The Best Christmas Cookies

Celebrate the holiday season with the best Christmas cookie recipes. From classic favorites to festive twists, these recipes will fill your home with the sweet aroma of holiday cheer. Get ready to create a cookie platter that steals the show at your festive gatherings! And don’t miss my all-time favorite sugar cookie icing.

Sugar cookies with frosting and sprinkles on a wire cooling rack, on a plate and on a white serving platter.

‘Tis the season for baking! Consider this your ultimate guide to all things Christmas cookies, including tips and tricks for successful holiday baking. So, dust off your cookie cutters, preheat your oven and crank up the holiday music, it’s cookie-baking time! And don’t miss my trick for how to roll out cookie dough.

Classic Christmas Cookies

Let’s get festive! From marshmallow Christmas wreaths that have been in my family for more than 30 years to the best sugar cookies with icing, you’ll find classic Christmas cookies that make the perfect addition to your cookie platter.

  • Chocolate Sugar Cookies: This recipe yields soft, chewy, chocolatey cookies that always maintain their shape after baking, which makes them perfect for decorating with your choice of frosting and sprinkles.
  • Soft Ginger Molasses Cookies: These jumbo-sized cookies are made with molasses and plenty of ground ginger, cloves and cinnamon.
  • Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies: These buttery shortbread cookies can be filled with your choice of ganache, caramel or jam, making them the perfect customizable sweet for your holiday party or cookie exchange.
  • Peanut Butter Cup Cookies: This recipe is a longtime family favorite at our house and stars a soft and chewy peanut butter cookie filled with a Reese’s peanut butter cup. It’s salty-sweet perfection!
  • Chocolate Rugelach: I’ve recreated my grandmother’s recipe, which stars the most incredible cream cheese dough filled with a combination of semisweet and bittersweet chocolate for the perfect amount of sweetness.
  • Gingerbread Cookie Cups with Cream Cheese Frosting: Soft and chewy gingerbread cookie cups filled with an irresistibly smooth cream cheese frosting.
  • Brown Sugar Shortbread Cookies: These buttery cookies are made with basic pantry ingredients and can be customized with your favorite crushed candy toppings or sprinkles.

Festive Christmas Cookies

  • Sprinkle Sugar Cookie Sticks: Step aside, cookie cutters. There’s a new sugar cookie in town and your services will no longer be needed.
  • Peppermint White Chocolate Cookies: These soft and chewy cookies are the perfect combination of sweet white chocolate chips and minty crushed candy canes. 
  • Homemade Samoas Cookies: They’re the ultimate combo of a buttery shortbread cookie base topped with caramel-coated coconut and drizzled with chocolate. I sold many a Samoas cookie during my Girl Scout days and they’ll forever be my fave!
  • Soft M&M Christmas Cookies: These bakery-worthy cookies are also freezer-friendly!
  • Thin Mint Cookie Truffles: Go from classic cookie to show-stopping dessert bites combining tangy cream cheese, crunchy cookies, a chocolate shell and a sprinkle shower.

Flourless Christmas Cookies

Slice-and-Bake Christmas Cookies

No-Chill Christmas Cookies

  • Frosted Soft Sugar Cookie Bars: Forget the cookie cutters in favor of this foolproof recipe!
  • Red Velvet Brookies: Half red velvet brownie, half chocolate chip cookie, these brookies are the ultimate dessert mashup! They’re rich, fudgy and best of all, made with basic pantry ingredients.
  • Monster Cookie Bars: Soft and chewy flourless cookie bars loaded with peanut butter, oats and chocolate.
  • Salted Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars: They’re soft, chewy and perfect for pairing with a cold glass of milk.
  • Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars: Just imagine the best chocolate chip cookies but in soft and chewy cookie bar form. Stir in some crushed salted pretzels, sprinkle a few more on top, and then finish off the baked bars with a final drizzle of melted chocolate for the ultimate sweet and salty dessert.
  • Homemade Samoas Cookie Bars: Buttery shortbread base, caramel-coconut topping and dark chocolate drizzle.
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie Brownies (Brookies): The perfect balance of the best chocolate chip cookie dough marbled together with the ultimate rich and fudgy brownie batter.

