Our easy and crowdpleasing cookie swap recipes and clever ideas can help with hosting this festive event. 

Hayley Sugg
December 13, 2017

With the holiday season in full swing, it's time to gather up friends and family for a delicious cookie swap. Trading baked goods, along with recipes and stories, can make for a fun (and tasty) winter event. Make things easier, and be prepared for hosting the ultimate party, by following our four tips below for organizing your next cookie swap. 

Invite Friends

Let your friends know several weeks before your intended event date. Send them paper invites or keep things purely digital with an email invitation. Be sure to state in your invites for guests to RSVP and let you know what cookies they intend to bake, that way you can double check that there will be no overlap from multiple guests. The ideal amount of cookie swap participants is around 10-15 (depending on how large your party space is) to make it a manageable size. 

Lay Some Ground Rules

Each cookie swap host's preferences will be different, so it's helpful to set some ground rules for guests. You might want to specify that cookies need to be homemade with no 'slice and bake' or store-bought goodies being brought. Specifying what amount of cookies is needed (a good rule of thumb is half a dozen cookies per guest) can help prevent one person from slaving over dozens and dozens of cookies, while another may arrive with only a small box to share.

BYOC (Bring Your Own Container)

Each guest should also bring their own container to store their newly swapped cookies in for taking home. These can be as simple as a foil food pan or parchment paper-lined box. If guests are looking to go a more reusable route, suggest that they invest in one of our 7 Christmas Cookie Tray Alternatives That Can Be Reused Year Round.

Sharing Is Caring

There will undoubtedly be conversations at your cookie swap about recipes. People will want to know how they got that chewy texture with their sugar cookies, or just what the secret spice was in those gingerbread men. There are two easy ways to ensure that everyone leaves with these beloved recipe in-tow. Either ask that every attendant bring printed out recipe cards for other guests, or make a 'master doc' of recipes from guests and print out a copy for everyone. With whichever way you choose, guests will leave with both cookies and some new favorite recipes. 

Set Up Your Space

Clear off a large table or counter for presenting each guest's cookies. Have trays for each cookie type to be displayed on and make small labels for each to note which variety they are (you can even include the name of who baked them if you'd like.) While the main focus of the event (obviously) will be on the cookies, be sure to prepare a small spread of savory snacks and drinks for guests to help avoid a sugar overload. Along with refreshments, have a few extra cookie containers on-hand for any guests who may have forgotten theirs. 

Cookie Swap Recipes and Ideas

The planning is done—so let the baking begin! We’ve pulled together our best cookie exchange recipes, from chocolate peppermint cookies to chewy gingerbread cookies, to get you started. First off, determine how many cookies you’ll need to make for the cookie exchange, then adjust your recipe accordingly. If you’re baking for a crowd, stick to recipes that won’t tie you to the kitchen all day. Lastly, if one of your guests is gluten-free, nut-free, vegan, or dairy-free, make sure there’s ample cookies at your party that everyone can enjoy.

Iced Whole-Wheat Sugar Cookies

Photo: Jennifer Causey

Dazzle guests at your cookie swap with these stunning cut-out sugar cookies. Icing cookies can be a time consuming mess, so we’ve come up with a clever shortcut. Instead, we drizzle a simple icing over the cookies, then sprinkle with sparkling sugar for extra pizzazz. View Recipe: Iced Whole-Wheat Sugar Cookies

Matcha Chocolate Crackle Cookies

Ground matcha gives these crispy cookies a light green hue and subtle earthy flavor—think of them as jazzed-up chocolate crinkle cookies. Give these treats a holiday makeover by topping each cookie with gold non-pareils before baking. View Recipe: Matcha Chocolate Crackle Cookies

Lemon Cheesecake Bars with Gingersnap Crust

Photo: Alison Miksch

Make these tangy, spiced cheesecake bars a day ahead and let them chill overnight. With striking color and vibrant flavor, these stunning bars won’t last long at your cookie exchange. Because these bars can be delicate, avoid stacking them during transporting if possible—instead, arrange on a large platter and cover loosely with plastic wrap. View Recipe: Lemon Cheesecake Bars with Gingersnap Crust

Photo: Jennifer Causey

White Chocolate Tahini Cookies

These creamy, chewy tahini cookies make for an elevated spin on the classic peanut butter cookie. Our recipe adds chopped white chocolate into the batter, but dark chocolate, dried cranberries, macadamia nuts, or a combination would also be delicious. View Recipe: White Chocolate Tahini Cookies

Fudgy Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

Photo: Linda Pugliese; Styling: Kaitlyn Du Ross Walker

Crushed peppermint candy cane gives these soft, fudgy cookies a touch of holiday spirit. This easy recipe comes together in under 45 minutes, making it the perfect last-minute recipe if you’re scrambling for ideas. View Recipe: Fudgy Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

Chewy Molasses Cookies

Photo: Alison Miksch

Soft, chewy molasses cookies are always crowdpleasers at holiday cookie swaps. This easy molasses cookie recipe comes together quickly and boasts a trio of cozy spices—cinnamon, ginger, and cloves—that make for plenty of comforting flavors. View Recipe: Chewy Molasses Cookies

Chocolate Bark with Caramelized Quinoa

Photo: Jennifer Causey

With just four ingredients, this super simple chocolate bark recipe boasts whole grain goodness from uncooked quinoa. Because chocolate is temperature and light sensitive, make sure to keep the bark in a cool, dry, and dark place. Room temperature is best, as moisture in refrigerators can cause chocolate to discolor. View Recipe: Chocolate Bark with Caramelized Quinoa

Need more inspiration? Our 100 Healthy Cookies recipe collection has delicious ideas for chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal cookies, peanut butter cookies, and more.