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Ultimate Guide to Decorated Christmas Cookies (40+ recipes with tips)

This time of year calls for cookies and milk – and not just for Santa! If you’ve ever wanted to learn to create beautiful and delicious decorated Christmas cookies for the holidays, read on.

This is your ultimate holiday cookie decorating guide with over 40 hand-curated Decorated Christmas Cookies recipes to teach you everything about baking and decorating Christmas cookies.
Collage of images for Ultimate Guide to Decorated Christmas Cookies roundup Pinterest image

Ultimate Guide to Decorated Christmas Cookies with 40+ recipes and tips

This guide will help you create decorated cookies for the holiday season. It’s full of tips and tricks; easy, fun decorating ideas and examples of some of my favorite decorated cookies from around the web. There are options for gluten-free, vegan, paleo cookies and more, including classic sugar cookies, gingerbread cookies, shortbread, brownies, and a few surprises.

Plus learn about different frosting techniques including royal icing, powdered sugar icing, drizzling and buttercream frosting.

Close up of gingerbread man decorated Christmas cookies on a plate
Photo Courtesy of Sugar Spun Run

Basic Christmas Cookies for Decorating

Decorated Christmas cookies, start with well-written cookie recipes. Here are some of my favorite basic recipes for the classics – sugar (including my no-fail sugar cookie recipe), gingerbread, and shortbread – as well as options for the vegan and gluten-free recipients on your nice list.

Simple, Classic Cookie Recipes 

Santa isn’t the only one who loves receiving whimsical cookies and a glass of cold milk during the holidays. Everyone I know loves a good Christmas cookie. But not everyone knows how to make their cookies stand out from the crowd. These recipes will help.

Baked Sugar Cookies over a Santa Claus decorated paper backdrop
Fail-proof sugar cookie recipe by Plating Pixels
Pile of thumbprint cookies with drizzle glaze
Photo courtesy of Cotter Crunch
Two Chocolate Brownie Trees with Mint White Chocolate Drizzle on a wooden table
Photo Courtesy of The Toasty Kitchen

Decorated Christmas Tree Cookie Ideas

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree – How Lovely Is Your Frosting!

Looking for a classic decorated Christmas tree cookies? Start with my Decorated Christmas Tree Cookies with Royal Icing. Plus learn all about royal icing, including how to make it (and at right consistency), color, decorate, store and serve these cookies.

Watch the video below to learn how to decorate Christmas tree cookies with royal icing.

Lots of Decorated Christmas Tree Cookies with Royal Icing arranged a white background
Decorated Christmas Tree Cookies with Royal Icing by Plating Pixels

More decorated Christmas tree cookies

  • While not a tree, Christmas greenery still counts, and this easy wreath cookie tutorial from My Heavenly Recipes will get even your kids in the kitchen!
  • Down Red Bud Drive created this beautiful, and impressive looking 3d Christmas tree cookie.
  • A bit less traditional, but so delightful – chocolate brownie trees with mint white chocolate drizzle from The Toasty Kitchen will have you going back for seconds.
  • Shortbread cookies are another classic during the holidays and this lemon shortbread tree cookie from An Italian in my Kitchen is just perfect.
Hat and Mittens Cut Out Decorated Christmas Cookies on a plate
Photo Courtesy of Noshtastic

Santa Decorated Christmas Cookies

Santa shaped cookies are an iconic Christmas cookie. If you want to grow beyond the simple cookie cutter and sprinkles version, then you have to check out the following posts. It’s a veritable Santa’s bag full of treats. Here are some decorated Santa Christmas cookies, both of and for Santa!

Plate of plaid decorated Christmas cookies
Photo Courtesy of Home Made Interest

You’ll End Up on Santa’s Nice List if You Make These Cookies

Santa hat frosted decorated Christmas cookies on wire baking sheet
Photo courtesy of 4 Sons R Us
  • Everyone needs a Santa hat this time of year – bonus points if it’s delicious like these from 4 Sons R Us.
  • Have your little one leave Santa their wish on a decorated cookie this year! Delicious Table shows you how.
Iced decorated note to Santa Christmas cookie over a glass of milk
Photo courtesy of Delicious Table

Gingerbread Man cookies, houses and more

A gingerbread man or gingerbread house is a staple of the Christmas season, but sometimes it’s fun to step outside of the box (or house as it were) and go for something more creative. What about a ninjabread man? Or a tiny gingerbread house to accompany your mug of hot cocoa? 

