92 Best Christmas Cookie Recipes

Updated: Apr. 19, 2024

Gingerbread, peppermint and meringue, oh my! Make your holiday a little sweeter with our favorite Christmas cookie recipes.

What would the holiday season be without cookies? While we love traditional Christmas desserts like yule logs, fruitcakes and fudge, there’s just something magical about filling our homes with the scent of freshly baked cookie dough. This is the time of year when Christmas cookies should fill every tin—from buttery shortbread to rich chocolate cookies to classic gingerbread recipes

Friends and family with special dietary needs will be happy to know we’ve rounded up some of our best gluten-free Christmas cookie recipes too!

Find more holiday cookie ideas below, plus the Taste of Home team’s essential tools for holiday baking and more. You might also want to look at some of these Secret Santa gift ideas for this holiday season.

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Buttery Spritz Cookies

This tender spritz cookie recipe is very eye-catching on my Christmas cookie tray. The dough is easy to work with, so it’s fun to make these spritz cookies into a variety of festive shapes. This is hands down the best spritz cookie recipe ever. —Beverly Launius, Sandwich, Illinois
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Ugly Sweater Cookies

If you’re looking to one-up your ugly Christmas sweater from last year, it’s time to break out these ugly sweater cookies. While the gingerbread cookie is a simple cutout, the icing will take a bit of patience. With practice, you’ll be piping out the cutest ugly sweaters of the season.

Check out our Christmas Cookies Baking Guide!

Also, explore these unique peppermint desserts to make your holiday season sweeter.

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Pecan Tassies

Pecan tassies are a go-to for those who prefer a nutty flavor to peppermint or gingerbread around Christmastime. A major perk of these cookies is that they can be frozen. Simply bake them when you have free time in your busy holiday schedule and then thaw them in covered containers when you’re ready to serve.

Also, if you are looking for some quick and easy recipes; check these Christmas cookies for stress free holidays.

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Chocolate Lebkuchen Cherry Balls

A good no-bake chocolate dessert could be just what you need around the holidays. This twist on traditional German lebkuchen has a cherry surprise on the inside and requires very few kitchen utensils (let’s be real—who doesn’t love a recipe that produces fewer dishes to wash).
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Gingerbread Cutout Cookies

Your family will linger around the kitchen when these homemade gingerbread cookies are baking. Make your life easier by rolling the dough directly on a piece of parchment dusted with confectioners’ sugar. Use the cookie cutter to create shapes and remove the excess dough. Then, slide the parchment onto the baking sheet and bake away!
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Chocolate Reindeer Cookies

Looking for Christmas cookie ideas that can include the family? Look no further than these easier-than-ever cookies. Set up a work space on your kitchen table with bowls full of candy eyes, broken pretzels, peanut butter cups and M&M’s. Let the kids get creative decorating their own reindeer faces.

Find the best cookie decorating kits to make edible masterpieces.

Make baking a breeze with these essential cookie supplies.

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Italian Horn Cookies

Check your freezer before starting this recipe. Do you have vanilla ice cream? If so, then bake away. These light, flaky cookies will be great when guests are too stuffed for a decadent dessert but still want a little something sweet at the end of their big holiday meals.
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Gingerbread Men Cookies

Gingerbread men are one a must-have around the holidays—and they make any run-of-the-mill cookie platter so much more adorable. If you can’t get enough of this spiced holiday treat, host a whole gingerbread house party and decorate homes to display alongside your gingerbread men.
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Hot Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

If you’ve tested all the hot chocolate mixes you can get your hands on and you’re still looking for more of that rich cocoa taste, you have to try these cookies. To save time before a holiday get-together, bake these cookies ahead and finish the final step once they’ve thawed.
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Raspberry Ribbons

These biscotti-shaped treats have a sweet surprise in the middle: a strip of raspberry jam spread across the center during baking. Once these Christmas cookies are cooled, drizzle over a vanilla glaze, let them cool and serve.
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Pecan Roll-Ups

