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25 Christmas Cookie Decorating Ideas To Get Creative This Year

Learn how to decorate Christmas cookies for sweet (and festive!) holiday treats.

decorated christmas cookies
AlmajeGetty Images

While everyone loves to *eat* beautifully-decorated, gourmet-looking cookies, it's not always so easy to make them yourself. With our easy and creative Christmas cookie decorating ideas, you're on your way to homemade, show-stopping Christmas treats that will totally win the cookie swap. We're here to help you achieve your best-looking cookies ever, from spicy gingerbread souped-up with swirls of frosting to simple sugar cookies decked out in red and green. On our list, you'll find impressive ways to achieve your cookie-decorating dreams for a dessert plate that's beyond impressive (and surprisingly easy!).

These fun and festive ideas are truly the gifts that keep on giving — simply start with your favorite holiday cookie recipe and then get decorating: We've got classic sugar cookie dough, cocoa-filled chocolate truffle dough and cinnamon, ginger and clove–infused winter spice dough. Of course, we've also included other cookie options for the more adventurous bakers out there (we simply can't make a list of Christmas cookies without including spicy gingerbread or buttery spritz cookies!), but feel free to use these decorating ideas on whatever dough you'd like. Can't eat all the cookies yourself? Beautifully decorated cookies happen to make the best homemade food gift, so feel free to bake several dozen and spread the holiday cheer. The best part is that each of these doughs can also be made and frozen up to one month in advance, saving you even more precious time during the holiday rush. It truly is the most wonderful time of the year!

how to flood icing for christmas cookies
Mike Garten
1 of 25
How to Flood Icing for Christmas Cookies
  1. Mix up a batch of royal icing. Thin out half with a few drops of water until it looks like honey, then pop thick and thin icings into two separate piping bags.
  2. Pipe the thick icing to outline your cookies with a line and let set.
  3. Flood with the thin icing, then use a toothpick to quickly drag it to the edges.
  4. Let icing set slightly, then sprinkle with sanding sugar or nonpareils. Let set.
white chocolatedipped madeleines with pistachios and cranberries
Mike Garten
2 of 25
White Chocolate-Dipped Madeleines

Decorating in a hurry? Dip store-bought madeleines in melted chocolate and sprinkle with chopped cranberries and pistachios so they look (and taste!) homemade.

Get the recipe for White Chocolate-Dipped Madeleines »

sugar cookie trees with powdered sugar
Mike Garten
3 of 25
Sugar Cookie Trees

"Glue" a stack of sugar cookies together with royal icing to create the perfect edible pine.

Get the recipe for Sugar Cookie Trees »

gingerbread cookies
MIKE GARTEN
4 of 25
Gingerbread Cookies

Gingerbread isn't just for houses! It also makes a sweet, spiced base for rich milk chocolate frosting — which you can use to make these minimalist snowflake shapes.

Get the recipe for Gingerbread Sandwich Cookies »

choco dipped trees   christmas cookie decorating ideas
Mike Garten
5 of 25
Choco-Dipped Trees

Cut Sugar Cookie Dough into trees. When cool, dip half of each tree in melted dark chocolate and sprinkle with multi-colored sanding sugar.

SHOP CHRISTMAS TREE COOKIE CUTTERS

cookie ornaments
mike garten
6 of 25
Sugar Cookie Ornaments

Decorate these sugar cookies like ornaments and you'll be able to hang them on your tree — if you're able to resist eating them first.

Get the recipe for Sugar Cookie Ornaments »

Peppermint Drops - Christmas Cookie Decorating Ideas
Mike Garten
7 of 25
Peppermint Drops

Scoop and roll Sugar Cookie Dough into 1-inch balls; place on cookie sheet. Pat to flatten. After removing cookies from oven, immediately press a candy kiss into the center of each cookie.

spritz
MIKE GARTEN
8 of 25
Cookie-Pressed Spritz

Cookie decorating isn't just about adding icing! With the help of a cookie press, you can add Christmas shapes of these picture-perfect cookies.

Get the recipe for Christmas Spritz Cookies »

Holiday Snickerdoodles - Christmas Cookie Decorating Ideas
Mike Garten
9 of 25
Holiday Snickerdoodles

Scoop and roll Sugar Cookie Dough into 1-inch balls in a small bowl of cinnamon sugar; place on cookie sheet. Pat to flatten slightly.

madelaine cookies
Mike Garten
10 of 25
White Chocolate and Lavender-Dipped

The recipe calls for a madeleine mold, but if you don't have one, you can always dip a cookie of any shape into white chocolate and sprinkle with lavender.

