My gingersnap cookies have a salty, smoky flavor, for a twist on classic gingersnaps. I substitute bacon fat for butter making these tender and addicting. A perfect memorable cookie recipe for the holidays!
You’re probably asking yourself, “Did he just say bacon fat cookies?” Why yes I did! Bacon fat is an amazing substitute for butter. Its subtle, smokey undertones compliment the molasses and ginger flavors, creating irresistibly delicious gingersnaps.
Gingersnap cookies are a holiday favorite, especially on a Christmas cookie platter. Pair them with other favorite cookie recipes like rocky road cookies and chocolate cherry shortbread. If you’d like to make a different cookie with bacon fat, go for peanut butter bacon cookies– they’re amazing, too!
Smoky gingersnap cookies
This recipe is from former New York Times fashion critic, Cathy Horyn, as published on their website.
At first, I wondered the bacon flavor would overpower the other ingredients, but it really doesn’t! It adds a subtle smokiness, which I think pairs perfectly with the flavors of spicy ginger and rich molasses.
This is the perfect holiday cookie to serve to guests. Fair warning: you may have a lot of inquiries about what that special flavor is. You can decide whether or not to tell them what the secret ingredient is. I hope you’ll try this cookie recipe and love the gingersnap cookies as much as I do.
Ingredient notes and substitutions
Light or dark molasses may be used, but I do not recommend using blackstrap molasses unless you’re unable to find anything else. The flavor of blackstrap is much more bitter than traditional molasses.
- Bacon fat
I keep rendered bacon fat in a covered mason jar in my fridge, adding to it whenever I cook up bacon. It keeps in the fridge for several months. Rendering 1 1/2 to 2 pounds of bacon should yield enough fat for this recipe.
Bacon fat SUBSTITUTES: regular butter, lard, ghee, or plant based butter sticks.
Be sure to strain any bacon particles from the fat prior to chilling. It becomes solid when it’s cold, so it can be used as a fat replacement for nearly anything you would typically use butter for. I often render bacon to use the fat for Southern buttermilk biscuits.
All purpose flour what I use. If you need a gluten-free substitute, any brand of 1:1 gluten free all purpose flour should work.
Originally, ginger snaps were made without eggs, which is why the cookies were brittle. Eggs are a binding ingredient, but they also provide moisture. This is why so many gingersnap cookies these days are soft and chewy.
Eggless ginger snaps
If you’d like to make gingersnap cookies without any eggs, you can use a flax egg instead.
To make a flax egg, stir together 1 tablespoon of ground flax meal with 3 tablespoons of water in a small bowl. Let it sit for 15 minutes, and then use it just like an egg.
Typically when you use flax eggs, you should reduce any liquid called for in the recipe by 3 tablespoons. In the case of this gingersnap cookie recipe, there really isn’t a liquid to reduce except for the molasses. You can reduce that by 3 tablespoons OR add 1 extra tablespoon of flour instead.
Video: making gingersnap cookies
To see this recipe in action, watch the video located in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Recipe notes and tips
- Use a food processor, if possible. This recipe makes a very stiff cookie dough. If you don’t have a food processor, I recommend using your hands instead.
Wearing kitchen gloves will help prevent the bacon fat from melting under the heat of your hands. It also helps you avoid overworking the dough, which can cause the gingersnap cookies to be hard and tough.
- Storing and freezing ginger snaps– Store your cookies in an airtight container at room temperature, and serve or freeze them within a few days. For longer storage, you can freeze gingersnaps for up to 3 months.
- Softening hard cookies– After a few days, you may find that your cookies are dry and brittle. To soften the hard cookies, lightly moisten paper toweling with tap water and wrap the cookies inside (unstacked is best). Microwave on high power for 15 seconds and they should be soft, chewy and taste freshly baked from the oven!
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This post, first published on Kevin Is Cooking Dec. 18, 2015, was last published with new content on Nov. 19, 2021.
Bacon Fat Gingersnap Cookies + Video
- 3/4 cup rendered bacon fat chilled (See Note 1)
- 1 cup sugar plus 1/4 cup for rolling
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1 egg
- 2 cups all purpose flour or 1:1 gluten-free all purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- Heat oven to 350°F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone Silpat liners.
- In a mixer with a paddle, add bacon fat, molasses, sugar and egg, stir to combine. Add remaining ingredients until a smooth, stiff dough is formed.
