Close up of a Christmas pinwheel cookie with a stack of cookies behind it.

Christmas Pinwheel Cookies

  • Author: Julianne Delll
  • Prep Time: 60 minutes
  • Cook Time: 11 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 11 minutes
  • Yield: 36-40 cookies


These festive Christmas pinwheel cookies are dyed vibrant red and green for the ultimate holly jolly treat! Instantly brighten up a holiday cookie platter with this easy sugar cookie recipe.


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


  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 4 tablespoons of milk and add to the mixture, beating until combined.
  3. Finally, add the salt followed by the flour 1 cup at a time, then 2 tablespoons of milk, and mix until a stiff dough forms.
  4. Divide the dough into 3 equal-sized balls. Dye one red, and one green and leave one undyed using either your mixer or your hands (see notes for additional tips). Then divide each ball in half (it’s easier to work with smaller portions)
  5. Starting with the red, roll each individual color into a rectangular shape, about 10 inches long and 6 inches wide, and ¼ inch thick. Roll between two pieces of parchment paper and lightly dust with flour if needed to prevent sticking.
  6. Proceed to roll out the undyed color, and then place it directly on top of the red. It’s helpful to use a rolling pin to transfer the dough. Next, do the green.
  7. Once all the colors are stacked, cover with a second piece of parchment paper and proceed to roll out the cookie dough again until it’s about 3/8 inch thick. Trim off the excess sides with a knife or pizza cutter.
  8. Starting with the narrow edge, roll tightly into a log. Once rolled, use your hands to roll again, to expand the log. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and place seam side down and chill for at least 30-60 minutes.
  9. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat.
  10. Remove the dough from the fridge. Using a sharp knife, cut them into 3/8-inch wide slices. If they are misshaped, gently roll them between your hands to shape them into a circle. Place about 1-inch apart on the baking sheet.
  11. Bake at 350° for 9-11 minutes just until the bottoms turn slightly brown. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.


  • Flavor: These are not a very sweet cookie. Don’t skimp on the extract. To make them sweeter you can add a vanilla glaze or dip them in chocolate. 
  • Gel colors: I recommend using gel colors to dye the dough so it’s bright and vibrant. Americolor, Chef Mate, and Wilton are my go-to’s.
  • If using a stand mixer to color the dough, mix just until the color comes together, and then work in your hands until it’s well mixed. I recommend using food-safe gloves as the gel colors will color the skin. If you have some streaky dough, that’s fine you won’t even notice when it rolled out.
  • If you have a food scale, weighing the dough into equal sizes is best. My dough weighed 1260g, so 420 grams of each color. Then divide in half again after dyed.
  • It’s easier to work with this in smaller amounts, to get the dough to the proper thickness. If the dough is too thick, it will tear once you roll it, which causes uneven baking and cracks in the cookies.
  • Make-ahead: Sugar cookie dough can be made up to 2 days in advance, but I recommend rolling to logs and then storing, as the dough is easiest to work with right after it’s mixed. The prepared dough logs can be wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen for one month.
  • Storing: Baked cookies can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 5 days or frozen for 1 month.
Nutrition Information:
1 Cookie
5.8 g
73.4 mg
5.6 g
19 g
0.5 g
2.3 g
23.9 mg
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American