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Salty-sweet Brown Butter Christmas M&M Cookie Bars for your Christmas week cookie baking. Homemade chocolate chip cookies, made with browned butter, vanilla, and plenty of milk chocolate Christmas M&M’s. The cookie dough is pressed into a baking dish and baked until just golden on top. There’s nothing not to love about these sweet and festive Christmas cookie bars. Each bite is slightly crisp on the edges, but soft and gooey in the center…with a few milk chocolate kisses and a pinch of sea salt on top. Christmas cookie perfection and super easy too!

overhead close up photo of Brown Butter Christmas M&M Cookie Bars

We’re just three days away from Christmas and I’m cramming in some of the very best last-minute recipes. And when I say very best, I really mean it. While these cookies are not overly creative or different, they’re a cookie bar I’ve been wanting to share with you guys for years…and years. These cookies really are the BEST, so I saved them for last. And just in time for the mad rush of Christmas baking that’s about to take place over the next few days.

I’ve shared the story of my mom’s cookie bars before, but growing up her cookies were always everyone’s favorite. Many times she’d make classic chocolate chip cookies. But more times than not she’d be short on time (surprise surprise). So instead of rolling out the dough, she’d press the dough into a baking dish to make cookie bars.

Bars certainly aren’t anything we haven’t all seen before, but something about Mom’s cookies bars made them better than all others. And the honest truth? With a cookie bar, you get more cookie per “serving”, plus a doughy center that’s, yup…roll your eyes back delicious.

prep photo of cookie dough in bowl

The Christmas Story.

It’s pretty simple. I make these every single year on the days leading up to Christmas. Most everyone in my family loves a cookie bar more than any other kind of dessert. They’re simple yet, kind of fancy…in our own hillbilly sort of way. We all just love a good cookie, especially ones made with double the chocolate.

Seeing as Christmas is only days away, I obviously needed to make these bars festive. I’m not usually someone who loves to bake with candies, but I’ll make an exception for the holidays.

Enter these milk chocolate Christmas M&M Cookie Bars. These bars have that extra special Christmas touch that makes them delicious and oh so festive too.

prep photo of Brown Butter Christmas M&M Cookie Bars before baking

The details.

With time so tight during the final days before Christmas, these are the perfect super easy Christmas cookie to bake.

There is one thing that MAKES these cookies…a bit of golden browned butter.

You’ll brown both sticks of butter. It’s a small extra step, but the browned butter really does add so much depth of flavor to these cookies. It’s worth the extra time, which is really quite minimal anyway.

overhead photo of Brown Butter Christmas M&M Cookie Bars

The “special” Christmas touches.

…semi-sweet chocolate chips. Nothing special here, pretty classic but you need them.

…Holiday M&M’s, the most important “special touch”. These are what make these true Christmas cookies.

…sweet milk chocolate kisses on top. Are these needed? Not really, but they sure are delicious. And since it’s Christmas, the more chocolate the better!

…a little pinch of flaky sea salt, for a little salty-sweet touch.

side angled close up photo of Brown Butter Christmas M&M Cookie Bars

What I love about these cookies is that they’re easy to make, require no chilling, and take less than an hour…so simple.

But my favorite part? These bars are perfectly crisp on the edges, yet soft, gooey, and almost underdone in the center…which in my option make for the BEST cookie bars. A real deal, roll your eyes back, deliciously GOOD cookie. Tip? Try a bite…or two while these are still warm. You might need to use a fork to eat them, but there’s nothing better. DELICIOUS!

overhead close up photo of Brown Butter Christmas M&M Cookie Bar with bite taken out of bar

I’m not normally such a decadent cookie person, but I really like to do it up for the holidays. They only come once a year, and there’s only a few days left. So let’s just have fun, enjoy every minute of the season, and do these bars up right!

And with that, here is my Christmas week suggestion. Let’s bake cookies on Tuesday night and enjoy them while watching our favorite holiday movies. BUT, be sure to make a double batch. Then package that second batch up in a cute cookie box to gift to someone in need of a little Christmas cheer. I know it may be cheesy and I’ve said this way too much lately, but…

‘Tis the season for giving!

