The Christmas Cookie Recipes Our Food Editors Make Year After Year

chai snowballs recipe
Photo: Ryan Liebe

Food editors, much like the rest of us, love Christmas cookies. They develop and test recipes, style the fruits of their labor for photo shoots, and generally make a lot more cookies than we do. Naturally, we were curious about the treats they bake at home year after year.

From putting together this collection, it's clear these veteran bakers love a ginger or spice cookie for the holidays. Another trend is cookies with fruit—so much better than fruitcake, don't you think? These beloved recipes are excellent for gifting, cookie-swapping, or setting out for Santa, which means they're guaranteed to be winners among your family and friends this holiday season.

01 of 12

Chewy Chocolate-Gingerbread Cookies

chocolate gingerbread cookies
Joseph De Leo

"Spicy, chocolatey, and chewy with a tiny bit of crisp thrown in. It's truly my go-to," says former editorial director of food Sarah Carey. "I never make a cookie box without it."

02 of 12

Jamaretti Cookies

Romulo Yanes

Sarah likes this unusual, but easy cookie for several reasons: First, it's "made with a generous amount of almond paste that adds a lovely chew and subtle almond flavor." Next, "the method lends itself to large batching since it's so simple, and its bright swath of jam brings color and vibrancy to the box," she says.

03 of 12

Chewy Fruitcake Meringues

chewy fruitcake meringues
Mikkel Vang

"These are chewy and nutty and fruity...basically a fruitcake, only in light-and-airy meringue cookie format instead of a stodgy loaf," says former deputy food director Greg Lofts.

04 of 12

Alexis's Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip Cookies


If you make just one cookie this year, it should be this one, says former senior food editor Lauryn Tyrell, who doesn't actually prepare an assortment of cookies during the holiday season. "As my free time is limited, especially around the holidays, I opt for a statement cookie and this is my go-to," she says.

The recipe comes from Martha's daughter, Alexis, and yields cookies that are "so impressive—in terms of size, flavor, and texture—that they always receive 'oohs' and 'ahhs' and 'where did you get these?' when I give them as gifts," she says. "Plus, since they're thin, the yield is large enough to make a batch for a few different friends and still have some leftover for myself—and my pilfering kids!"

05 of 12

Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies

peanut butter blossom cookies
Bryan Gardner

"Such a classic!" says former associate food editor Riley Wofford of this easy-to-make and hard-to-resist cookie. "I actually never ate these at Christmas growing up, but I totally get why people do—they're very festive."

06 of 12

Tropical Fruit Biscotti

tropical fruit biscotti
Alpha Smoot

"No holiday cookie round-up would be complete without something crunchy and long-lasting, something you can eat a month later with a cup of tea and think, 'Wow, this is still great!' That's why I always include biscotti in my box," says Sarah. Another reason to love this recipe? "It's a pretty shape and can be made in almost an endless variety of flavors."

07 of 12

Chai Snowballs

chai snowball dessert on plate with pink striped paper
Ryan Liebe

Both Greg and Lauryn love these snowy cookies. "They are similar to Russian Tea Cakes but with a chai flavor profile," explains Greg. Lauryn says she loves them because they remind her of cookies her grandma used to make. Plus, she explains, "the addition of the tea and warming spices adds depth and a little extra holiday cheer."

08 of 12

Gingerbread-Espresso Crinkle Cookies

gingerbread espresso crinkle cookies
Mikkel Vang

"Chocolate crinkle cookies were a constant Christmas cookie rotation in our family and I love this sort of grown-up rendition," says Riley.

09 of 12

Marmalade Linzer Sandwiches

James Merrell

"I tested these pretty cookies when I first started working at Martha Stewart and loved them instantly," says Lauryn. "They're laced with a subtle hint of cardamom that plays so well with the citrus. And the pecans add a lovely crumbly texture to the dough. I love their look, but you can customize them with any cutouts you like."

10 of 12

Shortbread Cookies

"You have to have a classic shortbread cookie at the holidays," says Greg. "These Star of David shortbread cookies are perfect for Hanukkah."

11 of 12

Citrus Thumbprints

Citrus Thumbprints

"Delicate in texture and full of tangy citrus flavor," these cheerful thumbprint cookie are another favorite for Sarah. "The dusting of confectioners' sugar brings holiday realness," she says.

12 of 12

Spicy Chocolate Cookies

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies
Armando Rafael

"These are similar to Sarah's favorite Chewy Chocolate-Gingerbread Cookies," says Greg, "but they are all about the chocolate and spice, no ginger."

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