Stained glass cookies are an easy holiday cookie to make, plus they are showstoppers!

When I saw that the Tuesdays with Dorie group was making Stained Glass Cookies, I knew these picture-perfect cookies would be ideal our annual neighborhood cookie exchange!

stained glass cookies in a white dish

Stained Glass Cookies

It was time for our annual neighborhood cookie exchange and I needed a new recipe to try!  I love perusing through Christmas Cooking Roundups like 50 of the Best Holiday Cookies,  The Top Ten Holiday Cookies, or 25 of The Best Christmas Cookies Recipes for inspiration.  Knowing that Dorie Greenspan had a recipe for stained glass cookies that my “Dorista” pals were trying helped seal the deal.

I’ve seen a few Stained Glass Cookie flops across the Internet, so I did some research.

  • Jolly Ranchers work better than Lifesavers (but Lifesavers will suffice in a pinch)
  • A non-spreading roll-out sugar cookie recipe is imperative.
  • A small silicone brush is the perfect tool to remove any candy crumbs that spill over onto the cookie dough.
  • A pointed grapefruit spoon helps place the powdered candy into the window openings.

I went to Alton Brown for his sugar cookie recipe and the dough worked beautifully!  I also read through Dorie Greenspan’s recipe in Baking Chez Moi and used some of her tips and her baking times.

Stained Glass Cookies on a white square plate
Jolly Ranchers

I pulled out the cherry, sour apple and blue raspberry candies from the bag of Jolly Ranchers to use for the windows of these stained glass cookies. The fruity aromas reminded me of hiking the trails near Aspen with my family.

My dad would always have a stash of lemon drops and Jolly Ranchers in the exterior pocket of his backpack. I was partial to grape and needed a continual supply of as we huffed and puffed our way over switchbacks, through meadows and forests to our destination.

Stained Glass Cookies lined up on a square white platter

Tips for Making the Best Stained Glass Cookies

So smashing the Jolly Ranchers to smithereens definitely brought those familiar scents to the forefront. To make sure the candies melt properly, they need to be pulverized to nearly a powder. A few slightly bigger pieces seemed to be fine.

Be prepared for a mess. I placed the candies inside of two ziplock bags and pounded with my metal meat mallet. The shards of candy broke through both thick layers of plastic so beware.

You can cut any shape of cookie you’d like, then find a smaller cookie cutter that works well with your shape to cut out a window or two.

PRO tip: Also, make sure to bake on parchment paper or a Silpat so that the melted candy doesn’t adhere to your baking sheet.

My friends were quite impressed with these Stained Glass Cookies. They’re so VERY festive!!! Merry Christmas to all who celebrate!


More Holiday Cookies You’ll Love:

These are all wonderful contenders for your next cookie exchange or holiday gathering!

You Might Like:

Stained glass cookies on a small, round white plate

Stained Glass Cookies

Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 48 minutes
Yield 48

Perfectly festive cookies for the holidays! Sugar cookie recipe adapted from Alton Brown.


  • 3 cups flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • Powdered sugar, for rolling out dough
  • Jolly Ranchers candies, separated into colors and smashed into a powder (about 15-20 total)


  1. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a stand mixer, beat together butter and sugar until light in color. Add egg and milk and beat to combine. With mixer on low speed, slowly add flour, and beat until mixture pulls away from the side of the bowl. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 350º.
  3. Sprinkle surface where you will roll out dough with powdered sugar. Roll out dough to ¼-1/8-inch thick. Cut into desired shapes. Next, find a smaller cookie cutter in the same same, then cut out a center section of the larger version with a smaller cookie cutter to make a "window". Place the cookies with the cut out about 1-inch apart on a parchment lined baking sheet. Carefully spoon some of the crushed Jolly Ranchers into the middle of each cookie. Brush any that lands on the dough towards the middle with a dry pastry brush (or clean paint brush).
  4. Bake for 7 to 8 minutes or until cookies are just beginning to turn brown around the edges Cool for a few minutes on baking sheet, then move to cooling rack to finish cooling.


You will need coordinating cookie cutters, one smaller of a similar shape to cut out the opening for the "window."

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

2 cookies

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 224Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 28mgSodium: 141mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 1gSugar: 14gProtein: 2g


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