26 Healthy Holiday Cookie Recipes to Make for Any Festivity

Various Christmas Cookies
Photo: NatashaPhoto/Getty

Made with good-for-you, filling ingredients such as whole grains, nuts, seeds, and fruit, these seasonal treats are sure to satisfy your growling stomach and sweet tooth. Plus, many of the holiday cookie recipes are vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, or a combo of all three, so there's sure to be a dessert that fits with your dietary preferences or restrictions. Despite these nutrient-boosting upgrades, all of the treats are delicious enough to win your family's holiday cookie contest.

01 of 26

Coffee-Anise Stars

Coffee Anise Stars
Jennifer Causey

Cinnamon and star anise powder make these cookies deliciously different. And their texture — a mix of firm and chewy — adds to their appeal. Plus, you can enjoy the holiday cookie recipe long after the festivities end; just wrap the unglazed cookies, freeze them for up to two months, and break out a handful whenever the craving strikes. (This guide will show you exactly how long your dinner leftovers can hold up in your ice box.)

02 of 26

Mokonuts' Rye-Cranberry Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Mokonuts’ Rye-Cranberry Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Jennifer Causey

"People come from around the world to eat at Mokonuts, a small restaurant in Paris, and everyone wants one of Moko Hirayama's cookies for dessert," says Dorie Greenspan, a James Beard Award winner and the creator of this holiday cookie recipe. "This is one of my favorites. Its texture is perfect — soft and chewy in the middle. And its flavor is just sweet enough: edgy from the bittersweet chocolate and tangy cranberries and earthy from poppy seeds and rye flour. To describe it as extraordinarily good is to understate its merits."

03 of 26

Pistachio-Matcha Financiers

Pistachio-Matcha Financiers
Jennifer Causey

ICYDK, financiers are cake-like cookies that are traditionally made with hazelnut or almond flour. Greenspan's rendition of the holiday cookie recipe, however, uses a combo of ground pistachios, matcha, and whole wheat flour. "Matcha adds gorgeous color and a very soft note of bitterness, while the whole wheat adds sweetness. I love these plain, but also
try them with a white chocolate dip, which can be tinted with matcha. If you sprinkle them with matcha or a little freeze-dried raspberry powder, they'll be holiday ready." (Put your leftover matcha to good use by whipping up a frothy latte.)

04 of 26

Easy Peppermint Dark Chocolate Cookies

easy healthy peppermint dark chocolate holiday cookies
Kara Lydon, R.D., L.D.N.

These easy peppermint dark chocolate chip cookies are made with whole wheat flour for an extra fiber punch, not to mention the antioxidant boost from the dark chocolate.

05 of 26

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles with Einkorn Flour

healthy holiday cookies Pumpkin Snickerdoodles with Ancient Grain Einkorn Flour
Back To The Book Nutrition

These fall-inspired pumpkin snickerdoodles are perfect for the entire family or any cookie swap. The holiday cookie recipe is super easy to make, dairy-free, full of nutrient-rich pumpkin, and makes use of ancient-grain einkorn flour. Research suggests that, compared to modern wheat, einkorn is higher in some nutrients including protein, phosphorus, potassium, and beta-carotene.

06 of 26

Layne's Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

gluten-free Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip healthy holiday Cookies

As long as your oats and oat flour have not been processed in a facility that contains wheat, these vegan holiday cookies are also gluten-free. Just check the package for either the gluten-free claim or under the ingredient list to see if it was processed in a facility with wheat. (While you have the oven on, make a batch of these seedy vegan, gluten-free cookies too.)

07 of 26

Vegan Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies

Vegan Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies
Sharon Palmer, R.D.N., The Plant-Powered Dietitian

Fresh cranberries give these tender shortbread cookies a festive look and taste. With crunchy almonds and a hint of zesty orange, this holiday cookie recipe is perfect for your next gathering.

08 of 26

No-Flour Peanut Butter Cookie Sandwiches

4-Ingredient Peanut Butter healthy holiday Cookies
Real Mom Nutrition

This holiday cookie recipe is made with five simple ingredients including whole grain oats and natural peanut butter. Though the gluten-free cookies are small, they're hearty and filling, with 4 grams of protein per cookie. Add melted chocolate chips (or more PB!) between them to make mini sandwiches.

09 of 26

Healthy Cowboy Cookies

Healthy Cowboy Cookies holiday cookie swap
Emily Cooper, R.D.N. of Sinful Nutrition

These chocolate-studded cookies can be made both vegan and gluten-free, and they don't require any added oils or sugars thanks to applesauce and mashed banana. The holiday cookie recipe only takes a few simple ingredients to make and gets a fiber boost from whole grain oats. (Use up your leftover banana with this recipe for mini pancakes.)

10 of 26

Almond-Orange Mendiant Cookies

almond orange mendiant healthy holiday cookies
Danny Kim

In this holiday cookie recipe, candied oranges and chocolate come together to create an unforgettable treat that helps you finally understand the whole "too pretty to eat" thing.

11 of 26

Pistachio-Raspberry Petits Fours

Pistachio-Raspberry Petits Fours healthy holiday cookies
Danny Kim

Layers and layers of crust, raspberry jam, and cream cheese will have guests picking these holiday cookies up in handfuls. For a festive and healthy topping, crush dehydrated raspberries and sprinkle them on top.

12 of 26

Low-Carb Chocolate Chunk Cookie Recipe

Low-Sugar, Gluten-Free Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Regan Jones, R.D.

