Christmas Cookie Recipes

Matti writes:

I would like to request a Christmas cookie reference section, as we did for Thanksgiving vegetable side dishes. Only the proven winners we love and rely on. I want to try a few new cookies every year, but very quickly get overwhelmed when I start looking around online. “The 14 Holiday Cookies You Should Be Making!” “The Only 4 Cookies You Need to Make This Christmas!” “The 3 Million Cookies of Christmas!”

I would love some recommendations that come with reasons, advice, history. Alas, I have no real life cookie swaps to attend. :)


What a good idea! I would love this too! I will tell you one I make that’s really really really easy: I melt Andes mint-chocolate chips and dip Oreos in them. You can dip the whole thing, or you can do what I do which is to hold onto the bottom cookie of the Oreo and dip the top and sides, then quickly flip it over onto waxed paper, dry-side-down, to let the chocolate run down a bit and cover the part I was holding on to. I try not to stir the melting Andes too much, and then they come out a little streaky with the lighter mint part not entirely mixed into the chocolate part. They are so yummy and they SEEM fancy but they’re easy. You know, I’ll bet I have a photo of them somewhere… YES, I do!


This photo reminds me of another easy recipe. There are these chocolate wafer cookies (kind of like Oreos without the filling, and a little bigger) sold in the baking section of my grocery store rather than the cookie section. They’re called something unmemorable (“Famous Chocolate Wafers”), and they look like this:

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I melt some white chocolate wafers; I get the Wilton ones that look like this:

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I also crush up some candy canes. I spread some melted white chocolate on the flatter side of each chocolate cookie, then sprinkle it with the crushed-up peppermint. I let them cool/dry on waxed paper.

The M&M things in that picture are fussy but not hard. I saw the recipe on Pinterest, and I loved how you could change the M&M colors for whatever the season/event. And you can use dark chocolate Kisses, or milk chocolate, or you can use the Hugs, or whatever. At Christmas I like to use the candy cane Kisses.

And also I make these Chocolate Mint-Chip Cookies.

49 thoughts on “Christmas Cookie Recipes

  1. Sarah

    I make an easy white chocolate bark. It’s 1lb white chocolate, 1 cup cranberries, and 1 cup pistachios. You melt the chocolate (I use a double boiler, but if you use the microwave do it in very short bursts (start with 30 seconds and then 10 second bursts). Mix in the other two ingredients and spread thinly on parchment paper. It’s really popular and easy.

    1. Laura

      Lindsey, thank you! I just finished making a batch the way you described, having the recipe and making smaller cookies. Honestly, some of the very best cookies I have EVER made! And as always, thank you to Kristen for bringing so much awesome together :-)

  2. el-e-e

    We made Oreo balls (something my 7yo found on YouTube) yesterday, which include:
    package of Oreos (we used Double Stuff)
    8 oz pkg of cream cheese
    regular choc chips
    white choc chips

    You just grind up all the cookies in the food processor, cut the softened (room temp) cream chs into chunks and process it in, form make the balls and put on a cookie sheet, chill them about 10 minutes, then dip them in the melted regular choc chips. Chill them again if you want, and then melt the white choc chips and drizzle over the top. Yummy!

    1. Joanne

      I have been making these for a few years for my son’s school party. One year I thought I’d make something else and everyone went insane, ha! I keep meaning to try them with peanut butter oreos, or mint, or whatever, but now I am afraid to stray from the recipe.

    1. Susan

      I was going to say that! And, being one of those annoying gluten-free people, I can now make them with Snyders’ GF pretzels. Win!!

  3. Caro

    I discovered the best recipe for soft chocolate chip cookies from my future MIL. Follow the tollhouse recipe, but where it calls for butter, use 1/2 the amount in butter and 1/2 the amount in shortening instead. Maybe not news for more experienced bakers, but using shortening was a game changer for me!

    I’ve also substituted 1/2 coconut oil instead of shortening and that worked well too, though the cookies were a little oily, and had a slight coconut flavor if you go too heavy on the coconut oil (not a bad thing in my book).

