This Is Our Most Popular Holiday Cookie Recipe of All Time

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What is the best Christmas cookie recipe? Well, these melt-in-your-mouth cookies are a delicious contender. (And a fab addition to a holiday cookie platter!)

All cookies make us happy, but these peppermint meltaways put us over the moon. These tasty morsels burst with peppermint flavor—perfect for the holiday season. And their super-soft texture literally melts in your mouth. If your sweet tooth is already demanding to be satisfied—we know ours certainly is!—follow along and learn how to make this seasonal treat.

For more ideas, check out our best Christmas cookies.

How to Make Peppermint Meltaways

This festive recipe was submitted to the Taste of Home Test Kitchen by Denise Wheeler, and over 200 readers have given it a 5-star rating.

Yield: About 2-1/2 dozen cookies

Ingredients

For the cookies:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch

For the frosting:

  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons 2% milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 2 to 3 drops red food coloring, optional
  • 1-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 cup crushed peppermint candies

Editor’s Tip: The recipe calls for mint and candy canes, but you can vary the flavor to suit any craving. Swap out the peppermint extract for vanilla or almond, and you’ve got a backpocket shortbread.

Tools You’ll Need

  • Hand Mixer: This recipe requires creaming butter twice—which is not fun to do by hand. We suggest letting a powerful appliance do the work. A KitchenAid hand mixer or stand mixer makes the job a breeze.
  • Spatula: Get ready to scrape down those sides! A trusty spatula is a kitchen staple.
  • Candy Canes: Not in the mood to crush your own candy canes? You can buy pre-crushed morsels at your local store.

Directions

Step 1: Cream the Wet Ingredients

Start by creaming together the butter and confectioners’ sugar until light and fluffy. Then, beat in the peppermint extract.

Editor’s tip: Not sure what else to do with that extract? Use it in these peppermint recipes).

Step 2: Mix the Dry Ingredients

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and cornstarch.

Editor’s Tip: Cornstarch in cookies? Yep! It’s what gives these shortbread cookies their lovely, tender crumb. Don’t skip it!

Step 3: Combine and Cover

Beat the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and combine until you reach a soft, smooth dough. Don’t over-mix, though, or you’ll end up with tough cookies. Refrigerate the dough, covered, for 30 minutes or until it’s firm enough to shape.

Editor’s Tip: 30 minutes is the minimum amount of time your dough should chill. Leave it in the fridge even longer for a more peppermint-infused flavor. (Here’s why chilling cookie dough is so important).

Step 4: Shape and Bake

Once your dough has chilled, preheat the oven to 350°F. Shape the dough into 1-inch balls, place them 2-inches apart on ungreased baking sheets, and bake for 9-11 minutes. You’ll know the cookies are done when the bottoms are light brown. Remove from the pans onto wire racks, then let cool completely.

Step 5: Make the Frosting

While the cookies are cooling, beat the butter in a small bowl until it’s creamy. Add in the milk, extract and, if desired, food coloring. Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar until smooth.

Step 6: Decorate and Enjoy

To decorate, spread a small amount of frosting over each cookie, then sprinkle with crushed candies. Enjoy your peppermint meltaways with a cool glass of milk or a mug of hot cocoa. Store any extras in an airtight container. You can also freeze these cookies, preferably undecorated.

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Katie Bandurski
Katie is an Associate Editor for Taste of Home, specializing in writing and email newsletters. When she’s out of the office, you’ll find her exploring Wisconsin, trying out new vegetarian recipes and combing through antique shops.