Let’s set the scene: The stockings are hung, the menorah is lit, and the cinnamon candle’s scent is wafting through the house. Then the smell of freshly baked cookies emerges from the kitchen, and everyone gathers round to enjoy a batch of homemade holiday cookies.
But the real Christmas miracle is that these sweets are healthier than usual. We understand it’s totally time to splurge and enjoy a holiday treat (or seven), so we’re making it a bit easier by providing some better-for-you options. From the classic sugar cookie and gingerbread man to raspberry thumbprints and lemon drops, here are 48 cookie recipes that won’t do damage to those healthy habits.
We can’t not include this classic. This recipe is vegan—filled with nut butter, oats, and almond meal—but we promise it puts Nabisco to shame. Grab a glass of milk and dunk, dunk, dunk away.
This gluten- and dairy-free recipe is a healthier twist on the childhood classic. Since it's easy to grab on the go and full of fruit and nuts, you can eat as a breakfast, snack, or dessert (or all three).
With whole-wheat flour, just 1/4 cup sugar, and a butter substitute, these guys are a healthier version of the tasty cinnamon-sugar treat. The blogger says these little guys are made to be super soft and gooey, so we bet they'd be best right out of the oven.
If you don't frost cut-out sugar cookies, is it really the holiday season? This version gives everyone's favorite tradition a healthier update by using dairy-free butter and milk. There is even some pumpkin purée tucked inside.
If you love peppermint hot cocoa, you'll love these cookies. The Paleo recipe uses a combination of almond meal and coconut flour for a healthier treat. Did we mention they taste amazing dipped in coffee?
Pumpkin season isn’t over till we say it’s over. (And it’s not over.) Filled with oats and nuts, one or two of these will keep anyone satisfied 'til the New Year.
These lemon and coconut cookies will make you dream of summer when you're all curled up in your holiday sweater. The creamy filling works well as a frosting on some of your other cookies too.
This no-bake recipe is one of the easiest on our list. With just three ingredients (dates, oats, and chai spice), this recipe is the perfect on-the-go snack or dessert.
Dressing up little gingerbread men with frosting and sprinkles has to be one of the best parts of the holiday season. This recipe swaps out sugar, flour, and butter for healthier ingredients, making them both Paleo friendly and dairy-free.
Cavemen need cookies too, right? This Paleo recipe uses almond flour, coconut sugar, and coconut oil; a basic holiday dessert just got real fancy.
This vegan recipe is kind of like a chewier version of a biscotti—and we're all about it. These babies taste amazing fresh out of the oven. We dare you just to have one.
Cookies that taste like hot chocolate? We went there. These bad boys are made with cocoa powder, light brown sugar, and mallow bits (yes, those are a thing). You’ll never need to drink the liquid stuff again.
For something with a bit of extra crunch, whip up a batch of biscotti using almond flour, honey, and almonds. It’s totally cool to reach for seconds (or thirds).
These vegan, gluten-free cookies are loaded with classic holiday flavor thanks to ground ginger, cinnamon, molasses, and vanilla. Coconut oil makes these spicy treats nice and moist while adding a touch of healthy fat.
Grab someone you love and enjoy this kiss under the mistletoe. It's hard to pick a favorite holiday cookie, but this may be our winner.
This festive flavor combination isn’t just for Thanksgiving. To make these cookies, just top basic thumbprint cookie dough (made with almond flour, coconut oil, almond milk, and maple syrup) with a spiced pecan filling.
Sometimes peanut butter straight from the spoon isn’t enough. These treats are made from just four ingredients (peanut butter, vanilla protein, coconut sugar, and eggs), so you can whip them up on a moment's notice. And don't be afraid to throw in some dark chocolate chips for a lil' extra sweetness!
Yep, shortbread cookies don’t always have to be full of butter. This recipe cuts out part of the fat with applesauce, still yielding a recipe that’ll satisfy any taste bud.
Using inspiration from the classic candy bar, this recipe combines chocolate, coconut, and almonds into an oatmeal cookie. Just mix all the ingredients together, and they're ready to eat in 12-15 minutes.
These amazing thumbprint cookies are filled with a dollop of (trust us, it's easy). Paleo, dairy-free, tasty, and Instagram-worthy? Sign us up.
Add a spicy bite to your next holiday kitchen creation. These cookies are soft, chewy, and made with fresh ginger for some extra superfood love.
This spin on a delicious dessert has a secret ingredient: garbanzo beans. But trust us on this one—you’ll never know the difference, and your guests will never guess.
