Healthy Christmas Cookies: 5 Christmas Cookie Recipes

Healthy Christmas cookies

What makes healthy Christmas cookies? The answer might just be in the eye of the beholder. But one thing is for sure: you’ll likely eat your fair share this season. We all will.

There are a ton of healthy-ish ways to make cookies this year. Low-sugar and low-fat options abound, as do recipes that feature fruit, nuts, and other seasonal specialties. Remember that cookies will never really be a “health” food, no matter how hard you believe it. But hey, it’s the holidays! And it’s the holidays in a pandemic…

The definition of “healthy” takes on a whole new meaning during the holidays. So, whether you like to define it as “vegan,” “gluten-free,” or “low-sugar,” or swap peanut butter for tahini, we’ve got you covered.

Indulge yourself with some of these healthier Christmas cookie recipes. Surely Santa will appreciate it, too.

5 Healthy Christmas Cookie Recipes

1. Gluten-Free Ginger Cookies

My mom loves ginger cookies, and they were a staple in my house growing up. She still starts baking them by the oven-load in October, and freezes them for distribution starting in December. It’s quite the operation, and if you play your cards right, you can catch a taste by Halloween.

Ginger, of course, isn’t for everybody. But it is very healthy; it may help with immune strength, but a cookie isn’t the best source!

But if you like that little hint of spice to dunk in your dairy-free, sugar-free eggnog, maybe give these vegan treats a try.

Prep time: 45 minutes
Total time: 57 minutes
Yields: 15 cookies


  • 1/2 cup vegan butter, softened
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup organic cane sugar
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp molasses
  • 3 tbsp chickpea brine (from canned chickpeas)
  • 1/4 tsp coarse sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1-2/3 cups gluten-free flour
  • 2/3 cup almond flour


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F and set aside two parchment-lined baking sheets.
  2. Mix 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 2 tbsp organic cane sugar in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. Place butter in a large mixing bowl and beat until smooth, about one minute.
  4. Add sugar and mix with a blender at medium speed until fluffy and light, about one minute. Add molasses and chickpea brine and continue mixing, scraping down sides as needed.
  5. Add remaining cinnamon, baking powder, ginger, salt, and nutmeg, and blend to combine. Then add gluten-free flour, almond flour, and cornstarch, mixing on low speed until the ingredients are combined. Dough should be thick and difficult to mix. Add more flour and/or cornstarch to thicken, if necessary.
  6. Transfer dough to refrigerator and chill for 30 minutes.
  7. Measure 1-1/2 tablespoons of dough and gently roll into a ball. Repeat.
  8. Carefully roll in the cinnamon-sugar topping and arrange on the parchment-lined baking sheets. Press down gently with the palm of your hand until they reach desired thickness.
  9. Bake for 10 to 11 minutes or until the cookies appear fluffy and the edges are slightly cracked.
  10. Cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

2. Chocolate Oatmeal Crunch Cookies

If you want some fiber and omega-3s in your holiday snacking protocol, these cookies will fit nicely. Fiber-rich oats and walnuts make it a lot easier to overlook the sugar in these cookies, but at least fiber fills you up so you’ll eat fewer…

Prep time: 25 minutes
Total time: 55 minutes
Yields: 39 cookies


  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/4 cup white rice flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup potato starch
  • 1 cup quick oats (gluten-free if desired)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 large free-range egg
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts


  1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
  2. Combine flours, starches, oats, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl, and whisk.
  3. Add granulated sugar, brown sugar, and butter to a large bowl and beat with a mixer at medium speed until blended well. Beat in vanilla and egg. Gradually add flour mixture, beating at low speed, until blended. Fold in walnuts and chocolate chips.
  4. Measure out level tablespoons of dough and place two inches apart on the baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, until edges begin to brown.
  5. Cool for five minutes in pan before moving to wire racks for complete cooling.

3. Dunkable Candy Cane Biscotti

The afternoon tea or coffee is a moment of bliss over the holidays. Siting there for a moment to take it all in could only be made better by one thing: candy cane biscotti to dunk. This recipe uses nutrient-rich avocado and whole-grain pastry flour to give it a slightly better nutrient profile than traditionally made options.

Prep time: 1 hour
Total time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Yields: 20 pieces


  • 1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1/8 tsp coarse sea salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 small avocado, mashed (3 tbsp)
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 free-range egg
  • 3/4 cup white chocolate chips
  • 12 mini candy canes (or 6 to 8 large), crushed 


  1. Preheat oven to 325° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Add the whole-wheat pastry flour, salt, and baking powder to a small bowl and mix together. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mash avocado with a fork. Add sugar and beat with a hand mixer until lightly fluffy.
  4. Add vanilla extract and the egg and to the avocado mixture and beat well, until combined.
  5. Slowly stir the dry mixture into the avocado mixture until moist.
  6. Remove and roll dough into a log 1/2-inch tall and about 12-inches long.
  7. Place log on parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, until light brown and a slight crust has formed.
  8. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for five minutes.
  9. Cut 1/2-inch diagonal slices.
  10. Lay it back on the tray and bake for another 12 to 15 minutes, flipping halfway through. It should be dry and crispy when finished.
  11. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack.
  12. While biscotti cools, place the white chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for about one minute, stirring every 20 seconds, until melted.
  13. Unwrap candy canes and place in a Ziploc bag. Beat with a rolling pin until broken into small pieces.
  14. When biscotti has cooled, dip one at a time in white chocolate, spreading evenly over half the cookie.
  15. Sprinkle candy cane pieces over it.

4. No-Bake Date Cookies

These little balls feature dates and pecans to help you bring a unique twist to your holidays. They are super easy to make and, as far as holiday snacks go, pretty healthy. They offer a decent supply of fiber and are a good alternative to more traditional holiday treats.


  • 2 cups bran flakes cereal
  • 1/2 cup pecans, toasted
  • 3/4 cup whole pitted dates
  • 2 tbsp cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp brandy
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped nuts


  1. Add cereal, dates, and pecans into a food processor and blend until finely chopped. Add honey, cream cheese, and brandy, pulsing until a firm dough forms.
  2. Scoop out one tablespoon of dough and roll into a ball. Roll through chopped nuts and press into a cookie. Then transfer to wax paper. Repeat with remaining dough.
  3. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving or storing.

5. Dairy-Free Buckeye Rounds

Buckeyes are delicious. And when they’re made with natural peanut butter, oats, and dates, they’re mighty healthy, too. With just enough chocolate to satisfy a craving, these filling holiday snacks can provide a nice serving of healthy fats, a bit of fiber, and some satiety to help you through the holidays—while squished into a cookie.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes
Yields: 12 buckeyes


  • 5 Medjool dates
  • 2 tbsp old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup organic roasted peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 tbsp coconut oil


  1. Pulse dates in a food processor until they’re finely chopped and form a ball. Add oats and pulse until combined.
  2. Add peanut butter, processing until combined. If the mixture appears too oily, add some more oats (about 1 tbsp at a time). Scoop dough by the tablespoon and roll into balls and squish into cookies. Place on wax paper and put in freezer until firm (a few hours).
  3. Just before removing balls from the freezer, combine chocolate chips and melt in the microwave.
  4. Dip balls into melted chocolate, return to wax paper, and put back in the freezer. Remove when the chocolate is hard.

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