Create a Santa-worthy arrangement of dazzling treats with this roundup of the best-ever Christmas cookie recipes. With this collection, you will be the hit of the holiday cookie swap circuit and the envy of all of your Christmas guests. From delicious gingerbread cookies and shortbread cookies to ugly Christmas sweater cookies and regional cookie recipes from around the world, you can choose from the best of traditional and more unique treats to fill your cookie platter and give as gifts.
01 of 25
Ugly Christmas Sweater Cookies
The Ugly Christmas Sweater Party is a fun and cheeky modern holiday tradition that's really caught on. Instead of bringing a scented candle or bottle of wine, show up with a batch of these adorable, creative cookies "dressed" in ugly Christmas sweaters made of icing. They will be the hit of the party. And, since the theme is "ugly," you don't need to be a master cookie decorator—colored icings, holiday sprinkles, and candies are all you need to create an ugly sweater cookie.
02 of 25
Christmas Stained Glass Cookies
Decorate your Christmas tree with these lovely and easy-baking stained glass Christmas cookies. When threaded with a festive ribbon, the pretty cookies can be hung from the branches, and will twinkle with the lights of the tree reflected in the colored glass. They are a delightful edible decoration, at least until the kids eat them off the tree!
03 of 25
Italian Butter Cookies
Italian butter cookies are the iconic, ring-shaped cookies you will see sold in blue tins throughout the Christmas holiday season. They are even more wonderful and special when made at home, and make a thoughtful homemade gift you can bring along when visiting friends and family. Best of all, they are easy to mix and you can personalize them to your own preferences.
04 of 25
Christmas Light Cookies
Adorable Christmas light cookies are a unique addition to any holiday cookie swap or party. They are easy to make, thanks to store-bought frosting and uncomplicated cookie shapes, and bake up quickly for frosting and sharing. Miniature M&M candies decorate the frosted strings, for a sweet and festive cookie that is almost too cute to eat.
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05 of 25
Polish Gingerbread Cookies (Pierniczki)
These gingerbread cookies are as delicious to eat as they are fun to make. They will also fill your kitchen with the most delightful aromas of holiday spices of cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. The cookies were originally baked in intricately carved wooden molds, but today are more often cut into rounds, hearts, and other fanciful designs. Get the kids involved in helping you decorate these cute little cookies.
06 of 25
Polvorones: Mexican Wedding Cookies
Looking like cute little snowballs, dusted with powdered sugar, and made with a melt-in-your-mouth butter and vanilla cookie dough, traditional wedding cookies are a true delight at Christmas time. These buttery cookies are very similar to others worldwide.—Pecan Balls, Russian Tea Cakes, Snowdrops, Italian Butterballs, Southern Pecan Butterballs, Pecan Sandies, Swedish Tea Cakes, and Viennese Sugar Balls, to name a few.
07 of 25
Christmas Lizzie Fruitcake Cookies
Christmas Lizzies bring smiles every holiday season. They taste like the very best Christmas fruitcake, with a variety of candied fruits, dates, and nuts making them chewy, crunchy, and soft all at once. A generous glug of bourbon inside is an optional, but fun and yummy way to add holiday "spirit".
08 of 25
Kolache cookies are butter cookies made with a pastry-like cream cheese dough and filled with jam. These treats originated in Eastern Europe (many believe they are from Czechoslovakia while others say Poland) and made their way to the United States; they are especially popular in the South, particularly Texas.Continue to 9 of 25 below.
09 of 25
Candy Cane Cookies
Candy cane cookies are super easy and fun to make. Kids love helping to twist together two different colors of dough to form the candy cane shapes for these festive treats. Feel free to add in crushed peppermint candies to the cookie batter for some extra crunch and minty flavor.
10 of 25
German Cinnamon Star Christmas Cookies
Cinnamon and almonds flavor the German cinnamon star cookies (zimtsterne) traditionally served at Christmas and Advent feasts. Our easy five-ingredient recipe yields just over a dozen cute little stars. The cookies use almond flour, so are suitable for those on a gluten-free diet.
11 of 25
Cardamom Pistachio Shortbread Cookies
For many families, it just wouldn't be Christmas without shortbread. Shortbread is originally a Scottish butter cookie but has been adapted to different cultures and cuisines by the addition of spices, oils, and nuts. The Middle Eastern version, called Ghoraibi, is frequently spiced with cardamom, scented with a bit of rosewater or topped with almonds.
12 of 25
Spritz Cookie Press Cookies
Spritz cookies are a fun and festive treat for holiday time. Their name comes from the German word "spritzen" which means "to squirt," as the sugar cookie dough is squirted through the cookie press onto a baking sheet. Use cool, ungreased, unlined baking sheets for cookies that hold their shape while baking.
