Pink Pinwheel Sugar Cookies

from 8 votes

Perfect for celebrations, these Pink Pinwheel Sugar Cookies are as pretty as they are delicious. The buttery spiral cookies are made using an easy slice-and-bake method.

Pink pinwheel sugar cookies, edged in sprinkles, are stacked on a dark surface.

There are some recipes that elicit lots of “oohs” and “aahs” when they’re brought out at a party or a bake sale. These pink pinwheel sugar cookies are definitely that kind of recipe. With their pink and white swirl and sprinkle-adorned edges, they’re just so festive and inviting.

It all starts with a simple butter cookie dough that’s tinted and rolled into a log. Using the same method as for slice-and-bake cookies, the cookies are cut into discs and baked to reveal a pretty swirl.

Keep this recipe up your sleeve for the next time you need to make a good impression. After all, who doesn’t love to be the one whose treats get all the attention at the dessert table?

Why You’ll Love These

  • Great for holidays. These cookies make lovely Valentine’s Day pinwheel cookies or Christmas cookies, and by changing up the food coloring, they’d work for St. Patrick’s Day, Halloween, and more.
  • Delicious buttery flavor.
  • Make-ahead friendly. The dough can be made and rolled so it’s ready to bake when needed. 
  • Kid-approved. Because, sprinkles.


Ingredients for butter cookies are portioned into clear glass bowls, including flour, vanilla extract, salt, baking powder, eggs, sprinkles, food coloring, sugar and butter.
  • Flour: To measure flour accurately, spoon the flour into the measuring cup and sweep off the excess with a knife.
  • Baking powder: This leavening agent ensures light, airy cookies. 
  • Salt: I use kosher salt in my baking recipes, but table salt works well too.
  • Butter: Use unsalted butter to better control the salt content. Slightly softening the butter before you get started will make it easier to work with. But don’t let it get too soft or the dough won’t hold its shape.
  • Sugar: Granulated sugar sweetens and tenderizes the dough.
  • Eggs: Eggs provide moisture and richness to baked goods, and serve to bind all the dry ingredients together.
  • Vanilla extract: The vanilla flavor shines in this simple dough recipe, so it’s a great chance to show off homemade vanilla extract!
  • Red food coloring: As with my other colorful cookie recipes, such as Cake Mix Grinch Cookies, I always recommend gel food coloring because just a little will give you vibrant results.
  • Sprinkles: Use your favorite sprinkles to add festive color and a little crunch to the cookies.

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.


A tried-and-true butter cookie recipe and a little ingenuity is all you need to make a variety of pinwheel cookies. Here are some ideas:

  • Tint the dough red and green and roll in festive sprinkles to make Christmas Pinwheel Cookies.
  • Press a candy eyeball into the center of each just-baked cookie for Halloween Pinwheel Sugar Cookies or for a monster-themed party.
  • Divide dough into three parts and tint sections red and blue to make patriotic red, white and blue icebox cookies.
  • Play with flavors: Use flavored extracts such as strawberry, peppermint, or lemon instead of vanilla. You can even flavor the two sections of dough with two flavors that complement each other. Strawberry lemonade cookies, anyone?
  • Get fancy: Before chilling, roll the logs in sprinkles, nonpareils or colored sanding sugar. 

How to Make Pinwheel Sugar Cookies

Follow these simple instructions for how to make swirl sugar cookies that look as good as they taste!

  1. Sift dry ingredients. Sifting together the flour, baking powder and salt will break up lumps, aerate the ingredients, and mix them thoroughly.
  2. Mix wet ingredients. Use a stand mixer to beat the butter until it’s smooth and creamy before adding the sugar, then the eggs. When adding the dry ingredients, it’s important not to overmix the flour and the wet ingredients or the cookies could turn out tough. 
  3. Tint the dough. Remove half the dough from the stand mixer and tint the remaining dough with the red food coloring. Mix in a little at a time until you reach the desired color — remember that the color will darken as it bakes.
  1. Refrigerate the dough. Pat each portion of dough into an 8-inch square, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. 
  1. Form the rolls. Cut each square into two rectangles. Placing the dough between layers of wax paper to prevent sticking, roll pieces to a rectangle 1/8-inch thick. Peel off the top layer of wax paper from each and stack one color on top of the other to form two stacks. Lightly roll the dough together to combine, then roll the dough tightly into a log. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Layers of plain and pink sugar cookie dough is stacked between sheets of wax paper.
  1. Roll logs in sprinkles. Freeze for 4 more hours.
A log of slice and bake sugar cookies is rolled in pink, white and red sprinkles in a clear glass dish.
  1. Slice and bake. Slice each log into rounds about ¼ inch thick. Bake at 350˚F for 9 to 11 minutes, until pale golden.
A log of pink and white pinwheel cookie dough, rolled in sprinkles, is cut into rounds.

