It feels like there are a million cookie recipes out there. When it's time to bake a batch for a party or grab a box to keep at home, the variety can be overwhelming. You want your cookies to be delicious, of course, but it helps to have that special something, whether it's novelty or rustic simplicity. If you're thinking about what kind of cookie you'll want to impress your friends and family with, you may look to us for guidance.
We've compiled a list of some of the most common cookies from around the world, as well as links to the best recipes we could find. There's a cookie for every palate — and a recipe for every level of baker — on our list. If you're an avid baker, you might consider trying some recipes. Or, for the non-bakers out there, pick up a pack of your favorites in the bakery or snack aisle of your grocery store. Sugar Candy Machine
There's no cookie more American than a chocolate chip cookie (sorry Oreos). According to numerous historic accounts, the first chocolate chip cookie was created by Ruth Wakefield of the Toll House Inn in Whitman, Massachusetts, per Nestlé. Ruth decided to start adding pieces of semi-sweet chocolate to her "Butter Drop Do" sugar cookie recipe and later sold the cookies at the inn.
The chocolate chip cookie only needs a simple ingredient outside of the cookie base: the chocolate chips. Besides the chips, bakers add nuts, brown butter, and pretzels to chocolate chip cookies for added texture.
Pizzelle cookies are wafer-thin and Italian in origin. Each of the cookies is made using an ornately-designed pizzelle press (similar to a shallow waffle maker), a hefty dose of aromatic vanilla, and traditional cookie ingredients like flour, sugar, and eggs. After lifting the cookies from the press with a skewer, the pizzelle is typically served with a dusting of powdered sugar.
Although it might seem difficult to make the pizzelle at home, we've found that following the directions on the machine is critical to crafting the perfect, crispy cookie. Plus, since you're using an iron, you won't have to worry so much about under-baking or over-baking this sweet treat.
Although everyone likes to joke about airplane food, we draw the line at the Lotus biscoff cookie. These delicious, gingerbread-y cookies are immaculately sweet and were introduced to airlines in 1985. Although we think the cookie tastes best after a long day at the airport, you can purchase the biscoff cookies from the Lotus website.
If you're late to the party, we recommend checking out biscoff cookie butter spread for your next English muffin, toast, or spoon-only excursion. You'll get the same warm notes of vanilla and cinnamon along with the sweetness only a cookie can bring. We mean it when we say that Nutella is no competition for cookie butter.
The butter cookie is known for its simplicity, as well as the sheer amount of butter that goes into each batch. According to Sugar Spun Run, the biggest difference between the butter cookie and the sugar cookie is the shape. Sugar cookies are generally thinner and shaped with cookie cutters. Butter cookies will keep their shape in the oven and are much denser than sugar cookies. We recommend using a piping bag to pipe out your dough for a novel style to an old-fashioned butter cookie.
If you're looking to add a bit of color to your butter cookies, look to the Italians. The Italian butter cookie is commonly found in bakeries around winter holidays, per OwlBBaking, and comes dipped in chocolate or covered in rainbow sprinkles.
Sugar cookies are very similar to butter cookies, except they're thinly rolled and cut instead of piped (per Sugar Spun Run). Most of the time, sugar cookies are cooled before being decorated with icings and colorful sprinkles.
The sugar cookie is equally loved by adults and children for its vanilla flavor, sweetness, and opportunities for creative designs. If you're making sugar cookies at home, Bellyful recommends using a royal icing or a glaze icing for the cookies. Royal icing is made with egg whites and meringue powder so pipes smoothly and holds together. Glaze icing is much more forgiving than royal icing, though, and provides adequate cookie coverage for the average home baker.
Jam thumbprint cookies appear mostly around Christmas time. Swedish thumbprint cookies, as the treats are otherwise known, can be filled with everything from chocolate to your favorite fruit jam, though raspberry jam is the staple filling.
To get the thumbprint design, a baker uses a quarter teaspoon (or the back of your thumb) to make a depression in the cookie dough ball. Then, the jam is piped into the hole. Recipe developer Jessica Morone recommends filling the jam just below the depression in the cookie. Too much jam will cause an overflow and potentially ruin your otherwise perfect cookies.
