48 Healthier Holiday Cookie Recipes

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 this list of cookie recipes is healthier! 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 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. Double Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies Photo: Minimalist Baker

1. Vegan Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

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 away!

2. Fruit and Nut Bar

These bars work for breakfast, as an afternoon snack, or an after-dinner dessert. It has protein (nuts!), fiber (fruit!), and all the great taste. (So make them today!)

3. Snickerdoodle

These cookies are so simple, so delicious, and so not-so bad for you. With just the right amount of cinnamon and sugar, this holiday classic can be enjoyed anytime.

4. Vanilla Iced Sugar Wafer

Gather some fitness-themed cookie cutters for this recipe! Made with egg whites and just a touch of sugar and spice, cutouts of Christmas trees and holiday bells never tasted better (or less guilty).

5. Espresso Crinkle

Unsweetened cocoa powder and instant espresso take center stage in this recipe. Paired perfectly with a cup of coffee, these cookies are a caffeine-lover’s dream.

6. Pumpkin Spiced Oatmeal Pecan Cookie

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 ‘till the New Year.

7. Coconut Cream Shortbread

Shortbread is usually loaded with at least one stick of butter, but these bites get their richness from coconut butter instead. They’re also free of gluten, corn, soy, nuts, and refined sugars. Pretty impressive for a Christmas cookie, right?

8. Vegan Chai Cookie

No dairy? No problem! With a touch of spicy chai, this recipe is guaranteed to impress any sweet tooth. Enjoy these cookies with a cup of tea and good company. Low-Fat Gingerbread Cookies Photo: SkinnyTaste

9. Low-Fat Gingerbread Cookies

Half the fat and all the flavor? Sign us up! Besides, who doesn’t love to decorate these adorable gingerbread men at any holiday festivity.

10. Macadamia-Ginger Cookie

Macadamia nuts need more love. And luckily, there’s nothing not to enjoy with this cookie made with egg whites, fresh ginger, and a touch of honey, too.

11. Paleo Sugar Cookie

Cavemen need cookies too, right? Using almond flour, honey, and coconut oil, this basic holiday dessert just got real fancy.

12. Hot Chocolate Cookie

Cookies that taste like hot chocolate? We went there. Made with dates, chocolate chips, cocoa powder, and coconut oil, we’ll never need to drink the liquid stuff again.

13. Cranberry Almond Biscotti

For something with a bit of extra crunch, whip up a batch of biscotti. Using spelt flour (which is lower in gluten than regular wheat and great for people with a slight gluten sensitivity), applesauce, and olive oil, it’s quite all right to reach for seconds of these treats.

14. Soft Molasses Cookie

These vegan, gluten-free cookies are loaded with classic holiday flavor thanks to ground ginger, cinnamon, molasses, and vanilla. Half a cup of unsweetened applesauce makes these spicy treats nice and moist without adding too much fat.

15. Peanut Butter Kiss Cookie (Gluten-Free)

Grab someone you love and enjoy this kiss under the mistletoe. It’s made with rice and tapioca flour, too, so even people with gluten intolerances can taste the love! Guilt-Free Pecan Pie Cookies Photo: Allergy Free Alaska

16. Pecan Pie Cookie

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.

17. Protein Peanut Butter Cookie

Sometimes, peanut butter straight from the spoon isn’t enough. These peanut butter treats are made with dry roasted peanuts, a touch of brown sugar, and protein powder for a high-protein, low-sugar treat. (And don't be afraid to throw in some dark chocolate chips for a lil' extra sweetness.)

18. Shortbread

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.

19. Almond Horn (Gluten-Free)

Whether going gluten-free or not, this cookie is for you. These are low in sugar and contain no grains, but are full of all the deliciousness of a classic almond horn.

20. Raspberry-Chocolate Thumbprint

Sweeten up the holiday season with a fruit-inspired cookie. With a hefty serving of oats, fruit, and almonds, everyone will be filling up on the good stuff.

21. Gingersnap

Add a spicy bite to your next kitchen creation. (And better yet, leave out the fat!) These cookies are soft, chewy, and made with fresh ginger for some extra superfood love.

