Red, White and Blue Pinwheel Icebox Cookies

Red, White and Blue Pinwheel Icebox Cookies recipe on

There’s been a whole lot of red, white and blue happening around these parts lately. And now that the Fourth of July is just two weeks away, I’m serving up one final festive dessert to add to your patriotic party, Pinwheel Icebox Cookies.

If soft and chewy cookies set off flavor fireworks in your world, then consider your taste buds dazzled. These buttery rounds are made with basic pantry ingredients (think butter, sugar, eggs and flour). And best of all, the dough can be prepared in advance and stashed in the fridge, so all that’s left to do is slice and bake them as your guests arrive.

Red, White and Blue Pinwheel Icebox Cookies recipe on

This recipe fell under my “This Is An Experiment But Please Let It Work” category, so I was holding my breath as I made the first slice into the cookie dough log. But the second that perfect pinwheel emerged, I did a little dance. (See: Tip #5 in 10 Things I Learned About Writing a Book.) And by “little dance,” I mean I shook and I shuffled and I popped and I Dougie’d and I did whatever else the kids do these days.

Long story short: Pinwheel icebox cookie success is something to celebrate. So crank up that music, preheat your oven, and slice and bake your way to the ultimate Independence Day dessert. 

Red, White and Blue Pinwheel Icebox Cookies

Red, White and Blue Pinwheel Icebox Cookies

Red, White and Blue Pinwheel Icebox Cookies

Red, White and Blue Pinwheel Icebox Cookies recipe on

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Red, White and Blue Pinwheel Icebox Cookies

Yield: About 4 dozen cookies

Prep Time: 6 hours (includes refrigeration)

Cook Time: 11 min


3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Red food coloring
Blue food coloring


In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar and continue beating until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating between each addition, then add the vanilla.

Turn the mixer off. Add the flour and then beat just until combined. Remove the dough and separate it into three equal pieces. Shape one piece of the dough into a 4- by 4-inch square, wrap it securely in plastic wrap and place it in the fridge. (This will be the white portion of the cookies.)

Return one of the remaining pieces of dough to the stand mixer bowl, and with the mixer on "low," add in the red food coloring until it reaches your desired color. Remove the red dough, shape it into a 4- by 4-inch square, wrap it securely in plastic wrap and place it in the fridge. (This will be the red portion of the cookies). Clean out the bowl to remove any red food coloring residue.

Add the final piece of dough to the stand mixer bowl, and with the mixer on "low," add in the blue food coloring until it reaches your desired color. Remove the blue dough, shape it into a 4- by 4-inch square, wrap it securely in plastic wrap and place it in the fridge. (This will be the blue portion of the cookies.)

Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.

Remove the dough from the fridge and cut each square in half to form two rectangles. Wrap half of each color of dough in plastic wrap and return it to the fridge. Place the red dough in between two pieces of wax paper and roll it into a rectangle about 1/8-inch thick. Roll out the white dough between two separate pieces of wax paper until it is a rectangle about 1/8-inch thick. Roll out the blue dough between two separate pieces of wax paper until it is a rectangle about 1/8-inch thick.

Peel the top layer of wax paper off of the red dough and then peel the wax paper off one side of the white dough and use the other side to transfer the white dough on top of the red dough. Peel off the wax paper from one side of the blue dough and use the other side to transfer it atop the white dough. Very lightly roll the three layers together.

Starting at the shorter end of the rectangle, roll the dough as tightly as possible into a log. Repeat the rolling and stacking process with the remaining dough in the fridge. Wrap the logs in wax paper and then plastic wrap and refrigerate them for 1 hour.

Remove the dough logs and roll them on the counter several times so they don't develop a flat side. Alternately, stand the rolls up in glasses in the fridge. Refrigerate the dough for 4 more hours.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350ºF and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove the dough from the fridge and slice each log into 1/4-inch rounds. Place the rounds about 2 inches apart on the baking sheets, as the cookies will expand when baked.

Bake the cookies for 9 to 11 minutes until pale golden, and then transfer them to a wrack to cool completely.

Cookie dough recipe adapted from Gale Gand.


