93 Christmas Cookie Recipes for Absolutely Any Holiday Occasion
Around this time of year, there’s no such thing as too many Christmas cookies. With the right cookie recipes, these tasty little holiday treats are ready for any occasion. Gift exchanges, office holiday parties, school celebrations, family gatherings, and more can all benefit from the addition of a few of the best Christmas cookies, just like all holiday greetings and Instagram posts are improved with the inclusion of some good Christmas quotes.
You may have Christmas cookie recipes passed down from a mother or grandfather; you may have some favorites you’ve picked up over the years. Or you might not have found your can’t-resist, must-make holiday cookie recipe yet, and that’s all right, it takes time to find that perfect treat that is easy for you to make, satisfies the whole family, and makes a great homemade gift, too.
Fortunately for you, we have dozens of cookie recipes perfect for the holiday season. From a foolproof peanut butter cookie recipe to giftable bars to easy lemon bars, these recipes are sure to satisfy every sweet tooth. They have a range of skill levels, cooking times, and ingredients, too, so finding the right treat for your ability and time availability will be a breeze.
The real challenge here is picking just one Christmas cookie to bake this season. If you end up picking a handful to enjoy (and share, if you want), you’re not the only one. Find your perfect recipes, set up some Christmas movies on Netflix, and get baking—you might just find that filling your cookie jar is a whole lot easier than tracking down all the Christmas gifts you need this year.
Chocolate Peppermint Shortbreads
Double chocolate plus peppermint? That’s a recipe for holiday cookie success! First, you’ll make a cocoa-infused shortbread dough, which is spiked with just enough peppermint extract to give a hint of mint, rather than an intense toothpaste-like flavor. Then you’ll press the dough into a cool square-edged log. (But if that feels too hard, you can just roll them into a round log.) Don’t rush the chilling process. This makes the dough easier to slice plus helps the cut cookies hold their shape in the oven. Once the cookies are baked and cooled, they get a glossy coating of melted chocolate and a sprinkle of peppermint candies. For the easiest clean up, set the cookies on a rack over a foil-lined baking sheet before pouring the chocolate over. Top with the crushed candies and let cool until the chocolate is firm. The result? A modern take on peppermint patty flavors, all dressed up for a party. Serve alongside hot cocoa or eggnog for a festive pairing.
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?
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.
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.
Salted Chocolate Buckwheat Thins
Hello, good looking! These gorgeously shiny and crisp cookies are also gluten-free, thanks to buckwheat groats, which are triangular-shaped seeds of a buckwheat plant. The toasted groats add texture to these wafer-like cookies, plus the signature subtle, nutty flavor of buckwheat, which tilts the cocoa- and toffee-flavored dough toward the grown-up side. Serve with a glass of milk for dunking, or take advantage of the wide, flat shape to make ice cream sandwiches. Play up the toasty flavors with butter pecan, or double down on the cocoa-infused dough with scoops of chocolate ice cream. Want to get a head start on holiday baking? This dough can be made two days ahead. Refrigerate until ready to bake, then scoop and bake straight from the fridge. Be sure to let them cool completely before packing up for giving: they’ll lose they’re crispiness if stacked before they reach room temperature.
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.
Nutella Cones With Hazelnut Praline
If you’re looking for a cookie recipe to win the holiday bake sale, look no further. These adorable cones steal the show. Plus, they’re surprisingly simple to make. They start with a chocolate coating reminiscent of Magic Shell, that lines the inside of mini sugar cones. While it may seem tricky at first, once you get into the rhythm of coating the shells it will go lickety split. Don’t be tempted to skip this step, though: it keeps the cones from getting soggy and keeps them crisp and crunchy. An easy-to-make mixture of toasted hazelnuts and Nutella gets tucked inside each cone then more Magic Shell drapes over top. A sparkly, crunchy homemade hazelnut praline tops them off (but you could use a similar store-bought version if you can find it). These cookies are a decadent Nutella-lover’s dream, but we think even non-chocoholics will swoon for them.
