12+ Yummy Ideas for Christmas Cookies

christmas cookies

Nothing says Christmas like a pan of hot cookies fresh out of the oven! Whether you’re a purist and believe chocolate chip or sugar cookies reign supreme or you have an off-the-wall family recipe with a wacky secret ingredient, you probably have a recipe that you’re excited to make every year. Check out some of our favorite ideas for the classics, and maybe some new ones, too!

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Christmas Cookies With Fruit

Do you ever feel like Christmas cookies can overload on chocolate sometimes? Don’t get me wrong; I love chocolate. And I love the classic sugar cookies, too. But sometimes, other flavors need their moment to shine. That’s where these cookies with fruity flavors come in.

Jam-filled Thumbprints with Almond Glaze

You’ll probably want to eat these cuddled up by the fire with a hot cup of tea or hot cocoa, and we don’t blame you. Use any kind of jam you like, but I’m partial to raspberry jam. Cream 1 cup of unsalted (softened) butter and 2/3 cups granulated sugar together for a couple of minutes with a mixer. Add 1 tsp vanilla and 1/4 tsp salt and beat on medium until thoroughly mixed.

Add 2 cups of flour gradually until your mixture has formed a dough. Shape the dough into a ball. Tightly wrap the dough with plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour in the refrigerator. Preheat oven to 350 F. Roll the dough into 1 inch balls, and place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.

Make an indentation with your thumb in the center of each ball, then fill with jam (do not over-fill). Place cookie tray into the refrigerator while the oven preheats. Bake the cookies for 13-15 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Then, drizzle with a glaze (1 cup confectioners’ sugar, 1 teaspoon almond extract, 1-2 tablespoons almond milk).

Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti

Every year, my mom makes her signature biscotti recipe as gifts to friends and neighbors. We may have to venture into new territory this year because cranberry pistachio biscotti sound amazing.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. In a large bowl, mix 1/4 cup of light olive oil and 3/4 cup white sugar until well blended. Mix in 2 tsp vanilla and 1/2 tsp of almond extract, then beat in 2 eggs. Combine 1-3/4 cups flour, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1 tsp baking powder; gradually stir into egg mixture. Mix in 1/2 cup dried cranberries and 1-1/2 cups of shelled pistachios by hand. Divide the dough in half and form two logs on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake for 35 minutes in the preheated oven or until the logs are light brown. Remove from oven, and set aside to cool for 10 minutes. Reduce oven heat to 275 degrees F. Cut logs on diagonal into 3/4 inch thick slices. Lay on sides on a parchment-covered cookie sheet. Bake them for approximately 8 to 10 minutes, or until dry. Then, let them cool.

christmas cookies pistachio cranberry

Cranberry Hazelnut Snowball Cookies

Cranberries are definitely one of the flavors of the season, and we can’t get enough! Who knew they’d pair so well with hazelnut? Preheat the oven to 325 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

With a mixer, cream 1 cup of softened butter for 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of powdered sugar and mix until combined. In a separate bowl, sift 2 cups of flour and 1/4 tsp salt. Gradually add flour and salt to the butter mixture and mix until incorporated. Add 1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts and 1/4 cup of dried cranberries and mix. Roll 1 tbsp balls and line them on the baking sheet, leaving 2 inches in between.

Bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned. Let them cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes, then roll in powdered sugar and transfer to a cooling rack to cool down completely. Roll the cookies in powdered sugar again before serving.

Think Outside the Box With These Homemade Christmas Cookies

christmas cookies candy canes

Candy Cane Twist Christmas Cookies

These are a lot simpler than they look. Make one dough, split it in two, then add red food coloring to one half. Roll two different ropes of dough, twist them together, and shape them into “candy canes.”

For the dough, place 2 sticks of unsalted butter, 1 cup of sugar, 1-1/2 tsp peppermint extract, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 tsp baking powder, and 1/2 tsp of kosher salt in a bowl and mix with a mixer. Beat until paste forms and clings to the side of the bowl.

Scrape down the side of the bowl and beat in 1 large egg until it is absorbed. Add 2-3/4 cups of all-purpose flour and beat until just combined and no more dry streaks of flour remain.

