30+ of My Best Christmas CookiesThis Post May Contain Affiliate Links. Please Read Our Disclosure Policy
‘Tis the season for holiday baking. So, I’m sharing recipes for my best Christmas cookies! Whether you’re baking holiday cookies for the first time or looking for something different to add to your usual assortment, these are 30+ of my personal favorites.
One of the things I love to do in the weeks leading to Christmas is bake cookies. For the past couple of years, my mom and I would each make our best Christmas cookies and then swap some with each other.
Given that we now live a few hours apart, I’m not sure if we’ll do that this year. However, you can bet I’ll still be baking my favorite cookies (and probably be setting aside a few for mom too!). In thinking about which cookies to make this year, I decided to compile a short list of my favorites and share them with you.
The exact tools you will want to reach for will vary depending on the exact recipe you are making. But these are the go-to staples I recommend every aspiring baker keep on hand. After all, you never know when you need to whip up a batch of fancy cookies.
- Cookie sheet with silicone baking mats or parchment paper sheets
- Stand mixer – I love my KitchenAid and use it for almost everything! It’s worth the investment.
- Cookie scoop
- Cooling rack – please don’t leave your cookies on the hot baking sheet…they will overbake!
- Piping bag & decorating tip – it makes icing cookies so much easier!
Below are some questions people often ask about making the best Christmas cookies. If you don’t see your question in this list, please leave it in the comments.
How long before Christmas should you make cookies?
This all depends on your schedule and how busy you are. In general, fresher is better with baked goods.
However, that doesn’t mean you have to be up baking the day of the holiday party. Instead, you can pre-make the dough and leave it in the fridge to chill for a day or so (sometimes this even makes your cookies better).
Alternatively, you can also bake cookies 1-2 days in advance, and store them in an airtight container until you are ready to use them.
How do you make Christmas cookies ahead of time?
Besides the options mentioned above, I recommend utilizing your freezer. Freezing your cookies is the best way to make them last as long as possible.
Just be warned that not every cookie freezes well. Iced sugar cookies and softer cookies will all freeze perfectly. However, anything made with a jelly filling or topping might not freeze as well.
Should I refrigerate cookies after baking them?
No, you do not need to refrigerate cookies after you bake them. In fact, the moisture they get from being in the fridge can do more harm than good. An airtight container on the counter is your best bet.
The ultimate Christmas idea and recipe resource list
I know you’re here for cookies, but if you are looking for more Christmas inspiration, let Inspired by Charm be your go-to holiday resource! I have hundreds of ideas and recipes to add the happy to your holidays. Check out some of my favorite ideas below.
- How I Plan My Christmas Decor
- 20+ Stunning Christmas Tree Design Ideas
- 150+ Creative Christmas Ideas – my favorite resource!
- The Best Christmas Cocktail Recipes
- Christmas Q&A – answering YOUR Christmas questions
- Christmas Appetizer Recipes
- The Ultimate Christmas Music Playlist
- How to add Ribbon to your Christmas Tree – highly popular post!
Okay, now on to my favorite Christmas cookie recipes.
The Best Christmas Cookies
These Christmas cookies not only look incredibly festive, but they are absolutely delicious too. I consider myself somewhat of a cookie connoisseur and have pretty high standards for my baked treats. These are the ones that made the cut—I feel confident you’ll love them too.
1. 3-Ingredient Fudge Recipe
This fudge recipe is so simple to make, plus it results in the creamiest and the smoothest fudge I’ve ever had. You are going to love this recipe! I’ve been making it for more than 15 years, and it never dissapoints.
2. Peanut Butter Lover’s Peanut Butter Cookies
This is actually a cookie recipe I created this year for Fall Cookie Week, but it’s one I had to include because it became an instant favorite with IBC readers.
To me, a peanut butter cookie is a must on a holiday cookie tray. So why not make the cookie extra special by stuffing it with even more peanut butter?
3. Shortbread Wreath Cookies
Adorable, delicious, and downright festive, these shortbread wreath cookies are destined to be the start of your holiday cookie tray. They are as tasty as they are eye-catching.
