Easy vanilla and chocolate Christmas Cake Mix Cookies are studded with red and green M&Ms, and decorated with more holiday goodies! These will definitely be the star of the next cookie swap.
Super Easy Christmas Cookies, Made with Cake Mix!
I am a sucker for any kind of chocolate chip cookie, but one of my low-key favorites is M&M cookies. I don’t know exactly what it is about having the chocolate inside a candy shell instead of au naturel, but I am here for it. Plus, you can instantly make the cookies color-coordinate with whatever you’ve got going on: an Easter lunch, a Valentine’s Day school party, or these classic red-and-green cookies, for Christmas!
Another one of my very favorite cookie shortcuts? Cake mix! If you’re looking for a quick way to add loads of flavor and soft texture to your average cookie recipe, cake mix will do the job. It’s designed to bake up fluffy and moist, of course, but with just a few tweaks you can use it to create a fantastic cookie, as well as a cake. This recipe will show you how.
So what ingredients will you need for these cake mix cookies? Here is the list! It’s a quick and easy bake that doesn’t need much to be ah-mazing.
- Cake Mix: One box of yellow cake mix.
- Baking Powder: For light, soft cookies.
- Eggs: A couple of large, whole eggs bring the batter together and add structure.
- Butter and Oil: I use both, for flavor and moisture.
- Milk: The milk should be at room temperature.
- Vanilla: Pure vanilla extract.
- Cocoa Powder: A little bit of your favorite cocoa powder gives half of the dough a rich chocolate flavor.
- M&Ms: Red and green M&Ms are so Christmassy!
- Decorations: White chocolate chips, candy canes, and Christmas-themed sprinkles are all great decorations for these cute cookies.
What Size Is a Standard Cake Mix?
I can totally understand if you’re wondering where to find an 18.25 ounce box of cake mix, because it seems that for a few years now, cake mixes have been trending toward the new 15.25 ounce size. If that’s all you can find, no worries – it will still work. Your cookies may turn out a tiny bit thinner because of the liquid-to-dry ingredient ratio. If you want to avoid that, try adding about ¼ cup of additional flour to the batter to make up for the smaller box of cake mix.
How to Make Christmas Cake Mix Cookies
Making these cookies couldn’t be easier, and it can be a great holiday project to do with the kiddos. Here’s how to do it, step by step:
- Get Ready to Bake. Before you make the cookie dough, make sure to preheat the oven to 350°F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set the baking sheet aside.
- Combine the Dry Ingredients. Next, get a mixing bowl and measure the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt into it. Whisk gently to combine, and set this mixture aside.
- Combine the Wet Ingredients. In a large bowl using a hand mixer (or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment), beat the eggs lightly. Then add the melted butter, vegetable oil, milk and vanilla extract, and beat until this mixture is completely smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes.
- Combine Both Mixtures. Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients, and mix with a large spoon or rubber spatula to combine the two into a cookie dough.
- Flavor Half of the Dough with Chocolate. Divide the cookie dough into two equal parts, and add cocoa powder to one part of the dough. Use a spoon or spatula to mix in the cocoa powder.
- Shape the Cookies. Use your hands to roll the dough into balls, using about a tablespoon of dough for each one. Place them on the prepared cookie sheet, working in batches, or use extra cookie sheets, as needed.
- Decorate. Flatten the dough balls slightly, and decorate each one with red and green M&Ms, white chocolate chips, broken candy cane, and other decorations, as desired.
- Bake! Slide the baking sheets into the oven, and bake the cookies for 8 – 9 minutes, or until the tops begin to crack and the edges feel just set. Do not overbake, or the cookies will be crunchy instead of soft.
- Cool. Remove the cookies from the oven, and cool them on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Want more baking know-how? These helpful tips will give you the scoop on making cake mix cookies with ease – and keep reading below for recipe variations!
- Cake Mix Options: You can also use a white cake mix, spice cake mix, red velvet cake mix, etc. Not all cake mixes will taste right with added cocoa powder, though, so be careful of that.
- No Cake Mix? No problem! Instead of cake mix, you can use two cups of flour and one cup of sugar. The cookies may have a slightly different texture, but they will still be great!
