Christmas pinwheel cookies are fun, festive, and deliciously sweet. Make this recipe with either homemade or store bought cookie dough.
Christmas Pinwheel Cookies
Add these gorgeous swirl cookies to your cookie exchange recipes or put together treat boxes for easy holiday gifts!
Lemon Almond Crinkle Cookies are crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside, and have just the right amount of fresh lemon flavor.
For something truly irresistible, try my Spiced Eggnog Cookies. They can be made with homemade or store bought eggnog and are perfectly spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg.
Or, make these Butterscotch Pecan Cookies for something with some crunch. Not only are they delicious, but this recipe makes plenty so you can keep a dozen or two for yourself!
First of all, give yourself plenty of time to make this recipe!
While these pinwheel cookies are simple to make, the dough needs to be well chilled for them to come together. Not only does this make handling the dough easier, but it also prevents the cookies from spreading in the oven. Plus, chilled cookie dough is easier to slice into perfect rounds.
- Use good tasting cookie dough. You can use store bought if needed, but our sugar cookie dough tastes incredible, and is easy to make too.
- Want to save some time? Color your dough by mixing it in a stand mixer instead of kneading it by hand. Trust me, your wrists and arms will thank you!
- Gel coloring is best. Not only can you achieve vibrant colors with a smaller amount, but it won’t affect the texture of your dough. Regular liquid coloring will work if that’s all you have on hand, but I highly recommend the gel if you can get some.
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Get creative with colors and sprinkles
While I like to use classic Christmas colors when making these, feel free to try something different. Not only can you make the swirl a different color, but you can divide the dough into three parts and use two different colored swirls if you’d like!
Or, replace some of the nonpareils with mini snowflake, candy cane, or Christmas tree sprinkles for an extra festive touch.
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Christmas Pinwheel Cookies FAQ
How far ahead can I make the Christmas pinwheel cookie recipe?
That all depends on how you want to accomplish this! Baked cookies will stay fresh in a sealed container for up to 1 week.
Or, form the unbaked dough into a log, then store it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to bake. I’d recommend doing this no more than a few days ahead of time or the colors may start to bleed together.
If you want to get a jump start on your holiday baking, you can form the dough log and freeze it instead. Use within 3 months, and let it thaw in the refrigerator before you slice and bake.
Can I make the dough with different flavors?
Sure! Adjust the flavor when making the initial batch, or use two different flavors and add them once the dough is split. It might be fun to add lemon to the color-free half or some peppermint extract to the red layer for a refreshing surprise!
With love, from our simple kitchen to yours.
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Christmas Pinwheel Cookies + Video
- Best Ever Sugar Cookie Dough, or your favorite
- red food coloring, gel is best
- Christmas nonpareil sprinkles, they are the little balls
- Separate dough into 2 halves. Add red food coloring to one half. Add 1/2 of your cookie dough to a stand mixer and add red food coloring until your mixture reaches your desired color. You can also knead food coloring into dough until completely combined if you do not have a stand mixer.
- Place red cookie dough on parchment paper. Roll red cookie dough to about 1/4 inch thick rectangle. Set aside.
- Place plain cookie dough on parchment paper (or wax paper). Roll plain cookie dough out to about 1/4 inch thick rectangle. Stack cookie dough sheets on top of one another with the parchment on the outside.
- Remove the top parchment and roll over the dough gently with a rolling pin (to help the 2 doughs become one). Begin on one end and roll the cookie dough into a log (removing the remaining paper as you go). If dough is too soft to work with, refrigerate for 30 minutes and then try again.
- Once dough is formed into a log, wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Meanwhile: pour sprinkles into a cookie sheet. Unwrap dough and roll into sprinkles. Rewrap and refrigerate 3 hours to overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.
- Slice cookies and place on cookie sheet about 1 inch apart. Bake according to your sugar cookie directions or until the cookies feel set.
- Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.
Originally published December 2015, updated and republished December2020
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