50 Old-School Cookie Recipes You Can’t Beat

Trying to improve upon the Tollhouse chocolate chip cookie is futile—here’s proof.

By SAVEUR Editors

Published on December 5, 2016

We have cookie recipes that use everything from green tea to guava paste, but sometimes you just want to keep it simple. For those occasions we’ve rounded up our favorite holiday and classic cookie recipes, from chewy chocolate chip cookies to nutty gingerbread cookies.

You can't get much more classic than chocolate chip cookies. In our version of the old-school Nestle Toll House cookie—our Platonic ideal of the chocolate chip cookie—sheets of dough are layered with chopped bittersweet chocolate to make a cookie with crisp edges, a moist center, and a perfect distribution of chocolate. Or try one with a crunchier bite to it. Our chocolate chocolate cookie has layers upon layers of chocolate for the ultimate chocolate chip cookie experience.

If you aren’t looking for chocolate, we’ve got you covered. Dusted with cinnamon-sugar, snickerdoodles are always a crowd-pleaser. Many of our favorite cookies are sweet, soft, and chewy—our rich peanut butter cookies certainly fit the bill. Spicy linzer tea cookies are great for adding a bit of sweetness and a rush of spiciness from yuzu after having warming holiday drinks.

It just isn't Christmas without festively decorated sugar cookies. Cut into shapes like trees and stars and decorated with icing, sprinkles, dragées, and more, they’re almost as fun to make as they are to eat. Classic sugar cookies use a buttery flour, egg, and sugar dough. Replacing wheat flour with rice flour lets you make your cookies gluten-free. Danish tin-style cookies are great for preparing for the holidays ahead of time.

For more, check out our Essential Cookie Recipes Guide.

The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

We've found that rolling these cookies into bigger portions, then refrigerating them for at least 2 hours before slightly under-baking them at 350°, results in incredibly gooey, soft chocolate chip cookies. Get the recipe for The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies »

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies test the limit of exactly how much chocolate you can possibly pack into one cookie. Made with cocoa powder and more than one type of chocolate chip, this cookie's soft dough benefits from at least 4 hours of refrigeration, allowing the disks to stay thick and chewy when cooked. Plus, the dough will keep frozen for several months, so stash a few in the freezer to throw in the oven whenever you're hit with a craving for chocolate. Test Kitchen Director Farideh Sadeghin developed this recipe based off New York City's famous Levain Bakery. Get the recipe for Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies »

Meyer Lemon Sandwich Cookies

Fragrant Meyer lemon zest goes into these shortbread cookies from pastry chef and author Emily Luchetti. She then uses the sweet–tart juice to make a silky citrus curd that sandwiches two cookies together. Get the recipe for Meyer Lemon Sandwich Cookies »

Graham Cookies

Chewy cookies made with brown sugar and graham flour and strips of candied ginger play background roles in this simple dessert showcasing the Hachiya persimmon's floral aroma and flavor. Get the recipe for Graham Cookies »

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Dorie Greenspan’s Chocolate Chunker Cookies

You'll need a lot of chocolate—more than a pound!—for this gooey cookie recipe. Get the recipe for Dorie Greenspan's Chocolate Chunker Cookies »

Dorie Greenspan’s Chocolate-Cornflake Haystack Cookies

This crunchy baked version of the traditionally no-bake cookie is worth the oven time. Get the recipe for Dorie Greenspan's Chocolate Chunker Cookies »

Mexican Chocolate Icebox Cookies

At brunch at the Liberty Bar in San Antonio, a plate of these spicy-sweet cookies is set down on the table at the beginning of the meal—gratis. Featured in our book Best Cookies, they make a perfect cookie for holiday parties, especially when drizzled with a little melted white chocolate. Get the recipe for Mexican Chocolate Icebox Cookies »

Sprinkle Cookies

Blanketed in multicolored sprinkles, these festive-looking treats from our book Best Cookies are a staple of Italian bakeries. Get the recipe for Sprinkle Cookies »

Black and White Cookies

These generously iced, cakelike cookies are as cherished by New Yorkers as bagels and cream cheese. To quicken the setting of the glazes, place the cookies in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes after each coating. Get the recipe for Black and White Cookies

Cherry Snowball Cookies

These buttery, almond-scented cookies are stuffed with liqueur-soaked Luxardo cherries. Get the recipe for Cherry Snowball Cookies »

Greek Honey Cookies

Soaked in honey syrup and garnished with a spiced walnut mixture, these traditional Greek cookies are often served around the holidays. Get the recipe for Greek Honey Cookies »

Honey and Spice Cookies

Loaded with warm spices—allspice, ginger, cloves, and cinnamon—sweetened with honey, and packed with hazelnuts, these are the only holiday cookies you'll need. Get the recipe for Honey and Spice Cookies »

