Gingerbread Whoopie Pies

Mega soft and chewy Whoopie Pies made festive with gingerbread!

This Whoopie Pie recipe takes two tender cake-like gingerbread cookies and sandwiches them with with luscious cream cheese frosting to create your new favorite way to devour gingerbread!  And bonus, you get two Christmas cookies in one!   Make ahead and freezer instructions included!

easy Whoopie Pies recipe stacked on a plate

Whoopie Pie

Can you guys believe Christmas is SO soon?!  I had a gazillion holiday recipe ideas to share with you but there just isn’t enough time so I am only sharing the best of the best like these epic Gingerbread Whoopie Pies that are sure to fill your hearts and bellies with holiday cheer!

I don’t make a lot of cookies, so if I’m going to make them, they have to be worth my time.  And these Gingerbread Whoopie Pies are SO worth my/your time!  This whoopie pie recipe is adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Magazine Christmas Cookies Issue and as I was flipping through, these immediately caught my eye because a) gingerbread,  b) cream cheese filling, c) whoopie pies!!!

I love whoopie pies.  It’s like two reverse frosted cake-like cookies back to back so you get two cookies in one with just the right amount of filling oozing with each bite….but…….that would only be a good thing if you loved the cookies, so let me assure you – you will love these cookies.  

WHY WHOOPIE PIES ARE THE BEST:

  • Festive and delicious
  • MEGA soft and chewy
  • GINGERBREAD
  • That cream cheese filling!
  • Double the cookie!
  • Perfect for a holiday party or family dinner
  • Make ahead friendly

What are Whoopie Pies?

I took the concept for this whoopie pie recipe from traditional whoopie pies that are made of two round mound-shaped pieces of chocolate cake (a cross between cake batter and cookie dough) with a sweet, creamy filling or frosting sandwiched between them.  Traditional filling used to always be a form of sweet marshmallow cream but it has evolved to include buttercream as well.  

Whoopie Pies Recipe

This Gingerbread Whoopie Pie recipe also begins with two round mound shaped cake-like cookies but instead of chocolate, they are gingerbread, and instead of marshmallow filling, we have cream cheese butter cream.

The resulting Whoopie Pies are some of the softest cookies I have ever sunken my teeth into and the cinnamon, ground ginger, crystallized ginger, nutmeg, and cloves add a festive complexity of flavor that compliments the silky sweet cream cheese filling.   They will make you merry – for days.

the best whoopie pies recipe stacked on a pate

Why do they Call it a Whoopie Pie?

I love this story!  Whoopie Pies originated in New England as a Pennsylvania Amish tradition.  They were often made with leftover cake batter so they were considered a special treat.  According to Amish legend, children would exclaim, “whoopie!” when they  discovered the pies in their lunch bags. 

What is Whoopie Pie Filling Made of?

This  Whoopie Pie filling skips the marshmallow fluff and instead uses more of a frosting-like filling reminiscent of frosting gingerbread.  The Cream Cheese filling is a buttery blend of sugar, butter, cream cheese and vanilla for a luscious, silky filling that will have you licking the beaters.  

You can pipe the filling onto half the cookies or you can simply drop it by the tablespoon and then top with the remaining cookies for adorably petite, zesty Gingerbread Whoopie Pies bursting with molasses, cinnamon and spices.  Bursting with holiday cheer!

showing how to make Whoopie Pies by filling with whoppie pie filling without fluff

HOW TO MAKE Whoopie Pie Recipe

Making the Batter

  • Don’t skip the crystallized Ginger.  This Whoopie Pie recipe calls for crystallized ginger.  You do NOT want to skip this!  I made two batches of Gingerbread Whoopie Pies – one without crystallized ginger and upping the ground ginger and one with the crystallized ginger.  The batch with just ginger powder tasted flat and bland while the batch with crystallized ginger boasted a sweet bite that complimented the sweetness of the filling.  In short, adding crystallized ginger is the only way for these cookies to live up to their name “Gingerbread!”
  • DIY Buttermilk.  Don’t have buttermilk? No problem, you can still make these Whoopie Pies!  Simply add one teaspoon lemon juice or vinegar to a measuring cup then add enough milk to equal ¼ cup and give it a stir.  Let it sit for 5-10 minutes.  When it curdles on top, you know it’s ready to use. 
  • Refrigerate dough.  I know refrigerating dough can be a pain because we all want whoopie pies NOW, but you will need to refrigerator the dough for at least 1 hour up to 24 hours.  This will not only develop the festive flavors but will prevent your dough from spreading out too much when it bakes, maintaining that “mound” shape we know and love. 

