All the Types of Cookies You Should Know (and How to Make Them)

updated Dec 7, 2022
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Grid of four photos showing four kinds of cookies: slice and bake cinnabon sandwich cookies, oatmeal cookies, a linzer cookie, and crinkle cookies
Credit: Photo: Christopher Testani; Food Styling; Jesse Szewczyk; Prop Styling: Sarah Smart

Some might argue that December is the official cooking-baking season, but I’d go so far as to say that there’s never really a bad time to make a nice batch of cookies. Whether it’s a festive Linzer cookie for Christmas, a chewy double-chocolate cookie for Valentine’s Day, or even a fun, snack-filled cookie during warm summer months, you likely won’t regret having a large bowl of all different types of cookies nearby.

The best thing about cookies is that there are so many different varieties of them, which means there will always be something to fit everyone’s tastes and preferences. You can go for chewy or crunchy or simply opt for cookies that are studded with chocolate chips, chopped nuts, or dried fruit. Read on for a breakdown of all the different types of cookies you can make at home.

Types of Cookies

Drop Cookies

Drop cookies are arguably the most common type of cookie you will come across. A drop cookie essentially refers to cookies made from small mounds of cookie dough that are “dropped” onto a baking sheet. The small rounds of cookie dough are usually dropped onto the baking sheet with an ice cream scoop, a spoon, or simply by hand. Drop cookies typically contain a wide variety of fillings and mix-ins like chocolate chips, chopped nuts, dried fruit, and sprinkles. Different types of drop cookies include chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, white chocolate and macadamia nut cookies, and black and white cookies.

Try out these recipes for drop cookies:

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk; Prop Styling: JoJo Li

Slice-and-Bake Cookies

Slice-and-bake cookies might just be the most straightforward category of cookies out there. A slice-and-bake cookie simply refers to a cookie that is typically rolled into a log or cylinder shape, chilled, and then sliced into rounds before being placed on a baking sheet. Slice-and-bake cookies often have near perfect circular shape, thanks to rolling the dough and wrapping it in plastic wrap. Types of slice-and-bake cookies include festive pinwheel cookies, sables, biscotti, and certain varieties of sugar cookies, such as the ones made from store-bought, pre-made sugar cookie dough.

Try out these recipes for slice-and-bake cookies:

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

Cut-Out Cookies

Cut-out cookies are one of the most festive and celebratory types of cookies — especially around the holidays. As you may have guessed from the name, cut-out cookies are cookies made from dough that is rolled out with a rolling pin and then cut out using cookie cutters. Alternatively, though, some cut-out cookies are made from cookie presses. When holidays like Christmas arrive, it’s a great opportunity to break out the tree and wreath-shaped cookie cutters and get to decorating them with traditional royal icing. Cut-out cookies can take many different forms and flavors — as long as the dough is rollable, it’s often easy to cut out all sorts of shapes. A few different types of cut-out cookies include sugar cookies, shortbread cookies, gingerbread cookies, and spritz cookies.

Try out these recipes for cut-out cookies:

Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

“Rolled” Cookies

The idea of a rolled cookie can be a bit subjective. Some types of rolled cookies include cookies that are made by rolling small lumps of cookie dough between your hands and placing them directly on a baking sheet or rolling them in granulated or powdered sugar before being baked. In some cases these are an extension of a “drop” cookie, but we made this a separate category, as there’s an extra step that changes the texture of the cookie.

These types of “rolled” cookies include crinkle cookies, polvorones, or snickerdoodles. Other varieties of rolled cookies could include cookies that are rolled on themselves, such as with rugelach or pirouette cookies. Rolled cookies often, though not always, have nice fillings like chocolate, frangipane, and marshmallows, just to name a few.

Try out these recipes for “rolled” cookies:

Credit: Photo: Christopher Testani; Food Styling; Jesse Szewczyk; Prop Styling: Sarah Smart

Sandwich Cookies

You likely could think of one of your favorite varieties of sandwich cookies at the drop of a hat. Sandwich cookies typically consist of either chocolate or flavored cream sandwiched between two cookies (often times wafer cookies). These types of cookies are super common and one of the most popular types bought at grocery stores. Brands like Oreo have perfected their own versions of sandwich cookies, with fun spins on them like red velvet, mint chocolate, and carrot cake. Other types of sandwich cookies include classic Linzer cookies, macarons, whoopie pies, Pepperidge farm’s Milano cookies, Grandma’s Mini Sandwich Cremes, and Keebler’s Vienna Fingers and E.L. Fudge cookies.

Try out these recipes for sandwich cookies: