Some families have their perfect holiday cookie recipe. If you love to bake cookies and need some inspiration beyond Christmas sugar cookies, this is the ultimate guide! There are recipes for over 100 sweet treats including easy Christmas cookie recipes, diverse new recipes for the holidays, and classic cookie recipes. You’re sure to find the perfect holiday treat that will get you into the Christmas season.
Best Cookies for Happy Holidays
Gather a few ingredients and you’re on your way to making delicious holiday cookies. A holiday cookie tray or treats in a cookie tin are a excellent gift for friends and family. The best holiday cookies are made with love and you’re sure to find a great recipe in this collection!
Throw some festive sprinkles in the air and get ready for this round-up of classic Christmas cookie recipes with some amazingly unique treats.
Planning on Hosting a Cookie Exchange?
Hosting a cookie exchange can be one of the top family holiday traditions year after year! This round-up of holiday cookies and treat bars from fellow bloggers can help give the bakers inspiration.
They’ve included recipes for their favorite cookies for this festive time of year. Whether hosting cookie swaps or a school bake sale, these 100 cookie recipes are sure to delight.
Scroll through each section that includes favorite Christmas cookies, kid’s favorites, retro treats, in addition to gluten-free and vegan recipes. There are easy recipes as well as more intricate techniques for the most festive holiday cookies!
READ MORE: Get all the best details on hosting a cookie exchange. Find out top tips for hosting a cookie swap including how to create beautiful and practical swapping tables along with other holiday party activities.
What Do You Need to Bake These Holiday Cookie Recipes?
Preparing the best Christmas cookie recipes requires that you have a few important things on hand. These are a few of the kitchen essentials but be sure to read through the recipe to determine if something in particular is required.
Certain recipes may call for specific ingredients like almond flour in lieu of white flour. Or you may need a certain tool to prep a recipe including a cookie press to make spritz cookies.
- Baking basic ingredients – aim to stock up on supplies at the grocery store far in advance. Buy and freeze unsalted butter, then defrost as needed. Ensure you have enough flour, eggs, vanilla extract and sugar on hand. Plan recipes and read over ingredient lists especially when certain recipes call for specific items.
- Baking sheet – have a minimum of 2 on hand
- Measuring spoons and measuring cups, like these Christmas Gnome Measuring Cups.
- Mixing bowls
- Rolling pin
- Mixer – the Kitchenaid stand mixer is a classic that withstands the test of time.
- Pastry mat, like this extra-large non-slip silicone pastry mat.
- Rubber scraper
- Parchment paper
- Cookie cutters – Depending upon the shape you’re going for, Etsy is an excellent place to buy cookie cutters in a variety of designs. You’ll find it all there from gingerbread men to personalized cookie stamps.
Top Flavors of the Holiday Season
Get out the coffee, tea or hot cocoa because these Holiday Biscotti need some dipping! This recipe from Food Meanderings is made festive with colorful cranberries and pistachios.
Eggnog Madeleines from My Kitchen Love are filled with eggnog and all the seasonal warm spices. Definitely one of the top seasonal flavors with a delightful twist!
Soft and chewy Peanut Butter Pecan Cookies from Bake It With Love are loaded with classic peanut butter cookie flavor with delicious chunks of pecan throughout the cookies! Top them off with a whole pecan for more great pecan flavor in these addictive and tasty, buttery cookies.
Nothing could be easier or more delicious than these Graham Cracker Chocolate Chip Bars from 2 Cookin’ Mamas. Just 3 ingredients, then a coating in powdered sugar, is all it takes to make these popular rich, decadent bars.
Pomegranate Walnut Cranberry Bars are the perfect wintery recipe to add to your Christmas Baking list. A crumb crust is layered with sweet and tart cranberries and topped with a crunchy and crumbly walnut topping in this recipe from Good Life Eats.
The 3 Ingredient, 13 Minute Peanut Butter Cookies are not your typical peanut butter cookie because they’re made with only three ingredients and are ready in just thirteen minutes! These easy cookies from 365 Days of Baking & More are the perfect thing to make for your holiday desserts or cookie trays or when you need something sweet to eat.
Just 4 simple ingredients, these classic Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies from Babaganosh are simple enough for kids to make on their own.
These 5 ingredient Almond Cookies from It’s Not Complicated Recipes are simple to make and travel well! They are both gluten and dairy free and can also be frozen.
