These Christmas cookies are full of festive ingredients and holiday cheer! Learn which Christmas cookies are the most popular, get our favorite recipes, how to make batches that last all holiday season, and discover their surprising history.
The holiday season wouldn’t be complete without crumbly, sweet, and delicious Christmas cookies. You might have perfected the exquisite ritual of baking them and frosting them, but have you ever thought about their backstory?
Find out everything you need to know about Christmas cookies so you can indulge your family in expertly-prepared, delicious biscuits that stay fresh. You’ll have a story or two to tell around the dinner table as well!
What Are Christmas Cookies?
Traditional Christmas cookies are one of our nation’s favorite sweet treats to indulge in when celebrating the holiday season. They’re usually simple sugar cookies — sometimes spiced or laced with nuts and fruit — that you cut into festive shapes, decorated, and shared among loved ones.
These tasty treats are also left out for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. Every year, children marvel to see the glass empty, and the plate cleared in the morning, leaving crumbs and lots of presents.
Festive cookies go back further than you might expect, all the way back to Europe in the middle ages. Explorers were importing molasses, exotic spices, and never-before-seen ingredients from the east for the first time.
These delectable flavors made their way into winter solstice rituals, which evolved into Christmas rituals. Legend has it that the dutch brought Christmas cookies over to America in the 17th century, although the Germans and the Italians lay claims to the tradition, too.
What Is the Most Popular Christmas Cookie in America?
According to data gathered by the General Mills recipe website, the most popular Christmas cookie in America is the Peanut Butter Blossom. In seven states: California, Florida, Kentucky, New York, Wyoming, South Carolina, and Pennsylvania, the PBB cookie was the most searched and clicked.
Second place goes to Sugar Cookie M&M’s Bars, and the classic sugar cookie cutout takes the third spot. Our nation consistently adores oatmeal cookies, Italian cookies, and gingerbread cookies, as well as fruitcake cookies and macadamia cookies.
The most popular shapes for cookie cutters are cute little Christmas trees, gingerbread men, classic rounds, sandwich-style cookies, adorable reindeer, portly snowmen, and super-sweet candy canes.
We’re sharing recipes for our favorite Christmas cookies that you can make with your family this year. We’re also answering all of your Christmas cookie questions below!
Sugar and Charm Best Christmas Cookies
The Best Peanut Butter Blossoms
These peanut butter blossoms are soft and chewy and combine a nutty winter flavor with a smooth chocolatey center. These are perfect for holidays or for an indulgent snack!
Chewy Ginger Cookies
These are the best, chewy ginger cookies made with molasses, ginger syrup, and spices topped with honey and ginger chips!
Christmas Sugar Cookies
Buttery Christmas sugar cookies with creamy buttercream frosting. These are classic sugar cookies and perfect for Christmas!
Biscotti Recipe with Cranberries and Pistachios
This biscotti recipe is truly the best! It uses sweetened dried cranberries, pistachios and each cookie is dipped in melted white chocolate. They’re perfect for the holidays, go well with coffee and espresso and they’re easy to make.
Sugar Free Christmas Cookie Cutouts
A buttery, sugar-free cookies recipe that’s perfect for holiday cutout cookies. This recipe is made with Truvia Sweet Complete sweetener and decorated with cream cheese frosting.
Chewy Snickerdoodle Cookies
This is the best, chewy snickerdoodle recipe! It makes the perfect snickerdoodle cookie with all the classic ingredients. Easy to make and full of cinnamon and sugar flavor! You can also turn them into ice cream sandwiches!
Chocolate Cherry Chunk Cookies
These chocolate cherry chunk cookies have been a family favorite for years! They’re made with dried chewy cherries, oats, and pecans and can be enjoyed right out of the freezer!
The Best Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
Chocolate crinkle cookies are one of the most delightful, fudgy treats! They have the perfect crinkle on top when baked and stay super chocolatey inside!
Chocolate Cherry Cookies
These chocolate cherry cookies are made with a soft chocolate cookie, baked with a maraschino cherry inside, and topped with delicious chocolate fudge. They are absolutely delicious!
