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20 Traditional Christmas Cookies to make your holiday bright! These are those classic cookies you can’t celebrate without and some new ones to bring spiced Christmas cheer. A professional pastry chef shares her recipes for perfect traditional cookies.   

traditional christmas cookies stacked tall against white background.

If you aren’t looking to branch out into new flavor and modern cookie territory this year, I have all the recipes you need! These are those cookies that grandma and great-grandma used to make year after year. I have a chewy gingerbread cookies and crunchy gingersnaps along with soft cut-out sugar cookies.

The recipes are grouped into preparation type, so you can find what you are looking for a little easier.  If you need a quick fix, check out these 24 Easy Christmas Cookie Recipes which are grouped by time! You could also peruse all our 100+ Christmas Cookie Recipes while you sip your eggnog.

Why You Will Love these Traditional Christmas Cookies

  • Flavorful & varied. I’ve made sure that we have a large variety of flavors and textures in this list. There are chewy cookies, crunchy cookies and bar cookies. Tender, crumbly, and everything in between.
  • Grouped by preparation type. Look at the drop cookies for an easy classic cookie or try a more elaborate rolled cookie. We also have traditional pressed and molded cookies for those who have the tools!
  • Always adding more. We add to this list as we refine and develop more recipes. Each recipe is created by a pastry chef and she gives you all the tips and tricks you need to be successful.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long before Christmas should you make Christmas cookies?

How long before Christmas to begin baking depends on you and your family traditions. Some start right after Thanksgiving and others begin the night before Christmas. If you are baking ahead of time, there are some cookies that lend themselves to early preparation like linzer cookies and Mexican wedding cookies, while others are best made fresh like chocolate crinkle cookies.

What makes a cookie a Christmas cookie?

Nothing really marks a Christmas cookie beyond the season of baking, and classic cookies like chewy chocolate chip cookies are often included in gift boxes and cookie platters; however, traditional Christmas cookies often are heavily spiced, include molasses, are decorated,` or have more time-consuming preparations that others.

What Christmas cookies stay fresh the longest?

For longer storage, choose Christmas cookies whose flavor improves over time like linzer cookies or snowball cookies. Cookies with crumbly or crunchy texture will stay fresh the longest like speculoos cookies or gingersnaps. Store them at room temperature for up to 10 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

gingerbread cookies on wire rack and table.
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20 traditional Christmas cookie recipes categorized by preparation type. Whether you are looking for an easy drop cookie, a decorated cut-out cookie or a pressed cookie, we have a professional pastry chef’s recipe for the most traditional varieties.

Drop cookies are the life-savers during the Holidays! Between the shopping, parties, decorating, and events, who has time for platters of elaborately decorated cookies?! I love doing an array of easy drop cookies and then a few show-stopping rolled or molded cookies. These cookies will be your go-to for easy holiday treats.

Old Fashioned Gingersnaps black bowl.

These old-fashioned gingersnaps are crunchy and perfectly spiced. They have the zing of the bagged versions but with extra molasses flavor. Use a small cookie scoop for easy portioning and just scoop them right in the sugar.

Old Fashioned Gingersnaps black bowl.
5 from 3 ratings


These old fashioned gingersnaps have all the flavors and snappiness of their store-bought counterparts! They have the perfect balance of ginger and molasses and a good amount of crunch!
Bake Gingersnaps
Chocolate Crackle Cookie with powdered sugar on black surface Easy Chocolate Desserts.

Nothing is easier than whipping up a batch of these chewy chocolate crinkle cookies. They are made with a box of devil’s food cake mix and they bake up perfectly every single time! If you are feeling adventurous try these red velvet crinkle cookies! They are even stuffed with cheesecake!

Chocolate Crackle Cookie with powdered sugar on black surface Easy Chocolate Desserts.
5 from 4 ratings

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

These Chocolate Crinkle Cookies are chewy and richly chocolatey. Made from only 4-ingredients in under 20 minutes, they’re devilishly delightful and easy!
Bake Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
Oat Lace Cookies Blue White China.

