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Christmas cookies are always a welcome addition to any holiday party, but the same old sugar cookies just won’t cut it this time around. Gingerbread men are passé, and there are so many other great options to test out that you could bake a new recipe every day for months and never run out of choices. Here’s a roundup of ten recipes you should try this holiday season—but no guarantees your mother-in-law will like them.

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Store your cookies in this festive jar.
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Soft Gingersnap Cookies

Soft Gingersnap Cookies recipe

A Bountiful Kitchen

These soft gingersnap cookies are a great alternative to the crunchy version normally associated with gingersnaps. A classic cookie, the gingersnap is delicious alone and even better dipped in a glass of milk. You can use light or dark molasses to alter the taste; try to use recently purchased ginger powder to guarantee freshness. Get the Soft Gingersnap Cookies recipe.

Linzer Sablés

Linzer Sablés recipe


Our Linzer Sablés recipe is a new take on the linzer torte and has a whole cup and a half of finely ground nuts; try almonds, hazelnuts, or walnuts to figure out your favorite. These tiny sandwich cookies are delicate and addictive when filled with raspberry or apricot jam, but for a real show-stopper try filling them with a dollop of Nutella. Get our Linzer Sablé Cookies recipe.

Spicy Chocolate Chip Hazelnut Cookies

Nik Sharma's spicy chocolate chip cookies

Nik Sharma

Flip the script on regular old chocolate chip cookies this year. Make spicy hazelnut flour cookies with roughly chopped dark chocolate, crystallized ginger, and a bit of black pepper for addictive kick instead. Get the Spicy Chocolate Chip Hazelnut Cookies recipe.

Mexican Wedding Cakes

Mexican Wedding Cakes


Mexican Wedding Cakes are small pillow-like cookies known by many names throughout the world—and in any language, they’re delectable. These cookies are crunchy but light, with an entire cup of toasted pecans in the dough. Covered with confectioners’ sugar, they are amazing with a cup of coffee or an after-dinner drink. Get our Mexican Wedding Cookies recipe.

Chocolate Sandwich Cookies with Peppermint Buttercream Filling

Chocolate Sandwich Cookies with Peppermint Buttercream Filling recipe


Chocolate and peppermint are the perfect holiday combination. These chocolate cookies are really simple: You can freeze the cylinder of dough and keep it on hand for a last-minute gift or a weeknight dessert. The peppermint buttercream filling with crushed peppermint candies (or candy canes) is minty and refreshing. If you’re feeling extra festive, try adding some red or green food coloring. Get our Chocolate Sandwich Cookies with Peppermint Buttercream Filling recipe.

Seven Layer Rainbow Cookies

Seven Layer Rainbow Cookies recipe

Smitten Kitchen

Blogger Deb Perelman’s recipe for rainbow cookies makes a delightful dessert that looks impressive but is actually pretty simple to make. The cookies just take some patience and a whole lot of almond paste. You can change the food coloring to suit your fancy, but be sure to make these ahead of time: The multilayered cookies require at least eight hours to chill. Get the Seven Layer Rainbow Cookies recipe.

Vanilla Slice-and-Bake Cookies

Vanilla Slice-and-Bake Cookies recipe

Fine Cooking

This recipe is an incredible jumping-off point for a variety of beautiful and tasty holiday cookies. You can roll the logs of cookie dough in chopped nuts, sprinkles, chocolate chips, anything you can think of, and feel free to embellish the tops with frosting or more add-ins. You can also flavor the dough with a multitude of spices or seasonings and get as creative as you want. Start with classic holiday combos (nutmeg, allspice, ginger, etc.) and expand from there. Get the Vanilla Slice-and-Bake Cookies recipe.

White Chocolate, Pistachio, and Cranberry Cookie Wreaths

White Chocolate, Pistachio, and Cranberry Cookie Wreaths recipe

Butter Hearts Sugar

These beautiful wreath cookies manage to include some healthy ingredients—pistachios and cranberries—and kids can easily pitch in and assemble them with little supervision. This is a creatively and deliciously jazzed-up version of a simple holiday sugar cookie. The white chocolate frosting looks just like snow, and you can substitute any number of toppings. Try chocolate chips, other types of chopped nuts, crushed candies, or dried fruit. Get the White Chocolate, Pistachio, and Cranberry Cookie Wreaths recipe.

Millionaire’s Shortbread

Millionaire's Shortbread recipe

Gotta Get Baked

Millionaire’s Shortbread combines all the best dessert elements: a crunchy shortbread crust, a layer of gooey caramel, and a smooth layer of chocolate on top. These cookies are incredibly easy to assemble, and they make great gifts. But be warned: A small serving goes a long way. Try cutting them in one-inch squares or rectangles. Get the Millionaire’s Shortbread recipe.

Earl Grey Shortbread with Blood Orange Glaze

Earl Grey Shortbread with Blood Orange Glaze

Love and Olive Oil

This recipe for Earl Grey shortbread coins contains actual loose tea leaves that delicately flavor the dough. Regular orange juice, milk, or any other liquid also works for the glaze if you want to focus on the tea flavor (and you can tint it red or green with food coloring if desired), but the hint of citrus is nice. Dipped in hot cocoa, coffee, or even tea, these cookies are an outstanding holiday snack and make a great hostess gift as well. Get the Earl Grey Shortbread with Blood Orange Glaze recipe.

Christmas Sugar Cookies

sugar cookies


Okay, okay, you can’t go wrong with this classic holiday cookie. Trust us, Santa (and your mother-in-law) will thank you. Get our Christmas Sugar Cookie recipe.

See all of our holiday cookie recipes for more sweet inspiration. And for even more holiday hacks, tips, tricks, and recipes, check out our Ultimate Guide to Christmas and Holiday Entertaining Headquarters.

Related video: 7 Ways to Decorate Holiday Cookies

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Caitlin M. O'Shaughnessy is a New York City–based food writer and editor at Penguin who has worked on and recipe-tested several cookbooks. She is currently in search of NYC’s best ramen, and is one of the few people who admit to disliking brunch.
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