Our 21 Cutest Christmas Recipes, Ranked From Easy To Difficult

cupcake cake shaped like Yukon Cornelius character from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Photo: Kim

'Tis the season to go all out. Whether you're putting together hostess gifts, attending a cookie swap, or trying to impress at the school bake sale, Christmas is the time to pull out all the stops. However, we get that not everyone has the time to spend hours on a cupcake. Whether you're a once-a-year baker or confectionary connoisseur, here are our best sweet and savory recipes for holiday treats so cute they'll delight even the most staunch Christmas cranks! Plus, we've ranked them by difficulty so you can pick your perfect recipe to spread holiday cheer, with no added stress.

01 of 21

Mini Strawberry Santas

Mini Strawberry Santas recipe on a decorative platter
Allrecipes Magazine

Starting off strong with the big man himself, in strawberry form. These Strawberry Santas are as cute as they are easy to make—just combine some fresh strawberries and lightly sweetened whipped cream. Chocolate sprinkles or poppy seeds make perfect eyes!

02 of 21

Grinch Kabobs

Grinch Kabobs
Snacking in the Kitchen

Another fruity holiday treat, this one is perfect for a kids holiday party or classroom celebration. Green grape 'Grinch' kabobs are easy to assemble and require zero fiddling with finicky decorations. Try serving these cute kabobs with white chocolate fondue 'snow' or brownie batter dip AKA chocolate hummus (don't knock it 'til you try it!).

03 of 21

Parmesan Puff Pastry Stars

For a simple savory treat, it doesn't get easier than these two-ingredient puff pastry stars. Simply use a cookie cutters to cut out star shapes (or any holiday shape you like!) of varying sizes, sprinkle with a little parmesan, then bake to golden brown perfection. These will take any holiday charcuterie platter from basic to show-stopping.

04 of 21

Nutella Pastry Christmas Tree

close up view of a Nutella Pastry Christmas Tree on a wooden table
Allrecipes International

Another puff pastry masterpiece, this show-stopping desserts is (shockingly) simple to make. If you're looking for a dessert that also doubles as a centerpiece, look no further. No one has to know it only a few ingredients and under an hour to make.

05 of 21

Cream Cheese Penguins

If you're not typically one for food crafts, give these easy penguins a shot. Black olives, cream cheese, carrot slices, and roasted red peppers come together to create adorable Antarctic bites—no cooking required!

06 of 21

Christmas Cornflake Wreath Cookies

a low angle view looking into a Christmas cornflake wreath cookie standing upright.
Victoria Jempty/Allrecipes

The cornflake wreaths make the perfect addition to any cookie platter or atop a holiday cake. Even better? The easy, no-bake process means they make a great holiday activity to do with the little ones. "Been making these for years with my mother-in-law," says reviewer kimberlee. "They are a wonderful way to have the kids and grandkids make something fun in the kitchen and they love to eat them!"

07 of 21

Cheesy Pesto Roll Wreath

No offense to the cute cornflake cookies, but this wreath really tastes as good as it looks, if not better! With crescent roll dough and a few more ingredients, you can churn out this gorgeous pull-apart wreath for your next holiday party, even at the last minute.

08 of 21

Easy Polar Bear Cupcakes

Speaking of last minute, you can even turn store-bought cupcakes into cute polar bears with this recipe and technique from Allstar Kim Shupe. Shredded coconut 'fur', mini marshmallow ears and noses, and black sprinkle details make these polar bears (almost) too cute to eat.

09 of 21

Christmas Tree Cupcakes

Continuing on the cupcake train, these Christmas Tree Cupcakes are so simple to make and perfect for a tree-trimming party. Tip: buy a few different sizes and colors of pearl sprinkles and let the kids decorate their own trees with these sprinkle 'ornaments'.

10 of 21

Reindeer Cookies

close up view of Reindeer Cookies on top of paper towels
Laurie

An Allrecipes classic, these reindeer cookies have been a staple on the site for years. While this peanut butter cookie recipe is delicious, if you have a nut allergy, you can use sugar cookies (including store-bought) instead for these adorable Rudolphs. All you'll need are some chocolate chips, mini pretzel twists, and red cinnamon candies—for that signature red nose, of course.

11 of 21

Christmas Reindeer Cupcakes

For even more bright noses to guide Santa's sleigh, try these adorable reindeer cupcakes. For a fun holiday party activity, let kids assemble their own reindeer with frosted chocolate cupcakes and the rest of the toppings on the table. You'll have Prancer, Dancer, Donner, Blitzen, and more!