Baking the Whoopie Pies

  • Line baking sheets.  You will need to line your baking pans with either parchment paper or nonstick mats.  I don’t recommend foil with cooking spray because this will make your dough spread out too much.
  • Don’t overbake pies.  Bake pies just until puffed and just set, 11-13 minutes.  The pies will continue to cook as they cool, so it is important not to over bake them for the SOFTEST whoopie pies around. Better to underbake than overbake in my opinion.

Making the Filling

  • Use paddle attachment.  If you have the paddle attachment for your mixer, this is optional for the the fluffiest frosting.   Make sure you beat your butter and sugar for a full two minutes so the frosting will whip in tons of air and become super fluffy. 
  • Refrigerate frosting to thicken.  If your filling is very soft, then refrigerate it for 15 minutes before filling cookies (I didn’t have to do this). This can often result when butter or cream cheese that is too soft to begin with.  Take care to NEVER microwave your butter for frosting or it can easily become too soft. 

Filling Whoopie Pies

  • Assemble.  Spoon or pipe 1 tablespoon frosting evenly onto bottoms (flat sides) of 24 cookies. Top with remaining 24 cookies, bottom sides down. Dust with powdered sugar. 
showing how to make Whoopie Pies by adding cookie on top of filling

Can I Make Whoopie Pies Ahead of Time?

Yes!  You can prepare the batter, cover it tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to three days.  You can also make the cookies a day ahead of filling and keep in an airtight container until ready to fill.  Lastly, you can also freeze the whoopie pies (instructions below).

HOW DO I STORE WHOOPIE PIES?

  Store Whoopie Pies in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving.  I like to microwave mine for 10 seconds or so.   

CAN WHOOPIE PIES BE FROZEN?

Yes! You can either freeze the whoopie pie battere the baked whoopie pies or the assembled whoopie pies. Here’s how to freeze all three options:

HOW TO FREEZE WHOOPIE PIE DOUGH:

  • Roll balls per instructions and fit as many as you can on a parchment/nonstick lined baking sheet without touching.
  • Place the baking sheet in the freezer and freeze the balls until  outsides are hard (about 1-2 hours).
  • Transfer to a freezer size plastic bag and freeze.
  • Dough should freeze well for up to 3 months.
  • To BAKE:  Place frozen cookie dough balls on a lined baking sheet and bake according to instructions, adding a couple extra minutes to cook time.

HOW TO FREEZE BAKED WHOOPIE PIES WITHOUT FILLING

  • Fit as many COOLED baked whoopie pies on a parchment/nonstick mat lined baking sheet without touching.
  • Place the baking sheet(s) in the freezer and freeze until  solid (about 1 hour).
  • Transfer to a freezer size plastic bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
  • When ready to use, let whoopie pies defrost on the counter before filling.
up close of Gingerbread Whoopie Pies with filling

HOW TO FREEZE ASSEMBLED WHOOPIE PIES

  • Fit as many whoopie pies on a parchment/nonstick mat lined baking sheet without touching.
  • Place the baking sheet(s) in the freezer and freeze until  solid (about 1 hour).
  • You can now freeze individual whoopie pies by placing them each in individual sandwich bags, OR to freeze a batch of pies:
  • Top frozen whoopie pies on baking sheet with a layer of parchment paper and layer with another layer of frozen pies (that you have frozen on a separate sheet).  Continue to layer and stack as needed.
  • Wrap entire baking sheet securely in layers of plastic wrap.
  • To THAW TRAY:  Take baking sheet out of refrigerator and unwrap so that the condensation doesn’t form and make the whoopie pies soggy.  Let sit at room temperature for several hours.
  • TO THAW INDIVIDUAL WHOOPIE PIES:  Take whoopie pie out of the sandwich bag and let sit at room temperature overnight OR if you’re in a hurry,  warm whoopie pie in the microwave at 10 second intervals until defrosted.

