Looking for a deliciously spiced holiday cut out cookie recipe? This one is so simple and fun to make. I hope you enjoy my family’s favorite holiday cut out cookies.

It’s the perfect time of year for special holiday cookies, which resemble the Norwegian ‘Pepperkaker,’ which is an absolute “must” at Christmas.   

Some of my fondest childhood memories are making Christmas cookies with my family.

Why you’ll love these cut out cookies 

  • Tradition: Baking and decorating holiday cut out cookies is a cherished tradition for many families. It brings generations together and creates lasting memories.
  • Creative outlet: Decorating these cookies allows for endless creativity. You can use different shapes, colors, and designs.
  • Festive aesthetics: Holiday cut-out cookies are beautifully adorned with festive shapes and vibrant icing.
  • Versatile shapes: Cookie cutters come in a variety of holiday-themed shapes, allowing you to tailor your cookies to match the occasion, whether it’s Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter, or any other holiday.
  • Customization: You can customize the flavors and decorations to suit your preferences. From gingerbread to sugar cookies, you can make them as spicy, sweet, or colorful as you like.
  • Wonderful smell and cozy aroma: The delightful scents of spices like cinnamon and ginger wafting through your kitchen as the cookies bake are irresistible and evoke feelings of warmth and comfort.
  • Great for gifting: Holiday cut out cookies are an excellent homemade gift. They show thoughtfulness and care when given to friends, family, neighbors, or colleagues.
  • Perfect for parties: These cookies are a hit at holiday parties, whether as dessert or party favors. They’re small and easy to serve, making them a crowd-pleaser.
  • Edible décor: Holiday cut out cookies make fantastic edible decorations. You can hang them on the tree, use them as place cards, or create edible centerpieces.

Ingredients and substitution notes

  • Vegan butter: Earth Balance is a popular vegan butter substitute. It has a similar consistency to dairy butter and works well in baking. You can use other brands of vegan butter, but check for the same consistency.
  • Organic cane sugar: Organic cane sugar is a less refined option compared to white sugar. It provides a slightly different flavor and may have a coarser texture.
  • Smooth applesauce: This serves as an egg replacement in vegan baking. It adds moisture and helps bind the dough. Make sure it’s unsweetened and smooth in texture. You can also make your own by pureeing cooked apples.
  • Vanilla extract: Vanilla extract adds a delightful flavor to your cookies. I recommend using pure vanilla extract for the best taste.
  • Molasses: This contributes to the rich, warm flavor of the cookies. It also adds moisture and helps the cookies hold their shape.
  • Flour: All-purpose flour is commonly used for cookie recipes.
  • Cornstarch: This helps create a tender and delicate texture in the cookies. It’s often used in cookie recipes to improve their texture. Ensure it’s fresh and clump-free.
  • Baking powder: This leavening agent helps the cookies rise and become light and fluffy.
  • Salt: This enhances the overall taste of the cookies and balances the sweetness. Use fine-grain salt and mix it evenly into the dough.
  • Ginger: Ground ginger adds a warm and spicy flavor to the cookies. Adjust the quantity to your taste; you can add more for a stronger ginger taste.
  • Cinnamon: Ceylon cinnamon is known for its sweet and mild flavor. It’s a popular choice for baking due to its pleasant taste. Ground cinnamon adds a classic holiday spice to your cookies.
  • All-spice: This versatile spice combines flavors reminiscent of cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. It adds depth to your cookies.
Holiday Cut Out Cookies decorated as snowflakes

Top tips for making Holiday Cut Out Cookies

  • Use chilled dough: Chilling the cookie dough for at least 1-2 hours (or overnight) before rolling and cutting will make it easier to handle and prevent the cookies from spreading too much during baking.
  • Roll dough evenly: Roll the dough to a consistent thickness using a rolling pin. This ensures that all your cookies are of uniform size and bake evenly.
  • Flour your work surface: Lightly dust your work surface with flour to prevent the dough from sticking while rolling. Too much flour can make the cookies tough, so use it sparingly.
  • Use non-stick baking mats or parchment paper: Line your sheets with non-stick baking mats or paper. This makes transferring the cut-out cookies to the baking sheet easier and prevents them from sticking.
  • Freeze the cut-out shapes: After cutting out the shapes, place the cookie cut-outs in the freezer for 10-15 minutes before baking. This helps the cookies maintain their shape and prevents spreading.
  • Avoid overmixing: Mix the dough until just combined. Overmixing can lead to tough cookies. 

Make ahead of instructions and storage

Make-Ahead Instructions:

Cookie dough can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. Follow the recipe instructions to make the dough, then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or place it in an airtight container. 

Chill the dough:

If you’ve made the dough in advance and it’s been in the refrigerator, allow it to come to a workable temperature before rolling it out. This may take 15-30 minutes at room temperature.

Decorate later:

You can also decorate the cookies in stages. Bake the cookies one day, let them cool completely, and store them in an airtight container. Decorate with icing and decorations closer to when you plan to serve them.

Storage instructions:

Once the cookies have cooled completely, store them in an airtight container with layers separated by parchment paper. Cookies can be stored at room temperature for up to a week.

Freeze baked cookies:

If you need to store cookies longer, consider freezing them. Place the cookies in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze until solid. Then, transfer them to a resealable freezer bag or airtight container, separating layers with parchment paper. Frozen cookies can be stored for several months. Thaw them at room temperature before serving.

Holiday Cut Out Cookies after decorating
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Holiday Cut Out Cookies after decorating

Holiday Cut-Out Crispy Cookies

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  • Author: Chef Ani


Looking for a deliciously spiced holiday cut out cookie recipe? This one is so simple and is a family favorite.


  • 1/2 cup vegan butter (Earth Balance)
  • 3/4 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1/4 cup smooth apple sauce
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon molasses
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (I use Ceylon Cinnamon)
  • 1/8 teaspoon all-spice


  1. In a stand mixer cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy.
  2. Add the apple sauce, vanilla, and molasses, and mix until well combined.
  3. In a separate bowl mix together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and all-spice.
  4. While the mixer is running on low-medium speed, slowly add the dry mixture to the creamed mixture.
  5. Wrap the cookie dough in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  7. Lightly flour a silicon baking mat or a piece of parchment paper. Roll out the dough and cut with cookie cutters.
  8. Bake in the oven for 9-11 minutes or until the cookies are slightly brown on the edges. Cool completely before decorating.


For the icing I recommend organic powdered sugar mixed with a little water to make an appropriate icing.

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