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Assorted candy cane cookies on a white countertop.

Candy Cane Cookies

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 1 review
  • Author: Julianne Dell
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 11 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 11 minutes
  • Yield: 24-30 cookies
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American


Easy Christmas candy cane cookies made from red and white cookie dough flavored like peppermint and twisted into cute, festive candy cane shapes.


  • 1 cup (226g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (190g) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 tablespoons (60m) milk, divided
  • 2 teaspoons (10ml) vanilla extract
  • ¼½ teaspoons peppermint extract (optional)
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 5 cups (600 g) all-purpose flour
  • Red gel colors for dying (see notes)


Prepare the Dough

  1. Beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until the sugar is dissolved and creamy.
  2. Add the eggs and flavored extract to the butter and beat until all ingredients are well incorporated. Then, in a small glass dish, dissolve the baking soda in the milk and add to the mixture, beating until combined.
  3. Finally, add the salt followed by the flour 1 cup at a time,  and mix until a stiff dough forms.
  4. Divide the dough into 2 equal-sized balls. Remove one-half of the dough and set aside. Dye the other half red using your mixer until it’s mostly combined, then use your hands if needed to fully combine the color.


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat.
  2. Use a small cookie scoop to portion out the dough, starting with the uncolored dough first. Once all the dough is portioned out, proceed to shape.
  3. To shape, gently roll the ball of dough in between your hands to smooth out the surface, then roll each one into a 6-inch long rope. Place the two ropes next to each other and then gently twist them together. Roll the rope again until it’s about 7-7.5 inches long, give the rope a gentle twist again, then bend the top over to shape the candy cane. Place on the prepared baking sheet 2 inches apart from each other.
  4. Bake one tray at a time at 350° for 9-11 minutes just until the bottoms turn slightly brown. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.


  • Be sure to use gel colors instead of traditional food coloring, which will water down the dough. Gel colors are more concentrated and produce brighter colors. I always recommend wearing gloves when working with gel colors.
  • If you don’t like peppermint, simply replace it with vanilla extract.
  • If you find the dough to be crumbly or are having issues with it coming together, it’s simply because there’s a lot of flour. First, increase the mixing speed for about 30 seconds to see if that helps. If not, add 1 teaspoon of milk at a time until the dough forms.

Prep ahead

 Prepare the cookie dough, then wrap each color tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate the dough for up to 2 days.  I recommend taking the cookie dough out of the fridge about 15-20 minutes ahead of rolling and shaping your candy cane cookies. Alternatively, you could freeze the dough for up to one month.


    • To Store. After baking, keep your cooled candy cane sugar cookies covered and airtight on the counter for up to 1 week. 

    • Freeze. Store the baked cookies in an airtight container or freezer bag and freeze them for up to 2 months. Defrost the cookies at room temperature before serving.


  • Serving Size: 1 Cookie
  • Calories: 174
  • Sugar: 7.4 g
  • Sodium: 93.9 mg
  • Fat: 7.1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 24.4 g
  • Fiber: 0.6 g
  • Protein: 2.9 g
  • Cholesterol: 30.8 mg