Saltine Toffee

While Saltine toffee might not be your typical Christmas cookie, it’s a crowd-pleasing and festive holiday treat that I couldn’t resist featuring in this roundup! Often referred to as Christmas crack or toffee bark, it typically consists of a layer of saltine crackers coated with a toffee-like caramel layer and topped with chocolate. The sweet-salty combo makes it a must-have for the season’s indulgences. Trust me, it’s a delightful addition to your holiday sweets lineup!

Freezer-Friendly Christmas Cookies

Several Christmas cookies freeze well, allowing you to prepare them in advance and enjoy the festive treats throughout the holiday season. Here are some types of Christmas cookies that typically freeze well:

  • Sugar Cookies: Both baked and unbaked sugar cookies can be frozen. If you’re freezing the dough, shape it into a disc or log before wrapping it tightly in plastic wrap.
  • Gingerbread Cookies: Ensure they are fully cooled before freezing.
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies: Most chocolate chip cookie recipes freeze well. You can freeze either the cookie dough or the baked cookies.
  • Shortbread Cookies: Known for their buttery and crumbly texture, often freeze beautifully. Wrap them well to prevent freezer burn.
  • Biscotti: Being twice-baked and firm, hey retain their texture well after thawing.
  • Slice-and-Bake Cookies: Shape the dough into logs or discs for easier freezing.
  • Peanut Butter Cookies: Whether classic crisscross or thumbprint variations, usually freeze well.
  • Oatmeal Cookies: Oatmeal-based cookies, with ingredients like rolled oats and chocolate chips, are known for their freezer-friendly qualities.
  • Thumbprint Cookies: Cookies with jam or fruit fillings, such as thumbprint cookies, often freeze well.
  • Pecan Sandies: Their sandy texture holds up beautifully, making them a great choice for preparing in advance.

Tips for Freezing Cookies

The holiday season is upon us, and what better way to prepare than by mastering the art of freezing cookies? Whether you’re planning for festive gatherings, gift-giving or just want to have a sweet stash on hand, freezing cookies is a game-changer. Here are 9 essential things to know about freezing cookies and ensuring that your holiday treats stay fresh and delicious.

  1. Choose the right cookies. Not all cookies freeze equally. Opt for cookies with sturdy textures, like sugar cookies, gingerbread, biscotti and shortbread. These varieties tend to maintain their flavor and texture after thawing.
  2. Cool completely before freezing. Before placing cookies in the freezer, make sure they are entirely cooled. This prevents condensation and helps maintain the cookie’s integrity during freezing and thawing.
  3. Wrap and seal properly. Use airtight containers, freezer bags or plastic wrap to wrap cookies individually or in layers. This protects them from freezer burn and preserves their freshness.
  4. Layer with parchment. When stacking cookies, separate layers with sheets of parchment paper to prevent sticking. This ensures that each cookie remains intact and presentable.
  5. Label and date. Maintain organization by labeling your containers with the type of cookie and the date they were frozen. This helps you keep track of freshness and ensures you use them within the recommended time frame.
  6. Freeze cookie dough. Save time during busy holiday days by freezing cookie dough. Shape it into discs, logs or portioned balls, then freeze. When ready to bake, there’s no need to thaw—just bake from frozen, adding a few extra minutes to the baking time.
  7. Avoid frosting before freezing. If your cookies require frosting, hold off until after thawing. Frostings and icings can become soggy during the freezing and thawing process.
  8. Test a small batch. If you’re unsure how a particular type of cookie will fare in the freezer, test a small batch first. This allows you to assess their texture and flavor after thawing before ruining an entire batch of cookies.
  9. Enjoy within 3 months. While many cookies can be frozen for an extended period, I recommend enjoying them within three months for optimal freshness and flavor.
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  1. Hi Kelly, I make the Christmas tree shortbread cookies every year and they are a huge hit. Thanks for the great recipe!

  2. Excellent Christmas cookie round-up, Kelly! Love the variety! I have several go-to’s each year, but I always add one or two new ones. Great options here, but it definitely would be difficult to choose only one or two! :)