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12 Christmas Cookies to Bake this Season

Let’s get into the spirit of the holidays! Baking cookies for friends and loved ones surely is a time honored tradition in many households. Here are 12 Christmas Cookies to bake this season. Find the recipe to make for a cookie exchange, for family gatherings, and for festive parties!

Collage of photos for Pinterest image of best christmas cookies

Baking Christmas cookies is a time honored tradition that families share year to year. If you are looking for the best holiday cookies, you are in the right place! 

Thanksgiving is barely in the rearview mirror and baking Christmas cookies is upon us. There are only a few weeks until Christmas! So in those short days you’ll pack in hours of list making, gift shopping, and maybe baking traditional Christmas cookies too.

Before I jump into my  holiday baking, it’s fun to look back to see what baked goods we’ve enjoyed in past years. Then these favorites might pop up again for cookie exchanges or gifts for my neighbors.

No one says you have to try new recipes each year, in fact, if you have a favorite stick with it. Let’s hope that you might become the neighborhood’s legendary macaron creator or the best peanut-brittle maker this side of the Mississippi!

What kitchen items do I need to bake cookies?

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The Best Christmas Cookies:

Here are twelve of my favorite easy Christmas cookie recipes to get you in the holiday spirit:

Chocolate Caramel Thumbprints

Square image of chocolate caramel thumbprint cookies

This recipe is from America’s Test Kitchen and you can’t go wrong with their reliable and time-tested recipes. This chocolate caramel thumbprint cookie starts with cocoa in the dough with a store-bought caramel melted into the center. If you are only going to make one special cookie for a cookie exchange this year, try this beauty.

Cinnamon Roll Cookies

Cinnamon roll cookies are a short cut to the same flavors and iconic swirl that you’d find in cinnamon rolls but in a cookie form. Really creative and fun! Roll out the cookie dough, add a layer of cinnamon spread, and roll up these slice and bake cookies. 

Square photo of cinnamon roll cookie

Brownie Cookies

The chocolate cookie of your dreams is here– perfect combination of a cookie and a brownie all in one sweet package. Make a double batch because these brownie cookies will disappear in a flash!

Square image of brownie cookies on a marble countertop

Espresso Pinwheel Cookies

Espresso pinwheel cookies are an easy way to combine two colors and flavors into one happy cookie. Make two flavors out of one dough then roll them together. This slice and bake cookie can be frozen in a log ahead of time, then cut into slices when you are ready to bake.

Espresso pinwheel cookies on a green plate

Pistachio Cranberry Rugelach

The soft cream cheese dough is wrapped around a citrus, pistachio and cranberry filling in this festive twist on rugelach. Let the red and green shine!

Pistachio Cranberry Ruglach cookies on a wire cooling rack on top of a baking sheet

Linzer Cookies

Linzer cookies combine flour and ground almonds to make a delicate dough that holds up well sandwiched with jam. Use cherry preserves or strawberry jam for a red, holiday flair.

Linzer cookies with cherry preserves make a beautiful Christmas cookie

Chocolate Coffee Crinkles

The flavor of chocolate cookie dough is heightened with the addition of espresso to create these coffee chocolate crinkles. Perfect for a cookie exchange, holiday party or Christmas desserts too. 

Coffee Crinkle cookies on a wire cooling rack on top of a red napkin

Chocolate Dipped Macadamia Nut Cookies

Chocolate dipped macadamia nut cookies start with a shortbread dough then are amped up with luscious macadamia nuts. Dipping half (or the whole) cookie in chocolate seals the deal for these simple yet decadent cookies.

Chocolate dipped macadamia nut cookies on wire rack and parchment paper

Spritz Cookies

Baking Spritz Cookies with a Cookie Press gives a uniformity unmatched by most other baking methods. This traditional cardamon spiced Christmas cookie can be made in many shapes– flowers, wreaths, or trees– and left plain or decorated with icing. 

Spritz cookies make a lovely holiday cookie display

Chocolate Peppermint Crinkle Cookies

Chocolate peppermint crinkle cookies should be on your holiday baking list of goodies. They bring together the flavors of the season– chocolate with soft peppermint bits that melt in your mouth!

Chocolate peppermint crinkle cookie on wire rack with peppermint chips

Double Chocolate Cookies with Dried Cherries

Double chocolate chip cookies with dried cherries are a dressed up version of the brownie cookies above. The additions are simple– white chocolate chips and dried cherries– and it makes this an entirely different cookie.

double chocolate cookies with dried cherries and white chocolate chips on a baking tray

and one more to round out a Baker’s Dozen!

Pepparkakor (Swedish Ginger Cookies)

Pepparkakor are a ginger cookie flavored with molasses and spiced with ginger and cinnamon. I first heard of these cookies from the book, Pippi Longstocking, and have seen them for sale at Ikea too. Make cookies a Christmas tradition!

Pepparkakor or Swedish ginger cookies in a white square bowl

That is a lot of options for holiday baking and there is no need to stop at just one. I’d love to hear form you– let me know what is your best holiday cookie!

Yes, crank the Christmas music up and get baking!

How can I package these cookies?

A simple trick to packaging cookies is to use a Pringles can. Yup. The potato chip. Pringles. Check out this Creative Gift Packaging for Cookies.

How should I send cookies in the mail?

I’ve sent many a cookie through the US Postal System. Always layer your cookies with bubble wrap in between each layer. That is the first step. For more suggestions you’ll want to read this post about How to Package Cookies for the Mail.

Please note that this post was originally posted in November 2017 and updated November 2018.