorate iced cookies, I would suggest using chocolate chips for the eyes and then piping on the colored details.
Can I make these without a circle cookie cutter?
If you don’t have a round cookie cutter, you can cut these gingerbread cookies without a cutter using a glass cup or even the top of an empty aluminum soup can! Anything round works to make these gingerbread circle cookies!
Can I freeze these gingerbread man cookies?
Yes, you can freeze these frosted gingerbread cookies for up to 1 month in an airtight container. I suggest freezing them in one layer before stacking. After they’re frozen, you can place parchment paper in between each later to prevent them from sticking together.
Can I make these ahead?
To make these ahead, you can freeze the unfrosted cookies and then let them thaw to room temperature before decorating. This is a great option if you want to make them ahead for a cookie decorating party!
Do you have another easy Christmas cookie decorating ideas using M&M’s?
I sure do! For more easy round cookies, check out my 5 EASY Christmas Cookies for Kids! I love making & shaping cookies without cutters because there are so many ways you can turn round cookies into something magical! Making circle cookies for Christmas is my new secret weapon…round snowman cookies & santas here we come!
Easy Polar Bear Cookies
Make these EASY polar bear face cookies using a circle cookie cutter and M&M candies! No fancy piping needed; simply snip the corner off a ziploc bag and pipe dots for a simple Christmas cookie decorating diea! Makes 12 round sugar cookies (~2.5" in diameter) and 2 cups of buttercream frosting.
Sugar Cookie Dough
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter softened
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract (nut allergy? you can substitute this with extra vanilla!)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1.5 teaspoons almond extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- Gel food coloring
- M&M's candy (I used both mini & regular sized M&M's)
- Circle cookie cutter 2.5-3" in diameter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar on medium speed for 20-30 seconds. Mix in egg, vanilla and almond extract. Add in baking powder, salt, and flour and mix until combined. Transfer to a flour-covered surface and use a rolling pin to roll dough 3/8" to 1/2" thick. Use a 2.5-3" circle cookie cutter or glass cup to cut out dough.
Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Depending on size of your cookie cutter and thickness of dough, you may need to bake for a few extra minutes. Allow to cool before decorating.
To make frosting: In a large mixing bowl, add butter, vanilla extract, almond extract, and salt. Cream together on medium speed for 30 seconds, or until blended together. Mix in powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time until all is incorporated. Turn mixer to high speed, and beat for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy.
To decorate: Reference the photos in the post above or print off my printable instruction PDF to decorate the polar bear faces.
1. Spread or pipe white frosting on cookie. (Optional: Immediately after spreading frosting, dip cookie into white sanding sugar if you have it!).
2. Using a piping bag or ziploc bag, pipe two small white dots for the ears and one large dot for the nose (you can also use mini marshmallows for the ears!).
3. Press on (2) mini brown M&M's for the eyes, 2 mini red M&M's for the rosy cheeks, and a regular-sized brown M&M for the mouth.
Store in airtight container for 2-3 days or freeze for later.
Last Step! Please leave a review and rating letting me know how you liked this recipe! This helps my small business thrive so I can continue providing free recipes and high-quality content for you.
Substitutions for M&M’s: You can also use chocolate chips or eyeball sprinkles to create the eyes! If you don’t have either of those, you can also dye a little bit of frosting brown or black pipe on the details (although this is definitely messier & more effort!).
Storing: store in an airtight container for 2-3 days.
Freezing: you can freeze these frosted polar bear cookies for up to 1 month in an airtight container. I suggest freezing them in one layer before stacking. After they’re frozen, you can place parchment paper in between each later to prevent them from sticking together.
Make Ahead: freeze the unfrosted cookies and then let them thaw to room temperature before decorating. This is a great option if you want to make them ahead for a cookie decorating party!
For more easy Christmas cookie ideas for kids:
- 5 EASY Christmas Cookies for Kids
- Easy Rudolph Cookies
- Easy Decorated Snowman Cookies
- Easy Wreath Sugar Cookies
These gingerbread man cookies are so cute on a holiday cookie platter paired with candy cane or gumdrop cookies! If you make these easy gingerbread man cookies, be sure to leave a comment below and tag me on Instagram @designeatrepeat. I LOVE seeing what you made!