21 Christmas Cookie Recipes That'll Definitely Level Up Your Holiday Game

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We know, we know: you make the SAME cookies every year, and every single person loves them. But if you're itching to try out a new recipe (or five), consider these tasty — not to mention adorably cute — options.

1. Jolly Old Saint Nick

Santa is the star of this holiday, so he definitely deserves a Christmas cut-out cookie in his likeness. If you’re making a big batch, save yourself tons of time by outlining all your cookies first, then flooding them one after the other.

2. Raise the Bar

Trust us, you’ve never tasted lemon bars like these. The classic cookie gets a seriously delicious upgrade thanks to the addition of rosemary and a pecan crust. Yum!

3. Run, Run Rudolph

The most famous reindeer of all is even more lovable in dessert form. And his magic’s all in that bright red nose: Use flood icing to pipe it on, then add a white teardrop to the tip for extra shine.

4. Round It Out

This Christmas wreath cookie is red, green and merry all over! The design is also really forgiving: With so many leaves, each one doesn’t need to be perfect. Pipe the greenery in three rows, then add details like berries and a bow.

5. In the ‘Hood

Elaborate 3D gingerbread houses are oh-so-fun to make and display, but let's be honest: they're not always that delicious to eat. So when it’s time for a sweet treat, opt for the cookie version instead. (And, yes, you can still pile it high with your fave candy decor!)

6. Say It With Spritz

There's no time like the holidays to break out that cookie press! But any old dough won’t do: you gotta have a recipe with lots of butter and some milk. (Don't worry, we’ll show you how to make it — there's even a gluten-free spritz cookie dough recipe .)

7. Let It Snow

Snowy sweet treats = a guaranteed white Christmas. To make these pretty snowflake cookies, simply start with a layer of smooth blue run-sugar icing, then add piped details with white royal icing .

8. Tree Trimmings

Chrstmas ornaments, but make ‘em marbled! This impressive look is easier than you think: you’ll use a wet-on-wet technique to add your colors before grabbing a scribe tool to create the pretty pattern. Let it all dry, then add details like a border and hook. So festive!

9. Greatest Grinch

Pile hot cocoa high with whipped cream and pair it with a cookie, and we bet even the Grinch wouldn't be able to resist this festive treat! All you gotta do is cut out your cookies with a square cutter, then use a knife to cut away slender strips from the middle. Voilà! Cookies that can perch right on the side of your classic holiday drink. (For more Whoville-worthy treats, you’ve gotta try our Grinch cupcakes !)

10. Shortbread Fun

Everyone loves shortbread cookies during the holidays, and this gluten-free version is just as good as the original. Just be careful not to add too much flour as you roll out each one, as that can make the cookies super dry.

11. Frosty the Cookie

Use a round cookie cutter to trim a snowy face and blue hat, then add cheery details for the most fun snowman cookie around! We’re especially fond of his “knit” hat, which is made by rolling a ball of fondant in sprinkles! (PS: If you’re on a snowman roll⁠ — get it? ⁠— ya might as well whip up some frosty cupcakes , too.)

12. Sweater Weather

Ugly sweaters may be all the rage, but we’re all about making cuter versions in cookie form! Nail the real-knit look by mixing piping techniques like beads, zigzags and overlapping hearts.

13. Spice Is Nice

These classic holiday spice cookies (aka spekulatius) have an extra-special ingredient: browned butter! Melting the butter until it's browned gives it a nutty scent, and when you add it to your batter you're basically guaranteed to have the most drool-worthy cookies in town.

14. Giftable Goodness

What’s better than a thoughtful gift? One topped with a homemade cookie! Use a Tappits cutter set to personalize these Christmas cookie gift tags with a name or message, then nestle them right under the tree.

15. Jam On

How do you get these lemon jam cookies to look so perfect? By making sure your cookie dough is the right temperature before you roll and cut. You’ll want to chill your dough for two hours, then let it sit out for 10-15 minutes before you get going.

16. Snow Good

You don’t have to buy more cutters to create new cookie designs — you can just combine them together! This festive design is made using three letter cutters and a circle, but feel free to experiment with your own letters and shapes to make your own holiday greeting.

17. Beary Cute

What do you get when you combine a teddy bear and bell cookie cutters? This adorable Christmas bear! Add details with royal icing for the ultimate holiday treat.

18. Thumbs Up

If you’ve never tried tahini in a cookie, this is the year to give it a whirl. The sesame seed paste folds beautifully into a dough, and the deep nutty flavor goes incredibly well with the gooey chocolate center of these thumbprint cookies.

19. Crunch, Crunch

Okay, so this one is technically a toffee and not a cookie, but it definitely deserves a spot on the holiday table. Why? The honeycomb crunch has the magical combo of caramel, chocolate and sweet-and-salty toppings that practically scream, "It's Christmas!"

20. Meringue Magic

Stripe your bag, then pipe out the most gorgeous meringue cookies for the holidays! Make ‘em red and white to look like candy canes or blue for Hanukkah. Either way, they belong on your must-make list this season.

21. Paleo Power

We’re all about indulging at the holidays, but sometimes you want to have your cookie and eat it too. Enter Paleo triple chocolate chunk cookies: they're so good, you'll be making (and eating!) them long after Christmas day.

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21 Christmas Cookie Recipes That'll Definitely Level Up Your Holiday Game