39 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

    sugar-cone-christmas-trees-4768049-10

     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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    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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    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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    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

    peppermint-cookies-4768572-11

     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

    Old-Fashioned Molasses Cookies

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

    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

    peppermint-bark-cheesecake-4768866-18

    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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    Pressed Butter Cookies

    Press butter cookie recipe

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

    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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    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 tart

     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 / Sonia Bozzo

    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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    Easy Macarons

    Macarons

    The Spruce / Clarice Lam

    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.

  • 34 of 39

    German Cinnamon Stars

    Zimtsterne - German Christmas Cookies
    Zimtsterne - German Christmas Cookies. J.McGavin

    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

    Struffoli Neapolitan Christmas Treats recipe

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

    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 recipe

    ​The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck 

    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 recipe

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

    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.