Hand holding a flower-shape cut out cookie.

Happy Holidays Honey-Sweetened Cut Out Cookie Recipe

honey sweetened holiday cutout cookies refined sugar free healthy sugar cookie alternative

Reminiscent of an animal cracker in taste, albeit softer, these honey “sugar cookies” are a delight to make and eat. I like that the recipe doesn’t require large amounts of honey, so cost wise it’s not an expensive refined-sugar-free treat.

A couple weeks ago, I sent this recipe to my friend Marissa (her instagram) asking if she wanted to try them gluten free, as her family eats fully gluten free due to a celiac in the family. She made them the next morning, and on the second try she had them figured! See her recipe here.

A friend asked me if they are more of a “chewy” or “crispy” sugar cookie and it could be either, depending on how long you bake them for.

Overhead shot of cut out cookies on a cooling rack.

We enjoy these just on their own as little cracker cookies, not overly sweet but deliciously “more-ish” as my Grandma would say. I don’t feel too guilty having these around for the kids to snack on. They are also perfect for freezing so you don’t find yourself eating too many at once.

While we do enjoy them plain, if you need a vehicle for dressing up and decorating at Christmas, Valentines, Easter, etc…these are just the ticket! Just whip up your favorite frosting and go to town with the sprinkles. Both you and the kids will have a blast. (Okokok sometimes it makes me want to spike the eggnog too ?)

Two girls on a wood table licking the spatulas from mixing cookie dough.

This is definitely an all day sort of recipe. You’ll want to give the dough time to chill in the fridge so that it’s easier to roll and cut. Do keep watch of the time though, as you don’t want them in there too long. You can make it the night before, but then just let it rest on the counter a bit before rolling out so it isn’t too firm.

Children cutting out rolled out cookie dough.

If you don’t have a bunch of cookie cutters on hand, don’t fret. Just grab a jar or drinking glass and cut out circles. Your biscuit cutters will also work and in a pinch, just cut out rough squares using a knife. The flavor and homemade nature make up for the lack of pretty shapes.

Cut out cookies on a cooling rack.
Print Recipe
4.95 from 35 votes

Honey Sweetened Holiday Cut Out Cookies

Enjoy your holiday with these sugar cookies. Using honey makes them naturally-sweetened (no refined sugar here!) and you don't use a lot so they are cost-effective.
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time1 hr 15 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 5 dozen
Calories: 56kcal


  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened/at room temp
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat honey and butter until well combined, scraping the bowl a few times if needed. Add in egg, vanilla and salt, mix well. Mix in flour until well combined.
  • It will still be a little sticky but scoop it into a container and chill for 30-60 minutes (If it ends up in fridge overnight, you may need to let it sit on counter a bit to warm up as it may be too firm…)
  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Divide dough in half and roll dough out on a floured surface to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out your desired shapes, and transfer to cookie sheets lined with parchment or silpats. Re-roll scraps and cut out some more!
  • Bake for 8 minutes, turn trays around, and bake another 5 minutes, until edges are just getting gently browned. If you want them crispy and not chewy, bake a few more minutes.
  • Cool, decorate to your hearts content, and enjoy!


I fill 3 half-sheet pans with this batch of dough, which is approximately 5 dozen cookies for me. It depends on how big you make your shapes, but hopefully this gives you a good idea of yield.


Calories: 56kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 11mg | Sodium: 21mg | Potassium: 9mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 99IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 2mg | Iron: 1mg
Cut out cookies on a cooling rack.

Want more holiday goodies to warm your home?


  • Wendy

    Any suggestions to make it dairy free? My brother has issues. I am going to attempt commercial lard as I don’t have any good stuff at present.

  • Amanda

    We love these! They hold their shape way better than any traditional recipe we’ve used. And I don’t mind the kiddos eating a bunch because they aren’t full of sugar.

    • Wendy

      Yes, most recipes can be modified like that. I only use salted butter and if a recipe calls for unsalted I use a 1/4 tsp less salt in the recipe per cup of butter.

  • Leesif

    These are great. They hold together well and are a great alternative to the sugar-filled holiday season without giving up traditions ?

  • Wendy

    This is totally a comment for the giveaway, as I already commented when I first made the cookies, but I love the cookies. I made them dairy free because my brother is coming next week and there aren’t any left already… I have 5 kids who love cookies though so maybe I just need to make more…

  • Rachel

    They are so simple to whip up and a great alternative to my great grandma’s sugar cookies that we normally make. Thanks for sharing a healthier alternative!

  • Nathania R Norman

    Made these yesterday and they were a hit with 2 of 3..the 3rd wanted more sugar…?. But I love that these are low sugar! We didn’t get 5 dozen but will be making them again!

  • Krystine

    A-MA-ZING holiday cookies! The list of ingredients is super clean, the dough is EASY TO ROLL and the whole family LOVED them!

  • HealthyLivingwithChristene

    I was hesitant to try these because my family already has a cut out cookie we love but these were so good too. My husband preferred these to our normal.

  • Amanda Mowery

    Made these with a 1:1 GF flour, mixed up so easily! I did roll them a bit thin and then over cooked them so they were a bit tough but that didn’t stop us from eating them! I’ll make it again with GF flour and because they were so easy will probably make some with regular flour as well.

  • Mariah Babcock

    Mmm, these sound so good! I love sugar cookies without frosting and these sound perfect for that. May give them a try this Christmas.

  • Lauren

    Just made these. They exceeded my expectation! I like honey in my tea but I’m not an overly huge fan of it. The dough smelt and tasted very much like honey so I was a little sceptical. But once baked you can hardly taste the honey. They’re delicious! Love them.

  • Mackenzie Norlander

    Making these as we speak!
    Had one off the first tray already and they are so good!
    I made them gluten free using Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 GF baking flour. Turned out great!

  • Amanda

    These are SO awesome. Added a tsp of cinnamon to one of my batches (yes, we made many batches of these!) And they turned out so great! The regular ones are also delicious, but the cinnamon addes a holiday spice that my family loved! Gave these as a gift to my raw dairy farmer, who also loved them! As always, amazong recipe, Kate! Love that they are honey sweetened, too. I feel better about my kiddo eating these at will lol

  • Sheila

    I was only searching for a recipe without refined sugar, but made other replacements as necessary for the person I was making them for. I used 3 cups of oat flour instead of wheat flour, 1 Tbs of chia seeds and 3 Tbs of water instead of an egg, and olive-oil-based dairy-free spread instead of butter. These are DELICIOUS!! And vegan (well, some vegans eat honey and some don’t, but anyway…) and gluten-free, too.

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