Best Christmas cookie recipes (2024)

Best Christmas cookie recipes (1)

Written by

Lindsay Weiss

Fresh out of new ideas for holiday treats to bake?

Try these 12 simple but splashy recipes your friends and neighbors will be begging you for.

By Lindsay WeissOpens a new window

Salted Caramel Thumbprints


  • 1 1/2 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt


  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Use an electric mixer to cream together the butter, sugar and egg. Add vanilla. Separately, sift together the flour and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture. Mix just until the dough comes together. Refrigerate for 1 hour, up to overnight.

Scoop level tablespoons of dough (I use a cookie scoop from Crate and Barrel…it's priceless.) and roll into balls.

Place on a silpat or parchment-lined cookie sheet. Hold the cookie steady with one hand and press a light indentation into the top of each with your finger. (I like a pretty big indentation because, let's face it, the caramel is the best part.) Bake at 350 for 10 to 15 minutes, until they're barely golden on the sides. Remove from oven and immediately re-poke your thumbprints if they've faded. (You can use the tip of a wooden spoon if too hot.) Let them cool. While they're cooling, make the caramel.

Combine the sugar and 2 tablespoons water in a medium saucepan (high sides). Do not stir. Cook over medium-high heat to a dark caramel color, swirling as it begins to brown to distribute the sugar. While the sugar and water are going at it, heat up the cream in a saucepan or microwave just until warm.

Take off the heat and add your room temperature butter. Whisk the butter in, being sure it's totally combined. Add your warmed cream and whisk vigorously. Mixture will bubble, then settle down to a velvety caramel.

By now your cookies should be cooled. Spoon as much warm caramel as you can into the indentations of your cookies and top with sea salt.

Makes 24 cookies

Recipe adapted from A Cozy KitchenOpens a new window.

Chocolate Chiffon Fudge Cookies

Splurge on the best quality bittersweet chips you can find. You'll taste the difference.

  • 1 1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips, divided
  • 3 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 2 1/4 cups confectioners sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Place 1 cup chocolate chips in a microwave-safe container. Melt chips in microwave, stirring every 30 seconds or so, for about 2 minutes or until no longer lumpy. Set aside to cool slightly.

Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites in a large bowl to soft peak stageOpens a new window. Gradually beat in 1 cup confectioners sugar. Continue beating meringue mixture until it reaches stiff peakOpens a new window.

In a separate bowl, whisk 3/4 cup confectioners sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, and salt. On low speed, beat dry ingredients into meringue just until combined. Stir in lukewarm chocolate and remaining 1/2 cup chocolate chips.

Cover and chill dough for 1 hour (up to overnight). Don't skip this or your cookies will be too flat. Preheat oven to 350?F. Line cookie sheets with silpat or parchment (do not skip this with these cookies…they will stick).

Place remaining 1/2 cup confectioners sugar in bowl. Roll 1 level tablespoon of dough into ball; roll in sugar, coating thickly. Place on prepared sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake until puffed and tops crack, about 10 minutes. Cool on sheets on rack 10 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool.

Makes 24 small cookies

Biscoff White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

  • 3/4 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup finely crushed Biscoff (or other spice) cookies
  • 3/4 cup white chocolate chips

Lightly toast your dry oats by placing in a large frypan over medium heat; cook about 4 minutes, stirring frequently, until oats turn golden and become aromatic. Remove from heat and cool.

Use an electric mixer to combine butter and sugar. Add egg and vanilla, mix until combined.

In a separate bowl combine flour, baking soda, salt and Biscoff crumbs. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating just until combined. Stir in toasted oats and white chocolate chips.

Chill 30 minutes (up to overnight). If chilling overnight, let sit on counter for 10 minutes or so before scooping.

Heat oven to 350°F.

Drop rounded tablespoons of dough onto cookie sheet. Bake 10 minutes or until barely golden brown on the edges. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool.

Makes 18 cookies

Chocolate Peanut Butter-Stuffed Cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter (not natural-type), divided
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Cinnamon-sugar for rolling:

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Whisk the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

Use an electric mixer to beat the sugars, butter and 1/4 cup of the peanut butter until light and smooth. Add vanilla and egg, beating one at a time to combine. Gradually stir in the flour mixture. Dough will be very, very thick.

To make the filling, cream together the powdered sugar and remaining 1/2 cup of peanut butter until smooth.

To assemble the cookies, spoon a heaping tablespoon of chocolate cookie dough onto wax paper or silpat. Flatten into a circle with your hands. Scoop about 1/2 teaspoon peanut butter filling and place in the center of the chocolate dough. Wrap the chocolate dough around the peanut butter filling, pinching ends together to seal. Roll the cookie in between hands to smooth into a ball. Repeat until all dough is rolled.

Roll balls in cinnamon-sugar and place on a silpat or parchment-lined cookie sheet.

Use the bottom of a glass to slightly flatten the cookies. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until puffed and crackly. Do not over bake. Let cool on wire rack.

