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12 Best Holiday Cookie Recipes to Sweeten the Season

Baking at its best.

There are a lot of good Christmas cookie recipes out there. So here’s a perfect roundup of the 12 best holiday cookie recipes around. From chocolate cookies to nutty shortbread to gingerbread, we’ve got you covered. 

assorted best Christmas cookie recipes on platter sugar cookies, gingerbread, wedding cookies, chocolate cookies

All the Best Holiday Cookie Recipes

The holiday season’s other name is, of course, cookie baking season. The possibilities are endless, and cookies make not only a great dessert, but the perfect edible gift for friends, family, and neighbors.

From soft gingerbread people, classic sprinkles, or deep chocolate fudge cookies, here are Unpeeled’s recipes for the best Christmas and holiday cookies to sweeten your season.

12 Best Holiday Cookie Recipes to Sweeten the Christmas Season

Gingerbread Cut-Outs

Perfect gingerbread, fragrant with molasses, spice, and orange zest. Smells like Christmas spirit.

platter of decorated gingerbread cookie people on plate for Christmas cookies

Cinnamon Raisin Rugelach

This old-fashioned cinnamon rugelach cookie recipe makes tender, flaky pastries rolled in a perfectly sweet raisin nut cinnamon filling.

Best Holiday Cinnamon Rugelach Recipe

Pecan Shortbread Cookies Rolled in Sugar

A buttery, sophisticated shortbread cookie recipe that’s loaded with toasted pecans, rolled in sugar, and baked golden brown.

pecan sugar shortbread dough on marble with wooden spoon

Soft Italian Sprinkle Cookies

A family recipe for homey Italian cookies that are sweetly simple to make.

sprinkle cookies

Double Chocolate Fudge Cookies

A dark chocolate brownie cookie that tastes perfectly decadent with dark chocolate batter plus dark chocolate chips. This is a true chocolate lover’s chocolate cookie.

plate of double chocolate cookies with hot cocoa

Mexican Wedding Cookies (Russian Tea Cakes)

These nutty, buttery balls of goodness also go by snowballs, butterballs, and Danish wedding cookies. But no matter what you call them, this classic sweet and easy cookie had a crisp, melt-in-your-mouth texture that you will love.

plate of mexican wedding cookies russian tea cakes with cup of tea

Soft Molasses Cookies

Sugar, spice, and everything nice comes together in this simple favorite that only gets better as the days go by.

platter of molasses cookies on plate with tea

White Chocolate Chip Cookies

A chewy white chocolate chip cookie that’s the definitely of simple pleasures. Add in pistachios, macadamia nuts, or dried cranberries for a more festive holiday cookie.

white chocolate chip cookies recipe

Old-Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies

A classic, easy peanut butter cookie recipe that makes a big batch of soft cookies. Nothing fancy, just really good.

Old-Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies: Easy Cookie Recipes

Cornmeal Shortbread Cookies

These sweet and soft cornmeal shortbread cookie that bakes up light golden brown, with just the right amount of flavor and homey grit from cornmeal. These may look plain. But they are one of my favorite sleeper hit cookies.

cornmeal cookies with white plate pink tablecloth

The Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies

A soft and chewy dark chocolate chip cookie with a secret, homey ingredient from oatmeal.

chocolate chip cookies on a plate with milk

Slice and Bake Butter Cookies

A buttery holiday cookie dough rolling in sweet flavor. (Psst…This dough can also be used as tart dough!)

sliced butter cookie dough rolled in sugar for christmas cookies

Shortbread Linzer Cookies

A sweet cookie dough sandwiched with your favorite jam, with a couple of pro baking tips for the best results.
Shortbread Linzer Cookies - Unpeeled

What are your Christmas cookie recipes to bake this holiday season? Share below!

assorted best Christmas cookie recipe cookies on platter sugar cookies, gingerbread, wedding cookies, chocolate cookies

platter of decorated soft gingerbread man cookie people on plate for Christmas cookies

Classic Soft Gingerbread Man Cookies

One of the best holiday cookie recipes ever, this spiced, soft gingerbread man recipe makes a festive batch of holiday cookies that smell great and taste even better.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Chilling Time45 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, european
Keywords:: best christmas cookie recipes, christmas cookies, cookies, gingerbread, gingerbread cookie recipe, gingerbread man cookies recipe, gingerbread recipe, holiday cookie recipe, holiday cookies, soft gingerbread cookies recipe
Servings: 24 to 36 cookies, depending on size


  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup packed, light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup molasses (I like Grandmom's brand)
  • 1 egg
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons powdered ginger
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • zest of one medium-sized orange (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting


  • In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or by hand in a large mixing bowl if you're feeling brawny, beat together the butter and light brown sugar until lightened and fluffy. Scrape the bowl. Add the egg, molasses, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and zest. Beat on medium until smooth and emulsified, about 1 or 2 minutes. Scrape the bowl.
  • Add the baking soda, baking powder, and flour and stir on low just until combined. The dough will look shaggy.
  • Lightly dust the surface of a clean countertop. Turn the dough out onto the counter top and knead it a few times until smooth. Do not over-mix. Divide the dough into two flattened discs. Dust the top and bottom of each disc with a little flour. Use a rolling pin, further flatten each round into a 1/2" thick disc. Cover each and chill on a flat surface or sheet pan for at least 45 minutes.
    TIP: Do not stack the dough in the fridge. Keep them separate so they chill faster.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease or line two half-sheet pans.
  • Remove one disc from the refrigerator. Lightly dust the counter and the top of the gingerbread and finish rolling the dough to about 1/4" thick. Use your cookie cutters to cut shapes and place them on a lined cookie sheet, giving at least 1/2" of space between each.
  • Gather the scraps of dough into a ball. Re-roll the dough and chill. Remove the other disc of gingerbread cookie dough and repeat.
  • Bake the gingerbread cookies for about 12 to 14 minutes, until the edges are just brown. Let cool for several minutes on the sheet pan, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Decorate as desired.

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