Santa’s Favorite Cookies

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Santa’s Favorite Cookies are soft brown sugar pudding cookies, stuffed with Christmas colored M&M’s and festive sprinkles. I mean, I can only assume these are Santa’s Favorite Cookies. They sure as heck are some of mine!


Santas Favorite Cookies - they must be because they're so good! And easy pudding cookie recipe filled with brown sugar and Christmas candy!

Okay, so I gotta say. I’m kind of in the mood for Christmas now. Even as recent as a few days ago I was completely bah humbug, but now…now I’m excited for the lights and the music, the family and the parties, and the shopping.

(And the cookies…don’t ever forget the cookies!)

I think my shift in thinking really started a few days before Thanksgiving. Kohls started their online Black Friday sale early and I bought a bunch of stuff for $100. Something about buying all the expensive things and realizing they only cost you about $10 a piece really got me in the mood for the holidays.

I know, shopping got me in the Christmas spirit; somewhere in the North Pole Santa is rolling his eyes.

Speaking of Santa, I happen to know that these are his favorite cookies. I mean, why wouldn’t they be? They’re brown sugar pudding cookies filled with bright firecracker Christmas sprinkles and holiday M&Ms.

Santa’s favorite cookies – well, they are my favorite cookies…why shouldn’t they be his?

Santa's Favorite Cookies - an easy pudding cookie recipe.

This cookie recipe is such an easy one, and it’s totally foolproof. I am so in love with pudding cookies, obviously. You can make so many flavor combinations: chocolate, butterscotch, coconut, lemon. If they make a pudding mix for that flavor, you can make that flavor cookie.

For this pudding cookie recipe, I used all brown sugar, which is the same as the one I made for the 4th of July. I knew I had to replicate that cookie for Christmas because second to red, white, and blue, red and green is my favorite color combo.

(Besides teal and teal, that is.)

The cookie dough mixes together easily, with butter and brown sugar and vanilla pudding mix. Brown sugar and pudding mix by themselves yield super soft and pillowy cookies, but when used together? It’s like a soft cookie to the extreme. And they stay soft for days – no stale cookies here!

(Santa’s favorite cookies would NOT be stale cookies!)

Leave these on a plate with a tall glass of milk or eggnog and Santa will be sure to stop and stay awhile. (If the cookies last that long, that is!)

Santas Favorite Cookies - they must be because they're so good! And easy pudding cookie recipe filled with brown sugar and Christmas candy!

What are your favorite Christmas cookies??

A few notes about the recipe for Santa’s Favorite Cookies:

  • The dough requires chilling, so be sure to plan for that.
  • Be sure to use instant pudding mix, not cook-n-serve. You just need one of the small boxes, which is about 3.4 ounces, depending on the brand.
  • Get creative – use any flavor pudding mix. Have a craving for butterscotch? Use butterscotch pudding mix. Or coconut. Or chocolate. Or banana…you get my drift.
  • Beware: these go down easily. If you want to save them for Santa, be sure to hide some in the freezer. 🙂


Santa's Favorite Cookies
4.13 from 8 votes

Santa's Favorite Cookies

What are Santa's Favorite Cookies? These easy brown sugar pudding cookies, of course! Soft and pillowy, these cookies are filled with brown sugar and Christmas candy!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword cookies
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Chill time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 24 cookies
Calories 127 kcal
Author Dorothy Kern


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar packed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 3.4 ounces box Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix (not sugar free)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup red and green sprinkles or any colors
  • 3/4 cup Christmas M&Ms or any color of M&M


  1. Note: This dough requires chilling.
  2. Cream butter and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. (You can also use a hand mixer.) Mix in egg and vanilla until smooth. Add pudding mix, baking soda, and salt. Mix until combined. Mix in flour, then stir in sprinkles and M&Ms.
  3. Scoop 2 tablespoon balls of cookie dough onto a cookie sheet covered with parchment or a silpat baking mat. There’s no need to space them out, you’re going to chill them. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or silpat baking mats. Place chilled cookie dough balls 2” apart on cookie sheet. Bake 9-11 minutes or until the edges just start to turn brown. Cool 5 minutes on cookie sheet before transferring to a rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days or freeze for up to one month.

