Homemade Jingles Cookies

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Jingles Cookies: sweet shortbread cookies with anise extract. You’ll love these melt in your mouth Christmas cookies covered in red and green sprinkled!

For more festive cookies, be sure to try these Italian Ricotta cookies. Our family is obsessed with the soft texture and sweet glaze! Or try our Coconut Macaroons…we even dipped the bottoms in chocolate!

Stack of jingle cookies on parchment paper.
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What Are Jingles?

Jingles are shortbread cookies flavored with pure anise extract and a touch of nutmeg. They used to show up in stores around November, sprinkled with red and green for the season!

You can imagine how disappointed I was then when this year’s package of Jingles didn’t taste as delicious as I remembered. I can’t put my finger on it but they just don’t have that “zip” that makes them special anymore.

I searched for a recipe to make homemade jingles cookies and came up empty handed. So, I did what any food blogger would do: attempted to create my own!

These Homemade Jingles Cookies beat the store bought ones by a mile.

The flavor is spot on, just like I remembered! You’ll love these as an alternative to the Keebler classics or as a way to mix up your rotation of Christmas cookies!

Ingredient Notes

Ingredients needed to make jingles cookies including anise extract.
  • Anise – These cookies get their signature flavor from pure anise extract added to the dough. The recipe lists 1.5 teaspoons but you can add more or less depending on how strong you want the anise flavor to be. I usually end up adding closer to 2 teaspoons!
  • Powdered sugar- Using powdered sugar gives these cookies the familiar melt-in-your mouth texture. There’s no substitute that I know of that creates cookies with quite the same consistency!
  • Sprinkles – I used red and green sugar crystal sprinkles to keep the Christmas theme. Feel free to mix up the colors for different occasions and make them all year round.

Easy Instructions

Step by step photos showing how to make jingles anise cookies.

Start by beating the powdered sugar and butter, then mix in the remaining ingredients (except sprinkles) to form a crumbly dough.

Use your hands to press the dough into a ball, wrap with plastic cling wrap and shape into a log. Chill the dough while you preheat the oven.

After 30 minutes, unwrap the log of dough and cut the cookies in slices 1/4 inch thick. Sprinkle the unbaked cookies with sugar crystals and bake for 13 to 15 minutes.

So easy and oh so delicious!

Tips & Tricks

  • Instead of chilling slicing cookies, you can roll sections of dough into 2 inch balls and press them into disks with the bottom of a drinking glass! Dampen the glass with water and press into granulated sugar to keep the cookie dough from sticking.
  • For an even easier cutting method, press the cookie dough into a rectangle, sprinkle with the sugar crystals and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Slice the cookie rectangle into squares or other desired shape as soon as you remove them from the oven.
  • Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature. Enjoy within a week for best freshness!
Stack of jingles cookies broken in half.

Recipe FAQs

I don’t have anise extract. Can I substitute something else?

Without the anise, Jingles aren’t Jingles! However, you can still make these as a simple plain shortbread cookie if you like by replacing the anise with vanilla. Just don’t call them Jingles!

Do shortbread cookies freeze well?

You can freeze shortbread cookies but the sugar crystals will bleed color into the cookies as they thaw. The cookies will still taste good but won’t look quite as neat!

Can you make these without chilling the dough?

Chilling the dough log helps firm it up enough to slice into disks. If you don’t have time to wait, use a drinking glass to press balls of dough into flat circles before baking. (See Tips & Tricks above.)

Anise cookies with red and green sprinkles on parchment paper baking sheet.

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Homemade Jingles Cookies

4.82 from 44 votes
By: Aimee
Jingles Cookies: sweet shortbread cookies with anise extract. You'll love these melt in your mouth Christmas cookies!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Chill Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 40 cookies


  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 ¾ cup all purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 ½ teaspoons pure anise extract
  • red/green sugar crystal sprinkles
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  • In mixer, beat butter and powdered sugar until combined. Add in flour, salt, nutmeg and anise extract. Mixture will be crumbly, use hands to form a ball. Lay on saran wrap and roll into a log shape. Wrap up tightly and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut slices of cookies 1/4 inch thick and lay on baking sheet. Sprinkle with red/green sugar. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 13-15 minutes. Cool completely and store in air tight container. ENJOY!


  • Other options for cookies include scooping dough into 2Tbsp balls, rolling, pressing with the bottom of a glass, then sprinkling with sugars. Bake for 15 minutes (makes about 24 cookies).
  • Or you can press into a 14×10-inch rectangle and bake for 20-25 minutes. Cut into slices or squares immediately after removing from oven, then cool and enjoy.
  • Add more or less anise extract for your preference. I usually add closer to 2 tsp anise, but some people enjoy just a hint, at 1 tsp.


