28 Recipes To Make You The Star Of Your Holiday Cookie Swap

Have you ever been to a holiday cookie swap? If you haven't, you're missing out. The basic premise is simple: you show up to the house of a friend or family member, bearing the specified amount of home-baked cookies — typically between a half dozen and a dozen per guest attending the swap, recommends Pillsbury. Each guest brings their preferred variety of homemade treats, and (usually) all the delicious options are laid out on a table for all to admire. Using a tin or zip-top bags, guests help themselves to some of each cookie variety, going home at the end of the evening with a jam-packed selection of holiday classics such as gingerbread men, pecan snowballs, and chocolate crinkles.

If you've been invited to a cookie swap this year, it's time to rejoice — but it's also time to figure out which cookie variety you want to share with your loved ones. If you're panicking at the thought and considering just buying a premade cookie platter from Costco, relax! We've got you covered: in this roundup, you'll find 28 of our very favorite holiday cookie recipes — from classic frosted sugar cookies to no-bake oatmeal cookies — that will have your friends flocking to your offering.

Chewy Matcha White Chocolate Cookies

Who doesn't love matcha? These soft cookies studded with chunks of white chocolate take on a pale hue and subtle flavor from the powdered green tea native to Japan. With plenty of butter, plus white and brown sugars, the rich cookies come out pliable and are sure to be a hit this holiday season.

Just make sure to keep them in an airtight container once cooled, so that they maintain their chewy texture.

Recipe: Chewy Matcha White Chocolate Cookies

5-Ingredient Chocolate Caramel Cookie Bars

Who doesn't love a good cookie bar? Containing all the same delicious ingredients as traditional cookies, bars are actually faster and easier to make because you can skip the step of dropping or rolling each cookie — just bake up a tray and cut 'em up once cooled.

This rich version is even faster and easier than your average bar because — shh! — its base is double-chocolate cookie mix. With a layer of melted caramel sandwiched between two strata of cookie dough, the resulting bars come out oh-so-chocolatey and gooey.

Recipe: 5-Ingredient Chocolate Caramel Cookie Bars

Easy Lemon Shortbread Cookies

Shortbread cookies are a classic for a reason: loaded with butter, good shortbread comes out both crispy and crumbly at the same time. And, since shortbread recipes usually don't feature much else, any flavoring you choose to add to your cookie really comes shining through.

In this case it's lemon (in the form of plenty of fresh zest), which results in a light, sweet, citrusy cookie your friends and family will love.

Recipe: Easy Lemon Shortbread Cookies

Best Hermit Cookies

Have you ever heard of hermit cookies? According to Bon Appétit, these spice cookies studded with dried fruit and nuts were a common treat in the 19th century — aka, the pre-refrigeration era. The cookies store well for weeks, indicating that the name could come from the fact that the sweets will stay tasty even far from human civilization and its comforts.

Whether you would consider yourself a hermit or not (hey, we wouldn't blame you for holing up when the temperature drops), these cookies are delicious, featuring fragrant spices and sweet, chewy raisins and dates.

Recipe: Best Hermit Cookies

3-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies

What's not to love about peanut butter cookies? On top of having a delicious, nutty flavor and rich crumbly texture, the cookies are also quick and easy to throw together. This particular peanut butter cookie recipe is as simple as it gets, featuring just three ingredients: peanut butter, granulated sugar, and one egg. Ready in just 15 minutes, they're a perfect choice if you want to take part in a cookie swap but don't have much time to bake.

Recipe: 3-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies

Bakery-Style Chocolate Chip Cookies

"Big, bulky, and chock-full of dark chocolate": that's how baker and Mashed recipe developer Jennifer En describes these hefty, satisfying treats. Still need convincing? Apparently they're also "tender and slightly gooey on the inside." Okay, sign us up please!

These chocolaty giants come out tender and golden brown, and are almost too beautiful to eat (almost). We're sure they'll fly like hotcakes at your holiday cookie swap. 

Recipe: Bakery-Style Chocolate Chip Cookies

Easy Kolache Cookies

If you have never heard of a kolache before, you're in for a treat. These Czech pastries are typically made of yeasted dough that's stuffed with fruit or cheese fillings. Kolaches are common in Texas, where large communities of Czech immigrants settled in the 1880s, bringing their recipes with them (via NPR).

These simple thumbprint cookies are a take on the regional pastry, featuring a flaky cream cheese dough filled with dollops of jam.

Recipe: Easy Kolache Cookies

No-Bake Oatmeal Cookies

Want to attend a cookie swap, but don't have the time (or oven) required to bake? These no-bake oatmeal cookies will to come to your rescue. Besides being quick and easy to throw together — requiring just 25 minutes of chilling, but no baking — these cookies are a fairly healthy option, calling for maple syrup as the sweetener and almond butter as the fat that holds them all together. Healthy, during the holidays? It's a Christmas miracle!

