Easy Holiday and Christmas Cookies
When it comes to the holidays, you can never have too many cookies. We’ve gathered more than 50 of our favorite recipes perfect for parties, swaps, gifting, and all-around holiday cheer. Try traditional Christmas cookies like gingerbread men, chewy molasses cookies, or gingersnaps, or go with crowd-pleasing favorites that are a hit any time of year, such as flourless peanut butter cookies, jam sandwich cookies, or chocolate-drizzled shortbread. And let’s not forget about bars, too; brownies topped with white chocolate and crushed peppermint will liven up any holiday cookie tray, while s’mores blondies will satisfy kids and grownups alike. To mix things up, we’ve thrown in some easy homemade confections: peanut brittle that you can make in the microwave; a rich, creamy fudge made with dark chocolate and walnuts; and classic buckeyes (peanut butter balls dipped in bittersweet chocolate). If you’re celebrating Hanukkah, our raspberry rugelach or easy gelt cookies—decorated with blue sanding sugar, if you like—will add a sweet touch to your celebrations. Don’t know where to start? Novice bakers might want to try something simple, like our foolproof chocolate chips or double chocolate chunk cookies, while those who like to experiment should tackle treats like cinnamon walnut balls, rolled in powdered sugar, or chocolate-cherry biscotti, baked twice to make them extra dry and crisp—all the better for dunking in your cup of coffee.
Dark Chocolate Walnut Fudge
Use high-quality chocolate to maximize the flavor of this creamy, rich fudge.
Get the recipe: Dark Chocolate Walnut Fudge
No-Bake Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies
It’s no secret that chocolate and peanut butter are a match made in confectionary heaven. These chewy treats get a third partner: rolled oats, which add an extra layer of texture and might even trick your guests into thinking these are healthy. We’ve also thrown in some peanuts to boost the crunch factor and add a double dose of nuttiness. Best of all, these simple, rustic-looking cookies don’t even require an oven. Just drop spoonfuls of batter onto baking sheets and let cool until set. There’s no need to refrigerate them, either; they’ll keep at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Get the recipe: No-Bake Chocolate, Peanut Butter, and Oatmeal Cookies
Microwave Peanut Brittle
If you’ve ever wondered how to make peanut brittle, you’re in luck. In fact, our method is fairly foolproof, since we use a microwave to do the bulk of the work. This crunchy candy may look complicated, but your handy kitchen appliance can easily pull off the task. You’ll use the microwave to melt some of the key ingredients together—sugar, salt, light corn syrup, and butter. Stir in the peanuts, vanilla extract, and a little baking soda, then spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet to cool. Once it has hardened, break into small pieces for a sweet, nutty treat.
Get the recipe: Microwave Peanut Brittle
White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies
These chewy cookies will keep for up to 5 days in an airtight container.
Get the recipe: White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies
Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
Soft pumpkin-flavored cookies are sandwiched together with a sweet cream cheese filling.
Get the recipe: Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
Fig Crumb Bars
In this not-so-classic bar cookie, a layer of dried figs, brown sugar, and orange juice anchors the buttery cinnamon topping.
Get the recipe: Fig Crumb Bars
Oat, Raisin, and Nut Bars
The star of this recipe, oats are packed with goodness, from cholesterol-fighting fiber and antioxidants to a nutty taste and chewy texture.
Get the recipe: Oat, Raisin, and Nut Bars
Update a childhood favorite with these chewy bars topped with mini marshmallows, chocolate chips, and crumbled graham crackers.
Get the recipe: S’mores Blondies
Mint Brownie Bites
Peppermint extract in the chocolate ganache and a garnish of crushed peppermint candies give mini brownies a cool, wintry bite.
Get the recipe: Mint Brownie Bites
Brown Sugar Cookies
Dust these cute little treats with cinnamon sugar before baking for a touch of sweetness and spice.
Get the recipe: Brown Sugar Cookies
Chocolate-Pistachio Slice-and-Bake Cookies
These rich, eye-catching, pistachio-studded cookies look sophisticated, but couldn’t be simpler to make. Sprinkle the cookies with coarse sugar to give them extra shine.
Get the recipe: Chocolate-Pistachio Slice-and-Bake Cookies
Toffee-Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies
Rolled oats add texture and a pleasing nuttiness to these chewy favorites.
Get the recipe: Toffee-Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies
If you like variety, try making some of the cookies in the batch using other jams, like apricot or peach.
Get the recipe: Raspberry Rugelach
Jam Sandwich Cookies
Dust the tops of these buttery, jam-filled cookies with confectioners’ sugar for a beautiful wintry effect.
Get the recipe: Jam Sandwich Cookies
Feeling decadent? Dip one side of each cookie in melted chocolate.
