These festive Honey Cookies are soft and thick, with a creamy honey cream cheese frosting. These chewy cookies hold their shapes perfectly while baked, and can be decorated however you like! I’ve included tips, tricks, and my tools in the post for decorating your cookies like Christmas trees.
These are the perfect honey cookie! They’re chewy cookies, not cakey cookies, and they have the perfect amount of sweetness, and are made with simple ingredients. They’re delicious with or without the frosting, too! These truly are the perfect honey cookie.
Why you’ll love this recipe:
- Soft Honey Cookies – These delicious cookies are thick and chewy cookies, with a delicious honey flavor from real honey. They’re not overly sweet at all – the flavors are perfectly balanced, and a hint of cinnamon adds the perfect balance.
- Cutout Cookies – These cutout cookies hold their shapes perfectly when baked! Just be sure they’re chilled going into the oven.
- Honey Cream Cheese Frosting – Just a touch of honey in the frosting adds such a delicious flavor!
- Festive Shapes – These festive shapes add a fun touch to any Christmas cookie platter this time of year.
- Butter – I always use salted buter for the best flavor, but feel free to use unsalted butter if you prefer.
- Honey – Honey adds a unique and delicious flavor to these soft cookies!
- Brown Sugar – Even though we’re using brown sugar and honey, these cookies aren’t too sweet. It’s just like a recipe that might use granulated sugar and brown sugar. They both needed to serve different purposes in the dough.
- All-purpose flour – Spoon & level your flour for best results. Scooping the measuring cup directly in will lead to too much flour. Or use a scale, and weigh 135 grams of all-purpose flour per cup.
- Cozy Spices – A hint of cinnamon and nutmeg compliment the honey perfectly.
- Vanilla Extract – Use real vanilla extract for best results.
- Vegan – These cookies are already egg-free, and you should be able to swap maple syrup if you want to make them vegan. See below for dairy-free.
- Dairy-free – Use your favorite dairy-free butter and cream cheese (in the frosting) to make these cookies dairy-free.
How to Make this Recipe Step-by-Step:
Step 1: Make the Cookie Dough. Cream together your wet ingredients in a large mixing bowl using an electric mixer, or use a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Start with the butter and brown sugar. Then, mix in the honey and vanilla. Add you dry ingredients to the honey mixture, and mix on medium speed until a cohesive dough forms.
Step 2: Roll and Chill the Dough. Divide the dough in half and roll each half to 3/8 inch or 1/2 inch thick between sheets of parchment paper. Chill until firm, then use cookie cutters to cut desired shapes.
Step 3: Bake the Cookies. Bake cookies as directed in the recipe card below for best results. They will look a tad puffy on the cookie sheet right out of the oven, but will settle down as they cool. Let cookies cool on the pan a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
Step 4: Make the Frosting. Cream together butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and honey for our Honey Cream Cheese Frosting. Divide it into smaller bowls and use gel food coloring to make desired colors.
Food Coloring Tip: Start with a little, mix, then add more. Gel colors are very concentrated and you don’t need much. To make shades of forest green, you’ll need to mix golden yellow, blue, and black. Or, you can sometimes find a forest green shade vs. a leaf or kelly green, which is hard to turn into a deep green.
Step 5: Decorate your Cookies. To decorate your cookies like Christmas trees like I did, you’ll need a few piping bags, and an open round piping tip. These are linked below. Start at the bottom of your tree, and pipe dollops of frosting, then use an offset spatula to swipe each dollop upwards. Pipe the next row of dots over the edge of these swipes, and continue until your tree is finished. You can also pipe dollops with an open star tip, overlapping them as you work up the tree (see the dark green tree to the right in the photos below).
Expert Success Tips:
- Cool Cookies – Never put frosting on a warm cake, cookie, etc. It will melt and be a disaster! The cookies must be completely cooled to room temperature before starting.
- Working with Frosting – If your frosting is too soft, pop it in the fridge before or after you’ve mixed the colors in, until it’s a little firmer for piping.
- Can I make these cookies ahead? Yes! Roll the dough, chill it, and cut your shapes. Then, freeze them in a single layer on a lined baking sheet. (You can also chill or freeze the dough as a disc, wrapped in plastic wrap.) Once frozen, transfer to airtight containers with parchment or wax paper between layers. Bake from frozen in the same way as if you were baking them right away. Baked cookies can also be cooled, stored in in an airtight container at room temperature for 1-2 days before decorating.
- Do these cookies need to be stored in the fridge? Yes, because of the cream cheese in the frosting, these do need to be refrigerated.
- How long are these cookies good for? They last up to 2 weeks in the fridge!
- Can I double or halve the recipe? Yes, absolutely! Feel free to make a double batch or half batch.
