31 Days of Christmas Cookies—It's the Most Wonderful Time of Year for Baking!

box of tropical fruit biscotti and vanilla sugar cookiesAlpha Smoot
Alpha Smoot

The weather outside may be frightful, but these Christmas cookie recipes are absolutely delightful. Cozy up with a cup of hot cocoa as you take bite after bite of shortbread, palmiers, crinkle cookies, and so much more this holiday season. Whether you're baking a batch or two, hosting a cookie swap, or participating in an all-day baking marathon, these festive Christmas cookies are sure to spark joy all December long.

What would the holiday season be without gingerbread cookies? Our recipe calls for plenty of warm spices to flavor the dough. Then cut the dough into whatever shapes you fancy. Go traditional and cut out little girls or boys, or turn them into woodland creatures like deer and bears for a wintery look. Another sweet twist on nature are our whimsical coffee-meringue acorns; finely chopped pistachios or pecans add crunch and color.

Of course, there are sugar cookie recipes galore. These picture-perfect sugar-cookie cutouts are customizable with royal icing so you can make the colorful, intricate designs of your dreams. Looking for a way to repurpose candy canes and peppermint candies? peppermint-candy sugar cookies are a refreshing twist on a classic recipe. If you can't get enough of the picturesque falling snow (or perhaps live in a region where having a white Christmas is just a dream), our citrus sugar cookies cut out in the shape of snowflakes and Christmas trees should do the trick.

Armed with a variety of festive cookie cutters, sparkling sanding sugar, and plenty of Christmas spirit, you'll soon be joining forces with Mrs. Claus and the elves to bake batch after batch of Christmas cookies.

01 of 31

Cream-Cheese Jam Ice Diamonds

cream cheese jam sandwich cookie
Anita Calero

Raspberry preserves are sandwiched between light, tender cream-cheese cookies cut in the shape of diamonds, and the whole batch is covered with a blanket of powdered sugar "snow."

02 of 31

Peppermint-Spritz Cookies

peppermint spritz cookies
Louise Hagger

A subtle wink at candy canes, these wreath cookies have a drop of food coloring in the glaze to thank for their marbled red-and-white appearance.

03 of 31

Gingerbread Cookies

Sang An

Molasses, dark brown sugar, and a bevy of spices—ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves—give these cookies their classic gingerbread flavor. Take a page out of Martha's book and turn them into a menagerie of woodland creatures.

04 of 31

Salted-Caramel Whoopie Pies

Will Anderson

Cinnamon-and-allspice cookies are filled with caramel buttercream and rolled in pink rock salt and sanding sugar for this perfectly balanced treat.

05 of 31

Birch-Bark Tuiles

birch bark tuiles
Louise Hagger

Streaks of cocoa powder in the dough gives these crisp cookies the appearance of bark when baked.

06 of 31

Glazed Spiced Snowflake Cookies

Aaron Dyer

No mold needed for these beautiful speculaas cookies—just a doily rolling pin, and cookie cutters.

07 of 31

Coconut-Pistachio Biscotti


Cornmeal and olive oil are the MVPs in this riff on the traditional Italian cookies—the former adds texture, while the latter contributes a lovely fruitiness.

08 of 31

Sugar-Cookie Cutouts

iced Christmas cookies
Anna Williams

Our basic sugar cookie recipe makes a great base for any festive shape you please. Start with this adorable red-hooded little girl, then let your imagination run wild.

09 of 31

Streusel Jammies

Aaron Dyer

These crumbly cookies are a delicious way to use up the leftover bits of jam in your fridge. The almond-studded batter goes well with any fruit—cranberry, apricot, blueberry, cherry, whatever you've got on hand!

10 of 31

Anise Shortbread Sandwich Cookies

anise shortbread linzer cookies
Louise Hagger

We love the combination of sweet-tart apricot with aromatic anise in these shortbread stars.

11 of 31

Sugar-Dusted Macaroon Trees

coconut trees
Seth Smoot

It couldn't be easier to shape these festive coconut trees—the only tool you need is clean hands!

