Need a festive recipe that is easy to make and ready in under an hour? Try this gingerbread loaf. It is soft and subtly sweet with all the good holiday flavors. It’s an authentic quick bread recipe that your friends and family will love this Christmas!​

gingerbread loaf on upside down baking sheet with front two slices cut off of the end

Not much says Christmas more than gingerbread. It’s one of my favorite flavors to bake with this time of year. This simple gingerbread loaf works well for a snack with tea or an after-dinner dessert. The quick bread recipe yields a tender, slightly sweet gingerbread that is filled with holiday spices.

Why you should try this recipe

  • Quick and easy: You can make this bread with simple ingredients and it’s ready in under an hour!
  • Ultimate flavor: It has the perfect ratio of common gingerbread ingredients—molasses, brown sugar and spices.
  • The best texture: Milk makes the bread tender and moist while butter makes it rich and flavorful.
  • Festive and popular: People love gingerbread around Christmas. This recipe will be a favorite among friends and family!

Ingredient notes

gingerbread loaf ingredients labeled with text
  • Molasses: Use unsulphured molasses, not blackstrap, which is too bitter for baking.
  • Brown sugar: Light or dark will work in this recipe.
  • Spices: Check that your spices are fresh and not expired so you have the best flavor!
  • Milk: Whole, low fat or dairy-free milk will work in this recipe. It creates a tender, moist texture.
  • Butter: Unsalted butter at room temperature will create a tender and flavorful bread.
  • Cocoa powder: This secret ingredient enhances the earthiness of gingerbread and complements the molasses flavor

Recipe variations

Quick bread recipes are incredibly versatile. This loaf would taste delicious with 1/2 cup chocolate chips or nuts mixed it. Walnuts, pecans or hazelnuts would complement the flavor nicely.

If you like your quick breads on the sweeter side, add a simple glaze. Whisk together 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar with 1 Tablespoon milk and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. You can also do an orange glaze by whisking in 1 Tablespoon fresh orange juice instead of milk.

Looking to make your gingerbread loaf look extra fancy without much effort? Try this fluted loaf pan. I greased it with my magic cake pan release and it came out beautifully!

How to make a gingerbread loaf

photo collage demonstrating how to make batter for a gingerbread loaf
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 9×5 loaf pan.
  2. Whisk together the dry ingredients—flour, baking soda, salt, cocoa powder and spices.
  3. Beat butter and sugar together. Add the egg and molasses.
  4. Alternate adding the dry and wet ingredients. Add half the flour mixture and mix. Then add the milk and mix until combined. Finally add in remaining flour mixture. Transfer batter to prepared pan.
  5. Bake the gingerbread for 50 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with little to no crumbs.

Expert tips

Weigh your ingredients with a kitchen scale for accurate measuring. If you don’t have a scale, spoon your flour into a measuring cup and level it with a knife (do not pack it in). Use room temperature ingredients as well for a consistent batter and easy mixing.

Check that your spices are not expired. This is important to get all those good seasonal flavors in your holiday baking! Avoid overmixing the dry ingredients with wet ingredients as this will create a dense loaf (instead of tender and light!)

Don’t over-bake the loaf. It’s done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few tender crumbs. Let the loaf cool in the pan for 10 minutes before taking it out to cool completely before cutting into it. This will prevent the bread from getting dry, especially near the edges.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the best molasses for gingerbread?

Unsulphured molasses is best. I use Grandma’s Molasses. Do not use blackstrap or dark molasses.

Can I make gingerbread muffins with this recipe?

Yes. Divide the batter evenly among a 12-cup muffin tin. Bake at 375 F for 15 to 20 minutes.

How long does a gingerbread loaf last?

Gingerbread will last in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 days or in the refrigerator for 5 days.

Can you freeze gingerbread?

Yes. Wait for the loaf to cool completely. Wrap it with plastic wrap and place in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 1 month. Defrost in the refrigerator before serving at room temperature.​​​​​​​

Why is my gingerbread loaf dry?

It was over-baked or there was too much flour added. Check that your oven temperature is correct and use a kitchen scale to weigh your ingredients. Remember to take the loaf out of the pan after it has cooled for 10 minutes.

gingerbread loaf dusted with confectioners sugar and topped with sugared cranberries on baking sheet
gingerbread loaf with two slices cut off the end; loaf topped with sugared cranberries and confectioners' sugar

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Gingerbread Loaf

Gingerbread loaf is soft and subtly sweet. It's an authentic quick bread recipe that is incredibly easy to make!​​​​​​​
5 (9 ratings)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (250 g) all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground all spice
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • cup (67 g) brown sugar, light or dark
  • ¾ cup (180 mL) unsulphured molasses, (not blackstrap)
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • ¾ cup (180 mL) milk, room temperature (low-fat or whole)

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper (if using a fluted loaf pan, grease it with my magic cake pan release). Set aside.
  • Whisk together the dry ingredients—flour, baking soda, salt, cocoa powder, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and all spice. Set aside.
  • Beat butter and brown sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and mix until combined. Add the molasses and mix until combined. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl as necessary.
  • Alternate adding the flour and milk to the batter. Add half the flour mixture and mix just until combined. Add all the milk and mix until incorporated. Finally add remaining flour and mix until combined.
  • Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake at 350° F for 50 to 60 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out with little to no crumbs. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes then invert to a wire rack to cool completely. Garnish with a dusting of confectioners' sugar and cranberries if desired.

Notes

Store bread in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 days or in the refrigerator for 5 days.
Freezing instructions  Let the loaf cool completely. Wrap it securely in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Place in a freezer-safe bag and store in the freezer for 1 month. Defrost in the refrigerator before bringing to room temperature and serving.
Gingerbread muffins: Preheat oven to 375° F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners. Divide batter evenly among cups. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
Serving: 1slice, Calories: 294kcal, Carbohydrates: 47g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Cholesterol: 43mg, Sodium: 253mg, Potassium: 442mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 27g, Vitamin A: 337IU, Calcium: 88mg, Iron: 3mg

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