Looking for an easy, simple cookie with festive charm? These Chewy M&M Christmas Cookies are brown-sugar-based cookies with green and red candies that contribute bursts of sweetness with chocolate centers that just melt in your mouth.
The outside is subtly crispy with a wonderfully soft and buttery interior. Plus, this easy Christmas cookie recipe requires just one bowl, no chilling time, and just 8 ingredients to execute. Festive cookie fun is less than 30 minutes away!
In this delicious Christmas cookie recipe, you will learn how to make a basic brown sugar cookie dough base and how to make sure your cookies look merry and bright! You’ll also learn my best tips for baking, storing, and even freezing the dough for these M&M cookies!
An added bonus to this recipe is that it requires only one bowl to mix up! As a busy mom and environmental scientist, One-Bowl baking is my favorite! Less clean-up means I’m saving on both water and time. Win, win!
Green tip: Speaking of cleanup, if you have a dishwasher-use it! Comparing dishwashing to handwashing, using an efficient dishwasher uses 1/6th the amount of water to get your dishes clean!
M&M Christmas Cookies Ingredients
Here’s everything you need:
- Unsalted butter. Unsalted butter allows you to control the amount of salt you are adding to your cookies. Make sure your butter is softened (not melted!) in order to get the perfect consistency in your dough.
- Light brown sugar. This cookie recipe uses just brown sugar to give it more of that caramelly flavor that you look for in a classic chocolate chip cookie recipe.
- Vanilla extract. For a little flavor boost.
- Egg. To bind your cookies together and work with the baking powder to give them a little lift.
- All-purpose flour. The base of your cookie dough.
- Salt. To enhance all of the other flavors.
- Baking soda. To help your cookies rise.
- M&M’s. Just the red and green ones! You can usually find a bag of red and green around Christmastime, but you can also buy a family size bag and sort them out.
Christmas Cookies with M&M’s Tips and Tricks
Set Yourself Up for Christmas Cookie Success
First things first! Start your process by pre-heating your oven to 350°F and lining your cookie sheet.
I also personally like to measure all of my ingredients ahead of time, so my baking process is easy and seamless. This also means it’s time to sort through your M&M’s.
Usually around the Holidays, you can find bags of M&M’s that contain just red and green (and sometimes white!) M&M’s. Otherwise, you can grab a family size bag of M&M’s and sort out the red and green ones!
I know it’s a little tedious but make it fun! Grab a friend or a little one and make it into a sorting race (my toddler absolutely loves this “game”!).
Green tip: Consider using reusable baking mats for a more sustainable option!
Start Your Cookie Dough by Creaming the Butter and Sugar Together
For soft and chewy cookies, it’s imperative that your butter is softened! Not melted and liquified, not cold and too solid.
The simplest way to soften butter is to take it out of the refrigerator about 30-45 minutes before you start making your cookie dough. This will allow the butter to rise to room temperature naturally (albeit slowly).
Of course, there are times where you don’t want to wait! But don’t worry, you can easily expedite the butter softening process.
One way to do so is in the microwave. Microwave your stick of butter on high for about 15 seconds. Poke it, and if your finger leaves an imprint, it’s ready!
If after 15 seconds it is still too solid, just continue to microwave in 5-second intervals until it’s softened. Perform your little poke test in between each time you heat it to check.
There are additional ways to soften the butter without the microwave. For 5 more simple butter softening techniques, check out this article on how to soften butter quickly.
Green tip: Look for organic and palm oil-free butter if you can. Buying organic means you are supporting farms that do not use damaging pesticides and fertilizers, and palm oil production is a huge driver behind deforestation.
The key to perfectly textured cookies is creaming the sugar with the butter to kickstart the dough. Creaming actually aerates the dough! As the sugar cuts into the butter, it adds little air bubbles that ultimately make for a softer and chewier cookie.
Use your hand mixer on high to whip the softened butter and brown sugar together until it’s smooth and airy. This usually takes about 2-3 minutes.
Add the Egg and Extract Next
With one-bowl baking recipes, the order in which you add your ingredients to the bowl will affect the consistency of your dough and overall success of your cookies.
After creaming your butter and sugar together, it’s time to add the wet ingredients!
Green tip: Look for pasture-raised eggs (over free-range or cage-free) to support agriculture that is less reliant on chemicals and fossil fuels.
Okay, it’s time for your obligatory reminder that baking best practice is cracking your egg into a separate dish rather than adding it directly to your mixing bowl.
Why? Well, this gives you the chance to extract any eggshells that may fall into your Christmas cookie dough. It also means you can salvage your dough in the off chance you have a bloody egg and save yourself from wasting all your progress and ingredients thus far.
If you’re like me and like to live your life on the edge, you can of course take a chance and crack it directly in your bowl. Just do so at your own risk. 😉
Now that we got that out of the way, grab that hand mixer again! Mix on low, just enough to integrate the egg. It’s best not to over-beat your dough once the egg is in there.
Time to Add Your Dry Ingredients
Time to complete your cookie dough! Add the flour, salt, and baking soda to the mix and grab your trusty hand mixer. Use the hand mixer to combine the dry ingredients into your dough, making sure no clumps are left behind.
