Buddy the Elf would have you believe that the best way to spread Christmas cheer is by singing out loud for all to hear, but I say it’s by baking Christmas cookies.
Who’s with me?!
These are the BEST Christmas Cookies, perfect for taking to a Christmas cookie exchange or setting out for a holiday party (or on a plate for Santa!).
There are traditional options like the best gingerbread men you’ve ever had and peanut butter blossoms (it’s not Christmas until we’ve made a batch), and hopefully some new-to-you options. I always try to make at least one or two new Christmas cookies every year to change things up!
I’ve separated these cookies into six categories:
Festive Christmas Cookies (sort of a miscellaneous categories for misfits that don’t fit solidly in one of the other categories but are definitely not to be missed!).
What’s YOUR favorite Christmas cookie or holiday tradition? I would love to know in the comments below!
The Best Christmas Cookies
Santa is sure to leave extra presents are your house this Christmas if you fill him up a plate of any of these fabulous Christmas cookies! Just don't forget a glass of milk for him and a carrot for his reindeer!
Classic Christmas Cookies
Everybody loves a classic Christmas cookie! These perennial favorites are ones we make over and over, year after year, and the holidays wouldn't be the same without them!
Soft & Chewy Gingerbread Men Cookies are perfectly spiced with molasses, cinnamon, ginger and other warm spices, and sweetened with brown sugar. The best way to spread Christmas cheer might be singing out loud for all to hear, but these cute little fellas come in a close second!
Simple, classic and iconic, these peanut butter blossoms are Christmas baking at it’s best! They are soft & chewy (and stay that way!), coated in crackly, sparkling sugar, and have a chocolate Hershey’s Kiss in the center of each cookie. They are one of our all-time favorite Christmas cookies!
Thumbprint Cookies are a buttery shortbread bite-size delight filled with your favorite jewel-colored jams, then drizzled with a simple vanilla glaze. They make a fun and tasty addition to any holiday cookie plate!
Mexican Wedding Cookies, also known as Russian Tea Cakes or Snowball Cookies, are delightfully nutty little balls of powdered sugar covered goodness! These classic holiday cookies come out every year at Christmas and everybody loves them!
These Soft & Chewy Molasses Cookies are a year-round classic that deserve special attention at Christmas time. Mildly spiced, richly flavored from the molasses and brown sugar, and generously sprinkled with granulated sugar for a touch of sparkle, this classic molasses cookie recipe belongs in your dessert arsenal.
Your search for the best Snickerdoodle Cookies recipe is over! This easy snickerdoodle recipe is my go-to for this cinnamon-sugar coated, soft and chewy sugar cookie recipe that is a perennial classic!
Pro Tip: Melt white chocolate and dunk half of each cookie for an extra special holiday snickerdoodle.
Soft sugar cookies with crisp edges and a buttery, almost melt-in-your-mouth quality to them, these really are the best cut-out sugar cookies ever. Perfect for using your favorite holiday cookie cutter shapes!
Crunchy, nutty, jam-filled Linzer Cookies are such a beautiful and fun cookie from Austria. You can make them with hazelnuts or almonds and fill them with your favorite fruit preserves, lemon curd, or nutella spread!
Chocolate Christmas Cookies
No one can resist a decadent chocolate cookie, especially at Christmastime. These are some of our favorite chocolate cookies that we make at Christmas and year round!
Chocolate Thumbprint Turtle Cookies have a rich cocoa cookie base that is rolled in chopped pecans and filled with soft caramel. Drizzle with a little melted chocolate for a tasty, nutty treat that’s perfect for your next cookie exchange, holiday party or simply just because!
Chocolate Andes Mint Cookies have a layer of smooth melted Andes mints on top of a soft, rich chocolate cookie. These cookies are perfect for anybody who loves the classic combination of mint and chocolate!
Two slice-and-bake homemade chocolate cookies sandwiched around a rich, delicious nutella filling make these Double Chocolate Nutella Sandwich Cookies as much fun to make as they are to eat! Perfect with a glass of milk!
No need to heat up the oven for these classic Chocolate Peanut Butter No Bake Cookies! They are quick, easy, and a super tasty treat that is one of the first recipes I learned to make when I was a kid.
Chocolate Salted Caramel Whoopie Pies are decadent handheld treats that bridge the gap between a cookie and cupcake. The rich chocolate cookie/cakes are offset by the surprising salted caramel filling!
The best fudgy chewy chocolate brownie cookies are made in one bowl with cocoa powder, lots of chocolate chips, and chopped walnuts! These thick, soft chocolate chocolate chip cookies with walnuts are basically like eating brownies in cookie form!
Double Chocolate Crinkle Cookies are a Christmas classic with soft and fudgy centers and a sweet crackled exterior. Make these for your Christmas cookie platters this year!
I'll admit that when I was a kid I thought shortbread was boring and mostly for adults. And now that I'm an adult, it's quite possibly my favorite type of Christmas cookie of all! The textures and flavors of shortbread are so unique and special!
Toffee Pecan Shortbread Cookies are buttery and rich, studded with caramelized toffee bits and crunchy pecan pieces in each bite. Enjoy them as is or dip them in melted dark chocolate for an extra special Christmas cookie around the holidays!
