20 Classic Cookie Recipes Just Like Your Grandmother Used To Bake

And she never burned a batch.

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Photo: Jennifer Causey

Southern grandmother is a queen when it comes to baking. Many of us can recall a childhood filled with grandma's cookies of all kinds, from classic chocolate chip to royally iced sugar (and every recipe in between). We'll be darned if we ever tasted a cookie as good as one of hers, and we'd never admit it if we did. Because, no matter how masterful, they can never truly measure up to her magic. Southerners are loyal and "ain't no cookie like my grandmother's cookie."

We've rounded up a collection of 20 classic Memaw-approved cookie recipes that'll give you a taste of nostalgia—and a craving for a warm cookie. These are Grandma's specialty, and they're worth keeping around for decades to come.

01 of 20

Kitchen Sink Cookies

Kitchen Sink Cookies
Jennifer Causey

This recipe is a more exciting version of a basic chocolate chip cookie. As the name suggests, you can throw in everything but the kitchen sink. We recommend starting with oats, crushed corn chips, chocolate chunks, and almonds.

02 of 20

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Jennifer Causey

As if warm chocolate chip cookies couldn't get any better, this recipe swoops in with a next-level ingredient: browned butter. When browning the butter, wait for it to turn a golden-brown hue, giving these cookies a classic chewy and crispy texture. It'll stand out in a bake sale full of chocolate chip-studded cookies.

03 of 20

Easy Sugar Cookies

Sugar Cookies
Carlina Teteris/Getty Images

Because grandma knows how to create a little magic in the kitchen, and—for a kid—colorful cookies that you can frost yourself are just that. Make this recipe as your base, then decorate away for any occasion. The key to perfectly baked cookies is rolling the dough to an even thickness.

04 of 20

Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies
Caitlin Bensel

We always had the honor of pressing the chocolate kisses into these bite-sized beauties while cooking with grandma. This cookie recipe uses just the pantry basics, perfect for making a dessert in a rush. Evenly coat the peanut butter cookie balls in sugar before baking.

05 of 20

Cheesecake Cookies

Cheesecake Cookies
Caitlin Bensel

These maraschino cherry-topped cookies should look mighty familiar. This recipe is a longtime holiday crowd-pleaser. After baking, transfer the cookies to a wire rack and gently press into the top, leaving a small divot, before allowing the cookies to cool completely.

06 of 20

Easiest Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe

peanut butter cookies

Hannah Zimmerman / Southern Living

Memaw's peanut butter cookies are legendary. Little did we know you only need four ingredients to make a massive batch of perfection. If you feel like adding more flavoring to these cookies, try incorporating chocolate morsels, toffee bits, or chopped peanuts in the cookie dough.

07 of 20

Red Velvet Cake Mix Cookies

Red-Velvet Cake Mix Cookies
Micah A. Leal

This cookie is a classic example of making lemonade out of lemons. In this case, the lemon is a boxed cake mix, which isn't too bad to start. Red velvet cake mix and other ingredients help create chewy cookies dotted with white chocolate.

08 of 20

Laura Bush's Cowboy Cookies

Laura Bush's Cowboy Cookies

Simply Recipes / Sally Vargas

Her famous recipe won over the readers of Family Circle magazine back in 2000 and is still talked about—and baked—today. This treat is a chocolate chip cookie stuffed with pecans, oats, and coconut. With all these mix-ins, they are sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

09 of 20

Pinwheel Cookies

Cherry Chocolates Recipe
Laurey W. Glenn

This vintage recipe gives essential butter cookies a fun chocolatey twist. Leave enough time for the cookie dough to chill, at least two hours. Using food coloring to dye the cookie dough makes a classic cookie festive for the holidays.

10 of 20

Barbara Bush's Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies

Barbara Bush Chocolate Chip Cookies
Micah A. Leal

What's unique about these "famous" chocolate chip cookies? The secret lies in the recipe. A Texan at heart, Barbara knows to go big or go home. Any Southern grandma appreciates that cookie mentality.

11 of 20

Fudgy Flourless Chocolate-Pecan Cookies

Fudgy Flourless Chocolate-Pecan Cookies Recipe
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Mary Clayton Carl; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

You won't believe these cookies are flourless and gluten-free. Leaving out the flour makes room for more pockets of melted chocolate and toasted chopped pecans. Whipped egg whites make these cookies airy and crisp on the outside and soft and gooey on the inside.

12 of 20

Cream Cheese Christmas Cookie

Cream Cheese Christmas Cookie
Southern Living

This recipe is an all-time Southern classic. Make these cookies year-round by switching up the sprinkle colors. Despite looking beautiful and complicated to make, these cookies are essentially slice-and-bake.

13 of 20

Seven-Layer Cookies

Seven-Layer Cookies
Southern Living

The first-ever bar cookie recipe ever featured in Southern Living, this Seven-Layer Cookie recipe is a favorite of Southern cooks. It's easy to make and transport. The trick to making these cookies is evening out each layer before adding the next.

14 of 20

Toasted Oatmeal Cookies

Toasted Oatmeal Cookies Recipe
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Here's one of Grandma's ultimate cookie tricks: Toasting the oatmeal. It instantly makes classic oatmeal cookies so much better. The raisins, brown sugar, and cinnamon help these cookies retain all the best flavors of traditional oatmeal cookies.

15 of 20

Old Fashioned Tea Cake

Old-Fashioned Tea Cakes
Micah Leal

This recipe is one your grandmother may have pulled from her childhood memories. A teacake—a crossover between a cookie and a biscuit—is a simple and inexpensive treat made of flour, sugar, butter, and the main ingredient: buttermilk. Try adding different flavors like lemon, cinnamon, or vanilla.

16 of 20

Grandma's Chocolate Drop Cookies

Grandma's Chocolate Drop Cookies
Katie Strasberg Rousso

Chocolate lovers, this one is for you. No matter your skills in the kitchen, we are confident that you can whip up this classic chocolate cookie straight from your grandma's recipe box. Feel free to change the chocolate base by adding nuts or mint chips—you may perfect a recipe to pass down to future generations.

17 of 20

Cherry Winks

Cherry Winks
Joy Howard

This recipe became a nationwide sensation in the 1950s, and what better time to bring it back? This cookie, made with a deliciously crispy exterior of cornflakes, has a perfectly sweet interior thanks to maraschino cherries—a forever childhood favorite.

18 of 20

Brown Butter Snickerdoodles

brown butter snickerdoodles
Photographer: Isaac Nunn, Prop Stylist: Julia Bayless, Food Stylist: Ruth Blackburn

Sugar cookies, step aside. These cinnamon sugar treats with a secret ingredient (spoiler: brown butter) hit the spot every time. Before freezing the dough balls, roll them in a cinnamon-sugar mixture.

19 of 20

Lemon Thumbprint Cookies

Lemon Thumbprint Cookies
Southern Living

A favorite at Christmas time, thumbprint cookies bring on all the nostalgia of baking parties and holiday cookie swaps. Even today, this is not surprising because what's not to love about a bite-size dollop that's buttery and sweet? Try your own flavor combinations or follow this recipe.

20 of 20

Salted Butter-Pecan Shortbread Cookies

Salted Butter-Pecan Shortbread Cookies
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Shortbread cookies were a staple at Grandma's house, and for a good reason. As Southerners, we must pass this nostalgic treat of butter, salt, and pecans onto the next generation.

Grandma knows best when it comes to baking. Try one of these spiced Christmas desserts that taste just like grandma's.

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