A cookie covered in powdered sugar? Yes, please. When you’re not quite feeling a whole slice of pecan pie, but you still want a slightly sweet and nutty dessert, these little pecan roll-ups might be just what you’re looking for.
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Swedish Butter Cookies

There’s a good chance this whole batch will be eaten, but if there are leftovers, store them for three to five days or freeze for up to three months. When you’re serving these Christmas cookies, pair them with a hot cup of tea or an after-dinner coffee.
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Russian Tea Cakes

Snowball cookies are simple and festive. These Russian tea cakes look just like a pile of snowballs so they’re perfect if you’re looking for an easy Christmas cookie recipe. Typically, these cookies are made with pecans, but you can swap them out for walnuts, almonds or macadamia nuts if you’re looking for a slightly different flavor.
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Pfeffernuesse Cookies

Trying cookies from around the world can be a fun way to make your Christmas baking feel more adventurous. These spiced pfeffernuesse cookies are a German holiday tradition and pair well with a warm cup of coffee. Don’t be afraid to tweak this recipe to fit your tastes. For softer cookies, opt for light molasses. If you prefer a bit of a crunch in your sweets, go with a dark molasses.
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Hot Chocolate Cookies

If a warm cup of hot cocoa is your go-to holiday treat, then you’re definitely going to want to try this recipe. The marshmallow bits and hot cocoa mix play up the flavors you love—and they’ll make your cookie jar all the more seasonal. The recipe calls for vanilla marshmallow bits, but if you’re in a pinch, use mini marshmallows. Just keep in mind that mini marshmallows are softer than marshmallow bits, so they will melt while baking and won’t have the same look and texture.
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Cinnamon Roll Macarons

Cinnamon rolls are one of those magical Christmas morning breakfasts. They make the house smell extra cozy and they’re so easy to make when all you want to do is lounge with the family. Luckily, the macaron version of this irresistible breakfast treat takes just under an hour to make. Enjoy these macarons as a dessert or as a midday snack with a cup of coffee or tea. To switch up the flavor, swap out the cinnamon filling for a custard or ganache.
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Grandma’s Raspberry Rugelach

Although rugelach is a Jewish dessert, it often finds its way onto many Christmas cookie platters. For those who don’t love raspberry, try swapping the filling with an apricot jam instead. Before rolling up the dough, sprinkle the apricot jam with cinnamon sugar for a touch of spice.
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Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies

Oatmeal cookies are ideal for bakers who like to play around with flavors and add-ins. Have fun with these Christmas cookies by adding dried cranberries or chopped dates. You can even use old-fashioned oats instead of quick-cooking oats. To prevent your cinnamon oatmeal cookies from drying out and hardening right away, store them in an airtight container with a slice of bread. This will keep them soft and fresh for up to four days.
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Lemon Snowdrops

Although lemon is often synonymous with spring or summer, these snowdrop cookies add a pleasant tanginess to any Christmas cookie display. To save on time, make the cookies ahead and freeze them. When you’re ready to serve, thaw the cookies in covered containers and make the filling fresh. Add a wintery touch by dusting the cookies with confectioners’ sugar.
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Cherry Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Looking for small batch holiday cookie recipes? Consider your search over. These fudgy, chocolate cookies are studded with dried cherries and will make just enough to devour in one night (maybe two, if you’re lucky).
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Nanny’s Fruitcake Cookies

December is full of food holidays and December 27 happens to be National Fruitcake Day. If you’re still in a food coma from Christmas leftovers and don’t want to bake a cake, try these fruitcake cookies instead.
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Shortbread Cutouts

Busy holidays often don’t leave a lot of room for running around in search of special ingredients. If you’re in a pinch, this cutout cookie recipe calls for minimum ingredients and minimal effort. The cookies themselves only use three basic ingredients, and the icing uses five.
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Chocolate Cutout Cookies

Classic Christmas cookie recipes are fun to bring back every year, but it’s also a fun to get adventurous. These cutouts are similar in look and texture to gingerbread, but they’re chocolate instead. Follow our cookie baking guide to make sure your cookies stay in their cutout shape and retain their slightly crispy, but not too crunchy, quality.
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Cherry Snowballs