Split the dough in two, then add red food coloring to one half. Roll two different ropes of dough, twist them together, and shape them into “candy canes.” I like to brush the cookies with an egg white wash and sprinkle them with sparkling sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until the edges are just barely brown. Let cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before moving to a wire cooling rack.

christmas cookies snowballs

Hazelnut Snowball Christmas Cookies

Jayne Schultheis
Light, nutty, and dusted with a coating of powdered sugar "snow," these are the perfect Christmas cookie.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Servings 20 cookies
Calories 114 kcal


  • 1 cup + 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup hazlenuts finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup butter softened to room temperature


  • In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and hazelnuts. Then, add vanilla and butter. Once the ingredients start to come together, move to a lightly floured surface and knead to form a dough. Wrap in parchment or plastic wrap and refrigerate 2 hours.
  • Roll dough into small balls, then place them on cookie sheets. Chill them while oven is pre-heating.
  • Pre-heat oven to 350.° Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let sit about 1-2 minutes (while the cookies are still warm) then roll in sifted confectioner's sugar. Let cool and then roll again in the confectioner's sugar.


Serving: 1cookieCalories: 114kcalCarbohydrates: 12gProtein: 2gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 12mgSodium: 55mgPotassium: 36mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 142IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 7mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Christmas cookies
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Christmas Shortbread

Shortbread is one of the most straightforward recipes you can make– sugar, butter, flour, and vanilla. But for the holidays, you can switch it up with some peppermint extract or red and green sprinkles on top! Or, drizzle it with melted chocolate. Here’s our favorite recipe:

Cream together 1 cup of unsalted butter, 1/4 cup plus 3 Tbsp powdered sugar, 1/4 cup of granulated sugar, and 1/4 tsp of vanilla extract. Add 2-1/3 cups of flour, 1/4 tsp salt, and 2 Tbsp nonpareils. Mix until the flour is incorporated and a stiff cookie dough forms.

Divide the cookie dough into 2 sections and press the dough flat. Wrap each piece in plastic wrap and place them in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to chill.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Roll the dough out to 1/4-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut out your cookies and place them on the prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 13 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. Let the cookies cool for 5 to 10 minutes on the cookie sheet, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Christmas Pudding Cookies

Who knew that pudding mix could make such a soft, indulgent cookie? You don’t want to miss these soft-baked vanilla cookies—Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl, mix 2-1/2 cups flour, 1-1/2 tsp baking soda, and 1/2 tsp of salt; set aside.

In a large bowl, beat 1 cup of softened butter, 3/4 cup of granulated sugar, and 3/4 cup of brown sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed for about 1 minute or until fluffy; scrape the sides of the bowl. Beat in 1 package of dry vanilla pudding mix. Beat in 2 eggs, one at a time, just until smooth. Beat in 1 tsp of vanilla. Gradually beat flour mixture into the butter mixture at a low speed until well blended. Stir in M&Ms and 1 cup of white chocolate baking chips until combined.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets—Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until light brown. Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheets to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 15 minutes.

Molasses Christmas Cookies

Move over, gingerbread cookies; there’s a new spice cookie in town. Homemade soft molasses cookies with crackly tops are super chewy and perfectly spiced. They stay seriously soft for days– if they last that long– and are always a holiday favorite. You may even want to add a dollop of cream cheese frosting and leave them out for Santa on Christmas Eve.

Whisk 2-1/4 cups of flour, 1-1/2 tsp baking soda, 2 tsp ground ginger, 1-1/4 tsp ground cinnamon, 1-1/4 tsp ground cloves, 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg, and 1/4 tsp salt together until combined. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together 3/4 cup of unsalted butter, 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, and 1/4 cup of granulated together on high speed until creamy and combined, about 2 minutes. Add 1/4 cup of dark molasses and beat until combined. Then add 1 large egg and 2 tsp vanilla extract and beat until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.

At low speed, slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until combined. The cookie dough will be slightly sticky. Cover dough tightly and chill for 1 hour. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. (Always recommended for cookies.) Set aside.

Remove cookie dough from the refrigerator. Roll cookie dough, 1 Tablespoon each, into balls. Roll each in granulated sugar and arrange 3 inches apart on the baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees F for 11-12 minutes or until the edges appear set.

Remove from the oven and allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

christmas cookies molasses

Peanut Butter Christmas Mice

How cute are these? With their licorice tails, candy noses, and peanut ears, these chewy “mice” will always be a hit at parties and around the holiday table.

