Hanukkah Cookies

Hanukkah cookies are traditional this time of year. For these, use your favorite sugar, gingerbread, or shortbread cookie dough and whip out your decorating tips.

A selection of frosted cookies decorated for Hanukkah, on a parchment-lined cookie sheet

This Hanukkah cookies recipe isn’t so much a recipe as it is a decorating how-to. Because you’re probably already an old pro at making cookies, and we know you probably already have your favorite roll-out cookie recipe, but the decorating thing may be a little new to you. A little confidence and a steady hand are all it takes—well, and our nifty decorating how-tos below. If you’ve never undertaken cookie decorating beyond some colored sugar before, you’ll find everything you need—minus that steady hand—below as well as in our recipe for Basic Royal Icing. Originally published December 7, 2011.Renee Schettler Rossi

Hanukkah Cookies

  • Quick Glance
  • 1 H
  • 1 H
  • Makes a dozen or so cookies

Special Equipment: Cookie cutters; toothpicks or slender wooden skewers for when your outlining gets a little sloppy and needs to be erased
Cookie cutters: Star of David, dreidel, menorah, and rectangles of various sizes for gifts
Pastry bag or a resealable plastic bag with the tip cut off for piping icing
Squeezy bottles in any size for flooding icing

Print RecipeBuy the Biscuiteers Book of Iced Cookies cookbook

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  • Your favorite roll-out cookie or shortbread dough, whether chocolate, sugar, gingerbread, or some other snazzy incarnation
  • Basic Royal Icing
  • Blue and/or yellow food coloring or food-color gel


  • 1. Roll out your cookie dough and cut out shapes with the cookie cutters. Bake the cookies as the recipe directs and cool completely.
  • 2. Frost the cooled cookies with the Royal Icing, tinting it as desired with food coloring or food-color gel. You can follow your whim when decorating or you can take inspiration from the various decorating instructions that follow.

Cookie Decorating Variations

  • To make the Star of David and Dreidel
  • Pipe the outline of the cookie. Let set for a few minutes. Flood the surface in white icing or icing tinted gentian blue. Let set. Add details in icing tinted gentian blue.
  • To make the Menorah
  • Pipe the outline of the cookie in icing tinted gentian blue. Flood the surface of the cookie with the same color icing. Let set. Pipe on the candles in white icing and finish by piping teensy flames in icing tinted yellow.
  • To make the Polka Dot Gift
  • Pipe the outline of the cookie in icing tinted gentian blue. Let set. Flood the surface of the cookie with white runny icing and then immediately squeeze on spots of gentian blue runny icing. Let set. Pipe on the ribbon and bow detail in gentian blue.
  • To make the Starry Gift
  • Pipe the outline of the cookie in icing tinted baby blue. Let set. Flood the surface of the cookie with runny gentian or baby blue. Let set. When dry, pipe on the ribbon and bow details in any color contrasting icing.


#leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.


    1. Eleanor, the stunning photo above was taken by the publisher of the book, which is in the UK. I fear their cookie cutters may not be terribly attainable for those of us in the states. If anyone else has a favorite brand of cookie cutters, we’d love to hear it. Otherwise, if you want to make these in the very near future, may I suggest you consider making a sturdy cardboard template in the shapes that you want? Just print onto your desired shape from online, trace it onto cardboard, cut it out, and then use it as a stencil for your cookie dough? It sounds like a lot of work, and I guess it sort of is, but once you have the template, you can go really quite quickly. And this allows you to customize your shapes exactly how you like.

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