The Best Slice-and-Bake Christmas Cookies

Slice-and-bake cookies are an awesome option for Christmas cookies because they’re so easy to bake up. This dough is foolproof, can be dressed up a bunch of different ways, and can even be frozen – so you can prep it when things are not crazy and still have warm, fresh cookies ready for Santa!

Green and red swirl cookies spread out on a surface and in a bowl.

You can make these cookies your own by changing up the dough colors, dipping them in sanding sugar, or rolling them in sprinkles. I love leaving the dough uncolored and then dipping the cookies in red or green sugar. And rolling them in blue sprinkles make them perfect for Hanukkah!

Or, divide the dough and make a few different designs from one batch. The possibilities are endless!

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Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon milk
  • Food coloring and/or sanding sugar, if desired

This recipe is an adaption of one my family has been make for more than 30 years – and one of the reasons I love it is that it uses shortening. This not only makes them super moist, but also makes them easier to whip up on a whim – I’m forever forgetting to soften the butter for cookie dough!

Green and red swirl cookies spread out on a surface and in a bowl.

Directions

  • To start these cookies, add the shortening, sugar, eggs, vanilla and almond extract to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until very fluffy. Don’t have a stand mixer? This can be done with a hand mixer too.
  • Add the flour, baking powder, and salt to the bowl and mix until everything is combined – it will look a bit dry and crumbly at this point. Add in milk and continue to mix until a dough ball forms.
  • Transfer the dough ball to a floured surface.
  • This is the part where you can get creative! You can fancy up your cookies by adding food coloring if you want. For the cookies pictured, I divided the dough in half and added a different color to each. You want to knead each ball until the color is even throughout. I then rolled my dough out into two even rectangles, stacked them on top of each other, and then rolled them up to create a spiral effect. This dough has a consistency near to playdough, so it’s easy to keep molding and rolling it until you get it to the way you want.
  • Ultimately, you want to form the dough into a log about 12″ long. Obviously, this is pretty quick and easy if you choose to do the cookies just one color – or skip coloring altogether. If you’re working with multiple colors, be mindful of the 12″ length as you create each layer.
  • When you have your log, wrap it in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours.
  • When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with baking parchment.
  • Remove the dough from the refrigerator and slice into 1/2″ rounds using a sharp knife to make clean cuts. At this point, you can dip them in sanding sugar (colored sugars look awesome on uncolored dough!) or roll the edges in sprinkles. Place them at least 2″ apart on a baking sheet – they will puff up while baking!
  • Bake for 9 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Red and green swirl dough log with slices in front of it.

Tips for Making Slice-and-Bake Christmas Cookies

Can I freeze these?

Yes! This dough freezes well. After you make the dough log, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and put in a freezer bag in the freezer. Thaw fully before baking.

You can also freeze the cookies already baked!

Can I use something other than shortening in this recipe?

I have only made this recipe using shortening so I can’t recommend any swaps. The shortening keeps these extra moist and soft for longer, so I’m a fan of it for these!

I can’t get a good swirl design! Help!

Don’t stress the design! If the swirl doesn’t come together, you’ll still end up with a cool tie-dye effect.

If any kind of design is daunting, you can make the dough all one color – or skip the color altogether and dip the slices in colored sanding sugar before baking.

Green and red swirl cookies spread out on a surface and in a bowl.

More Christmas Cookie Ideas

Making Christmas cookies doesn’t have to be a cumbersome process! In addition to these slice and bake cookies, Chocolate Hazelnut Slice-and-Bake Cookies are a great one to have ready in the freezer!

Other easy cookies I love include Soft & Chewy Chocolate Cookies, Chocolate Orange Crinkle Cookies, and Ginger Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Recipe for the Best Slice and Bake Christmas Cookies

The Best Slice-and-Bake Christmas Cookies

The Best Slice-and-Bake Christmas Cookies

Yield: 2 Dozen
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 9 minutes
Chilling Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 29 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon milk
  • Food coloring and/or sanding sugar, if desired

Instructions

  1. In a stand mixer, beat together the shortening, sugar, eggs, vanilla and almond extract until very fluffy.
  2. Add in the flour, baking powder, and salt and mix until combined. Add in milk and mix until a dough ball forms.
  3. If desired, divide the dough and color by adding food coloring and kneading until the color is even.
  4. Form into a log about 12" long. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours.
  5. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment.
  6. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and slice into 1/2" rounds. Dip in sanding sugar if desired. Place 2" apart on a baking sheet.
  7. Bake for 9 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Green and red swirl cookies spread out on a surface and in a bowl.

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