Cookie Exchange – Rules & Recipes

Hosting a cookie exchange for friends and family is such a great way to get everyone together during the holidays. I'm sharing my tips on how to throw a great exchange as well as a host of recipes that everyone will love!

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Christmas cookie exchanges are such a fun way to get friends and family together during the holiday period. It’s a great way to get everyone in the festive spirit and enjoy some yummy cookies! Get my top tips to plan a cookie exchange along with a lot of tasty and easy cookie recipes for you all to enjoy!

Cookie exchange set up for a party

Make your guest list and set a date

I always find that cookie exchanges work well with between 8 to 12 people. That way you get a great selection of cookies that everyone can try, and lots for everyone to take home to share with their families.

Yumna with sisters laughing at cookie exchange party

Invite people that you know love baking and will be happy to attend! I like to throw a cookie exchange in the week leading up to Christmas, and it will last for about 2 to 3 hours, as everyone is so busy during this time!

Holding box of cookies at cookie exchange party

When you send out your invites (I like to do this via email), it’s good to send the rules at the same time so that everyone has a clear idea of what to bring, and I like to give as much warning as possible. The rules I include on the invite are:

  • Cookie type: I like to assign each guest a type of cookie so that there are no double ups, you can also include brownies, bars, and scones if you like. I assign shortbread, iced, gingerbread, sugar cookies, chocolate, stuffed / sandwich, fruit, thumbprint, butter cookies and sometimes a mixture of these.
  • Amount of cookies: I like people to bring 36-48 cookies, that way there’s plenty for your guests to take home. I don’t think you can ever have too many cookies!
  • Recipes: All recipes must be homemade, not store bought. I like guests to send me their recipes a few days before the exchange so that I can print them out for others to take home.
Cookies displayed for cookie exchange party

I like to set up our large dining table with a runner and festive decor, and then a mixture of cake stands and plates. I add place cards for each cookie next to the recipe and make a note of any allergy or dietary information. As guests arrive they can place their cookies on display.

I like to set up a smaller area with small cardboard boxes and a variety of ribbons and tissue paper, so that guests can make their own boxes up.

Cookies at a cookie exchange party

What else to serve

Although everyone is here for the cookies, I do like to serve a small selection of savory snacks as well as drinks. Easy finger food appetizers like Vegetarian Stuffed Mushrooms, a Cheese Board and Crostini with Roasted Tomatoes are all perfect, and I love making a batch of Vegan Hot Chocolate to serve too.

Holding box of cookies at cookie exchange party

What’s a cookie exchange without cookies?! Check out these yummy recipes for you and your guests to make!

3 Ingredient Peanut butter Cookies on a gray plate

3 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies

3 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies are quick, easy-to-make & tasty. They're made with peanut butter, egg & sugar so they're naturally flourless & dairy-free
20 minutes
5 from 2232 votes
White plate on marble background of sugar cookies dipped in white chocolate

White Chocolate Dipped Sugar Cookies

These holiday sugar cookies dipped in white chocolate & peppermint are a wonderful treat for the holidays – dairy free with simple pantry items
20 minutes
5 from 65 votes
Plate of ginger snap cookies with red napkin on the side

Ginger Snap Cookies

Quick and easy to make, these ginger snap cookies and bursting with flavor. Ready to enjoy in less than 30 minutes.
20 minutes
5 from 21 votes
Final baked banana chocolate chip cookies

Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

If you like banana bread, you’ll love these Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies. They are a great way to use up overripe bananas and have a soft cake-like texture
24 minutes
5 from 174 votes
Date cookies on a white plate

Date Cookies

A fun mediterranean inspired cookie recipe, these buttery date cookies are sweet, nutty, chewy and completely irresistible – perfect for cookie exchanges 
30 minutes
5 from 293 votes
Stack of cardamom spiced cookies on a small plate
Dessert, Snack

Cardamom Cookies

Easy and quick to make, these cardamom cookies are perfectly spiced and bursting with flavor. Perfect to enjoy with a cup of coffee on a dull day!
20 minutes
5 from 34 votes
Close up shot of many tahini chocolate chip cookies on a parchment paper background
Dessert, Snack

Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookies

These Chocolate Chip Tahini Cookies have a Middle Eastern twist by swapping half the butter in traditional chocolate chip cookies with tahini (sesame paste)
25 minutes
5 from 78 votes
Large plate of oatmeal cranberry cookies with white chocolate

Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies

The best Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies you’ll ever make – they’re crunchy around the edges, incredibly chewy throughout and filled with chocolate chips!
32 minutes
5 from 42 votes
Banana oatmeal cookies on a plate with chocolate chips
Dessert, Snack

Banana Oatmeal Cookies

Easy and quick to make with 3 ingredients only, these healthy banana oatmeal cookies are gluten-free, refined sugar free and kid-friendly!
20 minutes
5 from 130 votes
Plate of holiday pistachio cookies topped with pistachio pieces

Pistachio Cookies

These pistachio cookies are a healthier version of my favorite Middle Eastern cookies. Gluten free with no added refined sugar. Delicious and easy to make.
20 minutes
5 from 45 votes

Hope you enjoyed these tips for hosting a cookie exchange party and all the great cookie recipes. You can find even more easy cookie recipes on Feel Good Foodie to find something your family and friends enjoy!

Boxes of cookies at party

If you find this guide for Throwing a Cookie Exchange Party useful, we’d love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below! It helps to create a dialogue with others who find this article. And if you snapped some shots of any of these tips and tricks, please share them on Instagram so we can repost on Stories!

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Yumna hosting cookie exchange party

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  1. I’m so excited to have found your web site. I was a homecook for years. At 40 I started cooking classes, a year my catering company was born, and the natural progression was to teach & cook professionally. I love learning.