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Peppermint cookies on a white platter.

Peppermint Cookies

A gorgeous plate of red velvet, cream cheese-frosted Peppermint Cookies is exactly what Santa’s hoping for. Leave some of his favorite Christmas cookies out this year, and maybe, just maybe, there will be a little something special under the tree.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 48 cookies
Calories 171kcal


For the cookies:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup butter softened (2 sticks)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 teaspoons red food coloring (see note 1)
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar (see note 2)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract or mint extract

For the frosting:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 1/2 cup butter softened (1 stick)
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup finely crushed peppermints or candy canes (see note 3)


To make the cookies:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  • In a standing mixer fit with the paddle attachment on medium speed, or with an electric hand mixer, beat sugar and butter until fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Scrape down the sides of bowl as necessary.
  • Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in red food coloring, vinegar, vanilla extract, and peppermint extract. Gradually add the flour mixture. Scrape down the sides of bowl as necessary.
  • Working with 1 heaping tablespoon of dough at a time, roll dough into 1 1/2-inch balls and lay on prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart. (I use the OXO medium cookie scoop, a size 40 portioner, and do 12 scoops of dough per baking sheet).
  • Bake until the edges are golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on pans 5 minutes, then cool completely on wire racks. Repeat with remaining cookie dough (Yield: about 48 cookies).

To make the frosting:

  • In a standing mixer fit with the paddle attachment on medium speed, or with an electric hand mixer, beat cream cheese and butter until creamy, about 2 to 3 minues. Scrape down the sides of bowl as necessary.
  • Gradually add powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Spread frosting on cooled cookies and sprinkle with crushed peppermint. Store in the refrigerator or store unfrosted cookies in an airtight container for up to 5 days.



  1. Red food coloring: Red food coloring comes in liquids, gels, and powders. The red coloring adds visual appeal but not flavor or function. So if you don’t want to use it, you don’t have to. You could also try 1 tablespoon beet powder in place of the food coloring for a slight red hue.
  2. White vinegar: A little extra acid helps the baking powder do its job, but it also interacts with the cocoa powder and helps brighten the color of the cookies. No vinegar? Use lemon juice.
  3. Peppermint candies: Candy canes are festive if you can find them. If not, the round Starlight mints are available year-round.
  4. White chocolate chips: Add some white chocolate chunks to the cookie dough for an extra creamy, chocolatey bite.
  5. Peppermint cookie sandwiches: Glue two cookies together with cream cheese frosting. Roll in crushed candy canes. These travel well!
  6. Minty cream cheese frosting: Add a few drops of peppermint extract to the cream cheese frosting for an extra cool cookie.


Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 171kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 28mg | Sodium: 107mg | Potassium: 24mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 252IU | Calcium: 16mg | Iron: 1mg