Kid-Friendly Holiday Favorites
These easy One Cup of Everything Cookies are a great first recipe for kids to help bake in the kitchen. A delicious crispy cookie with peanut butter, chocolate, dried fruit and nuts can be adjusted to your personal preferences.
Christmas is the time for fun and festive sweets! These Christmas M&M Cookie Bars from A Princess & Her Pirates are sprinkled with red and green to add a pop of color and flavor to your holiday treats.
Oreo cookies, marshmallows, candy canes and chocolate – These no-bake Christmas Marshmallow Treats from Everyday Family Cooking are packed with all the things that kids love! Bonus: They’re gluten free.
These Rice Krispie Cookies are crunchy and tender at the same time! Salted caramel chips can be used in this recipe by Simply Stacie, or trade for chocolate or butterscotch instead.
Chewy and soft sugar cookies with all the colors of the holidays, these Christmas Funfetti Cookies from Of Batter and Dough are the perfect kid recipe.
Classic Shortbread Delights
With minimal ingredients, these Dark Chocolate Peppermint Shortbread Cookies from Honest and Truly offer the rich flavors of the holiday season.
A hint of lemon with a tangy lemony glaze, these Glazed Lemon Shortbread Cookies from Earth Food and Fire are delicate and just as beautiful as they are delicious.
Crisp, buttery and melts in your mouth. These Classic Shortbread Cookies from What a Girl Eats can be dusted with sanding sugar for extra holiday joy!
Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies are a sweet and tart tangy combo wrapped in a buttery cookie dough. This recipe from Dancing Through the Rain are perfect for indulging with a cup of tea for breakfast!
Frosted Brown Butter Citrus Shortbread Cookies from Of Batter and Dough are as beautiful as they are delicious! They can be cut out and decorated like traditional sugar cookie and are a buttery cookie that’s not overly sweet.
Chewy Chocolate Cookies from Babaganosh are rich and fudgy, studded with white chocolate chips for added flavor.
It wouldn’t be Christmas without these Chocolate Crinkle Cookies at the cookie exchange! Martha’s Baking Addiction shares the classic cocoa and powdered sugar recipe.
Crispy, chewy and gooey, these delicious S’mores Cookies are made with graham crackers and toasted under the broiler. This s’mores cookie recipe from Baby Savers is perfect way to get your chocolate, marshmallow and graham cracker s’mores fix without a campfire!
Crave the Good shares this recipe for fudge sandwich cookies, the Homemade Oreo. For easier preparation, this recipe uses a boxed cake mix and can be made ahead and frozen.
Holiday Classics and Retro Favorites
These Coconut Cherry Balls from Bacon is Magic are a retro Christmas favorite. A no-bake treat that is easy enough to make with kids but decadent enough that adults love them too.
The buttery goodness of Saltine Toffee from Suburban Simplicity is irresistible. This Christmas Cracker toffee treat recipe is so simple, yet so delicious. Try it and see how fast it disappears – it’s kind of addictive!
The classic chocolate chip cookie made with a twist! Chocolate Chip Tahini Cookies from Rachael Hartley Nutrition combine the delicate flavor of sesame with rich dark chocolate.
Eggnog is a holiday classic flavor and these Eggnog Cookies have the subtle addition of nutmeg and vanilla. This recipe from Thrifty Jinxy is made even easier with a boxed cake mix.
Healthier Options for the Cookie Exchange
These Healthy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies from Hello Spoonful are the perfect blend of flavors with a gooey tahini chocolate inside, slightly crisp outside and made with clean ingredients! They also have a boost of protein from collagen.
Vanilla Almond Crescent Cookies are made healthier with whole grain flour, ground almonds and pure maple syrup. This classic recipe from Natalie’s Health receives a sweet touch with a light dip of the cookie into cacao.
Made with whole wheat flour, honey and coconut sugar, these Honey Cinnamon Cookies from Natalie’s Health are soft, chewy and free of refined sugars.
From Okonomi Kitchen, these Healthy Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars are made with simple ingredients like natural peanut butter, coconut sugar and rolled oats. These vegan gluten free peanut butter cookie bars are thick, chewy and studded with chocolate for a delicious healthy treat! (They’re also freezer friendly so you can bake ahead).