Crunchy, crispy, sweet lace cookies are an old-fashioned Christmas cookie staple. They are delicate oatmeal cookie that tastes like caramel. They melt on your tongue for the perfect bite.

Oat Lace Cookies Gorgeous Overhead
5 from 2 ratings

Lace Cookies

A beautiful, delicate lace cookie with hints of caramel and an irresistible crunch! These easy lace cookies are crispy and light as air.  
Bake Lace Cookies
The best Snickerdoodle Cookie tall stack.

This is the best snickerdoodle recipe you’ll ever try. Trust me, I tested and perfected this recipe for years in restaurants and then in my own bakery before bringing it to you! It is soft, chewy and has that perfect tang from the cream of tartar.

snickerdoodles broken open and stacked.
4.50 from 4 ratings
This is the Best Snickerdoodle Recipe! They are soft and chewy with that characteristic tangy flavor. These easy cookies come together in under 30 minutes and don’t need to be chilled before baking! The cinnamon sugar is just a touch crunchy and adds a little extra sweetness.
Bake Snickerdoodles
Peanut Butter Blossoms fresh baked traditional christmas cookies.

Classic peanut butter blossoms are a cookie staple all year round but they enjoy a certain hype around the holiday. It is probably because they are the perfect combination of peanut butter and chocolate. The chewy peanut butter cookie is also an absolute dream and I’ve been known to just bake that on its own!

Peanut Butter Blossoms interior detail
5 from 2 ratings

Peanut Butter Blossoms

Soft, chewy peanut butter cookies rolled in sugar and topped with a Hershey kiss. These cookies should be a little crisp on the outside and soft and chewy within.
Bake Peanut Butter Blossoms
Pignoli Cookies stacked interior detail.

This classic Italian cookie is chewy, naturally gluten free and a holiday necessity for any almond lover. You’ll love my slightly less sweet version of pignoli cookies. They are made with egg whites and almond paste in a simple and delicious cookie.

Pignoli cookies with crunchy pine nuts on the exterior.
4.98 from 40 ratings

Pignoli Cookies

Pignoli Cookies are soft, chewy almond cookies with a crunchy pine nut exterior. This gluten free, 5-ingredient, no-chill recipe makes classic Italian cookies at their very best.
Bake Gluten Free Pignoli Cookies
chocolate chip cookie broken open with melty chips.

Thick chewy chocolate chip cookies have a place in my heart from January to December, but I love to serve up this classic cookie alongside more spiced cookies at Christmastime.

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies interior detail
5 from 49 ratings

Thick Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

These chewy chocolate chip cookies are perfectly chewy without being under baked! They are packed full of chocolate chips and brown sugar!
Bake Thick Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Rolled Christmas Cookies

These are the most traditional rolled Christmas cookies. In my house, it wouldn’t feel like Christmas without soft sugar cookies, Mom’s gingerbread cookies, and linzer cookies. I love to have an assortment of rolled cookies, easy drop cookies and at least one more elaborate cookie like these peppermint slice and bake cookies.

stained glass window cookies stacked on plate on pink background.

These stained glass window cookies are stunning, delicious, and easier than they look! The cookie dough is an easy sugar cookie dough with a hint of molasses and the “glass” is crushed hard candies like Jolly Ranchers.

cookies with colored centers in various shapes and sizes.

stained glass window cookies

These gorgeous stained glass window cookies feature a sugar cookie dough with a see-through, colorful candy center and easy icing decor.
View Recipe
Swedish Pepparkakor Cookies Plated.

Swedish pepparkakor cookies are delightfully spiced and can be made in easy circles like these, or more elaborate shapes and decorated like these decorated pepparkakor cookies.

Swedish Pepparkakor Cookies Elegant Overhead
5 from 2 ratings


Pepparkakor are a light, crunchy spiced cookie that are also called Swedish ginger cookies. They are a delightfully spiced, thin, crispy cookie! The perfect addition to a holiday cookie platter.
Bake Traditional Pepparkakor Cookies
soft sugar cookies shaped like snowflakes stacked.

