Classic Holiday Cookie Recipes

The holidays are my favorite baking time of year. I enjoy going through old family cookbooks and then looking online for new holiday cookie recipes that sound good. I remember baking with my mom in our kitchen every year. We made several different kinds of muffins and cookies to give out, and it is a tradition that we carry on with the little ones in our family now. Every year I usually end up making about 12 kinds of cookies, and it’s never the same each year. If you are searching for some classic holiday cookie recipes, I have a great mix from the Clabber Girl database right here.

Classic Holiday Cookie Recipes for 2015

Molasses Drop Cookies

Molasses drop cookies are my favorite cookie of all time, not just the holidays. They are sweet and dark and just right for me. Since these call for Rumford Baking Powder instead of baking soda, they will be super soft and chewy – just the perfect texture you want in a molasses cookie. I usually shape mine by rolling into 1 or 2 inch spheres, then use my palm to flatten them down a bit. They won’t spread like a traditional cookie so you have to flatten them yourself.

Old-Fashioned Sugar Cookies: The Quintessential Holiday Cookie Recipe

To me, sugar cookies represent the classic cookie that everyone thinks of at Christmas time. I have a few tips for you to get the perfect sugar cookie every time. First, use cold pans every time. Since it is usually cold out when I make these, I just set the cookie sheets in my garage for a couple of minutes to instantly cool them off in between batches. If your cookie sheets aren’t cold, your cookies will spread more and get crunchier. My second holiday cookie recipe tip is to add a teaspoon of fresh orange zest to your cookie dough (use 1 tsp for every 3 dozen cookies your recipe yields). There is something magical that happens when you add orange zest to sugar cookies; it really helps enhance the vanilla flavor. Last tip for the perfect sugar cookie is to watch how long you bake them. Sugar cookies don’t have to be brown to be done. If you let them bake just until the bottoms are starting to brown, they are so much better. I usually flip up a cookie with a spatula to monitor how done they are and yank them out as soon as the bottoms start to brown.


These holiday cookies are a family favorite of ours. Snickerdoodles are rolled in a cinnamon sugar blend (usually 1:2 or 1:4 ratio). I love making these with my nephews!  I usually prepare the dough and let them roll the cookie dough balls in the cinnamon sugar mixture. It’s one holiday cookie recipe that even the youngest helpers can have fun making. Once they are big enough to hold the mixer on their own, kids can help make the dough too.

Snowball cookies

I love the way snowball cookies or Mexican wedding cakes just melt in your mouth. They are a pretty cookie that look so different in a tin next to these other classic holiday cookie recipes. This is one holiday cookie recipe that doesn’t call for a lot of flour. It is mostly made up of corn starch and butter. I like adding in a half cup of almond pieces for an extra crunch. Don’t worry if you can’t get your dough into perfect ball shapes. I have made mine into fingers instead, just rolling them into a log about 3 inches long by half an inch wide.


I think this is probably the second most well known holiday cookie recipe: gingerbread. If you are making gingerbread for a younger audience, scale back the spices. Gingerbread can be too spicy for younger pallets. If you are making these for children, try cutting the ginger, nutmeg and cloves in half. Gingerbread is a very old recipe that has been passed down for centuries, if not millenia. Decorate your gingerbread with our Royal Icing recipe.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Every time I make oatmeal raisin cookies, they are a crowd pleaser, and everyone’s favorite. I like to make the basic recipe, then make a batch with just walnuts and another batch with both raisins and walnuts. If anyone I am baking for has a nut allergy, I tend to make cookies with nuts last. I don’t even bring out the nuts until I have made all the nut-free cookies. I thoroughly wash all my pans and tools to make sure there isn’t any unintentional residue. This way people can enjoy the other cookies I’ve made and those who aren’t allergic to nuts can have these cookies too.

Gluten Free Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies

If you have anyone who is gluten intolerant or adhere to a gluten free diet, these gluten free peanut butter and jelly cookies are so tasty! Unlike some gluten free baked goods that can taste tough, these are softer due to the peanut butter. I prefer strawberry preserves but any jelly could be used.

These are all of our classic holiday cookie recipes. I plan on making these and more in the coming weeks. Did I leave out any of your favorite classics out? Let me know in the comments section. The picture below is from a baking marathon in 2012. Cookies pictured from left to right: holiday wreaths, snickerdoodles, gingerbread, shortbread cookies, sugar cookies, raisin oatmeal cookies, walnut oatmeal cookies, molasses cookies, snowball cookies, butter cookies and peanut butter cookies.