  4. Mary

    You posted a ginger cookie recipe years ago and I can’t find it in the archives anywhere. I think it was your grandmother’s recipe. Am I making this up? I don’t think I am and if I’m not I would love to have the recipe again!

    1. Swistle Post author

      I can’t find it EITHER. I wonder if I put it on one of my other blogs at some point, maybe one that isn’t around anymore?

      1. Melissa R.

        Is it molasses based? If so, I may actually have YOUR recipe because I wrote it down from your blog (so old school!) thinking…oh my! I’ll have to go look if it’s the same recipe but I do know I got it from your blog.

    2. Swistle Post author

      I forgot ALL about this, and then was going through my email inbox and found my dad had sent me the recipe:

      Swistle’s Grandma’s Ginger Snaps

      1.5 c. shortening
      2 c. sugar
      2 eggs
      1/2 c. molasses
      4 t. baking soda
      2 t. cinnamon
      1 t. ginger
      1 t. cloves
      1 t. salt
      4 c. flour
      2 t. lemon extract

      Cream shortening and sugar; add egg and molasses. Add dry ingredients. Add lemon extract. Form dough into walnut-sized balls and roll in sugar. Place on greased cookie sheet (don’t flatten). Bake 375 degrees F for about 10 minutes.

  5. Wendy

    Your post about melting the Andes mints made me think of the Thin Mint cookies I ‘make’ every year. It blows people’s mind to find out they are simply Ritz crackers dipped into melted Andes baking chips. That’s it. And they taste exactly like a Girl Scout Thin Mints cookie! :)

  6. Angela/@antiangie

    Ohhhhh maaannn do I have so many favorite recipes. But here are the ones I’ve limited myself to this year:

    Chocolate mint crinkles: so pretty and festive!

    Almond strips: I make these every year. So tasty and pretty. I usually skip the frosting.

    Christmas crack: Is it a cookie or a candy? WHO CARES, IS DELICIOUS. (I make with saltines)

    Molasses ginger cookies: I’m still on the hunt for exactly the right recipe but this one is close. These are dark and soft. Next time I think I’ll add more ginger.

  7. Teej

    My go-to cookie is super easy and always gets requested at group get-togethers. I think of it as a “fall flavor” cookie, but it can be holiday-ish too!

    1 box Duncan Hines spice cake mix
    1 heaping cup butterscotch chips
    2 eggs
    1/2 cup oil
    1 tsp vanilla extract

    Bake at 350 for 8 – 10 minutes.

  8. Cameron

    This is Pioneer Woman’s recipe, but I’ve made it like 30 times and every time it is perfect and everyone loves it.

    I love it because it is SO easy, and I’ve made it with dark brown sugar, light brown sugar, or a mix and it always comes out great. I’ve also made them tiny or huge and they’re great either way, though I prefer smaller because they spread out and can be difficult to keep in one piece if they’re huge.

    1. Cameron

      …I also just realized you’re probably only requesting holiday cookies so maybe everyone is doing that thing where they’re like DID SHE EVEN READ THE QUESTION UGH

      …but seriously these are the best cookies ever so I only slightly regret my post ;)

      1. Swistle Post author

        Ha, NO, I think all cookies qualify as Christmas Cookies if they are made at Christmas Time!

  9. Nicole

    I love to bake and give cookies for holiday gifts! Most years, we do jam thumbprints from The Joy of Cooking. Rolled sugar cookies or shortbread, also from JoC. M & M cookies with the Nestle chocolate chip recipe. Lemon bars, reducing the sugar and upping the lemon a bit:
    And homemade marshmallows. These are great to package with hot cocoa mix for a gift.
    Apologies if the links are wonky; I’m using my phone.

    1. Nicole

      Oh, I nearly forgot. Not cookies, but white chocolate fudge with cranberries and pecans. And salted caramels.

  10. Matti

    Thank you Swistle! I love this. You made my day :) And very likely my husband’s as well. He’s a fan of the cookie. Already I have several marked that I’m totally trying. I also rarely dip anything in melted chocolate because I think I had an idea it was troublesome or messy, but everyone has made it look so easy I’m going to try. And I’m going to make gingersnaps for my father’s birthday this Friday. I’ve never tried making them before and I know he loves them.