22. Chocolate Chip Blondie

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!

Linzer Cookies Photo: Katie at the Kitchen Door

23. Linzer Cookies

Filled with fruit jam and surrounded by crushed almonds and hazelnuts, this is a classy cookie perfect for any holiday party.

24. Lemon Honey Drop Cookie

For a sweet and sour treat, try these brightly flavored baked goods. Lemon rinds, honey, and plain yogurt are the stars in this recipe that make this cookie a real (healthy!) winner.

25. Flourless Butterscotch Brownie

Need we read past the title? When the chocolate craving hits, grab one of these brownies, no flour included.

26. White Chocolate Peppermint Drop Cookie

What’s a holiday season without some peppermint? Swapping out some butter for plain yogurt makes them healthier, and crushed candy canes make them worth going back for more!

27. Toffee Square

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!

28. Raspberry Coco-Oat Macaroon

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.

29. White Chocolate Holiday Bark

The secret to this recipe is sliced almonds and rice cereal. (Who knew?) Add melted white chocolate and dried fruit for a creative twist on a classic.

Spiced Carrot Cake Cookie Photo: Averie Cooks

30. Spiced Carrot Cake Cookie

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.

31. Coconut Date Linzer Cookie

No grain is no problem for this festive, whole food-filled cookie. The dough is made from coconut flour, while the filling is made from chopped up Medjool dates.

32. Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie

Whole-wheat flour, a little flax, and a lotta pumpkin and dark chocolate make this a crowd pleaser—especially around the holidays!

33. No-Bake Coconut Delight

Need a quick, easy dessert to bring to that last minute, unexpected holiday party? This five-ingredient, no-bake dessert will fit the bill.

34. Raspberry Bar

Tart raspberries plus low-fat cream cheese make for a creative holiday dessert. Enjoy as a late-night snack or the perfect start to any morning.

35. Fig and Date Swirl

For some fiber with your dessert, what better than a cookie filled with figs and dates? Swap some butter for low-fat yogurt or applesauce, or stick to reduce-fat cream cheese to make these even better for the body.

36. Peppermint Meringues

Egg whites are useful for more than just omelets. For a light, sweet treat after a big meal, one of these festive meringues should fit the dessert bill. Raw Chocolate Pumpkin Pecan Macaroons Photo: Civilized Caveman Cooking

37. Raw Chocolate Pumpkin Pecan Macaroon

These no-bake treats are practically a health food (practically…). Not-so-unhealthy ingredients include unsweetened coconut, pecan flour, pumpkin puree, cocoa powder, vanilla, and cinnamon.

38. Fresh Cranberry Oatmeal Bar

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.

39. Tiramisu Cookie

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.

40. Homemade Raw Oreo

Since Oreos are milk’s favorite cookie, they’re probably Santa’s favorite cookie, 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.

41. Oatmeal-Raisin Spice Cookie

Here is the classic oatmeal raisin cookie with some holiday spice! Applesauce instead of butter, whole-wheat flour, and oats make this an A+ cookie.

42. Gluten-Free Lemon Almond Butter Cookie

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.

43. Zucchini Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Coconut Cookie

Old-fashioned rolled oats, coconut flakes, and (obviously) zucchini give these bite-sized treats plenty of flavor and texture. Vanilla, chocolate chips, and brown sugar make them taste holiday-worthy.

Quinoa and Almond Flour Cookies Photo: Farm on Plate

44. Quinoa and Almond Flour Cookie with Chai Spiced Almond Butter

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.

45. Salted Caramel Mocha Cookie

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.

46. Peanut Butter and Jelly Coconut Cashew Sandwich Cookie

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.

47. Chocolate Covered Almond Biscotti

Filled with almonds, olive oil, and cinnamon and drizzled with dark chocolate, these crunchy cookies are perfect for an afternoon coffee break. Sub in whole-wheat flour to add some fiber.

48. Triple Threat Peanut Butter Cookie

There are peanut butter cookies, and then there are 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 2012. Updated December 2014.

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