Roly Poly Santa Cookies
Our very favorite Christmas cookies!! These Santa cookies are so adorable, so tasty, and great to make with your kids! With their buttery flavor, chocolate eyes, and frosted beards, they’ll stand out at any Festive party. Hands down the yummiest Christmas cookies to come down your chimney!
Homemade Gingerbread House
The holidays will soon be upon us, and that means one thing: It’s time to master the art of the gingerbread house! This step by step guide will help you build a gingerbread house like a pro!
When Should I Start Making Christmas Cookies?
When you start baking Christmas cookies entirely depends on the demands of your household and your priorities. Some people must have their cookies baked fresh. If that’s you, just make sure you’ve got your ingredients prepared in advance and chosen a recipe that you’re comfortable making at the last minute.
If you’ve got a bigger family and there’s just too much to do on the day, or you prefer to get fully organized in advance, you can freeze your cookies. There’s also a way to make your dough in advance and bake cookies fresh on the day. Read on to find out more.
What Do You Put in Christmas Cookies?
Christmas cookies really do come in all shapes and sizes, with different states preferring different brands and many individual families following their own traditional recipes. That said, there are still some common items that pop up on the ingredients lists of most festive fancies:
- Cocoa powder
- Citrus zest
- Royal icing for decorating
- Sanding sugar for dusting
How Long Will Christmas Cookies Stay Fresh?
The Culinary Institute of America suggests that baked cookies keep best when you wrap them individually, as exposing them to the air is likely to dry them out.
You can stretch your batches further by making up a large chunk of dough and storing a portion of it, unbaked, in the refrigerator until you’re ready to bake fresh cookies. The mixture lasts for a surprising two weeks, so you can make dough far in advance and bake it fresh on the day.
What Christmas Cookies Freeze Well?
You can freeze cookies and cookie dough as well — provided you creamed the dough. Baked cookies are still yummy for up to three months after freezing them, and cookie dough can last for as long as four months in the freezer. Some of the best cookies for freezing include:
- Shortbread cookies
- Crinkle cookies
- Cinnamon cookies
- Classic sugar cookies
- Thumbprint cookies
- Gingerbread cookies
- Chocolate chip cookies
- Fruitcake cookies
- Pinwheel cookies
How Many Cookies Should You Give as a Gift?
Christmas is a time of generosity and togetherness, and you should reflect this when sharing your cookies with friends and family.
It’s traditional to give at least two to three cookies to each person in the household, but better yet, give them more. Let them know if the batch can be frozen so that they can feast on your baked goods in their own time.
Cookies in a Jar
Another great cookie gift idea is giving cookies in a jar. Basically, you measure out all of the dry ingredients and pack them in a large glass jar. Then print out a tag for the recipe and let the guests add in the wet ingredients. This way they can have freshly baked cookies and only do half the work!
How Do You Pack Cookies in a Tin?
Proper storage can ensure your Christmas cookies stay fresher for longer. You don’t need to spend lots of money on packaging (although you can if that’s your thing!) There are plenty of DIY cookie wrapping ideas you can check out to hone your presentation skills. Once you’re ready, follow these steps to pack your cookies:
- Choose a metal tin or airtight container for optimum freshness.
- Line the container with parchment or waxed paper.
- Place cookies in carefully, one at a time so you can separate each one with parchment or waxes paper.
- Avoid putting crunchy cookies, and soft cookies in the same container as the crisp ones will soften a little.
- Seal the packaging and decorate as creatively and fancifully as you can!
How Do You Keep Cookies Fresh for Christmas?
There are several ways you can get around keeping your Christmas cookies fresh. You can bake them up to three months in advance and freeze them, leaving you loads of time to get prepared.
Another option is to make the dough in advance. Either make it four months in advance and freeze it or make it a couple of weeks ahead and store it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to bake them fresh.
Festive cookies are a delightful way to share joy and fulfillment with your loved ones, and they don’t have to be stressful or complicated to make. We hope you’ve been inpired to bake some delicious cookies this season!