There is always room for soft sugar cookies on my plate! This old-fashioned rolled sugar cookie dough is made with buttermilk, which tempers the typical sweetness of sugar cookies. You will love the flavor and soft texture of these cookies.

icing yellow heart shaped sugar cookies.
4.92 from 50 ratings

Soft Cut-Out Sugar Cookies

This is the perfect soft sugar cookie recipe. Made in 1 bowl with only 6 ingredients, it is incredibly easy! The dough is easy to roll, won’t spread when baked and is soft and slightly chewy with a rich vanilla flavor. 
Bake Soft Cut Out Sugar Cookies
gingerbread cookie with white icing and raisins.

This is my family recipe for soft gingerbread cookies that I have adapted over time. They are soft, chewy and perfectly spiced! They are amazing decorated with a simple icing or raisins. This will soon be one of your favorite Christmas cookie recipes too!

gingerbread boy with raisin decorations.
4.96 from 49 ratings

Soft Gingerbread Cookies

These are the best soft gingerbread cookies. They are chewy, soft and perfectly spiced, and the dough is easy to make, roll out and bake! This is my Mom’s recipe that I have refined over the years in professional bakeries.
Bake Soft Gingerbread Cookies
Moravian Christmas Cookies stacked tall white background.

These crunchy Moravian Christmas Cookies are worth the effort. A molasses spice cookie dough is rolled paper thin and then baked until crispy. Enjoy these cookies alongside other spiced cookies like cardamom snowballs for a festive treat.

Moravian Christmas Cookies - Featured Image
4.97 from 59 ratings

Moravian Christmas Cookies

Moravian Christmas Cookies are paper-thin, crispy, spiced molasses cookies. Sweet and gingery, they taste a bit like gingerbread but are waaaay more addicting!
Bake Moravian Christmas Cookies
one linzer cookie.

This is my recipe for linzer cookies. I have made tens of thousands of these cookies over the years as a professional pastry chef and people can’t get enough! The dough is a brown sugar almond dough flavored with a hint of cinnamon and vanilla extract.

Raspberry Linzer Cookies on dark surface with extra powdered sugar.
4.97 from 51 ratings

Linzer Cookies

Linzer Cookies are a soft, tender almond cookie sandwiched with raspberry jam and topped with confectioner’s sugar. The cookie dough is flavored with brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and almonds. These are the best linzer cookies you’ll ever try!
Bake Linzer Cookies
apricot kolacky cookies stacked on white lace plate.

This kolacky cookie recipe will knock your socks off! It is a traditional Hungarian Christmas cookie recipe and has hundreds of comments and reviews. It is one of the most popular posts all year round alongside Hungarian nut roll cookies. I suggest making both. Tis the season!

Traditional Hungarian Apricot Kolaches | My Hungarian husband's favorite Christmas Cookie recipe! He says they taste just like his grandma used to make!
4.90 from 98 ratings
Apricot Kolacky Cookies (kiffles) have flakey cream cheese pastry dough wrapped around an easy apricot filling! These two-bite cookies are buttery, crisp and addicting.
Bake Kolacky Cookies

Shaped Christmas Cookies

Many traditional Christmas cookies are rolled into balls or ropes and then shaped like chai spiced crescent cookies or cherry snowball cookies. Many are just as easy as drop cookies but their shape really makes them extra festive.

Cardamom Crescent Cookies powdered sugar.

These traditional crescent cookies are lightly spiced with cardamom for the perfect accompaniment to coffee or tea. They have a tender, buttery, shortbread-like texture that melts in your mouth.

Cardamom Crescent Cookies powdered sugar.
5 from 1 ratings

Almond Crescent Cookies

These easy Almond Crescent Cookies are crumbly, tender cookies flavored with vanilla and a hint of cardamom. I’ve coated these traditional Italian Christmas cookies in a vanilla bean powdered sugar for extra flavor. 
Bake Crescent Cookies
Danish Raspberry Ribbon Cookies Wooden Backdrop.

These raspberry ribbon cookies taste like a raspberry Danish in cookie form! They are even drizzled with an easy glaze for a beautiful finish. It is also an incredibly easy recipe that can yield 6 dozen cookies or more with minimal effort.

