Christmas cookies, holiday cookies, winter treats—whatever you want to call them, they used to be the perfect gift. Everyone loved getting a little tin of homemade cookies. Coworkers, friends, neighbors, even the mailman and doorman were delighted!

No longer. The culprit was nuts at first. Then gluten. Or Paleo. Suddenly cookies were unwelcome and rebuffed on every doorstep without careful screening of ingredients and allergens; plus, let’s be honest, who can keep track of which cousin can’t have Brazil nuts or that your office manager is gluten-free?!

To solve the problem of juggling allergies and intolerances, we’ve constructed the perfect roundup of allergen-friendly holiday cookie recipes to please everyone on your list.

1. Chocolate-Hazelnut Meringues

Meringues are naturally gluten-free because they contain no flour or grains of any kind, so these are the perfect option for your low-carb friends. If you’re worried about nut allergies, skip the nuts and add toffee!
Photo and recipe from CHOW

2. Almond Crinkle Macarons

Chewy on the inside, crinkly on the outside, and totally gluten-free. Plus they look so festive! Pro-tip: Make sure your powdered sugar is gluten-free, as some can have a gluten-based starch additive.
Photo and recipe from CHOW

3. Peppermint Bark Cookies

Peppermint is the undisputed holiday flavor, so naturally you’ll need this one in the mix.
Photo and recipe from Gluten Free Canteen

4. Frankfurter Bethmännchen (German Marzipan)

These gorgeous little morsels use Marcona almonds for a fancy vibe that adds a savory note of salt. They are tall and round because they are full of Santa’s secrets, or so I hear.
Photo and recipe from The Clean Dish

5. Pistachio Citrus Bars

Admittedly, this is not the right cookie for people with nut allergies, but it is a sweet treat for those avoiding gluten since it uses tapioca starch and rice flour. To customize it, use any kind of citrus zest you’ve got, or get exotic: grapefruit, yuzu, lime—they’d all taste great!
Photo and recipe from CHOW

6. Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Any friend or frenemy who has had to give up gluten invariably misses the cookie classics. This peanut butter cookie with hunks of chocolate will make their hearts grateful for your holiday baking.
Photo and recipe from CHOW

7. Chocolate Chip Cookies

The holy grail of cookies. If you’d like them to be a little more festive, they are fantastic as the exterior to an eggnog ice cream sandwich, or simply ice them with snowflakes and sleds! Many gluten-free baking recipes are OK, but not quiiiite as good as the original. Often, the gluten-free version of these cookies is tough, off tasting, or doesn’t bake properly, but this recipe is actually, truly, real-deal, cross-my-heart, THE tastiest gluten-free chocolate chip cookie.
Photo and recipe from CHOW

8. Ginger Molasses Cookies

Just the right amount of spice and chew balances this cookie’s sweetness. I genuinely believe that cookies like this were baked solely for late afternoons or evenings under a blanket, on the couch with something hot to drink, while reading or watching something lovely.
Photo and recipe from Gourmande in the Kitchen

9. Mississippi Praline Macaroons

They just souuuund decadent! Just in time for the fresh pecan crop, these are seasonal, gluten-free, and light as a feather!
Photo and recipe from CHOW; header image from CHOW

Vanessa W. Simmons is a former cook living in San Francisco, helping to run a food business. She’s probably hungry, but if not she could eat.
See more articles