20 Simple Cookies For Once-A-Year Holiday Bakers

Welcome back to baking.

Red Velvet Cake Mix Cookies

Micah A. Leal

You may not like to bake, or maybe you just don’t know how yet. In either case, don’t let that stand in the way of Santa getting his cookies this Christmas. The holidays are when the once-a-year bakers come out of their pastry-making retirements and we can’t wait to welcome you back into the kitchen this season. However, when baking is a once-annual affair, the recipe you choose is a big decision. That’s why we’ve gathered our favorite Christmas cookie recipes that are guaranteed to be worthy of the occasion. These treats will wow at your festive cookie swap or on your holiday dessert sideboard.

These also just so happen to be our easiest-ever Christmas cookies, meaning that you don’t have to worry about your once-yearly baked goods crumbling under the pressure. Our cookies ask for no fancy techniques or baking know-how, but promise scrumptious outcomes. It’s all the flavorful frills without needing any of the skills. So when it comes time for this year’s outing to the oven, choose one of these impressive and impressively easy cookie recipes that just might make you rethink your once-a-year rule. 

01 of 20

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
Micah A. Leal

Crisp and crumbly on the outside, these cookies will take you by surprise with how soft and gooey they are on the inside. This recipe have a few other tricks up its sleeve, too; Don't skip the espresso powder or powdered sugar!

02 of 20

White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies

White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies
Photo: Jennifer Causey

These aren't your average chocolate chip cookies. They're soft and chewy like the best of them, but forgo the usual chips in favor of merry chunks of white chocolate and tart, dried cranberries. We can't imagine a tastier way to celebrate the season.

03 of 20

Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies
Caitlin Bensel

Especially for those of you who save baking for just one special occasion annually, the products are truly a labor of love. You're not going to share your yearly yield with just anyone! Show your affection to the lucky few who get to indulge on your once-a-year baked goods by serving cookies with a kiss.

04 of 20

Grandma's Chocolate Drop Cookies

Grandma's Chocolate Drop Cookies
Katie Strasberg Rousso

The beauty of these cookies is how customizable they are. Start with an easy dough, switch your chocolates or add in nuts as you please, and drop it onto your baking sheet. They're irresistible with some chocolate icing.

05 of 20

Lemon Thumbprint Cookies

Lemon Thumbprint Cookies
Southern Living

These cookies are easy as snap—or rather, a stamp—or your fingers. Lemony cookies are finished off with dollop of tart raspberry preserves for even more fruity flavor.

06 of 20

Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Peanut butter and chocolate are one of our all-time favorite dynamic duos. We can't get enough of them in this easy-as-pie cookie recipe that comes together in under an hour.

07 of 20

Molasses Crinkles

Molasses Crinkles Recipe
Hector Manuel Sanchez

A long-time favorite Southern Living recipe, these sweet cookies sing with warm, holiday spices like cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Everyone at the cookie swap will be falling over themselves for your recipe.

08 of 20

Easy Sugar Cookies

Sugar Cookies
Carlina Teteris/Getty Images

Sugar cookies are the simplest but always tasty treat that we love around the holidays—especially when they're cut into fun, festive shapes. Top them with icing, or let straightforward star- and tree-shaped cookies do all the talking.

09 of 20

Crispy Praline Cookies

Best Cookies Recipes: Crispy Praline Cookies Recipes
Southern Living

Kick off your foray into baking by letting your butter sit at room temperature for several hours before whipping up these nostalgic cookies. After that, this recipe is as easy as combining all the ingredients, forming the dough into balls, and letting the oven take it from there.

10 of 20

Brownie Cookies

Brownie Cookies
Photography: Caitlin Bensel, Prop Styling: Audrey Davis, Food Styling: Rishon Hanners

The holiday season calls for cookies, but we haven't forgotten about our other favorite hand-held dessert: brownies. These fudgy sweet treats are the best of both worlds.

11 of 20

Peppermint Meltaway Cookies

Peppermint Meltaway Cookies
Micah A. Leal

These light-as-air cookies are going to be eaten up fast, and you'll miss them when they're gone. Don't worry though; You can have a new batch ready to go with just 20 minutes of active baking time.

12 of 20

Santa's Kitchen-Sink Cookies

Santa's Kitchen-Sink Cookies
Greg DuPree; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

What Santa wants, Santa gets. When the pickings are this tasty and easy though, you won't hear us complaining. We'll be much too busy eating salty-sweet cookies packed with M&Ms, pretzels, and marshmallows.

13 of 20

Easiest Peanut Butter Cookies

Easy Peanut Butter Cookies
Hannah Zimmerman

These snappy cookies are made with only four ingredients that you probably already have. Reluctant bakers and expert ones alike will delight in this recipe, and guests will savor every single bite.

14 of 20

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

All-Time Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies
Beth Dreiling Hontzas

Cookies that are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside are easy to achieve thanks to this four step recipe. Serve these cookie that have two types of chocolate with glasses of chilled milk and you've got the ultimate feel-good holiday treat on your hands.

15 of 20

Butterscotch-Toasted Oatmeal Cookies

Toasted Oatmeal Cookies
Linda Pugliese

With just a few easy adjustments, tried and true oatmeal cookies take on new, delicious life. Butterscotch chips, toasted oats, and brown sugar are a flavorful trio you won't be able to wait a full year to taste again.

16 of 20

Cowboy Cookies

cowboy cookies on an orange platter with glasses of milk around
Photographer: Jen Causey, Prop Stylist: Josh Hoggle,Food Stylist: Ruth Blackburn

With a name like this, Cowboy cookies have some big cowboy boots to fill. And we promise, they live up to their name. This recipe from former First Lady Laura Bush makes enormous cookies packed with all our favorite sweets including coconut, pecans, and chocolate chips.

17 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

Fudge? Not so easy to make. Fudgy cookies? Couldn't be easier. These nutty, flourless cookies are soft on the inside with pockets of gooey chocolate.

18 of 20

Chocolate-Peppermint Crackle Cookies

Chocolate-Peppermint Crackle Cookies
Linda Pugliese, Hector Sanchez; Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas, Buffy Hargett Miller

Roll the dough balls in powdered sugar just before baking for the best crinkle effect. These cookies are crowd-pleasers from the fun crackle exterior to the minty surprise beneath.

19 of 20

No-Bake Chocolate-Oatmeal Cookies

No-Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies
Zoe Denenberg; Prop Stylist: Rachel Mulcahy

Cookies that require less than 10 minutes of hands-on time? Sign us up. This family recipe is easy as can be and tasty to boot.

20 of 20

Red Velvet Cake Mix Cookies

Red-Velvet Cake Mix Cookies
Micah A. Leal

These cookies couldn't be more festive or effortless. Cake mix is the not-so-secret key to deliciously easy desserts.

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