  1. 2


    Yay! Sweet Victory, Kelly! Oh, do I know that “happy dance” well…right after the proverbial, “This Is An Experiment But Please Let It Work” (and fingers crossed) category–especially with gluten and grain free baking. I’m celebrating right with you, girl! Your Patriotic Pinwheel Icebox Cookies ROCK! Also, your food photography is stunning and lets the beautiful red, white and blue shine. Love the side-by-sides, too. Perfect for the 4th of July! Pinning! xo

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — June 19th, 2013 @ 7:55 pm

      Thanks so much, Stacy!

  2. 20

    Laura says

    Does anyone have a natural/clean alternative for the red & blue coloring? I love these cookies but I can’t use artificial dyes. They have made my son sick & irritable.
    Thank you!!!

  3. 27

    Lisa says

    How many drops of food coloring did you use for your dough? I never seem to be able to get the right colors, so I’m curious!

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — June 21st, 2013 @ 8:05 am

      Hi Lisa! I used about 1 1/2 teaspoons of food coloring, but you can just eyeball it based on how vibrant you want the colors to be. Enjoy!

  4. 33


    The pictures on your site are amazing, I am always so inspired by your posts! These cookies look great, I want to try them out for Fourth of July!

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — June 22nd, 2013 @ 10:18 pm

      Thanks so much, Shaina! Hope you’re having a great start to summer! XOXO

  5. 38

    Beth says

    what kind of food coloring did you use?

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — June 29th, 2013 @ 4:26 pm

      I use gel-based food coloring for the red and regular food coloring for the blue. Either works great!

  6. 39

    dacia98 says

    do you have to refrigerate it?

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — July 1st, 2013 @ 12:15 am

      Yes, the dough must be refrigerated after it’s mixed in order for the butter to solidify. Otherwise the dough will be too soft to roll.

  7. 41

    Vanessa says

    I made the cookies and they turned out great. Didn’t have any more Red and Blue dye so used 3 other colours. It looks and taste amazing! Thanks for posting this cookie recipe!


  8. 42

    FRAN says

    My mom used to make chocolate and vanilla pinwheel cookies that were yummy. When my boys were small, I experimented making chocolate and peanut butter pinwheels but they never turned out very well. Couldn’t figure out how to make the pnut butter dough so it would roll out without falling apart. They all gotten eaten anyway.

  9. 44

    farta says

    hi..i just want to ask for how long does this cookies can last if i keep it in an airtight container?

  10. 48

    Whitney says

    This has recipe has been pinned for awhile! I would love to make these for the 4th of July this year, but how far in advance can I prepare the dough before the “slice-and-bake” step? A week? Two days? Please advise, thanks!

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — June 28th, 2014 @ 8:39 pm

      Hi Whitney! To be safe, I’d prep the dough (until right before the slice step) 48 hours in advance. Make sure you keep it sealed in plastic wrap!

  11. 49

    Whitney says

    Thanks, Kelly! Looking forward to making these cookies later this week, then (if I can be patient enough)! :)

  12. 51

    Madeline Jones says

    I just tried these with my niece for the 4th of July.. And we’re not doing too great! The dough I very sticky. Right now we’re letting the dough chill in the fridge before cutting and placing in oven.

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — July 1st, 2014 @ 7:51 pm

      Hi Madeline – It’s important to only mix the dough just until the flour is combined (per the recipe instructions), otherwise the dough will be too sticky, and to also refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes to give the butter a chance to firm up.

  13. 53

    Grace says

    Hi there! Do the cookies taste soft and chewy? Or are they like normal cookies? (not sure how to describe) If they are soft and chewy, is there a way to make them more crunchy?… (again, not sure how to describe).

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — July 3rd, 2014 @ 1:51 am

      Hi Grace! Yes, they’re soft and chewy and not crispy, just as long as you bake them as directed :)

  14. 54


    Hi! I stumbled across your cookie recipe on Pinterest and I had to try it out myself. While I found the dough-log-forming to be a little on the difficult side, it was much easier than I initially imageined. I’ve got photos of my attempt and your recipe (with a link back here, of course!) featured on my blog. (: Thanks for posting such a fun recipe! It was great!!

