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10 Easy Holiday Cookie Recipes for the Whole Family

These easy holiday cookie recipes are sure to delight the whole family.
10 Easy Holiday Cookie Recipes for the Whole Family
Updated: December 15, 2022
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Cookie baking is a great way to get your family together during the holidays. Whether you are enjoying these festive cookies at home, whipping them up for a cookie exchange, for a holiday party, or making a batch for Santa, they bring happiness and Christmas spirit. Plus, baking these holiday treats is a great activity to get your little ones involved as well.

Tips for Baking with Kids 

Allowing your kids in the kitchen may seem like a dangerous idea as it doesn’t sound very kid-friendly. However, it can be a fun experience for everyone as long as you are prepared. Here are some tips I follow when I cook with my young kids.

  1. Make sure they understand safety. I never allow them to open or close the oven, or remove or place the cookie sheets in the oven. Even though they may need reminders, it is always the first rule before entering the kitchen.
  2. Keep sharp objects out of reach. Knives, scissors, and similar tools are to be used by an adult only or put out of the reach of small hands.
  3. Give them tasks. Whether it’s pouring ingredients into the bowl or decorating the cooled cookies, giving them an important job gives them some independence while also keeping them safe.
  4. Messes happen. Remember to not sweat the small stuff and have fun! Cookie baking during the holidays is some of the fondest memories of my childhood and they are bound to be for your little ones, too.

1. Gingerbread Cookies

By Sally’s Baking Recipes

Gingerbread Cookies

There’s something about a classic gingerbread cookie that screams ‘holiday season’ and I think it’s easily one of everyone’s favorite Christmas cookies. These are perfect for cutouts and are chewy and delicious.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies


  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup packed light or brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup molasses
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ground clove


  1. 1. In a large bowl, using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter for 1 minute on medium speed until completely smooth and creamy. Add the brown sugar and molasses and beat on medium-high speed until combined and creamy-looking. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Next, beat in the egg and vanilla on high speed for 2 full minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. The butter may separate; that’s ok.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves together until combined. On low speed, slowly mix the wet ingredients until combined. 
  3. The cookie dough will be quite thick and slightly sticky. Divide the dough in half and place each half onto a large piece of plastic wrap. 
  4. Wrap each half up tightly and pat down to create a disc shape. Chill the discs for at least 3 hours and up for to 3 days. Chilling is mandatory for this cookie dough. I always chill mine overnight.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line 2-3 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
  6. Remove 1 disc of chilled cookie dough from the refrigerator. Generously flour a work surface, as well as your hands, and the rolling pin. Roll out the disc until 1/4-inch thick. Tips for rolling – the dough may crack and be crumbly as you roll. What’s helpful is picking it up and rotating it as you go. Additionally, you can use your fingers to help meld the cracking edges back together. The first few rolls are always the hardest since the dough is so stiff, but re-rolling the scraps is much easier. 
  7. Cut into shapes. Place shapes 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheets. Re-roll dough scraps until all the dough is shaped. Repeat with the remaining disc of dough.
  8. Bake cookies for about 9-10 minutes. If your cookie cutters are smaller than 4 inches, bake for about 8 minutes. If your cookie cutters are larger than 4 inches, bake for about 11 minutes. My oven has hot spots and yours may too – so be sure to rotate the pan once during bake time. Keep in mind that the longer the cookies bake, the harder and crunchier they’ll be. For soft gingerbread cookies, follow my suggested baking times.
  9. Allow cookies to cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Once completely cool, decorate as desired.
  10. Cookies stay fresh and covered at room temperature for up to 1 week.

2. Peanut Butter Blossoms 

Peanut Butter Blossoms

These aren’t your average peanut butter cookies. Many households make these every holiday season as a family tradition and it’s easy to see why. These cookies are melt-in-your-mouth good.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies


  • ½ cup shortening
  • ¾ cup peanut butter
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 bag milk chocolate candy kisses, unwrapped 


  1. 1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease cookie sheets.
  2. Cream shortening and peanut butter in a mixing bowl. Gradually add sugar and brown sugar, creaming well.
  3. Beat in egg, vanilla, and milk.
  4. Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to the creamy mixture.
  5. Shape into small balls — about a teaspoonful each.
  6. Roll balls in granulated sugar and place them on a greased cookie sheet.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and press a candy kiss into the center of each cookie, pressing firmly so the cookie cracks around the edges.
  8. Bake for another 2 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool.

