Christmas Tree Cookies

Total Time

Prep: 1-1/2 hours + chilling Bake: 10 min./batch + cooling


18-36 cookie trees, depending on fullness

Updated: Jan. 09, 2024
Delight family and friends with this holly jolly Christmas tree cookie recipe. Iced with creamy frosting and dusted with sparkly colored sugars, the 3-D cookie trees are as delicious as they are beautiful! —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
Christmas Tree Cookies Recipe photo by Taste of Home


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1-1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Green gel or paste food coloring
  • 4-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 3 tablespoons meringue powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Green gel or paste food coloring
  • Assorted decorating sprinkles and white edible glitter


  1. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 5-7 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla extract. Combine flour and baking powder; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.
  2. Divide dough in half. Tint half of the dough green; knead well to distribute color evenly. Leave remaining dough white. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or until easy to handle.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each portion of dough to 1/8-in. thickness. Use tree-shaped cookie cutters with identical shapes, measuring 2-1/2 in., 3 in., 4 in. and 4-1/2 in. Cut out an even number of cookies with each size cookie cutter.
  4. Place 1 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake until golden brown, 8-10 minutes. Immediately cut half of each size tree cookies in half from top to bottom. If tree cookie cutters have trunks, trim trunks off trees, creating a flat base. Remove to wire racks to cool.
  5. For frosting, in a large bowl, combine the confectioners’ sugar, water, meringue powder, vanilla and cream of tartar. Beat on high speed for 8-10 minutes or until stiff peaks form. Divide frosting in half. Tint half of the frosting green; leave remaining frosting white. Cover frosting with damp paper towels between uses.
  6. To glaze trees: In a small bowl, thin 1 cup green frosting with 2-3 Tbsp. water until frosting reaches pourable consistency. Place matching pairs of whole and halved cookies on a wire rack over waxed paper. Pour icing over cookies; spread with a metal spatula to completely cover top and sides of cookies. Let dry completely. Assemble and decorate as desired according to directions below.
  7. To make a 4-sided tree: Using a pastry bag fitted with a #5 round pastry tip, pipe a line of green or white frosting to match the tree you are decorating. Pipe a line of frosting along the cut edge of 1 of the halved cookies; press frosted edge along center of a matching whole cookie. Let dry until firm. Stand up partially assembled tree. Attach 1 matching cookie half to the opposite side of the tree by piping frosting along the center of the whole cookie. Let dry completely. Decorate as desired.
  8. To make an 8-sided tree: Assemble as described for 4-sided tree, using white or green cookies. Using matching colored frosting, attach 4 more cookie halves; halves should be a half-size smaller than whole center cookie. Let dry completely. Decorate as desired.
  9. To make Christmas lights decoration: Using a pastry bag fitted with a #2 round pastry tip, pipe cords with green frosting. Attach sprinkles for lights. Let dry completely.
  10. To make snow-tipped decoration: Using a pastry bag fitted with a #8 round pastry tip, pipe snow on tips of branches with white frosting. Sprinkle with edible glitter. Let dry completely.
  11. To make garland decoration: Using pastry bag fitted with a #21 star pastry tip, pipe garlands around trees with white or green frosting. Decorate with sprinkles if desired. Let dry completely.
Christmas Tree Cookies Tips

Do you have to refrigerate the dough when making this Christmas tree cookies recipe?

Yes. We recommend chilling the dough for 1 hour when making this Christmas tree cookies recipe. Doing so will allow the ingredients to meld together and the fats to solidify, making the dough easier to work with and resulting in a tastier cookie.

What other kinds of Christmas tree cookies can you make?

There are many other kids of Christmas tree cookies you can make! Try stacked Christmas cookie trees, rosemary shortbread Christmas tree cookies and gingerbread sandwich trees.

How should you store Christmas tree cookies?

Store Christmas tree cookies in a single layer in an airtight container for 3 days at room temperature. You can also freeze the unassembled tree cutouts for up to 6 months. When you're ready, thaw and assemble the trees as directed.

Julie Schnittka, Taste of Home Senior Editor

Nutrition Facts

1 four-sided tree: 181 calories, 5g fat (3g saturated fat), 25mg cholesterol, 85mg sodium, 31g carbohydrate (21g sugars, 0 fiber), 2g protein.