These Grinch cookies are festive, cakey cookies that bear a strong resemblance to a certain Christmas Grinch! In 20 minutes they’ll be ready to add to your cookie platter alongside chocolate sugar cookie cut-outs and chewy ginger molasses cookies.
This is probably the Christmas-y Christmas cookie I’ve ever made – and there’s not a Christmas tree, gingerbread man or ornament in sight. These cookies are the edible embodiment of the Grinch himself, with a heart that’s three sizes too… actually, no, it’s the perfect size.
If the heart were bigger it would look like the cookie had a dangerous enlargement of the aorta, and that’s just alarming.
I’d seen a lot of recipes for Grinch cookies on Pinterest similar to these, but they were all using a boxed mix and oil and just… no. I can’t go that route. I have to make things more complicated, obviously.
“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”
― Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
How to make Grinch cookies
For my cookies, we’re going to make everything from scratch. It’s not hard at all, so don’t freak out!
It’s just a matter of putting a few dry ingredients in one bowl and whisking them together.
Then in another bowl, you’ll combine butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla and mint extract, and top it off with some food gel paste to give it that essential Grinchy green.
You’ll even be using a mixer so your arms won’t get tired from mixing the dough by hand. A stand mixer will even relieve you of any and all work!
See? That’s not so hard.
Have patience with the dough
It will start out crumbly, but after a few minutes of mixing it will start to come together to form a dough that’s sort of the consistency of playdough (I know, what an appetizing comparison, hah).
So if it’s still forming large crumbs, keep at it – it’s going to come together and just needs a little more time!
Roll the dough into balls
You want to roll each portion of dough between the palms of your hands (rather than leaving them the way they plop out of the cookie scoop ). Doing this will give them a more uniform result, and they’re spread more and crinkle on top.
If you don’t roll them, they’ll stay puffier, be more uneven, and have a different texture in the end.
Adding a heart
Quite frankly, the hardest part is going to be placing the little heart sprinkle on top of each cookie when it comes out of the oven. You have to do it quickly before the cookies set, so have them at the ready!
You’ll gently press them in enough so they stick, but not so hard that it looks like the cookie is consuming its own heart. That’s pretty dark, even for me.
You could press the hearts into the tops of the cookies before baking to avoid having the mini rush when they come out of the oven, but they just come out looking a little bit different and not as clean looking.
Plus, when the cookies bake and spread, the heart might not end up where you thought it would be!
Don’t like mint?
Simply omit it! I know some people think mint just reminds them of toothpaste, so if you’re one of those people just leave it out – no harm, no foul.
You could also swap the mint extract for peppermint – but as that has a strong flavor, I’d start with ½ teaspoon and increase it if you like a stronger peppermint flavor.
You could also do a 1:1 swap of another flavor extract if you’d like to mix things up!
Try rolling in sugar for added decoration and flavor
You can roll each ball of dough in granulated sugar or powdered sugar for a little added somethin’ somethin’.
The granulated sugar makes them a little sparkly, but the powdered sugar kinda looks like snow!
Great for Christmas cookie exchanges
What you’ll end up with is this batch of completely adorable Grinch cookies that are absolute perfection for your holiday cookie exchanges. Not only will they be cute and tasty, they’re a great little conversation starter.
Kids and adults alike will be clamoring to get their hands on one – and lord knows they’re totally Instagram-worthy.
After you’ve made this recipe, please consider coming back to share your experience with others by leaving a comment below with a star rating!
Grinch Crinkle Cookies
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup unsalted butter, softened
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract, (yes, Tablespoon!)
- 1 teaspoon mint extract, or less, to taste (can omit, if desired)
- Green gel food coloring paste, start with 4 drops and add as needed for desired color
- Heart-shaped sprinkles, aff link
- Preheat oven to 375°F and position the baking rack in the middle. Line two baking sheets with nonstick silicon mats or parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
- In a separate large bowl with a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a hand mixer, beat to combine sugar and butter and light and fluffy.
- Add eggs, vanilla and mint extracts and beat to combine.
- Add half the flour mixture, mix on low speed to combine, then add the rest and mix until combined. The dough will be crumbly for the first couple minutes, but will start to come together around minute 3 – keep mixing until it does!
- Add 4 drops of gel paste and beat to fully combine and there are no longer white streaks in the dough. Add more food coloring to get to your desired color, keeping in mind that the color will fade *slightly* during baking.
- Use a medium cookie scoop (1 ½ tablespoons) to portion dough. Roll each between the palms of your hands to form a ball, then place each ball of dough onto the prepared baking sheets, with no more than 6 on each sheet (they need room to spread while baking).
- This step is optional: Roll each ball of dough in powdered sugar or granulated sugar for a little extra decoration!
- Roll each ball of dough in your hands to shape into a smooth ball and press down on the top of each slightly. Bake for 8 minutes, or until the cookies have started to crinkle – they will set and crinkle more as they cool.
- As soon as you remove them from the oven, press a heart sprinkle into the top of each cookie. Let cool on baking sheets for a few minutes, and then move to wire racks to cool completely. Enjoy!
- Moisture: The size of the eggs you use can make a difference! If they’re smaller in size, you may lose a little of the needed moisture. If you find your mixture too dry, you can add a little melted butter or oil. Keep in mind, the dough will start out crumbly but will come together after about 3 minutes of mixing.
- Placing the hearts: If you’d like, you can place the heart sprinkles on top before baking – you just won’t be guaranteed they’ll be placed exactly where you wanted once they bake and spread.
- Don’t like mint? Simply omit it! I know some people think mint just reminds them of toothpaste :) You could also swap the mint extract for peppermint – but as that has a strong flavor, I’d start with ½ teaspoon and increase it if you like a stronger peppermint flavor.
Note: My original recipe from 2015 called for two different forms of butter – one softened, and another melted. To make the recipe easier, in December 2021 I have tweaked it a bit to use only softened butter (slightly more than the original recipe) and a slightly different method of combining the cookie dough. While I love the original recipe, I want it to be easy to follow! The resulting cookies are almost exactly the same – enjoy, and Happy Holidays!