Christmas Pinwheel Sugar Cookies

An easy and festive pinwheel cookie, perfect for the Christmas season! A must make for all sugar cookie fans!

Easy Christmas pinwheel cookie recipe from @bakedbyrachel A festive holiday cookie!

We’re officially in the home stretch… less than two weeks until Christmas! Are you done with your shopping or have you not even started? I’m mostly done. I keep telling myself just one more thing. One more thing turns into two and then I have to even it all out again. Tsk tsk. I know! Sometimes I just can’t help myself! Surely this doesn’t just happen to me!

Also, is it just my kids or are all kids obsessed with movies where animals talk? Like, real life animals that are made to look like they’re talking… or even singing? And I’m not even talking about all of the Air Bud type movies, which we’ve never seen. We were in a talking dog movie kick over the weekend. It started with Santa Paws, which btw, is a really cute Christmas movie. If you have little kids, it’s basically a must watch. So, I’m not complaining… but… Santa Paws led into Santa Paws 2. And, we also have the third recorded, in addition to Snow Buddies. I’m positive there are even more holiday talking animal movies. And I’m sure my kids will find them all. So many talking animals… so little time!

We have our first official snow day of the season. I’m debating between spending all day in the kitchen or snuggling up and finishing my book. I’m currently on the second of the Slammed series… Point of Retreat. Just as good as the first and I’m flying through, which is both good and bad. I’m dying to keep reading but I’m also sad that I’m flying through because that means one less book I’ll have to read of hers. I only have a few left before I’m done with all of them. Then I’ll be on the hunt for a new author to binge on.

Easy Christmas pinwheel cookie recipe from @bakedbyrachel A festive holiday cookie!

Pinwheel cookies are probably one of my favorite special cookies to make. I love the swirls and they’re so customizable with different colors, sprinkles and flavors! The possibilities are truly endless. It was time I finally made a festive version for the holidays.

Colorful cookies are always a big win with the kids… or anyone for that matter! And even more so if you’re a sugar cookie fan!

Don’t be intimidated by pinwheels. They may look hard, but they’re really easy. And, this dough is SO easy to work with! The hardest part won’t be making the cookies… it’ll be not eating all of them!

So good. Soft and colorful, holiday inspired pinwheel cookies! A perfect cookie for your next cookie exchange, holiday party… or the big guy! Santa would definitely love these.

Make sure these easy pinwheel Christmas sugar cookies are part of your holiday baking plans!

Easy Christmas pinwheel cookie recipe from @bakedbyrachel A festive holiday cookie!

Christmas Pinwheel Sugar Cookies

An easy and festive pinwheel cookie, perfect for the Christmas season! A must make for all sugar cookie fans!
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time3 hours 30 minutes
Course: Dessert
Servings: 30 cookies


  • 1/2 C unsalted butter softened
  • 1 C granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 3/4 C all purpose flour
  • 5 drops super red Americolor gel food color
  • Holiday colored nonpareils


  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in eggs and vanilla, followed by salt and baking powder. Scrape the bowl as needed. Mix in flour, adding one cup at a time. Continue mixing until fully combined and no streaks remain. Divide dough into two equal portions. Return one half of the dough to the bowl. Add 5 drops of red gel food color to the bowl. Mix until dough is evenly colored. 
  • Place untinted dough between two large sheets of wax paper. Roll out dough to a 9x16-inch rectangle. Transfer dough to the refrigerator to chill, keeping both sheets of wax paper in place. Repeat process with red dough. Refrigerate both layers of dough for 15-20 minutes. 
  • Place the red dough down first, removing the top layer of wax paper. Remove one sheet of wax paper from the untinted dough. Carefully flip the untinted dough down onto the red layer. Remove the remaining top layer of wax paper. Trim the dough to an even rectangle. Beginning at one of the short ends, carefully roll dough into a tight log. Pull up gently on the remaining layer of wax paper to help roll the dough. Wrap dough log in wax paper. Wrapped dough may be placed inside of two large drinking glasses or the center of a paper towel roll cut down the length. This will help to keep it's round shape. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. 
  • Add holiday nonpareils to a large shallow dish or tray. Unwrap dough log and begin rolling in the sprinkles. Continue rolling and pressing sprinkles into the dough until it is completely covered and no dough shows through. Rewrap in wax paper. Refrigerate for an additional 1-2 hours. 
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking pan with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. 
  • Unwrap the sprinkle covered dough log. Slice off the end. Carefully slice 1/4-inch slices, spacing roughly 1-2-inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. Return remaining dough to the refrigerator until ready to slice and bake. Bake cookies for 10 minutes. Allow cookies to sit on the pan for 1 minute before transfering to a wire rack to cool completely. 
  • Store cookies in an airtight container for up to a week. 


An original recipe from Baked by Rachel

Items used in this recipe:

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Easy Christmas pinwheel cookie recipe from @bakedbyrachel A festive holiday cookie!