12 of 21

Melted Snowman Cookies

Melted snowmen may sound a little sad, but these animated cookies are guaranteed to put a smile on your guests' faces! Super cute and creative, they're also incredibly simple to make and can—again—be made with store-bought cookies if you're tight on time. Take a time-saving tip from reviewer BakingBot who suggests, "Ice the cookie, plop on marshmallow and microwave the entire cookie for 10 seconds. [It's] FAR easier than heating marshmallow separately."

13 of 21

Christmas Santa Cupcakes

Raid your pantry for some white chocolate chips, red sprinkles, and coconut shavings to make these adorable Santa cupcakes. You can make them with any cupcakes from a boxed mix (we won't tell!) but to keep the Christmas colors consistent throughout, opt for red velvet cake.

14 of 21

Santa Leg Cupcakes

If you're really trying to impress, mix it up by making half Santa's face cupcakes and the other half these adorable "Santa Leg" cupcakes that mimic going down the chimney to deliver gifts. This recipe calls for fondant, but if you can't find that at the store, you could use red licorice for legs, frosting for trim, and black jelly beans for Santa's boots.

15 of 21

Polar Bear Cheesecake Truffles

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Another polar bear-inspired treat from Allstar Kim, we just couldn't resist adding these new cheesecake truffles to the list. As is the case with all of Kim's confections, they taste amazing, with everything you love about rich, creamy cheesecake and graham cracker crust, all wrapped up into one (big) bite.

16 of 21

Candy Cane Cookies

A Christmas classic, these candy cane cookies are a welcome addition to any cookie platter! Reviewer AOLGUIN05 shares a great tip to take some of the stress out of decorating, "Instead of rolling the hot cookies in the crushed candy cane, we've always mixed a little bit of water with confectioner's sugar and brushed it on the tops of the cooled cookies and then rolled them in the crushed candy cane. Works great!"

17 of 21

Hedgehog Cookies

a hedgehog-shaped cookie decorated with an edible Santa hat
Allrecipes

Now we're getting into the seriously adorable, albeit more time-intensive recipes. Recipe author Kitty Johnson says she, "needed something else to decorate a tree trunk cake, so baby hedgehogs seemed to be the perfect match." Add a little raspberry or red berry candy on top with a drop of white frosting, and you've got the cutest Christmas cookies on the block guaranteed.

18 of 21

Brown Butter Maple Shortbread Bear Cookies

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If you're looking for a sweet treat that tastes as good as it looks, these brown butter and maple-flavored shortbread will certainly do the trick. You can even make brown bears by adding a few tablespoons of cocoa powder to the dough (shoutout to reviewer andrewshilogmailcom for that tip). These bear cookies are so darn cute, they may just steal the show and overshadow any other cookies on the platter. Don't say we didn't warn you!

19 of 21

Best Soft Christmas Cookies

close up view of Soft Christmas Cookies in the shapes of gingerbread men, candy canes and Christmas trees on a plate
MDarling

Sometimes you can't beat the classics, and with well over 1000 5-star ratings, these soft Christmas cookies are as classic as they come. Reviewer BakingFun notes they're great for making with kids, as you can roll and re-roll them as many times as you need to get all those fun cut-out shapes with no waste. "This recipe is wonderful! Baked them today with my 4.5 year old. You can re-roll these and there is no problem - first cookies as great as last cookies." Browse for decoration inspiration here, or tips on how to decorate cookies with royal icing here.

20 of 21

Yukon Cornelius Pull-Apart Cupcake Cake

This one is expert-level, but if you're ever going to spend hours on a pull-apart cupcake 'cake' inspired by a beloved childhood character, now is the time to do it! And you do not have to make the cupcakes and filling from scratch to get the same effect, but we must admit, we are particularly drawn to this recipe's pairing of dark chocolate cake with peppermint-white chocolate ganache. So, throw on a Christmas movie (specifically Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer) and lose yourself in the process—'tis the season!

21 of 21

Christmas Tree Surprise Cake

side view of a Christmas Tree Surprise Cake showing a tree shape in the sliced cake
Jessica Furniss

For the ultimate show-stopper, try your hand at this holiday bundt cake. Slice to reveal a green Christmas tree, or use the same technique with another shape like yellow stars or red hearts. Just be prepared to wow the crowd and explain just how you got that surprise in there. The sugared cranberries and rosemary are just the cherry (or cranberry) on top.

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