When the holiday season sets in, I love settling down in front of some Christmas movies from the tried-and-true classics and the comedies to the popular animated ones like my favorite, How The Grinch Stole Christmas. That’s the inspiration behind these Grinch Christmas cookies.
So many of the top Christmas tales revolve around the evolution of compassion during the holidays but few are as explicit as Dr. Seuss’ tale in which the Grinch’s heart grew three sizes. The animation of his growing bright red heart against the backdrop of his bright green fur can’t help but stick in your head!
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These easy Grinch cookies channel that movie so magically with their glassy red heart candy center.
There are lots of classic Christmas cookies that you can make from chocolate chip to gingerbread and oatmeal raisin to peanut butter blossoms. But the next time you’re looking for an easy recipe for a cookie that will take everyone back to childhood (and that’s incredibly tasty, too) try these cute Grinch cookies.
Common Questions About Christmas Cookies
How do you decorate Grinch Christmas Cookies?
Grinch Christmas cookies are already ornate with their candy-filled heart center, but pressing candy hearts, sprinkles, or other edible ornamentation into the dough when they come out of the oven will spruce them up even more.
What is America’s favorite cookie?
Chocolate chip cookies are the top pick in the U.S. overall while peanut butter blossoms top the list of favorite Christmas cookies, specifically. We agree that both of those delicious cookies are worthy of their titles, but these adorable cookies may make their way toward the top of your holiday season favorites.
What is the oldest Christmas cookie?
Gingerbread cookies are said to be the oldest Christmas cookies, hailing back to Queen Elizabeth I in England who loved having the gingerbread shaped into the courtiers that she most preferred.
Making Grinch Christmas Cookies Ahead of Time
You can store the dough in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before baking or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Don’t miss these other fun Grinch-inspired recipes
These cookies can be stored in an airtight container (in a single layer, or with parchment paper or wax paper between layers) for up to 3 days. Ensure that they are in a cool, dry place.
Refrigerator: It is not necessary to refrigerate these cookies — they can remain at room temperature. Store in an airtight container or freezer bag.
Freezing: While you can freeze cookie dough before baking for up to 3 months, it is not recommended to freeze these cookies once baked.
Tips For The Best Grinch Christmas Cookies
- Cooling – To ensure that the candy center stays intact, allow the cookies to completely cool — do not transfer to a wire rack. Trying to remove the cookies from the cookie sheet too soon can result in the candy pulling away from the cookie.
- Color – You can leave the dough on these cookies its regular color, but if you want to kick up the Grinchiness, make green cookies with a little bit of food coloring. Just a few drops of food color will bring out that bright green color.
- All-purpose flour
- Baking powder
- Kosher salt
- Unsalted butter
- Granulated sugar
- Vanilla extract
- Almond extract
- Green gel food color
- Cherry-flavored Jolly Ranchers (or similar candy melts)
Kitchen Supplies You’ll Need
How to Make Grinch Christmas Cookies
- Combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, and salt) in a small bowl.
- Whisk them together to ensure that all ingredients are fully incorporated.
- Place the butter and sugar in a large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or use a hand mixer).
- Cream butter and sugar — scrape the bowl while mixing to ensure all ingredients are combined. The mixture should be light and fluffy.
- Pour the dry ingredients into the bowl with the wet ingredients.
- Mix the two together on low speed until all dry ingredients are moist. Be careful not to over-mix to avoid the cookies becoming too dense or crumbly.
- Place the dough on a sheet of plastic wrap and form it into a flat disk.
- Wrap the disk tightly with the plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least two hours.
- After the dough has chilled, place it on a lightly floured surface.
Rolling and Cutting the Dough
- Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out.
- Use the circle cutter to cut the cookies.
- Then, use the smaller heart-shaped cutter to create a heart inside the circle, removing the heart-shaped dough from the cookie.
- Place the circle-shaped cookies on the baking sheet prepared with parchment paper.
- If needed, roll the cookie dough again to cut more cookies until all, or most, of the dough has been used.
- While the oven heats, place the baking sheet of cookies into the refrigerator to chill.
- Place unwrapped Jolly Rancher candies in a ziploc bag that is sealed.
- Using a rolling pin or meat mallet, smash the candies into tiny pieces. Try to ensure that the smashed pieces are close to uniform in size.
- Remove the cookie sheets from the refrigerator and fill the heart of each cookie with the crushed Jolly Ranchers. Avoid getting the candy in the dough.
- Bake cookies until they are set — edges should be slightly brown.
- Allow the cookies to come to room temperature. Avoid removing them from the baking sheet until they are completely cooled.
What to Serve With Grinch Christmas Cookies
These cookies are so fun, they hardly need any accompaniments at all. But if you’re looking to serve them with something, here are some ideas.
- Coffee – Coffee and cookies are a natural pairing, and these cute cookies will complement any cup of coffee.
