49 Festive Christmas Treats

Have the Merriest, Sweetest Holiday Yet

Christmas light cookies recipe

​The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

The holidays bring with them lots of opportunities for delicious baked goods. From bars to cookies, cakes, and candy, these festive treats will dress up any bake sale, cookie exchange, or another get-together. Add a few to your repertoire to satisfy your sweet tooth all season long.

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    Peppermint Bark

    Peppermint bark

    The Spruce

    It doesn’t get much more classic holiday than peppermint bark and you don’t need anything fancy to make it—just high-quality dark chocolate, white chocolate, and crushed candy cane pieces will do the trick. If you don’t want to temper the chocolate, use untempered. Know that if you do, you should store the bark in the fridge since it will soften otherwise.

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    Ugly Christmas Sweater Cookies

    Ugly Christmas Sweater Cookies
    The Spruce

    If you have an Ugly Christmas Sweater party to attend this season, you need to bring these adorable sweater-shaped cookies. Start with a delicious sugar cookie base, then dress them up with icing, candy pieces, fondant, or other decorations to make them as cute as they are delicious.

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    Sugar Cone Christmas Trees


     The Spruce / Leah Maroney

    These sugar cone Christmas trees make an excellent activity for kids because there are no raw ingredients or hot stoves involved. They also do double duty as decorations and desserts, so make them ahead to dress up the table and then enjoy them after the meal ends.

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    Gingerbread With Lemon Glaze

    Gingerbread with lemon glaze

    The Spruce

    When you don’t have time to shape individual cookies or need a pan of something seasonal to bring to a get-together, this warming spiced gingerbread hits the spot. A tart lemon glaze will contrast the molasses, ginger, and clove flavors of the cake and the whole thing tastes very appropriate for the holiday.

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    Christmas Tree Pretzel Rods

    Christmas tree pretzel rods

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck 

    For a unique tree-shaped holiday treat, try these Christmas pretzel trees that look much more complicated than they actually are. Just grab some pretzel rods, green candy melts, and some candy “ornaments” and you have everything you need. The kids can help with this fun creation, too.

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    Raspberry Red Velvet Bundt Cake

    Raspberry Red Velvet Bundt Cake with Cream Cheese Glaze

     The Spruce / Elaine Lemm

    Even though it comes out rosy and beautiful, this red velvet cake isn't at all difficult to make. A lemony cream cheese glaze contrasts wonderfully with the sweet chocolate cake and a raspberry ribbon kicks it up a notch. Best of all, it takes just 20 minutes to put together and then just about an hour to bake. It also freezes well, so you can make it ahead.

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    Classic Gingerbread Men

    Easy gingerbread cookies recipe

    The Spruce / Katarina Zunic

    Everyone will want to get their hands one of these gingerbread men after you whip up a batch. With spiced gingerbread and sweet icing smiles, they can become as simple or complicated as you like. Set out a selection of toppings to let the kids help or leave them plain for an easier treat. Using dark molasses will result in a stronger flavor, while light molasses will keep them less bitter.

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    Austrian Linzer Cookies

    linzer cookies on marble

    The Spruce / Claire Cohen

    These beautiful Linzer cookies look impressive on a platter and taste great alongside a cup of tea or coffee. Tender shortbread gets sandwiched around your choice of jam or preserves then dusted with powdered sugar for a sweet note. You will need special cut-outs to make these cookies, but they’re well worth the investment.

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    Fruit Pizza Christmas Wreath

    Fruit Cookie Christmas Wreath

    The Spruce / Anita Schecter 

    Rather than making a bunch of smaller cookies, try baking up one large one instead. This pretty wreath cookie uses a buttery shortbread for the base, so it doesn't spread much during baking. Slather it with a sweetened cream cheese frosting and decorate with your favorite fruits. Peach or apple slices, blueberries, and strawberries all work well. Garnish with fresh mint leaves for a pretty presentation.

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    Christmas Light Cookies

    Christmas light cookies recipe

    ​The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

    For those who really deck the halls during the holidays, don’t leave the cookie platter bare. These Christmas lights cookies make a unique addition to the tray, and the simple shape and store-bought frosting mean they come together in a snap. Use mini M&Ms for the lights; the regular size ones will overwhelm the cookies.

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    Keto Sugar Cookies

    keto sugar cookies

    The Spruce / Leah Maroney

    Just because you follow a keto diet doesn't mean you have to miss the holiday dessert fun. These sugar cookies have the crumbly texture and sweet taste you love without all the extra carbs. They hold their shape well too, so they make a great cutout option. Because they're delicate when hot, remember to give them plenty of time to cool before decorating.

