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

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.

Variations

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

MAKING DOUGH AHEAD OF TIME

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. 

STORING BAKED COOKIES

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.

FREEZING BAKED COOKIES

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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Dessert

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

Ingredients 

  • 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

Instructions 

  • 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!

Nutrition

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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Comments

  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!

  2. 4 stars
    Is the butter melted, softened, cold? I couldn’t tell based on reciepe, and I’ve never made cookies like this before…

  3. 5 stars
    Excellent recipe. It doubled perfectly, and I was surprised at how easy it was to roll and stack the layers (I skipped cooling the dough, before rolling the layers together, and it worked fine). I substituted vanilla for peppermint, and they’re awesome.

  4. 2 stars
    Really disappointed. I spent hours making these and they came out hard as a rock, like harder shortbread cookies, not sugar cookies. Maybe I just screwed up but if not, that’s pretty misleading. But I actually like that they’re not too sweet. Two stars because they’re still pretty good with coffee.

    1. 5 stars
      I’ve been making this recipe for years and they are my kids’ favorite. You overbaked them. You need to take them out when they are still soft and they will solidify as they cool.

  5. 1 star
    I am making this as we speak, my first time making anything homeade and i am very discouraged. I followed the instructions but the batter is too sticky to roll or cut into shapes!! not a good directive for beginners

    1. Hi Anna – I’m sorry you didn’t have success with this recipe. 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. Hope that helps!

  6. 5 stars
    I made these last night for our tree trimming. All my girls were very impressed! And they tasted so good. I did not let them chill as long as it said to. They baked fine but if I had, they would have sliced easier for sure

    1. 5 stars
      I’ve been making these for years but your trick about rolling the logs so they don’t have a flat side worked wonderfully! Great tip, thanks!

  7. I was reading the recipe for several time. It wasn’t clear to me when she say cut the each dough in half.. I will have four rectangle.? And put on top of each other.?

  8. Tried this recipe and went not so well. Looking at my other recipes this is actually a drop sugar cookie recipe (which aren’t meant to be rolled, they turn out super sticky) but doesn’t have near as much sugar so the dough tastes like powder. I would suggest doubling the sugar or maybe looking at another less sticky recipe altogether. It is a super cute idea though, I’m definitely going to make these for an Alzheimer’s walk in doing. And of course I may have just messed up severely messed up and overlooked something and ruined everything because that’s how my luck went but from my experience it didn’t turn out very well.

  9. I made these for a special little girl’s birthday party. This is a wonderful recipe. I have a convection oven and I found that cooking them for only 6 minutes gave me best results. They’re a hit and I’ve had to hide them from the family until party time :)

  10. I made these this weekend in honor of Valentine’s day! I love this sugar cookie recipe, and they turned out beautifully!

    Thanks for sharing the recipe! I can’t wait to use the dough in different variations!

  11. I would serve what my family calls “Aunt Dot’s Christmas Cookies”. I have never met Aunt Dot, I believe she was my grandmother’s aunt, but her cookies live on! They would be very pretty on this plate.

  12. I would serve my favorite Strawberry Jam filled cupcakes. The recipe came from my mom who suffered from breast cancer.

  13. I would serve a scrumptious chopped Kale and Lemon vinegarette salad, with toasted pine nuts and dried cranberries….full of awesome antioxidants, but still so yummy! This would be in honor of those family and friends who have battled cancer and won…and those who’ve I lost.

  14. This sounds kinda weird, but it’s really good: I would serve Chocolate Beet Tea Loaf — comes out a pretty dark pink color!
    Digicats {at} Sbcglobal {dot} Net

  15. I would make coconut banana bread. Yum!

    Your pink pinwheel sugar cookies look beautiful! I will be making these for sure!

    Thank you KitchenAid for being so generous!

  16. i love kitchenaid & everything they do. i would put maraschino cherry filled bonbons drizzled with pink cherry icing, thanks for the chance to win

  17. Very hard to decide, however I would have to go with my “world’s best” chocolate chip cookies made on lollipop sticks with a pink ribbons attached. Yummy for all!!

  18. Love the cookies! I’ll make pink lemonade cupcakes with pink buttercream frosting and will decorate with a pink ballerina!
    Best regards, Wanda

  19. Oooh! This is so fun! I’d make beef tamales, beans, rice, and more for my person to have a delicious Mexican dinner!

  20. Such a great idea. I would make our Pumpkin Bread mini loaves or possibly my daughter Rachel’s famous brownies.

  21. I’d love to try making pink ribbon cut-out cookies to honor family and friends who have fallen victim to breast cancer.