- Tea – Grab a fruit-infused black tea or a fruity herbal blend to go with these.
- Jam – Spread strawberry preserves or your favorite flavored jam on these. Really dress it up with a dollop of peanut butter, too.
- Ice cream – These are a great garnish for a bowl of ice cream, especially if you use a mint or pistachio flavor to channel the holiday color scheme.
- Cocktails and mocktails – Serve these with cocktails that match the flavors and the colors of the season. Try a cosmopolitan or a green apple martini — for little ones, try mixing up some Shirley Temples.
Why You Should Make This Recipe
- Cute – These adorable Grinch cookies are show-stoppers and are perfect for any festive holiday event.
- Easy – While the cookies may look like they took a ton of time, this Grinch cookie recipe is actually fairly simple to make. It’s an easy recipe with fairly little hands-on prep time.
- Convenient – All of the ingredients are easy to source at your local store if you don’t already have them on hand.
- Portable – You can just as easily serve these at your holiday get-together at home (or to munch on during family movie night) as you can throw them on cookie platters to take to holiday parties or a cookie exchange.
Variations and Add-ins
- Sprinkles – Press just a few sprinkles into the cookie dough for a festive flair. If you want to get extra fancy, get some red heart sprinkles.
- Green food coloring – Use green (or another fun color) gel food coloring in the cookie dough, either throughout all of it, or swirled throughout.
- Candy hearts – Just after taking the cookies out of the oven, press a few candy hearts into each cookie.
- Confectioner’s sugar – After baking, sprinkle the cookies with just a bit of confectioner’s sugar.
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If you love this Grinch cookie recipe, you’re going to love these other Christmas cookies too. Please click each link below to find the easy, printable recipe!
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Grinch Christmas Cookies
- 1 ⅔ cup all-purpose flour 209 grams
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup butter unsalted – room temperature (113 grams)
- ½ cup granulated sugar 100 grams
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- 5-6 drops green gel food color
- 10-15 cherry flavored jolly ranchers
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together with a stand or hand mixer until light and fluffy.
- Scrape down the bowl and add the egg, vanilla, and almond extracts and the green food color and beat again until fluffy and well combined.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until just combined. Do not over-mix.
- Turn the dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap and shape it into a flat disk. Wrap the dough tightly in the plastic wrap and chill for at least two hours.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- Roll out the chilled dough on a flat, lightly floured surface to ¼ inch thickness.
- Use a 3-inch circle cutter to cut the cookies.
- Use a 1-inch heart-shaped cutter to cut a heart inside the circle. Remove the heart dough from the circle and transfer the circle to the parchment-lined baking sheets. Reroll the cookie dough as needed until it is all used. If the dough gets too soft to roll out, place it back in the refrigerator for 3-5 minutes. Place the baking sheets with the cut-out cookie dough in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes while the oven preheats.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Unwrap the jolly rancher candy and place them in a small resealable bag. Use a rolling pin or meat mallet to smash the candies into small pieces.
- Once the oven has preheated, remove the baking sheets from the refrigerator. Fill the heart cut-out with the crushed jolly ranchers being mindful not to get any candy on the dough.
- Bake for 12-14 minutes or until the cookies are set. Allow the cookies to cool completely on the baking sheets before serving.
- Store the cookies in an airtight container in a single layer in a cool, dry place for up to three days. If it is not possible to store the cookies in a single layer, place a layer of parchment paper between the layers. This will help stop the cookies from sticking together.
- Use gel food color in the dough, liquid food color will add more moisture making it difficult to roll and cut. Liquid food color is also not as vibrant as a gel food color.
- You can leave out the almond extract if desired, although the almond flavor pairs very well with the cherry in the jolly ranchers.
- The number of jolly ranchers needed will vary based on the size of the heart-shaped cutter used to make the cut-out.
- Crush the jolly ranchers right before you fill the cookie cut-out. If you crush them too early they will get sticky and stick to the bag and each other and be difficult to use.
- Do not skip chilling the cut-out dough on the baking sheets. Chilling the dough again after it has been cut will help prevent it from spreading.
- You can save the heart-shaped cookie dough to bake. Place them on a separate baking sheet and bake them for 6-8 minutes. Do not bake them on the same sheet as the round cookies as they will burn if left in the oven for 12-14 minutes.
- Do not try to remove the cookies from the baking sheet while still warm. The jolly ranchers need to set completely otherwise they will stick to the parchment and pull away from the cookie.
- The cookie dough can be made ahead of time and refrigerated for up to three days tightly wrapped in plastic wrap.
Nutritional information for the recipe is provided as a courtesy and is approximate. Please double-check with your own dietary calculator for the best accuracy. We at Taste of the Frontier cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site. Erythritol carbs are not included in carb counts as it has been shown not to impact blood sugar. Net carbs are the total carbs minus fiber.