Recipe: No-Bake Oatmeal Cookies

Old Fashioned Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

If you were lucky enough to grow up with a grandmother, were you also fortunate enough to have baked by her side? Such was the case for recipe developer Angela Latimer, who learned this cookie recipe from her Granny Janny. Light, pillowy sugar cookies enriched with sour cream and shortening and dusted with cinnamon sugar, these treats are an old fashioned classic sure to inspire feelings of nostalgia.

Recipe: Old Fashioned Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

Chewy Molasses Spice Cookies

For many, warming spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon, and clove immediately conjure memories of holidays past. These festive flavors are abundant in our soft, chewy molasses cookies.

In addition to those spices, the recipe also features ginger for a slight kick and just a pinch of salt to round it out. (Despite what you might expect, salt actually enhances the sweet flavor in baked goods, giving your cookies that extra something special.) Simplicity at its finest, these molasses cookies are a great choice for any occasion.

Recipe: Chewy Molasses Spice Cookies

5-Ingredient Oatmeal Cookies

If you're a fan of oatmeal raisin cookies (or perhaps baking with kids this year), look no farther than these easy-to-make oatmeal cookies. Calling for just five nutritious ingredients — rolled oats, mashed banana, creamy almond butter, dried cranberries, and crunchy cacao nibs — the resulting cookies are firm and a little bit chewy, with a satisfying crunch in each bite.

Not sure how you feel about cacao? Recipe developer Miriam Hahn assures us the ripe bananas provide more than enough sugar to balance the flavor out, offering you a sweet, nutritious treat.

Recipe: 5-Ingredient Oatmeal Cookies

Classic Black And White Cookies

If you're from the Big Apple, you've likely enjoyed a black and white cookie or two in your day: this classic treat hailing from the streets of New York City is a large, cakey, vanilla-flavored cookie frosted with equal parts chocolate and vanilla glazes. Luckily, you can whip them up at home no matter where you live, using this straightforward recipe. Bring a batch to your cookie swap and see if you friends are Team Chocolate or Team Vanilla.

Recipe: Classic Black And White Cookies

Easy Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies

Crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, strong on lemon flavor and with a classic cream cheese tanginess, these understated lemon cream cheese cookies are the perfect treat for any citrus lover.

The simple, straightforward recipe calls for ingredients you probably already have at home (and should be able to easily find at any grocery store, if your pantry is a little bare), and comes together in under an hour.

Recipe: Easy Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies

Cowboy Cookies

Have you ever heard of cowboy cookies? These toothsome, chunky cookies are believed by some to have gotten their start in the old West, described by a commenter on Civil War Talk as "the first powerbar." Others believe the cookie was actually named during the era when cowboys ruled the big screen, radio waves, and comic strips. No matter where the cowboy cookie gets its name, there is no debating its popularity.

In addition to your standard oats and chocolate chunks, our cowboy cookie recipe brings walnuts and coconut flakes to the party, too, resulting in a wholesome, hearty, and filling cookie perfect for a swap — or a double feature.

Recipe: Cowboy Cookies

Rich Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

Is there anything better than chocolate chip cookies? Well, if you're a real chocolate fanatic, the only thing more satisfying than a chocolate chip cookie might be a double chocolate chip cookie.

This simple cookie recipe seriously ups the ante with cocoa powder, producing a soft-on-the-inside, crispy-on-the-outside cookie that's sure to be a big hit among chocolate lovers at your next holiday cookie swap.

Recipe: Rich Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

Easy 7-Layer Cookie Bars

Who doesn't love a classic seven-layer bar? With rich strata of a graham cracker crust, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, coconut, pecans, and sweetened condensed milk, these everything-but-the-kitchen-sink treats are the stuff of dreams for any kid or adult with a serious sweet tooth. Don't be surprised if you see a friend or two at your cookie swap nibbling on one of these dense treats while filling their tin.

Recipe: Easy 7-Layer Cookie Bars

DoubleTree Cookies

If you've ever stayed at a DoubleTree, the Hilton-owned hotel chain with more than 580 locations worldwide (via Hilton), you might fondly remember being handed a warm chocolate chip cookie at check in. It's a little perk the chain has been offering since 1986, but that much-lauded cookie recipe remained a secret until last spring, when DoubleTree global head and senior vice president Shawn McAteer revealed it. Now, fans can happily bake up these cinnamon-accented, walnut-studded chocolate chip cookies at home: no hotel stay required.

Recipe: DoubleTree Cookies

3-Ingredient Nutella Cookies

You'd be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn't love Nutella; the creamy, dreamy chocolate hazelnut spread jazzes up everything from toast to granola bars to banana bread. If you're a fan of the chocolaty spread, then you'll love these super simple Nutella cookies.

These cookies call for just two ingredients in addition to their eponymous Nutella: ½ cup flour and one egg. The cookies turn out chewy-crispy and heavy on that signature chocolate hazelnut flavor.

Recipe: 3-Ingredient Nutella Cookies

Christmas Cookies

You didn't think we'd skip over classic iced sugar cookies, did you? Well have no fear: these simple, vanilla- and almond-flavored sugar cookies turn out soft on the inside, with a perfectly crunchy exterior.

