Tips for the Best Christmas Cookie Recipes {Making & Freezing!}

Close-up of un-iced sugar cookies on a sheet tray.

Everyone loves a delicious Christmas cookie – and it is so easy to make them yourself. Homemade Christmas cookies are unbeatable! I have some easy holiday cookie recipes for you and some great cookie baking tips! Learn how to freeze Christmas cookie dough, how to store it, and some easy tips for baking the best Christmas cookie recipes ever.

Tips for Baking Perfect Traditional Christmas Cookies

While you do need to be exact and mindful of measuring when baking cookies, it isn’t hard! Here is a list of my top tips to help you bake perfect traditional Christmas cookies every time.

  • Read the recipe before you start baking. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve jumped into a recipe only to realize halfway through I didn’t have all the ingredients or didn’t prepare them properly. Reading through the recipe before you start will ensure you have everything you need to rock it!
  • Unless the recipe specifies an ingredient should be cold, let all the ingredients come to room temperature before making your Christmas cookies. Butter and eggs are the most common ingredients that need to be room temperature but letting milk come up to temperature can help too.

French Butter Cookies (Sablés)

  • Measure your brown sugar correctly by packing it into the measuring cup. This ensures you get an accurate measurement and enough of that delicious flavor in your cookies!
  • Measure flour correctly. This is done by fluffing up the flour –  I just scoop and dump a few times with my measuring spoon. After the flour is fluffed up, over-fill your measuring cup and then level it off with the flat edge of a knife. Perfect ratio every time!
  • Pay attention to altitude. If you live in a high altitude climate {I do!}, you will need to adjust cookie recipes periodically. Trust your gut – if you think the batter is too runny, it probably is! If I am making a new recipe for the first time, I’ll bake one test cookie and adjust the flour from there to make sure I don’t mess up the whole batch. I find that adding 2-4 additional tablespoons of flour is enough to fix the altitude difference.

Pecan Crescent Cookies

  • Pay attention to humidity. Just like with altitude, living in a very humid climate can alter how a recipe turns out. If it is very humid where you live, you may also need to increase the flour in a recipe slightly. Do the same thing I do for high altitude – bake a test cookie and adjust the flour in tablespoon increments from there.
  • Practice!! Everything takes practice, even making cookies. But who doesn’t like to practice baking delicious Christmas cookies?? I think your family and friends will appreciate your efforts.

Two of our favorite traditional Christmas cookies recipes are sables, or French butter cookies and pecan crescent cookies. Check out these delicious traditional Christmas cookie recipes and give them a try this holiday season!

How long can you store Christmas Cookies?

So once you’ve made your Christmas cookies, how long can you store them? I find that most cookies stay fresh for the longest amount of time in a high-quality air-tight container. If I am serving them for a party or special occasion, I don’t make them more than a day in advance. Two days is a maximum if I am really short on time.

Chewy Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

If you find your stored cookies became stale, put 1-2 slices of moist sandwich bread in the container, close it, and let it sit for a few hours. Because the universe loves to create equilibrium in all things, the moisture from the bread will evenly distribute through the cookies until everything in the container has a similar moisture content, making your stale cookies less stale. Science is cool! 🙂

One of my cookie recipes that is more difficult to store are my chewy chocolate crinkle cookies. The powdered sugar on the cookies can discolor if it is left for too long so I usually make the dough up a day or two in advance, store it in the fridge, and then remove it about 1 hour before I want to make my cookies. That way I can make them fresh every time!

How to freeze Holiday Cookies

If you need to make cookies way in advance, I recommend utilizing your freezer! Instead of freezing totally baked cookies, freeze portioned cookie dough. This way, you can quickly remove exactly how many cookies you’ll need from the freezer and bake them “fresh” when you need them.

best Christmas cookie recipes

Most cookie dough recipes can be frozen. This is the easiest method for freezing cookie dough:

  1. Line a cookie sheet {one that will fit in your freezer} with parchment or wax paper.
  2. Portion out scoops of cookie dough onto the parchment, leaving enough space between them so they don’t touch.
  3. Place the cookie sheet in the freezer for 3-4 hours, or until the cookie dough is frozen. This is called “flash freezing.”
  4. Remove the frozen cookie dough from the freezer, transfer it to freezer-grade plastic storage bags {or any storage container of your choice} and then place back in the freezer for long-term storage.
  5. I find cookie dough lasts about 4-6 months in the freezer.
  6. To bake, remove the desired amount of cookie dough portions from the freezer and place on a baking tray to thaw for about 1 hour. Bake as directed in the original recipe.

If you are interested in freezing already baked cookies, that is also an option! Here is how I do it:

  1. After baking the cookies, let them cool completely. This helps them from drying out in the freezer.
  2. Place them on a cookie sheet, not touching, and freeze for 3-4 hours or until firm.
  3. Remove from cookie sheet and store them in freezer-grade plastic storage bags. Avoid stacking them more than 3 high.
  4. If you are concerned about them being smashed, place the plastic storage bags in disposable foil trays with lids. This ensures they won’t get smashed and buried in the back of the freezer!
  5. I find frozen, already baked, cookies last up to 3 months in the freezer.
  6. To thaw, remove from freezer bag and place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Let come to room temperature and enjoy!

Customize any Cookie Recipe for Christmas!

Many of your tried-and-true favorite cookies recipes can be easily customized for the holidays. I love making my classic chocolate chip cookies or and replacing half of the chocolate chips with chopped peppermint chocolate.

Adding holiday colored M&M’s to cookies is a great way to customize them for the holidays! I love using red and green M&M’s in my white chocolate chip cookies, it instantly turns them into a festive treat.

Soft Cut Out Sugar Cookie Recipe

Another favorite way to customize cookies for Christmas is with sprinkles. Replacing the traditional cinnamon sugar on snickerdoodles with colored sprinkles turns them instantly festive.

Almost any sugar cookie recipe can be customized for Christmas by cutting the cookies into Christmas shapes and then icing them with colored icing or sprinkles. You can see how we love to decorate our Christmas sugar cookies here! If you want some truly incredible decorating inspiration, be sure to check out SweetAmbs Holiday Cookie Decorating post. She is AH-mazing!

Why are homemade Christmas cookies better?

Homemade cookies around the holidays can seem daunting – it’s already so busy, who has time to bake? But making homemade Christmas cookie recipes is totally worth it! It gives you an opportunity to spend time together as a family making a treat you’ll all enjoy.

Homemade Christmas cookie recipes always taste better!! It will be well worth your time to make a few batches of cookies for the holiday season. Everyone will LOVE the homemade cookies, they are so much fresher than what you can find at the store!

It is fun to customize homemade Christmas cookie recipes, and easy to give them as holiday gifts making your Christmas season even brighter. Homemade Christmas cookies are better because you can make them when you need them, customize the design and they will taste AMAZING!

French Butter Cookies (Sablés)

Christmas is my favorite time of year, and adding to the holiday cheer with the best Christmas cookie recipes makes it even better. I hope you learned some great tips to help you enjoy baking this Christmas season as well! If you are looking for even more of the best Christmas cookie recipes, check out this amazing list: The Best Christmas Cookies {40 different cookie designs}!

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Get tips for making, storing, and freezing the best Christmas cookie recipes! These tips make getting ready for any family Christmas party a breeze!