Makes 18 cookies

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Peppermint Truffle Brownies

  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, divided
  • 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup crushed peppermint candies

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9×9-inch baking pan with foil, leaving overhang "handles". Spray foil with nonstick cooking spray.

Combine 6 ounces (half the bag if you're using a typical 12-ounce size) of chocolate chips and butter in medium metal bowl. Set bowl over saucepan of simmering water and stir until chocolate and butter are melted and smooth. Alternately, melt chocolate and butter in a glass bowl in the microwave at 50% power, stirring every minute until melted and smooth. Cool chocolate mixture until lukewarm, 5 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk sugar, eggs, vanilla, and salt in large bowl to blend. Whisk in chocolate mixture. Stir in flour. Transfer batter to prepared baking pan. Bake brownies until tester inserted into center comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 30 minutes. Transfer pan to cooling rack and let brownies cool completely.

Bring cream to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat. Add remaining 6 ounces chocolate to hot cream and let stand 5 minutes to soften, then whisk until melted and smooth. Pour chocolate ganache over cooled brownies (still in pan) and spread to cover completely. Let stand at cool room temperature until topping is set, about 4 hours. Sprinkle with crushed candies. (Note: The crushed mints get soggy if you put them on right away. Wait till the last minute to sprinkle them over the top of the ganache and lightly press them in.)

Using foil as aid, lift brownie sheet from pan. Fold down foil edges. Using large sharp knife, cut brownie sheet into 25 squares, wiping knife with hot moist cloth after each cut. (Don't skip this or the brownies will be a mess to cut.)

Recipe from Let's Dish Recipes.

Gingerbread Crème Cups

  • 1 (30 oz) package Pillsbury Gingerbread Cookie Dough
  • 8 ounces reduced fat (Neufachtel) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a mini-muffin tin with cooking spray (or line with paper liners).

Scoop level tablespoons of dough, roll into balls, and place in sprayed tin. Bake 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately use the handle of a wooden spoon to make an indentation in the center of each cookie cup. (Do not poke all the way through to bottom.) Remove from muffin tins and cool completely.

Beat cream cheese with powdered sugar. Stir in vanilla. Place filling into a piping bag, cut off edge of bag. Pipe one teaspoon or so of filling into each area of cookie dough. (I used Wilton tip 2D to pipe these…it's available at any craft store.)

Tips: If you are really short on time, skip the homemade creme filling and pipe in a prepackaged cream cheese frosting. (Yep, I've had to do this before.) If you have a little leftover cookie dough, bake it and then crumble to sprinkle on top!

Makes 24 cookie cups

Salted Toffee Pretzel Bark

  • 20 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 3/4 cup broken pretzel pieces, divided
  • 1 cup toffee pieces, divided
  • 10 ounces white chocolate, chopped

Line a 10×15 jelly roll pan with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

In a double boiler or in a microwave on low power, melt the dark chocolate, stirring until the chocolate is smooth. Pour chocolate into pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle with 1 1/4 cup of the pretzel pieces and 3/4 cup of the toffee pieces. Spread the mixture on the prepared baking sheet. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Melt the white chocolate in the same way you did the dark chocolate, stirring until completely smooth. Remove the baking sheet from the refrigerator and use a spoon to drizzle the white chocolate on top of the hardened dark chocolate layer. Sprinkle with the remaining pretzel pieces and toffee, using your palm to lightly press them into the white chocolate. Return the pan to the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Use a sharp knife to break the bark into pieces.

Note: You can use bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, but buy the best you can. The dark chocolate is the canvas for all the wonderful flavors!

Best Sugar Cookie Cut-Outs

  • 3 cups (13.5 oz) all-purpose flour*
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 sticks butter, unsalted, softened (8 oz)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract

*I suggest weighing the flour if you have a scale. If you don't, make sure you lightly spoon the flour into the measuring cup then sweep to level it off.

Sift together the flour and baking powder. In a separate mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg, salt and both extracts and mix until combined.

Slowly add flour mixture (1 cup at a time) and mix just until incorporated.

Form the dough into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, up to overnight. Pinch off half the dough and keep the rest chilled and covered while you work with the first half. Roll the dough onto a lightly floured surface to approximately 1/4-inch thick. Cut the cookies into shapes, re-rolling dough once to use scraps, and place the cut cookie shape on a parchment or silpat-lined cookie sheet. Place the whole cookie sheet back in the fridge (or on your porch/garage if it's cold) for 30 min. (This will ensure the cookies don't spread when you bake them. This part is important. Don't skip it.) Repeat with other half of dough.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Bake the cookies 8-10 minutes or just until the edges begin to turn golden brown. Remove cookies from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes.

Recipe from Michelle Bommarito

Paint-on Icing

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 4 teaspoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • gel or paste food coloring (as desired)

Combine powdered sugar, milk, corn syrup and extract. Add food coloring as desired. Repeat in as many colors as you like. If icing thickens over time, add more corn syrup.

Use a small, clean paint brush (the kids love it, and it dries evenly and shiny) to paint on cooled cookies. Add sprinkles or other decorations.