3. Cranberry Shortbread Cookies 

By ‘An Italian In My Kitchen’

Cranberry Shortbread Cookies 

If you enjoy butter cookies, these are the perfect choice for your family to try. They are so easy to make and are extra yummy with the tart cranberries.

Makes 2 dozen cookies


  • 1¾-2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ⅔ cup + 1 tablespoon butter (softened) 
  • ⅓ cup + 1½ tablespoons sugar (caster/fine)
  • 1 pinch salt
  • ¼-½ cup dried cranberries


  1. Beat the butter and sugar until creamy, approximately 2-3 minutes, add the sifted flour (start with 1 3/4 cups add the remaining 4 tablespoons if needed one at a time) and the salt, combine, when almost combined add the cranberries and continue to beat with the flat beaters (#2 speed) until a firm dough is obtained. Be aware that it does take time to bring it together. If you knead by hand it will take approximately 4 minutes to knead.
  2. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes or even overnight).
  3. Remove the dough from the fridge, and if very firm, gently knead, then place the dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper and roll to ¼ inch thickness. 
  4. Cut out with round or square cookie cutters, and place on the prepared cookie sheets. Sprinkle with sugar before baking if desired. Refrigerate the cookies while the oven is preheating, for about 15 minutes.
  5. Preheat the oven to 320F (160C). Line 1 or 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  6. Bake the cookies for approximately 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, let sit for 2-3 minutes on the cookie sheet then move to a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy!

4. Chocolate Chip Cookies 

By Betty Crocker

Chocolate Chip Cookies

In my opinion, few things are better than an ooey gooey chocolate chip cookie fresh out of the oven. These are so yummy!

Makes 4 dozen cookies


  • • 2 1/4 cups Gold Medal™ all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • cup coarsely chopped nuts (if desired)


  1. Heat oven to 375°F. In a small bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat softened butter and sugars with an electric mixer on medium speed, or mix with a spoon for about 1 minute or until fluffy, scraping the side of the bowl occasionally.
  3. Beat in egg and vanilla until smooth. Stir in flour mixture just until blended (dough will be stiff). Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.
  4. Onto ungreased cookie sheets, drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart.
  5. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until light brown (the centers will be soft). 
  6. Cool for 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes. Store covered in an airtight container.

5. Snickerdoodles


These cookies are great any time of year. They are soft and chewy and give a nice kick of cinnamon to warm you up on a cold day.


  • • 1 ½ cups sugar (plus an additional ¼ cup for powdering)
  • ½ cup butter or margarine
  • ½ cup shortening
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 ¾ cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°.
  2. Mix sugar, butter, shortening, and eggs in a large bowl.
  3. Stir in flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine additional sugar and cinnamon.
  5. Shape dough into 1 ¼ inch balls (or stars, or whatever you like) and dip in a cinnamon-sugar mixture.
  6. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet 2 inches apart.
  7. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until set.
  8. Transfer from cookie sheet to wire rack to cool.

6. Sugar Cookies

Sugar Cookies

Sugar cookies are a popular and easy Christmas cookie recipe. This sugar cookie recipe is ideal if you want cut-out cookies so you can use all sorts of shapes like Christmas trees, stars, and even bells.


  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Combine flour, baking soda, and baking powder in a bowl.
  2. Cream sugar and eggs together until smooth.
  3. Add the egg and vanilla extract.
  4. Chill the cookie mixture in the refrigerator for two hours.
  5. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  6. Roll out cookie dough to 1/4 inch thick and cut it out into holiday shapes.
  7. Bake for 8-10 minutes until golden and let cool.
  8. Decorate with colored sugar or cookie icing.

7. Peppermint Brownie Cookies 

By Browned Butter Blondie

Image Source: Browned Butter Blondie 

Chocolate and peppermint are such a great combination. These brownie cookies are soft and rich with a strong but not overwhelming peppermint flavor.

