Christmas Dessert Recipes

We have the best Christmas dessert recipes for cookies, cakes, cupcakes, pies, candy, and more! And it wouldn't be Christmas without making yule logs, peppermint bark, or fruitcake. If you're looking to make sugar cookies this year, be sure to check out our guide to decorating your cookies with icing and frosting like a pro.

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Traditional Christmas Cookie Recipes Perfect for the Holiday Season

Classic cookie recipes like these will instantly evoke warm Christmas memories. Make a batch of gingerbread, spritz cookies, thumbprints, shortbread, or biscotti to celebrate the most festive time of the year.
By Anna Kovel

Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies

Rating: 3.5 stars 341
Studding chewy oatmeal cookies with cranberries gives them a bit of bright color and a slight tang. Any dried fruit can be substituted.

Ile Flottante with Caramel

Rating: 3.5 stars 113
For an ethereal holiday dessert, whip up Martha’s legendary île flottante (which translates to "Floating Island"). The light, fluffy meringue is balanced by the slightly bitter edge of the caramel it floats on, and is served with a rich crème anglaise sauce on the side. 


Rating: 3.5 stars 172
The name of this classic French dessert means "crunch in the mouth"; Make the caramel and assemble the dessert as close to serving time as possible.

Speculaas Cookies

Rating: 3.5 stars 190
When imprinting the fragrant spiced cookie dough with springerle molds, stop frequently to clean the patterns with the tip of a skewer. This allows for a better impression in the dough and resulting cookie.

Cookie-Press Cookies

Rating: 3.5 stars 567
Rich, buttery, and made with lots of vanilla, these cookies are simple to make. Use a cookie press—a hollow tube fitted with a decorative nozzle at one end and a plunger at the other—to press the cookies directly onto the baking sheet.


The kransekake, which translates to "wreath cake", is the signature cake of Norway and a showstopping confection that is made for special occasions. And as impressive as a tall tower made out of eighteen delicate cookie rings is, this sweet stunner is surprisingly straightforward to make. The naturally gluten-free dough is made from processing almonds until finely ground, then confectioners' sugar and egg whites are added to bind it together. After an overnight rest, the dough is rolled into ropes and fitted into specialty molds. Once baked, the rings are stacked sky-high and kept in place with royal icing, which pulls double duty as both glue and garnish.

Chewy Chocolate-Gingerbread Cookies

Rating: 3.5 stars 593
This is a must-make cookie recipe beloved by our food editors who make it every Christmas as part of their holiday cookie boxes. What makes the cookies so irresistible? We think it's the combination of fresh and ground ginger, molasses, and chunks of semisweet chocolate. These chocolate ginger cookies are sophisticated enough for adults but chocolaty enough for children.

Pumpkin Cookies with Brown Butter Icing

Rating: 4 stars 562
These soft cookies are like mini pumpkin cakes—and you're guaranteed to get a bit of sweet, brown-butter-flecked icing in every bite. A combination of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger flavor the moist pumpkin batter.

Fruit Jellies

Rating: 4 stars 171
These colorful fruit jellies are simple to make and fun to eat.

Cloud Cake

Rating: 4 stars 41
We take the guesswork out of making caramel with our foolproof microwave method. After it cools, chop and sprinkle over the cake for a sweet crunch.

Chewy Molasses-Spice Cookies

Rating: 4 stars 741
The holidays wouldn't be complete without a jar of these spice cookies.

Inspiration and Ideas

The Holiday Cookie Recipes Our Food Editors Make Year After Year
From shortbread to gingerbread, these are the sweet treats our editors make and give during the festive season.
11 Clever Ways to Gift-Wrap Your Christmas Cookies
Your favorite holiday cookie recipe calls for extra love—why not put some extra love into its wrapping, too? Try these creative ideas for packing and presenting holiday cookies, using cellophane wrappers, decorated gift boxes, and more. For more holiday cookie recipes and packaging ideas, download our complete guide.
Hot Cocoa with Almond Milk
Rating: 3.5 stars 284

This dairy-free take on a classic compromises nothing in taste and can be made with any soy, rice, or nut milk.