20 Holiday Nut and Spice Cookies You'll Make Every Year

From pistachio pinwheels to spicy ginger snaps, these flavorful treats are sure to become part of your family tradition.

October 27, 2022

Photo By: Renee Comet ©©Renee Comet

Photo By: Tara Donne

Photo By: Armando Rafael ©Armando Rafael Photography

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Tara Donne ©Tara Donne

Photo By: Tara Donne ©Tara Donne

Photo By: Tara Donne ©Tara Donne

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Holiday Spice and Everything Nice

When it’s time to fill those holiday cookie platters, look beyond the sugar cookies, frosted treats and chocolate goodies. We love them all, there’s no denying that, but adding a bit of spice to your dessert life will be a welcome surprise. Warm things up with cinnamon cookies, or quadruple the spices and make Ina's ginger cookies. Marrying nuts and spices is also a fantastic, holiday-worthy idea. Pignoli cookies, topped with pine nuts, are standard at any Italian bakery. But they are the simplest of cookies to make at home, mixed in one bowl and ready in under an hour. Anne adds a pinch of ground cinnamon and a bit of honey to these festive treats, making them even more special.

Get the Recipe: Pignoli Cookies

Gingersnap Stackers

Sandwich vanilla ice cream (or your favorite holiday flavor) with gingersnap cookies for a big bite of dessert.

Get the Recipe: Gingersnap Stackers

The Spiciest Gingerbread Cookies Ever

This gingerbread cookie is super-spicy from the very first bite. Molasses makes it chewy and white sugar rounds out the spices. Cayenne, allspice and a hefty dose of black pepper result in a complex, lingering heat that is surprising and pleasant.

Get the Recipe: The Spiciest Gingerbread Cookies Ever

Macadamia-Coconut Cookie

You'll wish every holiday cookie recipe could be as easy to make as these tropical-inspired sweets. They start with store-bought sugar-cookie dough!

Get the Recipe: Macadamia-Coconut Cookie

Ginger Chocolate Crackle Cookies

Cocoa crinkle cookies are made even more delicious with a generous helping of warm baking spices like ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.

Get the Recipe: Ginger Chocolate Crackle Cookies

Pistachio Biscotti

With just eight ingredients, Tyler's crunchy cookies are easier than you might think. The dough is baked in logs until just set and then sliced into 1-inch-thick pieces before being put back in the oven to finish cooking.

Get the Recipe: Pistachio Biscotti

Cherry Pistachio Pinwheel Cookies

Make a cherry, pistachio and brown sugar filling for Jeff Mauro's take on colorful pinwheel cookies, which are rolled in holiday sprinkles. You can make the cookie logs ahead of time, then slice and bake them just before guests arrive.

Get the Recipe: Cherry Pistachio Pinwheel Cookies

Cinnamon Stars

Cinnamon Stars are a classic German cookie; you'll find them in most every German household as soon as St. Nicholas' Day rolls around. These gluten-free cookies are a cross between a macaroon and a meringue, with a hint of nutty spiciness.

Get the Recipe: Cinnamon Stars: Zimtsterne (Germany)

Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprint Cookies

Katie Lee's thumbprint cookies can be made entirely in the food processor. Pulse unsalted roasted peanuts with old-fashioned oats as the base for a crumbly dough that will taste just like your favorite sandwich once a dollop of jelly is added after baking.

Get the Recipe: Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprint Cookies


These Greek cookies, scented with warm spices like cinnamon and cloves, are traditionally served around Christmas. The dough, made with semolina flour and olive oil, has a tender, crumbly texture. Once baked, the cookies are soaked in an aromatic orange honey syrup which makes them even more delicious. Most recipes for melomakarona don’t call for salt so it's not included here. However, some call for brandy while others just add orange juice. Melomakarona keep well for a long time and can be prepared well in advance of serving. As an added bonus, they just happen to be egg- and dairy-free.

Get the Recipe: Melomakarona

Ultimate Ginger Cookie

Ina's ultimate cookies are filled with spices: cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger, plus chopped crystallized ginger. A coating of sugar before baking gives them a crinkly crust.

Get the Recipe: Ultimate Ginger Cookie

Chocolate-Almond Butter Thumbprint Cookies

These treats are reminiscent of everyone's favorite peanut butter blossom cookies — a little more grown-up but just as addictive. They stay fresh and delicious refrigerated in an airtight container.

Get the Recipe: Chocolate-Almond Butter Thumbprint Cookies

Molasses Cookies

Anne's soft and chewy cookies are a little spicy and a little exotic. Roll the cookies in turbinado sugar (sugar in the raw) to make them super sweet with a crystal crunch.

Get the Recipe: Molasses Cookies

Macadamia-Almond Christmas Cookies

Nancy Fuller folds in the white chocolate chips, pistachios and cranberries into her macadamia nut cookie dough for buttery cookies that have just the right amount of crunch. Press a red and white striped kiss into the center of each cookie right after they come out of the oven and are still warm.

Get the Recipe: Macadamia-Almond Christmas Cookies

Spiced Gingerbread Piggies

Pat and Gina love the complex spicy flavor of these gingerbread cookies. They added a little kick in the form of cayenne pepper to classic gingerbread and came up with a new family favorite.

Get the Recipe: Spiced Gingerbread Piggies

Cinnamon-Spiced Hot Chocolate Cookies

A hit of cayenne perks up these Mexican-inspired cookies from Chefs vs. City’s Aaron Sanchez. Crushed almonds and a drizzle of dulce de leche are decadent additions.

Get the Recipe: Cinnamon-Spiced Hot Chocolate Cookies

Ginger Snaps

These crisp spiced cookies are irresistible, but even Alton can't pinpoint the reason. "I don't know why I like them so much, but when I start eating them I tend to have a very, very hard time stopping," he admits.

Get the Recipe: Ginger Snaps

Sherry Butter Nut Drops

Our Sherry Butter Nut Drops can be topped with a pecan half or your own holiday design.

Get the Recipe: Sherry Butter Nut Drops

Kentucky Pecan Bars

Damaris Phillips packs all of the great flavor of pecan pie into a hand-held bar cookie. Add brightness to the sweet honey and brown sugar flavor with orange zest.

Get the Recipe: Kentucky Pecan Bars

Mixed Nut Honey Baklava

A modern version of the Greek classic, our Mixed Nut-Honey Baklava has dried fruit, nuts and a hint of chocolate.

Get the Recipe: Mixed-Nut Honey Baklava

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