We are basically in peak holiday cookie making season! If you’re making a holiday cookie box for friends and family, it’s more than likely that you have all your recipes already lined up.
But in case you still need just a bit more inspiration or confidence in finding the perfect cookie to round out your holiday baking, I’ve culled the hundreds of cookie recipes I’ve tried into just a handful of my top recommendations. Below, you’ll find a mix of suggestions from my bake offs as well as recipes that I’ve tried and loved from other bloggers and recipe developers.
Frosted sugar cookies
Based on my best sugar cookie bake off and best Lofthouse cookie bake off:
- For a thin, buttery crunchy cookie that you can make ahead: King Arthur Flour
- For a thick, soft and easy cookie (no chilling!): In Katrina’s Kitchen
- Thick and melt-in-your-mouth Lofthouse copycat cookies: Serious Eats
Ginger molasses cookies
Based on my best ginger molasses cookie bake off:
- For a truly spicy, chewy, flavorful cookie: New York Times (or borrow Sohla’s tip of rolling the dough in ginger sugar (i.e. dried ginger mixed with sugar) to add a spicy edge to any cookie)
- For a classic, not-too-spicy, thin and chewy cookie: Claire Saffitz
- For a fancier, higher-effort flat and chewy cookie rippled with ginger caramel: Displaced Housewife
Based on my best gingerbread cookie bake off:
- For a glazed gingerbread that’s soft, rich and a little spicy: Tartine
- For a soft, mildly spiced untraditional gingerbread that tastes like Biscoff: Baker by Nature
- For a chewy, moist, balanced gingerbread: Cook’s Illustrated
- For the spiciest gingerbread I’ve found: Moosewood
Based on my best brownie bake off (these are perfect on their own or as a base for any recipe from peppermint brownies to marbled cheesecake or peanut butter brownies!):
- For the ideal chewy, glossy-topped, perfectly chocolate-y crowd-pleaser: King Arthur
- For gourmet, rich, silky, melt-in-your mouth brownies, I always make these when I have an abundance of eggs and a little extra time: Tartine
- For a gooey brownie with espresso notes that falls somewhere in between the structured workhorse of King Arthur and fancy richness of Tartine: The Kitchn
- There is only one snickerdoodle I crave regularly (airy, faintly tangy, perfectly balanced), and that is: Smitten Kitchen
- For a brown butter-based rich and chewy snickerdoodle: Ambitious Kitchen
Peanut Butter Cookies
- For perfectly crisp-edged, fudgy-centered cookies with rich peanut flavor: Jessie Sheehan
- For slightly thicker, conventionally delicious pb cookies: Bravetart
- For a twist–a thick and gooey chocolate cookie studded with peanut butter chips that will stun your friends: Cake by Courtney’s Levain-style chocolate peanut butter cookie
Based on my best shortbread bake off:
- For a thick, beautifully fine and sandy texture that melts in your mouth (splurge on fancy butter for the best effect!): Ted Lasso
- For a very crisp, very buttery shortbread that uses rice flour and a twice-baked technique: Seasons and Suppers
- For my favorite twist on shortbread–these are both so easy (oil-based instead of butter-based!) and SO delicious (chocolate and subtle rosemary are a match made in heaven): Olive oil rosemary chocolate shortbread from Smitten Kitchen
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Based on my best brown butter chocolate chip cookie bake off (because brown butter is always a winner!) and Levain chocolate chip cookie bake off:
- For a flavorful, perfectly chewy crowd-pleaser: Cook’s Illustrated
- For a slightly more gourmet vibe: Claire Saffitz
- For a great gluten-free option: Miro Uskokovic
- For a standout, extraordinarily thick gooey with a crisp exterior and gooey center that will have people asking for the recipe: Hijabs and Apron’s Levain-style CCC
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Based on my best oatmeal chocolate chip cookie bake off (yes, you can of course use raisins instead of chocolate chips if you prefer):
- For impressively thick gooey-centered cookies packed with oats and chocolate: Kroll’s Korner (I think these would also be good if made in a smaller size!)
- For a thick and chewy, wholesome-yet-decadent feeling cookie: Smitten Kitchen
- For a thinner, fudgier with minimal oats: Broma Bakery
- One of the most-requested cookie recipes I’ve made–sweet, savory and so satisfying: Bon Appetit’s miso almond butter cookies
- The chocolatiest cookies I’ve found! My friend makes the base dough into chocolate crinkle cookies: Hot cocoa cookies from King Arthur
- If you have an abundance of egg yolks (this call for 3 eggs + 3 yolks) and/or lemon juice, these are the only lemon bars I make: Cook’s Illustrated
- My favorite easy vegan chocolate chip cookies from Oh Ladycakes, but I have a whole bake off on vegan CCCs here!
- My friend just delivered some of these to me, and they were AMAZING: Oatmeal raisin cookies from Nora Cooks
The fastest treat ideas
- Just melt chocolate: Dip pretzels, Ritz peanut butter sandwich crackers or your favorite storebought cookie in melted chocolate and add sprinkles
- Ready in 30 minutes (vegan and gf!): 4-ingredient peanut butter cookies from Ovenly
Hi I first wanted to say I love your bake.offs! I’ve made the pumpkin pie and the blueberry muffin recipe that won the bakeoffs and wow they are delicious. But reading your holiday cookies I was saw the almond miso recipe and had to try it! unfortunately the cookies didnt turn out. They still had amazing flavor but they spread very badly but I followed the recipe exactly, so im thinking it was the almond butter. What brand of almond butter did you use? because I really want to try making them again and have them turn out.
On another note I can’t wait for more bake off recipes that you do! thank you!
Hi Kate, so glad to hear you enjoyed the pumpkin pie/blueberry muffin winners! And sorry to hear the almond miso cookie recipe didn’t turn out for you–I do recall using a pretty dry almond butter (i.e. it wouldn’t drip easily out of the container). Unfortunately I can’t remember the brand, but I think something like Barney Butter should work! I’d also check the comments of the recipe to see if anyone else has advice on a brand to use. Fingers crossed they work out for you next time!
any chance you could test/bakeoff several master cookie dough recipes? one where you use one dough and can add mix ins to get a bunch of different cookies? thanks!
Love that idea, putting it on the list–thanks Elle!!