According to Bakerpedia, the shortbread cookie originated in medieval Scotland where it was said to be the byproduct of leftover bread dough. Yeast was ultimately replaced with butter in the biscuit to give a crumbly texture. Bakers can shape shortbreads into balls, squares, and triangles and include nuts, fruit, or chocolate in the dough.
One example of a shortbread cookie is a pecan sandie. The pecan sandie does not use egg as a binder, so the baker has to be diligent about combining all the dough together in small balls before baking. We recommend this recipe for novice and experienced bakers alike because it requires very few ingredients and little prep. If you don't like using pecans, you can substitute chopped walnuts into the dough instead (although, we don't think you could call it a pecan sandie anymore).
Although you think of biscotti as the cookie's stale cousin, these Italian cookies are more versatile than you'd expect. Traditional Italian biscotti are not overtly sweet and retain their shape when dunked into a warm cup of coffee. We recommend using an electric hand mixer to combine all the biscotti ingredients together; this method ensures the dough comes together without pockets of dry ingredients interspersed in the fat.
Biscotti are unlike other cookies because the dough is baked in a mound before being sliced and re-baked. This adds a pivotal crunch to the biscotti and leads to a rich, toasted color. Biscotti can include your favorite chocolate and nuts, or be dipped into melted chocolate.
Gingersnap cookies are meant to be thin and a tad on the spicy side. Our recipe for chewy molasses gingersnap cookies uses a heaping portion of robust molasses for a deep flavor, along with a sprinkle of turbinado sugar right before baking for a bit of sweetness and crunchy texture. The gingersnap cookie owes its flavor not only to ginger, but also to a blend of warming spices like cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves.
We wouldn't be surprised if everyone in your household comes running when they smell the aroma of these baking in your kitchen. For an extra bit of flavor, consider dipping half of your gingersnap in melted white chocolate after the cookies have cooled.
We first have to make an important distinction: macrons and macaroons are slightly different, according to Food Network. The macaron is a colorful French dessert with a crisp outside and soft, pillowy interior. They're typically made with ground almonds, whereas macaroons typically have coconut flakes.
If you want to make the perfect French macarons, you'll want to use an Italian meringue to stabilize your macron. The meringue is folded into almond flour, confectioners' sugar, and egg whites to develop a strong mix that can be piped onto a baking sheet. Then, you can add a ring of buttercream icing or a bit of jam to the inside of your macron before closing the treat and enjoying with a piping cup of tea.
The snickerdoodle cookie is a classic staple in the cookie world. The snickerdoodle gets its unique tang from the addition of cream of tartar. This ingredient might seem like a surprise, cream of tatar prevents the sugars in the dough from crystalizing while providing an acidic taste to the batter. If you don't have access to cream of tartar, you can substitute the baking soda in the recipe with baking powder (since baking powder contains tartaric acid).
After the cookies are mixed, the batter is rolled in cinnamon sugar before being baked. Adding a second coat of cinnamon sugar after baking is important for a more aesthetic and sweet cookie.
Although the name may be deceiving, the whoopie pie is technically a cookie made with two pillowy chocolate mounds sandwiching a fluffy, vanilla frosting. Whoopie pies originated in New England bakeries in the 1920s, but several states claim the dessert as their own. Folks in Pennsylvania call the whoopie pie a "gob" because it resembles the term coal miners use for coal lumps. But for the most part, whoopie-pie enthusiasts in Maine and New England refer to this treat by its common name.
While chocolate and vanilla are the typical whoopie pie flavors, the whoopie pie can take on other flavors, including carrot cake, pumpkin, and malted milk balls.
Peanut butter blossoms are one type of "kiss cookie." The cookie gains its flavor from both peanut butter and the soft Hershey's kiss on top. You can customize your peanut butter blossoms with any flavor of Hershey's Kisses — almond, cookies-and-cream, or swirl. The key to making the perfect peanut butter blossom cookie is to add the kiss right after baking, while the cookie is still pliable. Careful, though — if you push the kiss in too much, it can break or melt into the cookie.