- Can I make as regular cookies instead of cutout cookies? When I tried baking some of the dough balls as regular cookies, they didn’t spread at all. If you really want to bake them without cutting shapes, I recommend dividing the dough in half, rolling into logs, chilling as directed, then slicing into 1/2″ thick rounds, as the cookie dough balls were a bit too thick.
- What is type of honey should I use? Use clover honey or raw clover honey as opposed to buckwheat or manuka honey. Clover is the type of lighter honey you’d typically buy at the grocery store, as opposed to these darker versions.
- Decorations – Have fun with your decorations! Cut out any shapes you like and decorate in any way you like. For a simple look, add sanding sugar sprinkles in various colors before baking the cookies. This is how we decorated cutout cookies growing up.
Serving + Storing this Recipe:
Store frosted cookies in a single layer in an airtight container in the fridge for 1-2 weeks. See make-ahead tips above.
- Offset Spatula – An offset spatula is what I used to decorate these cookies. They can also be used for spreading cake and brownie batters evenly.
- Piping Bag & Piping Tip – I like to use a reusable piping bag. I used a Wilton 2A piping tip for the smooth trees, and a Wilton 4B tip for the textured trees.
- Rolling Pin – Use a basic rolling pin to roll out the cookie dough.
More Christmas Cookie Recipes to Love:
- Best Soft Gingerbread Cookies
- Bakery-Style Monster Cookies
- Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Bakery-Style Peanut Butter Chip Chocolate Cookies
- Key Lime Slice & Bake Cookies
- Peppermint Hot Cocoa Cookies
- Peanut Butter & Jelly Thumbprint Cookies
- Cherry Pie Cookies
- Triple Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Did you make this recipe? Snap a photo and leave a comment!
Soft Honey Cutout Cookies
For the Honey Cookies
- 1 cup salted butter, softened at room temperature
- 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 cup honey
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, spooned & leveled 405 grams
- 1 and 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp salt
Honey Cream Cheese Frosting
- 3 Ounces cream cheese, softened at room temperature
- 3/4 Cup salted butter room temperature
- 2 and 1/4 Cups powdered sugar
- 1-2 Tbsp honey
- Pinch Of salt
- desired food coloring
- Make the Cookie Dough: Beat butter in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until creamed. Add the brown sugar and mix until well creamed together, about 1 minute. Add the honey and mix until combined. Add the dry ingredients, and mix until a dough forms. Add 1-2 tsp of milk if your dough is a bit crumbly – it shouldn't be if you measured the flour correctly. Check it by pressing it together in your hand – it should be smooth and not crumbly.
- Roll and Chill: Divide the dough into two halves, and roll each one out to 3/8" thickness between sheets of parchment paper. (Use a ruler to check this, or just eyeball halfway between 1/4 and 1/2 inch. This is the perfect thickness for these cookies – trust! Even 1/2" is perfect – but don't go lower than 3/8")Place the rolled dough, still sandwiched in parchment paper, on a baking sheet and cover loosely with a clean kitchen towel. Chill for about 2 hours in the refrigerator or about 1 hour in the freezer, until chilled and firm.
- Cut out Cookies: Preheat your oven to 350° F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Cut shapes out of the chilled dough and place cookies a couple inches apart on your prepared baking sheet. If the cookies are no longer firm and cold to the touch from working with the dough, pop the pan back in the fridge or freezer for 5 to 15 minutes to re-chill so that the cookies hold their shape when baked (it's fine to bake them from frozen).While the cookies are baking, combine your dough scraps, roll out, and cut more cookies. Repeat this until all remaining dough is gone! You will need to chill the dough for a bit again once you roll the scraps back out so that it's firm enough to cut the shapes easily. (Roll it back out between the parchment each time for ease.)
- Bake: Bake cookies for 9-10 minutes. The cookies should appear just set, and will look a tad puffy. Don't be tempted to over bake them! Let them cool on baking sheet for 5-10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
- Make Frosting: In a large bowl, cream together butter and cream cheese for 2 minutes. Add the powdered sugar in 3 additions, mixing between each until combined. Add honey, vanilla, and salt and mix until combined. Divide into a few small bowls and tint with desired colors, using gel food coloring.
- Decorate Cookies: Use a Wilton 2A and 4B tip for the trees pictured. Pipe dollops with the 2A tip, in a row at the bottom of the tree, then sweep each dollop upwards with the tip of an offset spatula. Pipe the next row of dots over the end of this row, continuing all the way up the tree. Pipe overlapping swoops with the 4B tip for a textured look.
- Serve + Store: Enjoy cookies once decorated! Store cookies in a single layer in an airtight container in the fridge for 1-2 weeks. These need to be refrigerated due to the frosting. Cookie Dough and Cookie Make-Ahead Tips: Dough can be made, rolled out, and covered well and stored in the fridge for 1-2 days before baking. The cookies can be baked, cooled, and stored in an airtight container at room temp for 1-2 days before decorating. See more make ahead tips in the "expert tips" above.