Maraschino cherries add an effortless garnish to classic cocktails, but have you ever tried them in cookies? These coconut-covered snowballs with a cherry inside will add a bite of sweetness to your Christmas cookie display.
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Lemon Anise Biscotti

Whether you like your daily cup of coffee in the morning or as a post dinner drink, you’ll have to pair it with these lemon anise biscotti. You can keep them plain if you like a simple cookie to dip in your coffee, or you can drizzle these biscotti with lemon glaze and top with lemon zest. Once cooled and stored in an airtight container, they’ll stay fresh for up to two weeks.
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Vanilla-Butter Sugar Cookies

Sometimes, you just can’t beat a butter sugar cookie. Be sure not to substitute the butter in the recipe for whipped butter or reduced-fat butter, otherwise, you might end up with flat, tough cookies.
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Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

For chocolate lovers who like easy recipes, these fudgy crinkle cookies will be your new go-to. To keep the rounded shape of crinkle cookies, remember to leave the ball of dough on the cookie sheet as is. Pressing the dough into a flat disk will result in flat cookies that don’t crinkle as well.
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Linzer Tarts

Linzer cookies but make them Nutella-filled instead of jam-filled? Absolutely. Though Linzer cookies take more detail work than your average cookie, the final result will be worth the effort.
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Jelly-Topped Sugar Cookies

An easy way to spruce up a plain sugar cookie is to add a topping of your favorite jam or jelly. Jams are easy condiments to make at home, but if you want to save time, you can grab your favorites from a grocery store and get right into the Christmas cookie baking.
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Scottish Shortbread

Shortbread always seems to be a hit at Christmas, and it’s no wonder why. With only three ingredients, you can bake a delicious batch of cookies. Don’t forget to prick holes into the tops of these Christmas cookies so the steam from the melting butter has somewhere to escape.
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Chocolate Peanut Butter No-Bake Cookies

If you have a Christmas party to show up to and don’t want to dirty a dozen dishes, go for a no-bake option. These chocolate peanut butter no-bake cookies can be made a day ahead and left in the fridge to chill and set overnight. If you do want to make these the day of a get-together, make sure the cookies have time to set for at least one hour before serving. This will prevent them from being too gooey.
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Italian Rainbow Cookies

You can’t get much more on-theme than with these beautiful Italian rainbow cookies. You’ll need almond paste and food coloring to perfect them, but the rest of the ingredients might be things you already have around your kitchen. If you love a dessert that’s more cake-like than cookie, then you need to try this Christmas confection.
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No-Bake Christmas Wreath Treats

Kids will love these no-bake marshmallow wreaths, and you’ll love not having to get every mixing bowl and cooking sheet out of the cupboard. To get the shape just right, work quickly once you microwave and mix the ingredients. In about 20 minutes, you’ll have adorable holly-specked wreaths to put in your cookie jar.
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Coconut Cranberry Yummies

The cranberry bits and flaky coconut texture just can’t be beat during the holidays. The cranberries add just the right amount of tartness and they’ll be a great way to use up all your cranberries if you stocked up for the season.
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Chocolate Chip Meringue Cookies

Meringue cookies are a sweet addition to any Christmas cookie recipe collection. When the cookies are done baking, turn the oven off, and leave the cookies to cool in the oven. This will let them gradually come down to room temperature and prevent the meringue from cracking.
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Butter Pecan Cookies

Nutty cookies always seem to go over well around the holidays. If you’re hosting a holiday cookie exchange, whip these up and have some fun with the recipe. You can brown the butter as an extra step and you can roll the cookies in sugar to add more texture and sweetness.
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Pecan Meltaways

Anything covered in powdered sugar has to be delicious, right? Try these pecan meltaways when you want something a little bit sweet and a little bit nutty. Have fun making a few variations of this cookie by adding different types of nuts like almonds or macadamia nuts.
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Cranberry Shortbread Stars