4. Salted Caramel Thumbprints
Who doesn’t love salted caramel? This recipe updates a classic cookie recipe with the flavors of today. Sweet caramel and a pinch of salt make these crispy coconut cookies hard to resist.
Time and time again, this Christmas cookie recipe proves to be one of the most popular here on Inspired by Charm, and it’s easy to see why.
5. Frosted Eggnog Cookies
Spiced to perfection, these frosted eggnog cookies pack the flavor of the holiday and Christmas season in a few tasty bites. The frosting might be my favorite part. One bite and you’ll see what I mean!
6. White Chocolate Cherry “Crack” Cookies
Without question, these are my family’s favorite cookie. Everyone on my dad’s side goes crazy for them, and they have become my aunt’s favorite Christmas cookie.
They are technically white chocolate cherry shortbread cookies, but my family has dubbed them “crack” cookies. In the recipe I shared for these, I dyed them purple for a bake sale benefit for my aunt. However, they are the perfect holiday cookie when left white and red.
I’m certain your family will love them as much as mine does.
7. Christmas Sprinkle Cookie Cups
Fun, delicious, and colorful, these Christmas sprinkle cookie cups are a tasty and easy-to-make Christmas cookie recipe. Plus, you can change the color of the sprinkles to create a really colorful display.
8. Salted Caramel Shortbread Cookies
You all LOVED these salted caramel shortbread cookies during the fall, so I had to include them on this list. I think they would make a lovely addition to a Christmas cookie tray.
Try them with a white chocolate drizzle and some festive sprinkles for a holiday look!
9. Peanut Butter Cup Cookies
I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes baking cookies can be a bit tedious, especially when you have a million other things to do. That’s why it’s nice to have a few easy cookie recipes, such as this one, to use along with the fancier, time-intensive ones.
Not only are these crazy simple to make, but they are super tasty. In fact, you can use store-bought cookie dough, and no one will be the wiser. That’s what I did!
10. Crock-Pot Candy
My mom made this crock-pot candy a couple of years ago, and I turned my nose up at it when I saw it. I’m not a big chocolate person, so initially, it didn’t spark my interest. However, that was before I had a bite . . . then I couldn’t stop eating it.
The combination of ingredients creates a wonderful flavor, and the saltiness from the nuts works well with the sweetness of the chocolate.
This recipe also makes a ton, which is perfect for gifting. And yes, technically, they aren’t a cookie, but they serve the same purpose and go nicely with the cookies on your tray.
11. Cream Wafer Sandwich Cookies
Okay. Here’s the deal. If I could only have one Christmas cookie, this would be it. Hands down, these are my best Christmas cookies AND possibly my all-time favorite cookie.
While they are a bit more time-consuming to make because they are sandwich-style cookies, they are definitely worth it.
I made these for fall once in a round shape with different colors. You can see them here. If you only make one new-to-you cookie, these should be it. They will not let you down.
12. Gingerbread Cookie Bars
These soft and chewy gingerbread cookie bars topped with cream cheese frosting are so easy to make that they might become your new favorite holiday treat. You just can’t beat the iconic flavors of gingerbread at Christmastime.
13. Salted Caramel Crumb Bars
These salted caramel crumb bars are a slice of heaven! With rich and creamy salted caramel layered between a buttery cookie crust and crumb topping, what’s not to love? Everyone will be asking for this recipe.
14. Italian Sprinkle Christmas Cookies
These Italian sprinkle Christmas cookies are a festive take on the classic Italian sprinkle cookies (also known as Italian wedding cookies). The recipe is the same, but with the change of sprinkles, it feels like a whole new cookie designed just for Christmas.
15. Cream Horn Cookies (Lady Locks)
This recipe for cream horns (also known as lady locks) has been in my family for as long as I can remember. Flaky pastry filled with sweet cream makes for the ultimate holiday treat. These are a favorite in my family, and I’m certain they’ll quickly become a favorite in yours!
Don’t want to wait for the holidays to try them? I also made these with a fall twist: pumpkin spice cream horns.
16. Whipped Shortbread Cookies
If you’re looking for a light, shortbread cookie that almost melts in your mouth, these whipped shortbread cookies are the winner! I’ve made them for the holidays, but they are delicious any time of the year.