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    Elf on the Shelf Cookies

    Elf on the Shelf Mini Cookies

    The Spruce / Leah Maroney

    Make these mini cookies for your Elf on the Shelf to celebrate the holiday season. They take only five minutes to bake and you can customize them to suit your tastes. Shape them like tiny gingerbread men or leave them as small rounds, and use either gingerbread, chocolate-chip cookie dough, or even shortbread. The only limit is your imagination.

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    Red Velvet Crinkles

    Red velvet crinkles recipe

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

    You may know red velvet cake and chocolate crinkles, but put the two together and you have a truly awesome holiday cookie. They have the traditional look of traditional crinkles, nut with the decadent sweetness of red velvet cake—and they look gorgeous on a cookie plate. Bake up a batch for Valentine’s Day, once New Year’s has passed.

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    Christmas Tree Cupcakes

    Christmas Tree Cupcakes

    The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic

    Christmas tree cupcakes are fun and festive. The recipe creates a decadent chocolate cupcake with sour cream, buttermilk, and a hint of coffee flavoring. Pipe the bright green frosting on top, then add sprinkles to complete the Christmas tree look.

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    Red Velvet Sandwich Cookies

    red velvet sandwich cookies

    The Spruce / Elaine Lemm

    One part whoopie pie, one part red velvet cake, and two parts delicious, these festive sandwich cookies will definitely please any sweets-loving crowd. They don’t take too much time to make but also don’t keep particularly well, so serve them shortly after baking for best results. Don’t worry—they won’t last long once your guests get a taste.

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    Pretzel Bark

    Pretzel Caramel Bark

    The Spruce Eats / Elaine Lemm

    Pretzel bark is surprisingly easy to make and it's always a holiday favorite. For this recipe, you'll need chocolate bark, sugar, butter, and heavy cream. The melted chocolate is then topped with mini pretzels and colorful sprinkles. Let it set up and break it into pieces and you have a yummy treat no one will be able to resist.

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    M&M Christmas Cookie Bars

    M&M Christmas Cookie Bars

    The Spruce Eats / Gwen Squires

    Red and green candies make these M&M Christmas cookie bar fun and festive. They're delicious, too. The batter includes dark chocolate chips along with the candy, and since it's all baked in one pan, they take less than an hour.

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    Ribbon Cookies With Candied Cherries

    ribbon cookies with cherries and pecans

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    Because they have two flavors and brightly colored candied cherries, these beautiful cookies make a perfect festive treat. They will please both butter and chocolate fans, plus the cherries give them a bright pop and a sweet note that offsets the rich cookie perfectly. They also freeze well, so feel free to make them ahead.

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    Christmas Tree Brownies

    Christmas Tree Brownies

    The Spruce / Anita Schecter

    Easy to put together and just plain delicious, brownies make a wonderful treat at any time. Shaping them into Christmas trees by adding a pretzel trunk, sprinkles, and frosting garlands makes them even more fun and festive. Once you try this simple recipe, you will never buy a boxed mix again.

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    Christmas Cupcakes

    Christmas cupcake recipe

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

    When you need something a little different to contribute to the Christmas sweets table, try these lovely individual-sized fruitcakes. With all the taste of the classic gifting loaf but in a single serving package, they make perfect gifts and additions to the dessert table, bake sale, or cookie exchange. Dust them with powdered sugar or frost any way you like.

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    Thanksgiving Punch

    Thanksgiving Punch for the Family
    The Spruce Eats / S&C Design Studios

    Need a break from all the carb-laden treats? Sip something sweet with our non-alcoholic Thanksgiving punch. Despite the name, it's great for Christmas too—its flavors of cinnamon and orange make it both a cozy and refreshing beverage for the entire fall and winter season. It has a base of apple cider, sparkling blood orange juice, and sparkling grape juice, all brightened up with fresh orange and cranberry. Serve in martini glasses garnished with a slice of orange. If you're looking to spike it for a harder drink, a splash of rum, reposado tequila, or añejo tequila will transform this from mocktail to cocktail.

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    Danish Butter Cookies

    Danish Butter Cookies

     Kristina Vanni

    Reminiscent of a wreath, these ring-shaped Danish butter cookies are perfect at Christmastime. They have a subtle vanilla flavor due to the vanilla sugar, a traditional Dutch ingredient, and the combination of all-purpose flour and almond flour makes the dough delicate in texture. A lovely addition to the holiday sweets table.

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    Peppermint Cookies


     The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney

    The classic combination of chocolate and peppermint can't be beat during the holidays. These peppermint cookies are a real seasonal treat, with fudgy chocolate cookies, a nice hit of peppermint oil, and a topping of crushed peppermint candies. They're a nice change from the typical sugar cut-outs.

