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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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62 comments on “Holiday Pinwheel Cookies”

  1. Liz these are absolutely gorgeous cookies. Sheer perfection. Nobody bakes a cookie quite like you. You are the cookie queen. Thanks for joining us for Christmas Week again. You know I LOVE working with you on things like this. Now hand me a cookie woman.

  2. very pretty I love making pinwheels its my favorite recipe cookie for the trays so festive going to have to try your version. I never thought to roll the end in anything.. great ideas thanks Liz!

  3. These cookies look so pretty and festive Liz! I love the pink and swirls in here – these would definitely make great holiday gifts and brighten up any cookie platter 🙂

  4. Liz, I never thought to hand out frozen cookie logs–genius! These look absolutely perfect.

  5. Very pretty Liz! I love the idea of cookie dough as gifts, so nice to slice and bake on a snowy day in January:@)

  6. These are so festive! I’ve never made pinwheels before, but I really want to give them a try.

  7. Great gift tip—I love the idea of giving away rolled dough. You could do the whole thing up right and gift it with a metal spatula or even a baking sheet (or parchment paper). 🙂

    I am into all sort of pumpkiny things now so I would definitely use the giveaway to puree pumpkin!

  8. These are so gorgeous and perfect! Mine will never be as gorgeous as yours!

    Happy day #1!

  9. LOVE these…adorable!! I’ve always wanted to make pinwheel cookies!!

  10. They look so cute, Liz, perfect for holidays. My niece would absolutely love if I made them 🙂

  11. These are just gorgeous Liz! I think they’re the prettiest cookies I’ve EVER seen in my LIFE. Maybe it’s that I’m such a “pink” girl, but I’m quite smitten with these!

  12. You have done it again Liz, you have amazed me and believe me that can be difficult. Just look at those perfect cookies! I love the deco too and the flavors involved. =) So cool!

  13. Well, those are just about the prettiest things I’ve seen in a long while. You have outdone even yourself, Liz. Just gorgeous!

  14. I really want to make homemade nut butter.

  15. these cookies are making me very happy!!! Pinned into my Christmas holiday baking-now I just need to get to it 😉

  16. Well…now I’m sad. Your pinwheels turned out prettier than mine 🙁

  17. Very cute cookies!

  18. How pretty are those pinwheels? They look picture perfect! Thanks also for the giveaway Liz. The Robot-Coupe would be perfect for nut butters.

  19. You did a fabulous job on these pinwheels. They can be tricky and nerve racking but these are such a success. Very festive!

  20. Liz, I’d say the swirl in these pinwheel cookies couldn’t be more perfect! The festive sprinkles are a nice addition and love the gift idea. Happy Holidays!

  21. These pinwheels are perfect and I would love to be on the receiving end of these beauties. Thanks for the tip about re-rolling the dough. In the past when I’ve attempted these, mine were a little squished.

  22. Now these are totally festive cookies and you did a fantastic job in making them. I really love the decoration on the edges too.
    I used up the remainder of the laminated pastry for another batch of the biscuits on the weekend and it worked out even better this time! Possibly because I had the time to do all the folds it required. They were a huge hit again, thanks!

  23. Congratulations, Liz on the new look of your site. Super duper slick! And yes That Skinny Chick Can Bake site is where recipe magic happens! Magic like these very professional looking pinwheels =) Happy Christmas!

  24. These are so pretty! I love the layer of sprinkles, too- sprinkles really do make everything just that much better, don’t they?

  25. These are the prettiest, most festive cookies!!!! SO gorgeous!

  26. I’ve never made pinwheel cookies before, and those are gorgeous!

  27. I love these pinwheels. I used to make the chocolate kind but these are so pretty. And i don’t know what I’d make…I’m too busy baking cookies!

  28. These are gorgeous! I am glad you got the math worked out because it was totally worth it! 🙂

  29. What a festive batch of cookies!

  30. These are gorgeous! I’ve made them before but they never look this pretty!

  31. ah Lizzy this look absolutely beautiful love the pictures:)

  32. This was the first post I saw this morning–I was so impressed! Really great looking cookies, Liz, but I don’t expect any less from you. 🙂

  33. I love the idea of giving a frozen slice and bake cookie log. These pinwheels are so pretty!

  34. That sounds like a lot of work but what a wonderful result. And they sure would make gorgeous gifts.

  35. Your cookies are so pretty Liz pinning for later!

  36. Some of the prettiest pinwheels I’ve ever seen, Liz!

  37. These are the prettiest pinwheels I’ve ever seen Liz! I’m in the Christmas cookie mood now! Thank you for sharing!

  38. Oh my goodness these are so beautiful!!! How ever do you make them so perfect? Love your table linen and the great presentation!

  39. Oh, Liz! I know a certain 14 year old girl who would go nuts for the colorful sprinkles on the outside of these!! That and the swirl would be a hit for her. Love, love LOVE these cookies!!!

  40. These are so pretty! I love your presentation. Pinning the pinwheels!

  41. I love pinwheel cookies, they’re so fun and colorful. What a great gift idea!

  42. Your pinwheels are just perfect!

  43. These are darling! And so fun and festive to eat. Love this Liz! 🙂

  44. Liz, those cookies are so adorable and festive.

  45. I think I would try to mix up bread dough in the food processor along with those Holiday Pinwheel cookies. The cookies would make a beautiful addition to the holiday table,they are so festive looking.

  46. These are very well known cookies here (usually made white and chocolate) but you made them to perfection!!

  47. Your pinwheels look perfect! I love the colors.

  48. These have got to be the prettiest pinwheels cookies I’ve every seen! “Almost” too pretty to eat!

  49. You did a terrific job on your pinwheels…keeping perfect circles when cut. They will certainly brighten up a cookie platter, I love them.

  50. Your pinwheels look beautiful! You make beautiful cookies.

  51. How exciting!

  52. Perfect round-red Perfection!


  53. 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.

  54. 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!

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

  56. 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.

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  59. 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!

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