Bring a little citrus to your season with these Lime Meltaways! These bite-size slice-and-bake shortbread cookies are made with lime zest and coated in powdered sugar for a sweet, citrus flavor that melts in your mouth.
These Fresh Cranberry Shortbread Bars make a great Thanksgiving dessert or a beautiful addition to a Christmas cookie platter! Simple, buttery, and full of sweet-tart cranberry flavor, these wonderful bars have white chocolate and macadamia nuts to make them even more special!
Drop cookies are perfect for busy bakers because there is typically no need to chill the dough or roll, shape, cut or decorate. Just mix everything up and use a cookie scoop to drop and bake these family favorites that are perfect for making holiday baking memories with your kids!
Toffee Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies are hands down the best oatmeal cookie variation there is! Perfectly balanced flavors with caramelized toffee bits and milk chocolate, and always soft & chewy on the inside while barely crisp around the edges. These cookies are impossible to resist!
These Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies are packed with semisweet chocolate chips and crunchy pecans in a browned butter cookie dough. Perfectly crisp around the edges and chewy through the middle, everybody raves about every bite of these nutty, chocolate-crammed cookies.
Chocolate, caramel, and oats join forces in this Carmelitas recipe for the best cookie/bar combo dessert OF ALL TIME. Ever. Like, in the history of the world. They are like an incredibly soft, chewy oatmeal cookie loaded up with chocolate chips and plenty of gooey caramel, but in bar form.
Turkish Baklava, also known as Fistikli Baklava or Pistachio Baklava, is a deliciously rich, buttery, sweet dessert made from phyllo dough, finely ground pistachios, butter, and a syrup made from sugar, water and lemon juice. That’s it!
This Greek Baklava recipe has walnuts and cinnamon layered between flaky phyllo dough brushed with melted butter then baked and drizzled with a sugar and honey syrup to create a crispy, sweet, and impressive dessert! If I'm pressed, I would say that Greek baklava is my personal favorite of the different varieties of baklava, although that preference seems to change every year!
These festive and fun White Chocolate Cranberry Blondies are made with fresh cranberries, white chocolate chips, and chopped pecans, with a little extra melted white chocolate drizzled over the top for good measure! A perfect addition to a holiday cookie platter at a Christmas cookie exchange party!
These Cookie Butter Rice Krispie Treats take a simple, basic rice krispie treat to a whole other level with actual chunks of Biscoff cookies and cookie butter mixed into the marshmallow rice krispie base, and a layer of cookie butter glaze over the top!
Not your average lunchbox rice krispie treats, these Salted Brown Butter Rice Krispie Treats have that salty-sweet, nutty brown butter flavor, with pockets of gooey marshmallow that make them extra amazing.
More Festive Christmas Cookies
I've saved some of the best Christmas cookies for last! These are some of my favorite cookie flavors and textures and they are especially fun for cookie exchanges because they are surprising and different from some of the cookies you see every year!
These Oatmeal Rolled Sugar Cookies are an old-fashioned cut-out sugar cookie recipe with a chewy twist thanks to the addition of rolled oats and almond extract. We love them frosted with buttercream frosting and topped with colorful sprinkles!
This recipe makes the most delicious buttery, flaky Rugelach filled with cinnamon, walnuts, and raisins! Rugelach is such a unique, fun treat to make and share during the holidays and is perfect for a cookie exchange!
Rugelach is actually a Jewish cookie so it's wonderful for sharing with friends celerating Hanukkah!
Peppermint Macarons are the sweetest, most melt-in-your-mouth delicious Christmas cookie with a wonderful vanilla peppermint buttercream filling. They fancy up a Christmas cookie platter or Christmas cookie exchange with one of the best flavors of the holiday season!
Chocolate-Dipped Almond Biscotti are the twice-baked, scrumptiously crunchy and dunkable cookie of Italian origin. My favorite biscotti cookies are loaded with toasted almonds, baked until crunchy, then dipped in dark chocolate and sprinkled with more chopped almonds for a delightful treat!
Part cookie sandwich, part cupcake, these Red Velvet Whoopie Pies are a tasty handheld treat for anyone who loves red velvet cake! Their light cocoa flavor and cream cheese frosting centers make for a uniquely delicious dessert!
These Dulce de Leche Stuffed Cookies are made with a wonderful brown sugar cookie dough and stuffed with creamy, sweet dulce de leche caramel inside. You’ll find yourself craving them as soon as they are gone!
How to Make Christmas Cookies
When in doubt, add sprinkles! Or dip in chocolate. You can make almost any cookie recipe look more festive by adding red, white, and green sprinkles. Or bake your favorite snickerdoodles or chocolate chip cookies and dip half of each cookie in melted white, milk, or dark chocolate for instant elegance and decadence!
Don’t wait until the last minute. Many cookie recipes freeze really well! All you have to do is let them thaw on the counter for a few hours and they will taste fresh as if you just made them! I always keep a couple batches in the freezer that I make early in the season so I have cookies on hand for unexpected visitors or last minute get-togethers.
Keep cookie dough in the fridge of freezer. Love that fresh-baked cookie smell? Make the dough in advance but freeze it so all you have to do is pop some cookies in the oven!