As temperatures drop and fall slowly transitions into winter, we often start anticipating all the holiday festivities soon to come. It won’t be long now before the Christmas season is upon us, along with a flurry of parties, get-togethers, shopping, gift giving, and perhaps best of all—holiday cookies!
Some of our fondest holiday memories are interwoven with all the wonderful seasonal treats we’ve experienced throughout our lives, and very often, Christmas cookies play a starring role. They remind us of our childhood, our culture, and cherished moments enjoyed with family and friends.
Christmas cookies tempt, tantalize, and tease us with bountiful and lavish displays. They delight our eyes and our taste buds with holiday recipes we only get to indulge in at this very special time of year. Christmas cookies will always be one of our very favorite gifts to give as well as receive.
- 1 We’ve Made You a List and Checked it Twice!
- 1.1 1. Cut-out Butter Cookies
- 1.2 2. Gingerbread Men Cookies
- 1.3 3. Rugelach
- 1.4 4. Chocolate Rum Balls
- 1.5 5. Perfect Spritz Cookies
- 1.6 6. Easy No-Fail Chocolate Fudge
- 1.7 7. Italian Christmas Cookies
- 1.8 8. Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies
- 1.9 9. Coconut Macaroons
- 1.10 10. Italian Wedding Cookies
- 1.11 11. Meatball Cookies
- 1.12 12. Snowballs
- 1.13 13. Cranberry Orange Cookies
- 1.14 14. Almond Biscotti
- 1.15 15. Peppermint Meringues
- 1.16 16. Lebkuchen
- 1.17 17. Date Nut Pinwheel Cookies
- 1.18 18. Italian Fig Cookies
- 1.19 19. No-Bake Chocolate Haystacks
- 1.20 20. Shortbread Thumbprints
We’ve Made You a List and Checked it Twice!
Whether you are baking for your family, making them as presents, treats for the office, or participating in a cookie exchange, a selection of Christmas cookie recipes is a must for anyone who participates in holiday baking. We’ve put together a list of our 20 favorite, five-star Christmas cookies that are sure to impress your family and friends. This is a selection of tried-and-true holiday classics, international cookies celebrating family heritage, and perhaps even a few you may not have seen before. All of these recipes are reliable, tested, five-star treats using commonly available ingredients. You’ll be the star of the kitchen with any of these delicious cookies this holiday season!
These tender, crisp and buttery cookies make the perfect cut-out cookie. The recipe is simple and easy to make—a great choice to make with kids as well. The dough can be made ahead of time and refrigerated or even frozen until ready to use. These roll out well, and they won’t spread when you bake them, so they are superb at holding the shape of your cookie cut outs. You can top these with butter cream frosting, glaze or even chocolate, and have fun decorating them with all your favorite sprinkles and colorful holiday candies.
No holiday cookie platter is complete without a Gingerbread Man! This gingerbread cookie recipe makes a delightfully soft and flavorful cookie with crisp edges, redolent with the warm, spicy fragrance of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and molasses. These are easy to make, and the dough can be made ahead of time and refrigerated or frozen until ready to use. Works great for other cut out shapes as well! Decorate these with white icing and don’t forget the raisins!
Rugelach is a wonderfully decadent cookie with a tender pastry dough wrapped around a sticky, nutty, fruity filling. This timeless treat harkens back to ancient Jewish family heritage, but today is a true multi-cultural favorite, and often the very first cookie to disappear from holiday trays! This great recipe from celebrity chef Ina Garten has the perfect balance of flaky crust to sweet filling. The use of cream cheese in the dough adds a rich tangy flavor, and the filling is versatile enough to experiment with your favorite nuts and jams. These are visually beautiful cookies and they keep very well—not that they’ll last very long. So delicious, you just might want to make an extra batch of these just for yourself!
Bursting with rich, chocolatey goodness and the adult-pleasing taste of real rum, these no-bake cookies are as easy to prepare as they are delicious. You just can’t go wrong with a recipe you just mix up in one bowl and roll into balls without even needing to turn on the oven! Make these boozy little beauties several days ahead of time and simply store in an airtight container until you’re ready to serve. These are sure to add the “wow” factor to your Christmas cookie platter—no need to tell anyone how simple these are to make!
Spritz cookies are a Christmas classic that have been gracing our holiday tables for generations. These beautiful cookies are made with a cookie press, a tube-style “gun” that extrudes your cookie dough out into all sorts of holiday shapes. This fantastic recipe makes a crisp, buttery, perfectly balanced cookie that holds the molded shapes of the cookie press exceptionally well. These cookies are so much fun to make and decorate, it’s a great recipe to make with family and friends. You can tint the dough with various food colors and decorate these with sprinkles, colored sugars, jams, candies and icing.
