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25 Best Christmas Cookies

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Christmas cookies on wooden board.

Photo by Suzana Marinkovic

Are you ready to bake and spread some holiday cheer? Christmas cookie season is here! Whether you need inspiration for your cookie platters, homemade gifts for teachers and neighbors, or a festive potluck dessert, these Christmas cookies have you covered all season long. From gingerbread guys and gals to chocolate biscotti, there is something for every cookie lover on this list. Be sure to read my best baking tips before you get started to ensure success. Break out your cookie cutters and let the baking begin!

25 Best Christmas Cookies

1. Pecan Shortbread Cookies

pecan shortbread on baking sheet.

Sweet but not cloying, these buttery, nutty, sugar-crusted shortbread cookies come from pastry chef Lisa Kolb Ruland of the blog Unpeeled. They are perfect to serve with coffee or tea any time of day, and they make a lovely homemade gift. GET THE RECIPE

2. Old-Fashioned Molasses Cookies

molasses cookies in cookie jar with milk.

These chewy and soft molasses cookies with a sparkly sugar crust are loved by kids and grown-ups alike. The recipe calls for a hint of ground black pepper; you won’t know it’s there, but it adds a subtle heat that lingers on the palate. GET THE RECIPE

3. Holiday Cut-Out Butter Cookies

Christmas cookies on wooden board.
Photo by Suzana Marinkovic

Buttery and crisp, these almond-scented sugar cut-out cookies are a dream to make. The dough comes together in minutes, is easy to work with, and holds its shape perfectly when baked. GET THE RECIPE

4. THE BEST Chocolate CHIP Cookies

chocolate chip cookies on plate.

These classic chocolate chip cookies are reliably thick, chewy on the inside, and crisp around the edges—and they have the perfect balance of salty, sweet and chocolaty flavor. GET THE RECIPE

5. Gingerbread Cookies

decorated gingerbread cookies on parchment paper.

Gingerbread cookies are quite possibly the cutest holiday cookies but, they often taste like cardboard! Not so with these darling gingerbread guys and gals: flavored with ginger, molasses and warm spices, and with a perfect crispy-chewy texture, they taste just as good as they look. GET THE RECIPE

6. Snickerdoodles

snickerdoodles on plate.

Sweet and buttery sugar cookies coated with cinnamon-sugar—who can resist an old-fashioned snickerdoodle? This is a great recipe to make with young kids; little ones love forming the squishy dough into balls and rolling them in cinnamon-sugar before baking. GET THE RECIPE

7. Viennese Crescents

Viennese Crescent Cookies on plate

Fondly known as Kipferl in Austria, Viennese crescents are nutty and delicate cookies shaped like whimsical half-moons. A dusting of powdered sugar makes it look like they’ve been covered with freshly fallen snow. GET THE RECIPE

8. LINZER COOKIES

linzer cookies on wire rack.

Linzer cookies are nutty, buttery sandwich cookies filled with jam inspired by the famous Viennese Linzer torte. The small cut-out on the top cookie creates a beautiful stained-glass-window effect. Get the recipe

9. The Best Sugar Cookies

sugar cookies decorated with Christmas sprinkles

These crave-worthy cookies are rich and buttery with a crisp, sugary exterior and soft, chewy interior. The secret ingredients? Cream cheese, which makes the cookies tender, and a hint of almond extract, which gives the cookies a delicate almond flavor. For a festive twist, roll them in holiday-themed sprinkles instead of sugar before baking. GET THE RECIPE

10. Scottish Shortbread

shortbread stacked in baking dish with Christmas ribbon.

Crisp, ultra-buttery, and not too sweet, shortbread cookies are easy to make with just a few ingredients. Traditionally baked in large rounds and cut into wedges, shortbread is served in Scotland on winter solstice and holidays. It’s delicious with tea or coffee any time of day, and since it’s plain (in a good way), kids love it too. GET THE RECIPE

11. Crispy Ginger Cookies

plate of ginger cookies

Featuring a spot-on mix of ginger, cinnamon, allspice and cloves, these ginger cookies deliver a buttery, sweet crunch with just the right touch of chewiness in the center. GET THE RECIPE

12. Double Chocolate Biscotti

Chocolate Biscotti on baking sheet.