Umbrian Snowflake Cookies

Cornflakes—both mixed into the batter and coating the cookies' exterior—give these crumbly chocolate chip treats a pleasant crunch and a nutty flavor. Get the recipe for Umbrian Snowflake Cookies »

Chocolate-Almond Spice Cookies (Basler Brunsli)

Specialties of Basel, in northern Switzerland, these chocolatey confections are often described as Swiss brownies. Almonds, sugar, and chocolate are ground fine and bound together with egg whites to create a satisfyingly chewy texture, while cinnamon and cloves impart an unmistakable flavor of old-fashioned Christmas cheer. Get the recipe for Chocolate-Almond Spice Cookies (Basler Brunsli) »

Cinnamon Sugar Cookies

This perfect combination of snickerdoodle and sugar cookie is warmly spiced—just the thing to have with a cup of tea, by a roaring fire. Get the recipe for Cinnamon Sugar Cookies »

Citrus Twist Fritters

Perfumed with cardamom and the zests of both orange and lemon, these holiday cookies are fried to crisp perfection. Get the recipe for Citrus Twist Fritters »

Dusty Bliss Cookies

A sandy, melt-in-your mouth chocolate cookie with a coffee kick—and a dip in more chocolate for good measure. Get the recipe for Dusty Bliss Cookies »

Spicy Pineapple Linzer Cookies

These sandwich cookies, adapted from chef Frederico Ribeiro of New York's Te Company, are an homage to the classic Taiwanese pineapple cake. Here a super-buttery vanilla bean shortbread gets a nutty dose of hazelnut flour, and sweet pineapple-rosemary jam gets balanced by the spicy, fermented, and grassy flavor of Japanese yuzu kosho paste. Be sure to let the cookies rest overnight (or at least a few hours) after assembling so the jam sets in place, and don't skip the lime zest and flaky salt topping for a sweet and savory cookie that has a nice habit of electrifying your taste buds. Get the recipe for Spicy Pineapple Linzer Cookies »

Mexican Butter Cookies with Sprinkles (Galletas con Chochitos)

Tiny, ring-shaped butter cookies like these are a popular holiday treat in Mexico. They're typically decorated with chocolate sprinkles, but green, red, and white ones transform them into festive Christmas wreaths. Get the recipe for Mexican Butter Cookies with Sprinkles (Galletas con Chochitos) »


Folding cornflakes into the dough before baking gives simple chocolate cookies an addictive crunch. Get the recipe for Afghans »

Coconut “Macaroonies”

With their powerful coconut flavor, chewy texture, and crisp edges, these gluten- and dairy-free all-coconut bar cookies (made with coconut extract, oil, and flour) are the ultimate macaron. Get the recipe for Coconut "Macaroonies" »

Salted Chocolate Rye Cookies

Replacing standard all-purpose flour with whole grain rye makes a dense, fudgy cookie with an intense and complex chocolate flavor. Get the recipe for Salted Chocolate Rye Cookies »

New England Hermits

These classic bar cookies, spiced with cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg and studded with raisins, are adapted from a recipe in the 1880 New Cook Book. Get the recipe for New England Hermits »

Almond Sugar Cookies

These glittering almond squares make a fantastic Christmas cookie on their own, but sandwiched with raspberry jam, they're even better. Get the recipe for Almond Sugar Cookies »

Vanilla Wreath Cookies

This buttery, vanilla-bean-flecked cookie batter is scraped into a piping bag and can be formed into wreaths, bows, or any shape your holiday heart desires. Get the recipe for Vanilla Wreath Cookies »

Date Balls

Dates, pecans, and Rice Krispies make an irresistible cookie that's ready in under half an hour. Get the recipe for Date Balls »

Shortbread Cookies

Kamut, a strain of wheat that is one of a growing number of alternative grains, makes these cookies extra tender and crumbly. Baker Chad Robertson of Tartine notes to be sure to score the cookies as soon as they come out of the oven; they will be too fragile to cut once cooled. Get the recipe for Shortbread Cookies »

Omani Coconut Cookies

A simple combination of sugar syrup and unsweetened coconut cools and hardens into sweet, crunchy treats that are perfect served alongside tea or coffee. Get the recipe for Omani Coconut Cookies »

Edouard’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

A French version of the classic American cookie, this recipe adds ground almonds for a result that's chubby and chewy and just a little soft at the center. Get the recipe for Edouard's Chocolate Chip Cookies »

Homemade Mallomars

With a dense chocolate coating and a soft, cakelike cookie base, we think these homemade mallomars are even better than the original. Get the recipe for Homemade Mallomars »

Date-Filled Semolina Cookies (Makroud)