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    Lofthouse Cookies

    Lofthouse Cookies

    A favorite treat in the grocery store bakery, Lofthouse cookies are pillowy soft and delicious. The sour cream and cake flour create the delicate texture, and the homemade frosting is whipped until fluffy. Decorate these sugar cookies with festive holiday colors for a Christmas sweet everyone will love.

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    Christmas Bark

    Three Chocolate Peppermint Bark Recipe

     Elaine Lemm

    This chocolate candy dessert is easy to make and festive looking, perfect for the Christmas dessert table as well as holiday gifts. Dark chocolate is melted and combined with peppermint extract and then drizzled with both milk and white chocolate. Feel free to use one type or a variety of holiday candies to decorate. Once refrigerated and hardened, break up the bark into pieces.

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    Molasses Cookies

    Molasses Cookies

     The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

    Warming spices like cinnamon, ginger, and clove combine with sticky, syrupy molasses and brown sugar for classic cookies that will make your house smell amazing. Roll them in turbinado for the best results. Granulated also works if you can't find the coarser kind. They make great gifts, especially for those who enjoy sweets but prefer something other than chocolate.

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    Peppermint Bark Cheesecake


    The Spruce / Leah Maroney

    Adding peppermint bark to luscious, velvety cheesecake and layering it all on top of a chocolate cookie crust creates a lovely holiday dessert. Try finishing it with a little fresh homemade whipped cream for an even more decadent treat. Use store-bought peppermint bark or homemade—both work just as well.

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    Cranberry Bread

    Cranberry Bread

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni 

    This pretty cranberry-studded bread has a sweet and tart flavor thanks to tangy cranberries, zippy lemon zest, and chopped pecans. It tastes wonderful for brunch, as an afternoon snack, or a light dessert. Use either fresh or frozen cranberries in this recipe.

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    Red Velvet Cupcakes

    Red Velvet Cupcake Recipe

     Kristina Vanni

    These red and white cupcakes are a perfect addition to the Christmas dessert table. The moist cake boasts a bright red hue thanks to the food coloring, and the cream cheese frosting adds just the right amount of tang. Feel free to add a bit of green to the tops, whether sprinkles or candies, for a festive touch.

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    Pressed Butter Cookies

    Cookie Press Butter Cookies

    The Spruce / Claire Cohen

    These colorful shaped cookies often appear on store-bought trays, but you can make them at home easily enough. Because they rely on butter for the bulk of their flavor, use a high-quality unsalted brand for best results. Dust them with colored sugar for a pretty presentation.

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    Christmas Cupcake Wreath

    Christmas cupcake wreath recipe

    The Spruce / Teena Agnel

    This wreath of cupcakes makes a gorgeous dessert table centerpiece and you can eat the whole thing. It has bright green frosting leaves, edible candy berries, and adorable almond-covered pine cones. Use any flavor of cupcake base you like or a variety for a truly showstopping sweet.

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    Gingerbread Biscotti

    gingerbread biscotti

    The Spruce Eats / Pete Scherer 

    Biscotti is a crisp, Italian cookie that is delicious with a hot cup of coffee, espresso, or tea. This seasonal gingerbread biscotti has the warming flavors of molasses, ginger, allspice, and clove. It's an ideal after-dinner treat or homemade Christmas gift.

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    Easy Thumbprint Cookies

    Jam thumbprint cookies

    The Spruce / Claire Cohen

    Just six ingredients and about half an hour stand between you and these easy thumbprint cookies. Fill them with your favorite berry-flavored jam for a festive look or mix it up for a more varied treat. Use the best jam you can find, since the cookies have few ingredients and will really show off the flavors.

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    Vegan Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

    vegan oatmeal cookies with spices and dried cranberries
    The Spruce

    If you avoid animal products and want a cookie with a little nutrition, these pretty cranberry-studded vegan oatmeal cranberry cookies will do the trick. They come out nice and hearty and require no egg replacements so they make a great starter recipe for those new to vegan baking. Make a big batch, because these will go fast.

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    Low-Fat Christmas Sugar Cookies

    Low fat holiday sugar cookies recipe

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

    With about half the fat of your average sugar cookies recipe, you can enjoy these low-fat holiday treats without blowing your diet. Top them with sprinkles, sanding sugar, or colored glaze or enlist the kids to help you decorate them for a fun weekend activity.

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    White Chocolate Truffles

    White Chocolate Citrus Truffles photo

    The Spruce /  Elizabeth LaBau

    White chocolate truffles look like little snowballs and make a silky smooth addition to any holiday dessert plate. And because white chocolate has such a lovely neutral flavor, they lend themselves to customization. Try adding different flavors or colors to the chocolate, rolling them in cocoa powder, or dipping them in other chocolates for a fun flare.