Rich and Nutty Treats
Skip the pie, go straight for the bars! These Pecan Pie Cookie Bars from Organized 31 give you the best of both worlds.
These Caramel & Cashew 7-Layer Cookie Bars from NeighborFood Blog make a magical and rich treat that is perfect for any occasion!
Southern Pecan Pralines (or praline chews) from Keeping Life Sane are the perfect fall and holiday candy. These soft, sweet and nutty treats are sure to be a crowd pleaser.
Instead of bringing cookies, why not wow the party with some mouth watering fudge? This Peanut Butter Fudge from my friend Kirsten at Kids Are a Trip has the right amount of crunch – she guarantees everyone will ask for more!
Crispy shortbread cookies are perfect for dipping in chocolate, fruit jam or coffee. Vegan Cookie Fries from Planted 365 are easy to make, totally delicious, and also gluten-free!
This Wife Cooks offers a soft Vegan Cranberry Orange Cookie that’s a blend of citrus, sweet and tart. Festive and bright, these fresh fruit cookies are a colorful addition.
Whatever the name (Mexican Wedding Cookies, Russian Teacakes, or Pecan Sandies), these Vegan Snowball Cookies from Vegan Huggs is always a welcome sight at the cookie exchange!
Warm and earthy pumpkin spice in a moist and soft cookie. This Vegan Pumpkin Cookie from Profusion Curry is also gluten free.
The Vegan S’Mores Cookies with chocolate chips and marshmallows are so simple and tasty! This recipe from Planted 365 is also gluten-free!
Traditional Christmas Cookies
Christmas Chocolate Chip Cookies are an easy cookie that is dipped and chocolate and covered in sprinkles. They’re chewy on the outside and soft in the middle. This recipe from Food Folks and Fun is a holiday delight!
Who doesn’t love peanut butter and chocolate? These classic Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies have both and you’re sure to love them. This recipe from Keeping Life Sane has the added benefit of an eggless-recipe making it ideal for those with egg allergies.
Everyone loves a surprise! These Mint Surprise Sugar Cookies from More Than Thursdays have a peppermint treat hidden inside. How sweet!
Urban Blisslife offers this Christmas classic recipe for Soft Gingerbread Cookies. Soft and chewy, just how I like them, these roll and cut cookies will help you make the perfect gingerbread man!
Sugar Cookie Classics
From Saving You Dinero, these Frosted Sugar Cookie Bars go together quickly. All the flavor of classic sugar cookies and none of the rolling pin because these are baked in a pan!
Soft and chewy Gingerbread Sugar Cookies are a delicious rolled sugar cookie recipe with a hint of gingerbread spices! I’ve made this recipe from Mommy Mouse Clubhouse and they are delicious!
There is so much depth of flavor, packed into this one simple cookie, that Browned Butter Brown Sugar Cookies from That Susan Williams will blow your mind!
The most Elegant Christmas Tree Cookies from She Saved sparkle with all white edible decorations!
Fruity and Festive Holiday Sweets
It wouldn’t be a Christmas cookie exchange without the swirl cookie. This recipe from Beyond the Chicken Coop is an easy must-do. Cranberry Orange Swirl Cookies offer a tarty twist of fruit between the buttery layers.
Raspberry Almond Thumbprint Cookies are perfect buttery shortbread cookies filled with raspberry jam and drizzled with glaze. This cookie recipe from Veronika’s Kitchen is one of the most popular Christmas treats during the holiday season! (Scroll up to see photo shown earlier in this post).
Fluffy and soft Iced Orange Cookies are glazed with a zesty orange glaze for a refreshingly light cookie.
Buttery and perfect with tea, coffee and conversation, these delicate Lemon Poppy Seed Shortbread cookies from A Baking Journey have a lovely balance of sweetness and tang.
Gluten-Free Holiday Treats
A heavenly combo of chocolate and peanut butter, this recipe from Fit to Serve is gluten free and keto friendly. Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars are a fast and delicious dessert fix!
This flavorful recipe from Fearless Dining includes candied ginger, coconut and chocolate. There are tips for making these egg-free, Gluten Free Gingerbread 7 Layer Bars without dairy.
There’s no need to sacrifice flavor when you take out the gluten! These Gluten Free Sugar Cookie Bars are not only easy, they have a thick layer of yummy cream cheese frosting! Well If She Can Do It offers tips on how to create your own easy GF flour blend.