  22. I have a great recipe for a cream cheese sugar cookie bar, I always frost them with a strawberry cream cheese frosting, so its pink. Seems perfect! I love this idea, I love the idea of helping raise money and awareness while sharing something you made with love.

  23. I would probably make my pumpkin snickerdoodles and pass the plate on to my sister who is a survivor, and loves pumpkin! The plate is beautiful as is the message.

  24. I would make something easily transported, I have a great recipe for banana coconut bread with lime glaze that I love, maybe make some mini loaves and wrap up to pass on to a friend.

  25. Thank you to KitchenAid for being part of such a great cause. It brings so much awareness to such a wide audience.
    I would make snickerdoodles with pink food coloring and pink sugar mixed in with the cinnamon. Snickerdoodles are so comforting and bring back so many great memories!

  26. This is a great idea!! Thanks to KitchenAid for all that they do to raise awareness!!
    I would serve your pink pinwheel cookies or the amazing chocolate chip cookies brought to me when I was going through my breast cancer journey eight years ago.

  27. I would put my Santa Christmas Cut-outs with fluffy white frosting — they are a feel good cookie made with love –
    I look at this plate it is makes me feel good as what it does for the cause, my santa cookies would make you feel good too on the plate!! I started out making 48 dozen cookies each year and giving all away- now have worked up to 72 dozen cookies!!! ’tis the season for a good cause and to make people feel good!!

  28. I think everyone is somehow touched or connected by family and friends who have or who have conquered breast cancer. In my family, it’s was my aunt and my cousin. If my aunt were still alive, I would bake bread for her, toast it, and spread lots of good, creamery butter on it for her and serve it on this lovely platter. If I win, I will be baking your special pink sugar pinwheel cookies and then send them along to my cousin in Indiana who has conquered the cancer beast!

  29. My mother passed away from breast cancer on November 4, 2006. She was an amazing cookie baker. She made 25 different kinds of Christmas cookies every year and gave them away to everyone, mixed, in tie boxes that she collected all year long. The cookie that I would serve on this plate is one that she made for Easter and special family events…we called it Lekvar Cookies but everyone else knows it as a Hungarian Kiffle. She taught her three daughters how to bake so we still enjoy Mom’s cookies, but somehow they are never quite the same.

  30. What a great way to raise awareness! I would obviously make something pink, I think I’d make mini cupcakes with hot pink frosting and lots of pink sprinkles and decorations. I picked mini because, well, everything is cuter when it’s mini!

  31. I’m with you… would make something “pink” to support the cause. Maybe strawberry truffles dipped in pink tinted white chocolate.

  32. Your cookies look amazing! In honour of Connie, my childhood friend who passed away from breast cancer, I would serve pink amaretti cookies.

  33. I would bake up a batch of your Secret Ingredient Chocolate Chip cookies & bring them in to where I used to work, to brighten the day of 2 of my former coworkers who are breast cancer survivors!

  34. What a wonderful idea to support breast cancer, friendships, baking, and the art of giving! The pink pinwheel cookies look great, but my grown kids remind me that so many friends and teachers would be so thankful for my gifts of delicious lemon poppy seed bread…naturally this plate would do it justice if wrapped in pink cellophane and tied with a pink bow!

  35. Wow- what a neat idea- I hadn’t seen those before. You just gave me some great inspiration for Christmas. I know a few ladies that I would love to pass those on to. Maybe that’s how I’ll share holiday cookies this year :)

  36. I’d make our Favorite Cookies with oatmeal, craisins, coconut, and pecans to share with a friend! #familyfavorite

  37. My mom is a breast cancer survivor, and she loves roasted vegetables, so I would definitely serve her up some roasted autumn root veggies on this looker!

  38. Bravo! These cookies are beautiful and the perfect way to support a wonderful cause! <3

  39. What pretty cookies, and such a wonderful cause! Thanks for sharing! :) I think I would make Pumpkin Brownie Bars to put on my plate!

  40. Great recipe for this…and what a great way to help with is cause! I would make my mother’s recipe for bow knot cookies with pink icing!

  41. This plate is a great idea! I would make a salad with tons of antioxidant vegetables and a sprinkling of sunflower seeds because this type of salad helps the body fight free radicals that can encourage cancer. Then would come a tough choice of whether to give it to someone with cancer or to someone who would keep the plate moving to raise more money for breast cancer research.

  42. Seriously, love everything that KitchenAid does with their initiatives and program that support breast cancer. <3

    Your cookies look darling and so perfect & tightly rolled. I love how festive they are and they would be great for February, too! Beautiful job, Kelly :)