10 Festive Holiday Cookies

A tasty collection of festive holiday cookies that will shine at any gathering. This roundup features shortbread, thumbprint, drop, rolled & gluten-free options!

10 Festive Holiday Cookies - A tasty collection of incredible cookies that will shine at any gathering. | jessicagavin.com

If you haven’t already spent some time making a mess in the kitchen measuring out flour, sugar, and burning your fingertips from tasting freshly baked cookies, it’s not too late! Cookies are like mini presents, with each bite bringing instant joy.

As you know, there are endless options, and certainly something for everyone. I’m sharing my favorite classic cookie recipes and gluten-free options so everyone can have a tasty treat! From chocolate chip to melt-in-your-mouth shortbread, any of these ten festive holiday cookie recipes will be a hit!

Types of Holiday Cookies

I bet most of the time as you grab a cookie you’re just thinking about how delicious they are going to be, and not so much about what kind they are based on preparation techniques. I don’t blame you, but here are some fun facts on your favorite festive holiday cookies.

  • Drop Cookies: These are soft dough cookies scooped into mounds for baking. You want even portion sizes and space when baking for a uniform cooking time. These tend to have a soft or chewy texture like chocolate chip, oatmeal, and peanut butter.
  • Icebox Cookies: Made from dough shaped into logs or rectangles and chilled. They are sliced and baked and can be rolled in nuts or sugar. The textures are usually more crisp and uniform in color like a pinwheel, checkerboard or shortbread cookies.
  • Bar Cookies: Dough is pressed or layered into shallow pans and cut into portions after baking. Shortbread cookies, drop dough or even brownies can fall into this category.
  • Cut-out or Rolled Cookies: Firm dough is rolled out and shaped before baking. Try to avoid re-rolling as the cookies will become tougher. Classic sugar, Linzer, and gingerbread cookies are typical examples.
  • Pressed Cookies: A soft cookie dough that can be forced through a pastry tip or cookie press. Spritz cookies are a classic pressed cookie, and if you have a cookie press, you can create different shapes and designs.
  • Wafer Cookies: These extremely thin, delicate cookies are made with a light batter that is spread on a cookie sheet and baked. When still hot these cookies can be rolled into tuile or cigarette cookies, or even fortune cookies.

This festive holiday cookie roundup features some of these types of cookies so you can have a variety of options!

#1) The BEST Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

If you are a lover of crisp edges and chewy centers, these chocolate chip cookies will be your new go-to recipe! I use a particular mixing method to create toffee-like flavors and moist centers. I’m confident you won’t be able to let these cool down, they go straight from pan to tummy.

10 Festive Holiday Cookies - A tasty collection of incredible cookies that will shine at any gathering. | jessicagavin.com

#2) Classic Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

One of the essential cookie recipes from our childhood! This is a great cookie to make with kids. They can help you roll the cookie dough balls, unwrap the kisses and press into the dough. For all the kids and kids at heart, these cookies never go out of style.

10 Festive Holiday Cookies - A tasty collection of incredible cookies that will shine at any gathering. | jessicagavin.com

#3) Vanilla Bean Danish Butter Cookies

These sweet and buttery cookies are a simple and elegant treat! Just like the ones in the blue cookie tins at the store, but homemade. Create different designs, use a cookie press and package them up for a lovely gift or on your dessert table.

10 Festive Holiday Cookies - A tasty collection of incredible cookies that will shine at any gathering. | jessicagavin.com

#4) Flourless Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprint Cookies

This gluten-free recipe is made with just seven ingredients; peanut butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and a pinch salt. Just add your favorite jelly in the center, and you’ve got a cookie that will bring you back to your childhood favorite PB&J sandwich in cookie form.

10 Festive Holiday Cookies - A tasty collection of incredible cookies that will shine at any gathering. | jessicagavin.com

#5) Triple Chocolate Truffle Cookies

This cookie is for only serious chocolate lovers only. These fudgy cookies have unsweetened, bittersweet and semi-sweet chocolate blended into the cookie dough for an intense chocolate treat. There’s a special ingredient added to make the chocolate flavor POP!

10 Festive Holiday Cookies - A tasty collection of incredible cookies that will shine at any gathering. | jessicagavin.com

#6) Homemade Mint Chocolate Milano Cookies

Milano cookies almost always seem to make an appearance during the holidays. A definite favorite! These copycat crisp and buttery cookies filled with mint chocolate and orange are so easy to make. Bake these gourmet cookies right at home, plus there’s an instructional video!