My son calls these chocolate biscotti “crunchy brownies.” They might seem like fancy grown-up cookies, but children love them too. Serve them with a glass of hot chocolate or warm milk for dunking and you will have very happy kiddos. GET THE RECIPE

13. Peanut Butter Blossoms

peanut butter blossoms on platter.

Easy to make and sinfully good, peanut butter blossoms are chewy peanut butter cookies topped with Hershey’s kisses—and they are some of the cutest cookies around. GET THE RECIPE

14. Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

chocolate crinkles on serving plate.

Chocolate crinkle cookies are what happens when you cross a brownie with a chocolate chip cookie. To get the crinkled exterior, you roll the chocolate dough balls in powdered sugar. As the cookies bake, they spread, causing the sugar to crack and reveal the chocolate cookie underneath. GET THE RECIPE

15. Christmas Wreath “Cookies”

christmas wreath cookies on marble board.

These treats make a fun kitchen project for kids and adults alike, and the finished wreaths are as cute as they are delicious. Made with cornflakes, marshmallows, green food coloring, and mini candies, they are a holiday twist on classic Rice Krispie treats. GET THE RECIPE

16. Almond Biscotti

almond biscotti on plate with coffee.
Photo by Alexandra Grablewski (Chronicle Books, 2018)

Inspired by the cookies served at Zuni Cafe in San Francisco, these biscotti are made by shaping an almond-studded cookie dough into loaves, baking it, slicing it, and then baking it again. They are lightly sweet, buttery, crunchy but not tooth-shattering, and good any time of day. GET THE RECIPE

17. Marbled Peppermint Bark

marbled peppermint bark on serving platter.

With delightful swirls of white and dark chocolate adorned with crushed peppermint candy canes, this bark offers a simple yet festive addition to your holiday treat lineup. While it may not be a traditional cookie, it certainly deserves a place on your holiday dessert table! GET THE RECIPE

18. Chocolate Chip Meringues

Chocolate Chip Meringue Cookies

These gorgeously light meringue cookies have a crisp outer shell and marshmallowy interior filled with chocolate chips. Bonus: they’re naturally gluten-free. GET THE RECIPE

19. Coconut Macaroons

coconut macaroons on baking sheet with bowl of dipping chocolate.

Chewy inside and golden-crisp outside, these coconut macaroons are wonderful plain but even more irresistible dipped in melted dark chocolate. They keep well for days on end, making them the perfect cookie to bake ahead or gift to friends and neighbors over the holidays. GET THE RECIPE

20. Toffee Almond Sandies

toffee almond sandies on board.

A longtime family favorite, these toffee almond sandies are buttery, sweet shortbread cookies studded with caramelized toffee bits and slivered almonds. The recipe makes a ton and the cookies keep for a long time – the perfect holiday cookie! GET THE RECIPE

21. Chocolate Kisses (Baci di Cioccolato)

chocolate kiss cookies on platter.

These sophisticated chocolate cookies come from Dolce Italiano: Desserts from the Babbo Kitchen by the late Gina DePalma. A variation of  baci di dama (Italian lady’s kisses), which consist of two tiny hazelnut cookies and a rich chocolate filling, they are perfect Christmas cookie for the chocolate lovers in your life. GET THE RECIPE

22. Canadian Butter Tarts

butter tarts on plates with coffee.

Though they may not be cookies in the traditional sense, these buttery mini pies are a splendid addition to any cookie tray. With a crisp, flaky crust cradling a gooey filling made from butter, sugar, syrup, and egg, they often include additions like nuts or raisins. GET THE RECIPE

23. Oatmeal CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

chocolate chip oatmeal cookies on plate with glass of milk

If you’re a fan of classic chocolate chip cookies, you’ll want to try this oatmeal version. With their hearty oat texture and a hint of nutty flavor, they might just become your new favorite chocolate chip cookies! GET THE RECIPE

24. SnowBall Cookies

Covered with powdered sugar like a blanket of snow, these cookies (aka Mexican wedding cookies, Russian tea cakes, or butter balls) are a must for the holiday season. GET THE RECIPE

25. Spritz Cookies

Press, bake, enjoy! Easily whip up dozens of adorable spritz cookies using a cookie press. Kids will love helping to make, press, and decorate the cookies. GET THE RECIPE

Comments

  • I have limited cooking and baking time, but have made a few of Jenn’s recipes and they are wonderful! “Christmas” cookies can be whatever one likes to serve on Christmas – there are zero rules or restrictions! Whenever I intend to cook or bake something new, I always head to “once upon a chef”. And I love the inclusion of recipes from many different cultures. I hope everyone has a very Happy New Year!

