The BEST Christmas Cookies

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Baking Christmas Cookies is one of the holiday traditions I look forward to the most!

‘Tis the season for Christmas cookies, sweet and spicy scented Gingerbread Men smiling back at us, buttery melt in your mouth shortbread cookies and holiday cookie decorating parties!

Christmas cookies are a wonderful way to share your own Christmas traditions with friends and family throughout the holiday season. From cookie platters at your holiday parties to getting together to Host a Cookie Exchange, Christmas cookies are loved by everyone!

Christmas Cookie Collage with a title

This list shares my absolute favorite Christmas Cookie recipes, each and every one perfect for gifting, giving and sharing!

Favorite Christmas Cookies

How to Make Christmas Cookies

When making Christmas cookies, you’ll want to ensure you follow the recipe closely, especially the first time you make a new cookie!

  • Ingredient Temperature: Ensure ingredients (such as butter and eggs) are at room temperature unless otherwise directed in the recipe.
  • Butter: Use real butter as margarine or other substitutes may not produce the same results.
  • Measure Flour Correctly: Be sure to measure your flour by spooning the flour into the measuring cup. Scooping flour out of the bag (or container) with a measuring cup packs the flour into the cup. This can cause you to have too much flour and affect the consistency of your Christmas cookies.
  • Chill Time: Read through the directions since many Christmas cookies require chilling time to get the right consistency of dough (such as Easy Sugar Cookies or Gingerbread Cookies).
  • Bake Time: Always check cookies at the lowest end of the bake time suggested in the recipe.

Classic Christmas Cookies

Drop Christmas Cookies

No-Bake Christmas Cookies

Bar Cookies

Other Christmas Treats and Cookies

Christmas Cookies lined up on a wooden board

The recipe below is one of my absolute favorite Christmas Cookies of all. This buttery shortbread cookie recipe comes from my friend Deanna who got the recipe from her Great-Great-Grandmother.  In her words, “These cookies are completely no fail, share them with the world”.

They are truly a beautiful, soft buttery Christmas Cookie that is easy to make!

Christmas cookies on a wooden board
4.87 from 23 votes
Review Recipe

The Best Christmas Cookies

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 72 cookies
These easy Buttery Shortbread Christmas cookies are a tradition that has been passed down through generations.


  • 2 cups butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 ½ cups cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • food coloring optional

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  • Preheat oven to 300°F.
  • Cream butter and vanilla with a stand mixer until fluffy.
  • Add flour, powdered sugar and cornstarch a little at a time mixing.
  • If using food coloring, divide dough into and knead in a few drops of coloring to reach desired color.
  • Roll into balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet (not a non-stick cookie sheet).  Flatten with a fork, a meat tenderizer or the bottom of a pretty glass. Top with sprinkles if desired.
  • Bake for 20 minutes. Cool completely and let sit at least 24 hours before serving.

Recipe Notes

We use salted butter. You can use unsalted and add a pinch of salt to taste.
Ensure the mixture is beaten until light and fluffy.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 80, Carbohydrates: 8g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 13mg, Sodium: 45mg, Potassium: 7mg, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 160IU, Calcium: 2mg, Iron: 0.3mg

(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)

Course Dessert
Cuisine American

How to Decorate Christmas Cookies

Christmas Cookies can be decorated with frosting, icing and of course an array of Christmas sprinkles.

  • A good royal icing is perfect for decorating sugar cookies. It dries hard and shiny (and sprinkles can be added) making cookies easy to store and stack.
  • Frosted Cookies are made with a favorite  buttercream or flavored frosting such as Peppermint Buttercream. These are delicious but can be more difficult to store as the frosting is softer and doesn’t set up.
  • Melted Chocolate is perfect for dipping shortbread or other christmas cookies or treats such as Easy Buckeyes. Once dipped in chocolate, make them extra festive by dipping them in sprinkles too.
  • Roll cookies such as Classic Thumbprint Cookies in nuts.
  • Top with Christmas sprinkles, crushed candy canes and more.

Freezing Christmas Cookies

Most cookies, including Christmas Cookies, can be made months ahead of time and frozen. The great thing is that cookies can be frozen before or after baking meaning that you can do your holiday baking in advance.

I would recommend decorating cookies after defrosting as condensation can ruin the cookies.

If you are freezing cookie dough, I would recommend freezing in smaller portions to help defrost quickly. To defrost, refrigerate dough overnight.

Christmas Cookies on a wooden board with writing
Christmas Cookies on a board with a title
Christmas Cookie Collage with a title
About the author


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Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!

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Recipe Rating


  1. I don’t know why there are so many good reviews for this. There is three times the amount of corn starch than what is needed and these cookies just tasted like mouthfuls of chalk. I thought it would be meltier that way, but no it’s just chalk.

    1. Hi Joana, this is a recipe that was passed on from my friend’s Great-Great-Grandmother. We have made it dozens of times ourselves, and it always turns out perfectly. Did you fluff and level when measuring the flour and cornstarch? If your cookies were chalky, I’d think that you added too much of either (or both) of those ingredients. Hope that helps.

  2. I have never made shortbread cookies, but I can’t wait to try these!! Can I line my pan with parchment paper, or do you bake these right on the pan? Just afraid I won’t be able to get them off the pan! Also, when you say to let cookies sit at least 24 hours, do you mean to let them sit on the baking pan or a cooling rack, or to let them sit in a container for 24 hours before serving? Thank you!!!!

    1. Hi Janet, We like to line our baking tray with parchment paper before baking. Let them cool completely on a cooling rack then you can transfer them to a container to sit for 24 hours before serving. Hope that helps!

  3. I really like these vanilla cookies recipe. One of the best cookies i have ever tried. Thanks for sharing this recipe with all of us.5 stars

  4. I’ve been making these cookies for years. It was the one recipe I absolutely needed from my mother in law. I just use a cup of corn starch. I also roll them out and frost. Since the cookies aren’t too sweet, they pair great with a light butter cream frosting. I refrigerate for at least an hour, then roll out and cut out thick cookies. Then bake just till light brown(12 mins). Do not over bake. They are always a hit.4 stars

  5. I just made these for a Christmas cookie exchange at work tomorrow afternoon. I haven’t waited the 24 hours yet to eat them. I had to try them only 1 hour old and the flavor is great. I only yielded 60 cookies so I think I made them a little too big. The texture is off a bit. crumbly in my mouth like a shortbread should be, but then it kind of zaps all the moisture out of my mouth. I can’t wait to try them again tomorrow. Thanks so much for the recipe.4 stars

  6. These really are the best Christmas cookies! They came together quickly with just five ingredients. And they melt in your mouth. So good! Could I ask what you used to make the little dimple pattern on the cookies? I love it, but couldn’t find anything in my kitchen that looked like that:) Thank you!5 stars

    1. Sorry this didn’t work out for you, we made them again yesterday and they were perfect. When measuring your flour, did you scoop the flour directly into the measuring cup or did you lightly spoon it into the measuring cup and level it with a knife? That could certainly make a difference.