While not a true cookie, fudge is a traditional holiday favorite that never fails to make an appearance on everyone’s holiday cookie platter. We simply couldn’t put this list together without including this great recipe. This fudge is deliciously rich and creamy. It’s also easy to make, sets up perfectly, and does not require the use of a thermometer or any special candy making equipment. It’s made with chocolate chips, but the recipe is versatile—it works equally well with white chips, peanut butter chips or butterscotch chips, and any kind of nuts you prefer!
These old-world favorites have been gracing cookie platters for decades. Sometimes called ricotta cookies, or ricotta cheese cookies, it seems like every Italian grandmother out there has their own secret family recipe for these special, very pretty treats. This recipe does not disappoint! It’s moist, light and tender—and another excellent cookie that is simple to make and fun to decorate. Wonderful using lemon extract or almond extract instead of the vanilla too!
These fantastic cookies have been around holiday tables since the first Hershey’s Kiss made its way into grocery stores. These are terrific made with crunchy peanut butter as well as smooth, and you can make this dough ahead of time and refrigerate it or freeze it until you are ready to bake. The classic combination of chocolate and peanut butter makes for an irresistible cookie, and this recipe is chewy, peanuty, chocolate perfection!
Be sure to make a lot of these delicious holiday favorites—these disappear quickly! This recipe is truly the best of the best, and a blue-ribbon winner. You’ll no doubt agree when you bite into this chewy, sticky ball of coconut perfection. Try decorating these with a drizzle of melted chocolate or tint in festive red or green holiday colors!
Don’t let the name of these cookies fool you—these tri-colored treats have been a holiday favorite for ages, and more likely to be found at the Christmas table than anywhere else these days! With their colorful bands of tender cake and layers of rich chocolate and raspberry jam, these cookies are beautiful to look at as well as scrumptious to eat. An impressive superstar on any holiday platter!
11. Meatball Cookies
This Italian chocolate cookie is a timeless classic and an enduring holiday favorite. It’s another old-world Sicilian recipe that has become a part of American culture. This treat is a staple at cookie exchanges everywhere and always goes quickly. The recipe is fun and easy to make, and bursting with chocolate, nuts and spices. It has a cakey, dense and chewy texture—and just like the name indicates, it’s shaped like a meatball!
These tender, delicate, buttery cookies are loaded with pecans and dusted with powdered sugar. They are sometimes called Mexican or Russian Teacakes, and they really do look like snowballs! Just like a snowflake, these gorgeous Christmas favorites really melt in your mouth! Try them with walnuts or almonds too.
These easy drop cookies are very pretty to look at and a wonderful addition to your holiday cookie plate! The tart and tangy flavors of the orange and cranberry really shine in these cookies. They are chewy with an almost cake-like texture, and you can add any nut you like—these are equally delicious with green pistachios or pecans.
14. Almond Biscotti
Biscotti is another one of those traditional Italian cookies that has transcended its European origins to become a fought-over Christmas favorite around the globe. A tradition on holiday mornings, biscotti dunked in coffee or hot chocolate is simply hard to resist.
This wonderful biscotti recipe hits all the right notes: Crunchy in texture and bursting with almond flavor, these are the perfect, not-too-sweet treat to enjoy any time of the day! Try decorating these by dipping one end in melted chocolate.
Crushed peppermint candy cane gives these light and airy meringue cookies an intense burst of flavor and a sparkling pop of holiday color. The perfect addition to your Christmas cookie tray, these delicate cookies can be made far ahead and stored for up to two months!
This rolled cut-out cookie is an authentic old German holiday favorite that has been turning up on cookie trays for decades. This recipe, although traditionally cut into squares, could be used with your favorite holiday cookie cutter shapes as well. The cookie is deliciously sweet and chewy, and loaded with a medley of spices, citron and nuts.
Dates and nuts are a winning combination in this gorgeous slice-n-bake cookie. The filling is rolled into a crispy and tender pastry dough, then sliced and baked to create a very pretty pinwheel design. These are as attractive to look at as they are delicious, and they are also another great recipe that can be made in advance and refrigerated or frozen until ready to use.
This beautiful filled cookie is an Italian classic, but you don’t have to hail from Sicily to enjoy this Christmas favorite; this cookie has been featured on American Christmas trays for generations! The filling in the recipe is the perfect blend of fig, apple, raisins, citrus, nuts and spices—all surrounded by a tender cookie crust.
These delightful no-bake treats fall somewhere between a cookie and candy. This recipe is loaded with chocolate, oats, coconut and almonds, but you can easily adapt these to include your favorite holiday cookie ingredients. Some people even put pretzels or chow mein noodles in these! This is a terrific and fun recipe to make with the kids!
Thumbprint cookies are a favorite staple on holiday cookie platters, and this recipe is sheer perfection! With a light, crispy shortbread pastry filled with your favorite jams, this fruity, sweet and colorful cookie is an absolute must at Christmastime. If you aren’t a fan of the almost extract, try these with vanilla or lemon extract. These are wonderful rolled in nuts around the outside as well!
Christmas cookies will always be one of our very favorite gifts to give as well as receive.