    • — Scott J. on December 21, 2023
    • Reply
  • Thanks for sharing these. Smiled when I saw that you also call Russian Tea cakes/Mexican wedding cakes snowballs. That is what they have been called for generations in my family but have never had anyone else use that term. Have made and loved your chocolate chip and sugar cookie recipes and this year will try the oatmeal chocolate chip recipe. Instead of chips will use red and green mini M&Ms to give it that Christmas vibe.

    • — Cheri T on December 10, 2023
    • Reply
  • 5 of your recipes are on my Christmas cookie platters – and I’m adding your Candied Pecans and Bailey’s Chocolate Truffles to the mix this year. Love the Toffee Almond Sandies – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked for that recipe! Kids love the Hershey’s Kisses cookies – and they have been a traditional Christmas cookie recipe since I was in HS almost 50 years ago.

    • — Jane on December 10, 2023
    • Reply
  • I can personally vouch for the Toffee-Almond Sandies. I make them every year and they are to die for! Everyone loves them and expects a tin from me during the holidays (I also always make your Crispy Ginger Cookies!). Can’t wait to try more from this list! <3

    • — Sarah Pfennigs on December 5, 2023
    • Reply
  • 13 of the 25 “Christmas Cookies” are in no way Christmas Cookies. Really? Chocolate Chip cookies and variations on them? Those are not Christmas! And Hershey’s Kisses jammed into anything equates to limited imagination and effort.

    • — Geoff on December 21, 2022
    • Reply
    • wow looks like the Scrooge stopped by.

      • — Ally on December 22, 2022
      • Reply
    • If you want someone to take constructive criticism, a great way to start off is by not delivering it in such a critical tone. Additionally, not everyone agrees with your idea of what a Christmas cookie entails, and that shouldn’t be difficult for you to disagree with sans the condescension. Thank you, Jenn, for sharing your recipes with us.

      • — Amanda on November 16, 2023
      • Reply
    • Since when are Chocolate Chip cookies not a Christmas cookie? I’m 51 years old and they have been a part of every Christmas I can remember.

      • — Cerebus on December 8, 2023
      • Reply
      • My family has never made chocolate chip cookies for Christmas but other families do. Why would it bother someone either way? Regarding the Peanut Butter Blossoms, I just read elsewhere that they are the most popular, most baked Christmas cookie in the country, so not everyone agrees with Mr. Grumpy. My sister and I started baking those back in the 1970’s and my daughter still bakes them every year because all the grandchildren love them. I love the differences in the way each ethnic group and family celebrates Christmas!

        • — Giselle on December 10, 2023
        • Reply
    • Someone with limited imagination and definitely a lazy Christmas cookie baker agrees that Geoff is absolutely a scrooge! At least give us credit for trying.
      Priscilla December 11, 2023

      • — Priscilla H. Geer on December 10, 2023
      • Reply
    • I am 79 and both of these cookies were baked by mom and myself for Christmas for as long as I can remember. Jen does a fantastic job sharing recipes. Just because they are not part of your tradition doesn’t mean they are not others traditional Christmas cookies.

      • — Diane on December 10, 2023
      • Reply
    • Really? Any cookies on your Christmas tray can be “Christmas Cookies”. I ask my family what they want on the tray each year and several family members say “chocolate chip”. For some people, chocolate chip is the only cookie they want and would be disappointed if it were not included among “Christmas Cookies”.

      • — Madeleine on December 11, 2023
      • Reply
    • wrong

      • — Tina Vivian on December 12, 2023
      • Reply
    • Chocolate chip cookies are Santa’s favorite, didn’t you hear Mr. Scrooge?

