Christmas Pinwheel Cookies + Video

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Christmas pinwheel cookies are fun, festive, and deliciously sweet. Make this recipe with either homemade or store bought cookie dough.

titled collage for christmas pinwheel cookies

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!

RECIPE VIDEO

Watch the video in the recipe card at the bottom of this post to see how easy and fun pinwheel cookies are to make!

close up: rolling red cookie dough

Recipe Tips

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.
assembling christmas cookie recipe

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rolling up sheets of red and white cookie dough, close up

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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woman's hands rolling dough for pinwheel cookie recipe

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.

woman's hands rolling sweet pastry dough through red and green sprinkles

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!

Enjoy!

With love, from our simple kitchen to yours. 

Slicing cookie dough

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Christmas Pinwheel Cookies

christmas pinwheel cookies in a stack

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.
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!
titled collage for christmas pinwheel cookie recipe

Originally published December 2015, updated and republished December2020

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37 Comments

  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.

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