Filled with fruit jam and surrounded by cashews, this is a classy cookie perfect for any holiday party. Plus, it's super easy to make with only seven ingredients total.
For a sweet and sour treat, try these brightly flavored baked goods. Lemons, honey, and almond flour are the stars and make this cookie a real (healthier) winner.
Need we say more? When the chocolate craving hits, grab one of these brownies. No flour necessary.
What’s a holiday season without some peppermint? Swapping out some butter for plain yogurt lightens the cookies up a bit, and crushed candy canes make them worth going back for more.
Nuts, seeds, and coconut make this a superfood special in dessert form. Customize these bars with dried fruit and favorite nuts, or sprinkle in some chocolate chips for extra sweetness.
Crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside, and filled with coconut—what else could we ask for in a cookie? Fresh raspberries add some extra sweetness (and fiber), and rolled oats keep all the ingredients together.
The secret to a perfect cookie? Make it no-bake! This recipe is super easy to prep and even easier to enjoy. Hurry, your kitchen is calling.
With grated carrots and rolled oats as two of the major ingredients, this soft, spicy cookie is a good balance between healthy and indulgent. If butterscotch chips aren't your fave, sub in dark chocolate.
We're not kidding! Just five ingredients and you're good to go with this tasty treat. Almond meal, almond butter, dates, oats, and bananas are all you need. Blend them up, mix, and serve.
Whole-wheat flour, a little flax, and a lotta pumpkin and dark chocolate make this a crowd-pleaser—especially around the holidays.
Need a quick, easy dessert to bring to that last-minute, unexpected holiday party? This five-ingredient, no-bake dessert fits the bill.
Enjoy as a late-night snack or as the perfect start to any morning. The raspberries and oatmeal are a perfect combo for maximum sweetness with a touch of savory.
Egg whites are useful for more than just omelets. For a light, sweet treat after a big meal, one of these festive meringues should do the trick.
These no-bake treats are practically a health food (practically… ). Not-so-unhealthy ingredients include unsweetened coconut, pecan flour, pumpkin purée, cocoa powder, vanilla, and cinnamon.
Fresh cranberries, Greek yogurt, and orange rind give these gooey bars plenty of flavor. Whole-wheat pastry flour and rolled oats add a bit of fiber too.
Vegan and gluten-free cookies don’t have to be dry, flavorless, and boring. These tiramisu sandwich cookies feature tasty ingredients like rum, vanilla, amaretto, coconut cream, and instant coffee.
Since Oreos are milk’s favorite cookie, they’re probably Santa’s too. These homemade sandwiches are raw, gluten-free, and dairy-free. Pro tip: You definitely need a food processor to whip up these allergen-free bad boys.
Here is the classic oatmeal raisin cookie with some holiday spice: Applesauce instead of butter, whole-wheat flour, and oats make this an A+ offering.
Got an almond-butter lover in the house? These totally DIY treats are bound to be a major hit. Grind up some almonds, then mix the butter with coconut flour, lemon zest, brown sugar, and vanilla. They’re simple, gluten-free, and guaranteed to be gone in less than an hour.
Old-fashioned rolled oats, coconut flakes, and zucchini give these bite-size treats plenty of flavor and texture. Vanilla, chocolate chips, and brown sugar make them taste holiday-worthy.
The name might be a mouthful, but this recipe is actually pretty straightforward. The cookies are made with quinoa and almond flour, so they’re safe for gluten-free friends. Make them into sandwich cookies by adding the spicy almond butter or eat 'em plain.
If the words “salted caramel mocha” don’t have you running to the kitchen, you might not be human. With whole-wheat flour, apple butter, and plenty of antioxidant-rich dark chocolate, these treats are a relatively healthy way to indulge your sweet tooth.
Everyone’s favorite elementary school lunch gets dessert-ified in these fun, no-bake cookies. Make a basic bar cookie from ground nuts and coconut, then chill the dough and slice to form “bread.” Fill the mini PB&Js with your favorite nut butter and jam.
Filled with almonds, olive oil, and cinnamon, then drizzled with dark chocolate, these crunchy cookies are perfect for an afternoon coffee break. Sub in whole-wheat flour to add some fiber.
There are peanut butter cookies, and then there are ridiculously good peanut butter cookies. These treats, which are made with powdered peanut butter (such as PB2), creamy peanut butter, and peanut butter chips, definitely fall in the latter category.
Originally posted December 2014. Updated November 2016.