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Peppermint Meltaways

This recipe for peppermint meltaways is very pretty and festive-looking on a cookie platter. I often cover a plate of these peppermint cookies with red or green plastic wrap and a bright holiday bow in one corner. And yes, they really do melt in your mouth! —Denise Wheeler, Newaygo, Michigan
  • Total Time
    Prep: 30 min. + chilling Bake: 10 min./batch + cooling
  • Makes
    about 2-1/2 dozen


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons 2% milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 2 to 3 drops red food coloring, optional
  • 1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup crushed peppermint candies


  • In a small bowl, cream butter and confectioners' sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in extract. In another bowl, whisk flour and cornstarch; gradually beat into creamed mixture. Refrigerate, covered, 30 minutes or until firm enough to handle.
  • Preheat oven to 350°. Shape dough into 1-in. balls; place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake 9-11 minutes or until bottoms are light brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
  • In a small bowl, beat butter until creamy. Beat in milk, extract and, if desired, food coloring. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar until smooth. Spread over cookies; sprinkle with crushed candies. Store in an airtight container.

Test Kitchen Tips
  • Cornstarch in cookies? Its inclusion lends these shortbread cookies a lovely tenderness.
  • These also would taste great with almond or vanilla extract instead of peppermint, and topped with toasted nuts.
  • Get more ideas for peppermint cookies.
  • Nutrition Facts
    1 cookie: 126 calories, 7g fat (4g saturated fat), 18mg cholesterol, 56mg sodium, 15g carbohydrate (9g sugars, 0 fiber), 1g protein.
    Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links.


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    Average Rating:
    • Clarence
      Jan 4, 2021

      Had excellent results and enjoyed them way more than I thought. I'm not a big fan of peppermint but the nice subtle flavor with the tender texture made me a believer. Together with their festive appearance this recipe is a keeper for Christmas baking. A few tips I can suggest: 1) let cookies cool on pan for 2 minutes before moving them to the cooling rack - this will help prevent broken cookies; 2) Finely crushed peppermint candies provide a better texture than bigger pieces; 3) Dip cookies in the crushed peppermint to get a good coverage.

    • Anne
      Dec 28, 2020

      I didn't like the flavor of these. The texture was good, but the peppermint was chemical tasting. Perhaps my extract wasn't good. They actually may have been better without any frosting and just a powdered sugar dusting.

    • dkcarlson
      Dec 25, 2020

      I made these with the thought of calling them peppermint snowballs. I didn't want to frost them, I wanted to cover them with a mixture of the crushed peppermint candy and powdered sugar. I made the mistake of putting some of the crushed candy into the cookie dough which I shouldn't have done as this made them odd shaped as thecandy melted out of the cookies. I also chilled the dough too long and it was very hard. I did put them ina bag with powdered sugar and crushedcandy though. They are pretty and good. I think I will try them again using the recipe as written.

    • herrmama
      Dec 20, 2020

      I have been making this recipe exactly as written since 2014. Yes, they are indeed fragile due to the cornstarch, so I end up eating plenty of broken pieces. But the finished result is tender, delicious, and beautiful. They are my favorite Christmas cookie.

    • Jodi
      Dec 14, 2020

      Awesome recipe...I have litterly made 4 batches since yesterday! I used real salted butter....1/8 tsp Peppermint extract and 1/8 pure vanilla in cookie mix....Also the same in icing....Everything else stayed the same. I also baked at 325 for 9 mins...Perfect and soft!!!!

    • Roland
      Dec 8, 2020

      I used pure vanilla extract instead of peppermint. When I read the recipe I thought the peppermint candy would be enough peppermint flavor. The end result was a nice buttery meltaway cookie with a nice slightly crunchy peppermint topping. I only gave it 4 stars because of agressive peppermint flavoring.

    • wendylee84
      Nov 27, 2020

      I have been making these for several years now! I found them in a Christmas Cooking book that I found at the grocery store! And they are now a family favorite!! Excellent recipe!!

    • Danielle
      Nov 19, 2020

      I have been making these cookies for the past two years and are now a permanent part of my Christmas cookie recipe collection. They do melt away in your mouth as the name implies. Fantastic recipe!

    • smschend66
      Sep 16, 2020

      These cookies are fabulous!! Love them as did everyone else!! I'll be making them for Christmas as is. I'll try and make a pumpkin pie spice for Thanksgiving!

    • Meg
      Apr 16, 2020

      So I thought the consistency and taste were terrible at first.. my roommates hated it and it tasted heavily of flour and “chalk.” However, we stored them in the fridge over night and it completely saved them and they agreed they tasted great after that! So just make sure you chill them after baking!