Cherry Christmas Cookies

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Perfect for the holidays, these cookies are crisp, buttery, and have a sweet maraschino cherry in the center.

round cookies with cherry in center on baking sheet.

Cherry Christmas Cookies

A crisp buttery cookie with a sweet maraschino cherry in the center. This simple holiday cookie is a delicious choice for Christmas.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Serving Size 36 cookies

Equipment

  • Baking Sheet
  • Hand mixer or stand mixer

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 egg yolks
  • cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • extra sugar for rolling
  • 36 maraschino cherries halves 1 jar is enough if you're cutting them in half, otherwise you might need 2

Instructions 

  • Prep. Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare 3 baking sheets. You do not need parchment or to grease the baking sheets, but parchment makes clean-up easier.
  • Beat wet ingredients and sugar. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. This will take at least 3 minutes using a mixer on medium speed. Add the egg yolk and vanilla. Beat 1 minute more.
    creamed butter and sugar.
  • Add dry ingredients. Combine the salt and flour in a separate mixing bowl. Add to the butter mixture 1 cup at a time, mixing on low until just combined. The dough should be soft and smooth and easily hold a ball.
    finished dough in mixing bowl.
  • Shape and assemble. Roll into 1-inch balls and roll each ball in additional sugar. Place 2 inches apart on baking sheets. (They will spread.) Using your thumb or the end of a wooden spoon, press an indentation into each ball and place a cherry on top.
    balls of dough on parchment paper
  • Bake. Bake at 350° for 13-14 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.
    12 cookies on cooling rack.

Notes

Some people prefer to cut the cherries in half, but we like them whole.  Either way is fine.
Make sure to let the cookies bake until the bottoms are golden brown. 
finished cookies on cooling rack.

❤️ Why you’ll love this recipe

  • Easy to make. You’ll love how simple these cookies are to make. No chilling, no decorating, no fuss
  • Delicious. Even though the dough is simple, it’s the perfect balance of crisp, sweet, and buttery.
  • Festive. They look great on a mixed tray of Christmas cookies for Santa.

This is an overview of the ingredients. You’ll find the full measurements and instructions in the printable recipe at the bottom of the page.

ingredients in white bowls on counter.

You’ll need the following for these easy Christmas cookies:

  • unsalted butter 
  • granulated sugar
  • vanilla extract
  • egg yolks
  • all-purpose flour
  • salt
  • Baking Sheets
  • Hand mixer or stand mixer

🍴Instructions

Step One: wet ingredients

creamed butter and sugar.

Preheat your oven to 350°. Get 3 baking sheets ready. You don’t need to use parchment paper or grease the baking sheets, but it will make clean-up easier if you do.

Cream the butter and sugar together until they are light and fluffy. This will take at least 3 minutes using a mixer on medium speed. Add the egg yolk and vanilla. Beat 1 minute more.

Step Two: dry ingredients

finished dough in mixing bowl.

In a separate bowl, mix together the salt and flour. Add 1 cup of butter at a time to the mixture, mixing until just combined.

Step three: Roll into balls

balls of dough on parchment paper

Make the cookies into balls and then roll them in sugar. Place them on baking sheets 2 inches apart from each other. (The cookies will spread.) Then use your thumb or a wooden spoon to make an indentation in each ball and place a cherry on top.

Step Four: bake

12 cookies on cooling rack.

Bake the cookies at 350° for 13-14 minutes or until they are lightly browned. Remove them from the oven and let them cool on wire racks.

🥫 Storage instructions

Buttery cookies like these will stay fresh for up to a week, but the cherry shortens their lifespan. Place them in an airtight container and eat within 3 days.

You can also freeze them fully baked and cooled for up to a month.

The dough freezes very well for 3 months if you want to make it ahead of time, then defrost it and shape them.

🔍 FAQs

Do I need a hand mixer or stand mixer to make these cookies?

Yes, it’s pretty hard to cream butter and sugar by hand. But a hand mixer works perfectly fine.

What type of sugar should I use to roll the cookies in?

Plain old granulated white.

👩🏻‍🍳 Expert tips

  • Be sure to cream the butter and sugar together until they are light and fluffy. This will take at least 3 minutes using a mixer on medium speed.
  • Do not underbake! The edges and bottoms of the cookies should be golden brown. If they’re still pale, the cookie will be too soft and flavorless.
  • For easier cleanup, line the baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.

📘 Related Recipes

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2 Comments

  1. I made these and everyone in the family loves them; they are delicious and I’m keeping this recipe. Thank you.

  2. I made this in 2020 along with fudge and many other Christmas treats. Found out a few days later we had contracted covid. I did try these, why not, I was already sick. They melted in my mouth, so delicious!! I had to throw away everything that year. Last year didn’t make anything but this year making a few things for neighbors and close friends. Thought I had lost this recipe. Thankfully I remembered the cherries. So excited to share these with others. Thank you!!!