All the Christmas cookie recipes you could ever want (over 60 recipes!) are right here! I've separated them by type to make it easier for you to find what you're looking for. They're one of the best things about the holidays whether you are baking them, giving them, or eating them!
Expert Tip: Mailing things to my sons when they were in Korea and Japan took 11 to 14 days during normal times. At the holidays it took a minimum of 3 weeks. Plan to send your packages around the first of December if you are sending to military friends and family overseas.
There's no denying that holiday cookies are a big part of our culture during November and December. Even people who don't normally make them page through cookbooks and Pinterest to find a couple of varieties to leave out for Santa.
Be sure to check out my Gingerbread House Party instructions, too! We've been doing this for 25 years!
Shaped and rolled
When you think about Christmas cookies you probably get all nostalgic over decorated cutouts - I sure do! Here are some pretty rolled and shaped cookies.
Most of these will do you proud at your next Christmas cookie exchange party!
- Best Sugar Cookie Recipe EVER (shown in image above)
- Spritz Butter
- Snow Globes
- Rudolph Cookies
- Candy Canes
- Buttery Shortbread
- Marble Sugar Cookies
- Maple Pecan Sandies
- Brown Sugar Pecan
- Peppermint Sugar Cookies
- Old Fashioned Molasses Crinkles
- Cheesecake Cookies
- Cherry Almond Shortbread
- Italian Anisette Cookies
- Double Chocolate Snowballs
- Red Velvet Sugar Cookies
- Italian Chocolate "Totos"
Expert Tip: Aerating the butter with the sugar is key! It will take about 2 to 3 minutes in a stand mixer with the paddle attachments. Don't hurry it! Beat until the sugar crystals are completely dissolved.
I think refrigerator cookies are some of my favorites because you can make up several kinds and keep them in the refrigerator or freezer until it's time to slice and bake!
- Cranberry Orange Shortbread
- Christmas Swirls
- One Dough Five Kinds (shown in image above)
- Toffee Butter Ice Box Cookies
- Cherry Christmas Slices
Thumbprint and filled
- Red Velvet Cream Cheese Thumbprints
- Snowman Thumbprint Cookies
- Christmas Tree Peanut Butter Blossoms
- Chocolate Cherry Blossoms
- Red Velvet Sandwich
- Peppermint Blossoms
- Pill Bottle Cookies
- Chocolate Cherry BonBons
- Chocolate Powder Puffs
- Peanut Butter Rolo
- Peanut Butter Cup
- Gingerbread Cheesecake Bites
- Red Velvet Peppermint Kisses (shown in image above)
Expert Tip: I like to make drop cookies and freeze them before baking. Once they are frozen hard I scoop them into freezer bags. That way I can put them on a cookie sheet and bake last minute.
- Lemon Snowdrops
- Melted Snowman Cookies
- Cranberry Oatmeal White Chocolate Cookies
- Eggnog Cookies
- Melting Moments
- Grandma's Gumdrop Cookies
- M&M Cookies (image above)
I wanted to add some gluten free Christmas cookies to the list. So many people these days have to watch the gluten for various reasons but that's no reason to skip the treat table when you have these on hand!
- Stained Glass
- Christmas Tree Meringues
- Low Carb Christmas Cookies
- Pecan Shortbread (image above)
- 12 Gluten Free Christmas Cookies
Bar cookies are great because they are done all at once and then ready to go. These recipes are perfect for last minute gifts and galas - and that's why they're in this list of the best Christmas cookie recipes!
Expert Tip: For perfect cookie bottoms use a heavy cookie sheet covered with parchment.
Cookies kids can make
Let kids in on the fun! These easy holiday cookie recipes are perfect projects for the kiddos.
- Penguin Cookies
- Candy Cane Oreos
- Christmas Cornflake Wreaths
- Reindeer Poop
- No Bake Rolo
- Easy 3 Ingredient Rolo Stuffed Cookies (shown above)
Packing and shipping
If you're sending cookies through the mail you want them to get there whole and unbroken. Here are tips for packing and shipping that will keep them fresh and perfect. Be sure to click through to #2 on this list for a visual step by step of how to package them for shipping.
- Here are some cute ideas for packaging Christmas Cookies.
- Have to ship cookies to loved ones? Check out my post on how to pack cookies for shipping overseas.
- Use packing peanuts or bubble wrap. Years ago people were suggesting real popcorn because it was better for the environment ... the problem is if you are shipping to someone in the military it can take a little time and it may well arrive buggy. Ew.
- When packing bar cookies bake them in a disposable aluminum foil pan and leave them in the pan, uncut. They will stay fresher.
- Choose cookies carefully for shipping - delicate cookies are not a good choice!
- Check out this cute Grinch themed care package!
Good ingredients equals good cookies. Great ingredients equals great cookies! Get the best you can find and make sure they are fresh and you'll get the BEST Christmas cookies!!
- Please use real butter - it's the only way to get the best Christmas cookies!
- Use all-purpose flour unless the recipe specifies otherwise.
- Mix the flour up with a spoon to fluff it before measuring.
- Make sure the butter is at room temperature. It does make a difference!
- Always add eggs one at a time beating well between each.
- Using pecans or other nuts? Toast them for 5 minutes or so in a 375F oven to really bring out the flavor. Coconut can be toasted before using as well.
Carefully baking your holiday cookies means they won't be under or over baked but will have the best texture and flavor every time.
- Preheat the oven at least 10 minutes.
- Use the middle rack and only bake one cookie sheet at a time.
- You can reuse parchment paper until it wears out. Don't just throw it away.
- Set the timer for a minute less than specified in the recipe and check for doneness. Sometimes different ovens behave differently and you don't want dry cookies!
This is the fun part! Use throw away decorating bags to keep clean up at a minimum.
- Use royal icing for picture perfect cookies - otherwise use buttercream - it tastes better.
- Use gel or paste coloring for most vivid colors.
- Brushing unbaked cookies with egg white beaten with 1 teaspoon of water will help sugar crystals and sprinkles stick.
- You can make an edible paint with egg white, 1 teaspoon water, and food color. Just blend together and paint the cookie with a clean brush.
Properly stored Christmas cookies last longer and taste better! Don't let all that hard work go to waste by storing them haphazardly.
- You can cut out or shape your Christmas cookies, lay them on a cookie sheet, then put them in the freezer. When frozen put them in a freezer container. When you're ready to bake just take them out, put them on silpat covered cookie sheets and bake as directed in the recipe. No mess!
- Baked cookies can be frozen undecorated for up to three months.
- Let cookies cool completely before packaging or storing or else condensation may form and make them soggy.
- Store baked cooking in layers with a sheet of parchment between the layers.
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These Christmas cookie treat boxes are such a cute way to give cookies to everyone on your list! I'm in love with these mini Christmas cookie cutters! They make really cute edible gift tags if you punch a small hole in the top before baking - then just pipe the name of the recipient with royal icing. Let dry, cover with plastic wrap, and tie a string through to attach to the gift.
This post has been updated from the original 2015 version. Last updated Nov 9, 2020.