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60 Responses to “Christmas Pinwheel Sugar Cookies”

  1. #
    Shashi at RunninSrilankan — December 12, 2016 at 8:38 am

    Arrrr! Nope am so not done – in fact – am starting my shopping today – maybe … but I think I secretly LOVE the hustle of it all! Rachel, these pinwheels are so gorgeous! So festive – almost too pretty to eat – almost!

    • #
      Rachel — December 13, 2016 at 7:25 am

      Haha well that’s good you enjoy the hustle of it! Hopefully you’re able to finish in no time! :) And thank you!!

  2. #
    Aimee — December 12, 2016 at 9:59 am

    These are so pretty and festive!!!

    • #
      Rachel — December 13, 2016 at 7:25 am

      Thanks, Aimee!

  3. #
    Heather — December 12, 2016 at 10:13 am

    I don’t think a cookie could be any ore festive, but something tells me mine would not be nearly as pretty!

    • #
      Rachel — December 13, 2016 at 7:25 am

      Thanks so much, Heather!

  4. #
    Marye — December 12, 2016 at 10:44 am

    These are absolutely gorgeous! I can’t wait to try them!

    • #
      Rachel — December 13, 2016 at 7:25 am

      Thanks, Marye!

  5. #
    Cynthia | What A Girl Eats — December 12, 2016 at 4:50 pm

    These are just such a classically pretty Christmas cookie! Love them!

    • #
      Rachel — December 13, 2016 at 7:25 am

      Thanks so much, Cynthia!

  6. #
    Nicole Taggart — December 12, 2016 at 10:14 pm

    beautiful cookies. I think Santa will love them :-P

    • #
      Rachel — December 13, 2016 at 7:25 am

      He absolutely will! :)

  7. #
    JulieD — December 13, 2016 at 3:14 pm

    These soooo pretty! I love it!!!

    • #
      Rachel — December 14, 2016 at 7:20 am

      Thanks, Julie! :)

  8. #
    Ann @ Bake du Jour — December 20, 2016 at 11:32 pm

    Okay I’ve been obsessed with pretty much everything you’ve posted recently… I gasped when I saw these! I’ve never made slice and bake cookies but I think now is the time to try it!

    • #
      Rachel — December 21, 2016 at 9:41 am

      I hope you enjoy them!

  9. #
    Noelle — December 24, 2016 at 3:27 pm

    Did anyone skip the chill?

    • #
      Rachel — December 26, 2016 at 8:51 am

      Chilling this dough is necessary.

  10. #
    Kelly ¨P — November 25, 2017 at 9:53 am

    Are these freezable? I need to make ahead and free for a couple of weeks.

    • #
      Rachel — November 27, 2017 at 7:51 am

      They should freeze well. Good luck! :)

  11. #
    penny wilken — November 28, 2017 at 10:18 am

    I have to make 200 cookies and need to double this recipe. Should I alter the recipe in any way? Thank you.

    • #
      Rachel — November 29, 2017 at 7:13 am

      If possible I would make several smaller batches (using the recipe as written), until you have what you need. You don’t want the logs of dough to become too unmanageable. :)

  12. #
    Lydia — December 8, 2017 at 2:03 pm

    Would this recipe work well halved?

    • #
      Rachel — December 9, 2017 at 8:19 am

      I wouldn’t recommend that with this particular recipe.

  13. #
    Geny — December 8, 2017 at 2:14 pm

    I’m at the pinwheel rolling stage and my dough is cracking/crumbling. Does this mean I need to freeze/chill for longer, or did I mess up in the dough making process?

    • #
      Rachel — December 9, 2017 at 8:18 am

      It sounds as though your dough wasn’t mixed properly or it was chilled too long.

  14. #
    Amie — December 12, 2017 at 1:21 pm

    Can I use sugar cookie dough mix for these? Or do they have to made from scratch?

    • #
      Rachel — December 13, 2017 at 10:15 am

      I would recommend making from scratch for best results.

  15. #
    judy — December 12, 2017 at 8:21 pm

    thanks for sharing :) this were great !!

    • #
      Rachel — December 13, 2017 at 10:15 am

      So glad you enjoyed them, Judy!

  16. #
    Marcia — December 12, 2017 at 9:11 pm

    How many cookies does this recipe make?

    • #
      Rachel — December 13, 2017 at 10:15 am

      That information is provided in the recipe section.

  17. #
    Abby — December 15, 2017 at 1:06 am

    Can you skip one of the two chills because I am making this with a time limit for a party that I am doing and I love the idea of this recipe but I don’t have enough time to chill anything.

    • #
      Rachel — December 15, 2017 at 7:11 am

      You’re certainly welcome to try but I can’t promise how well it will turn out. Chilled dough will provided the best results for you.

  18. #
    Kathleen — February 13, 2018 at 4:19 pm

    these are pretty bland, do you add other extracts?

    • #
      Rachel — February 14, 2018 at 6:58 am

      Sugar cookies don’t have a huge pop of flavor. They’re very light and basic. However you can always increase the vanilla or add in your own desired extracts for additional flavor.

  19. #
    Haley — December 5, 2018 at 4:56 pm

    Hi – Have you (or anyone else) tried freezing the cookies? I have lots of events coming up, so I am hoping to make ahead and freeze. Suggestions or advice?

    • #
      Rachel — December 6, 2018 at 6:26 am

      You can freeze the dough once is it shaped and firm. You can then either thaw fully and bake as directed in the recipe or leave the frozen log on the counter while the oven heats up, slice and bake. With the frozen baking method you may need to bake for an extra minute or two, so keep an eye on them. You should also be able to freeze the cookies once baked, but I have not personally done that. I know many have great success with doing it though. Good luck!

  20. #
    Deb — December 7, 2018 at 5:17 pm

    Thank you for sharing this recipe. I need to make pinwheel cookies for a staff holiday party and your recipe is the most uncomplicated (and beautiful) one I’ve found.

    • #
      Rachel — December 10, 2018 at 7:03 am

      Thank you! I hope you enjoy it. :)

  21. #
    Sarah — December 12, 2018 at 9:18 pm

    These cookies were so easy to make, and they are so pretty! I think I will try adding different flavours, perhaps peppermint or almond, instead of vanilla. Great recipe, thank you!

    • #
      Rachel — December 13, 2018 at 6:20 am

      So glad you enjoyed them, Sarah! Thanks for sharing. :)

  22. #
    Margot Anthony — December 18, 2018 at 4:05 pm

    I added 1/4 tsp of cinnamon extract to the red dough – tastes great :)

    • #
      Rachel — December 19, 2018 at 6:05 am

      So glad you enjoyed it, Margot! Thanks for sharing. :)

  23. #
    Stephanir — November 12, 2019 at 9:20 pm

    So I tried these for the first time and the flavor is nice…my question is why are they so dense? Are they supposed to be? It is almost like a cross between a bread and a cake and a cookie texture. I wish I could add a photo.

    I don’t have an electric mixer so had to cream the butter and sugar by hand (this was my first time doing it by hand) could the issue have been it not being creamed enough? I am making these for Christmas gifts and want to make sure they are as perfect as I can get them.

    • #
      Rachel — November 19, 2019 at 6:37 am

      It’s hard to say what/if anything went wrong with the description you gave. Be sure to measure your ingredients correctly, especially including your flour. Do not scoop from a bag or container without fluffing it first. The best practice is always to fluff, spoon into the measuring cup and level off, when not weighing it.

  24. #
    Bella Atkinson — December 8, 2019 at 3:19 pm

    Made these for friends and they are absolutely gorgeous! They were surprisingly easy to make, and the colour came out better than expected. Can’t wait to give them out (:

    • #
      Rachel — December 9, 2019 at 5:35 am

      So glad you enjoyed them and found them easy to make! Thanks so much for sharing, Bella!

  25. #
    Ellie — December 22, 2019 at 6:59 pm

    These just came out of the oven and they are very tasty, classic sugar cookie. The dough was easy to work with, however I had a hard time getting the sprinkles to stick. Maybe next time I will try rolling those on right away while the dough is still a bit softer.

    • #
      Rachel — December 23, 2019 at 8:33 am

      So glad you enjoyed them, Ellie! Thanks so much for sharing.

  26. #
    Francine — January 6, 2020 at 11:20 pm

    Thank you for the recipe they look gorgeous and they taste so good, Happy Holiday season

    • #
      Rachel — January 12, 2020 at 6:03 am

      Thank you!

  27. #
    Fritzie — December 13, 2020 at 8:22 pm

    I made these and they look and taste great. Very festive. I rolled them from the long side rather than the short side, though. They look just like the picture.

    • #
      Rachel — December 19, 2020 at 10:53 am

      So glad you enjoyed them!

  28. #
    Samantha — December 5, 2021 at 2:25 pm

    Absolutely in love with this idea. However, the dough is sooooo sticky trying to roll it out to put in freezer. Almost impossible to work with. Did I do something wrong?

    • #
      Rachel — December 6, 2021 at 8:36 am

      I haven’t experienced issues like that with this dough. It sounds like at least one of your ingredient amounts may be off. You can try adding extra flour, a tiny bit at a time, until it is more manageable to work with. And/Or you can pop it in the fridge to chill it for a bit to help firm it up and see how much that helps.

  29. #
    Hope — November 28, 2022 at 2:10 am


    • #
      Rachel — November 28, 2022 at 9:29 am

      So glad you enjoyed them!

  30. #
    Andrea — December 17, 2022 at 2:33 pm

    Love this recipe! I’ve made it several years in a row and am always pleased. The key is following the recipe exactly, especially chilling the dough :). They are festive and tasty and well worth the effort.

    • #
      Rachel — December 19, 2022 at 8:23 am

      So glad you’ve enjoyed it, Andrea! Thanks so much for sharing!

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