Santa’s Cookies

Santa’s cookies are fun, festive and loaded with sprinkles and M&M’s. Perfect for Santa’s plate, holiday parties, or gift giving!

It is estimated that Santa Claus eats over 300 million cookies every Christmas Eve!! There’s a range that are left out for Santa from store-bought Oreos to classic chocolate chip cookies to traditional Christmas cookies! And today we are sharing our favorite.

Santa cookies on a plate

Cookies for Santa

I have always set out cookies and milk and some carrots (for the reindeer) every Christmas Eve since I was a little girl. And now, I carry on this beloved tradition with my own children! It’s a tradition I love, but I wondered how this tradition came to be. 

Leaving cookies and milk for Santa Claus started back in the 1930s, during the Great Depression, when most of America was suffering from economic hardship. Parents used the tradition to try and teach their children that it was important to give to others and have gratitude for the things they might receive. 

I love the origin of Santa’s cookies and can’t wait to make these festive cookies for Santa and of course all our different holiday parties!


Cookie dough mixed up and ready to roll into Santa's cookies.

How to Make Santa Cookies

Today’s recipe is pretty straightforward. It doesn’t require dough chilling or any special ingredients.  And you can easily add things like white chocolate, milk chocolate or semisweet chocolate chips to them as well.

However, it does require more brown sugar which makes them extra thick, soft and chewy. Oh, and some quality vanilla extract. ALWAYS use quality vanilla. Mexican vanilla or Madagascar vanilla are great options. If you have the option between one of these and the simple imitation vanilla definitely go for the real stuff!

Let’s bake! 

First, begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees. Next, cream your butter for one minute and then add your sugars and mix for 2 minutes. Then, add the egg and vanilla!

Next, mix in the dry ingredients until combined. Then fold in the M&M’s and sprinkles! 

Once the dough is ready to go, use a standard size cookie scoop to portion the dough out. I prefer a smooth surface on these particular cookies, so I opted to roll them in my hands before placing them on the cookie sheets.

If you want to make these extra fancy for Santa, reserve some of the M&M’s and sprinkles to add on top of each ball of dough. That’s usually what I do for pictures.

Finally, bake for 10-12 minutes!

Santa's cookies rolled, garnished and dropped onto a lined sheet pan, ready to be baked.

Storing Santa’s Cookies + More Tips

I love to make a large batch of these cookies and FREEZE the dough for later! Roll the dough out and freeze the cookie dough balls on a large cookie sheet. Once frozen, transfer to a freezer-safe Ziploc bag. Then when you want fresh, festive cookies, pull out the frozen dough balls and bake as usual! 

If they’re already made, we STORE these in an airtight container on the counter for up to 4 days.

Other ways to make it festive? 

  • Add in food coloring.
  • Make one giant cookie for Santa.
  • Make them in the shape of Christmas trees or snowflakes etc.
  • You can even add a Herhsey’s KISS on the top after it’s been baked.

Cookies for Santa on white plate

Santa’s cookies are a hit every year. They’re loved by kids and adults alike. How could they not be?! They taste amazing AND look adorable!



A close up shot of a plate full of Santa's cookies.

Santa's Cookies Recipe

Santa's cookies are fun, festive and loaded with sprinkles and M&M's. Perfect for Santa's plate, holiday parties, or gift giving!
5 from 4 votes
Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 25 mins
Servings: 24 cookies
Calories: 177kcal
Print Recipe


  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter - ( 1 ½ sticks) softened
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar - packed
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp coarse kosher sea salt
  • 1 cup M&Ms
  • 1/4 cup festive sprinkles


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer, cream the butter on medium speed for 1 minute. Add the sugars, mix on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla, mix until combined.
  • In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
  • With mixing speed on low, gradually add the dry ingredients until a few streaks remain. Fold in M&M's and sprinkles with a spatula.
  • Using a standard size cookie scoop, portion dough and roll into smooth balls. Place on prepared cookie sheet.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges turn golden brown. Remove from the oven and let rest on the sheet for 3 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.


-If you want a prettier appearance, reserve 2 tbsp. of M&M's for the top as well as 1 tbsp. sprinkles. Press into the the balls of cookie dough after they are scooped/rolled.


Serving: 24g | Calories: 177kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 23mg | Sodium: 112mg | Potassium: 25mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 207IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 1mg

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  1. I love how festive looking these cookies are! Making some with my kids this holiday season! Thanks for sharing!

  2. 5 stars
    Thank you so much for sharing this amazing santa’s cookies recipe! Will surely have this again! It’s really easy to make and it tasted so delicious! Highly recommended!