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The best Christmas sugar cookie recipes for the holidays are easy to make and are perfect for sharing with friends and family. This collection includes everything from simple drop cookies to cut-out cookies. Add one or more of these holiday treats to your recipe file!
This is a selection of the most sought after holiday cookie recipes. People always ask me for my favorite Christmas cookies, so I’ve done a little research and compiled this collection of essential recipes for all the basic types of sugar cookie doughs, as well as frostings for decorating them.
These cookies taste wonderful and are all pretty cookies to package for gifts.
What to know about sugar cookies
“Sugar cookie” is a term that covers many of different kinds of cookies. Basically, any cookie made with a combination of flour, butter, sugar and eggs is a sugar cookie. They can be scooped, rolled or sliced and flavored with vanilla, spices, candy or chocolate.
- Basic equipment for baking cookies
- Drop cookie recipes
- Cut out cookie recipes
- Chocolate cookie recipes
- Frosting and glazes for Christmas cookies
Tools needed for baking cookies
Cookie dough is easily made with a few mixing bowls, spoons and measuring cups. But if you love to bake, having the right kitchen equipment will make the process a lot easier.
- A set of nested mixing bowls is so handy when making batches of cookies. The best ones to get are glass (microwave safe) and lids are a bonus.
- A heavy duty stand mixer whips up the most sticky batter, while keeping your hands free.
- Hand mixer: Takes up much less space and isn’t nearly as expensive, especially good for beginner bakers or small living spaces.
- Parchment paper
- Baking sheets and cooling racks
- Oven thermometer and kitchen scale: Not absolutely necessary, but testing your oven heat with a basic oven thermometer and weighing ingredients on a digital scale ensures the best accuracy, all details that will help make the best cookies.
Drop cookies are probably the easiest cookie you can make (possibly my favorite!). Because they require minimal equipment like mixing bowls, spoons, and baking sheets even kids can help make them.
1. Drop-Style Soft Christmas Sugar Cookies
With only eight ingredients, these holiday sprinkle-strewn cookies look festive as all get-out. These cookies are PERFECT to make with kids because there’s no rolling, cutting or anything fussy needed to make them.
2. Christmas Chocolate Chip Cookies
Soft, gooey chocolate chip cookies filled with one of our favorite Christmas candies in holiday colors!
3. Lemon Cornmeal Cookies
Bite-size cookies made with cornmeal are lightly sweet, lemony and scented with fresh rosemary.
4. Italian Amaretti Cookies
These delectably soft, chewy cookies can be made three different ways (chocolate, matcha or nuts) and are filled with almond flavor — the dough contains both almond flour and extract. They’re simply shaped into balls and rolled in powdered sugar.
5. Hazelnut Chocolate Snowball Cookies
Crumbly snowball cookies (or butterballs) taste like shortbread and melt in your mouth. And when they’re rolled in both powdered sugar and cocoa, they look even more festive and beautiful.
6. Almond Flour Thumbprint Cookies
Tender, buttery cookies that happen to be gluten-free. Fill with colorful fruit jam for the most comforting treat.
7. Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies
Classic soft peanut butter cookies with a chocolate Kiss inside.
8. Soft and Chewy Vanilla Cookies
Soft, comforting cookies with a lovely vanilla-flavored glaze. These are the best dressed up with sprinkles!
Slice-and-Bake & Cut-out Christmas cookies
This traditional cookie category is the one that feels most nostalgic. Whether or not you had a mom or grandmother who taught you how to make sugar cookies, these are the ones that dear to our hearts.
9. Christmas Pinwheel Cookies
Swirls of colorful slice and bake cookie dough in all the colors of Christmas — I’d wager these pretty cookies will disappear from the cookie tray very quickly!
10. Classic Gingerbread Cookies
Sugar, spice and everything nice — that’s what these soft, chewy gingerbread cookies are all about. The textbook holiday cookie for icing and serving with milk for Santa.