10 Festive Holiday Cookies - A tasty collection of incredible cookies that will shine at any gathering. | jessicagavin.com

#7) Cranberry Orange Linzer Cookies

These delicate almond cookies are an elegant cookie made to impress. Filled with fresh homemade cranberry orange jam for seasonal winter flavors infused into each cookie. You can also add your favorite flavor jam if you are short on time or giving these as a gift.

10 Festive Holiday Cookies - A tasty collection of incredible cookies that will shine at any gathering. | jessicagavin.com

#8) White Chocolate Cherry Pecan Cookies

These thick and cakey cookies are packed with oats, sweet cherries, crunchy pecans, and delicious white chocolate. Add dried cranberries for a more holiday flavored cookie. Perfect for those who want a sweeter and slightly savory cookie.

10 Festive Holiday Cookies - A tasty collection of incredible cookies that will shine at any gathering. | jessicagavin.com

#9) Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies

No one will be able to tell that these almond shortbread cookies are gluten-free! The gluten-free flour blend adds just the right crumbly texture. Mini chocolate chips and crunchy almonds are added to each cookie. Dip in dark chocolate to take the flavors to the next level!

10 Festive Holiday Cookies - A tasty collection of incredible cookies that will shine at any gathering. | jessicagavin.com

#10) Snickerdoodle Cookies

Vanilla cookies rolled in cinnamon and sugar, tastes just like a churro! This is one of my family favorites and is an essential holiday treat. This recipe has white chocolate chips for a sweet surprise in each nibble.

10 Festive Holiday Cookies - A tasty collection of incredible cookies that will shine at any gathering. | jessicagavin.com

BONUS!) Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Skillet

Instead of making a few dozen cookies, how about creating a JUMBO cookie! This gluten-free and vegan cookie skillet is made with only six ingredients and no refined sugar. Just homemade almond butter mixed with maple syrup, flaxseed, almond flour and baking soda for an irresistible dessert. Grab some spoons, top with ice cream and dig in!

10 Festive Holiday Cookies - A tasty collection of incredible cookies that will shine at any gathering. | jessicagavin.com

I hope these 11-holiday cookie recipes have inspired your inner baker! They are great options for a cookie party, an easy portable dessert to bring to a party or just something to enjoy with your family while you’re in your jammies watching A Christmas Story. Which cookie made you drool? I’d love to hear what you will be baking this holiday season!

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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9 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Judy says

    You read my mind. I was just thinking about making cookies to mail my mom. Now to decide which ones will pack best and still be whole when she receives them. Thank you Jessica! Happy Holidays.

      • Judy says

        I really do not. This will be my first year of sending any baked goods. I generally try to make cookies for my brother-in-law when I am with them and make mom meals I know she will like so she has a change of pace. My thinking is I will get a decorative sturdy Christmas box at Safeway and I will put a layer of bubble wrap at the bottom and sides. Then put a tin of cookies in that. What do you think? Have you had any experience shipping cookies. I am sending our youngest son a loaf of apple/pineapple bread and I was thinking to send it right from the freezer to the post office and send it two day. Then he could refreeze and cut off pieces as he wants. Another what do you think our food scientist? I am totally open to reasons for not doing it that way. : )

        • Jessica Gavin says

          Hi Judy- I was looking up best way to ship cookies and Sally’s Baking Addiction recommends to place the cookies together like you are making a sandwich (bottoms facing eachother) and tightly wrap the pairs in plastic wrap. Then do what you were planning and put them in a tin with some tissue paper or bubble wrap. I don’t see any issue of freezing the bread 🙂 Your son is so lucky!

          • Judy says

            Hi Jessica,

            What a dear person you are. Thank you for finding that information. I just jotted it down and will send them that way. Oh also good to know about the bread, that you feel it is an ok thing too. I’m getting excited about shipping some goodies now. I was at Ikea today and got my mom two light weight mugs for her coffee too. She has arthritis so these will be perfect for her to pickup and hold with no stress. Christmas is on its way. Cups and books are her birthday present. Her birthday is Dec 23rd and she will be 88. I’m so fortunate she is still here with us.

            Take care and I bet a lot of holiday prep is going on at your place and two little bundles of joy to make it that much better.

  2. Judy Caywood says

    Christmas cookie time. We are taking 6 dozen to a church event Thursday so we will make our baking selection from here. My husband’s going to choose a recipe and bake one too. His first time. Also-our son and my husband got me a KitchenAid stand mixer last year and I use it all the time. It’s the best kitchen tool.

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