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The merriest of all Christmas cookies! Santa’s Whiskers Cookies are soft slice and bake cookies flavored with almond, studded with cherries, and rolled in coconut.

stack of Santa's whiskers cookies

Can you believe it’s already day 4 of 2018 Sally’s Cookie Palooza? If you’re just joining us, here are all the recipes published so far this week:

Today I’m sharing an adorably named slice and bake cookie known as Santa’s Whiskers Cookies. My sister-in-law told me about these cookies last Christmas and I waited all year to bake them. Rolled in coconut, these almond flavored cookies are bejeweled with festive cherries and baked until golden around the edges. Aren’t they pretty?

Santa's whiskers cookies with white chocolate drizzle on a white plate

Let’s talk about Slice and Bake Cookies. There are many cookies I obsess over, but if one type of cookie were to win 1st place… it would be the slice and bake cookie.

Slice and Bake Cookies

I love baking slice and bake cookies because sometimes I don’t feel like rolling 2 dozen cookie dough balls. Who’s with me? Instead of rolling each individual cookie, you roll the cookie dough into logs, then slice the logs into discs. These discs are your cookies. It’s literally so easy. Here are some you can try:

2 images of Santa's whiskers cookie dough in a glass bowl and cookie dough add ins in bowls
2 images of 2 logs of slice and bake cookie dough rolled in coconut on a white plate and a log of cookie dough cut into slices

All the Good Stuff about Santa’s Whiskers Cookies!

  • Easy ingredients: sugar, flour, butter, egg.
  • There’s no leavener, so the cookies are extra dense and buttery.
  • 1 bowl recipe.
  • Since you’re slicing the dough, you control the thickness.
  • Soft and thick in the centers!
  • So festive with cherry and almond.
  • Crunchy crumbly toasted coconut edges = coconut is Santa’s “whiskers” 🙂
  • Make ahead. Make the dough, roll into logs, chill for up to 5 days, slice then bake.

I have some success tips for you. First, divide the cookie dough in half and roll into 2 logs. Smaller logs are easier to roll in the coconut. Chilling the cookie dough logs is imperative to the recipe. The cookie dough is very buttery and without time in the refrigerator, the cookie dough will spread all over the cookie sheets. Remember that chilling is the #1 tip for how to prevent cookies from spreading. You could even shape this cookie dough into logs and freeze. Simply thaw in the refrigerator for an hour or two before slicing and baking.

*Santa Claus does not have whiskers. The whiskers = his beard and mustache!*

slice and bake Christmas cookie with white chocolate drizzle

I used maraschino cherries and green candied cherries– I found the green cherries in the holiday section of my regular grocery store. If you can’t get your hands on green cherries, just use red maraschino cherries or add some pistachios or green sprinkles. At the very last minute, I decided to garnish the cookies with melted white chocolate. Optional, of course, but since this is a Christmas cookie– it made for an extra special accessory!

Santa's Whiskers Cookies

Could these cookies BE more jolly? Cue Chandler Bing’s voice.

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stack of Santa's whiskers cookies

Santa’s Whiskers Cookies

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 3 hours, 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 14 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 hours
  • Yield: 2 dozen cookies 1x
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


The merriest of all Christmas cookies! Santa’s Whiskers Cookies are soft slice and bake cookies flavored with almond, studded with cherries, and rolled in coconut.


  • 3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2/3 cup (133g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (63g) finely chopped maraschino cherries (I used a mix of green and red)*
  • 1 cup (80g) sweetened shredded coconut, for rolling
  • optional: one 4-ounce white chocolate baking bar and extra coconut for topping


  1. In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and granulated sugar together on medium-high speed until combined and creamy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg, vanilla extract, and almond extract on high speed. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed, and continue to beat until fully combined. On low speed, beat in the flour and salt until combined. The cookie dough will be thick and slightly sticky. Switch to low speed and beat in the cherries *just* until combined. Too much beating will turn the cookie dough pink. (Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing!)
  2. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and, with floured hands, divide or cut into two. Shape each half into an 8-inch log, about 2.5 inches in diameter. The measurements don’t have to be exact. Roll each log in the shredded coconut. Tightly wrap the logs in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours and up to 5 days. Chilling is mandatory for this cookie dough. I prefer to chill mine for 4 hours or even overnight– the colder the dough, the thicker the cookies.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. (Always recommended for cookies.) Set aside.
  4. Slice each log into 12 equally thick cookies and place cookies on baking sheets about 2 inches apart.
  5. Bake the cookies for 13-14 minutes or until brown around the edges. Remove from the oven and allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. If desired, drizzle the cooled cookies with white chocolate. Melt the chopped white chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave in 15-second increments, stopping and stirring after each until completely smooth. Drizzle on the cookies. Sprinkle with extra coconut, if desired. Allow chocolate to set completely in the refrigerator for 20 minutes or at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  7. Cookies without chocolate will stay fresh covered at room temperature for 1 week. Cookies with chocolate will stay fresh covered at room temperature for 3 days or in the refrigerator for 1 week.


