Pinwheel Cookies

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These pinwheel cookies aren’t just eye-catching; they’re surprisingly easy to whip up. We use sugar cookie dough for both the red-dyed part and the main cookie. When rolled together, they create that striking swirl that’ll definitely elevate your holiday cookie game.

Concerned about nailing that swirl? Don’t sweat it! While it might take a little practice, follow our simple steps, and you’ll soon be swirling like a pro. Keep reading for the scoop on perfecting this classic treat.

How to Achieve the Perfect Swirl:
To master that signature swirl, keep a few things in mind: chill the dough until you’re ready to use it to keep it cold, and take it slow. While you work with the red dough, keep the plain dough in the fridge so it stays cool until you’re ready to combine them. When it’s time to roll up, gently press both doughs together to seal them. Then, use the parchment paper to roll your log tightly. The tighter the log, the tighter the swirl. Don’t hesitate to use your fingers to patch up any bare spots as you roll.

How to Prevent Pinwheel Cookies from Spreading:
Keep that dough chilly. Whenever you’re not working with it—or if you’re working with just one color—keep it in the fridge. Overall, make sure your dough chills for at least 1 hour, but overnight is even better. Warm dough equals spread-out, messy pinwheels.

While we used red food coloring for these festive cookies, you can switch it up. If it’s not the holiday season, try chocolate and vanilla dough, skipping the sprinkles. Not a fan of almond extract? Swap it out for your preferred flavor!

Storing Pinwheel Cookies:
Got leftovers? Store these Christmas cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for about 4 days. If you want to plan ahead, you can make the dough up to 2 days in advance and keep it in the fridge until you’re ready to slice and bake.

Pinwheel Cookies

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Course Dessert
Servings 24


  • – 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • – 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • – 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • – 1 cup 2 sticks softened butter
  • – 1 cup granulated sugar
  • – 1 large egg
  • – 3/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • – Red food coloring
  • – Sprinkles


  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until creamy. Add egg and beat until mixed, then add extract. Add dry ingredients and beat until just combined.
  • Divide dough in half, keeping one half in the mixing bowl. Add red food coloring to one half until desired color is reached. Shape each dough into a square about ½ inch thick. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
  • Roll red dough into a rectangle about 1/4 inch thick between two sheets of parchment paper. Repeat with white dough. Remove top parchment from each dough. Place red dough on top of white dough, aligning edges. Gently press to seal.
  • Remove top parchment paper and trim sides evenly. Roll dough tightly into a log starting from a long side, using the bottom parchment to help. Roll log on the counter to seal the edge. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or overnight.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Place sprinkles on a plate. Slice cookies 1/2 inch thick, roll edges in sprinkles, and place on baking sheets 2 inches apart.
  • Bake until edges are set and just starting to turn golden, about 10 minutes. Enjoy your delicious pinwheel cookies!

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