Beat together 1 cup of creamy peanut butter, 1/2 cup of butter, 1/2 cup of granulated sugar, and 1/2 cup brown sugar until well blended. Beat in 1 egg and 1 tsp of vanilla extract. In another bowl, whisk together 1-1/2 cups of flour and 1/2 tsp of baking soda; gradually beat into peanut butter mixture (dough will be soft). Refrigerate until firm enough to shape, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350°. Shape dough into 1-in. balls; taper one side to resemble a mouse. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Add peanuts for ears, M&M’s for noses, and chocolate chips for eyes. Bake until set, 8-10 minutes. Immediately insert licorice pieces into warm cookies for tails. Remove from pan to wire racks to cool.

Salted Caramel Thumbprints

If you like regular peanut butter thumbprint cookies (you know, the classic Christmas cookie with the chocolate kisses on top?), then you’ll love these. They’re covered in chopped nuts and drizzled with chocolate; these cookies are delicious and pretty, too.

In a large bowl, cream 1/2 cup of butter and 2/3 cup of sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in 1 egg yolk, 2 Tbsp milk, and 1 tsp of vanilla. In another bowl, whisk 1 cup of flour, 1/3 cup of baking cocoa, and 1/4 tsp salt; gradually beat into creamed mixture. Refrigerate, covered, 1 hour or until easy to handle.

Preheat oven to 350°. Shape dough into 1-in. balls. In a shallow bowl, beat 1 egg white. Place the pecans in a separate shallow bowl. Dip balls in egg white, then into chopped pecans, patting to help pecans stick.

Place two inches apart on greased baking sheets. Press a deep indentation in the center of each with the end of a wooden spoon handle. Bake 10-12 minutes or until set. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool.

In a large, heavy saucepan, melt 12-15 caramels with 3 Tbsp of heavy whipping cream over low heat; stir until smooth. Fill each cookie with about 1/2 teaspoon caramel mixture. Melt 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips in a microwave and 1 tsp shortening; stir until smooth. Drizzle over cookies; let them rest until set.

Christmas Cookies From Across the Pond

Take a trip to a different country with these tasty cookie ideas!

Italian Anise Cookies

My Italian aunt made these Christmas cookies every year when I was growing up, and it just wouldn’t be Christmas without them. They’re gone in just one bite, perfect for a little treat after Christmas dinner or a post-breakfast treat! Don’t forget the colorful sprinkles! In a medium bowl, whisk together 3 cups of flour, 1/2 tsp salt, and 3/4 tsp baking powder. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, beat 3/4 cups butter, 1/2 cup of powdered sugar, and 1/2 cup of granulated until creamy. Add 3 eggs, one at a time. Then add 1 tsp vanilla and 1/2 tsp anise flavoring. Slowly mix in the flour mixture.

Refrigerate dough for one hour. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll dough into 1 inch balls. Dip the bottom of a small glass into some powdered sugar and press each ball down slightly. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove and cool completely.

To make the glaze: Sift two cups of powdered sugar in a bowl. Whisk in 3 Tbsp milk and 1 tsp vanilla extract, then dip the top of each cookie in the glaze. Garnish with some nonpareil sprinkles. Allow glaze to dry before freezing.

italian star anise christmas cookies

Russian Tea Cakes (Mexican Wedding Cookies)

My friend makes these every year, and I always look forward to eating them. There’s nothing else like that coat of powdered sugar you get on your fingers after eating one.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, cream 1 cup of butter and 1 tsp vanilla until smooth. Combine the 6 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar and 2 cups of flour; stir into the butter mixture until just blended. Mix in 1 cup of chopped walnuts. Roll dough into 1 inch balls, and place them 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet—Bake for 12 minutes in the preheated oven. When cool, roll in the leftover confectioners’ sugar. I also like to roll mine in the sugar a second time.

Dulce de Leche Thumbprint Cookies

You just can’t beat delicate buttery shortbread cookies. I’m often tempted to think EVERY cookie should start as a shortbread cookie! Make a batch with caramel and another with chocolate-hazelnut Nutella, then top them all with sea salt. Here’s the recipe so you can check it out for yourself.

Who’s Ready to Start Baking Christmas Cookies?

Are you ready to start baking cookies? I know I am! This year, I’m skipping the chocolate chip cookies and gingerbread men and opting for one of these unexpected Christmas cookie recipes! Which one of these sounds like your next batch? Maybe you can make a double batch and bring them to a cookie exchange! Share the best Christmas cookie recipes with the people you love on FamilyApp!

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