These festive vegan Christmas cookies are a must-have for the holiday season. With a soft, chewy texture and colorful Christmas-themed candies, they are a sweet treat that both kids and adults will love. Have them as a snack, save them for after dinner, or wrap them as a gift– just don’t forget to leave some next to the chimney for Santa!
For more colorful holiday-themed vegan cookies that will have your guests running back for more, be sure to try my vegan Halloween cookies, vegan funfetti cookies, and vegan Snickerdoodles cookies. Prefer the classics? Make sure to try my vegan chocolate chip cookies!
❤️ Why you’ll love it
This easy, one-bowl vegan Christmas cookie recipe is fun, easy, and absolutely delicious. Using basic pantry staples and just a few key pieces of equipment, you will no doubt impress guests with these flavorful and colorful holiday cookies. Trust me, I have tested it with my family and friends, and they tell me they are the best vegan Christmas cookies they have ever tried!
This recipe uses four different types of candies, making it a fun one to make with the kids in preparation for Santa’s arrival. The base recipe is also highly versatile, so you can easily customize it with your favorite add-ins and decorations to make them even more delicious! See my variations section below for a few ideas.
Preparing for a big holiday party? These cookies are very freezer-friendly, so you can make a big batch in advance and have them all ready for the dessert table on the big day!
🧾 Key ingredients
Decorations– M&Ms are not always vegan-friendly, opt for these peppermint chocolate candies instead. It is also vital to look for vegan chocolate chips such as Enjoy Life or Callebaut. I like to use Christmas-themed colors and designs for my sprinkles and sugar pearls, but the choice is up to you!
Vanilla extract and cinnamon – The vanilla extract and cinnamon help enhance the flavor of the cookies. The cinnamon is optional. However, I strongly recommend it for the best taste!
Apple sauce – This is a vegan recipe, so the applesauce acts as a vegan egg substitute. It is important to use unsweetened applesauce, as the sweetened version will cause the cookies to be too sweet.
Sugar – A mix of white granulated sugar and dark brown sugar helps to sweeten the batter. I have also tested this recipe using white cane sugar and turbinado sugar, and the cookies were just as delicious!
Flour – I use all-purpose flour in this recipe. However, I have also tested it using a gluten-free flour blend and found it an acceptable substitute for gluten-free cookies.
🛒 You can find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Electric hand mixer – It helps to mix the ingredients faster and more evenly versus mixing by hand. You can also use a stand mixer.
Silicone baking sheet – It helps to distribute the heat more evenly and makes cleaning up easy. If you do not have silicone baking mats, parchment paper works just as well.
Ice cream scoop – For perfect, evenly-sized cookies, use an ice cream or cookie scoop to scoop the dough balls.
Wooden spatula – A spatula can help gently fold the candies into the batter without the risk of overmixing. I recommend a hand-crafted olive wooden spatula from Forest Decor.
Making vegan Christmas cookies
In a large mixing bowl, combine the oil, brown and white sugar, applesauce, and vanilla extract. Use an electric hand mixer to help beat the ingredients on low speed for two minutes or until well-emulsified.
Stir in the dry ingredients (flour, cinnamon, salt, baking soda) until they are well combined with the other ingredients. The mixture will become very thick but will still be soft. If it is too stiff, add 1-2 tablespoons of dairy-free milk to loosen it up.
Gently fold in the sprinkles, M&Ms, and sugar pearls using a spatula. Cover the bowl and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to prevent the dough from spreading.
Preheat the oven to 375°F/190C. Line a baking tray with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Scoop two-teaspoon increments of them and roll them into balls. Place the cookie dough balls on the lined baking tray, leaving 2-3 inches of space between them.
If you prefer pillowy, soft cookies, proceed to the next step. If you want chewy, thin cookies, use a small glass to flatten the cookie dough balls until they are at most one inch thick.
Place the tray in the oven and bake for 8-12 minutes until they are barely golden brown around the edges. In my oven (no fan), the cookies take 12 minutes to bake until they are the perfect color. However, the baking time can vary depending on the oven model.
Remove the cookies from the oven and allow them to cool on the baking tray for at least 10 minutes. Once cooled, move them to a cooling rack. The cookies will slightly collapse as they continue to cool.
💡 Expert tip
Always use a digital scale when measuring the ingredients. A scale will provide the most accurate and consistent measurements and results versus estimating by eye with a hand scoop. The slightest variations in the ingredient quantities can lead to significant variations in the texture, taste, and appearance of the cookies!
There are countless ways to customize these vegan Christmas cookies. Add some additional crunch by adding chopped walnuts, almonds, pistachios, or pecans.
For a different flavor profile, swap out the vanilla extract for lemon, orange, or peppermint extract. Or, add cocoa powder to the batter to make a chocolate base cookie.
Instead of cinnamon, you can use a pumpkin spice blend for a warm, festive flavor profile.
You can add fresh, frozen, or dried cranberries. You can even dust them with powdered sugar just before serving them to look like snow! The possibilities are endless!
❄️ Storing tips
To store: To keep the cookies fresher for longer, store them in an airtight container or a sealable plastic bag. They will last at room temperature for up to two days. After two days, it is best to move them to the refrigerator.
To freeze: Allow the cookies to cool completely to room temperature. Once cooled, place them in an airtight container or sealable freezer-safe bag and move them to the freezer. Thaw at room temperature.
Chilling the dough helps prevent the dough from spreading, but it is not 100% necessary. I have tested this recipe with non-chilled dough, refrigerated dough, and dough chilled for an extended time and did not notice a significant difference between each method.
I do not recommend vegan butter as the results vary significantly depending on the brand. Instead, I recommend using sunflower or liquid refined coconut oil as a substitute.
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Vegan Christmas Cookies
- ½ cup Vegetable oil I used sunflower
- ¾ cup Dark brown sugar
- ½ cup Granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup Apple sauce unsweetened
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
- ½ tsp Cinnamon optional, but recommended
- 2+½ cups All-purpose flour or GF flour blend
- 1 tsp Baking soda
- ½ tsp Salt
- ¼ cup Dark chocolate chips
- ¼ cup White chocolate chips
- ½ cup Vegan M&Ms
- 2 Tbsp Mini edible sugar pearls
- 2 Tbsp Vegan Christmas sprinkles
- In a large bowl, combine oil, sugars, apple sauce, and vanilla. Use a hand mixer to beat together on low speed for 2 minutes until well emulsified.
- Stir in the flour, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda until completely incorporated. The mixture should be very thick but still soft. If too stiff, add 1-2 Tablespoons of non-dairy milk.
- Fold in the sprinkles, M&Ms, and pearls.
- Cover and allow to chill for at least 30 minutes to prevent spreading.
- Preheat oven to 375°F/190C. Line baking sheets with parchment.
- Scoop 2 Tbsp amounts of dough. Roll into balls and place 2-3 inches apart on a lined baking sheet.
- If you want pillowy, soft cookies, don’t flatten them. If you want chewy, thinner ones, flatten them with a small glass, at most 1 inch thick.
- Bake for 8-12 minutes until just barely golden brown around the edges. I need 12 minutes in my non-fan oven to get them perfect.
- Remove from the oven and cool them on the baking sheet for at least 10 minutes before moving to a cooling rack. Cookies will puff up more in the oven and collapse slightly as they cool.