Pinwheel Christmas Cookies

Christmas Cookie Pinwheels are a festive holiday treat that’ll be the star of your Christmas cookies plate!

We love the holidays around here but we REALLY love Christmas Cookies! Easy Snowball CookiesRed Velvet Cookies and Christmas Cheesecake Cookies are some of our favorites that we have to make every year!

A stack of christmas pinwheel cookies on a plate. Text on the image states the title of the recipe.

PINWHEEL CHRISTMAS COOKIES

Christmas baking is seriously my favorite time of year. All the fun Christmas cookies call my name and I get twitterpated. Better yet, my boys love to bake with me. We love spending time in the kitchen together. They learn to follow a recipe, practice counting, and their favorite part…taste testing. It’s a holiday tradition in my house and my favorite part of Christmas.

A plate of stacked pinwheel christmas cookies

HOW TO MAKE CHRISTMAS COOKIE PINWHEELS

I’m not going to lie, these Christmas Cookie Pinwheels take a little time and some love, but what good Christmas cookies don’t? While you don’t have to cut out shapes and frost these cookies, like traditional sugar cookies, you do have to do some rolling and practice your ninja baker skills while rolling up the dough. But you’ve totally got this. If I can do it, so can you! (be sure to scroll down to the printable recipe for the full directions. I’ll share my best tips below).

A collage of images depicting the steps for making pinwheel cookies

  1. Make the cookie dough. Combine dry ingredients and wet ingredients in separate mixing bowls. Combine them both together, mixing just until they are combined. You’ll be mixing again when you add the food coloring.
  2. Color the dough. Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces and roll each one into a ball. PRO TIP – use a kitchen scale to measure the pieces so they are as even as possible. Place one of the balls of dough back into the dough and use a hand mixer to beat in the food coloring until the color is completely incorporated. I wanted very vibrant colors in my Christmas cookies so I used a lot of food coloring. You can start with ¼ teaspoon for each color and add ¼ teaspoon more at a time until your desired color is obtained. If you are using gel food coloring, you will not need nearly as much. Start with a few drops, mix, and then add more color as needed. Repeat with a second ball of dough and another color, wiping the beater clean in between. The third ball of dough will remain the white color.
  3. Roll the dough. Press each ball of dough into a flat square and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for at least an hour. Once chilled, bring out the dough and use a rolling pin to toll the red dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper, then repeat with the other two colors and refrigerate again.
  4. Assemble the cookies. Layer the colors together on a flat surface, then roll into a log shape and refrigerate again.
  5. Bake your Christmas Cookies. Slice cookie dough into 1/4-inch pinwheel shapes using a sharp knife. Arrange cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 12-15 minutes in a 350 degree oven or until the cookies are set.
  6. Cool on the baking pan for several minutes then transfer ro a wire rack to cool completely.

Tips and Tricks

  • Be careful not to roll the dough too thin and remember to flour everything and often so the dough doesn’t stick to anything but itself.
  • I like to make these cookies in vanilla flavor since my husband isn’t big into peppermint cookies, but if you are, change things up! Add 1 teaspoon of peppermint extract along with the vanilla extract for a burst of fresh minty flavor. These cookies are so fun and colorful and will make you look like a genius in the kitchen for pulling off such a cool design.
  • Store cooled cookies in an airtight container at room temperature or 4-5 days.
  • Pinwheel Christmas Cookies Pinwheels freeze so nicely. Make them up to 2 months ahead of Christmas and freeze them in a plastic bag. Thaw at room temperature.

Rolled pinwheel christmas ookies in festive colors stacked on a plate.

HERE ARE A FEW MORE CHRISTMAS COOKIE RECIPES TO TRY:

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Christmas Cookie Pinwheels are a festive holiday treat that'll be the star of your Christmas cookie plate!

Christmas Cookie Pinwheels

Christmas Cookie Pinwheels are a festive holiday treat that'll be the star of your Christmas cookie plate!
Prep Time 2 hrs 45 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 3 hrs
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 16 cookies
Calories 173kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour plus more for dusting
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon liquid red food coloring to you color liking
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon liquid green food coloring to your color liking