Favorite Holiday Cookie Recipes
These Cherry Christmas Cookies from Platter Talk are festive and easy to make! Roll, refrigerate and slice for a bright and delicious dessert (see image in the top section of this article).
Everyone will delight in these precious Stained Glass Cinnamon Sugar Cookies. This recipe from Our Potluck Family offers the step-by-step instructions on how to make these cookies with a showstopping stained-glass effect.
These Chocolate Crinkle Cookies from Easy Budget Recipes are fudgy and soft on the inside and slightly crunchy and covered in powdered sugar on the outside. A Christmas classic!
Skip the rolling pin, these Soft Gingerbread Cookies from Crayons and Cravings is easy enough for kids to make. Simply roll the molasses dough in a ball and coat with holiday sprinkles for a sweet seasonal treat.
Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies look just like the ones my grandma used to bake! This recipe from Living Lou sparkles with sugar and is flavored with traditional holiday spices.
Kid’s Favorite Sweets
Reminiscent of Frosty, these Melting Snowman Cookies are a kid favorite! Rich, chocolaty cookie recipe from Thrifty Jinxy with decorating tips to recreate the design.
From Shweta in the Kitchen, these Kitchen Sink Cookies have everything you crave for in a cookie, plus more! They are eggless, soft, chewy, with hints of salt and loaded with your favorite mix ins. Bet you can’t eat just one!
These Super Easy Toffee Bars from Saving You Dinero are a holiday classic that kids adore.
Enjoy your favorite childhood treat without the mess with this recipe from Hello Spoonful. Oatmeal S’mores Cookie Bars are a great seasonal treat, with the classic S’mores flavors in a quick and easy bar form. This s’mores recipe is made with whole wheat flour and oats is healthier than most.
Well If She Can Do It offers this adorable recipe for Grinch Snowball Cookies. These tasty bites will make your heart grow two sizes with joy!
Best Buttery Cookies
Delicious and melt-in-your-mouth, these Butter Cookies from Marsha’s Baking Addiction are a sweetly simple addition to your cookie exchange.
This nutty and delightful recipe from Living Lou is a holiday cookie platter must-have. These Hazelnut Shortbread Bars with Chai Tea Glaze go together quickly and are a melt-in-your-mouth delight.
A cookie shaped like a reindeer? Yes, this is Christmas! These adorable Rudolph Peanut Butter Cookies from Thrifty Jinxy are such a delight.
Just 4 simple ingredients needed for these tasty Whipped Shortbread from Food Meanderings. Kids will be drawn to these sprinkled cookies with the cherry on top!
Frost ’em or eat them straight up! Brown Sugar Cookies like this recipe from Pumpkin n’ Spice has a deeper, more caramel flavor without losing any of the soft, chewy quality.
Unique and Creative Treats
Bacon in a cookie, I’m all in. These Sweet and Salty Bacon Chocolate Cookies from Crave the Good are an amazing combination that’s a cookie platter must-do.
These decadent Buttery Popcorn Cookies combine irresistible brown sugar cookies and crunchy salted popcorn. I’ve never seen or tasted anything like this unique recipe from Kitschen Cat.
These Potato Chip Cookies from Baby Savers are like an extra brown sugary chocolate cookie with added texture and a bit of saltiness. The salt isn’t overpowering, and the potato chips turn into tasty chewy bits both inside and outside of the cookie.
Have you ever heard of carrot jam?! But these healthier-for-you Carrot Jam Thumbprint Cookies from It’s a Veg World After All are so intriguing I can’t wait to try them!
Bars, Blondies & Fudge
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars are stuffed with both kinds of chips for an easy kid-friendly treat. This recipe comes from Dancing Through the Rain.
Showcase diversity when hosting a cookie exchange by offering treats outside of cookies. This recipe for Gingerbread White Chocolate Fudge from Nourish Plate is a creative dessert that’s creamy and easy.
These Gluten-Free Banana Blondies are rich, buttery and fudgy with the fresh, vibrant flavor of banana. This one from It’s Not Complicated Recipes are so quick and easy to make they are certain to become a family favorite.
Love that salty-sweet combo that keeps them coming back for more! These Bar Snack Blondies from Crave the Good have the perfect balance of chocolate, peanuts and pretzels.
