The Best Holiday Cookies

SAVEUR's favorite holiday cookie recipes.

Swedish Shortbread
Swedish Shortbread
In Sweden, these shortbread cookies are traditionally cut into star shapes and garnished with pearl sugar, which can be found at specialty baking stores and online sources. See the Swedish Shortbread RecipeTodd Coleman
Glazed Cinnamon Oatmeal 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.Helen Rosner
Sugar 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.Todd Coleman
Gingerbread Cookies
gingerbread cookie recipe, gingerbread man recipe
These classic holiday cookies are rich with molasses and spices and nutty from the addition of whole wheat flour.Helen Rosner
Swedish Dream Cookies
Swedish Dream Cookies
Called dream cookies because of their airy texture, these Swedish holiday treats are meant to dissolve in your mouth when you eat them. See this RecipeTodd Coleman
Basler Brunsli (Chocolate-Almond Spice Cookies)
Chocolate-Almond Spice Cookies
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. See the recipe for (Chocolate-Almond Spice Cookies) »Todd Coleman
Chocolate-Dipped Shortbread Cookies (Schokiladen-Butter-plätzchen)
Chocolate-Dipped Shortbread Cookies (Schokiladen-Butter-plätzchen)
The recipe for these Christmas cookies comes from the bakery Rischart in Munich. Their base is simple, leaving plenty of room for creative decorations.Todd Coleman
Caramel Crumb Bars
caramel crumb bars
These shortbread bars, with their extravagant double-layered topping—rich caramel and a crumbly butter streusel—are the perfect dessert to satisfy your sweet tooth.Todd Coleman
Krumkakes (Norwegian Wafer Cookies)
Norwegian Wafer Cookies
These Norwegian wafer cookies, eaten across Scandinavia during the Christmas season, are light and crisp and perfumed with cardamom. They're made like waffles on a special griddle that imprints an intricate design, and then they're rolled and filled with whipped cream. See the recipe for Krumkakes (Norwegian Wafer Cookies) »Todd Coleman
Tozzetti (Anise, Almond, and Hazelnut Biscotti)
Tozzetti (Anise, Almond, and Hazelnut Biscotti)
These Roman-style biscotti are a favorite of Nick Malgieri's for their distinctive anise flavor and atypical baking method: the loose batter is poured onto a baking sheet and baked like a cake. The result is light biscotti with large chunks of almonds and hazelnuts.Todd Coleman
Gingersnaps
Gingersnaps
Claudia Fleming shared this recipe with us. She likes to serve these wafer-thin cookies alongside fresh apples or pears.Quentin Bacon
Galletas con Chochitos (Mexican Butter Cookies with Sprinkles)
Mexican Butter Cookies with Sprinkles
Tiny, ring-shaped butter cookies like these are a popular holiday treat in Mexico.Todd Coleman
Amadeus Cookies
Amadeus Cookies
The combination of buttery shortbread, pistachio, rum, and chocolate is unbeatable. -Ben Mims, Assistant Kitchen Director See this RecipeLandon Nordeman
Gluten-Free Sugar Cookies
Gluten-Free Sugar Cookies
Sweet, buttery, and chewy, classic sugar cookies maintain all of their charm even without gluten. See the recipe for Gluten-Free Sugar Cookies »Anna Stockwell
Duche de Leche Cookie Sandwiches (Alfajores)
Duche de Leche Cookie Sandwiches (Alfajores)
Variations on this elegant cookie can be found throughout Latin America, but alfajores are associated above all with the cafe culture of Buenos Aires. They're served year-round with coffee, but during the holidays home cooks all over Argentina break out their trusted family recipes—each one unique but always with a decadent filling of dulce de leche sandwiched between two rounds of crisp butter cookie.Helen Rosner
Polvorones (Pecan Shortbread Cookies)
Pecan Shortbread Cookies
Pecans, a staple on holiday tables, make an appearance in these delicate shortbread cookies flavored with cinnamon and vanilla that are a popular treat in Mexico.Todd Coleman
Raspberry Jam Sandwich Cookies (Spitzbuben)
Raspberry Jam Sandwich Cookies (Spitzbuben)
Little crumbly sugar cookies filled with a jammy raspberry filling are a sweet and pretty addition to holiday dessert spreads.Todd Coleman
Border Grill Sugar Cookies
Border Grill Sugar Cookies
Potato chips give this treat from Mary Sue Milliken's Border Grill restaurant unexpected salt and crunch.Helen Rosner
Swedish Heirloom Cookies
Swedish Heirloom Cookies
We got this recipe from Amanda Hesser, cofounder of Food 52, who says: "This is a pretty common cookie recipe—my mother made them with walnuts, and when she had them, black walnuts, which were insanely good. They last for months and are hard to screw up—the two prerequisites for holiday cookies."Noah Fecks
Gluten-Free Gingerbread Cookies
