20 Classic Christmas Sugar Cookie Recipes to Help You Get in the Holiday Spirit

Ideal sugar cookies
Photo: Alpha Smoot

No matter how big or small your celebration might be, it's not a festive gathering without a platter of classic Christmas sugar cookies. Whether you're having a cookie swap, setting up a decorating afternoon for your kids, or bringing your family together in the kitchen, these sugar cookie recipes are just the thing to make this season extra special.

Start with a simple but magical recipe—our Ideal Sugar Cookies. All you need are a few basic ingredients—all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, butter, eggs, and vanilla—to make these treats. From here, you can cut them into a variety of festive shapes (think stars, Christmas trees, bells, and ornaments) and decorate them with Royal Icing, sanding sugar, and hard candies.

Or try one of our many other special variations, like Vanilla-Bean Sugar Cookies and Earl-Grey Sugar-Cookie Dough. There's no better way to welcome the holiday season than with a batch (or two!) of sugar cookies.

01 of 20

Stained-Glass Sugar Cookies

Stained Glass Sugar Cookies
Romulo Yanes

These pastel Christmas sugar cookies have a very festive look. Fruity hard candies are melted onto a freshly baked cookie, which is then sandwiched together with another cut-out cookie for a peek-a-boo appearance.

02 of 20

Crackly Cinnamon Sugar Cookies

cinnamon sugar cookie stacks
Pernille Loof

No need to decorate these easy drop cookies with frosting, all they need is a coating of sanding sugar before they're baked. It creates a crisp, crackly top for the cinnamon and vanilla treats.

03 of 20

String-Light Christmas-Tree Cookies

string light christmas tree cookies
Ryan Liebe

Have yourself a merry little Christmas with this adorable sugar cookie recipe. Create the look of individually decorated trees using melted white chocolate and candies for garland and ornaments.

04 of 20

Vanilla-Bean Sugar Cookies

vanilla-bean sugar cookies
Alpha Smoot

Looking to add even more vanilla flavor to classic Christmas sugar cookies? Use either the seeds from a whole vanilla bean or vanilla bean paste, which will not only add vanilla flavor but also incorporate attractive flecks throughout each cookie.

05 of 20

Peppermint-Candy Sugar Cookies

Sang An

Here's a creative way to use up an abundance of candy canes or peppermint candies. Gently crush them with a meat mallet and then fold them into this sugar cookie dough for the perfect Christmas cookies.

06 of 20

Ideal Sugar Cookies

ideal sugar cookies
Alpha Smoot

All our sugar cookie recipes are perfectly buttery, flaky, and sweet as can be but this one is a particular favorite. It's perhaps the most basic and versatile for all your cut-out cookie and decorating needs.

07 of 20

Cutout Cookie Dough

Johnny Miller

Use our clever no-frosting technique for these colorful Christmas cookies that will surprise and delight everyone on your list.

08 of 20

Earl-Grey Sugar-Cookie Dough

miniature cookie dough replica of Marthas tiny farmhouse
Pernille Loof

Finely ground Earl Grey tea leaves add notes of bergamot and lemon to these butter sugar cookies. Cut the dough out into spirited shapes or use it to make a classic cookie house, as seen here.

09 of 20

Gluten-Free Sugar Cookies

gluten free star sugar cookies
Bryan Gardner

Gluten-free flour is used to make these Christmas sugar cookies. We roll the dough and cut it out into the shape of stars, which are then decorated with metallic sprinkles and white royal icing.

10 of 20

Brown Sugar-Cornmeal Cookies

brown sugar–cornmeal shortbread cookies served on a white platter
Con Poulos

All-purpose flour and cornmeal are used as the base for these crumbly, flavorful cookies. A teaspoon of cinnamon brings out the molasses flavor of the brown sugar in the dough.

11 of 20

Gingered Sugar Cookies

Will Anderson

Ground ginger and finely minced candied ginger add warm, spiced flavor to these delicious Christmas sugar cookies. The dough is rolled and formed into candy cane and pretzel-like shapes.

12 of 20

Hexagonal Sugar Cookies

Kate Mathis

We've upgraded this Christmas sugar cookie recipe by cutting the dough into hexagons and decorating each treat with eye-catching royal icing dyed pink and metallic hues.

13 of 20

Peppermint-Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Johnny Miller

Embellish this Christmas sugar cookie dough with chocolate chips and mint extract, then glaze the finished product with creamy icing and crushed peppermint candies.

14 of 20

Sugar-Cookie Stars

Emily Kate Roemer

The whole family will enjoy transforming sugar cookie dough into charming Christmas characters with our holiday cookie templates, a rainbow of royal icing colors, and a little imagination.

15 of 20

Citrus Sugar Cookies

Citrus Sugar Cookies

Grated lemon zest adds fresh flavor to traditional cut-out sugar cookies. The dough is made in the food processor, so preparation is a breeze.

16 of 20

Christmas Sugar Cookies

basic sugar cookies stars
Minh + Wass

These cut-out sugar cookies offer a lot of possibilities. You can make them in varying shapes and sizes, and decorate them to in Christmas colors with sprinkles, edible glitter, and royal icing.

17 of 20

Christmas Character Sugar Cookies

Royal Icing for Holiday Sugar Cookies

Our basic, all-butter recipe for cut-out sugar cookies includes how-to instructions to create the Christmas-themed cookies shown here, or you experiment with your own decorating ideas. The cookies can be stored at room temperature for up to a week.

18 of 20

Simple Sugar Cookies

Gentl and Hyers

These sugar cookies are simple to make, but their flavor is surprisingly complex. The recipe calls for unusual ingredients, including olive oil and orange zest, which are sure to delight your taste buds.

19 of 20

Crisp Sugar Doily Cookies


If you seek a thin, delicate, and beautiful cookie, look no further. The elegant design is created by carefully cutting out tiny shapes with an aspic cutter to create a doily pattern, after the dough has been rolled out and chilled. These intricate, crisp cookies are perfect for Christmas gift-giving.

20 of 20

Perfect Sugar Cookies

Perfect Sugar Cookies assortment of three
Lennart Weinbull

Simply perfect, that's these big and bold sugar cookies. They're classic but with a twist, there's sour cream in the dough which adds softness and candied citrus for zest.

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