Whether you are a prolific cookie baker or an enthusiastic cookie eater, holiday cookie season has begun! We all have our tried-and-true favorites (to bake and to eat), but we also love to try new recipes. So, we turned to you, our Recipe Rescue Facebook audience, to tell us your best go-to, must-make holiday cookie recipes. And you did not disappoint! Keep reading for more than 18 of your favorite holiday cookies.
And don’t sleep on our guide to 8 delicious Hanukkah cookie recipes for all eight days…and nights. They’re wonderful.
Updated for 2023
This post contains affiliate links and some purchases may generate a small commission that helps support our team at no additional cost to you. We appreciate your support!
The Best No-Spread Sugar cookies
A classic at the holidays, Jeannette K. loves the no-spread sugar cookies recipe from Hispana Global. I especially love the flooded icing decorations and know kids would have fun added all the finishing touches.
Ready to jump in but realize you need a set of cookie cutters ASAP to get you started? This 11-piece, made in the USA, steel cookie cutter set from Ann Clark can be ordered and delivered in just a couple of days from Amazon and is very affordable.
Erin M. won an award at a cookie exchange for these soft, chewy, sugary ginger cookie recipe from Lauren’s Latest. We can’t promise you’ll win anything, but they do look delicious! Also known as a “gingerdoodle”, they are a little more gentle on the ginger than some bolder, spicier gingersnaps . Our youngest bakers can even help roll the doughs into little balls that are then tossed in sugar.
Smitten Kitchen’s Blondies
What makes a cookie a holiday cookie? Heck if I know, but Erica P. swears that the “infinitely adaptable” Blondies from Smitten Kitchen definitely fits the bill. She recommends adding star-shaped pretzels like these, or minty chocolate bits to make them more “Christmas-like.” We might try red-and-green M&M’s instead of chocolate chunks to bump up the Christmas colors.
Sugary Mexican Wedding Cakes
No matter what you call these delicious little balls of nuts, butter, flour and powdered sugar, we are in agreement with Amy B. that these treats are are often on our cookie platters for good reason. Her go-to recipe is Savory Moments’ Mexican Wedding Cake Cookies which are soooo yummy they been one of her family favorites for generations.
Chewy Molasses Spice Cookies
Amy B. is also a fan of Savory Moments’ chewy molasses spice cookie recipe which was just republished with a recipe card in case you like to print out your recipes. Just look at that crackly top! And don’t worry about all the cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger—this is a lightly (but deliciously) spiced cookie.
Classic Coconut Macaroons
Salted Caramel Toffee Coconut Macaroons via Two Peas & Their Pod
Janet M. is a big fan of one of my all-time-favorites, coconut macaroons. Her preferred way to finish her family’s recipe is with a drizzle of dark chocolate (see our Facebook page for her basic recipe).
If you’d like even more ideas, check out our post on 7 spectacular macaroon variations, including those Salted Caramel Toffee Macaroons above. Just because Passover is in the spring doesn’t mean you can’t any one of these macaroon recipes this holiday. In fact, we’re in favor of macaroons being a year-round treat.
The Very Best Sugar and Gingerbread Cookies
Ashley P.’s two picks come with an assertive promise to be the “very best”: Suburban Soapbox’s The Very Best Sugar Cookies and The Very Best Gingerbread Cookie recipe. I will take her word for it until I get into the kitchen, but I will admit that these are some of the nicest-decorated holiday cookies I’ve seen. Just look at the gingerbread mom and baby!
Bonus: For a new gingerbread cookie recipe, Recipe Rescue reader Kelli G shared this creative one with us. I thought I’d read just about every holiday book on the planet, but somehow missed Gingerbread Mouse by Katy Bratun. Kelli swears it’s her favorite gingerbread cookie recipe, and you can get the recipe either in the book or on Beauties and the Feast.
Christmas “Crack” (Aka Saltine Toffee Candy)
Technically, these are not cookies, but I’ve been to enough cookie swaps to know that these Christmas saltine-toffee treats from Passionate Penny Pincher are a delicious addition to a table of traditional cookies. Heather M. really loves this recipe which is easy, even for a baking neophyte, but worth making even if you are a fancy baker. They’ll be gobbled up in no time.
Ricciarelli Italian Almond Cookies
Kim G. swears that these Italian riccairelli cookies from Pinch Me I’m Eating are SO FAB and ALWAYS a hit (her capitalization). I mean the name does have some of my very favorite things: “chewy”, “Italian”, and “almond”, so I may have to try these for the cookies swap later this month. Her tip? Give them plenty of drying time to get that beautiful cracked surface.
Italian Pignoli Cookies
Kim G. also raves about these unique pignoli cookies from My Sequined Life. Naturally flourless, dairy free, and gluten free, it gets a boost of flavor from sweet almond paste (which is different from marzipan) and pine nuts.
Laura’s Swedish gingerbread cookies
Laura R.’s recipe for Swedish gingerbread includes a healthy dose of orange zest which earns it rave reviews from those who are lucky enough to try it. Visit our thread to find her detailed, 3-part recipe and note that it makes a lot of cookies so you’ll have plenty to share.
The Pioneer Woman’s Painted Christmas Cookies
My sister, and Cool Mom Eats contributor, Karen Q. bakes a ton at the holidays, though most of her favorite tried-and-true recipes are scribbled on recipe cards (literally scribbled–you should see her handwriting). Three of her favorites are “Jan Hagel Dutch cookies, ginger molasses cookies, and overnight meringues.”
But, then she reminded me, “. . .my sister and I made these (The Pioneer Woman’s Favorite Christmas Cookies from Childhood ) with the kids for years. They are delicious and so much fun to paint!” And she’s right! We did this for years when the kids were little.
These cut-out cookies really are so tasty with great texture and a bit of citrus zest, but what makes them an A+ hit with young kids is that they can paint the cookies before they even go in the oven. Then, kids can go back and add finishing touches with royal icing, colored sugar, and sprinkles.
White Chocolate, Cranberry and Pistachio Christmas Cookies
I love me a jam-packed drop cookie which is how I first came to make Daring Gourmet’s scrumptious White Chocolate Cranberry Pistachio Cookies. More than just yummy with a great contrast of textures in a buttery base, the green pistachios and red cranberry bits really do pop.
Embossed Thumbprint Cookies
Long-time friend of Cool Mom Picks, Amy shared on Instagram her gorgeous Embossed Thumbprint Cookies made from King Arthur Flour’s recipe, using their Thumbprint Pop Out Cutters. I love how a traditional thumbprint cookie looks so dressed up for the holidays. Her jewel-like centers are filled with Bonne Maman cherry preserve, though any preserve, jam, icing, or filling (hint-Nutella) will all be delicious in the center of these buttery cookies.
Alternatively: Recipe Rescue‘s own Erin gives high praise to this Raspberry Strippers recipe from Cooking Light Magazine. Despite their funny name, they’re basically a variation on the well-known thumbprint cookie but cut into strips (hence the name). Erin makes them with all different kinds of preserves which is a great way to keep a familiar cookie from getting stale. Ha.
And. . .Chocolate Chip Cookies, Holiday Style!
Our long-time Cool Mom Eats friend and former Editor, Stacie Billis went all in on Instagram with her support of the crowd-pleasing chocolate chip cookie for the holidays–and she met with some resistance! But, honestly, if there are chocolate chip cookies on a platter of Christmas cookies, that’ll be my first choice every single time.
But, if your basic ccc is just too basic, there are ways to jazz it up for a holiday spread: Try dipping one side in melted chocolate and covering with holiday sprinkles as shown on The Food Cafe. Or check out Sweetopia’s brilliance in keeping the integrity of a basic chocolate chip cookie but using holiday cookie cutters (above) to make such a surprising treat. You’ll want to read her entire post and follow the recipe to a T if you want your cookies to look like hers. Adorable.