Use a rubber spatula to scrape down any dry ingredients clinging to the sides of the bowl. Make sure everything is well-combined and no ingredients are left behind.
Fold Your M&M’s in Last
I like to conserve a handful of green and red M&M’s to place on top of the cookie dough once it’s shaped into cookies. This just ensures you get those fun festive Christmas colors in each and every cookie.
Pour the rest of the M&M’s into the cookie dough and use a rubber spatula to gently fold them in, until they are evenly distributed throughout the dough.
How to Bake Your Christmas M&M Cookies
These Christmas cookies with M&M’s are pretty much foolproof, even for beginner bakers! They hold their shape even without any chilling time, but you can still expect a little bit of spreading.
Keep this in mind as you line your cookies up on your lined baking sheet. But here’s the key to perfectly baking these cookies: always bake them on the top rack of your oven!
Heat rises, so the top rack of your oven is often hotter than the bottom rack. If you place one cookie sheet on the top and one on the bottom rack, there will be a noticeable difference in their baking time.
If both sheets don’t fit on the top rack simultaneously, I recommend baking the cookies in two separate rounds. This way, they can all bake on the top rack.
These cookies with M&M’s will bake beautifully in just 10-12 minutes at 350°F.
When the cookies are ready, the tops and edges are a little bit crispy to touch and will start to turn golden brown. It’s okay if the center is slightly underdone. The cookies will continue to bake as they cool.
If you want perfectly round cookies, do the “cookie scoot”! Grab a round cookie cutter that’s just a little bit larger than your cookie. While they’re still hot, scoot the cookie cutter around it, and you’ll be left with perfect circles!
How to Properly Store Christmas Cookies
At room temperature, these chewy chocolatey cookies will last for 5-7 days when stored in an airtight container. In the fridge, they will last up to three weeks.
Quick tip: Storing your cookies with a piece of bread will keep them softer and chewier. This is the perfect use for the end piece!
These cookies do tend to harden within the first few days of storing them. If you want a hack to keep them softer and chewier, store a piece of bread in the container with them. Moisture from the bread actually stops the cookies from drying out.
You can also freeze these cookies for up to a year, but I recommend freezing the unbaked dough instead. More on that below.
Green tip: Of the billions of tons of food wasted annually, 50% of food waste happens at home. Reduce your contribution to food waste by properly storing baked goods!
How to Freeze Cookie Dough
Freezing some or all of your Christmas cookie dough is a great way to have freshly baked cookies within minutes all year long.
Shape the dough into cookie dough balls and store them in a freezer safe storage bag (I use these reusable storage bags for a more sustainable option!). They can be stored this way for up to 12 months.
You can bake them straight out of the freezer! Give them 12 minutes and then check them. They may need an extra minute or two.
Christmas M&M Cookies Frequently Asked Questions
What is the original Christmas cookie?
Springerle are thought to be the original Christmas cookie, as they can be traced back as festive Christmas cookies for centuries in Germany and Austria.
They are sweet, anise-flavored crunchy cookies that are made from an egg, flour, and sugar base and are typically baked in simple shapes.
What cookies does Santa like to eat?
Most stories and depictions of Santa reaching for cookies on Christmas Eve suggest that Santa’s favorite cookies are chocolate chip cookies.
However, Santa doesn’t discriminate when it comes to cookies (or anything else for that matter)! These M&M cookies are a play on the classic chocolate chip cookie, but using colorful M&M’s instead of chocolate chips.
Want to sharpen your kitchen skills?
Why You Should Make these Chewy M&M Christmas Cookies
- They’re fun! The green and red M&M’s bring such festive cheer to every bite!
- They’re easy. This recipe requires mostly standard pantry items and requires only one bowl.
- They’re quick. This cookie dough doesn’t require any chilling time, with a total time of less than 30 minutes from start to finish.
M&M Christmas CookiesPRINT PIN RATE
- ½ cup softened unsalted butter (½ cup butter = 1 stick)
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon table salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup M&M's (green and red only)
- To a large mixing bowl, add softened butter and brown sugar. Use a hand mixer on high to cream together until light and smooth (about 2-3 minutes).
- Add the egg and vanilla extract and use your hand mixer on low to combine.
- Add the flour, salt, and baking soda and mix to combine, careful not to overbeat. Use a spatula to scrape any flour off the sides of the bowl and integrate it into your dough.
- Add the M&M's to your dough and use a rubber spatula to fold to combine. I like to keep a small handful of each out to place on top of the cookie dough once it's formed into cookies.
- Use a large cookie scoop or 2 heaping tablespoons of dough to form your cookies, adding them to the prepped baking sheets. Leave at least an inch of space in between each cookie for minor spreading. Add the conserved M&M's on top.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes on the top rack. It's okay if they are slightly underdone. Allow them to cool on the baking sheet so they continue to bake as they cool. If you want perfectly round cookies, use a round cookie cutter, scooting it around the cookie while they are still hot. Enjoy!
- You can freeze excess cookie dough before baking it to give you fresh baked cookies every time when the craving hits! Just bake them as normal straight out of the freezer.
- Cookie monsters are always happy at my house with this delicious selection of my best cookie recipes to choose from! Nom nom nom!