Recipe courtesy Dianna Cooper

Minty Marshmallow-Stuffed Chocolate Cookies

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 24-30 chocolate mint marshmallows (these are smaller than full-size mallows…if you use the full-size, cut in half)

Fudgy frosting:

  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Garnish: chopped chocolate mints (like Andes) or mini-chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375°F.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg, milk, and extracts, and beat until well combined. Add reserved flour mixture; mix on low speed until combined.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake until cookies begin to spread and become firm, about 7 minutes.

Remove baking sheets from oven, and place a marshmallow in the center of each cookie, pressing down slightly. Return to oven, and continue baking until marshmallows begins to melt, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from oven and press down on marshmallows to flatten. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting, sift confectioners sugar and cocoa into a medium bowl. Use an electric mixer to stir in butter. Add milk and vanilla, and beat until well combined.

Spread frosting over each marshmallow, starting in the center and continuing outward until marshmallow is covered.

Garnish with chopped chocolate mints or mini chocolate chips.

Makes 24–30 cookies

Note: Store covered in the fridge. These are even better on the second and third day.

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart's Surprise CookiesOpens a new window.

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Nutella Fudge with Sea Salt

  • Butter, for greasing pan
  • 1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces bittersweet (60% cacao) chocolate chips
  • 1 cup Nutella, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • Sea salt, approximately 1/2 tsp

Grease the bottom and sides of an 8- by 8-inch baking pan with butter. Line the pan with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overlap on the sides to use as "handles."

In a medium glass or stainless steel bowl, stir together sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, bittersweet chocolate chips, Nutella, and butter.

Form a double-boiler by setting the bowl onto a medium pot of gently simmering water. The water level should be low enough that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Stir until the chocolate chips are melted and the mixture is smooth, 5 to 7 minutes.

Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan, spread the top smooth with a spatula. Refrigerate for 15 minutes, then sprinkle sea salt on top. (This keeps it from dissolving.) Refrigerate until the fudge is firm, at least 2 hours.

Run a knife under hot water, dry it off, and run it around the edges of the pan to loosen the fudge. Using the overhanging parchment paper, lift the fudge out. Peel off the parchment paper. Cut the fudge into 3/4-inch squares. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container or wrapped well in plastic wrap and foil.

Makes approximately 50 3/4-inch squares.

Recipe adapted slightly from Cookin' CanuckOpens a new window

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Fudge

  • Oil for the pan
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips

Oil an 8 x 8-inch baking pan. (I skipped this and lined with parchment, leaving a 2-inch overhang on two sides as "handles.")

Bring the sugar, dark brown sugar, cream, milk, corn syrup, and salt to a boil over medium heat in a 3-quart saucepan. Boil until a candy thermometer reads 242°F, stirring frequently.

Remove from the heat and stir in the butter, vanilla, and flour. (Get as many of those flour lumps out as you can.) Pour the mixture into a 9 x 13-inch baking pan in a thin layer. Let cool to 110°F undisturbed, about 20 minutes. (My note: I didn't measure the temp, but 20 minutes was way too long…the mixture was very hard to scrape out. 10 minutes worked like a charm. Use a spoon to scrape it right out of the pan.) Scrape the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer.

Mix on medium speed with a paddle attachment until the fudge thickens and begins to hold its shape, 3 to 5 minutes. Scrape into the prepared 8 x 8-inch baking pan, and spread evenly with an offset spatula. (I only have 9-inch pans, and I like my fudge a little thicker, so I didn't use the whole pan.) Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top, then lightly press them into the fudge. Let cool and set, at least 2 hours. Chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes if the chocolate chips are still soft.

Cut into pieces of desired size, and store in an airtight container. Fudge is even better on day two!

Makes 36–50 pieces of fudge.

Recipe courtesy Nina Wanat, from her book Sweet Confections.Opens a new window

Candy Cane Cake Truffles

  • 1 box devil's food cake mix
  • 1 can chocolate frosting (16 oz.)
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1 package almond bark
  • 8 candy canes, crushed
  • Waxed paper

Bake cake according to directions on the box for 13 X 9 cake. After the cake is cool, crumble into large bowl.

Mix the frosting with 1 teaspoon of peppermint extract.

Mix the cake thoroughly with about 3/4 of the frosting. (Get your hands in there and get dirty.) Add more frosting if you think the mixture is too dry. When you can form it into a ball in your hands easily, you're good.

Use a tablespoon-sized scoop and roll mixture into balls. Place on a cookie sheet.

Chill or freeze cake balls for several hours. They can also be placed in freezer bags and kept for later use.

Melt almond bark according to the directions on package. Dip each ball about 3/4 of the way into the almond bark. Tap off excess, then place on wax paper, cake side down, until firm. Quickly sprinkle a little bit of crushed candy cane bits onto the top before the almond bark hardens.

Cover the truffles tightly and store where it's cool.

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Best Christmas cookie recipes (2)


Best Christmas cookie recipes (3)


Best Christmas cookie recipes (4)

Lindsay Weiss

Lindsay blogs from her Home on the Range in the “fly-over” state of Kansas. Her three kiddos have an unending penchant for mischief...and cow-tipping.

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