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13 of 25
Thumbprint Cookies With Nuts
Whether you need a last-minute treat to bring to a Christmas party or a Christmas Eve cookie for Santa's plate, these super easy, cute, and delicious thumbprint cookies are the perfect recipe. You probably even have the eight ingredients in your fridge already. Finely chopped hazelnuts, pecans, or walnuts are a fun addition to the classic cookie recipe.
14 of 25
Chocolate Cinnamon Brownie Cookies
Chocolate and cinnamon is a popular dessert flavor combination that dates back to the Aztec tradition. The tasty duo features in our scrumptious chocolate cinnamon brownie cookies. Kids and adults alike will swoon for their brownie-like texture, crispy outsides, and soft and chewy middles.
15 of 25
Cocadas (Coconut Macaroons With Dulce de Leche and Chocolate)
Cocadas are easy and fun to make. They are sweet coconut cookies originating in Mexico and enjoyed throughout Latin America. The chewy treat is a Spanish version of the familiar coconut macaroon. While there are many variations of cocadas, shredded coconut is always the star ingredient. The cookies can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to one week and frozen for up to one month.
16 of 25
Croatian Honeybread Cookies
Croatian honeybread cookies (licitars) can be found throughout Eastern and Central Europe, where they adorn family Christmas trees, and are gifted to beloved relatives and sweethearts at holiday time. Contrary to their name, however, they do not always contain honey. What sets them apart, and makes them truly special, is their whimsical shapes, red, shiny glaze, and highly-piped royal icing decorations.
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17 of 25
Austrian Linzer Cookies
Austrian Linzer cookies are an absolutely beautiful, traditional Christmas cookie recipe that adds something quite special to Christmas party tables and holiday cookie swaps. In this classic Linzer cookie recipe, buttery, delectable shortbread cookies are sandwiched together with a bit of jam; the decorative cutout in the top half of the cookie allows for a peek at the fruit filling.
18 of 25
Mint Chocolate Chip Meringue Cookies
Dress up your Christmas table or holiday cookie swap with these pretty little meringue cookies. Packed with mint chocolate flavor, and studded with chocolate chips for an extra dose of decadence, the melt-in-your-mouth meringues need just six easy ingredients, and are as fabulous to eat as they are impressive to look at. A little green food coloring makes them extra festive.
19 of 25
Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies
These tender lemon cookies are bright and finished with a vibrant citrus icing. Cream cheese gives these cookies amazing flavor and texture, while the lemon zest, juice, and extract add a nice zing. These cookies are incredibly easy to whip up and offer a refreshing break from gloomy winter days.
20 of 25
Czech Vanilla Crescents
Your guests will not be able to resist these sweet little crescent cookies, coated in powdered sugar to look like freshly fallen snow. This traditional Czech vanilla and almond cookie recipe is popular all year round in Europe but is especially beloved at Christmastime. They'll fill your kitchen with an almond, sugar, and vanilla scent—a precursor to the cookie's rich flavor.Continue to 21 of 25 below.
21 of 25
Old-Fashioned Molasses Cookies
Nothing quite says Christmas like chewy, buttery, rich molasses cookies. They also happen to be easy to make, as long as you factor in an hour of chilling time. The spiced cookies are reminiscent of gingerbread, with cinnamon, ginger, and clove. Rolled in chunky sugar, they make a pretty gift.
22 of 25
Red Velvet Crinkles
If you love red velvet cake, you will quickly become a fan of these red velvet crinkle cookies. The bright red color and dusting of sugar "snow" make them perfect for all your Christmas parties and gatherings, and the rich cocoa flavor will make them a favorite at the cookie exchange. Make sure to leave time for the dough to chill and become firm before rolling into balls and baking.
23 of 25
Brown Sugar Shortbread Cookies
Who doesn't love buttery, crispy shortbread? This brown sugar shortbread is always a winner, and, with only 5 ingredients, it is one of the easiest cookies to prepare. These simple shortbread are delicious with or without decoration, but we love to add a little vanilla sugar or cinnamon sugar to the tops just before baking, or dip them in some melted chocolate after they've cooled.
24 of 25
Imagine biting into a blissfully decadent, melt-in-your-mouth sandwich cookie filled with creamy dulce de leche caramel that’s been rolled in a cloud of chewy coconut. No, you’re not in heaven; you’re simply tasting an alfajore. This traditional recipe calls for a touch of pisco, a South American brandy, in the cookie dough. It’s optional, but adds a nice flavor.
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25 of 25
Peanut Butter Blossoms
This one is for all the peanut butter cup fans out there. These peanut butter blossoms are at their core: tender, chewy, and deeply nutty peanut butter cookies. Milk chocolate kisses sit regally atop each cookie as the final touch to an irresistible treat. Most importantly, get the kids in on the action as they will love to help just as much as they love to gobble up these treats.
Must-Know Cookie Tips
Make your holiday cookie season bright with these helpful tips and resources: