Old Fashioned Pinwheel Cookies are soft, chewy swirl cookies with a fun, colorful center. Make these simple, spring sugar cookies for a sweet Easter treat!
Our Christmas pinwheel cookies have been a favorite for years. After sharing them on Facebook in February, we realized we needed another version for this time of the year.
Enter these swirly, fun, old fashioned pinwheel cookies!
Old Fashioned Pinwheel Cookies
We are super excited to share this easy spring sugar cookies recipe for you to make and enjoy for Easter.
They also make an adorable sweet treat for a baby shower or graduation party.
You could even get the kids involved in making a batch of pinwheel cookies to gift to Mom or Grandma for Mother’s Day!
Or how about these delicious circus animal cookies!
What Are Pinwheel Cookies?
Old fashioned pinwheel cookies are made by rolling 2 colors of cookie dough together.
To make two colors of dough, separate your base dough into two equal portions and add food coloring to one half.
Then, roll each dough ball out into a rectangle and lay one on top of the other.
After the pieces are laid out, roll the dough up into a log shape. Decorate with nonpareil sprinkles, jimmies, or colored sugar, if desired.
Then, simply slice and bake — it couldn’t be any simpler!
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
You don’t need any expensive ingredients to make this easy cookie recipe — just a simple batch of sugar cookie dough to get started!
- Sugar cookie dough – Use our easy Sugar Cookies Recipe, or make your favorite. To make things super simple, even store-bought refrigerated cookie dough will work!
- Pastel nonpareils – These round sugar sprinkles add the perfect touch to these spring swirl cookies.
We used pastel colors that we found at Michael’s, but you can use any color you’d like.
Or, as we just mentioned, you can substitute the nonpareils with colored sugar, jimmies, or other types of sprinkles if you prefer.
- Pink gel coloring – Gel coloring is much easier to work with, and you don’t need as much as you do with liquid food coloring.
Plus, liquids can change the consistency of the dough.
If you don’t have gel coloring, you can still substitute regular liquid food coloring to make your pinwheel cookie dough.
Storing and Freezing Swirl Cookies
Store your baked cookies in an airtight container, at room temperature, for up to 5 days.
Or, for longer storage (up to 6 months!) you can freeze your spring sugar cookies, baked OR unbaked.
Place baked cookies in a zip-top freezer bag, being sure to press out the air as you seal it. The baked cookies keep well in the freezer for about 6 months.
Freezing Unbaked Pinwheel Cookies
By freezing the cookie dough rather than the baked cookies, you can bake off as many or as few as you need at a time.
- Roll and slice the dough as directed.
- Flash freeze the rounds on a baking sheet.
- Once firm, transfer to a zip top bag for storage.
- Bake from frozen, adding 1-2 minutes to the baking time.
Old Fashioned Pinwheel Cookies FAQ
Rolling the dough up perfectly can be a little tricky, but keep in mind that it really doesn’t have to be absolutely perfect. Just take your time.
Tuck the end closest to you as tight as you can without squishing the dough. This will make rolling easier and create that perfect, neat swirl design in your cookies.
Absolutely! Almond or lemon extracts are perfect for any theme, but they are especially lovely for spring sugar cookies.
If you want to match the pink color, try some strawberry extract.
Or if you want to make a batch of old fashioned pinwheel cookies for St. Patrick’s Day, use mint extract and green gel coloring instead!
With love, from our simple kitchen to yours.
Other Spring Dessert Recipes
Spring Old Fashioned Pinwheel Cookies + Video
- 1 batch TSRI sugar cookie dough, or refrigerated cookie dough
- pink food coloring, gel is best
- nonpareil sprinkles, they are the little balls
- Separate batch of sugar cookie dough into 2 halves.Add 1/2 of your cookie dough to a stand mixer and add pink food coloring until your mixture reaches your desired color. *Note: You can also knead food coloring into dough until completely combined if you do not have a stand mixer. I recommend wearing gloves for this.
- Place the pink cookie dough on parchment paper. Roll the pink cookie dough into a rectangle, about 1/4-inch thick. Set aside.
- Place plain cookie dough on sheet of parchment paper. Roll the cookie dough into a rectangle, about 1/4-inch thick. Stack cookie dough sheets on top of one another, with the parchment on the outside.Remove the top sheet of parchment and run a rolling pin gently over the dough, to help the 2 doughs become one.
- Begin on one long end and roll the cookie dough into a log, removing the remaining parchment as you go. *Note: If the dough is too soft to work with, refrigerate for 30 minutes and then try again.
- Once the dough is formed into a log, if desired, use your hands to shape the log thinner at the top and rounded at the bottom. This way, when it is sliced, it will look like an egg shape. Wrap the cookie dough tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, pour sprinkles onto a rimmed cookie sheet. Unwrap dough and roll it through the sprinkles. Rewrap the swirl cookie dough and refrigerate 1 hour, or as long as overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.
- Slice cookies and transfer to a parchment lined cookie sheet; space them about 1 inch apart. Bake according to your sugar cookie directions, or until the cookies feel set.
- Allow pinwheel cookies to cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet, 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 April 2020, updated and republished March 2023
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