We have so many fun shortbread recipes to try, but these cranberry shortbread cookies might take the cake for best wintry version. Dried cranberries are the best for this recipe, but with a few adjustments, you can use fresh or frozen if you have them available.
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Soft, pillowy snickerdoodles might be one of the coziest Christmas cookies ever. This recipe uses staple ingredients and pairs so well with a cup of black tea or coffee.
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Grandma’s Star Cookies

When you need a recipe that is going to produce a lot of cookies, add these star-shaped stunners to your list. The recipe makes dozens of slightly citrusy cookies that are great for sharing.
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Almond Raspberry Stars

Christmas cookie cutters are so fun to experiment with during the holidays. Why not use two sizes to create a decorative touch on a simple cookie? If you don’t want to use stars, try a different shape like snowflakes or Christmas trees.
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If one of your favorite Mexican desserts is Mexican wedding cake, then give this similar recipe for kipplens a try. You can’t go wrong with a buttery, nutty cookie covered in powdered sugar that looks like it was made to be a Christmas decoration.
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Gingerbread Cookies with Buttercream Icing

We have quite a few tips for decorating gingerbread cookies, and these are just the cookies to put your decorating skills to the test. Make the buttercream icing festive by adding red or green food coloring.
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Cashew Cookies

Dairy runs the show in this recipe for buttery cashew cookies. Perfectly golden and rich in flavor, these cookies will brighten up a tin full of Christmas cookies.
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Hidden Mint Morsels

Making copycat Girl Scout cookies is fun way to enjoy your favorite treats even when they’re not in season. While these minty morsels aren’t an exact match for Thin Mints, they are pretty close. This recipe makes 10 dozen cookies, so bake these when you want to share with loved ones!
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White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

Our Test Kitchen found the best white chocolate chips, and you might want to grab them the next time you’re at the grocery store. These cookies call for white baking chips and crunchy macadamia nuts. Besides the type of white chocolate, you can also choose your favorite macadamia nut, be it salted, roasted or plain.
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Candied Fruit Cookies

If you’ve made snacks like oatmeal date bars before, you’ll know how amazing the texture of dates are in baked goods. These candied cookies are filled with fruits like dates and cherries and sprinkled with bits of nuts for added crunch.
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Cranberry Cookies with Browned Butter Glaze

The glaze on these cranberry cookies will set them apart from the rest of your Christmas confections. While the cookies are cooling, you can brown the butter before mixing in the remaining glaze ingredients. This will give the glaze a sweet nutty hint that will add depth to the fruity cookies.
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Italian Christmas Cookies

Ricotta cheese recipes are delicious for dinner, but for dessert? That’s a whole new story. These fluffy, soft cookies might just turn into your favorite big-batch Christmas cookies. Keep in mind when baking that lightly salted butter should be used if you want to retain the buttery flavor of the cookie. Unsalted or sweet butter could change the flavor.
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Church Window Cookies

This is such a simple recipe, and it makes such a cute treat. The best part is that you won’t even have to turn on the oven. Melt chocolate chips, mix in marshmallows and nuts, roll the mixture in coconut, chill and serve. It’s that easy.
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Buttery Ganache Cookie Cups

There are chocolate cookies—and then there are ganache-filled cookie cups. How could we pass this up for our list of best Christmas cookie recipes? Making homemade ganache is easier than it might seem and it will pair so well with the buttery soft cookie cup.
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Triple-Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

These merry little cookies are a peppermint and chocolate match made in heaven. The best part is that they are so adaptable to however you like to decorate. You can keep the recipe as is and frost the cookies and top with crushed peppermint, or you can dip the cookies in chocolate and then sprinkle peppermint over the top. However you choose to make these cookies your own, they’re sure to be some of the first to go at the Christmas party.
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Mom’s Buttermilk Cookies

There are so many uses for buttermilk, but one of our favorites has to be when it’s used in Christmas cookies. If you don’t have buttermilk, you can always substitute with white vinegar, lemon juice and milk.
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Jeweled Coconut Drops

You can stick with raspberry preserves for these coconut Christmas cookies or you can grab different preserves to switch up the color. If you’re not into fruit in your sweets, you can swap the preserves for chocolate.
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Amish Sugar Cookies