Recipe Video

Nutrition Facts
Santa's Favorite Cookies
Amount Per Serving (1 cookie)
Calories 127 Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g 8%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Cholesterol 18mg 6%
Sodium 57mg 2%
Potassium 18mg 1%
Total Carbohydrates 17g 6%
Sugars 12g
Protein 1g 2%
Vitamin A 2.9%
Calcium 1.7%
Iron 2.6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Click here to see more of my Christmas cookie recipes!

More pudding cookie recipes to love:

Triple Dark Chocolate Pudding Cookies

Triple Dark Chocolate Pudding Cookies (11 of 11)

Butterscotch Molasses Pudding Cookies

Butterscotch Molasses Pudding Cookies by #cookies #Christmas

White Chocolate Peppermint Blossom Pudding Cookies

Triple White Chocolate Peppermint Blossoms by | A soft white chocolate pudding cookie with Peppermint Kisses!

Sweets from friends:
White Chocolate Snickerdoodle Pudding Cookies by Something Swanky
Chocolate Chunk Peppermint Pudding Cookies by Chef in Training
Biscoff S’mores Pudding Cookies, by Inside BruCrew Life
Chocolate Chunk Pecan Pudding Cookies by Melissa’s Southern Style Kitchen

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  1. These look delicious. I am compiling my favorite cookie recipes and have been adding new ones. These just made the cut!

    Thank you for sharing

  2. These cookies look amazing Dorothy, I love the red and green colours. I can see why these are Santa’s favourite!x

  3. These cookies look so festive and even more delicious! Love the m&ms AND sprinkles in there 🙂

  4. Honestly, it took me a while to get down with the holidays too. But now since Black Friday is online, I can totally groove with this season and all the spirit. Plus, the twinkly lights are pretty.
    And these cookies are gorgeous. Love them!!

  5. Well of course Santa loves these cookies – they have all the wonderful things in them!  Thanks for kicking off cookie season in such a festive way!

  6. Great Christmas cookies!

  7. Pudding cookies are the best! Love them so much. They are always sooo soft. And with the sprinkles and the M&Ms, you can’t go wrong! The more the merrier!

  8. I can’t believe I’ve never tried pudding mix in cookies before! I always use it when I make divinity, but I still need to try this. The texture looks great. I have no doubt that Santa would love them.

  9. I’ve never attempted pudding mix in cookies.
    That might be something I HAVE to try…

  10. I’m one of those people who’s always ready for Christmas…and cookies!  These look so festive and perfect for Santa!  : )  My son would love them and I’m so curious about the pudding mix!

  11. These are so cheerful! 

  12. I actually have never heard of pudding cookies, but they sound delectable!

  13. These are so festive Dorothy, love them! They are Santa and MY favorite cookies 😀

  14. I still have not tried pudding cookies. Crazy talk, I know! These look and sound SO good. I can see why they would be Santa’s faves. ;-D

  15. I’m sure these are Santa’s favorite cookies :)!

  16. HA! Santa’s favorite cookies? More like MY favorite once I make these because they’ll be long gone before Santa can step foot in my house 😉

  17. Forget Santa…I want a big plate of these awesome cookies!  Pudding cookies are one of my favorites!!!  

  18. Well I don’t know about Santa but I sure love pudding mix cookies!

  19. Think I’ll try Pistactio pudding, make t even more Christmasy!

  20. Well, if these are Santa’s favorite, I’m sure they’ll be mine, too! This year I’m behind schedule. Usually I’d already have all my shopping done. Maybe these cookies will give me the energy to finish 😉

  21. Hi! These look delicious! One question, for the sprinkles do you use the long shaped ones or the crunchy sugar crystal sprinkles. Thanks can’t wait to make these!