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soft Whoopie Pie with a bite taken out of it

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©Carlsbad Cravings by CarlsbadCravings.com

Gingerbread Whoopie Pies - everyone always begs me for this recipe! Super soft gingerbread cookies stuffed with luscious cream cheese filling! You won't be able to have just one!

Gingerbread Whoopie Pies

Mega soft and chewy Gingerbread Whoopie Pies stuffed with luscious cream cheese frosting will be your new favorite way to devour gingerbread!  And bonus, you get two Christmas cookies in one!
Servings: 24 pies
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 26 minutes

Ingredients

Cookies

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp EACH ground ginger, nutmeg, salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 8 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 3 tablespoons crystallized ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Filling

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups Powdered sugar
  • 6 oz. cream cheese, cut into 6-8 pieces, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

Garnish (a must!)

  • Powdered sugar for dusting

Instructions

  • Whisk flour, cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg, salt, cloves and baking soda together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  • Whisk brown sugar, melted butter, molasses and crystallized ginger in separate large bowl until combined. Whisk in egg, buttermilk and vanilla until combined. Add flour mixture and stir with rubber spatula just until dough comes together. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour up to 24.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick mat. Roll dough into balls using 1 scant tablespoon. Space balls evenly on prepared sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake cookies, 1 sheet at a time, until puffed and just set, 11-13 minutes. Let cookies cool on sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
  • Using stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter and powdered sugar on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. With mixer running, add cream cheese, 1 piece at a time, and continue to beat until smooth, about 30 seconds. Beat in vanilla extract and pinch of salt as needed.
  • *Spoon or pipe 1 tablespoon frosting evenly onto bottoms (flat sides) of 24 cookies. Top with remaining 24 cookies, bottom sides down. Dust with powdered sugar. (Note, these cookies need the dusting of powdered sugar or they won’t taste sweet enough).
  • Store cookies in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Notes

*If frosting is very soft, refrigerate for 15 minutes before filling cookies (I didn’t have to do this).

MAKE AHEAD: 

You can prepare the batter, cover it tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to three days.  You can also make the cookies a day ahead of filling and keep in an airtight container until ready to fill.

STORAGE:

Store Whoopie Pies in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving.  I like to microwave mine for 10 seconds or so. 

HOW TO FREEZE WHOOPIE PIE DOUGH:

  • Roll balls per instructions and fit as many as you can on a parchment/nonstick lined baking sheet without touching.
  • Place the baking sheet in the freezer and freeze the balls until  outsides are hard (about 1-2 hours).
  • Transfer to a freezer size plastic bag and freeze.
  • Dough should freeze well for up to 3 months.
  • To BAKE:  Place frozen cookie dough balls on a lined baking sheet and bake according to instructions, adding a couple extra minutes to cook time.

HOW TO FREEZE BAKED WHOOPIE PIES WITHOUT FILLING

  • Fit as many COOLED baked whoopie pies on a parchment/nonstick mat lined baking sheet without touching.
  • Place the baking sheet(s) in the freezer and freeze until  solid (about 1 hour).
  • Transfer to a freezer size plastic bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
  • When ready to use, let whoopie pies defrost on the counter before filling.

HOW TO FREEZE ASSEMBLED WHOOPIE PIES

  • Fit as many whoopie pies on a parchment/nonstick mat lined baking sheet without touching.
  • Place the baking sheet(s) in the freezer and freeze until  solid (about 1 hour).
  • You can now freeze individual whoopie pies by placing them each in individual sandwich bags, OR to freeze a batch of pies:
  • Top frozen whoopie pies on baking sheet with a layer of parchment paper and layer with another layer of frozen pies (that you have frozen on a separate sheet).  Continue to layer and stack as needed.
  • Wrap entire baking sheet securely in layers of plastic wrap.
  • To THAW TRAY:  Take baking sheet out of refrigerator and unwrap so that the condensation doesn’t form and make the whoopie pies soggy.  Let sit at room temperature for several hours.
  • TO THAW INDIVIDUAL WHOOPIE PIES:  Take whoopie pie out of the sandwich bag and let sit at room temperature overnight OR if you’re in a hurry,  warm whoopie pie in the microwave at 10 second intervals until defrosted.

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©Recipe adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Magazine: Christmas Cookies, Gingerbread Whoopie Pies, pg. 55

Reader Interactions

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46 Comments

  1. Ashley says

    I know my kids are going go love these- and me too 🙂 Thanks Jen!

