My gingerbread recipe says I should rest the dough for 20 minutes in the refrigerator before rolling out and cutting. What difference does it make?

  • Could you tell us more about the recipe - what kind of flour is used?
    – KatieK
    Commented Oct 11, 2012 at 22:04

2 Answers 2


In most wheat-based recipes, gluten strands are formed while you work the dough. If you don't rest the dough, rolling can be more difficult and you may get a tougher texture in the final product.

Additionally, refrigerating the dough up to a certain point will firm up the fats in the recipe (butter, etc), which will make the dough less mushy and will making rolling out the dough evenly a bit easier. Unless the dough is so firm it becomes brittle, refrigeration will make the dough less fragile in most cases.

Perhaps less important, the moisture levels may become a bit more consistent throughout the dough as well.

  • 1
    It's not just gingerbread and other rolled cookies - chilling dough can make normal cookies easier to scoop, and definitely easier to round out by rolling between your hands.
    – Cascabel
    Commented Sep 30, 2011 at 6:09
  • 1
    Good answer. Also, chilling the dough will make it less likely to spread too much in the oven. This is especially important for something like gingerbread where you may be cutting it into shapes that you want to remain clear. Commented Sep 30, 2011 at 9:19

I think it really depends on your recipe. My favorite recipe http://oddsandhens.wordpress.com/2013/12/21/best-gingerbread-cookie-recipe works either way. I will say it is easier to roll out when chilled but not cold as this recipe is pretty thick due to flour etc. It also makes the dough less sticky.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.