There are a lot of uses for cream of tartar, but one of the most important ones in baking is that it prevents sugar from clumping together. Since sugar cookies—you know—use a lot of sugar, cream of tartar is a vital ingredient.
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Vanilla Meringue Cookies

Meringue cookies can be so adorable if you bake them right. If you’ve tried these and you’re not sure why your cookies are looking flat, it could be because the egg whites are too cold or because you’ve added the sugar all at once instead of little by little. It takes time to get the hang of meringue!
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Italian Chocolate Spice Cookies

Spice cookies are so comforting around the holidays. This version has chocolate in it and a glaze that you can use to stick on festive sprinkles.
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Cream Cheese Spritz

Homemade cookies are thoughtful gifts for neighbors, and these cream cheese spritz cookies will definitely bring the charm. Get your spritz press ready and in one hour, you can have 6 dozen cookies prepped and ready in cute winter tins to be passed out.
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Homemade Chocolate Shortbread

Shortbread cookies are fun and easy to make all year round, but they’re a classic Christmas cookie. This recipe is for a chocolate version that can be spruced up with a layer of icing or turned into a sandwich cookie.
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Easy Mint Thins

This Thin Mint copycat recipe will come in so handy during the holidays. And to be honest, they’re even more beautiful than the originals! The chocolate is infused with peppermint extract and you can add crushed spearmint or sprinkle chopped Andes mints on the top.
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Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies

We’d be remiss to leave out a peanut butter cookie on this roundup of our favorite Christmas cookies. These blossom cookies are topped with a chocolate kiss and you can use light or dark brown sugar in the dough—whichever one you have on hand.
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Lemon Snowflakes

Desserts with four ingredients are so necessary during busy holiday seasons. These lemon snowflake cookies don’t take a lot of work, but they produce such a beautiful result. Because the cookies aren’t iced or decorated, they can be stacked up in airtight containers for easy travel.
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Santa’s Elf Cookies

Are these the cutest Christmas cutout cookies you’ve ever seen? These little elves are sure to be a showstopper on a dessert table or as a gift for family and friends.
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Dipped Gingersnaps

Kick your gingersnap baking game up a notch with these dipped versions of a Christmas classic. Because these are gingersnaps, they should be a bit more crunchy than your typical chewy gingerbread cookies. All that means is a bit longer in the oven and then they’ll be ready to dip once cooled.
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Easy Peanut Butter Balls

In only 20 minutes, you can have 4 dozen of these peanut butter balls ready to go. The best part is that they’re only a 5-ingredient dessert, so not only are they quick to make, but the prep time is shorter than a lot of desserts.
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Kourabiedes (Greek Butter Cookies)

These cookies use basic baking ingredients and yield delicious, buttery cookies. You can make the recipe your own by adding in chopped nuts or trying out different extracts like almond or orange.
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Giant Molasses Cookies

Bite-sized cookies are cute, but giant molasses cookies add a little more fun to Christmas cookie tins. These cookies travel well and you can adapt the recipe with different types of molasses based on your personal preference.
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Holiday Cornflake Cookies

There are so many creative cornflake recipes, but these have to be the cutest ones for Christmas. These are a great option when you have too much going on in the oven and just need a quick stovetop recipe.
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If you’re tired of making the same recipes ever year, it’s time to change things up. These Sicilian cuccidati are filled with delicious fruits and nuts, and you can always get creative and add other flavors like cinnamon and chocolate.
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Molasses Crackle Cookies

Many cookie recipes are filled with butter, but these crackle cookies only call for 1/4 cup of canola oil, making it a nice lower-fat option. Unlike sugar cookies or gingerbread, these are meant to crackle a bit as they bake, so don’t worry if the dough separates a bit.
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Santa Claus Cookies

Nutter Butters but make them festive? We’re here for it. You can definitely get the kids involved with decorating these easy cookies. Doesn’t get much better than pre-baked cookies that you just have to dip and sprinkle!
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Cherry Kiss Cookies

Chocolate and cherry are such a delightful mix of flavors for the holidays. The bright red color of these cookies is so festive and they only take 10 minutes to bake. For easy cleanup, place parchment paper on your baking sheets before popping these in the oven.
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Touch-of-Gold Christmas Trees

