From your office to the grocery store, they come in all different shapes (often found they’re in the form of Santa Claus, elves, Christmas trees, reindeer, dreidels, Stars of David, and more). As much as we love holiday cookies, and the fact that they’re such a big part of our diets around Christmastime, that doesn’t mean we’re negligent of the fact that cookies can be fattening. But you can have your cake and eat it too (well, in this case, cookies) by enjoying the same recipes you already make by using olive oil.


You may be asking yourself: “Aren’t cookies always made with butter? You can’t have cookies without butter!” The answer is no. This may sound crazy to some, but it’s true. In fact, you’ll find that there are many baked goods recipes from countries in the Mediterranean use olive oil instead of butter. In Spain, magdalenas (or muffins) are made using olive oil rather than butter. The use of olive oil over butter is something you’ll see in many traditional Spanish desserts. But let’s get back to cookies, shall we?


Now that we’ve confirmed that you can in fact use olive oil in cookies, how can you modify recipes? There are two ways that you can modify any cookie recipe to use olive oil. The first method involves any cookie recipes that normally require vegetable oil. All you need to do is swap the vegetable for olive oil. You can use the exact same quantities stated in the recipe; it’s that easy.


The next one, tackling how you can replace butter with olive oil, is a little bit trickier. It will require a teeny bit more work, but it’s nothing we can’t manage. In recipes for cookies for butter, you can replace the butter with olive oil BUT you can’t use the exact same quantities like when you replace olive oil with vegetable oil. When you look at any cookie recipe with butter, you use 25% less of the amount of butter the recipe calls for. This means that if you need two tablespoons of butter in your recipe, you use 1 and-a-half tablespoons of olive oil instead. Many websites have handy butter to olive oil conversion charts available like this one.

So now we’ve cracked the mystery of how to use olive oil in any holiday cookie recipe, there are some things you need to keep in mind because the cookies’ texture will be a little bit different. Cookies made with olive oil tend to be crispier on the outside and cakier on the inside. While they may feel different, they’ll still have the same holiday goodness we’ve come to except from our favorite cookies. So whether it be gingerbread, sugar cookies, or even chocolate chip cookies with some holiday frosting on them, you’ll all surely be able to enjoy your olive oil. Just remember to leave some on a plate for Santa alongside the carrots for the reindeer!