  15. 55

    Mel From STL says

    Laura, I know this is a year after the fact, but if you still need a food coloring alternative you can use cherry juice and blueberry juice. (You can use orange juice if you need orange coloring, etc.)

  16. 56

    Jacob says

    hi, can I shorten the 4 hour refrigerating time by putting them in the freezer?

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — July 4th, 2014 @ 12:09 am

      Hi Jacob! I’ve never tried freezing this dough before so I can’t say with certainty if that would work. Let me know if you try it!

  17. 57


    Did these last year and they were a HUGE hit. Tried again last night … didn’t use enough food coloring and they look like blue and pink cotton candy colors :( I’ll try again today, and serve the others as back-ups after these disappear :D Still, I LOVE this! Thanks!

  18. 59

    Kerri says

    Just in case anyone else runs into the same problems we had… Do you weigh your flour or just scoop? I weighed mine and the dough was ridiculously soft even after refrigerating so we kneaded in probably another cup overall before it was workable. I also think 1/8 inch is much thinner than the layers of dough in the pictures. We have bands for our rolling pin that help you roll to the correct thickness and we had twice as many swirls and our layers look much thinner. Having the dough that thin made it pretty hard to work with. They still turned out pretty darn cute but my daughter threw in the towel and I ended up having to finish the cookies because of the soft dough and the insanely thin dough. I would recommend rolling the dough to 1/4 inch if you want your cookies to look the the ones in the photos, and adding an extra cup of flour if you measure by weight.

  19. 60

    Maddie + Chloe says

    We just made these for our 4th of July celebration and we are so happy with the results! They really look just like your pictures. And they’re tasty too. Have you tried this with almond extract instead of vanilla? We might try that next time!

    Tip: We used a wire cheese slicer instead of a knife to cut the cookies. That seemed to work well and didn’t squish the dough.

  20. 61

    Kathleen Jones says

    I’m making these right now and the dough is so soft after 30 min of refrigeration its still too soft to roll out properly :(

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — December 14th, 2014 @ 1:37 am

      Hi Kathleen – You can leave the dough in the fridge for as long as it takes for the butter to re-solidify.

  21. 63


    So cute! I hope to make them for the 4th of July gathering we have at our house. Thanks for sharing.

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — June 8th, 2015 @ 3:03 pm

      Awesome! I hope you enjoy the recipe, Debbie!

  22. 64

    Julia says

    You could try adding in fruit purée such as strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries… Not sure if it will add enough color but worth a try!

  23. 65

    Tabitha says

    Made these cookies to bring to my family 4th of July bqq tomorrow! They are currently chilling in the fridge and can’t wait to cut into them and see how they turned out! Such an easy dough recipe and endless possibilities for different flavors and designs!

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — July 5th, 2015 @ 10:36 am

      Awesome! Hope you enjoyed them!

  24. 66

    Lys says

    I’m curious as to why your recipe says to roll the cookies into a log by staring at the short end. I believe rolling it this way would end up with one very fat but not very long log. Wouldn’t it be best to roll the cookies into a pinwheel shape by starting from the long end and rolling towards the other side of the long end?

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — July 5th, 2015 @ 10:30 am

      Hi Lys! You’ll want to roll from the short end so you have a more compact spiral and regular size cookies. Hope that helps!

  25. 67

    Ana says

    I made these yesterday and they turned out great! These are definitely some of the coolest cookies that I have made. The only downside is that you have the wait from start to finish.

  26. 68


    Every year I make something patriotic for my adult daughter’s birthday. The pinwheels were the biggest hit ever. They look cool, and the flavor is awesome! Thanks for sharing!

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — July 11th, 2015 @ 5:40 pm

      Awesome! So glad you enjoyed the recipe!


  1. […] 4th Of July Pinwheel Ice Box Cookies –  From Just A Taste. I actually had made these for a family reunion so I didn’t use the red, white and blue colors. I just picked colors that I thought would be pretty and they turned out pretty good! All but one got eaten and I must admit I only  made half of what it calls for, cause I ate the rest raw of the new few days. I know – I’m a bad person. […]

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