These chocolaty pieces of heaven are as close to perfect as a cookie can be. Made with less sugar than traditional chocolate chunk cookies, they're also gluten-free using nutrient-rich almond flour as the base. It's a holiday cookie recipe anyone at your celebration can enjoy.

13 of 26

Cranberry Pistachio and Chocolate Cookies

Cranberry Pistachio and Chocolate Cookies
Rahaf Al Bochi, R.D., L.D.

Consider this the love child of the traditional chocolate chip cookie and, well, Christmas. These better-for-you cookies contain whole wheat pastry flour, which ups the fiber. Plus, half the butter is replaced with heart-healthy canola oil. The pistachios add healthy fat, protein, and a delicious crunch, and cranberries add sweetness and a pop of color.

14 of 26

Flourless Double Chocolate Almond Butter Cookies

Flourless Double Chocolate Almond Butter Cookies
Jamie Vespa, R.D.

These double chocolate treats celebrate the perfect union of a fudge-y brownie and chewy chocolate chip cookie. Free of gluten and dairy, and rich in heart-healthy unsaturated fats, this holiday cookie recipe is well-suited for those with allergies.

15 of 26

Honey Cinnamon Cookies

Honey Cinnamon healthy holiday Cookies
Natalie Knezic

Nothing says the holidays quite like cinnamon. Baking this holiday cookie recipe will make your entire house smell like a candle store—plus, they're free of refined sugar and made with whole wheat flour to help boost the fiber.

16 of 26

Fall Harvest Oatmeal Cookies

Holiday Harvest Oatmeal Cookies
Kaleigh McMordie of livelytable.com

This holiday cookie recipe features a base of whole grains and is packed with dried fruit (choose cranberries to keep it seasonal) and heart-healthy walnuts. They're not too sweet and can be made gluten-free.

17 of 26

White Chocolate-Dipped Ginger-Pistachio Biscotti

White Chocolate Dipped Ginger-Pistachio Biscotti
Frances Largeman-Roth, R.D.N.

These elegant Italian cookies are delicious and make a wonderful hostess gift. The base is a mix of all-purpose and whole wheat flour for extra fiber. The holiday cookie recipe is also loaded with heart-healthy pistachios and antioxidant-packed dried cherries.

18 of 26

Matcha Coconut Macaroons

Matcha Coconut Macaroons healthy holiday cookies
Danny Kim

You can never go wrong with macaroons. And, if you add matcha, your holiday cookie recipe is sure to win over your friend's tastebuds. Pro tip: Corn syrup can make the matcha glaze shiny, but leave it out for more of a matte finish. (You can also use the matcha glaze in these black sesame bundt cakes for a gothic treat.)

19 of 26

Almond Sugar Cookies

healthy Almond Sugar Cookies
Natalie Knezic

Made with almond flour, whole wheat flour, and coconut oil, these treats are crunchy, nutty, and have a touch of caramel flavor. Plus, the holiday cookie recipe is dairy-free, so even your lactose intolerant friends can enjoy a plateful.

20 of 26

Cardamom Chickpea Cookies

Cardamom Chickpea Cookies
Roxana Begum, Ph.D., R.D. of The Delicious Crescent

These Persian chickpea cookies are made with gluten-free, cardamom-flavored dough, and they have an irresistible melt-in-your-mouth texture. The holiday cookie recipe can be made nut-free and vegan by using light olive oil in place of the ghee. Regardless of how you make them, the treats are sure to be a keeper in your recipe collection.

21 of 26

Chocolate-Dipped Shortbread Cookies

healthy Whole Grain Chocolate-Dipped Shortbread Cookies
Lillian Yin, R.D.

Make this holiday cookie recipe with butter or swap it out for coconut oil to create a 100 percent plant-based treat. The two-ingredient glaze adds the perfect finishing touch. Bonus: Add holiday-colored sprinkles to make them even more festive.

22 of 26

Ginger Cookies with Orange Clove Icing

Ginger Cookies with Orange Clove Icing
Back To The Book Nutrition

This holiday cookie recipe may look like Pfeffernüsse, a German spiced cookie, but they're made with einkorn flour and coated in an orange-infused icing. The best part: The treats come together in less than half an hour.

23 of 26

Chocolate Chip Prune Cookies

Chocolate Chip Prune Cookies
Erin Palinski-Wade

These chocolate chip cookies ditch the cane sugar and replace it with puréed prunes. Since prunes are naturally sweet and have 3 grams of fiber per serving, this swap cuts out the added sugar while boosting both the fiber and nutrition content of the recipe.

24 of 26

Banana Bread-Style Soft Cookies

Banana Bread-Style Soft Cookies
Alyssa Lavy, M.S., R.D., C.D.N.

These unique cookies are a cross between banana bread and a chocolate chip cookie — making them giant, soft, and delicious. They can be made gluten-free and are suitable for a low-FODMAP diet, so they're a great holiday cookie recipe to make if you have guests with dietary restrictions.

25 of 26

Apricot Ginger Biscotti

Apricot Walnut Biscotti
Judy Barbe, R.D.

This holiday cookie recipe has twice the crunch-factor thanks to cornmeal and toasted walnuts. Not a fan of apricot? Swap the fruit for dried cherries or figs.

26 of 26

Matcha Shortbread Cookies

Matcha Shortbread Cookies
Dana White Nutrition

These six-ingredient shortbread cookies deliver a healthy dose of antioxidants and a beautiful green tint courtesy of the matcha. Note: The holiday cookie recipe's dough needs to chill in the fridge for 30 minutes, so plan your baking accordingly.

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