Snowball cookies are nostalgic childhood cookies also known as Russian tea cakes or Mexican wedding cookies. The cookies are kept light and fluffy (as their name implies) from powdered sugar incorporated both into the dough and on the outside of the cookie after baking. The addition of chopped pecans, along with the crumbliness of the dough, is a terrific surprise. Snowball cookies are super easy to make, and you'll probably have a harder time keeping your hands off the finished batch.
Spritz cookies resemble the texture of both a butter cookie and a shortbread. Unlike these other cookies though, the Pioneer Woman notes that spritz cookies are usually shaped with a cookie press to produce intricate designs. Once the cookies are cooled, the baker can decorate them with elaborate icing or decorations. The website recommends using almond extract in the cookies to provide a nutty undertone, as well as only working with room-temperature ingredients only. Using cold butter or eggs will cause the dough to fall apart and make it harder to work with.
Wafer cookies are unlike other cookies on this list because of their texture. There are two types of wafer cookies: those similar to the cookies in a banana pudding and the extra-thin, crisp wafers with a thin layer of filling. The former are made with a ton of vanilla extract and can be used for trifles, classic Southern puddings, or as a quick midnight snack — think Nilla Wafers. Filled wafer cookies, meanwhile, date back to the 14th century and typically require a wafer iron for their characteristic thinness, per Cook 'til Yummy.
It's not Chinese takeout without the post-meal fortune cookie. Close to 3 billion of these tiny wafer cookies are produced annually, with Wonton Foods Incorporated alone making 4.5 million fortune cookies per day. The ingredients in a fortune cookie are simple: flour, water, sugar, and eggs (oh, and the paper fortune). Home bakers may choose to add almond or vanilla extract for flavor, while commercial manufacturers add anti-caking agents and preservatives to prevent fortune cookies from breaking or deteriorating in the package.
The oatmeal raisin cookie is undoubtedly one of the most misunderstood cookie types. It is the perfect alternative for someone seeking a less sweet (but just as inviting) cookie as the chocolate chip cookie. We use rolled oats in our oatmeal raisin cookie recipe because the coarseness of the oats is the perfect contrast to the softness of the raisins. If you're not crazy about the texture of the raisins, you can add chocolate chips, chopped nuts, or other dried fruit instead.
Icebox cookies originated in the 1930s and have lasted because of their convenience. You can assemble a log of dough, roll it and chill the dough overnight, and cut off pieces to bake in the morning. If you want to pre-make the dough, you can keep a log of it in your freezer so you can defrost the dough whenever the cookie mood strikes. We recommend adding bittersweet chocolate to your icebox cookies to counteract some of the sweetness in the batter, but the recipe is easy to modify based on what ingredients you have handy.
Lebkuchen cookies originate in Germany and are often compared to a gingersnap cookie, but pack a more herbal punch. The main difference is that the Germans age the dough for several months to enhance the flavors of cloves, cinnamon, anise, lemon peel, rosewater, cardamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Plus, aging the dough activates baker's ammonia, which is a critical leavening agent similar to baking soda and baking powder that adds a more pronounced flavor to the cookie. Is it worth the wait? We'll let you decide.
You either absolutely love or absolutely hate the soft sugar cookie. These cookies are usually sold in the bakery section of most major grocery stores and contain a vanilla base with a sickeningly-sweet icing and sprinkles. Outside of the traditional vanilla cookie, soft sugar cookie flavors include just about everything, including pink lemonade, birthday cake, pumpkin pie, frosted mint, and hot cocoa.
While most folks purchase soft sugar cookies at the store, there are ways to make soft sugar cookies at home. The secret to baking soft, tangy cookiess is to actually use sour cream in the batter. TikTok creator Little Sparkly Sweets notes that the dairy product moistens the dough and makes it more robust as well.
