Perfect Pittsburgh Cookie Table Recipes For WeddingsThis Post May Contain Affiliate Links. Please Read Our Disclosure Policy
Fill your Pittsburgh cookie table with any – or all – of these beautiful cookies! They are perfect for a wedding any time of the year.
Have you heard of this fun wedding tradition? Maybe you’ve seen donut walls, but wedding cookie tables are honestly one of the best things to ever come out of Pennsylvania.
As you plan your special day (or help someone plan theirs), do not skip the cookie table! Your guests will love this sweet tradition. There isn’t one right way to decorate or fill one out, but taste and looks are both important factors here. So, I have some of the prettiest and tastiest cookie ideas that are totally wedding-worthy.
FAQs about Pittsburgh Wedding Cookie Table
Before we get to the tantalizing list of cookies, I am going to answer some questions I see all the time about wedding cookie tables. If you don’t see your question in the list, please leave it in the comments.
What is a cookie table?
Just like the name implies, a wedding cookie table is a large table set up at a wedding filled with different types of family favorite and fancy cookies for guests to eat. Some cookie tables are absolutely overflowing with dozens of different types of cookies.
Here in Pennsylvania, this is a very common tradition. It’s so common that if you go to a wedding without a cookie table, it feels like something is missing.
Some people think this tradition started around the Great Depression when people joined together to bake tons of affordable cookies instead of baking and decorating elaborate cakes.
No matter where or when this originated, it is a delicious and beautiful tradition!
What cookies are on a wedding cookie table?
The fun thing about cookie tables is that you can add any type of cookies that you want! Serving a huge variety of different cookies from rustic to fancy not only makes the cookie table look more enticing, but it also gives your guests more choices.
It also pays respect to the original intent of cookie tables when they first started. People used to make cookies that represented their family’s heritage. It’s a wonderful way to stay on theme and celebrate your family’s unique recipes and traditions.
Hosting a Christmas wedding? Be sure to check out my favorite Christmas cookie recipes.
How many cookies do I need for the cookie table at a wedding?
You’ll need to set out enough cookies for everyone to have at least a few. The best rule to follow is to set out about three to six cookies per person, depending on how big the cookies are.
When do you set out the cookies on a Pittsburgh wedding cookie table?
When you set out the cookies depends on your wedding’s schedule of events. If you are following the traditional order of ceremony, photos, reception, dance, etc., then it is best to set out the cookies after the ceremony and before the dinner.
The cookies give your guests something to nibble on while the bride, groom, and wedding party take their photos.
Prefer to hold the sweets until later on? Set them out after dinner during the dancing portion of the evening!
Wedding Cookie Table Recipes
These are the only cookie recipes you’ll need to completely fill up a Pittsburgh cookie table. Click through to each recipe and pin your favorites to Pinterest.
1. Cream Horns
Also called Lady Locks, these are traditional cookie table cookies. They are perfectly delicate and fancy enough for the most formal wedding.
2. Lemon Sandwich Cookies
I love how light the flavor is in these lemon sandwich cookies. They are great to have any time of year and have the perfect combination of cream and crispy shortbread.
3. Peanut Butter Striped Cookies
Another classic take on shortbread cookies is these striped peanut butter shortbread cookies. They are crispy, and you can use any type of cookie cutter you want, so it’s easy to personalize them for the bride and groom.
4. Nutella Thumbprint Cookies
Anyone that loves Nutella is going to adore these cookies! Nutella thumbprints are a chocolaty twist on classic jam-filled thumbprint cookies.
5. Black and White Cookies
I’ve seen different versions of black and white cookies at lots of weddings before. My recipe adds a fun little change – I used pumpkin in the cookie dough!
6. Cream Wafer Cookies
Use the wedding colors as the filling in these crispy cream wafer cookies. You can even cut out the cookies with different cookie cutters to make the shapes wedding-themed.
7. Italian Sprinkle Cookies
Don’t forget to set out classic traditional Italian wedding cookies on your big day. The sprinkles are optional. For a wedding, add some silver sprinkles or just leave the sprinkles out and serve beautiful white cookies.
8. Almond Orange Sugar Cookies
These playful mushroom-shaped cookies will grab your guest’s attention. They have a surprising almond and orange flavor that everyone will enjoy.
9. Dulce de Leche Chocolate Sandwich Cookies
People who love this Latin American dessert will really enjoy these chocolate sandwich cookies. The crispy chocolate wafers are filled with creamy caramel – it is a very decadent cookie.
10. Salted Caramel Crumb Bars
These classic dessert bars are a crowd-pleaser! Not only do they have that popular salted caramel taste, but they are really easy to make for a huge crowd too. It’s always good to make a cookie or dessert bar that you know people will enjoy.
11. Peanut Butter Cookies
Another fan-favorite is these soft peanut butter cookies. You can fill them with any seasonal M&M candies that you want to reflect the current colors. Or just stay traditional and leave the candies out.
12. White Chocolate Cherry Shortbread Cookies
Soft and sweet, these cherry shortbread cookies are the perfect thing to share with wedding guests. They are a lot of fun to decorate and will soon become a wedding favorite.
