Who doesn't love a good Christmas cookie exchange? If you're looking for some cookie exchange ideas, I've got 25 of the best recipes for a cookie swap! In this post, you'll find traditional cookie recipes from pinwheels and spritz cookies to the more unique versions of rosette, meringue, and linzer cookies. Pick out your favorite cookie for your cookie exchange party!
We've officially entered the holiday season and you know what that means...it's time for baking cookies! There is a huge increase in baking during the month of December due to all the holidays, parties, celebrations, and get-togethers.
I include myself in that statistic. I've been baking all kinds of yummy stuff, like these yummy candy filled Boyfriend Cookies. Just watch, you'll start seeing cookie recipes pop up everywhere. Which means December is a great month to participate in a cookie exchange!
What is a Cookie Exchange?
Cookie exchanges "officially" started in the early 20th century, but they've probably "unofficially" been around for thousands of years. Sometimes called a cookie swap or cookie exchange party, different ladies would hold meetings at different homes to discuss a variety of topics. Foods and sweets were available and everyone would partake in different cookies on different days of the week at the different homes.
With cookie exchange parties today, participants bake a batch of their favorite cookie recipe and then bring them to a party where guests trade. You often see church groups, relatives, and work groups hosting and participating in a cookie exchange.
And let me tell you...they are so much fun!
How It Works
While I like to participate in more relaxed exchange, they can actually get quite tense. When it comes to cookies, I'm all about variety and flavor. I want to receive a completely different one each time that tastes amazing during the swap.
Some exchanges get competitive based on how the they looks and what ingredients are included. Before participating in an exchange, make sure you understand the cookie exchange rules. If you're looking to host a party, check out this article on how to host a cookie swap party. There is a lot of good information in here!
Personally, I like participating but I have no interest in hosting one. There's all kind of cookie exchange rules out there and each party I've been to has been different. Below are a couple of rules you might run into. While I don't agree with all of these, I've seen these in practice:
- Don't you dare bring a store bought or basic cookie to a swap.
- Chocolate chip cookies are too common and not creative enough. Don't bring them.
- Try to avoid duplicates. Think outside the box and make a cookie you don't think others will bring.
- Bring a recipe card so participants can recreate them at home. Cookie exchange recipes are appreciated.
Easy Christmas Cookie Recipes
If you're looking for fun and creative Christmas cookies to exchange, you're going to love these options below!
This is an easy sugar cookie recipe that is PERFECT for the holiday season! The reason I love this recipe is because these sugar cookies don't spread when baking. They have a soft texture with a buttery flavor and the icing is easy to pipe.
Raspberry cookies are delicious and these pinwheel cookies are perfect for an exchange because they are so tasty and very easy to make. You make them by rolling raspberry jam and chopped walnuts in a rich, buttery dough. Then, you'll slice them and dip them in sparkling sugar and bake. If you're looking for a versatile pinwheel cookie recipe, this recipe is for you. Feel free to substitute with your favorite nut, dates, and flavor of jam.
Spritz cookies are just simple butter cookies put through a cookie press. It's a super easy recipe to make. The "spritz" name comes from the German word "spritzen" meaning to squirt soft dough through a press. They have a soft crumbly texture and the cream cheese makes them super decadent. If you're looking for an easy spritz cookie recipe, then this is one you need to try. And it's a great choice for any cookie exchange!
A cut out sugar cookie recipe where the dough is easy to work with...now that's right up my alley! Made with both chocolate and peppermint and are super festive! They really stand out on an assorted cookie platter!
Rum ball recipes are so delicious and these are made with a blend of liquor, chocolate, pecans, and cookie crumbs rolled together and coated with sprinkles. These rum balls are super festive! Just like the name states, these balls contain alcohol so only include these in an adult friendly cookie exchange.
Who would have thought that coffee cookies would be so delish! Flavored with a hint of Irish Cream, these taste extra amazing when dunked in a cup of coffee. A unique and delicious recipe that should be shared during the holiday season!
It's just not Christmas if you don't have some sort of dessert with mint! And I love a good bar recipe at a cookie exchange. With these sugar cookie bars, you can skip rolling out the dough. They are easy to make, contain chocolate chips, and mint extract.
Shortbread cookies are a traditional Scottish cookie that consists of flour, butter, sugar, and salt. Shortbread is a classic cookie recipe for the Christmas season and I'm loving this specific recipe because you're not only getting 1 shortbread recipe, but 3!! We're talking shortbread dipped in peanut butter, white chocolate, and dark chocolate and then topped with either peppermint, pretzels, or nuts.
These look like they took a lot of effort to make, but they didn't. You don't have to be an artist or cake decorator to get a pretty rosette. Rosette cookies consist of a sugar cookie dough that has been thinned out to ensure it can easily go through a piping tip. Then you pipe the dough into little circular mounds. From there, bake and add some sprinkles. Simple and oh so elegant! These will impress your guests at your next cookie exchange event!