11. Best Basic Cutout Cookie Dough
Have all your holiday cookie cutters ready to go? This is the cookie dough to make. There’s a simple trick involved, to make sure your cut cookies don’t spread into a blob during baking.
12. Simple Butter Cookies
This simple spritz-style cookie can be piped into lovely swirls, or sliced and baked before decorating with icing and sprinkles. Sweet!
Chocolate Christmas Sugar Cookies
For those of us who basically couldn’t live with chocolate, the best of both worlds are chocolate cookie recipes especially for the holidays.
13. Chocolate Cookies with Peppermint Frosting
With crushed candy canes and creamy frosting, these lovely chocolate treats are what Christmas sugar cookies are all about.
14. Chocolate Truffle Cookies
Soft, rich and delectable chocolate cookies that melt in your mouth, with a festive coating of icing sugar.
15. Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
Rich, dark and so chocolatey! Crinkle cookie dough is perfect to make ahead of time, and they looks so elegant on a cookie tray.
16. Chocolate Biscotti
Triple chocolate biscotti are glazed in melted chocolate and have the perfect crunchy-crumbly texture with just the right amount of chew.
17. Chocolate Sugar Cookies
These are keeper cookies, soft and chewy. They stay moist days after baking — if they last that long!
18. Perfect Chocolate Roll Out Cookies
Chocolate cookies that hold their shape after baking can be a tricky prospect. This recipe makes dozens of cookies that can be frosted or enjoyed plain.
19. Giant Nutty Chocolate Cookies
Also called chocolate “monsters”, these huge cookies are absolutely packed with nuts and chocolate.
20. Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies
Like the best thumbprint cookies, these chocolate beauties are easy to make and so fun to decorate and share.
Christmas Sugar Cookie Frostings and Icings
The joy of baking Christmas sugar cookies could very well be all about how they’re decorated. These are the recipes you need to make them beautiful!
21. The Best Sugar Cookie Icing
Frosting cookies can be tricky — you don’t want it too soft OR too hard, especially when cookies need to be transported or shipped. This recipe promises the best of both worlds, and can be colored in any shade of the rainbow.
22. Easy Icing for Decorating Cookies
This thick cookie glaze recipe can be colored like the rainbow. It’s the best choice for decorating cookies with simply, if you’re not exactly a cookie artist.
23. Royal Icing Recipe
If you’re worried about nailing the perfect technique for frosting Christmas cookies, this traditional recipe for royal icing should give you all confidence you need!
Christmas Sugar Cookies (Featuring Soft Vanilla Sugar Cookies)
- 2 cups (240 g) all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 8 tablespoons (113 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup (240 g) sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 4 ounces (125 g) creme fraiche or sour cream
- Colorful sprinkles, optional
- 1 ½ cups (180 g) confectioners’ sugar
- 3 tablespoons (45 g) creme fraiche or sour cream
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) whole milk or buttermilk
- ⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ of a vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- Preheat the oven to 350 (175C) degrees with the rack in the center of the oven. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Whisk the flour, salt and baking powder together in a medium bowl.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter for 1 minute at low speed. Raise the speed to medium-high and add the sugar. Beat until light, fluffy and lighter in color, 3-4 minutes.
- Beat in the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla. Add half the creme fraiche and half the flour mixture. Stir on low speed until just mixed before adding the remaining creme fraiche and flour.
- Scoop 2 tablespoon-sized portions of dough onto the baking sheets, spaced 2 inches apart (8 or 9 per sheet).
- Bake one sheet at a time for 18 minutes, or until the edges begin to turn golden. Cool on a rack 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a rack to cool completely.
- Mix the sugar, creme fraiche, milk and sea salt in a bowl until smooth. If the mixture is too thick, dribble in a tiny bit more milk. Scrape the vanilla bean with the back of a small knife, add to the bowl and mix it in.
- Spread the glaze over the tops of the cooked cookies. Top with sprinkles, if you like.
Karen’s Notes and Tips
- The dough can mixed right before baking, or make one day ahead and refrigerate.
- My favorite cookie scoop makes perfect 2-tablespoon portions of dough.