    • Jen says

      You are so welcome Ashley! Enjoy!

  2. Julie says

    I want to dive right into your photos! these look SO good! definitely making this Christmas!

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much Julie! These are perfect for Christmas, I hope you all love them and they become a new tradition! Merry Christmas!

  3. JFaulk says

    when do you put in the crystalized ginger?

    • Jen says

      Hi Janet! It is in step 2 with the molasses – enjoy!

  4. Malinda @Countryside Cravings says

    Ok these look like the best cookies EVER!!!! They look so soft and decadent and totally calling my name! I haven’t cooked with crystallized ginger but have always wanted to.

    • Jen says

      Thank you Malinda! They are definitely one of the best holiday cookies in my humble opinion 🙂 I hadn’t baked with crystallized ginger before but now I am obsessed! That sweet bite can’t be beat! Merry Christmas!

  5. Vickie says

    I made the gingerbread whoopie pies last weekend and we managed to eat the whole batch over 2 days (there’s only 3 of us). They are so very good. Thanks for the recipe.

    • Jen says

      You are so welcome Vickie! Your devouring speed sounds like that of my husband and mine 🙂 I am thrilled you loved them that much! Thank you!

    • Shelly Murphy says

      Where can I find the crystallized ginger? I have never heard of it.

      • Jen says

        Sorry for my delayed response Shelly as I have been swamped for the holidays. I usually pick mine up at World Market but I’m sure places like Sprouts and Whole Foods have it a well.

  6. Michelle Hawes says

    Where do you find crystalized ginger? I’ve never heard of it before. Thank you in advance! These sound amazing!!

    • Jen says

      Hi Michelle, it is usually found in the spices section but I would ask a store associate if you can’t find it (they even have it at my Target). Hope that helps!

  7. Karen says

    How do you adjust this recipe for high altitude?

    • Jen says

      Hi Karen, my apologies but I don’t have experience baking in high altitude but if you google, “high altitude baking cookies” then some helpful suggestions come up.

  8. Shawn Hatch says

    I have made these cookies 3 times in the last 2 weeks!! They are “Christmas” in a cookie! Thanks for sharing the recipe! Sooo good. The crystallized ginger leaves a spicy little aftertaste so yummy do not skip the crystallized ginger. Merry Christmas

    • Jen says

      Love it Shawn! I am thrilled you love this recipe THAT much! and I love your description “Christmas in a cookie” – I might have to borrow that sometime 🙂 I hope you had a very Merry Christmas!

  9. Cindy Sealy says

    Oh my! Absolutely decadent! Just blissful! My cookies spread quite a bit, but they were soft with crispy edges…and the cream cheese filling…mmmmmm, silky smooth and oh so yummy…put them together for an eye closing decadent delight in your mouth! I found them a bit time consuming to make, but soooo worth the extra effort. Definitely a keeper recipe! Thanks so much Jen! (Btw, I got my crystallized ginger at the bulk store for the reader that was asking)

    • Jen says

      “Decadent” and “blissful” – love those two adjectives to describe these whoopie pies! Thank you Cindy, so happy they were such a hit!

  10. Linda sager says

    Just read your story. My friend lost her 12 year old son many years ago to cystic fibrosis. They have come a long way with treatment since. You seem so happy and enjoying life. I am so happy for you. Your recipes look amazing. I must try one soon. I can’t believe you do the photography, it really makes you want to cook everything. Keep up the creativity.

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read my story Linda! I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your friend’s son. Far, far too many individuals with CF have lost their lives, but you are so right – there are thankfully many new medical advancements and the future has never looked so promising! Thank you for your kind words about my site and my photos – I am blessed to love what I do and so blessed to share it with awesome people like you!

  11. Renee says

    Hi Jen. I just wanted to ask if you can leave out the crystallized ginger? I’m on a real tight budget right now as i’m unable to work due to an injury to my shoulder.I would really love to be able to make these. They look soooooo warm and inviting. Thanks in advance for a reply.

    • Jen says

      Hi Renee, they definitely won’t taste the same without the crystalized ginger as that is the predominant flavor. You can try 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger instead but I haven’t tried it so I’m not sure how they will come out. Good luck!