Danish Raspberry Ribbon Cookies Beautiful Closeup
5 from 2 ratings

Raspberry Ribbon Cookies

These easy Raspberry Ribbon Cookies are a vanilla cookie filled with a ribbon of raspberry jam and glazed with an easy vanilla icing. They taste like a cookie version of a raspberry Danish!
Bake Rapberry Ribbon Cookies
Pfeffernusse Cookies interior detail

This traditional pfeffernüsse recipe is crumbly spiced molasses cookie. I rolled them in powdered sugar but you could also cover them with an easy glaze.

Pfeffernusse Cookies interior detail
5 from 46 ratings

Pfeffernüsse Cookies

These traditional Pfeffernüsse Cookies are delightfully spiced and easy to make! Look no further for your new favorite Christmas cookie!
Bake Traditional Pfeffernusse
Traditional Scottish Shortbread black surface.

This is the perfect recipe for Scottish shortbread. It is tender, buttery and crisp. These make the perfect gifts. Arrange them in a festive tin or pair them with chocolate chip shortbread cookies, spritz cookies, and gingerbread cookies for an assorted cookie box.

Scottish shortbread with fork holes poked in the surface.
5 from 3 ratings

Scottish Shortbread Recipe

This authentic Scottish Shortbread recipe makes tender, buttery shortbread with only 4 ingredients! A professional pastry chef takes you gently through each step, to make a no-stress sensational shortbread cookie in no time!
Bake Shortbread
Pecan Snowball Cookies stacked cut open.

This is the best snowball cookies recipe. It is made with toasted pecans and the cookies are tender, crumbly and lightly sweetened. The hardest part is waiting for them to cool before coating in powdered sugar!

Easy Christmas cookies, pecan snowball cookies against a black backgorund.
5 from 36 ratings

Snowball Cookies

This Snowball Cookies Recipe makes cookies with a perfect soft, crumbly texture and just the right amount of pecans. Enjoy easy snowball cookies that can be made in under 10 minutes!
Bake Classic Snowballs

Pressed and Molded Christmas Cookies

Many traditional Christmas cookies defy the normal methods of cookie making. Many require additional time or days of preparation! Here are the 3 best cookies that are well worth the effort and additional equipment.

Holiday Spritz cookie Christmas tree in hand.

These delicate spritz cookies are flavored with vanilla extract and lemon zest. They can be piped like I did here or pressed through a cookie press! You can also mold the dough and shape into snowmen or candy canes.

Holiday Spritz Cookies in cookie jar
5 from 1 ratings

Holiday Spritz Cookies

These festive Holiday Spritz Cookies are a light, delicate butter cookie flavored with vanilla and lemon.
Bake Spritz Cookies
Italian Pizelle Cookie Recipe stacked

This traditional pizzelle cookie recipe is crunchy and light! It is made using a pizzelle press and the batter is flavored with vanilla and a hint of anise. Serve these cookies alongside chocolate biscotti for an afternoon tea or coffee!

Italian Pizelle Cookie Recipe stacked
5 from 2 ratings


Italian Pizelle Cookies are crunchy and tender, and this pizzelle recipe is made in a pizzelle press! Flavored with anise and vanilla, they are a perfect accompaniment to coffee or with an affogato!
Make Pizzelles
Homemade Speculoos Cookies on baking sheet

These homemade speculoos cookies are spiced with a speculaas spice mix and a little less sweet than their Biscoff counterparts. The dough can be roll and cut with cookie cutters or pressed into a cookie mold dusted with rice flour.

Homemade Speculoos Cookies on baking sheet
4.92 from 46 ratings

Traditional Speculoos Cookies

How to make homemade Speculoos Cookies from scratch! Old fashioned speculaas cookies are pressed into a mold for a beautiful finish!
Make Speculoos Cookies from Scratch

Before You Go

I hope you enjoyed these traditional Christmas cookies. You might also enjoy these easy Christmas cookies, our 24 best Christmas cookies or peruse all our Christmas cookie recipes!

Hi, I’m Chef Lindsey!

I am the baker, recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind Chef Lindsey Farr. I believe in delicious homemade food and the power of dessert!

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