Makes 1 dozen cookies


  • • 1/2 cup (113 g) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups (240 g) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 3/4 cup (95 g) all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1/4 cup (30 g) Dutch-process cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2/3 cup (133 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup dark chocolate peppermint bark, chopped


  1. 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and adjust the oven racks so that you can cook two cookie sheets at the same time (one rack at the top third of the oven and one in the bottom third of the oven). Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler on the stove in a heat-safe glass bowl. To create a double boiler, fill a saucepan with 2 inches of water, and place a heat-safe glass bowl over it. Do not let the bowl touch the water below. Heat the water to a simmer but do not boil. Stir the mixture occasionally until the chocolate and butter are melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the peppermint extract. Set aside to cool slightly.
  4. While the chocolate is cooling, add the sugars and eggs to a large mixing bowl and mix with a hand mixer on medium-high for 5 minutes. You can also use a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Set a timer and mix for a full 5 minutes.
  5. After 5 minutes add the melted chocolate and butter mixture to the beaten sugar and egg mixture. Mix for another 20 to 30 seconds on medium-high speed to combine.
  6. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients all at once and use a large spatula to fold the batter together until incorporated. Do not over-mix. The dough should resemble brownie batter.
  7. Using a medium (1.5 tablespoons) cookie scoop, scoop mounds of dough onto the prepared baking sheets. The dough will be soft like brownie batter but should hold its form. Place the cookies 2 inches apart as they will spread as they bake. If possible, use two large baking sheets and plan to bake all of the cookies at once.
  8. Place both cookie sheets into the preheated oven and bake for 9-10 minutes. The cookie is done when the edges are set and the tops are glossy and cracked. Do not overbake or the cookies will be crunchy and dry instead of soft and fudgy. Remove the cookies from the oven and top each one with chunks of dark chocolate peppermint bark. Allow the cookies to cool for 10 minutes before using a spatula to transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. 

8. Candy Cane Cookies 

By Taste of Home

 Candy Cane Cookies

These may take a little more work to accomplish but they are worth it. They are not too sweet and may even be too pretty to eat.

Makes 4 dozen cookies


  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon red food coloring
  • 1/2 cup peppermint candy, crushed
  • 1/2 cup sugar


  1. In a large bowl, cream the shortening, butter, and confectioners' sugar until light and fluffy, 5-7 minutes. Beat in egg and extracts. Combine flour and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture. Divide dough in half; mix the food coloring into 1 portion. Cover and refrigerate both doughs for 2 hours or until easy to handle.
  2. Shape 1 teaspoon of plain dough into a 4-inch rope. Shape 1 teaspoon of red dough into a 4-inch rope. Place ropes side by side; press them together lightly and twist. Place on an ungreased baking sheet; curve the top of the cookie down to form the handle of the cane. Repeat with remaining plain and red dough, placing cookies 2 inches apart on baking sheets.
  3. Bake at 375° for 8-9 minutes or until set. Combine the crushed candy and sugar; sprinkle warm cookies with the candy mixture. Remove to wire racks to cool.

9. Holiday Snowballs 

Holiday Snowballs

These cookies are very similar to Mexican wedding cookies. We love these for their light, nutty flavor.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies


  • 1 cup butter
  • ½ cup confectioner's sugar (plus an additional ½ cup for powdering)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup finely chopped or ground nuts (walnuts, pecans, and almonds all work well)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour 


  1. 1. Preheat the oven to 325°.
  2. Cream butter in a mixing bowl. Gradually add confectioner's sugar and salt; continue creaming until light and fluffy.
  3. Add nuts and vanilla extract.
  4. Blend in flour gradually and mix thoroughly.
  5. Shape into small balls — about a teaspoonful each.
  6. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet.
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Do not brown.
  8. Cool slightly, then roll in additional confectioner's sugar.

10. Hot Chocolate Cookies 

By Love From The Oven

Hot Chocolate Cookies

Image Source: Love from the Oven 

A steaming cup of hot chocolate is perfect for the holidays. These cookies have the decadent chocolate and marshmallow flavor that everyone enjoys.

Makes 3 dozen cookies


  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 4 packages hot cocoa mix or 3/4 cups hot cocoa mix – (do not use sugar-free versions)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup Mallow Bits (mini marshmallows do not work the same and can be a bit of a sticky mess)


  1. Beat butter and sugars in a large bowl with a standing mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well.
  2. In a separate bowl combine dry ingredients. Gradually beat dry ingredients into the butter mixture until blended. Stir in chocolate chips and Mallow Bits. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.
  3. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Drop 2 tablespoons of dough, 2 inches apart, onto baking sheets lined with silicone baking mats or parchment paper. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes; remove to wire racks and cool.

Are you ready to make the best Christmas cookie you ever tasted this year?

Take a look here for some other dessert and baked good recipes for your family to enjoy!

Stefanie Miller

About Stefanie

Stefanie is an experienced parenting writer and has published works in other publications… Read more

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