Best Holiday Cookie Cutters

Updated December 2021
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Buying guide for Best holiday cookie cutters

You can spruce up your holiday cookies in many ways: press a piece of chocolate or a candied cherry in the middle of each, mix chocolate chips or nuts into the dough, or decorate the cookies with icing and sugar. However, one of the best ways to make festive treats is to use holiday cookie cutters.

With so many seasonal characters and symbols to choose from, you can find holiday cookie cutters in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. You'll want to make sure the shapes are appropriate to the particular holiday, but you'll want to avoid anything too intricate. Narrow parts can easily break off or burn. Also, you want your themed assortment to include lots of different shapes. There are other elements besides shape and variety that are helpful to consider as you shop for holiday cookie cutters, including material, quality, and cost.

holiday cookie cutters
Sugar cookie dough and gingerbread are popular choices for use with cookie cutters.

How to buy the best holiday cookie cutters

Start with the dough

Make sure you choose a cookie recipe intended for use with cookie cutters and you follow all the directions. The type and amount of flour in the dough can make your cookies chewy, crisp, or crumbly. It’s important to add the precise amount of each ingredient so your cookies come out perfectly. Too little or too much of one can change the texture and flavor and make the dough unsuitable for use with cookie cutters.

Choose the right shapes

It doesn’t matter if you’re using a standard oven or a convection oven, the baking time depends on the amount of dough used to make each cookie. Larger cookies require longer baking times. While you can tweak the time if all the cookies are the same size, mixing different sizes on the same baking sheet can lead to undercooked or burned cookies. Also, shapes with intricate designs or narrow appendages won’t bake evenly and are more prone to burning and breaking.

Materials

Tin: These cookie cutters are very affordable, but they bend easily and so must be stored carefully.

Aluminum: These cookie cutters are affordable and don’t rust. However, they also bend easily.

Stainless steel: These cookie cutters are more durable than tin or aluminum cutters, but they tend to cost more.

Copper: These cookie cutters are very attractive, durable, and won’t rust. However, they are the most expensive cutters and will tarnish over time.

Plastic: These cookie cutters are affordable, easy to clean, and comfortable to use. However, plastic can melt and it doesn’t cut the dough as cleanly as metal.

Cookie cutters aren’t just for cookies and biscuits. You can also use them to cut bread, cake, fondant, fruits, and vegetables.

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What features should I look for in holiday cookie cutters?

Variety

When you’re making holiday cookies, it’s rare to want just one shape. For that reason, the best holiday cookie cutters come in sets with a variety of shapes, and some collections include more than 100.

Handle

Cookie cutters that have a handle are easier to use. On the downside, the handle makes them more difficult to clean and store.

Cushioned grip

Instead of selecting cookie cutters with handles, you can opt for cutters with a silicone grip on one side. The cutting side is metal for sharper edges on the cookies, while the side you push is silicone for comfort.

Stamp cookie cutters

While most cookie cutters are open at the top, some are closed and have a design that embosses the dough as you press it into your dough. You can find lots of different embossed designs, such as gingerbread houses, Christmas trees, and snowmen.

Extras

Some cookie cutter sets come with other useful items, such as a rolling pin, tubes of royal icing, candies, or colored sugar to decorate your cookies.

holiday cookie cutters
DID YOU KNOW?
It’s believed that ancient Egyptians used a type of cookie cutter to shape dough 4,000 years ago.
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What are some holiday cookie cutter accessories?

Baking sheets

After making and rolling out the dough and cutting your cookies, you still need to bake them. A quality set of baking sheets will help make sure that your cookies are done to perfection and not burned on the bottom or undercooked on top.

Parchment paper

Even if you have quality baking sheets, it’s still a good idea to line them with parchment paper when baking cookies. This grease-proof paper provides a heat-resistant, nonstick, disposable surface for your baked goods and makes cleaning the baking sheets a snap.

Kitchen timer

Cookies don’t take long to bake, and it’s easy to leave them in the oven too long. If your oven doesn’t have a built-in timer, you can find plenty of inexpensive mechanical or digital kitchen timers made of plastic or metal. Some have a magnetic backing so you can stick the timer on your refrigerator, and some have adjustable volume and other features.

What do holiday cookie cutters cost?

Inexpensive

If you only need a few holiday cookie cutters, you can find sets of up to six for under $10. While some of the cutters at this price won’t be high-quality products, it’s possible to find good options that have a cushioned grip.

Mid-range

In the $10 to $20 price range, you can find sets with a wide variety of shapes that are made of stainless steel or plastic and have desirable features like cushioned grips for comfort.

Expensive

If you pay more than $30, make sure you're getting good a good quantity and quality of cookie cutters and not just paying for a name brand. Copper cookie cutters fall in this range, as do sets that include many designs or sets that include decorating accessories.

Besides their uses for baking, cookie cutters can also serve as stencils for arts-and-crafts projects.

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Tips

  • Use room temperature butter and eggs. Butter that’s too warm can make sugar cookies more prone to spreading before baking. Room temperature eggs are easier to mix into the dough.
  • Don’t overmix the ingredients. Follow the recipe’s directions, including the mixing time. Whipping too much air into the dough can cause the cookies to collapse when baking.
  • Chill the dough. To make sure your dough is easy to work with, chill it for a few hours or overnight. After you cut out the cookies and place them on the cookie sheet, put the sheet in the refrigerator again to firm up the dough (about 30 minutes). This helps keep the cookies from spreading too much when baking.
  • Coat the cutters with flour or oil before using. This prevents the dough from sticking to them.
  • Line the baking sheet with parchment paper. Greasing the baking sheet can make sugar cookies spread. For best results, line the sheet with parchment paper instead.
  • Try not to reroll the dough too much. While some rerolling of the dough is necessary to minimize waste, working the dough too much can make the cookies tough.
  • Use an oven thermometer. Oven temperatures aren’t always accurate. To make sure your oven is at the right temperature for the recipe, use an oven thermometer.
  • Let the cookie sheet cool between batches. Placing raw cookies on a hot cookie sheet causes them to spread before they can bake. Use a different cookie sheet for every other batch, so the sheets have time to cool down between uses.
holiday cookie cutters
Baking is a science. It’s important to follow the recipe’s directions for measurements, temperatures, and times.

FAQ

Q. How can I tell when the cookies are done?

A. It’s very easy to overbake sugar cookies because many people think they’re done when they’re golden brown. Unfortunately, this color usually signifies that the cookies are overbaked. Sugar cookies continue to cook and firm up after they’re removed from the oven, so it’s best to take them out before they turn brown. A sandy blonde color is the goal.

Q. What can I use to decorate my cookies?

A. When it comes time to decorate your cookies, a good rule of thumb is if it’s edible (and will stay on the cookie), you can use it. While some people like nuts or fruits, such as cherries, you can also use sprinkles, chocolate or butterscotch chips, sugared flowers, royal icing, jelly, dragées, coconut, colored sugar, fondant, or marshmallows. If children are going to decorate the cookies, one fun option is to use food coloring markers. Kids can use them like real markers or crayons and draw their own designs on the royal icing.

Q. How thick should the rolled-out dough be?

A. When using holiday cookie cutters, it’s important to roll the dough to the right thickness. Too thin and your cookies will be brittle and may burn; too thick and the cookies won’t cook all the way through. The ideal thickness is 1/4 inch so the cookies are durable enough to be handled and decorated but thin enough to be crisp. Of course, if you prefer your cookies to be thicker or crispier, you can experiment to find the best thickness for your recipes.

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