Gingerbread cookies are almost exclusively holiday cookies. While many types of gingerbread are used to make seasonal gingerbread houses, other gingerbread cookie recipes are moist and soft enough on their own. The key to making a soft gingerbread cookie is to use both vegetable shortening and butter in the dough, along with dark, flavorful molasses and spices like cinnamon and cloves. Unlike the gingerbread's distant cousin, the gingersnap, the gingerbread cookie is baked in less time to ensure the cookie is soft and pliable rather than snappy.
Meringues date back to 1700s Switzerland but can now be found with other cookie types or as decorations on cakes. Meringue cookies might seem difficult to make at home, but these sweet treats only require four simple ingredients: egg whites, granulated sugar, vanilla extract, and cream of tartar. The egg whites are beaten in with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. After the meringue is piped onto a baking sheet, the cookies are baked until slightly firm before being enjoyed by anyone in sight of them.
Stroopwaffels are a cross between a cookie and a waffle. The cookie has roots in the Netherlands where it is commonly "woken up" by being placed over a warm cup of tea or coffee to loosen the syrup sandwiching the wafer cookie pieces together. The cookie is deeply aromatic thanks to the addition of vanilla in the wafer dough. Although the most traditional flavor of stroopwafel is vanilla with caramel, you can also find creative takes on the stroopwafel with ice cream and chocolate dips.
Black and white cookies are commonly associated with New York City, but you can make these cookies at home with the addition of a few simple ingredients. Cake flour, sour cream, and confectioners' sugar are essential in creating a soft, pliable cookie underneath the chocolate and vanilla dips. After the cookies are baked and cooled, a thin layer of white glaze is brushed on the cookie with a rubber spatula. Then, the cookies are placed in the fridge for the icing to harden. After that, the chocolate icing is swiped onto the other side of the cookie.
You've probably seen crinkle cookies around the holidays. The base of the cookie can come in different flavors like chocolate or gooey lemon and typically contain similar dough to a butter cookie. But the one thing that makes a crinkle cookie a crinkle cookie is the additional step of the baker coating the outside of the cookie dough balls in powdered sugar. As the cookie bakes and flattens, it will develop the traditional ridges in the cookie's design, per Natasha's Kitchen.
Italian rainbow cookies are made with delicate layers of almond cake and raspberry jam with tops coated in melted chocolate. The distinct green and red layers obtain color notes from the addition of food coloring and are stacked to resemble the colors of the Italian flag. The trick to cutting and perfectly layering your Italian rainbow cookies is to ensure that the cake is laid out on a flat surface and the cookies are cut in equal sizes. If you need help, use a ruler.
Peanut butter cookies are some of the simplest cookies you can make. While the classic peanut butter cookie contains a few simple ingredients like butter, sugar, eggs, flour, baking soda, salt, and peanut butter, you can upgrade your peanut butter cookie recipe by adding almond or vanilla extract. Or, if you're looking for a simple 3-ingredient peanut butter cookie, all you'll need are eggs, sugar, and peanut butter.
If you're pressing your peanut butter cookies out the baking sheet with a fork, you'll want to be sure to dip the fork in water between presses. This will prevent the dough from sticking to the fork and messing up your lattice design.
Macaroons are not to be confused with the French macron. Coconut macaroons are typically made with coconut flakes, ground nuts, and spices and are balled up on a baking sheet. According to the Kashruth Council of Canada. the cookie originated in Italy but eventually spread to the Jewish population in Europe because the original recipe could be modified so it could be eaten during Pesach (Passover). Coconut was not added to macaroons until the 1890s when Europeans invaded the African regions where the fruit was grown.
Chocolate Enrobing Equipment Although other cookies on our list may be good with milk, nothing really beats the chocolate sandwich cookie. The chocolate sandwich cookie was popularized in the early 1900s by the Oreo brand. In 1974, the brand introduced the "double stuff" variety made with more cream in the center of the two chocolate wafer cookies than ever before, per the company's website. In modern times, Oreo has produced new flavors like Birthday Cake and the Golden Oreo, as well as brought back old fan favorites like the Brookie-O: two chocolate sandwich cookies with a layered traditional cream frosting, cookie dough, and brownie batter.