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    Crispy Sand Tart Cookies

    sand tarts
    The Spruce

    Dust these sand tart cookies with a combination of colored sugar and cinnamon for a slightly more festive twist on the standard. For extra nutty flare, add an almond to the center of each before baking. You can cut them into holiday shapes if you like or leave them round. Whatever you do, roll them nice and thin for the right texture.

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    British Stained Glass Cookies

    Christmas stained glass cookies recipe

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

    These stained glass cookies mimic the intricate windows in cathedrals throughout Europe and traditionally get placed on holiday trees as decoration. Despite their beautiful appearance, they don’t take as much work to make as you think. The kids will like crushing up the candies and cutting out the shapes.

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    Mexican Tea Cakes

    Mexican tea cakes

    The Spruce / Claire Cohen

    No holiday sweets table is complete without Mexican tea cakes, also called Russian tea cakes, Mexican wedding cakes, or snowballs. Whatever you name them, these crumbly, sweet little cookies taste like shortbread but don’t spread while baking and make fun and easy additions to any celebration. You can add nuts or leave them out, depending on your preference.

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    Mint Chocolate Chip Meringue Cookies

    Mint chocolate chip meringue

    The Spruce / Claire Cohen

    Shatteringly crisp, mint-accented meringue cookies just say “holidays.” Try adding a little green food coloring to give them that festive flare, or leave them plain and garnish the platter with a few sprigs of holly or mint leaves to point to their fresh, seasonal flavors.

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    Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

    soft sugar cookies with sour cream

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    For one of the most versatile cookies around, try these soft sour cream sugar cookies. The cream gives them a hearty, slightly less sweet flavor and a crumbly texture that comes out buttery and perfect for frosting and decorating. Just whip up some royal icing, set out some sprinkles, and let the kids go to town. Decrease the vanilla extract and add a little nutmeg, for variation.

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    Hot Cocoa Cupcakes

    Hot cocoa cupcakes

    The Spruce / Allyson Kramer

    These vegan hot cocoa cupcakes taste just like sipping on a steaming mug of peppermint hot chocolate, no cup or cooling time required. And they use no animal products, so even those who follow a vegan diet can indulge. Dress them in seasonal cupcake wrappers for festive flare.

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    Easy Macarons

    Easy Macarons

    The Spruce

    Many of us purchase boxes of macarons to give out at holiday time, but you don’t need to shell out with this easy recipe. Follow these steps for perfect macarons every time, and once you master the technique, mix up the flavors and colors for a festive treat that you can make for every occasion.

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    German Cinnamon Stars

    Glass bowl of cinnamon stars and cinnamon sticks
    Westend61 / Getty Images

    Cinnamon and almond come together for a sweet traditional taste in these star-shaped German cookies. They aren’t complicated to make but do require some specialized European ingredients so you might have to get online or try a specialty store for some of the requirements. It’ll all be worth it, once you give them a try.

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    Neapolitan Holiday Struffoli


    Tania Mattiello / Getty Images

    Often either shaped into a wreath or piled high into a Christmas tree shape, Neapolitan struffoli makes a lovely holiday treat. These little balls of fried dough either get dusted with powdered sugar or covered with festive colored sprinkles for the perfect ending to a Christmas dinner. Try them yourself for a show-stopping dessert everyone will adore.

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    Gingersnap Cookies

    Gingersnap Cookies

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

    Gingersnap cookies have an assertive, slightly spicy flavor that just tastes like the holidays. Very easy to roll and bake, these cookies make a lovely gift for even less experienced bakers. Store them in a tightly covered container so they keep for enjoying later.

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    Candy Cane Cookies

    Candy Cane Cookies

    Margaret Vincent-Stocksy United

    Few things feel more festive on a cookie platter than the classic candy cane. These twisted cookies come out looking just like the classic shape and taste just like the candy. Try using several different colors of food dye to make differently hued cookies, for a more interesting plate.

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    Oven-Free Cookie Dough Pops

    cookie dough pops decorated

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    Try these no-bake cookie dough pops for a fun and festive treat that are endlessly versatile. And because the cookie dough uses no eggs, you can eat it right from the bowl. Coat them with white, dark, or milk chocolate and then decorate with sprinkles, chopped nuts, colored sugar, or even small candy pieces. They make a great centerpiece for a dessert table or a fun contribution to a bake sale.

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    Christmas Tree Treats

    Christmas Rice Crispy Treats

    The Spruce / Stephanie Gallagher

    These holiday rice crispy treats make a great holiday craft for the kids. Shape the treats into triangles, then get out sprinkles, candy-coated pieces, and other decorations to create snacks worthy of the class party. Candy canes make great trunks and since they don’t need to bake or cool nearly as long as cookies, making them quick and easy.