Get the recipe: Chocolate-Cherry Biscotti
Add ground almonds to the batter and fold in toasted slivered almonds for a double dose of nuttiness.
Get the recipe: Almond Thins
Coconut Slice-and-Bake Cookies
Toasting the coconut before adding to the batter to deepens its flavor and give it a lovely golden color.
Get the recipe: Coconut Slice-and-Bake Cookies
These whimsical treats can be decorated to suit any holiday or occasion and make a perfect activity for kids.
Get the recipe: Lollipop Cookies
Creamy peanut butter bites dipped in bittersweet chocolate are an irresistible indulgence.
Get the recipe: Buckeyes
Kitchen Sink Chocolate Bark
This addictive sweet-and-salty candy is loaded with tasty ingredients, including shredded coconut, mixed nuts, dried fruit, and pretzels.
Get the recipe: Kitchen Sink Chocolate Bark
These spicy cookies get their holiday flavor from a mix of ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon.
Get the recipe: Chewy Gingersnaps
Add cashews and candied ginger to the batter to add a nutty crunch and an extra spicy kick.
Get the recipe: Cashew Gingersnaps
Chocolate Chunk Gingersnaps
Chunks of chocolate in every bite give the cookies a decadent twist.
Get the recipe: Chocolate Chunk Gingersnaps
Double Chocolate Brownies
Cocoa powder and semisweet chocolate ensure these brownies have a deep, rich flavor.
Get the recipe: Double Chocolate Brownies
Peanut Butter Cup Brownies
For a childhood take on standard brownies, fold in chopped mini peanut butter cups.
Get the recipe: Peanut Butter Cup Brownies
White Chocolate and Peppermint Brownies
Your search for the perfect Christmas brownie ends right here with these party-ready sweets. We start with our favorite chocolate brownie recipe, using both cocoa powder and semisweet chocolate, and bake as usual. Once the brownies have cooled completely, the fun begins. First, dress them up with a layer of melted white chocolate, then sprinkle with chopped peppermint candies (leftover candy canes work great here, too) for a pretty holiday touch. When everything is set, cut into squares and enjoy. A rich, cakey brownie base topped off with smooth white chocolate and crunchy bits of peppermint goodness—who could resist?
Get the recipe: White Chocolate and Peppermint Brownies
Buttery shortbread makes a great gift; its firm texture means that it will transport well.
Get the recipe: Classic Shortbread
Toasted Pecan Shortbread
Toasting the nuts deepens their flavor, making them a delicious crunchy addition to the basic recipe.
Get the recipe: Toasted Pecan Shortbread
Dress up the original by melting chocolate in the microwave and drizzling over the cooled shortbread.
Get the recipe: Chocolate-Drizzled Shortbread
Chocolate Chip Cookies
There’s always room for this crowd-pleasing classic on any holiday table.
Get the recipe: Chocolate Chip Cookies
Mocha Chocolate Chip Cookies
Crushed chocolate-covered espresso beans elevate this cookie to a more sophisticated grown-up treat.
Get the recipe: Mocha Chocolate Chip Cookies
Apricot-Macadamia Chocolate Chip Cookies
The unexpected combination of dried apricots, chopped macadamia nuts, and chocolate chips adds a fun twist.
Get the recipe: Apricot-Macadamia Chocolate Chip Cookies
Sugared Pecan Balls
Dusted with confectioners’ sugar, these dainty little cookies pack a lot of flavor into every bite.
Get the recipe: Sugared Pecan Balls
Cardamom Cashew Balls
Pungent ground cardamom lends a warm quality to this variation made with roasted cashews.
Get the recipe: Cardamom Cashew Balls
Cinnamon Walnut Balls
A final sprinkle of cinnamon gives these treats an extra touch of holiday flair.
Get the recipe: Cinnamon Walnut Balls
Crunchy, chewy, and nutty, these bars will keep for about 5 days.
Get the recipe: Pecan Bars
Embrace the season by baking this version with pure maple syrup.
Get the recipe: Maple-Walnut Bars
Chocolate-Date Pecan Bars
Antioxidant-rich chocolate and heart-healthy dates make this decadent bar seem almost good for you.
Get the recipe: Chocolate-Date Pecan Bars
Use both whole almonds and almond extract to infuse these cookies with a double dose of nuttiness.
Get the recipe: Almond Biscotti
Swap in pistachios and add a teaspoon of anise seed to give the biscotti a licorice flavor.
Get the recipe: Pistachio-Anise Biscotti
Studded with antioxidant-rich dried cherries, chopped chocolate, and toasted hazelnuts, this version is chock-full of tasty goodness.
