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Holiday Pinwheel Cookies

Holiday Pinwheel Cookies

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There’s nothing more festive than a cookie dressed up in red and green! These buttery Holiday Pinwheel Cookies are a fun, yummy Christmas cookie to add to your baking list!

Holiday pinwheel cookies stacked on a small white plate

Holiday Pinwheel Cookies

I saw loads of perfect pinwheel cookies on Pinterest last year. Red and green layers in gorgeous spirals. So festive. As Christmas grew near, I knew I wanted to tackle this recipe.

I turned to dessert guru, Gale Gand, and tweaked her vanilla and chocolate pinwheels into these holiday pinwheel cookies. Pretty nice, eh? And the cool part is that you can store rolls of these in your freezer to slice and bake as the need arises.

Holiday Pinwheels are perfect for gift giving. I also love this date version or these festive cranberry pecan numbers!


Holiday Pinwheel Cookies on a white platter


Tips and Tricks for Making Holiday Pinwheel Cookies:

  • I only made half of Gale’s recipe, plus I fudged on the size of my layers to make it work. My goal was to keep both layers about 1/8 inch thick. The math was making my head spin trying to adapt the measurements.
  • If you follow the instructions in the recipe, you may end up with more spirals in your dough (a good thing!). The goal is to keep both the red and plain doughs at about the same thickness. I trimmed my layers using a ruler to make them exactly the same size.
  • Keeping the dough cold is imperative.  It will slice better and won’t squish into oblong shapes instead of nice circles. And if your log has a flat side due to its resting time in the fridge, just re-roll it into a perfect cylinder before slicing. These holiday pinwheel cookies are guaranteed to impress!
  • Tip of the Day: Rolls of this frozen cookie dough would make great holiday gifts. Just wrap the frozen logs in parchment paper, twist the ends and secure with festive ribbons. Attach baking instructions on a coordinating tag and you’re set.

Holiday pinwheel cookies on a small round plate

Used in This Recipe:


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Holiday Pinwheel Cookies

Holiday Pinwheel Cookies

Buttery holiday cookies adapted from Gale Gand

  • Author: Liz Berg
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 11 minutes
  • Total Time: 41 minutes
  • Yield: 80 cookies 1x
  • Category: Dessert, Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Red food coloring paste
  • Colored sugar or sprinkles of your choice


  1. In standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes more. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating after each addition, then beat in vanilla. Add flour, baking powder, and salt and beat on low just until combined.
  2. Divide dough in half (I used a scale). Form 1 half into 4- by 4-inch square, wrap in plastic wrap, and set aside. Return the other half of the dough to the mixer and keep adding red food coloring till you reach the desired color. Form into 4- by 4-inch square and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate both squares of dough 30 minutes.
  3. Line large baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut each dough square into 4 strips. Place 3 strips of the red dough and 4 strips of vanilla dough on baking sheet and refrigerate. On lightly floured piece of parchment, roll out a strip of red dough into 6- by 7-inch rectangle (use a ruler to make sure dimensions are exact). Remove 1 strip of vanilla dough from refrigerator and, on another lightly floured piece of parchment, roll out into 6- by 7-inch square. Carefully place one dough sheet (using parchment to flip) on top of the other piece aligning all the edges. Run rolling pin lightly over doughs to adhere. Using parchment to assist with rolling, tightly roll up dough into a log. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate. Repeat with remaining strips of dough to form 4 logs.
  4. Refrigerate logs 1 hour, then remove from refrigerator and roll each log on the counter several times to prevent the bottom from flattening. Roll in sprinkles of colored sugar. Rewrap. Refrigerate 3 hours more or till very firm.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°and line two baking sheets with parchment. Using a knife, slice dough into 1/4-inch-thick slices and place 1 1/2 inches apart on baking sheet. Bake until vanilla dough is slightly golden, 9 to 11 minutes.


!Total time: 4+ hours, including chilling time


More Christmas Treats:

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64 comments on “Holiday Pinwheel Cookies”

  1. How exciting!

  2. Perfect round-red Perfection!


  3. I just attempted this recipe for the first time and a, in general, pleased. I added a few drops of heavy whipping cream as the dough was crumbly. My aren’t as perfect here but are still yummy. One piece of equipment to use is a carpenters right angle. I measured it all up just about perfectly.

  4. Can these pinwheels be frozen after they’ve been baked and sprinkled?

    • You should be able to freeze them, though I haven’t tested this out. The sprinkles could possibly bleed a bit if any moisture develops when defrosting. Hope you enjoy!

  5. those would delight at any age! so pretty!

  6. Maybe I can do this…..Today I just finished making a Gingerbread Cake Roll with Eggnog filling. It turned out better than I expected and was good enough to share with neighbors here in Anthem Country Club. Will need to read your very clear directions another time or two but think I could pull your Holiday Pinwheel Cookies off. Just beautiful, Liz.

  7. When you bake these, are you baking them with the decoration on the edges? I was curious is they would melt…Your picture seems like they did not melt! I am going to try these cookies this Christmas!

  8. Pingback: 42 Christmas Cookie Recipe Ideas | Italian Secrets

  9. These are so fun and festive! A bit hit for the Christmas cookie platter every year!

  10. this gets me in the mood for Christmas! such a fun recipe i  could make w my girls

  11. Love making these every year- the prettiest holiday cookie!

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