I’ve put together 25 of the best recipes for a Christmas cookie exchange! 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 holiday cookie swap!
Well hello December! We’ve officially entered the holiday season and you know what that means…cookie baking time! There is a huge increase in cookie baking in the month of December due to all the holidays, parties, celebrations, and get-togethers. I include myself in that stat. I’ve been baking all kinds of yummy cookies, like these 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 been around for thousands of years. Sometimes called a cookie swap party, different ladies would hold meetings at different homes to discuss a variety of topics. Foods and sweets were available and everyone would partake of different cookies on different days of the week at the different homes. Today, participants bake a batch of their favorite cookie 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.
How Cookie Exchanges Work
While I like to participate in more relaxed cookie exchanges, they can actually get quite tense. I’m all about variety and flavor. I want to receive a completely different cookie everytime that tastes amazing during the swap. Some exchanges get competitive based on how the cookie looks and what ingredients are included. Before participating in a cookie exchange, make sure you understand the rules. If you’re looking to host a cookie exchange, I love this article on how to host a cookie swap party.
Cookie Exchange Rules
But personally, I like participating in cookie swaps and I have no interest in hosting one. There’s all kind of rules out there but here are a couple 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.
Easy Christmas Cookies for a Cookie Exchange
If you’re looking for fun and creative cookie recipes for a cookie exchange, you’re going to love these 25 Christmas cookie exchange ideas.
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. These are a must have for a cookie exchange!
Pinwheel cookies are perfect for a Christmas cookie 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, 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 and flavor of jam.
Spritz cookies are just simple butter cookies put through a cookie press. It’s a super easy recipe to make for a cookie exchange. 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 make them super decadent. If you’re looking for an easy christmas cookie for a cookie exchange, this is a great recipe to try.
A cutout cookie where the dough is easy to work with…now that’s my type of cookie. These chocolate peppermint cookies are festive and really stand out on an assorted cookie platter!
A blend of liquor, chocolate, pecans, and cookie crumbs rolled together and coated with sprinkles. These rum balls are perfect for a Christmas cookie exchange and 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 cookie 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 swap. 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, and nuts. This is the perfect cookie for a Christmas cookie exchange!
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 these pretty results. 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. Then you bake and add the sprinkles. Simple and oh so elegant for any cookie exchange!
This is a no-bake recipe that can be made well in advance and frozen. This Almond snowball cookie recipe is perfect for a cookie exchange because they are gluten free and dairy free. It’s always good to have a food allergy friendly cookie on the platter.
If you’re looking to make a healthier cookie, 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 them look so much more delicious and festive.
Shortbread is my favorite type of cookie 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.Super unique design for a cookie swap.
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 them off perfectly.
It’s just not a Christmas cookie exchange 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 particular 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.
We’ve already established that shortbread cookies are super popular this time of year, but these are made with hazelnut and that makes them so dang flavorful! These are a lightly spiced cookie (thanks to the cardamom) dipped in dark chocolate and topped with chopped hazelnuts. not your typical shortbread cookie.
How cute and festive are these?! Meringue Cookies are sweet, crisp, and airy. And this is a vegan recipe. Yep – meringue cookies made without eggs and you’re going to love them.
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 plan ahead. The wait is totally worth it.
The perfect holiday cookie! 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 cookies 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 bring out the color for a fun cookie exchange.
Who remembers rolo candies? This is my dad’s all time favorite candy so you know I made these cookies when I came across this recipe. These rolo cookies are made with only 5 simple ingredients, onc of which is Devil’s Food Cake mix. If you’re a fan of caramel, you’ll love these these rich and indulgent cookies.
Essentially sugar cookies on a stick, these cookie pops are so fun! I call them cookie lollipops and you better believe the kids are going to love them. The vanilla bean paste really brings out the flavor. Perfect for any cookie exchange platter.
These little yummies originated in France and are more of a cakelike cookie that are cooked in a shell shaped mold. This madeline cookie recipe is filled with eggnog and all the seasonal warm spices. If you’ve never had these gourmet cookies, you should make a batch. They’re 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. Dip it in chocolate top with your favorite sprinkles or nuts.
Flourless cakes and tortes are super popular, but if you’ve not tried a flourless chocolate cookie you need to make these as soon as possible. These flourless chocolate cookies are both gluten and dairy free. These are made with dark chocolate and the texture of the batter will be thick and turn out chewy. By far one of my favorite all time cookies.
Looking For More Christmas Desserts?
I can’t WAIT to hear which cookie you made and took to your exchange! Make sure to leave me a comment and let me know which one(s) you made!