Christmas Pinwheel Cookies + Video

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Christmas Pinwheel Cookies steal the show every time – and you can see why! They’re colorful, mouthwateringly sweet, delicate and soft, and just beautiful to look at! Pinwheel Christmas cookies can be made with your own homemade or store-bought dough. Talk about easy! 

classic Christmas cookies,

Feeling a bit overwhelmed? I’ve included a quick video to walk you through the whole process!

Christmas Pinwheel Cookies

I just don’t think you can shove any more Christmas cheer into a cookie than I have with this recipe.

Sweet and colorful sprinkles on the outside with super soft swirly sugar cookie on the inside – this dessert really speaks to your inner child during the holidays!

Speaking of which, these spiced eggnog cookies also have their way of appealing to our holiday nostalgia while also giving us something brand new!

Now that I’m thinking about it, I should really add them to my perfect holiday party recipe list!

rolling dough.

Ingredient Notes & Substitutions

  • Sugar Cookie Dough – I love to throw together my basic sugar cookie dough that I use for all of my classic Christmas cookies when I make Christmas pinwheel cookies.

    This especially chewy brown sugar cookie dough is delicious to use, too – but any will do, even if it comes straight from the grocery store.
  • Red Food Coloring – Gel food coloring is best. You get bright, brilliant color without the mess of liquid coloring. 
  • Christmas Nonpareils Sprinkles – Red, white, and green – all we need! Don’t let me squander your creativity, though. Use your favorite sprinkles or colored sugar! 
layering dough for cookies.

Christmas Pinwheel Cookies Tips & Things to Know

  • Choose the Right Dough – I know that I said any dough works for making swirl cookies, but I may have been exaggerating a bit.

    Most dough works – it just needs to be soft and pliable. To avoid tough dough,  don’t overmix and be sure to use a low-protein flour.
  • Use the Right Equipment – A stand or hand mixer will save you loads of time!

    It’s the best way to ensure the dye makes its way all the way through the batter without overmixing (see above). 
  • Be Creative With Decorations – Any sprinkles and any colors can be worked into pinwheel Christmas cookies!

    Feel free to divide the dough into three parts and add a green swirl to the mix as well – it’s just as easy to do and looks even better!!

    And snowflake sprinkles and with a pale blue swirl would be the perfect winter wonderland treat.
rolling dough into a log.

Best Practices for Shaping Christmas Pinwheel Cookies

Don’t be intimidated by the intricate design – throwing together a batch of swirl cookies is as easy as any other recipe!

There’s just a few simple things you need to know before you get started.

The most important thing to know is that the dough must be chilled before trying to form the pinwheel.

Not just because it’s easier that way! It also keeps the cookies from expanding too much in the oven and lets you cut perfect circles – basically, it guarantees a killer presentation.

You’ll want some parchment paper and a rolling pin. Keep the layers even (¼” thick, ideally) for the best presentation!

Be careful when sticking the two dough halves together, and roll slowly (but with pressure!) to make sure the two layers merge.

Finally, when rolling your pinwheel log over the sprinkles, don’t press down too hard! You want to get those sprinkles into the dough but you don’t want to ruin your shape. 

slicing cookie dough.

Christmas Pinwheel Cookies FAQ

What are pinwheel cookies made of?

Just a simple sugar cookie dough, some food coloring, and sprinkles! Plus a little holiday spirit, but you don’t need to add that to your grocery list.

Whether or not extra colors, flavors, or fillings are added is up to you – there’s so much room to be creative and add your own flair! 

Can I make swirl cookies dough with different flavors?

Yes! There are two ways you can go about this: add the flavors when making the dough initially, or add the flavoring once the dough is divided. I would personally recommend adding the flavor before so that you don’t overwork the dough.

I’d recommend a combo of lemon and peppermint! Wouldn’t that be sweet and refreshing? Orange and white chocolate would also be absolutely heavenly… Now I need to go try it myself!!

How far ahead can I make this pinwheel Christmas cookie recipe? 

It depends!

If you want to bake the cookies and serve later, you can store them on the countertop for up to a week.

If you want to prepare the dough to bake later, then go ahead and form the pinwheel log and store in that fashion. Wrap it up in plastic wrap and chill for a couple of days – any longer and the colors start to bleed together. 

And if you want to freeze the prepared dough, you can do so up to 3 months ahead of time – you must really like to prepare for the holidays!! Just let it thaw before slicing and baking. 

Christmas pinwheel cookies stacked.

Enjoy!
With love, from our simple kitchen to yours. 

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close up of pinwheel christmas cookies.

stack of Christmas pinwheel cookies.

Christmas Pinwheel Cookies + Video

Donna Elick
Christmas pinwheel cookies are fun, festive, and deliciously sweet. Make this recipe with either homemade or store bought cookie dough.
5 stars from 1 review
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Inactive Time 4 hrs
Total Time 4 hrs 30 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Method Oven
Servings 48 Cookies

Ingredients
 

  • Best Ever Sugar Cookie Dough, or your favorite
  • red food coloring, gel is best
  • Christmas nonpareil sprinkles, they are the little balls

Instructions
 

  • 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.
  • Enjoy!

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 1

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.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Christmas pinwheel cookies

Originally published December 2015, updated and republished December 2022

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42 Comments

      1. Hi Elena,
        The video is located in the recipe card st the bottom of the page. Hope that helps.
        TSRI Team Member,
        Holli

  1. these are so festive! What if you used Cardamom for flavoring just to give them a special and different flavor than almond and vanilla? How much Cardamom would you use?

  2. How many cookies does one batch make? Going to try for a cookie swap but I have to make 4dz so…plus cooking time should be added to ur dough recipe. Thx

  3. I made these last night using your sugar cookie recipe. Delicious! The cookies were easier to make than I thought they would be. In fact, I made two logs, red/white and green/white. I will be making cut outs with your sugar cookie recipe. Thank you!

  4. Thanks for your dough recipe and the pinwheel version. I am making them for a children's Christmas party at our church. They look like Christmas magic so I thought they'd be perfect. I made them last year too.

  5. Your original sugar cookie recipe calls for baking at 375, but these pinwheels say 350. If I'm using your sugar cookie recipe, which should I follow? Should I follow that time on your original sugar cookie recipe as well?

  6. I think i need to 'unfollow' you!. I did so well on my diet and then…. I saw these cookies 😣 these are everything i every wanted in a cookie: too pretty to look at, easy to make and just sooooooooo delicious!!! Thanks for sharing this recipe, eventough my scales probably wont like you for it.
    Greetings from Germany
    Sarah

  7. I made these and have to say that I don’t think they are my favorite. This recipe says to bake the cookies at 350 but the link for your sugar cookie dough says to bake at 375. I would say that the correct temperature is 375 for close to 15 minutes for the pinwheels. Because there’s no leavener, it was tricky to tell when they were done. I would say these are closer to a shortbread cookie in texture. They taste good but overall the amount of chilling and time was not necessarily worth the finished product.

  8. 5 stars
    These cookies are easier than you think to make. I make them all year just alternating colors. They are the favorite when we bake on cookie day!

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