Baking Christmas cookies with the kids always sounds like a good idea until you’re elbow deep in cookie batter with too many sticky hands trying to “help” and eat the raw dough. So if you have about as much patience as I do for this type of endeavor, my recommendation is to have your little sous chefs help you make no-bake cookie balls for the holidays. They are easy, festive, yummy and use store-bought cookies as their base.
I’ve put together a dozen no-bake holiday cookie ball recipes perfect for making with the kids, from eager toddlers to more-than-capable teens.
Maybe you can even just sit back and supervise. And taste-test, of course.
1. Gingerbread Cookie Balls
Run, run, as fast as you can, and make me a batch of these Gingerbread cookie balls from Leelalicious. I love her suggestions for adding her own gingerbread spice mix to the outer coating for more festive flavor. And, how adorable are those little mini edible gingerbread men that you can catch at a local store if you run, run. Ha.
2. Cookie Ball Christmas Tree
This cookie ball Christmas tree recipe from Kitchen Simmer can grow as big as you’d like, simply by adding or removing the number of cookie balls. This is a great idea for siblings who want to make and decorate their “own” tree. And if you end up with extra balls, just do as she does and roll them in shredded coconut to make snowballs. No throwing, please.
3. Melting Snowman Cookie Balls
Get all ages involved in making these melting snowman cookie balls with a recipe from The Girl Who Ate Everything. Your youngest kids can roll and dip the cookie balls, while older kids can carefully decorate Frosty’s faces. Luckily they aren’t really melting and will last right up until Christmas, if you don’t eat them all in a week.
Related: 7 creative Christmas bark recipes, from melted snowmen to hidden reindeer faces
4. Reindeer Cookie Balls
Kids will love making Dasher, Dancer, and, of course, Rudolph out of chocolate-coated cookie balls. Check out Like Mother Like Daughter’s reindeer cookie ball instructions for how to best put these together so you end up with an entire herd of them for Christmas.
5. Candy Cane Cookie Balls
What to do with all those candy canes you bought? Make these peppermint candy cane cookie balls from Two Twenty One. The white chocolate against the red-and-white crushed candy canes looks surprisingly elegant. And the peppermint extract inside is a nice balance with all that sweet.
6. Santa’s Belly Cookie Balls
Get in my belly, Santa! You’ll need to pull out piping bags for these Santa belly cookie balls from Southern Bite, but the finished result sure looks worth it. Southern Bite also has lots of tips for how to get these bellies so neat, so this is probably best to save for the older kids to do.
7. Classic Sugar Cookie Balls
Sugar cookies go with Christmas like, well, cookies and milk. And I Heart Naptime’s sugar cookie balls are easy to make and delicious to eat. Make a batch in all one color or change it up with red, green, and white cookie balls to decorate with all your favorite sprinkles.
8. Eggnog Cookie Balls
Will Cook for Smiles offers up a recipe for eggnog cookie balls that looks just perfect for the holidays. With both eggnog and nutmeg inside, they could be a perfect homemade hostess gift for an adults-only cocktail party as well.
Related: 10 delicious and totally easy holiday food crafts for kids
9. Cookie Ball Christmas Presents
Not all cookie balls need to be round (or uh, ball-shaped), and if your kids can form boxes, you can make these super cute cookie ball presents from a clever recipe via The First Year blog. Watch the festive and short tutorial to learn how to make those festive little bows — they’re easier than you might think.
10. Cookie Ball Christmas Ornaments
Diary of a Working Mom serves up some gorgeous cookie ball ornaments that can be decorated with any holiday sprinkles you have handy, and I love the clever instructions for making the top of the ornament with just a few edible treats.They look especially cute packaged together in a cookie tin or small, pretty box like she’s featured them here. The colors are pretty gorgeous all around.
11. Snow Globe Cookie Balls
Okay, so admittedly the spectacularly decorated snow globe cookie balls from the aptly named Worth Pinning are not for novices — or even advanced beginners. But, if you have an artistic teen who is up for the challenge, these little works of art are worth the effort and make spectacular homemade Christmas food gifts. Though, gah! I’d never want to eat them!
12. New Year’s Eve Cookie Balls.
Finally, don’t forget to ring in the new year with a sweet treat. I think Kenarry’s sparkly white New Year’s Eve cookie balls recipe will do the trick, as they’re designed to be reminiscent of the Times Square ball — only without the crowds.