Kelly’s Note: Don’t overbake these cookies! The cookies are done when they are just starting to get golden on the underside. Let them set on the baking sheet for a few minutes so they can firm up a bit before transferring to a rack.

Troubleshooting Pinwheel Cookies

Follow these tips for the best results when you make swirl cookies:

  • Allow plenty of time to chill. The dough in this recipe is chilled in the refrigerator no fewer than three — count ‘em! — three times, for a total of 5 hours and 30 minutes. These chilling stages are essential to achieve perfect spirals and cookies that don’t spread.
  • Ensure the log is round. Before coating the logs in the sprinkles, roll them back and forth on a countertop to round out any flat spots. This extra step will yield perfectly round cookies.
  • Use a sharp knife. When slicing the cookies into rounds, use a very sharp chef’s or serrated knife and try not to press down — instead, use long slicing strokes to cut through the log without compressing it.

Storage Tips


Like most slice-and-bake cookies, this recipe can be made in advance. Refrigerate the log of cookie dough for up to a week. You can slice off rounds to bake as needed. The dough can also be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and frozen for up to 2 months. Allow the frozen dough to thaw overnight in the refrigerator before slicing and baking. 


Pinwheel cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. Cool the cookies completely before storing and layer them between pieces of parchment paper or wax paper.


To freeze baked cookies, arrange cooled cookies in a single layer on a tray and freeze until solid. Transfer the frozen cookies to an airtight container or a freezer bag, using wax papers between the layers. The frozen cookies can be stored for up to a month. Thaw at room temperature for several hours or in the refrigerator overnight before serving. 

Pink pinwheel sugar cookies, edged in sprinkles, are arranged on a baking rack.

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Pink Pinwheel Sugar Cookies

Pinwheel Sugar Cookies are buttery cookies made with basic pantry ingredients. Best of all, the dough can be prepared up to a week in advance then sliced and baked.
Author: Kelly Senyei
4 from 8 votes
Pink pinwheel sugar cookies, edged in sprinkles, are stacked on a dark surface.
Prep Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Cook Time 11 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 51 minutes
Servings 48 cookies


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


  • 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 two equal pieces. Shape one piece of the dough into an 8-inch square, wrap it securely in plastic wrap and place it in the fridge. (This will be the white portion of the cookies.)
  • Return the remaining piece of dough to the stand mixer bowl, and with the mixer on “low,” add in the red food coloring, drop by drop, until it reaches your desired pink color. Remove the pink dough, shape it into an 8-inch square, wrap it securely in plastic wrap and place it in the fridge.
  • 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 white dough in between two pieces of wax paper and roll it into a rectangle about 1/8-inch thick. Roll out the pink 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 white dough and then peel the wax paper off one side of the pink dough and use the other side to transfer the pink dough on top of the white dough. Very lightly roll the two 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. Unwrap the dough logs and place the sprinkles in a large, shallow dish. Roll the dough logs in the sprinkles until they are completely coated. Re-wrap the dough logs in wax paper and plastic and refrigerate them 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 rack to cool completely.

Kelly’s Notes

  • Don’t skip the chilling times. They’re necessary for the cookies to hold their spiral shape when baking.
  • Use a very sharp chef’s or serrated knife to slice the cookies without pressing down and compressing the round shape.
  • Don’t overbake! The cookies are done when they’re lightly golden brown on the underside.
  • ★ Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!


Calories: 86kcal, Carbohydrates: 11g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 16mg, Sodium: 27mg, Potassium: 16mg, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 130IU, Calcium: 5mg, Iron: 0.4mg


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4 from 8 votes

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  1. i substituted the vanilla extract for strawberry extract and the cookies came out wonderfully! They we’re a huge hit at our holiday party. Definitely will use again!

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