  1. Make Ahead Instructions: Baked cookies freeze well up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature, if desired, before serving. You can make/assemble the cookie dough logs and chill in the refrigerator for up to 5 days (see step 2). Cookie dough logs freeze well too, up to 3 months. Allow the logs to thaw overnight in the refrigerator then continue with step 3.
  2. Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand Mixer | Baking Sheet | Silpat Baking Mat | Cooling Rack | Shredded Coconut
  3. Cherries: I used maraschino cherries and green candied cherries– I found the green cherries in the holiday section of my regular grocery store. If you can’t get your hands on green cherries, just use red maraschino cherries or add some salted or unsalted pistachios or green sprinkles. Dried cranberries or dried cherries are a wonderful substitute for the red cherries too! Stick with around 3/4 cup – 1 cup total add-ins. If using maraschino cherries packed in juice, lightly blot before or after chopping.
  4. Nuts: Santa’s Whiskers Cookies typically contain nuts, but I skipped the nuts in this recipe. If desired, use half chopped pecans, walnuts, almonds, or pistachios and half chopped cherries. Stick with around 3/4 cup – 1 cup total add-ins.
  5. Be sure to check out my top 5 cookie baking tips AND these are my 10 must-have cookie baking tools.

Keywords: Santa’s whiskers cookies

Santa's Whiskers Cookies with cherries, almond, coconut, and white chocolate on a white plate

Reader Questions and Reviews

    1. Hi Allison, I’m just seeing your comment/question now so my apologies on the delay responding to you. Yes you can double this recipe.

  1. Hi! Do you think it would work if I did an egg wash on these and sprinkled on some coconut before baking? Instead of the white chocolate and coconut after baking. These are such festive, delicious cookies. Thank you!

    1. Hi Marla, I can’t see why that wouldn’t work. Keep a close eye on them though– don’t want that coconut on top to burn.

  2. OMG many years ago I lost this recipe. It was one of my favorites. Thank you for this. I just found it and I’m so excited to make it again!!

  3. I’m right along with you, I’ve been making these for the same time. I can’t for the life of me remember where I found the recipe. I have always used red and green candied cherries. Even people that don’t like coconut love these.

    1. Santa’s Whiskers came from Betty Crockers Christmas Cookie book. I believe it was published in the sixties but it may have been the seventies. Thanks for the recipe and the visit down memory lane!

  4. Would dried cherries work in this, or does it need the moisture of the glacé cherries?

    1. We’ve always used the dried. Maraschino cherries are too wet and it’ll turn the dough pink. I know from experience one year tried to substitute.

    2. I made these cookies for Christmas and they were easy to make and delicious!! I’ll be making them for Valentines Day using only the red maraschino cherries. Thank you for the recipe!! This one is a keeper!

  5. Oh my yum! I have been making Santa’s Whiskers pretty much my whole life, but this recipe is going to be replacing my family one. LOVE the use of almond extract instead of chopped pecans A) Because I am just a sucker for all things almond flavored and B) I love the texture of the cookie with just the cherries in it. I also like your direction to keep them on the smaller side, looks great and gives a nice coconut to cookie ratio. Thanks for this gem!

  6. on Santa’s Whiskers, it has 2 cups flour (250 g) is that correct, mixed up, is it 250 g, or 500 g 1 cup equals 250 g or not

    1. Hi Louise, you’ll need 2 cups (or 250g total) of all-purpose flour for this recipe.

  7. This is one of my favourite cookies for Christmas, and this recipe is definitely the best.
    I find glazed cherries hard to manage when chopping, so I drained the syrup off, then tossed the green cherry pieces in a bowl with a little flour as I chopped them. It worked really well to keep them from sticking together. Then I added the green cherries to the flour required for the recipe, and stirred it into the batter by hand before stirring in the maraschino cherries. Stirring the cherries in by hand helped keep the bits of fruit in nice chunks.
    My old (very old – 35 years?) electric knife worked well cutting the slices of chilled dough.
    Thank you for this lovely recipe and for all the helpful comments you’ve provided to help us make perfect Santa’s Whiskers!

  8. Would it work to add white chocolate chips in the dough instead of drizzling it?

    1. Hi Mary Beth, if you can find mini white chocolate chips, that would be ideal. Regular size chips may make it a bit difficult to cut the cookies with their smaller size. Let us know if you do give it a try!

  9. The cookies tasted fine, but the coconut (whiskers) didn’t stick well at all…..even though I chopped the coconut as someone else suggested.

  10. I was a bit surprised by this recipe. It’s my all time favorite cookie, I was always in the kitchen with my Grandma and couldn’t wait to make these with her. I saw your high rating so I checked it out. Never have I ever seen a recipe for Santa’s Whiskers with egg in it. I read it again in case it was my eyes trying to fight the narcolepsy bringing its ugly head to the top telling me we goin’to sleep quit fighting me!! I’m contemplating trying it, but I’m not sure. Maybe do a blind taste test and see how they do next to the decades old tried and true. I’m curious how the texture of the dough and cookie differ from the traditional dough and cookie. Fingers, eyes and legs crossed!

    1. Hi Lisa, Are you using sweetened shredded coconut? That stuff is pretty sticky, so it should stick if you’re applying enough pressure when rolling.

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