These crunchy fried sweets stand up to soaking in a fragrant honey syrup, adding moisture and lightening the dense pastry. Get the recipe for Date-Filled Semolina Cookies (Makroud) »

Sugared Rosewater Marzipan Balls (Kaber Ellouz)

A simple almond dough is scented with rose water and dyed before being braided, cut, and rolled for these whimsical treats. Get the recipe for Sugared Rosewater Marzipan Balls (Kaber Ellouz) »

Jam Thumbprints

Finely chopped walnuts add a deep, nutty flavor to classic buttery thumbprint cookies in a recipe adapted from the Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook. Get the recipe for Jam Thumbprints »

Chestnut and Goji Berry Rugelach

Classic sweet rugelach get a Chinese twist with a filling of chestnuts, goji berries, and Chinese five-spice powder. Get the recipe for Chestnut and Goji Berry Rugelach »

Smoked Almond S’mores with Whiskey Marshmallows

We love a classic Hershey's s'more, but this version kicks things up a notch with homemade ingredients. Get the recipe for Smoked Almond S'mores with Whiskey Marshmallows »

Peanut Butter Cookies

Despite peanut-butter's reputation as a wholesome health-food, these soft, chewy cookies stand up well to the chocolate chip as a pleasurable dessert. Get the recipe for Peanut Butter Cookies »

Molasses Cookies

This thin, chewy, gently spiced cookie is perfect for dunking into milk. Get the recipe for Molasses Cookies »

Glazed Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies

Dough studded with dried cranberries and a drizzle of sweet, cinnamon-spiced glaze take oatmeal cookies from ordinary to perfect. Get the recipe for Glazed Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies »

Sweet Pretzel Butter Cookies

An egg wash before baking is the secret to the gorgeous golden color of these pretzel-shaped butter cookies. Get the recipe for Sweet Pretzel Butter Cookies »

Butter Turtles

This recipe is from Food Editor Ben Mims, and was adapted from an old Southern Living recipe. The combination of salty nuts, sweet, buttery shortbread, and dark chocolate will have anyone hooked. Get the recipe for Butter Turtles »

Gluten-Free Gingerbread Cookies

A blend of white rice flour, potato starch, and tapioca starch makes a perfect gluten-free base for these sweet and spicy cookies that have long been a holiday favorite. Get the recipe for Gluten-Free Gingerbread Cookies »

Gluten-Free Sugar Cookies

Our gluten-free twist on classic sugar cookies uses rice flour as the base. Gluten-free doughs tend to be more delicate than standard cookie doughs; if the dough becomes too soft to work with, cut out shapes and place unbaked cookies on trays in the freezer for 3-5 minutes before baking. Get the recipe for Gluten-Free Sugar Cookies »

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Try layering chocolate into the cookie dough for crisp edges and a moist and tender inside. Get the recipe for Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies »

No-Bake Chocolate-Oat Cookies

Adapted from Patty Piner's soul food cookbook Sweets, these chewy chocolate cookies are made entirely on the stovetop. Get the recipe for No-Bake Chocolate-Oat Cookies »

White Chocolate-Macadamia Nut Cookies

Copious amounts of crunchy, buttery macadamia nuts find their match in large, creamy white chocolate chunks in these classic American cookies. Get the recipe for White Chocolate-Macadamia Nut Cookies »

Sugar Cookies

Cut into Christmas trees, wreaths, snowflakes, snowmen, candy canes, and every other holiday design imaginable, these are classic holiday treats in the U.S. The cookies themselves are pure buttery comfort, but when decorated with royal icing, sprinkles, dragees, and sanding sugar, they're elevated to cultural icons, beloved by children and grown-ups alike. Plus, they're almost as much fun to make as they are to eat. Get the recipe for Sugar Cookies »

Gingerbread Cookies

These classic holiday cookies, which we adapted from Carol Gelles' 1,000 Vegetarian Recipes, are rich with molasses and spices and nutty from the addition of whole wheat flour. Get the recipe for Gingerbread Cookies »

Shortbread Cookies (Punitions)

Traditional French shortbread cookies taste best using a good salted butter with a high butterfat content, such as Kerrygold. Get the recipe for Shortbread Cookies (Punitions)

TKOs (Chocolate Sandwich Cookies)

This riff on an Oreo is filled with a creamy white chocolate ganache. Make sure to use white chocolate with at least 35 percent cocoa butter when making the filling to ensure ultra-smooth melting. Get the recipe for TKOs (Chocolate Sandwich Cookies) »

Todd’s Snickerdoodles

Cinnamon-sugar dusted snickerdoodles are always one of the most-requested holiday cookies. Get the recipe for Todd's Snickerdoodles »

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