- Put 1/4 cup of sugar in a small bowl. Scoop a tablespoon (or two for larger cookies) of dough and roll into a ball with your hands. Drop into the sugar and roll to coat. Place on prepared pans. Repeat with remaining dough, Place 2 inches apart as they spread out as they bake.
- Bake until flat and a dark brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to a rack to finish cooling. Store cookies in an airtight container.
- Rendering 1 1/2 to 2 pounds of bacon should yield enough bacon fat for this recipe. Or, substitute with regular butter, lard, ghee, or plant based butter sticks.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
I have been making these every year for awhile. Great idea.
Thanks, Lillie. They’re a favorite of ours, too.
I found a recipe in a local historical society recipe book celebrating the founding anniversary of New Braunfels TX. My recipe actually calls for 2 cups of bacon fat. Made them and they were delicious. Your idea of using bacon fat as a substitute for butter has opened me up to a whole realm of possibilities.
I hope you give these a try! We love them!
I baked these on a whim to use up my leftover bacon grease. I did not strain the grease, leaving in any leftover bits and had to melt a little butter in it to get to 3/4 of a cup. Otherwise, I followed the recipe exactly as is. Wow. These are amazing. I highly recommend this recipe!
I am so glad you liked them so much!
What would be the high altitude recipe?I am at 7,400 feet. Thanks in advance
Hi Lori! I went online and found this helpful: http://dish.allrecipes.com/high-altitude-cake-baking/
I appreciate the recipe Kevin. Thanks for posting it.I made several batches of these for Christmas gifts. They have a complex smoky flavor, like something my Swedish grandma would make! I did tweak to suit my tastes…less salt (1/2 tsp)and bacon fat (1/2 cup). Pressing the dough down also makes a prettier ginger snap. Happy cooking!
So glad you enjoyed them Birdie! Happy New Year to you and yours! 🙂
“strained the bacon particles from the fat”? I’m thinking add in crumbled bacon. 😎
I’ve been known to do just that! 😉
You know, I don’t bake with bacon fat very much at all. But I clearly need to change that! My grandmother used to keep an old coffee can next to the oven, and they saved bacon fat for other recipes. (Of course, they also made bacon almost every morning…haha.) These cookies sound like they’re right up my alley, though! I know a certain Santa Claus who would be quite happy to come down the chimney and find these bad boys waiting for him! 🙂
Exactly, I keep it around for searing meat for stew, fried potatoes, etc. In these cookies it’s a unexpected, amazing flavor combo. Give it a go!
You’re right, bacon fat might sound like a peculiar ingredient for cookies, but I bet it works well! At least these cookies look fantastic (apparently, they are healthy too, haha). Btw, I’ve been thinking of making sweet cookies with bacon pieces (like maple bacon combo). Any ideas?
About as healthy as using butter! Try these out with crumbled bacon inside! 🙂
Kevin, another nice addition to these Ginger cookies would be to add some snipped pieces of candied ginger. I have made ginger snaps often and came across a recipe that suggested adding candied ginger pieces. I loved it.
Agreed, thanks so much for the tip Paula. I do that too in my Super Moist Gingerbread Cake. Love that pop of flavor!
OMG Kevin! I can see why these would be your new favorite cookie! Gingersnaps are always a total hit at our house and I have never tried a bacon fat version! You can bet these are on my list of things I NEED to try! Thanks for sharing!
You’ll have everyone guessing “what is in these?” They really are outrageously good. Thanks Mary Ann. 🙂
Who knew!! I can see how bacon fat would make most things more delicious, but especially gingersnaps. I love the idea of that flavor combination!!
It will change your thinking on how a cookie ought to be! So delicious and I hope you give it a try. Thanks Sues, have a great weekend!
Oh Kevin, this is just perfection! You always have the most amazing ideas! <3 <3 <3
Wait until you sink your teeth into one of these… amazing!
I even like saying the name of this one, Kevin! How interesting! But, it makes complete sense replacing the butter with bacon fat. Can’t wait to give this one a try. Lucky you having your friend share this gem. I’m sure these won’t last long in our home 😉 Pinned, of course. Have a wonderful weekend!
I know this would be one you would really enjoy Dawn, I hope you give it a try. I’d love your feedback. Can you believe how quickly the year has gone by? I am making my second turkey today for another post and find it funny how we as food bloggers are always a month or two ahead and then when the actually holiday comes, I’m like “Didn’t this already happen?” LOL