17. Bourbon Balls
Sweet, rich, creamy, and loaded with bourbon flavor, these bourbon balls make the perfect addition to your holiday cookie tray. They have a deep and rich flavor that stands out from the other cookies you’ll bake this year.
18. Peanut Butter Brownie Pillow Cookies
How about a brownie baked inside of a cookie? These Peanut Butter Brownie Pillow Cookies make a delicious Christmas cookie recipe with a surprise!
19. Peppermint Kiss Cookies
These peppermint kiss cookies are a new must-make for my Christmas cookie tray. They have a sugar cookie base that’s topped with a peppermint kiss. In essence, it’s a peppermint-twist on peanut butter blossoms.
20. Peppermint Candy Cane Cookies
Want more peppermint? Festive, fun, and kissed with peppermint flavor, these candy cane cookies are a delightful nibble to add to your Christmas cookie platter. They may even become a new holiday favorite!
21. Holiday Linzer Cookies
You’re going to love this classic Christmas cookie recipe! Grab your baking supplies because you’re going to want to make these holiday Linzer cookies. Filled with raspberry jam, these classic butter cookies make a beautiful and delicious holiday treat.
22. Milk and Cookie Shots
And finally, if you’re looking for something fun and unique, try my homemade milk and cookies shots. Serve them up with milk or get creative and whip up a shot with a cream-based alcohol to make your festivities extra special.
They are a unique and fun way to celebrate with friends and family for the holidays. Cheers!
23. Christmas Pinwheel Cookies
Thanks to these Christmas Pinwheel Cookies, your Christmas cookie trays are about to get a striking, colorful, and delicious addition. You’re going to love this recipe as they are eye-catching and relativity easy to make.
Cutout Christmas Sugar Cookies
I’m a huge fan of cutout cookies. That’s basically a fancified way of saying you roll out the dough and cut out a cute shape from it using a cookie cutter.
Not only are sugar cookies yummy, but there are so many fun designs and ideas out there. There’s a reason they are such a classic Christmas cookie!
24. Sweater Weather Sugar Cookies
These festive frosted cookies are a favorite not just of mine but also of Better Homes and Gardens. This recipe received acclaim in BHG’s Christmas Ideas Magazine. I had to include them on my favorite list because they are super cute and made from my mom’s go-to sugar cookie recipe.
She has been making this recipe for as long as I can remember. While they look fancy, don’t be intimidated. I just used a sweater cookie cutter and added fancy piping.
I assume most families have their own go-to sugar cookie recipe, but if you don’t or want to experiment this year, give this recipe a try.
25. Christmas Tree Gingerbread Cookies
It doesn’t get any cuter than these cookies. I’ve taken my classic gingerbread cookie recipe and turned it into these festive, colorful, and wonderfully delicious Christmas tree gingerbread cookies. You’re in for a treat.
26. Cutout Peppermint Sugar Cookies
Sugar cookies get a festive upgrade with peppermint baking chips and adorable colorful designs piped in royal icing. These peppermint sugar cookies are as cute as they are delicious!
27. Thermos Gingerbread Cookies
Inspired by vintage plaid thermoses, I’ve baked and decorated these jolly thermos gingerbread cookies. Their unique decorative pattern and delicious gingerbread flavor will make them a star on your holiday cookie platter.
28. Orange-Almond Mushroom Sugar Cookies
I’m showing you how to make these adorable orange-almond mushroom sugar cookies. They are flavorful sugar cookies cut out into a mushroom shape and decorated with red and white royal icing. They are almost too cute to eat.
You’re probably thinking, “Michael, mushrooms aren’t very Christmassy.” Well, my friends, I’m here to tell you otherwise.
If you’ve been following along, you’ll know that I decorated a Christmas tree in my family room in the colors of red and white. I also filled it with dozens of whimsical mushroom ornaments—they are pretty special.
So in my world, mushroom cookies are totally Christmas!
29. Gingerbread Cookies
This gingerbread cookie recipe makes a delicious holiday treat that can double as festive Christmas decor. First, they are full of seasonal spice and flavor.