12 of 31

Peppermint-Candy Sugar Cookies

Sang An

Peppermint candies can be so much more than an after-dinner treat. Use them to amp up your sugar cookies this holiday season.

13 of 31

Pistachio and Dried-Apricot Rugelach

Aaron Dyer

Dried apricots simmered with vanilla make an addictive filling for these crescent cookies. Pistachios add just the right amount of crunch.

14 of 31

Spicy Chocolate Cookies

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies
Armando Rafael

Inspired by Mexican hot chocolate, these cookies combine an intense cocoa flavor with fiery cayenne pepper and fragrant cinnamon.

15 of 31

Russian Tea Cakes

russian tea cakes
Bryan Gardner

Let wintry weather serve as baking inspiration—make a batch of these snowball-like almond cookies smothered in powdered sugar.

16 of 31

Raspberry Palmiers

Sang An

Our take on the beloved elephant ears calls for spreading a homemade sour cream dough with raspberry jam.

17 of 31

Coffee-Meringue Acorns


Why not shower your loved ones with meringue "kisses"? These delectable treats are flavored with coffee extract and finished with bittersweet chocolate and either pistachios or pecans.

18 of 31

Shortbread Swirls

Aaron Dyer

Time to break out the piping bag! You'll need a star tip to make these stunning S shapes. Make a batch of one color, or better yet, all five.

19 of 31

Citrus Sugar Cookies


Lemon zest brightens these otherwise classic sugar cookies. Stamp out all kinds of shapes, then decorate with royal icing and colored sugars.

20 of 31

Double-Chocolate Peppermint Sandwiches

Aaron Dyer

Like a peppermint patty in cookie form! The chocolate filling gets its bracing flavor from peppermint extract as well as chopped peppermint candies.

21 of 31

Fruitcake Shortbread


You can use any dried fruit you please for these colorful cookies. We went with apricots, cranberries, currants, and candied citron, but figs, pineapple, strawberries, and kiwi would also be wonderful.

22 of 31

Cinnamon-Log Slices


Everyone will ooh and ahh over the bark-like effect cinnamon and chocolate give these slice-and-bake cookies.

23 of 31

Stained-Glass Sugar Cookies

Romulo Yanes

A quick turn in the oven transforms crushed hard candy into beautiful stained glass windows in these ornament-shaped cookies.

24 of 31

Gingerbread Trees with Lemon Icing


Gingerbread triangles become festive trees with the help of some lemony icing and sanding sugar.

25 of 31

Chocolate-Dipped Macadamia Cookies

Con Poulos

Lemon and bittersweet chocolate temper the richness of buttery macadamia nuts in these simple holiday cookies.

26 of 31

Gingered Sugar Cookies

Will Anderson

Amp up sugar cookies with two types of ginger—ground and candied—then sweeten and tint one half with molasses and the other with honey to create a striped candy-cane effect.

27 of 31

Almond and Apricot Thumbprint Cookies


Rich almond butter cookies are the perfect canvas to showcase dollops of apricot jam.

28 of 31

Gingerbread-Espresso Crinkle Cookies

gingerbread espresso crinkle cookies
Mikkel Vang

If you're not a fan of shaping and decorating gingerbread men but love the taste, this recipe is for you. A tablespoon of instant espresso powder is all it takes to elevate the spicy, warm flavor of gingerbread to something even richer.

29 of 31

Meyer-Lemon Shortbread Wreath Cookies

meyer-lemon shortbread wreath cookies
Mikkel Vang

How stunning are these edible shortbread wreath cookies? Fresh Meyer lemon juice perks up the buttery dough and pairs well with the sugared herbs for garnish.

30 of 31

String-Light Christmas-Tree Cookies

string light christmas tree cookies
Ryan Liebe

After your done decorating your real Christmas tree, get ready to adorn these edible sugar cookies. Skip the fuss of making royal icing and create smooth, even strands of garland using melted white chocolate instead.

31 of 31

Chai Snowballs

chai snowball dessert on plate with pink striped paper
Ryan Liebe

There's nothing like sipping on a cup of warm chai tea in the middle of a snowy day. Turn that experience into a cookie that everyone can dig into while you watch the flakes fall.

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