Grinch cookies are so fun and festive with their bright green color, festive flavor, and colorful M&M candy pieces! My recipe comes together in minutes with NO chilling required. Recipe includes a how-to video!
Grinch Cookies (From Scratch!)
Here’s a unique addition to your Christmas cookie tray: Grinch cookies! I actually developed this recipe several years ago and can’t believe I haven’t shared it here sooner. These cookies are incredibly soft and chewy, fun, and kids love them!
Grinch cookies are the perfect accompaniment to a Grinch movie night (with plenty of hot chocolate and marshmallows, too). Festive and cute, they’re dyed Grinch-green and decorated with colorful red and green M&M candies.
We’ll infuse a hint of peppermint extract in the dough too–just enough to add a wintery flavor, but not so much that it’s overwhelming.
Why you’ll love this recipe:
- The dough is made from scratch: no cake mix or pudding mix here!
- Subtle mint flavor: make sure to use peppermint extract, not mint.
- No chilling required: the cookies still come out soft and chewy though!
- Dough can be made in advance or frozen: instructions for this are below.
- Ready in 30 minutes: we love a fast and flavorful cookie around here!
What You Need
Most of these ingredients are pretty straightforward, but let’s go over a few of the important ones before we get started.
- Softened butter. I like using unsalted butter to have better control of the salt in the recipe, but you could use salted butter and reduce the salt to ½ teaspoon. Your butter should be softened, but don’t let it get so warm that it’s melty or appears oily on the outside, or your dough will spread too much!
- Peppermint extract. Make sure to use peppermint extract and not mint extract! Mint tends to taste a bit like toothpaste, while the peppermint has a more festive taste. Just a teaspoon is plenty to give this recipe a subtle mint flavor.
- Cornstarch. This keeps our Grinch cookies thick and prevents them from spreading. It also helps us avoid a chilling step in this recipe!
- Food coloring. Of course this is optional, but it is helpful for a true Grinch-y feel. I recommend using gel food coloring; it’s more potent, and you won’t have to use near as much as you would with liquid food coloring. I used “leaf green” coloring for these cookies.
- M&M candies. I use the festive red and green bag, but you could really use whatever colors you like here. I save about ¼ cup of these for pressing into the tops of the cookies after they come out of the oven.
SAM’S TIP: Some people like to add red candy/sprinkle hearts to their Grinch cookies to mimic the Grinch’s “two-sizes too small” heart. Feel free to add these in along with or instead of the M&Ms!
This is just an overview of the ingredients I used and why. For the full recipe please scroll down to the bottom of the post!
How to Make Grinch Cookies
- Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, then stir in the eggs and extracts until combined.
- Whisk together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then gradually stir them into the wet ingredients.
- Add food coloring, if using, and stir it in well until it’s evenly distributed.
- Add M&Ms then fold them into the batter. Despite what it might look like from my photo above, I actually recommend folding in the M&Ms with a spatula rather than using a mixer (my mixer was just resting there after mixing the dough, I switched to a spatula for the add-ins).
- Drop dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet, giving the cookies a bit of breathing room so they cook evenly and don’t spread into each other.
- Bake! The cookies sometimes appear slightly underdone when finished baking. Let them cool completely on the baking sheet, where they’ll finish cooking as they cool (and don’t move them early, they’ll be fragile and prone to breaking!). This technique keeps the cookies soft and chewy for days.
SAM’S TIP: If your dough got too warm and your cookies start to spread too much, just place your cookie dough in the fridge for 10-20 minutes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Absolutely. To do this, simply follow the instructions for drop cookies in my how to freeze cookie dough post. I love doing this when I’m baking for the holidays–it saves so much time!
You don’t have to! You could substitute another flavor (almond would be good here too), or you can just use more vanilla extract instead. I don’t personally recommend mint extract, which has a spearmint flavor that I don’t feel belongs in cookies (I don’t even like it in toothpaste or gum, though, so if you do you may feel differently!).
Yes! This dough can be made 3-4 days in advance. Just keep it covered so it doesn’t dry out or absorb any odors from your fridge.
Stay tuned for even more NEW Christmas cookie recipes–I’ve got quite a few to share with you this month 🥰
- 1 cup (226 g) unsalted butter softened
- 1 ⅔ cups (334 g) granulated sugar
- 2 eggs room temperature preferred
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
- 3 cups (375 g) all-purpose flour
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Green food coloring i used Americolor leaf green
- 1 ½ cup (340 g) red and green M&Ms divided
- Preheat oven to 350F (175C) and line several baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer (or stand mixer) to cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.1 cup (226 g) unsalted butter, 1 ⅔ cups (334 g) granulated sugar
- Add eggs, vanilla extract, and peppermint extract and stir until thoroughly combined.2 eggs, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
- In a separate, medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.3 cups (375 g) all-purpose flour, 2 Tablespoons cornstarch, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt
- Gradually stir dry ingredients into wet until completely combined.
- Add food coloring (if using) and stir until fully combined.Green food coloring
- Add M&Ms (I add slightly over a cup/about 240 grams at this point and reserve the rest for topping the cookies, but you can stir them all into the batter if you prefer) and use a spatula until evenly distributed through batter.1 ½ cup (340 g) red and green M&Ms
- Scoop by 1 ½ Tablespoon-sized scoop and drop onto baking sheet, spacing cookies at least 2” (5cm) apart.
- Bake in center rack of 350F (175C) preheated oven for 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately top with reserved M&Ms (if you reserved any). Allow cookies to cool completely on baking sheet before enjoying.
StoringStore in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.