If you’re attending a classy Christmas party, these cookies will be a great dessert to bring. They’re dusted with edible gold and filled with Nutella.
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Grandma Krause’s Coconut Cookies

This recipe calls for old-fashioned oats, so make sure you have those on hand before baking. Different types of oats affect baking textures and consistency, so stick with the recipe for a soft, chewy cookie.
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Peppermint Meltaways

These peppermint meltaways are so cute and they’re perfect for sharing. This Christmas cookie is best when fresh, but they can be stored for up to three days if you have any left over.
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Fruitcake Christmas Cookies

Get your chef’s knife ready for chopping! This fruitcake cookie recipe calls for a lot of chopped fruits and nuts, but the final outcome will be reminiscent of the fruitcake your grandma brought to Christmas dinner.
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Holiday Rum Balls

Going to an adult Christmas party? Take these rum balls with and watch them disappear from the cookie platter. You can make these your own by rolling them in shredded coconut or cocoa powder instead of confectioners’ sugar.
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Tender Italian Sugar Cookies

If you’re a fan of pairing sweets and wine after dinner, then you’ll have to try these traditional Italian cookies. They pair so well with a pinot grigio and they’re tiny enough not to be too filling.
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Sugar Cookies

There are so many variations of sugar cookies out there, and you can’t go wrong with any of them. This recipe calls for shortening and butter, so make sure you have both in your kitchen before you begin baking.
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Pistachio Cream Cheese Cookies

Christmas is such a fun time to play around with food coloring to make your holiday cookies that much more festive. Brighten up your cookie tray with these green pistachio cookies.

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Chocolate Lebkuchen

German Christmas cookies have flavors and textures that classic American cookies sometimes lack. These chocolate lebkuchen take a bit of prep time, but they will be so worth it in the end.
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First-Place Coconut Macaroons

Can you ever have enough cookies that remind you of snowballs and winter wonderlands? These coconut macaroons are bite-sized perfection and the batch size is ideal when baking for a family—not too many and not too few so everyone can enjoy a couple.
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Christmas Tree Cookies

If you really want to wow your host this Christmas, all you have to do is show up with tiny edible Christmas trees. These Christmas cookies are the ultimate way to get in the spirit and let your creativity run wild in the kitchen.
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Butterscotch Gingerbread Cookies

It can be hard to get creative with classic gingerbread, but this butterscotch variation does the trick. The sweet butterscotch mixed with the spiced gingerbread will have your house smelling heavenly!
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Hungarian Walnut Cookies

Apart from all the health benefits walnuts have, they’re also a tasty addition to cookies around the holidays. If you’re in a pinch, the dough for these Christmas cookies can be make two days in advance.
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Fig & Almond Cookies

There are never enough nutty, fruity desserts around Christmastime. They’re ideal when served with post-dinner coffee or as a delicious midday snack. Make sure you wait until these cookies completely cool before drizzling with the glaze.
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Red Velvet White Chip Cookies

These cookies are as rich and velvety as Santa’s suit. They’re perfectly chewy for people who don’t like crunchy cookies! If you want to bake these early and freeze them, simply thaw before serving.
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Thumbprint Butter Cookies

If you’re looking for smaller batch cookies, these colorful thumbprint cookies will be perfect. Mix and match the preserves you use or keep them all uniform.
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Date Swirl Cookies

These Christmas cookies are crisp on the outside and soft on the inside, and they’re one of those desserts that look harder to make than they actually are. Make sure you save time for chilling: These cookies need to stay in the fridge overnight.
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Meringue Kisses

Meringue cookies are a light treat, and they’re nice for when you want just a hint of something sweet after a big meal. These meringue kisses have a surprise chocolate center for people to bite into.
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Cranberry Slices

Cranberry recipes are annual favorites for a reason! The small, tart berries are one of those irresistible cookie ingredients. They aren’t overly sweet and they add a festive flair to any cookie tray. These bars are a fun shape to package in little gift bags for loved ones at Christmastime.