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.
Spiced Sugar Cookies
There’s a lot to love about a great meringue cookie—a crisp outer shell, a gooey soft interior, and in this case, salty-sweet cornflakes for crunch. To make them perfectly is all about getting egg whites to form stiff, glossy peaks. The key is to start with an extra clean bowl. Before you get going, wash the bowl of your stand mixer, then wipe down with a mixture of distilled vinegar and water, which breaks down any remaining fat that might be clinging to the bowl from previous recipes like whipped cream. Cornflakes add great crunch but experiment with other cereals and find out what you like best. Cocoa pebbles? Grape Nuts? Have fun with it! The edible gold is optional, but it makes for a showstopper effect, worthy of birthdays, holidays, or New Year’s Eve celebrations. Store any leftover cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.
These spicy cookies get their holiday flavor from a mix of ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon.
Caramelized Honey Nut Bars
Caramel-coated almonds and pepitas (aka pumpkin seeds) make up the filling of these incredibly tasty honey-nut bars. The base is a classic press in short dough, which comes together quickly in a food processor. Then, you’ll make a quick caramel coating that envelops the nuts and seeds. We like the combination of almonds and pumpkin seeds here but feel free to swap in an equal measure of whatever nuts you like. The nut mixture tops the crust and then it all goes to bake together in the oven, resulting in a chewy treat that’s as welcome alongside mid-morning coffee as it is after a dinner party. Pro tip: these bars are easiest to slice when they are just this side of room temperature (read, slightly warm). For extra clean cuts, get your knive very hot under running water, wipe it dry then slice. Repeat and slice.
Simple Sugar Cookies
These basic but tasty cookies can be cut out and decorated any way you please.
Spicy Citrus Sandwich Cookies
These sandwich cookies not only look bakery-worthy, they’re totally delicious. The off-center cut out takes normal sandwich cookies to a modern-art place, and sparkling sugar and lime zest add a spectacular sparkle. As for the dough, it’s flavored with lime zest and spicy cayenne pepper, making for a unique sweet-tart pairing. The cookies stick together with a lemon curd center, which draws on the citrus flavors in the dough. Make these your go-to gifting cookie for the holiday season and you’re sure to win rave reviews. If lemon curd is too tart for your palate, try half curd and half vanilla frosting for a mellower take on the filling (but raspberry jam works too). And if you’d rather keep your cookies strictly sweet, feel free to omit the cayenne pepper. One last tip: to keep your edges crisp, freeze or refrigerate the cut out dough until firm prior to baking.
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.
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.
Kitchen Sink Chocolate Bark
This addictive sweet-and-salty candy is loaded with tasty ingredients, including shredded coconut, mixed nuts, dried fruit, and pretzels.
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.
Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
Soft pumpkin-flavored cookies are sandwiched together with a sweet cream cheese filling.
White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies
These chewy cookies will keep for up to 5 days in an airtight container.
Dark Chocolate Walnut Fudge
Use high-quality chocolate to maximize the flavor of this creamy, rich fudge.
Brown Sugar Cookies
Dust these cute little treats with cinnamon sugar before baking for a touch of sweetness and spice.
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.
Update a childhood favorite with these chewy bars topped with mini marshmallows, chocolate chips, and crumbled graham crackers.
Mint Brownie Bites
Peppermint extract in the chocolate ganache and a garnish of crushed peppermint candies give mini brownies a cool, wintry bite.
Feeling decadent? Dip one side of each cookie in melted chocolate.
Toffee-Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies
Rolled oats add texture and a pleasing nuttiness to these chewy favorites.
Coconut Slice-and-Bake Cookies
Toasting the coconut before adding to the batter to deepens its flavor and give it a lovely golden color.
Jam Sandwich Cookies
Dust the tops of these buttery, jam-filled cookies with confectioners’ sugar for a beautiful wintry effect.