Cut these sugar cookies into fun Christmas shapes like a trees, stars, snowflakes ... whatever form your heart desires! Iced with a simple glaze and decorated with festive sprinkles, this is one holiday cookie classic that will be all but expected at your wintertime swap.

Recipe: Christmas Cookies

Shortbread Cookies

Sometimes, holiday cookie swaps can feel like they're all about the fanciest or most labor-intensive sweets. But (at the risk of sounding old-fashioned) we often like to bake up the classics. That's why we love this spot-on shortbread cookie recipe, containing nothing more than butter, sugar, vanilla, flour, and salt.

The cookies bake up perfectly crumbly and crisp, just crying out to be dunked into a mug of coffee, hot chocolate, or eggnog. Plus, they can be stored for up to three weeks — if you can resist eating them.

Recipe: Shortbread Cookies

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

If you love oatmeal cookies but prefer chocolate to raisins, then look no further than this soft, chewy treat. Loaded with hearty oats and delicious chocolate chips, they're sure to be a standout at any cookie swap.

Want to up the holiday ante? Try topping the cookies with some crushed candy canes before baking. You'll have a chocolaty, minty cookie that you friends and family will clamor for.

Recipe: Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Simple No-Bake Cookies

Looking for a quick and easy option for a last-minute cookie swap invite? Taking only 10 minutes for both prep and cook time, these super simple no-bake cookies check all the boxes.

"Tender fudge-y delights," in the words of their creator, chef Angela Latimer, these chewy treats are made from a quick and easy fudge recipe with rolled oats mixed in. The dough then gets dropped onto a baking sheet, cooled at room temp or in the fridge, and is ready to make a splash at your holiday swap.

Recipe: Simple No-Bake Cookies

Easy Frosted Sugar Cookies

Looking for a classic sugar cookie recipe to add to your holiday baking (or anytime, really) repertoire? We've got you covered with these frosted sugar cookies.

This recipe features a thick cream cheese-based frosting that can be tinted to any hue you like and topped generously with sprinkles, nuts, or candies; making them easily adaptable to any holiday or occasion. For a winter holiday swap, we suggest pairing red, green, blue, or white frosting with crushed peppermint, festive gold and silver or holiday sprinkles, or sanding sugar in a coordinating color.

Recipe: Easy Frosted Sugar Cookies

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pretty much everyone on earth loves chocolate chip cookies, right? If you count yourself among this classic cookie's fans, hold onto your hat, because you've just stumbled upon maybe the best recipe for them.

So what sets these choco chips apart? "They've got crisp edges, but a soft and chewy interior," recipe developer Mark Beahm explains. "And there's some crunchy flaky sea salt on top for that sweet and salty combination." Sounds pretty darn good to us. Whip up a batch for your next cookie swap, then sit back and watch as they quickly disappear.

Recipe: The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

Gingerbread Cookies

Few cookies signify the holiday season as strongly as gingerbread, with its classically festive flavor featuring molasses, cinnamon, and ginger. These gingerbread cookies are made from a thick, rich dough, which can be rolled out thin for crispy cookies or thicker for soft, chewy cookies — whichever you prefer.

Whether cut into fun shapes like stars or trees, the classic "gingerbread man" design, or simple rounds, these spiced cookies will fit right in at any holiday swap.

Recipe: Gingerbread Cookies

Easy Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Chocolate crinkle cookies are a holiday staple, showing up at all sorts of winter parties — from ultra casual to pretty darn fancy. And it's not hard to understand why: dense and fudgy on the inside, with a crackly crust and a sweet dusting of powdered sugar reminiscent of fresh snow, chocolate crinkles are eminently cravable. (Plus, they're pretty fun to make! After chilling in the fridge you roll the dough into balls with your hands and then coat them in powdered sugar.)

One important tip: be sure to chill your dough fully before moving on to the next recipe step. If you bake these cookies too soon they're likely to overspread.

Recipe: Easy Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

3-Ingredient Sugar Cookies

You can never have too many basic sugar cookie recipes, right? This one is a great version to have in your recipe box for those moments when you're short on time — and ingredients. Using only butter, sugar, and flour, these sweet cookies come together in just 20 minutes to create soft, pillowy treats everyone will love.

You can add some zing with citrus zest or a warm, familiar flavor using vanilla extract if you've got them on hand.

Recipe: 3-Ingredient Sugar Cookies

Easy No Bake Buckeye Cookies

Have you ever heard of buckeyes? If you're from Ohio, we're willing to bet you have: this sweet and salty treat was created in the state and resembles the native buckeye tree (via Bon Appétit).

Primarily made with peanut butter and powdered sugar, which is then dipped in melted chocolate, these no-bake treats taste just like a peanut butter cup. They're sweet, creamy, and delicious — and a perfect option to take to a cookie swap when you're tired of baking.

Recipe: Easy No Bake Buckeye Cookies