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.Anna Stockwell
Green Tea Matcha Christmas Tree Cookies
Green Tea Matcha Christmas Tree Cookies
Made from shade-grown tea leaves, matcha has a deep, rich flavor and packs a ton of antioxidants. Use this recipe from Tiny Urban Kitchen blogger Jennifer Che for cute Christmas cookies with a little something extra. Get the recipe for Green Tea Matcha Christmas Tree Cookies »Noah Fecks
Spice-Walnut Cookies
Spice-Walnut Cookies
Use this nutty, lightly spiced dough for your favorite Christmas cookies. See the Spice-Walnut Cookie RecipeChristopher Hirsheimer
Vanillekipferl (Vanilla Crescents)
Vanilla Crescents
Akin to Mexican wedding cookies and Greek kourabiedes, these Austrian vanilla crescents made with ground walnuts and showered in confectioners' sugar are served throughout central Europe during the weeks leading up to Christmas. See the recipe for Vanillekipferl (Vanilla Crescents) »Todd Coleman
Butter Cookies
Butter Cookies
Simple, sweet butter cookies have a near-universal appeal. This rich, buttery dough makes a perfect base for your toppings or decorations of choice. See the recipe for Butter Cookies »Christopher Hirsheimer
Vanilla Crescent Cookies
Vanilla Crescent Cookies
These sweet and delicate Austrian cookies are a special Christmastime treat. See the Vanilla Crescent Cookies RecipeFrieder Blickle
Butter Balls
Butter Balls
Dredging these melt-in-your-mouth cookies twice--first while still warm and again after they've cooled--insures a generous covering of powdery sugar.David Graham
Molded Ginger Cookies (Speculaas)
Molded Ginger Cookies (Speculaas)
A specialty of the Netherlands and Belgium, these are cousins of gingerbread, only lighter and more delicately spiced. They're also showstoppers, thanks to the intricately carved wooden molds used to make them, which form the cookies into bas-relief images of characters and symbols from stories about Saint Nicholas, or Sinter-klaas, whose name day, December 6, kicks off the Christmas season in that part of the world.Todd Coleman
German Spice Cookies (Pfeffernüsse)
German Spice Cookies (Pfeffernüsse)
These fragrant treats provide a delightful rush of warm spices when bitten into. For best results, start with whole spices and grind them yourself.Helen Rosner
Chocolate Mint Krinkles
Chocolate Mint Krinkles
These addictive chocolate-mint holiday cookies have a soft, devil's food cake-like texture.Noah Fecks
Oatmeal Lace Cookies
Oatmeal Lace Cookies
Light and crisp oatmeal cookies make a pleasant alternative to heavier treats. Dip them in melted chocolate and sprinkled with sea salt for a decadent, lacy crunch.Noah Fecks
Pine Nut Cookies (Pignoli)
Pine Nut Cookies (Pignoli)
These chewy almond meringue cookies, speckled with pine nuts, are a favorite holiday cookie of former SAVEUR managing editor Greg Ferro. This recipe is based off one by cookbook author Nick Malgieri.Todd Coleman
Lebkuchen (German Fruit and Spice Cookies)
German Fruit and Spice Cookies
This rendition of the deeply-spiced German Christmas cookie gets its soft, chewy texture from the addition of honey. Get the recipe for Lebkuchen (German Fruit and Spice Cookies) »Helen Rosner
Baci Di Dama (Hazelnut Meringue Sandwich Cookies)
Hazelnut Meringue Sandwich Cookies
Little hazelnut meringues sandwiched with milk chocolate make light and elegant desserts.Todd Coleman
Pistachio Shortbread Cookies
Pistachio Shortbread Cookies
An adaptation of Basque Christmas cookies, these crumbly harinados are made with ground up pistachios and a blend of gluten-free flours.Noah Fecks
Cherry-Almond Star Cookies
Cherry-Almond Star Cookies
Iconic star-shaped Italian cookies from our book Best Cookies are infused with kirsch and cream to add richness and depth.Helen Rosner
Sprinkle Cookes
Sprinkle Cookes
Colorful and festive, these traditional Italian butter cookies taste just as good as they look.
See the recipe for Sprinkle Cookies »
Todd Coleman
Butter Turtles
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.Noah Fecks
Coconut Classics
Coconut Classics
This recipe is perfect for making several dough logs at the beginning of the holiday season and freezing them; slice off and bake as needed for last minute guests, cookie exchanges, and hostess gifts.Noah Fecks
Poppy Seed-Honey Cookies (Pirishkes)
Poppy Seed-Honey Cookies (Pirishkes)
These simple, crunchy cookies are delicious drenched in warm honey.Todd Coleman
Gingerbread Cookies
Gingerbread Cookies
Gingerbread cookies like these are popular in Sweden during the holidays and can be served plain or decorated with icing. This recipe comes from the 80-year-old Vete-Katten bakery in Stockholm.Todd Coleman