That’s a Wrap on the Perfect Pittsburgh Cookie Table
Whether you make a few of these cookies or all of them, it is really easy to fill up a Pittsburgh cookie table with the choices in this list. These cookies will impress your guests and give kids something fun to eat while they wait for the food or music.
Wedding cookie tables are a really fun tradition. They might just be popular on the East coast for now, but they are so much fun that if you set one up, your guests will rave about it!
Thanks for this article. Well Explained
I am enjoying your blog so much! I have been scrolling through your Christmas decorating and recipes- can’t wait to start baking and decorating! I grew up going to weddings with cookie tables in Youngstown, Ohio and Pittsburgh and thought everyone did this till I moved away and when I asked where is the cookie table at a wedding, my husband had no idea what I was talking about!
My sister bakes cookies for the cookie table for her friend’s families. She also included Pitzel’s, Mexican wedding cookies with powdered sugar, and other cookies related to the background of the family and bride and groom.
We’re from CA; I didn’t know this was a PA tradition. Our wedding, 50 yrs ago, was in the early evening of New year’s Eve, so in addition to many wonderful fancy wedding cookies, our cookie table also had several types of elaborately decorated Christmas cookies and treats such as walnut fudge and peppermint divinity. We also had a small wedding cake, but the cookies were the star. Thank you for sharing this lovely tradition with us!
The first place I heard about wedding cookie tables was on Michelle’s Browneyed Baker blog, who celebrated her own wedding in this way. This is a great tradition.
I’ve seen pictures of cookie tables on Facebook, but didn’t understand that it was a Pennsylvania tradition. Thank you for explaining. One question … Do the bride and groom still cut a cake or do they share a cookie?
Yes! The still have a cake. The cookies are set-up to be enjoyed while the bride and groom have photos and guests are waiting for them at the reception.
Many Pittsburgh brides now add wedding branded cookie take home ‘bags’ so guests can take a few home. Since there are usually so many cookies, this is great way to provide a treat for later. A long way from back in the day when some grannys would bring Tupperware containers to grab their fair share!
There’s always a way to take it to the next level. I think I would prefer the homemade cookies from the Tupperware! Ha!
Hi Michael … I enjoy ALL of your posts, and look forward each day to what you might have to say. Thanks so much for your always entertaining posts !
Thank you so much, Susan!
M’y favorites are thé Lady Locks! My parents are originally from Pittsburgh and I love going to family weddings up there.
Yes – the lady locks are SO GOOD!!
Cookies Tables! Yes! I had never heard or seen a Cookie Table until I married my husband and we moved to a town west of Pittsburgh (Beaver Falls). I am amazed at the variety & beauty of the cookies at weddings there. We now live in Colorado but when we travel back to BF I always head to the cookie table(s) first to take photos. Such a special tradition – I hope it continues in to future generations. Thanks for introducing the cookie table tradition to others who aren’t from the Pittsburgh area
Michael, this is definitely a different kind of post and love it! I’ve not encountered a wedding cookie table yet have reaped the huge selection of a candy table! OMG you thought you were in a candy shop for the assortment available! Thank you for sharing as it might just become the new thing happening in areas where it wasn’t appearing yet!
I am originally from Youngstown Ohio and we also traditionally do cookie tables for weddings. I didn’t realize how special it was till I moved away. I thought everyone did them. They sell platters on Etsy that have the Youngstown or Pittsburgh Cookie Table and the history of it. So so special.
I’m from Pittsburgh and I am very familiar with cookie tables. I have also seen candy tables. It’s super nice to include little boxes or bags to take some treats home as a little favor from the wedding. Great Pittsburgh tradition.
Yes!! That is a great idea! Though, the weddings I’ve been at there are never any cookies left. Haha!
I love this tradition! I will be attending a wedding reception in Pittsburgh this fall and will be contributing cookies as well as enjoying the cookie table. Thanks for sharing this for those who do not know about it.
How long should you set out the wedding cookies? You should leave them out for your guests while the ceremony, photos, and reception are happening. Leave them out until you head to dinner. The cookies give your guests something to nibble on while the bride, groom, and wedding party take their photos..
This post brought back such great memories for me. We are from western Pennsylvania. My mom and her two sisters were terrific bakers, and my one aunt supplemented her income after being widowed by baking cookies and other things for weddings. Her cookies were known all around the Punxsutawney area. She even made delicate little marzipan fruit-shaped goodies. My mom baked lots of cookies at Christmas for gifts, and I’ve gotten into that tradition now that she’s gone. I’ve added your cookies to my list of ones to try! Thanks
I love that SO MUCH!! Thank you for sharing! I would have loved to have tried their cookies!
I had no idea cookie tables were a tradition in PA. I’m glad you explained some of the history because I was thinking “what???” 🙂
Yes! It’s a “must have” and something everyone looks forward to!
Wonderful post Michael, great job 👏 👏
Thank you so much! It’s such a fun and delicious tradition!