45 Easy Christmas Cookies for a Stress-Free Holiday

Christmas cookies don't have to be complicated. Whether you're making a showstopping dessert platter or bringing a batch to a cookie exchange, quick, easy and delicious cookies are key.

There are so many exciting things to do this holiday season, and scrubbing stacks of mixing bowls shouldn’t be one of them. To spend more time planning a Christmas dinner menu, wrapping presents and watching A Charlie Brown Christmas, make one—or a few—of these recipes for easy Christmas cookies. There’s everything from whimsical peppermint cookies to classic spritz cookies to satisfy your sweet tooth. Your cookie jar will be full all season long!

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Chocolate Caramel Kiss Cookies

If you’re a fan of peanut butter blossoms, then you have to try this new twist: chocolate cookies adorned with caramel-filled milk chocolate kisses. Best of all, they’re ready to eat in just 25 minutes.
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Peppermint Meltaways

Make a few batches, because these cute little guys go fast. If you prefer a richer frosting recipe, add more confectioners’ sugar.
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Silver Bells

Less is more when it comes to these elegant, classic cookies. Adorn them with a few simple decorations, like edible shimmer dust and tiny sugar pearls.
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Peppermint Puff Pastry Sticks

These pastry sticks are three-ingredient sweets that are delicious with coffee or homemade hot cocoa. One reader recommends sprinkling the pastry dough with a cinnamon-sugar mixture before baking.
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Cherry Snowballs

Maraschino cherries are nestled inside a sweet dough made with butter, flour and quick-cooking oats, dipped in sugar and milk, then rolled in coconut. Et voila, you have a light and crunchy treat with a sweet surprise inside.
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Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

Even if you don’t have a pastry blender, this recipe is a breeze. Use two knives to cut the butter as it combines with the flour—this technique yields a crumbly and tender cookie crust.
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First-Place Coconut Macaroons

If you’re prepping these goodies in advance, place them on a single layer on a sheet pan in the freezer. Once the individual cookies are completely frozen, store them in a flat-bottomed airtight freezer container, separating each layer with parchment paper or waxed paper.
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Big Soft Ginger Cookies

If you prefer crunchy ginger cookies, make the recipe as directed, but leave out the baking soda. If you like them chewy, store them on the counter in an airtight container with a slice of bread.
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Peppermint Kisses

For best results, beat room-temperature egg whites with an electric beater on medium until stiff and glossy peaks form. These whimsical cookies bake for up to two hours in the oven, so you’ll have time to watch a movie…or better yet, make more cookies!
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Basic Chocolate Pinwheel Cookies

Don’t let the fancy-looking spiral shape dissaude you—they’re easier to make then you’d think. Roll out each layer with a rolling pin, then tightly roll both layers together, jelly-roll style, to create the classic look.
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Snowy Mountain Cookies

Presenting a surprising new addition to your Christmas dessert platter: snowy mountain cookies. They’re ready in half an hour and make a whopping seven dozen cookies.
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Flourless Peanut Butter Thumbprints

The secret ingredient to these naturally gluten-free sweets is Nutella, a delicious chocolate-hazelnut spread. A sprinkle of coarse sea salt on top makes them extra fancy.
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Mom’s Buttermilk Cookies

If you don’t have buttermilk, here’s a quick substitute: Add one tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice per one cup of milk. Stir and let it stand for five minutes before using it in the recipe.
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Chocolate Mint Creams

If you’re looking for cookies that are just as good for gifting as they are for nibbling, these minty treats fit the bill. You can whip up six dozen cookies in just about half an hour.
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Triple Nut Snowballs

The trio of nuts (if you’re wondering) consists of cashews, macadamia nuts and pecans. There’s also some almond extract, for an extra boost of flavor.
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Cathedral Cookies

These treats get their name because they look a bit like stained glass when they’re sliced. It’s an impressive effect, but the recipe itself is simple, with only six ingredients.
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Decorated Christmas Cutout Cookies

Don’t skip the important step of chilling the dough—it helps the butter solidify, which will make the cookies delightfully chewy. It’s one of our favorite cookie baking secrets!
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Holiday Meringue Miniatures

These swirly, melt-in-your-mouth confections look like the work of a candy store, but they’re actually simple to whip up at home. The secret: Paint five stripes of food coloring inside the length of a pastry bag before filling it with meringue and piping out small dollops.
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Nuts-About-You Cookie Sticks

Give store-bought Pirouette cookies a holiday makeover with peanut butter, nuts and chocolate chips. If you don’t want to tell anyone at the potluck it’s a semi-homemade recipe, your secret is safe with us.
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Cream Cheese Cookie Cups

With five ingredients and only 25 minutes of prep and cooking time, these cream cheese cuties are about to become our signature Christmas cookie. Keep them in the fridge until you’re ready to serve them.
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Frosted Gingerbread Nut Cookies

We’ve never met a gingerbread cookie recipe we didn’t like, and this frosted, walnut-topped upgrade has quickly become one of our favorites. If you don’t like nuts, just skip them!
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Slice & Bake Coconut Shortbread Cookies

Try this seriously impressive hosting move: Store the five-ingredient dough in the freezer, then slice and bake when your guests are ready for warm, crunchy cookies.
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Coconut Cranberry Yummies