Second, if you let them dry out, you can use them to decorate your tree, mantel, and packages. The options are almost endless. Either way, you’re going to love this recipe!
29. Cherry Walnut Snowball Cookies
Classic snowball cookies get a flavor upgrade with cherries and walnuts. These Cherry Walnut Snowball Cookies will make the perfect addition to your Christmas cookie platter and holiday dessert table.
31. Christmas Kitchen Sink Cookies
These soft, chewy, and flavor-packed kitchen sink cookies are loaded with everything but the kitchen sink including chocolate chips, pretzels, potato chips, and toffee. And finishing it all off are colorful sprinkles that make them a festive Christmas cookie recipe.
32. Frosted Almond Sugar Cookies
Classic cut-out sugar cookies get a flavor boost when almonds are added to create frosted Almond Sugar Cookies. The flavor is familiar but elevated, comforting, and delicious. I decorated mine to look like Christmas trees, but feel free to make any cookie shape(s) you desire.
32. DIY Christmas Cookie Bags
Looking for a creative, fun, and unique way to share your Christmas cookies? You should make these DIY Christmas cookies bags. I’ve provided the graphics – all you need to do is iron them on.
32. DIY Vintage-Inspired Christmas Gift Bags
Want another? Learn how to make these festive vintage-inspired Christmas gift bags. As with the cookie bags above, I’ve provided the vintage holiday graphics as a free download!
And that’s it… for now. I hope you set aside time this Christmas to do some holiday baking. Let me know in the comments below what your favorite Christmas cookie is or which one of my best Christmas cookies you’d most like to try.
Another Christmas season is coming. I am extremely excited for new and warm things in this Christmas season.
Made the shortbread Wreath cookies and they came out perfect and beautiful!
Thank you for these recipes. My children love cookies and I’ll try these to give them something new.
I can’t wait to try it out! I like chocolate gravy on biscuits, and this recipe cuts out the middleman.
I’m glad I found these amazing recipes. The recipe for Whipped Shortbread Cookies definitely won. Thank you
Thank you soooo much!!
I just wanted to let you know that your recipes have not only been my go-to for new ideas, but they have also become part of our yearly holiday traditions. You are very skilled, and I consider myself quite lucky that you are willing to share that gift.
Thank you so much about this list of best the Christmas cookies i have ever know.
Thank you for sharing this cookies recipe! i will definitely try this one for my children to taste. it was worth the read in your blog, glad that I bumped into this.
Michael, Have you ever made bourbon fudge? If so, I would be thrilled to have the recipe. I know I can trust your recipes, I don’t have to test them. Thanks! Love every thing you post!
Just wanted to share that your recipes have not only become my go-to for fresh ideas but have also become part of our annual holiday traditions. You are very talented and I feel very fortunate that you are willing to share that talent.
I want to try them all! I will definitely make the eggnog cookies.
Hey! Just want to say. All of the cookies look amazing. I found your Emerald Christmas Tree Article in the Better Homes Magazine. I saw you had a blog and I just had to look it up! So I’m here now! I think my fave cookie is the Sweater! It’s so creative and looks yummy!
Thank you. Will be trying all of these recipes. I’ll check out to find my favorites
This list is everything! I randomly decided that I needed to bake Christmas cookies this year (when I learned that my mother “didn’t have time”) – so I pulled this list and baked them all. It’s a beautiful tray, they all turned out wonderfully, and there is something for everyone! Thank you for posting this roundup!
I love this so much! (Not the mother “didn’t have time” part.) Thank you Erin!! Merry Christmas.
I believe the frosted eggnog cookies are my favorite. The cream horns look good, but
very time consuming to make.
Thanks for the cookie recipes. I have been searching for years for the clothes pin of my childhood. I have come close but not exactly. Really excited to try yours. The recipe had Crisco as one of the items and so does yours. Could this really be it? Merry Christmas!!
Love you blog! Your photography, recipes, tips are all so good. I tried your Cream Wafer Cookies yesterday and they are just wonderful. So light and different. I had trouble rolling out the dough that thin (1/8″) and getting it on the cookie sheet. Any advice?