Mini decorated Gingerbread House cookie topper on edge of coffee mug
Photo Courtesy of Noshtastic

These Decorated Gingerbread Cookies will add plenty of holiday cheer

  • I was so impressed by these intricate gingerbread house mug toppers from Noshtastic! They are the perfect complement to your favorite warm beverage this time of year.
  • Not looking for a crunchy gingerbread cookie? Definitely, give these soft molasses cookies from I Heart Naptime a try.
  • If someone on your list is following a paleo diet, you’ll want to put together a care package with these sugar-free and paleo gingerbread cookies from Wholesome Yum. 
  • Flippin Delicious blew me away with her ninjabread men. Yes, you read that correctly. Not only will they knock you out, so will the fact that they are dairy, egg, and gluten free as well as vegan. Wow! 
  • With the rise of gluten intolerance, I’m happy to see a large variety of quality gluten-free baking tips and recipes. Faithfully Gluten Free adds to the mix with this version of gluten-free gingerbread cookies.
  • Sugar Spun Run shares this gold standard gingerbread man recipe. Everything from the base recipe to the decorations will take you back to your childhood. You will love them.
  • Want a new take on gingerbread men? Add Rice Krispies! This gingerbread Rice Krispie treat recipe comes from 4 Sons R Us.
Overhead shot of Brownie Snowflake Cutout Cookies next to elegant ornaments
Photo Courtesy of Foodal

Decorated Snowflake Cookie Ideas

No matter which flavor you prefer, there’s a snowflake cookie recipe below just waiting for you.

  • I have to say, when I saw this stunning fudgy, brownie cut-out snowflake from Foodal, I immediately wanted a dozen. They are gorgeous and it’s such a fresh take on a classic cookie.
  • Along with these gorgeous snowflake cookies comes a step by step tutorial for decorating with royal icing from Foodal. I highly recommend it.
  • Burlap and Blue put together a fun gingerbread snowflake cookie recipe – something you don’t often see. 
  • If you’re looking for something more classic, you have to see this sugar cookie snowflake from Bitz & Giggles.
Ugly Christmas Sweater Cookies on a white plate
Photo Courtesy of Bread Booze Bacon

Classic Shapes and Surprising Twists on Decorated Christmas Cookies

If the classics aren’t your style, then try one of these tutorials. They are classics with a whimsical twist that are sure to impress your guests and Santa!

Simple Classic Decorated Christmas Cookies with a Creative Twist 

  • When I started putting together this roundup of amazing recipes, I knew I had to include these holiday chalkboard cookies from A Turtles Life for Me. Her tips for making the cookies that look like a real chalkboard with frosting is a must see. 
Three chalkboard frosted decorated Christmas cookies on wooden board
Photo Courtesy of A Turtles Life for Me
  • It wouldn’t be a decorated Christmas cookie without these snowmen cookies.
  • While not exactly a cookie, I had to include my Brown Butter Peppermint Rice Krispie Treats. They are loaded with chewy peppermint flavor and oh so festive.
  • The Grinch is back this year, and these grinch themed cookies from Finding Zest are the perfect cookie for movie night. The frosting method is fun and simple too!
  • These snow globe cookies from Home. Made. Interest. are absolutely beautiful, and not in the shape you might expect!
  • There’s nothing better than buttercream frosting and it’s a wonderful frosting to start with. The Baking Chocolatess walks you through making soft sour cream cookies with a decadent buttercream frosting that you must try.
  • Hosting an ugly Christmas sweater party? You’ll want to make these ugly Christmas sweater sugar cookies from Bread Booze Bacon as a party favor. They’re almost too cute to call ugly!
Stained glass Christmas decorated cookies hanging from branch
Photo Courtesy of Liv for Cake

Learning to make decorated Christmas cookies can be fun for you and your family. And with the tips and tricks in this post, you’ll be a pro in no time. 

Are you following me on Pinterest, InstagramFacebook, and Twitter? Also, sign up for our newsletter to get all our recipes and cooking tips. Leave a comment below if you made tried or are excited to make any of these decorated Christmas cookies!

Ultimate Guide to Decorated Christmas Cookies (40+ recipes with tips)
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  1. This is amazing! The ultimate guide, indeed! The Christmas Tree ones are my favorite. And all of the tips are perfect – I need all the tips I can get because I usually end up making cookies that look like they could have been cute but somewhere I mess up along the way!

    1. Thanks so much and am honored you like the guide so much! Haha I totally agree. I’ve had my share of frosting mishaps, but hopefully these recipes and tips help!

  2. Such a great post! I love and admire the work that people put into making cookies into works of art. My fave is the plaid ones, they are just beautiful.

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