Raisins are so last Christmas. This year, combine a cup of fresh or frozen cranberries with condensed milk, shredded coconut, white baking chips, ground almonds and almond extract for sweet and tangy macaroons (not to be confused with the more complicated macarons).
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Old-Fashioned Gingersnaps

Believe it or not, gingersnaps don’t take long to whip up. The longest part is waiting for the dough to chill. It’s a timeless family recipe you’ll want to reprise again and again.
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Scottish Shortbread

Use a fork or toothpick to poke holes in the shortbread before baking. As it bakes, the butter in the dough melts, releasing steam. The holes prevent the shortbread from puffing up, which creates its dense texture.
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Joe Froggers

The chewy molasses cookie was named after Joseph Brown, a tavern owner from Marblehead, Massachusetts. Because they stay soft for days, they were popular with fishermen and sailors. We bet they’ll be popular with your holiday guests too.
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Holiday Cornflake Cookies

These sweet and spicy little Christmas wreaths couldn’t be easier to whip up. Just melt the butter and marshmallows, add cornflakes, form them into little wreath shapes with help from a cupcake tin, then sprinkle with candy.
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Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies

You can use light or dark brown sugar to make these cookies, depending on your preference. If you love the flavor of molasses, try dark brown sugar, then use any extra to create one of these brown sugar desserts.
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Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

There’s a bit of a learning curve to crinkle cookies. Make sure you’re using new baking powder for maximum lift. If they’re still falling flat, here’s a handy troubleshooting guide.
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Poppy Seed Thumbprints

There’s no better treat to make for a holiday cookie exchange. Best of all, you can freeze the whole batch in freezer containers, layered between waxed paper. Just thaw them back up to room temperature when you’re ready to serve them.
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Chocolate Peppermint Spritz Cookies

Spritz cookies require a cookie press, but once you have one, you can whip up all sorts of spritz cookie recipes—including this version that’s topped with crushed peppermint candies. If the dough is sticking to the press, pop it back in the fridge for a few minutes and try again.
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Lemon Pudding Cookies

This winning lemon cookie recipe yields two dozen cookies, with just 15 minutes to prep and 10 minutes to bake. You can even make the dough in advance, then store it for up to two days in the refrigerator until you’re ready for cookies.
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Cherry Kiss Cookies

Store-bought chocolate kisses, maraschino cherries and a bit of cherry juice are the star ingredients in this festive treat that will stand out on any holiday cookie plate. Line the baking sheets with parchment paper for a quick and easy cleanup.
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Creme de Menthe Cheesecake Cookies

You’ve never tried cookies like this before. Cream cheese and Andes creme de menthe baking chips create a unique texture and flavor, and your holiday guests will be begging for the recipe.
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Butterscotch Toffee Cookies

A holiday favorite among our readers, this recipe uses only five ingredients thanks to a package of butter pecan cake mix. Pair them with a cup of coffee or hot cocoa on a blustery night.
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Fudgy Mint Cookies

Decadent, melt-in-your-mouth crinkle cookies get a hand from a package of store-bought devil’s food cake. One reader recommends making an extra batch and swapping the candy in the center for peanut butter cups…genius!
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Gluten-Free Snowballs

Often, hosting holiday guests means catering to dietary restrictions, so it’s handy to have a few gluten-free dessert recipes in your back pocket. These cute little guys are a safe bet for everyone.
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Spiced Toffee Cookies

Here’s a time-management win: Make the dough a few days (or even a few weeks) in advance, then freeze the shaped balls on a baking sheet until they’re firm. Transfer the dough balls into freezer bags and keep them frozen until you’re ready to bake them.
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Raspberry Cream Sugar Cookies

It doesn’t get much cuter than these cheery little sandwich cookies, filled generously with cream cheese and raspberry preserves. They taste best when refrigerated for at least 45 minutes…and with a tall glass of milk, of course.
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Popcorn Cookies

Our two favorite snacks, together at last. Cookies laced with crushed popcorn and chocolate chips are both sweet and salty, satisfying every craving. They’ll be the talk of the dessert table.
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Cream Cheese Spritz

So vintage! Spritz cookies are a Christmas classic, and the dusting of red-and-green colored sugar will bring back instant nostalgia.
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3-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies

If you have an egg, a cup of sugar and a cup of peanut butter in your pantry, you can whip up these ridiculously easy peanut butter cookies. Even better, you’ll be eating them in just about half an hour.
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Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

During the holidays, it’s likely that you already have half a bag of leftover cranberries hanging out in your fridge. Put it to good use and make foolproof cranberry oatmeal cookies.
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Buttery 3-Ingredient Shortbread Cookies

To make shortbread cookies really shine, use high-quality ingredients, like European-style butter. Soften the butter at room temperature for best results.
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Butterscotch Gingerbread Cookies

You’ll be the guest of honor when you arrive at a holiday party with these delicate gingerbread treats in tow. While they look and taste like they were made by a professional baker, they’re easy to make at home in about 25 minutes.

Lindsay Champion
Lindsay has worked in digital media for more than a decade, covering topics like food, health and wellness, and life in New York City. Though she now writes for sites like Taste of Home, PureWow and Well+Good, she originally got her start at Broadway.com as a features editor. Lindsay is the author of the novel "Someday, Somewhere" and is working on a second.
When she isn’t writing, you can find Lindsay curled up with a book, spending time with her family or exploring NYC.