- Cookie Size: This recipe shows you how to make cookies that are on the small side, but you can also make larger cookies instead. If you do this, roll larger cookie dough balls and flatten them a bit on the cookie sheet before baking. They will still need room to spread.
- Baking Time: I prefer cake mix cookies on the soft side, but if you leave them in the oven a minute or so longer, you will have crisp cookies, perfect for dunking in milk. Make them your favorite way, and enjoy!
While these cake mix cookies are just about perfect the way they are, you can also change things up to make this recipe even more fun. Here are some sweet ways to spin your Christmas cake mix cookies.
- Extra Extracts: Add a touch of almond or mint extract for even more flavor.
- Warm Things Up: A small amount of cinnamon added to the dough gives these cookies subtle sweetness and warmth.
- Add Nuts: Finely chopped walnuts or pecans can be stirred into the cookie dough at the same time that you add the cocoa powder.
- More Decorations: Sprinkle these cookies with all kinds of goodies! Chopped peppermint candies, candy bars, or Andes mints are all great ideas. You can also use your favorite baking chips, such as white chocolate chips, cinnamon chips, butterscotch chips, etc. Sprinkles and other decorations are also great.
- Sandwich Cookies: These cookies can be used to make festive cookie sandwiches with your favorite firm filling, such as a stiff buttercream or cream cheese frosting. You can also use softened ice cream, and then freeze the sandwiches until firm.
How to Store Cookies
- Store Christmas Cake Mix Cookies in an airtight container to keep them fresh, with a layer of wax paper or parchment between layers of cookies so they don’t stick to each other.
- They will keep for several days at room temperature.
Can I Freeze Cake Mix Cookies?
Yes, you can freeze these cookies either as cookie dough balls to bake later on, or as fully-baked cookies that you can thaw and serve. Here’s how:
- To Freeze Dough: Make the cookie dough as instructed, but instead of baking, roll the dough into balls and place them on a baking sheet and place in the freezer. Once they’re frozen solid (this takes about one hour), place them in freezer bags and store in the freezer for up to three months. Bake directly from frozen, adding an extra minute or two to the baking time as needed.
- To Freeze Cookies: Let the cookies cool completely, and then layer them in an airtight container with sheets of parchment between the layers to prevent sticking. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge, and then set out to come to room temperature before serving.
Christmas Cake Mix Cookies
- 1 box (18.25 ounces) yellow cake mix
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3 tablespoons milk, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1½ tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 cup red and green M&Ms
- ½ cup mini white chocolate chips
- candy cane sprinkles, or other Christmas themed sprinkles, optional
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt until well combined. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, using a hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the eggs; then, add in the melted butter, vegetable oil, milk and vanilla extract, and continue to mix until completely smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with dry ingredients and mix together with a large spoon or rubber spatula.
- Divide the mixture into two equal parts and add cocoa powder to one part of the dough, and mix until combined.
- Roll the dough into small balls, using about 1 tablespoon of dough for each ball, and arrange the dough balls on the prepared baking sheet, 2-inches apart. You will need to work in batches, or use more than one baking sheet.
- Flatten the dough balls just slightly and decorate with red and green M&Ms, white chocolate chips, sprinkles, and any other sweet decorations that you like, or have on hand.
- Bake cookies for 9 minutes, or until tops begin to crack and edges feel just set. Do not over bake or the cookies will be crunchy instead of soft.
- Remove cookies from the oven and allow them to cool on the baking sheet for 2 to 3 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Repeat the baking process with the remaining dough.
- Store the cooled cookies in an airtight container with a layer of wax paper or parchment between each layer of cookies so they don’t stick to each other. Cookies will keep for several days at room temperature.
- Cake Mix: If you can’t find Yellow Cake Mix, or just want to try something different, you can use a White Cake Mix, Spice Cake Mix, Red Velvet Cake Mix, and so on.
- If using a 15.25-ounces Cake Mix, add 1/4-cup all purpose flour to the cake mix before continuing with the recipe.
- No Cake Mix? Combine 2 cups of all purpose flour with 1 cup of granulated sugar.
- Cookie Size: If you would like to make larger cookies, roll larger cookie dough balls.
- Baking Time: For a softer cookie, do not bake the cookies for more than the time suggested; about 9 minutes. However, if you are looking for a crunchy cookie, leave the cookies to bake for about 10 to 11 minutes.