Circus Animal Cookies Recipe

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Each delicious bite is bursting with chopped animal cookies, white chocolate chips, and rainbow sprinkles. Perfectly sweet with little pops of crunch make these great for parties and playdates.

Using refrigerated dough allows these to come together quickly, but you could easily use a homemade version instead.

While you’re here, check out my trailmix cookie recipe. It has four simple ingredients, just like this circus animal cookies recipe, and the treats come out just as colorful!

titled collage for animal cookies recipe


Circus Animal Cookies – Tips and Tricks

  • Soften the dough. It can be hard to mix ingredients into refrigerated dough while it’s still chilled, so I recommend letting it sit for 10 to 15 minutes first. Then, pop the bowl back in the refrigerator for a few minutes before scooping to avoid overspreading.
  • White chocolate chip substitute: If these are hard to find, coarsely chop up a white chocolate bar instead.
  • Choose the right sprinkles. You’ll want nonpareils for this recipe, which are the teeny tiny ball-shaped variety that also dot the circus animal cookies. Avoid jimmies (the long tube-shaped ones) since they are more likely to bleed color into the dough.
  • Don’t overbake! Pull the trays as soon as the edges start to brown. The centers will continue to set as the treats cool on the baking sheet.
  • Want a bigger batch? Easily double or triple the amounts, depending on how many you need.
  • Storage: Keep these in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 to 4 days or freeze for up to 1 month.
ingredients for homemade animal cookies recipe

Make a cookie sandwich!

Swirl some vanilla frosting or whipped cream between two cookies for an extra indulgent dessert. Add extra sprinkles or color the frosting pink for an extra pop of color.

You could even use ice cream in the middle instead! Make each cookie a bit larger so there’s plenty of surface area for whichever flavor you choose.

circus animal cookie dough

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scoop of cookie dough, close up

FAQ – Common Recipe Questions

What’s the best way to chop the frosted animal cookies?

For consistency, it’s best to do it by hand with a large, sharp knife. If you use a food processor, you will end up with a mixture of large chunks, crumbs, and powder instead.

That said, feel free to do whatever works for you – these treats will taste delicious either way!

Should I chill the dough between batches?

Yes! If you can only bake one tray at a time, keep the remaining dough in the refrigerator until the first batch is cooling.

You could also scoop all of the rounds out onto a plate at once, then transfer them to the baking sheet when it’s time.

How many mix ins can I add to this circus animal cookies recipe?

You can play with the ratios of cookie bits, chocolate chips, and sprinkles but don’t exceed 1 ½ cups total.

Otherwise, there won’t be enough dough to surround everything, and the baked goods won’t rise.

circus animal cookies unbaked on cookie sheet


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circus animal cookies on serving platter

Circus Animal Cookies Recipe

Donna Elick
These circus animal cookies combine refrigerated dough with a variety of mix-ins for an easy, colorful treat. Make some in just 20 minutes!
5 stars from 3 reviews
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 22 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Method Oven
Servings 24 cookies


  • 16 ounces refrigerated sugar cookie dough
  • 2/3 cup chopped circus animal cookies
  • 1/3 cup white chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoons Rainbow nonpareils


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and mix until fully combined.
  • Using a medium cookie scoop to portion out the dough and place on the prepared baking sheet 2-inches apart.
  • Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the edges are just golden brown
  • Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet for 2 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 96cal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 3mg | Sodium: 57mg | Sugar: 8g | Fiber: 1g | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 1mg

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 circus animal cookies recipe

Originally published September 2021

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  1. 5 stars
    Made these circus animal cookies and they were absolutely amazing! So easy to make and they tasted like childhood nostalgia. Will definitely be making these again.

  2. 5 stars
    Made these circus animal cookies and they were fantastic! I added some extra rainbow sprinkles for an extra pop of color, and they turned out great.

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