This no-bake cookie recipe can be made well in advance. And, these snowball cookies are gluten free, dairy free, and frozen! It's always good to have an allergy friendly cookie on the platter.
If you're looking for a healthier cookie recipe for a cookie exchange, these coconut macaroons are a great option. They're made with a refined sugar, unsweetened coconut, cranberries, and honey. The drizzling of the milk chocolate is optional, but makes these chocolate macaroons look so much more delicious and festive.
Shortbread is my favorite at Christmas time and these are irresistible. They're crisp and have a melt in your mouth buttery texture. And that chocolate drizzle adds a certain depth of flavor. I'm loving this super unique design on these chocolate shortbread cookies!
Filled with raspberry jam, these Austria based cookies are popular for the holidays. It only takes 10 minutes to prep these and then they're ready to pop in the oven to bake. The dusting of the powdered sugar finishes this linzer cookie recipe off perfectly.
It's just not Christmas unless gingerbread cookies are present. These are soft gingerbread cookies that are slightly spiced and fool-proof. Decorated with royal icing, these are bound to be a favorite this holiday season.
The reason cream cheese cookies are so popular during the holiday season is not only because they are festive, but they literally melt in your mouth. This cream cheese cookie recipe was made by the author's great-grandmother years and years ago, so you know they are amazing! A tried and true recipe that needs to be shared. This is a recipe worth repeating!
We've already established that shortbread cookies are super popular this time of year, but this shortbread recipe is made with hazelnut and that makes them so dang flavorful! Lightly spiced (thanks to the cardamom) dipped in dark chocolate and topped with chopped hazelnuts. This, my friends, is not your typical shortbread recipe!
How cute and festive are these snowman cookies?! Meringue Cookies are sweet, crisp, and airy. And if you're looking for a vegan cookie recipe, then look no more. Yep - these are made without eggs and they are also naturally gluten free!
This is not your traditional chocolate chip cookie. Toffee and chocolate go really well together and that's why I love these toffee chocolate chip cookies. For this recipe, you'll rest the dough for 2 days, so make sure you plan ahead. The wait is totally worth it.
These orange cranberry cookies are the perfect holiday sweet treat! Orange and cranberry are both winter flavors and meld well together in this sugar cookie recipe. Oh, and this recipe uses fresh orange peel and fresh cranberries. Ridiculously flavorful.
I love colorful desserts and these pinwheel cookies look so amazing with the red and green Christmas colors. Made with basic ingredients like butter, sugar, and flour, these are easy to make and very festive!
Who remembers rolo candy? This is my dad's all time favorite candy so you know I made these when I came across this recipe. These rolo cookies are made with only 5 simple ingredients, one of which is Devil's Food Cake mix. If you're a fan of caramel, you'll love these. The texture of these remind me of cake cookies!
Do you like cake pops? Is so, you're going to really enjoy these cookie pops! Essentially these are sugar cookies on a stick and the kids, and adults, just love them! I call them cookie lollipops. The vanilla bean paste really brings out the flavor.
These little yummies originated in France and remind me of a cake cookie that is cooked in a shell shaped mold. These madeleine cookies are filled with eggnog and all the seasonal warm spices. If you've never had these gourmet cookies, you should make a batch. Madeleines are fabulous and have been around for a long time.
Strawberry, vanilla, and chocolate in a cookie! These Neapolitan Cookies use a cake mix which makes them soft and puffy. If you love cake cookies and Neapolitan ice cream, then this is a recipe you need to try. Dip these in chocolate and then top with your favorite sprinkles or nuts.
Flourless cakes and tortes are super popular, but if you've not tried flourless chocolate cookies, you need to make these as soon as possible. They are THAT good! This recipe is both gluten and dairy free. They are made with dark chocolate and the texture of the batter will be thick and turn out chewy. By far...one of my favorites. If you like chocolate torte, then you'll like these.
More Christmas Desserts
If you're anything like me, I can't get enough of of the sweets during the holiday season. If you're looking for more Christmas dessert recipes, then take a look at these 25 Gluten Free Christmas Desserts. The collection is out-of-this-world delicious.
I also love a good Red Velvet Cake during the holidays so make sure you check out my recipe because it's been in my family for 20 years!
And I also love this Orange Vanilla Bundt Cake because it's made with fresh orange juice, chocolate chips, and then topped with a cream cheese frosting.
Y'all - I can't WAIT to hear which recipe above you made and took to your exchange! Make sure to leave me a comment and let me know which one(s) you tried!
If you’ve tried any other recipes of mine on the website, make sure you rate the recipe and let me know how it turned out in the comments below! I love hearing from you!