      • — Mamachill on December 16, 2023
      • Reply
  • Just tried your molasses cookies.Yum! My family recently voted your chocolate chip cookies the new favorite. Next time around I’m going to do blind dates 🙂

    • — Bill on December 4, 2022
    • Reply
  • Just made your incredible chocolate biscotti. They came out fabulous so much so I’ll have to probably make another batch for the Christmas tray. Look forward to trying some of your others.
    Thank you
    Diana

    • — Diana Rich on December 3, 2022
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    Thank you so much for these recipes. I love your cookbooks and always check your blog for your sound cooking advice and tips. Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I highlighted several of your recipes much to my family’s delight. Your baked ziti, pasta e’ fagioli, sweet/spicy pecans and big Italian salad were absolutely delicious. Holiday baking is my favorite time of year and plan to surprise friends, family and neighbors. Thank you again.

    • — Stella on December 2, 2022
    • Reply
    • 💗 Happy holidays!

      • — Jenn on December 3, 2022
      • Reply
  • I just mixed a batch of your Old Fashioned Ginger Cookies…chilling now and baking later today!

    • — Robin on December 1, 2022
    • Reply
  • Thank you Jenn….can’t wait to try these recipes…:)

    • — Marlene on November 28, 2022
    • Reply
  • OMG, this is like sitting in my mother’s kitchen going through recipes to get ready to bake. It was just my mom, sister and I growing up and we didn’t have a lot to spend for Christmas gifts for teachers, doctors, etc. so we baked! Everyone waited for my mom’s Christmas cookies. Thank you for carrying on a tradition……

    • — Cassie, the keebler cookie elf :) on November 28, 2022
    • Reply
  • Love these recipes…and THE GREAT CHRISTMAS IDEAS!! I want the gift to American test kitchen for myself! Please someone take the hint!!!

    • — Birdie on November 28, 2022
    • Reply
    • lol

      • — Jenn on November 28, 2022
      • Reply
  • This is so helpful!! I can’t wait to make these with my family (:

  • Thank you so much for these recipes. I have made a few of these cookies from your cookbooks and also your blog. I will try some of the cookies I have not made…I have been meaning to make them. I have some of your recipes that i will use for my baking business that i will be start next year i’m just getting really prepared on what i do for the next year because my business will be in Dallas,Texas.

  • Probably you’ve included these in your collection(s) somewhere. One of my favorite cutouts is filled cookies, because they can be as simple, elegant, and/or creative as the limits of our imagination.

  • Send all 25 recipes to my mailbox address ethelenalilly@gmail.com

    • — Ethelena Lilly
    • Reply
    • Hi Ethelena, Unfortunately, I’m not able to send each one to you, but if you click on this link, you’ll find links to all 25 recipes. Hope you enjoy whatever you make!

  • Dear Jenn,

    Thank you so much for these recipes. I have made a few of these cookies from your cook books and also your blog. I will try some of the cookies I have not made…like the coconut macaroons…I have been meaning to make them.

    I hope that you have a nice holiday…I wonder if you celebrate the gift giving or the tree part of Christmas. We have Jewish friends that we have included in our Christmas and they have included us at Passover. I have always done Hanukkah and Purim in our home when our kids were growing up. I wanted to teach others traditions and tolerance. Now that our daughter and her husband have three sets of Jewish neighbours in Victoria, BC., the Jewish holidays we celebrated and learned about, have come in handy. And…the neighbours are amazed that Katharine knows as much as she does. Our boys, too, remember…especially Hanukkah, when we played with the Dreidel and they won Hanukkah geldt (the chocolate gold wrapped coins).

    You send amazing recipes to all of us. The only recipe that I felt was not as good as mine was The Marble Cake. Lol!!

    Thank you again for sharing. xo

    • — Jacqueline Slocombe
    • Reply
    • Hi Jacqueline, What a great thing you did exposing your kids to another religion as they were growing up! Sounds like it was not only a lot of fun for them but it has served them well as adults! So glad you enjoy the recipes and I hope you find a new a few new cookie ones to try from this collection. Have a wonderful Christmas! XO

      • I was looking for a recipe for Rugelach, mandel bread and Rolodot. Thank you!!

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