Instructions
 

  • In a medium mixing bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt, Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar for 1-2 minutes, or until pale and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla to the butter mixture and beat until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in two additions, mixing until just combined after each addition. Scrape the sides od the bowl as needed.
  • Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces and roll each piece into a ball. (You can eyeball it or use a kitchen scale to measure the pieces.)
  • Place one piece of dough back in the bowl and add the red food coloring. Beat with your mixer until the color is completely incorporated. (Be sure to use a bowl that won't stain.) Clean you mixer paddle or hand mixer blades.
  • Place one piece of dough back in the bowl and add the green food coloring. Beat with your mixer until the color is completely incorporated. Leave the third piece of dough as is.
  • Press each piece of dough into a flat square and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for 1 hour or until firm.
  • Remove the dough squares from the fridge. Place the red dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper or waxed paper. Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough to a 10-inch square. Leave dough between parchment.
  • Repeat with the other 2 pieces of dough. Refrigerate cookie dough for 30 mins.
  • Remove dough from fridge, and take the top layer of parchment off each sheet of cookie dough. Place the red dough down on a counter. Top with the white dough, non-parchment sides touching. Be sure to try and line up the edges of the dough as much as possible.
  • Remove the parchment from the white dough. Top the white with the green, non-parchment sides touching, being sure to line up the edges. Remove parchment from green dough. Use a pizza cutter to trim the left and right edges of the cookie dough into straight lines.
  • Very carefully, starting with one of the straightened sides, roll the dough into a long shape until you reach the other trimmed dough edge. Use the parchment paper to lift the dough to get it started. Once the dough log is complete, gently pinch the seam closed along with any breaks on the outer red layer.
  • Wrap the dough log in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm.
  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
  • Use a sharp knife to cut the dough log into 1/4-inch thick slices. (Discard the ends since they don't make a nice pinwheel design.) Place the cookies 2 inches apart on your prepared baking sheets and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the cookies are set.
  • Carefully remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container until ready to serve.

Notes

I wanted very vibrant colors so I used a lot of food coloring. You can start with ¼ teaspoon for each color and add ¼ teaspoon more at a time until your desired color is obtained.If you are using gel food coloring, you will not need nearly as much. Start with a few drops, mix, and then add more color as needed.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookieCalories: 173kcalCarbohydrates: 21gProtein: 2gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 33mgSodium: 42mgPotassium: 36mgFiber: 1gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 277IUCalcium: 12mgIron: 1mg
Keyword christmas cookies

Julie Espy

Food nerd. Cocktail enthusiast. Carboholic. Bacon addict. Basset nuzzler. Boy mom. Come eat something delicious with me at Bread Booze Bacon!

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Comments

  1. I’ve made these for several years now, and they’ve become a demanded family favorite. I’ve also done other colors for different seasons and holidays, like Easter, autumn and even my favorite college football team (Notre Dame, blue & gold). Thanks for posting this!!!

  2. I love the concept of this recipe, I would love to make it for Christmas.
    Would I be able to us almond flour instead of APF so does the amount stay the same? Also I would need to use almond extract that I’m sure I can judge. I use gel not food coloring is that a problem with the recipe?

  3. I just made these, and they turned out amazing!! First time with food coloring and cookie dough. I was a bit worried due to the consistency of the dough, but they are beautiful and delicious!!! I’ll be making them again!!!

  4. Just made these and they turned out amazing! The kids took one look at them and were saying they look like Christmas lol.

  5. I used store-bought sugar cookie dough since I was doing Christmas baking and had 7 other cookie recipes to do. When I was done baking them in the oven, they were flat, not rounded and beautiful like yours. Is there something I should do differently next time? Is there any way I could still use store-bought dough to make it easier during the holiday baking time? Thanks!

    1. Hi Montana, I’m sorry the cookies didn’t turn out for you but store bought dough isn’t the same as making dough from scratch. Unfortunately that is the issue with your cookies not turning out. This recipe does take a little extra time but the result is a beautiful cookie!

  6. I like your page and recipes look great, but the videos have sooo many commercials you can’t even watch them. At some points it is every 2 seconds. ?

    1. I don’t have any videos that have ads every 2 seconds. Is it possible your page was refreshing for some reason? Even then it wouldn’t continuously show ads. I wish that we could be ad free but unfortunately this is our family’s income after spending 30+ hours a week and thousands of dollars a month writing, testing, photographing and researching recipes so that we can offer them for free.

  7. Hi,
    Unfortunately my entire batch didn’t turn out because I didn’t know they had to be spaced apart. Can you please add that to the recipe?
    Thank you

    1. Of course! Sorry for the confusion. A good rule of thumb with any cookie is to place the dough at least 2 inches apart.

  8. With my first batch, I had trouble with the outer layer breaking and peeling off. So, with my next batch, I did not refrigerate the rolled-out layers. Instead, I sprayed the outer layer with water, then applied the second layer, also spritzed it with water, and then applied the top layer. While it was still around room temperature and quite flexible, I rolled everything up and refrigerated the roll for 30 minutes before slicing. I got much better results this way.

  9. Quick question! I made the dough but I want to freeze the rolls for a few weeks until we get closer to Christmas. Should I roll them in sprinkles before I freeze it or should I roll them after it is thawed right before baking? TIA

    1. I haven’t tried it so I can’t say for sure. I’d probably go with thawing and then rolling in sprinkles.

  10. Did this with my granddaughter. It was great. I demonstrated with 1/3 of the dough and she took over each step as we went. The looked and tasted great. We did roll them in nonpareils before slicing and baking. Even her brother was impressed!

  11. Awesome. Going to look good at my afternoon tea party. The only issue was i had to google how much butter by weight (170grams) as tablespoons would have taken ages. In NZ we use weight more often. I think these will be an annual make. Thanks,

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