Get the recipe for White Chocolate and Lavender Madeleines »

White Chocolate Trees - Christmas Cookie Decorating Ideas
Mike Garten
11 of 25
White Chocolate Trees

Cut Sugar Cookie Dough into trees. When cool, drizzle with melted white chocolate and green candy melts.

SHOP CHRISTMAS CANDY MELTS

enevolpe cookies
mike garten
12 of 25
Jam Sandwich Cookies in Envelopes

The decorative stars on these jam filled cookies are just as adorable as the paper envelopes they come in.

Get the recipe for Jam Sandwich Cookies »

Thumbprint Jammers - Christmas Cookie Decorating Ideas
Mike Garten
13 of 25
Thumbprint Jammers

Scoop and roll Sugar Cookie Dough into 1-inch balls in a bowl of small nonpareils; place on cookie sheet. Make indentations in centers of each cookie. When cool, fill centers with jam.

waffle dippers
mike garten
14 of 25
Waffle Dippers

Dip these waffle cookies into melted bittersweet chocolate so the shreds of coconut will coat half of the cookie. Did we mention there's no baking involved with these?

Get the recipe for No-Bake Waffle Dippers »

Dulce de Leche Thumprints - Christmas Cookie Decorating Ideas
Mike Garten
15 of 25
Dulce de Leche Thumbprints

Scoop and roll Chocolate Truffle Dough into 1-inch balls; place on cookie sheet. Make indentations in centers. When cool, dust with confectioners' sugar; fill centers with dulce de leche or caramel.

gingerbread wands
Gingerbread Wands
16 of 25
Tied Gingerbread Wands

Tying together these rolled gingerbread sticks is the most adorable use of red ribbon we've seen this season. But if you don't have a ribbon, you can decorate with edible glitter, like this batch has.

Get the recipe for Gingerbread Wands »

Black & Whites - Christmas Cookie Decorating Ideas
Mike Garten
17 of 25
Black & Whites

Cut Chocolate Truffle Dough into rounds. When cool, brush halfway with melted white chocolate, then press into gold sanding sugar

walnut crescent cookies
mike garten
18 of 25
Powdered Sugar Walnut Crescent Cookies

These are powdered sugar cookies, not that more common powdered sugar donuts. But if you want to eat them for breakfast, we'll look the other way ...

Get the recipe for Walnut Crescent Cookies »

Cocoa-Peppermint Buttons - Christmas Cookie Decorating Ideas
Mike Garten
19 of 25
Cocoa-Peppermint Buttons

Scoop and roll Chocolate Truffle Dough into 1-inch balls; place on cookie sheet. Pat to flatten. After removing cookies from oven, immediately press Starlight mint into center of each.

lemon ricotta cookies
MIKE GARTEN
20 of 25
Lemony Ricotta Pillows With Icy Blue Frosting

The icy blue frosting looks kind of like icicles here, no?

Get the recipe for Lemony Ricotta Pillows »

Candy Bells - Decorating Christmas Cookie Ideas
Mike Garten
21 of 25
Candy Bells

Cut Winter Spice Dough into bells. Set aside 1/4 cup royal icing; tint the rest with yellow food coloring. Thin slightly with water; spoon each color into separate decorating bags with small writing tips. When cookies cool, decorate with icing, matching sanding sugar, and mini M&M's.

lemon thyme herb cookies
MIKE GARTEN
22 of 25
Lemon Thyme Herb Cookies

Believe it or not, thyme makes a great holiday cookie topper — taste it for yourself if you don't believe us.

Get the recipe for Lemon Thyme Herb Cookies »

Swirly Spice Drops - Decorating Christmas Cookie Ideas
Mike Garten
23 of 25
Swirly Spice Drops

Cut Winter Spice Dough into candy shapes. Divide royal icing in two; tint half with green food coloring. Thin slightly with water; spoon each color into separate decorating bags with small writing tips. When cookies cool, decorate with icing.

SHOP CANDY COOKIE CUTTERS

Sprinkle Mittens - Decorating Christmas Cookie Ideas
Mike Garten
24 of 25
Sprinkle Mittens

Cut Winter Spice Dough into mittens. Thin royal icing slightly with water; spoon into decorating bag with small writing tip. When cookies cool, decorate with icing, colored sprinkles, and mini marshmallows.

SHOP MITTEN COOKIE CUTTERS

Toasted-Coconut Dippers - Christmas Cookie Decorating Ideas
Mike Garten
25 of 25
Toasted-Coconut Dippers

With pastry wheel, cut Chocolate Truffle Dough into rectangles (about 1 inch by 2 inches). When cool, brush one end with melted chocolate, then press into toasted shredded coconut.

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