  22. from cookie picture , it looks like you maybe added m&m’s to the top of cookies, did you? And if you did, was it after they come out of the oven? 
    Thank You

  23. I’m making these now and having a problem.  I baked them for 15 minutes already, they are still not spreading out and are not getting brown.  I’ve never had trouble with any type of cookie before.  Should they rest on the counter after the chilling, before the baking?

  24. I cannot leave this web site alone…..Love everything on it…just wanted to know if I could make carrot cheesecake cupcakes in to a cake instead…would love feedback,,, Thank you Pam

    • I don’t see why not! It’s probably more than a 9″ round but less than a 9×13, so you might have to play with the pan size a little. Let me know if you try it out how it works!

  25. 2 tablespoons of dough for each cookie, is that correct? thanks

  26. I was just about to look for a sugar cookie recipe to make with my daughter. Would these work to use with cookie cutters or are they too soft from the pudding? Either way, I think I am going to have to make them.

  27. May be a dumb question, but when you say “chill,” do you mean in the fridge or the freezer?

  28. These cookies are adorable. They’ve definitely got me feeling festive.

  29. Do you have to press balls down?

  30. Are you suppose actually make the pudding before adding it to the mix or do you just add the dry  mixture? 

  31. Did you make the pudding before adding it to the mixture or did you just add the dry contents of the pudding mixture? 

  32. Made the Santa’s favorite cookies & they turned out SO hard, we could hammer nails on the wall with them!

    • I’d love to troubleshoot with you – I really don’t know what went wrong. Can you let me know if you made any substitutions? Or if you scoop your flour or spoon it (maybe too much was added?) Those cookies are usually soft no matter what because of the pudding – I’ve made them so many times and they’ve always been soft, even if I over bake them.

  33. These cookies rule. I’ve made them with vanilla pudding and chocolate pudding. With different flavored M&Ms too. Thank you for my go-to cookie recipe. Make them with rainbow sprinkles when its not the holidays. 🙂

  34. Silly question but I don’t have room to put the cookies on the cookie sheet to chill, can you just chill the dough and then make the cookies and bake them?

  35. Came out flat like pancakes. :/

  36. I used real butter and I had them in the fridge for like 40 minutes.

    • That is very strange. I’ve never had them flatten like that because the pudding mix keeps them puffy. Did you use a normal (not sugar-free) pudding mix? The only thing I can think is that maybe your butter was extra soft before starting so maybe they needed to chill longer. You should be able to touch the dough and not have any transfer to your hands before baking.

  37. They just came out of the oven and they are delish! Thank you for sharing! I’m making them for a cookie dough exchange!

  38. Can you refrigerate the dough overnight and cook next day?

  39. I know you just answered Mycah’s question of refrigerating overnight and I wanted to add to it.

    Do you know how long you can refrigerate the dough for?

    I want to make it tonight but because I know they will be gone as soon as I finish baking them I don’t want to start actually baking them until this Saturday (so it would be in the fridge for at least 2 days).

    Also when you refrigerate the dough overnight (or longer than the recipe calls for), do you have to wait for it to thaw some or can I just pop them on my cookie sheet and put them straight in the oven?

    Thank you!!

    • You can leave them in the fridge that long for sure. You might just want to let them warm up outside the fridge while you preheat the oven, and if they’re super hard you can flatten them slightly with the palm of your hand. I like them cold going into the oven – it makes them more puffy and doughy inside.

  40. Can you use Truvia Brown Sugar Blend? It would use 1/4C plus 2T instead of the 3/4C of regular brown sugar.

  41. They turned out delicious.

  42. These turned out great! Really glad I made them 🙂

  43. I’m wondering if the dough can be frozen prior to baking. I’d love to just pop the formed cookies on a cookie sheet out of the freezer. I’m afraid if I bake them all at once, they’ll all be gone by Christmas 😉

  44. It says store up to 4 days, do they go bad? I want to make them but will not be eaten til party on Saturday. Should I freeze them?

  45. Made them. Sorry to say they aren’t anything special

  46. We LOVE these cookies. We make them for pretty much all of the holidays and just use sprinkles/M&Ms to go with the holiday. We keep them in the freezer and they thaw perfectly. They are even good frozen!

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