If you’re looking for a fun and unusual cookie to bring to this year’s holiday party, this is definitely it! Swirls of vanilla and red velvet sugar cookie dough bake up together into irresistible cookies with a stunning presentation.

These pinwheels might look complicated, but the additional steps are actually quite easy. The cookie dough does need some time to harden in the freezer, however, so be sure to plan accordingly.

Red Velvet Pinwheel Cookies

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 2 dozen cookies

Red Velvet Pinwheel Cookies


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red gel food coloring


  1. In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar together until pale and creamy. Mix in egg, followed by vanilla. In separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. Add flour to butter mixture all at once and mix until incorporated.
  2. Remove half of dough from bowl and set aside. Add cocoa powder and red food coloring to other half and mix on low until ingredients are incorporated and color is uniform red color.
  3. Place red dough between 2 sheets of wax paper and use rolling pin to roll it into large rectangle about 1/2-inch thick; remove top sheet of wax paper. Repeat with plain dough and 2 more sheets of wax paper. Peel away wax paper from one side of plain dough and place dough side down directly on top of red dough. Remove top piece of wax paper from plain dough.
  4. Starting with a long side, tightly roll up dough into a long log, carefully pealing red dough away from remaining wax paper as you roll. Wrap finished dough log in plastic wrap and freeze at least 2 hours.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line sheet pan with parchment paper. Unwrap cookie dough and slice into 1/2-inch cookies. Place on sheet pan. Bake until cookie bottoms just begin to turn golden brown, about 10 minutes. Let cool on pan 10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

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Use softened butter for cookies and cakes.

Bringing butter to room temperature helps it incorporate better with other ingredients.

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