We can all agree: One of the BEST parts of the holiday season are all the sweet treats, the most classic of which are Christmas cookies. We get excited every year to combine our old standbys with creative and innovative recipes to share with friends and family. Luckily, there are myriad opportunities to try them all out, whether you're making them for a party, to give as gifts, or just to enjoy during a cozy night in at home. Whether you’re a master baker looking for a new challenge or a kitchen novice looking for easy recipes, you can get in on the holiday baking fun. Check out our favorite Christmas cookies for ideas—don’t forget to make enough to leave out for Santa and his reindeer too.
When creating this list, we thought of the perfect Christmas cookie box that’s got a little something for everyone in it. You’re going to want to start with whatever recipes you think are the most classic—like gingerbread cookies, spritz cookies, chocolate crinkle cookies, peanut butter blossoms...—then go wild.
Want to add a little whimsy? There’s SO much you can do with a basic sugar cookie, whether you want to add color to the dough itself, like in our Christmas pinwheels, our candy cane cookies, or our checkerboard cookies; or on top in the form of royal icing or frosting, like in our snowflake cookies, our tie-dye Christmas tree cookies, our leg lamp cookies, or our Santa cookies (in the shape of the big man’s face).
Looking to bowl people over with unexpected flavor? Try our Santa’s trash cookies, our white chocolate cranberry orange biscotti, our panettone cookies, or our molasses cookies. Another way to add intrigue to your cookie selection is to bake up traditional holiday cookies from around the world, like our Middle Eastern ma’amoul, our Polish kolaczki cream cheese cookies, our Italian cuccidati, or our Mexican polvorones.
While we’re all for completely homemade recipes, Christmas is also one of the best holidays to get creative with store-bought options. These are great for any variety of decorating party, especially ones with little kids. You really just need some icing or frosting, some miniature candies, and a little bit of creativity to create holiday masterpieces. Check out our melted snowmen cookies, our Milano reindeer cookies, our rolo ornament cookies, our Christmas light cookies, or our Oreo Christmas tree for ideas, but feel free to get creative. The fun of decorating is the best part!
These extra fudgy chocolate cookies are just as beautiful as they are delicious. The best ways to guarantee your crinkles stand out? Chill your dough and roll it in powdered sugar twice.
Get the Chocolate Crinkle Cookies recipe.
These buttery cookies are named after the German word “spritzen,” which means “to squirt,” because of the cookie press used to form their signature shapes. From snowflakes to Christmas trees, spritz cookies can come in many festive forms. We use food coloring to add another level of holiday cheer—but you can also decorate them with colorful sugar and sprinkles if you’d like.
Get the Spritz Cookies recipe.
Even Santa has a snacky side. These cookies are loaded with chocolate chips, sprinkles, pretzels, and potato chips for the salty-sweet dessert of your (and his!) dreams.
Get the Santa's Trash Cookies recipe.
It isn't Christmas without cookies, and this year, we're starting with these trees decorated with a super-simple marbling technique that's totally Tik Tok-worthy. It's perfect for getting kids involved or for using on other holiday cookie shapes, like candy canes done with a red and white marble or snowflake shapes done in blue and white. The possibilities are endless!
Get the Christmas Tree Cookies recipe.
To think a fluffy, enriched bread can somehow translate into a buttery cookie might seem preposterous. But don’t stop reading! These cookie are the perfect base for the orange peel, currants, dried apricots, chocolate, and almonds you love about the original, with half the work.
Get the Panettone Cookies recipe.
Fair warning: the powdery confectioner's sugar that makes these snowballs "snowy" and delicious can end up dousing you in sugar with every bite, so make sure you have napkins ready and eat them over a plate to catch the winter wonderland. We should also say that this mess is totally worth it for these nutty sweet cookies, and they couldn't be easier to make.
Get the Snowball Cookies recipe.
Here's a crazy idea that just might be brilliant: This year, leave the plate of cookies for Santa in his own image. He'll love sliding down the chimney to see his portrait! (Just don't forget the carrots and celery for the reindeer.)
Get the Santa Cookies recipe.
For us, gingerbread should have a lot of ground ginger, a bit of cinnamon, and a tiny amount of cloves. It's the perfect Christmas formula. But if you don't have cloves (or really loathe them), you can just leave them out. As for the ginger, it's necessary but negotiable. Feel free to use less.
Get the Gingerbread Cookies recipe.
As the story goes, a woman by the name of Mrs. Freda F. Smith from Ohio developed the original recipe for these for The Grand National Pillsbury Bake-Off competition in 1957. She lost, but her cookies still became legendary, particularly after Pillsbury instated the Bake-Off Hall of Fame and ranked her recipe 7th on the list. The more you know!
Get the Peanut Butter Blossoms recipe.
A cookie box filled with a wide assortment of shapes, sizes and colors is such a treat to gift during the holidays. These peppermint meringues are the perfect addition to add a pop of color and fun. They practically scream “holiday!” and they taste fantastic as well.
Get the Peppermint Meringues recipe.
A lot of treats consider themselves coffee/tea companions, but none hold a candle to the crispy, crunchy goodness that is the humble biscotti. These have the classic flavor combination of cranberry and orange, and we dipped in white chocolate and coated in chopped pistachios to add a little extra indulgence.
This recipe is the only one you need. It embodies both form and function: Not only does it taste fantastically buttery with just the right amount of sweetness, it also holds its shape, is perfect for decorating, and will get you sharp, clean edges every time after baking.
Get the Perfect Sugar Cookies recipe.
These cookies have a velvety, melt-in-your-mouth texture and are topped with a pretty pink frosting, plus a shower of peppermints. There's just a touch of peppermint extract in the dough to lend the cookies a festive but not overpowering taste.
Get the Peppermint Meltaways recipe.
With a texture similar to a crinkle cookie (minus the sugar coating), these chocolate peppermint crunch cookies are soft in the center and slightly chewy around the edges. They're made extra festive with a dip in melted chocolate and crushed peppermint candies too.
We know you'll be whipping up Christmas cookies this holiday season, and there's no better way to stand out from the crowd of classic chocolate chip and basic sugar cookies than with a platter of these gams, which fans of the movie A Christmas Story might deem hotter than "electric sex" and "indescribably beautiful." 😉
Get the Leg Lamp Cookies recipe.
It's officially hot cocoa season, and we've got the cutest dessert ever to celebrate with. They look a little tricky but they couldn't be easier. We gave ours a Christmas spin with red and green sprinkles, but they're perfect for any winter holiday or snow day.
Get the Hot Chocolate Brownie Cups recipe.
Barely crunchy on the outside and soft and fudgy on the inside, these cookies call for a thick cardamom-flavored glaze that hardens into a candy-like shell. The addition of fresh ginger, orange zest, and rum gives these little bites a warm sweetness that blends well with the dark notes of molasses and black pepper.
Get the Pfeffernüsse recipe.
If you love cannoli, but making them from scratch seems daunting, let us introduce you to these cookies. They all of the flavors you love in a cannoli, like ricotta, orange zest, mini chocolate chips, and pistachios, yet they require just a fraction of the effort (perfect for a busy holiday season!).
Get the Cannoli Cookies recipe.