Brown Butter Christmas M&M Cookie Bars |

Looking for other Christmas cookies? Here are my favorites: 

2020 Holiday Cookie Box

Holly Jolly Santa Cookies

Vanilla Wreath Cookies

Easy Hot Chocolate Lace Cookies

Lastly, if you make these Brown Butter Christmas M&M Cookie Bars, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

Brown Butter Christmas M&M Cookie Bars

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings: 22 cookies
Calories Per Serving: 534 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.


  • 1. Add the butter to a skillet set over medium heat. Cook until the butter begins to brown, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer to a heatproof bowl. Stick in the freezer to chill, 10-15 minutes, but no longer.
    2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9x13 inch baking dish with parchment paper. 
    3. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the browned butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until combined. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, until combined. Add the vanilla, beating to combine. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt.
    4. Stir in the M&M's, then remove 1 cup of cookie dough and set to the side. To the remaining dough, stir in the chocolate chips. Press the dough into the prepared baking dish. Now to take the reserved dough and press it on top to mostly cover. If desired add additional M&M's. Bake 18-22 minutes, until golden brown, but a little doughy in the center. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the kisses over the cookies Return to the oven for 1-2 minutes to gently melt the chocolate. 
    5. Sprinkle with flaky salt. Eat warm let cool and store in an airtight container for up to 5 days...or eat warm...which is delicious and recommended.
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overhead horizontal photo of Brown Butter Christmas M&M Cookie Bars

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  1. These are now a staple at any family event. I like to get the different holiday M&Ms for year round deliciousness.

  2. 5 stars
    This is going to be my second year making these. This year I’m making them for a cookie exchange! They’re so delicious and I love how festive they are. Another one of my favourite recipes of yours Tieghan! 🙂 Thank you!

    1. Hey Megan,
      Happy Monday!!☃️ I truly appreciate you making this recipe and sharing your review, so glad it was enjoyed! xT

  3. Delicious! These were quite easy to bring together and created minimal dishes, both of which I appreciate! Mine did take about 4 minutes longer to bake than instructed, but I don’t have the best oven so I don’t think that’s the recipe’s fault. Will be making again!

    1. Hey Elizabeth,
      Happy Wednesday!! I truly appreciate you giving this recipe a try and sharing your review, so glad to hear it was a hit:)

  4. Could I make this in advance and freeze them? Or maybe make the dough and freeze that to bake in the days before Christmas?

    1. Hey Shannon,
      Sure, either way will work well for you! I hope this recipe turns out tasty, let me know if you give it a try! xx

    2. 5 stars
      I use this recipe as my base for all cookie bars and have substituted several mix-ins (white chocolate with Oreo pieces, multi sized semi sweet chocolate). Always a crowd pleaser and so easy to whip together on a week night. But staying true to the recipe this holiday season! They freeze extremely well

      1. Hey Amanda,
        Happy Sunday!!☃️ Thanks a lot for making this recipe, I love to hear that it turned out well for you! xT

    1. Hi Marina,
      Sure, that would be just fine for you to do! Let me know if you give the recipe a try, I hope you love it! xT

  5. 5 stars
    I have made these multiples times, and they are a hit every time!! Simple recipe. The brown butter really makes a difference. I just add all the m&ms and chocolate chips at the same time to save an extra step and it still tastes delicious. Highly recommend this recipe if you need to bake for a crowd or want something simple and easy.

    1. Hey there,
      I would leave the dough in the fridge for no more than 48 hours before baking it. I hope this recipe turns out amazing for you, please let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan

  6. 3 stars
    I’ve followed the recipe to a T and after baking them 10-15 extra minutes, they’re still raw and jiggly in the middle. I’m not sure what to do 🙁

    1. Hi Elise,
      So sorry to hear this. What kind of baking dish did you use? I would bake them until they are finished:) xTieghan

  7. I made these last night and they are really good. I did not have dark brown sugar so I used light brown sugar instead. I was worried that I was adding too much M&Ms/chocolate chips but after realizing that the batter itself is not that sweet, definitely use the recommended amounts of chocolate to the recipe!

    1. Hi Kara,
      Fantastic! Thank you so much for making this recipe, I am so glad to hear it was enjoyed! Happy Holidays!? xx