Calories: 70kcal, Carbohydrates: 6g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 12mg, Sodium: 9mg, Sugar: 2g
Course: Cookies
Cuisine: American
Did you make this recipe?Mention @shugarysweets or tag #shugarysweets!

Santa loves Jingles Cookies and so will you! This homemade version has all the irresistible anise flavor of the packaged originals but tastes even fresher because you made them yourself.

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About Aimee

Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

Learn more about Aimee.

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Posted on December 22, 2020

Comments & Reviews

  1. 4 stars
    I used 2 tsp of anise extract and still barely taste it. My cookies tasted mostly like a standard butter cookie. Both times I’ve tried these my dough was not crumbly, it was almost too wet. Thinking of trying these with less butter and more extract. Hopefully the flavor of this batch with get stronger as they cool.

    1. I’m replying to myself to say that I took these to a family gathering and the folks who like the Santa’s Favorites (similar to but not quite like the Jingles of 30+ years ago) liked these even more. I think I’d also like these with lemon extract instead.

    2. I wonder if your anise extract has gone bad? Two teaspoons is usually more than enough, so not sure why you wouldn’t taste it.

    3. 5 stars
      Same. Brand new anise extract, and it’s still a fainter taste than the original cookie. Very good tho! I gave some as a gift and they enjoyed them!

  2. My dough is currently chilling in the fridge and I can’t wait to see how close these are to tge orig8bal little cookie companies Noel/Jingles cookies that disappeared when they closed their cookies company in the 90’s to then see their name and likeness but without having any anise in the Keebler knock off version that came out about a decade after the little cookie company closed up shop, then Salerno bought the rights to the original recipe and came our with Santa’s Favorite Anise Christmas cookies which nailed the flavor but still were a bit off. Salerno has since nmbeen bought our by an Italian cookie company and have not released any of Santa’s Favorites since ownership switched hands so I finally decided to play around with different recipes I’ve used in the past with no success. Hopefully I will have exactly what I have been yearning for since tge 90’s once I bake up a batch of these. They were my mothers favorite so I’m hoping gese will replace those familiar bites we’d see every Chrustmas.

  3. 5 stars
    My husband (Buffalo transplant to my native California) said these were even better than the Jingles he remembered from Christmas in western NY. (Which is the best answer someone should give if you are making them special cookies). These were great- light and buttery and the anise flavoring does make them special. I used 2 teaspoons also.

  4. 5 stars
    OMGOSH 😳 I was instantly transported back to my childhood in the 60’s 😌
    This is a simple cookie to make yet chocked full of taste and memories. TYSM 🙏🏻
    Yummy 🤤
    P.S. I added 2 tsp of anise extract

  5. The 1st time I made this I followed the recipe exactly. My husband wanted a little bit more anise flavor so I doubled the extract for the 2nd batch. We absolutely love these thank you for sharing your recipe.

    1. I just made a batch with GF flour. Most cookie recipes are easily converted. Simply add an extra couple tablespoons of flour.

  6. Very close to Jingles! Taste is there for sure! Do you think if we made them thinner they’d be better?
    Thanks for sharing

  7. So I attempted to make these today, hoping to relive my childhood. I followed the recipe exactly, but the dough was super crumbly. I managed to get it into a log shape in syran wrap, but when I went to slice it after chilling, it just crumbled with each slice. I had to toss the whole batch. Any suggestions as to what I did wrong?

    1. Make sure to measure your flour correctly. Don’t “Scoop” the flour. Spoon it into the measuring cup, makes a difference!

  8. Holy Mother of Dragons, these are good! They came out crispy with an amazing flavor. These are going to be my new holiday traditional cookie. Thanks for ANOTHER great recipe.

  9. The reason they taste different these days is because Salerno ( a company from Buffalo, NY) originally made them. Keener somehow acquired the recipe and now makes a poor imitation of the holiday cookies that Buffalonians waited all year for a month’s long binge of.

      1. No, Salerno made jingles, anise flavored. The good ones. Keebler bought the name, and shapes. They aren’t the same at all and are not anise flavored. Avoid those. Salerno still produces the original cookies under the name of “Santa’s Favorites”. They haven’t been jingles for years now, but they are the same cookies.

  10. I tried these and they turned out really nice but my family did not like the anise flavoring.  Just too strong for them. Great recipe for those who do.  

  11. Trying out the recipe for the first time…hope they have that “Jingles” flavor. I eliminated the chilling, rolling and cutting steps by shaping the dough into balls and pressing each one flat with the bottom of a drinking glass. To keep the dough from sticking, dampen the bottom of the glass with a little water and dip it into granulated white sugar before pressing each ball. After pressing, decorate with the colored sugar before baking. This little hack saves time and you can press your cookies thinner than if you cut them.

4.82 from 44 votes (40 ratings without comment)

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