Traditional Holiday Tastes from Around the World
These vegan Kolaczki Polish Cookies from Veggie Inspired are flaky and buttery with the flavors of almond with apricot jam.
A seasonal favorite that’s reminiscent of winter snowballs, Pfeffernusse German Christmas Cookies from Platter Talk offers a peppery flavor with traditional spices and the sweetness of powdered sugar.
A Canadian traditional treat, Nanaimo Bars include a nutty base, creamy filling and chocolate ganache topper. This three-layer bar from Earth Food and Fire is a stunning addition to any cookie exchange.
From the Czech Republic, What a Girl Eats bring us this recipe for Moravian Molasses Cookies. These wafer thin, crispy molasses cookies offer rich holiday spice.
Ask Chef Dennis shares this recipe for buttery, salty-sweet Italian Pistachio Cornmeal Butter Cookies.
Italian Christmas Butter Cookies offer a traditional taste and flavor, using a cookie press to create the designs. This recipe from Our Potluck Family shares fun decorating tips you can do with the kids.
A Bite of Peanut Heaven
Packed with chocolate, peanut butter chips and more, these Loaded Chocolate Chip Cake Squares from Rachael Hartley Nutrition can be amended to your liking (the image for this recipe is shown earlier in the article).
This adorable recipe from Smack of Flavor for Snowman Peanut Butter Cookie offers a chewy peanut butter cookie with chocolate features. The perfect combination!
Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars are a welcome cookie exchange addition (and make for a great after school snack too!) This easy recipe from She Saved has just 6 basic ingredients for a rich and tasty combination.
The quintessential holiday cookie exchange dessert, this delightful recipe for Peanut Butter Blossoms comes from Crayons and Craving.
No-Bake Peanut Clusters are a no-fail holiday treat that’s perfect to nestle among the candy and baked goods. This recipe from Beyond Frosting requires just 4 ingredients!
More Vegan Holiday Treats
Combination of tart jam with buttery-sweet crumb – yum! From Vegan Huggs comes this recipe for Jam-Filled Vegan Thumbprint Cookies.
From Running to the Kitchen, these moist, cake-like Pumpkin Bars are gluten-free and vegan! Packed with fall spices to make a delicious afternoon snack or dessert.
Enjoy the flavors of the holidays with these Peppermint Mocha Rice Crispy Bars from Veggie Inspired. Brown rice cereal treats are topped with dairy-free chocolate and crushed candy canes.
Applesauce Chocolate Chip Cookies from Hello Spoonful are the best vegan chocolate chip cookies ever! Made with real ingredients, without eggs and butter, and require no chilling time. What could be better?!
READ MORE: Looking for more treats to make? Try these fun cake pops and cookie truffle recipes to include on the holiday dessert table!
More Fresh Fruity Holiday Cookies
These bright and colorful Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies are sure to be a standout at the cookie exchange tables! Crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, this recipe from Pumpkin ‘n Spice can be made ahead and frozen.
Coconut Krispie Date Balls combine sweet dates with crispy cereal and coconut in a unique recipe from Beyond Frosting.
Candied fruit and cornflakes combine with caramel in this rich nut-free recipe from A Baking Journey. Florentine Cookies are coated with dark chocolate for a sweet and rich combo.
Oatmeal Raspberry Bars are a quick and delicious treat when hosting a Christmas cookie exchange. This recipe from Organized 31 has options for subbing in oatmeal packets.
Delightful Cranberry Cake Bars melt in your mouth, with a tart and sweet combo that can’t be beat. Soft and chewy inside with crispy crust edges and a festive holiday flavor.
Nutty Chocolate Christmas Treats
Urban Bliss Life shares these easy and delightful Chocolate Chip Bars that bake in a pan for fast serving.
These Chocolate Pecan Slab Pie Bars from Bake It With Love are a wildly popular treat whenever they’re served. It doesn’t matter what the occasion is – no special reason is needed to make a batch of this fantastic dessert.
Mmmm, Nutella! This creative recipe for Nutella Ritz Bars from my friend Amiyrah at Four Hats and Frugal offers the saltiness of Ritz crackers with the hazelnut chocolate combo of Nutella.
Chocolate and walnuts combine for a total of seven delicious layers in this recipe from Salt & Baker. Adding these decadent 7 Layer Bars to the party when hosting a cookie exchange is a must!