  12. Mavis says

    I have not used crystallized ginger and would like to know where i can purchase it.

    • Jen says

      Hi Mavis! I bought mine at World Market but I have also seen it at Target, Whole Foods and Trader Joes. You might want to call first so you can double check they have it. It is often in the bulk bins this time of year. Hope this helps!

  13. Jeannette says

    Oh yummmmm! I can’t wait to make these..except my store doesn’t sell chrystalized ginger. Any substitute or should I just wait until I get some at an out of town store? Thank you for this recipe

    • Jen says

      HI Jeannette! There really isn’t a good substitute so I would either get them at another store or I Love Amazon!

  14. Tawnia says

    Recipe #4 from your site and it’s a keeper just like the others. The outside is crisp and the middle chewy. I personally don’t think the powdered sugar is necessary but that’s just me. When giving to others, I’ll add it. My husband calls them scrumptious! He’s a whoopie pie and gingerbread fan, so this is a perfect treat for him. Thank you for sharing your recipes. Merry Christmas!

    • Jen says

      yay! I’m so happy you are enjoying so many of my recipes, thank you! This definitely sounds like the perfect cooking for your husband! Merry Christmas to you and yours as well!

  15. Micaylah says

    I’m from New Zealand and am just making this recipe now so haven’t tasted. Do you think it will matter that I am useless at chopping finely and my ginger pieces are a bit big? Or that I used treacle, (the closest relative I could find to molasses)?

    • Jen says

      Hi there, you will have more of a ginger bite in some pies than others but they still should be delicious 🙂

  16. Tiffany says

    Kind of a dumb question but I need to make a lot of these. When it says makes 24 cookies is that already sandwich or it makes 24 cookies so only 12 sandwiches?

    • Jen says

      Hi Tiffany, that is a great question! It is 24 pies – I will clarify it in the recipe. Thanks!

  17. Alicia says

    I don’t have crystallized ginger… going to try with a 1/3 teaspoon ginger like you suggested in a previous comment. Also I just realized I don’t have buttermilk, could I swap that with eggnog? Or heavy cream? Thanks!

    • Jen says

      Hi Alicia, I would make homemade buttermilk by mixing 1/4 cup milk with 1 teaspoon white vinegar and let it sit 5-10 minutes. And I highly recommend the crystallized ginger – they aren’t the same without it!

  18. Andrea F. says

    I made these for the first time a couple of days ago when the first of my family arrived. I had to make a second batch yesterday. They were hugely popular. I didn’t dust with the powdered sugar and left the filling in a bowl for whoever wanted it. Some ate the cookies with the cinnamon ice cream I made and some made the whoopie pie. Both the cookies and the filling were absolutely delicious. I’m definitely keeping this recipe!

    • Jen says

      I am so glad they were such a hit with your family that you even had to make a second batch of these! That’s when you know a recipe belongs in your ‘Favorites’. Thanks for taking the time to comment Andrea! 🙂

  19. Theresa says

    How do you store them? In the fridge or on the counter. And If they can be frozen is that just the cookie part or the whole Whoopie pie.

    • Jen says

      Great questions, I will add answers to the post! You can store them on the counter for 2 days in an airtight container and I would refrigerate them after that. To freeze, wrap each cookie individually in plastic wrap and add to a freezer bag and seal. When ready to eat, remove desired amount of cookies from freezer bag and let thaw on the counter for 15-20 minutes.

  20. Marie says

    I’ve made these twice now and they taste fabulous! My only problem is they get so flat. I would love for them to look like your pictures, fluffy and more cake-like. The first batch, I refrigerated the dough for only an hour. The second batch, I refrigerated the dough overnight. Both times they came out flat. What am I doing wrong?

    • Jen says

      Hi Marie, I would try rolling the dough into balls and then refrigerating. This way the dough doesn’t warm up while you form them. Also, try rolling the dough balls tall – more like an egg -verse perfectly round. Lastly, take care to not stir more than you have to. I hope this helps!

    • Nancy says

      I noticed the recipe doesn’t call for baking powder. Baking powder will give it the rise you need. I made pumpkin whoopie pies and I added both baking powder and baking soda. They came out with perfect little mounds. Hope this helps.

      • Jen says

        Hi Nancy, the recipe uses baking soda instead because it interacts with the buttermilk. enjoy!