Get the recipe: Chocolate-Cherry Biscotti
Chocolate Chocolate-Chunk Cookies
There’s melted chocolate in the batter along with chocolate chunks in the final product—a chocoholic’s delight.
Get the recipe: Chocolate Chocolate-Chunk Cookies
Peanut-Raisin Chocolate-Chunk Cookies
Mix in raisins and roasted peanuts to make this version especially kid-friendly.
Get the recipe: Peanut-Raisin Chocolate-Chunk Cookies
Marshmallow Chocolate-Chunk Cookies
Gooey melted marshmallows are a perfect partner for this chocolatey cookie.
Get the recipe: Marshmallow Chocolate-Chunk Cookies
Simple Sugar Cookies
These basic but tasty cookies can be cut out and decorated any way you please.
Get the recipe: Simple Sugar Cookies
Spiced Sugar Cookies
Give simple sugar cookies a seasonal twist with cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.
Get the recipe: Spiced Sugar Cookies
Citrus Sugar Cookies
Change up the basic batter by adding finely grated orange, lemon, or lime zest.
Get the recipe: Citrus Sugar Cookies
Peanut Butter Cookies
These flourless peanut butter cookies take just 30 minutes from start to finish.
Get the recipe: Peanut Butter Cookies
Toffee-Pretzel Peanut Butter Cookies
With a combination of salty and sweet, these cookies are sure to satisfy every craving.
Get the recipe: Toffee-Pretzel Peanut Butter Cookies
Cranberry-Oat Peanut Butter Cookies
Add a holiday spin with colorful, seasonal dried cranberries.
Get the recipe: Cranberry-Oat Peanut Butter Cookies
Not lucky enough to have an Italian grandmother? Never fear. These classic Italian pignoli cookies may look and sound fancy, but they’re quite easy and fun to make. You don’t need a lot of ingredients, either. Almond paste (don’t use marzipan) gives them their signature flavor and makes them moist and chewy, while orange zest helps cut through the richness and adds an unexpected hint of citrus. Using delicate powdered sugar in place of granulated ensures these irresistible cookies will melt in your mouth. Topped with a generous sprinkle of pine nuts and baked until lightly golden, they’ll make any nonna’s holiday table proud.
Get the recipe: Pignoli Cookies
A holiday cookie platter just isn’t the same without a few cheerful gingerbread men (and women) in the batch. Making these cut-out cookies from scratch sounds like a daunting task, but using a food processor instead of a standard electric mixer can help guarantee great results every time. The food processor cuts the butter into the dry ingredients more evenly, so you’ll wind up with a dough that’s firm enough to roll out and cut into shapes, yet is tender enough to chew and enjoy. After they’re baked, decorate as you wish. They’ll be almost too cute too eat, but once you take a bite of these cookies—flavored with ginger, cinnamon, and molasses—you won’t be able to stop nibbling.
Get the recipe: Gingerbread Men
Don’t feel like baking but still want to serve something homemade? These no-bake cookies are just the thing. Even better, you can make them a day ahead. You’ll start with store-bought chocolate wafer cookies, then process them into a dough with cream cheese, powdered sugar, and mascarpone. Shape into logs, then chill in the fridge until firm. Roll the chilled logs in crushed peppermint candies, then slice and serve. Is it really a cookie? Is it a confection? We’re not sure, but either way, it’s delicious. For a different twist, you can also roll the dough in crushed toasted nuts or roasted cocoa nibs.
Get the recipe: Chocolate-Peppermint Cookies
You can never go wrong with a spiced molasses cookie during the holidays. You can improve on it, though. We’ve changed the traditional recipe by adding a healthy dose of cocoa powder—after all, who doesn’t love chocolate, too? Cinnamon and ginger lend their warm, seasonal flavors, and a little freshly ground black pepper subtly amps up the spice level. Roll the balls of dough in cocoa sugar before baking to get that shiny, textured topping; turbinado sugar works best for the most dramatic results. The cookies will naturally form cracks as they bake, resulting in beautifully rustic, unique treats. Satisfyingly chewy, with a bit of crunch from the sugar, these are the quintessential cookies of the season.
Get the recipe: Cocoa-Molasses Cookies
Christmas cookies get all the love; it’s about time someone gave Hanukkah cookies their fair share. This recipe cleverly uses chocolate gelt to create decorative, yet deliciously edible, cookie centers. The dough is quite simple, but when you’re adding chocolate, you don’t need much else. You can leave the cookies plain with just the chocolate coin for decoration, or dip the balls of dough into colored sanding sugar before baking for an extra nod to the holiday. If you want to make these cookies year-round, just swap in plain chocolate discs or kisses (the chocolate-caramel variety is a nice twist) for the chocolate gelt.
Get the recipe: Gelt Cookies