    These are the ones I have to make every year, it’s exactly like my recipe except mine is for half all of the amounts. Which is a shame now that I think about it more closely. Also, the only spice I use is cinnamon because that’s what we like, but this recipe calls for ALL kinds of spices if that’s your thing.

    1. Swistle Post author

      Can you believe how long it took to post? I found it in my drafts folder from LAST Christmas!

      1. Matti

        Well it worked perfectly for me because LAST Christmas my youngest was only 20 months old and frankly we were lucky to get the tree up by Christmas, let alone have time to try new cookie recipes. I may have been feeling extra nostalgic and wishful when I made my request because I couldn’t do most of what I had planned :)

        I melted dark chocolate chips and put in peppermint extract and dipped chocolate graham crackers into it. This was easy and a hit! And there are leftovers in my freezer. At least till tomorrow.

  11. Becky

    I love tassies! They’re like tiny cookies that taste like tiny pies. They’re not that complicated, because I’m not that talented. The recipe links to pecan tassies, but do you want brownie tassies? Because those are also a Thing and they’re amazing:

    My go-to Fancy Cookie Swap cookies are buried cherry cookies:
    It’s kind of a fussy process but they always turn out great.

    My favorite sugar cookie recipe:

  12. Gigi

    These aren’t “cookies” per se…but I made them for the first time last night and they are SOOOO easy and SOOOOO amazing…the only thing, when you are eating them try not to think about just how much sugar and butter are in them…

    1 cup creamy peanut butter
    2 sticks (1 cup) of unsalted butter
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1/4 teaspoon salt (I left this out)
    4 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar (I didn’t sift it – mainly because I don’t have a sifter)

    Line an 8-inch or 9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil.

    Melt the peanut butter and butter together in a large bowl until completely melted and smooth. Be sure to stir often during the melting process. Once melted stir in the vanilla. Add the sifted powdered sugar and stir until combined.

    Press the fudge into the baking pan – smoothing the top. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and chill for 4 hours or until firm. Cut into pieces.

    I found this recipe here:

    And this one will be one I make every year from here on out. The folks at the office loved it!

  13. Lacey

    These cookies are DELICIOUS, pretty for holidays, and I get tons of compliments when I take them to work.

    The only change I make is cutting the brown sugar down to 3/4 of a cup, but some may want to cut it back even more. It’s a pretty sweet cookie. This is also a really good base for chocolate chip cookies if you like the soft chewy kind instead of the flat greasy kind. Just use 1 1/2 tsp vanilla, 12 oz chips, and 1 cup chopped pecans. YUM.

  14. Alexicographer

    I realize I may be missing the point (of holiday cookies) but I like these gingerbread cookies, because they are not very sweet, though of course it is easy to overcome that in decorating them if one is so inclined (and I’m not saying I’m not, but I like starting with a base that’s not already really sugary). I make them with King Arthur’s White Whole Wheat flour, and they come out great. .

  15. Portia

    When I lived in Boston, Italian anise cookies were always around during the holidays, and I grew to love them, even though I usually hate licorice anything. It’s a bit of an acquired taste, but my family requests them every year now. (I also always make a batch replacing the anise with lemon juice for a yummy lemon cookie, good if you have licorice-haters).

    I use this recipe, but I use cake flour instead of all-purpose, which makes them more tender and fluffy, and I use little round multicolored sprinkles on top of the glaze so they’re pretty and festive:

  16. Shannon

    I like a variation on Martha Stewart’s Almond-Orange Shortbread cookies. Instead of almond I use mini semi sweet chocolate chips. It’s pretty much a no fail recipe and they’re delicious if you are into the orange chocolate combo. I also like that they are egg free (if small kids want to bake I don’t worry so much) and they are square which for some reason I find very adorable.

    1. Shawna

      My mom did a great variation on shortbread last weekend – she added matcha green tea to the dough and added a lime glaze. Very tasty!

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