Red, White, and Blue Pinwheel Cookies


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a hand holding a pinwheel cookie

Want to go patriotic with your next dessert? Red, White, and Blue Pinwheel Cookies are just the thing. Buttery and soft, refrigerate them ahead of time to just slice and bake when you’re ready to serve!

pinwheel cookies on a parchment lined sheet pan

Happy Fourth of July week! Is anyone out there? Hopefully you’re off at the pool / beach / lake / beer garden (?) kicking off your week with relaxation and fun! We had an early celebration at my mom’s house with fireworks by the lake, a plastic kid pool that the adults all put our feet in, and dinner cooked on the grill. (Scroll to the bottom of the post for a peek!)

pinwheel cookies on a cooling rack

Despite being 9 months pregnant in July and overheating even without moving, I’m feeling particularly celebratory this holiday. Having a couple four-year-olds around will do that. Those two are overjoyed with their first experiences with fireworks (especially sparklers), so we’ve been deep in the patriotic spirit.

These cookies had to be a part of the July 4th spread this year. Buttery and soft, this is a classic vanilla cookie that is a variation on a household favorite. Though they look complicated, it’s really just one batch of dough, divided in three and mixed with some food coloring (I use food gel these days because it delivers reliably vivid colors). You just stack the dough as shown below.

layers of colored cookie dough

Then roll into a log, wrap in wax paper, and refrigerate it. When it’s time to bake, just roll the dough in some sprinkles  (optional, but super fun!), slice, and bake.

slicing pinwheel cookies

Serve with a side of fireworks!

sliced pinwheel cookies on a parchment lined sheet pan

For detailed photos of the process for making these cookies, check out this post.

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Red White and Blue Pinwheel Cookies
4.83 from 17 votes

Red, White, and Blue Pinwheel Cookies

Want to go patriotic with your next dessert? Red, White, and Blue Pinwheel Cookies are just the thing. Buttery and soft, refrigerate them ahead of time to just slice and bake when you're ready to serve!
Prep: 1 hour
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 40 cookies


  • Stand Mixer
  • Parchment Paper
  • Half Sheet Pan
  • Sharp Knife
  • Cooling Rack


  • 4 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 1/3 cup Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • Red and Blue Food Coloring / Food Gel
  • Sprinkles (optional)
  • Wax paper, for rolling dough


  • In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the butter on medium-high until smooth.
  • Add sugar and beat on high until light and fluffy, ~2 minutes.
  • Add eggs one at a time, mixing between each addition. Add vanilla and mix for 1 minute more.
  • Add dry ingredients in three increments, mixing between each one.
  • Divide dough into three even portions.
  • Red. Put the first portion of dough in the mixer and add red food coloring / gel, while mixing, until the dough is a nice bright red. Set red dough aside and wipe out bowl.
  • Blue. Put the second portion of dough in the mixer and add blue food coloring / gel, while mixing, until the dough is a nice bright blue. Set red dough aside.
  • Working with one portion of dough at a time, roll each into a 11" x 11" square. (I use a permanent marker to draw a square on a piece of wax paper and use that as a guide. The squares don't have to be perfect, just generally around the same size.)
  • Refrigerate dough squares for 30 minutes until chilled (this will make them easier to layer without the colors bleeding together).
  • Remove dough from refrigerator and stack the three portions of dough (in any order). Gently press dough layers together.
  • Using the bottom sheet of wax paper to lift dough, roll it into a log. Press gently as you roll to avoid gaps. Wrap the dough tightly in wax paper.
  • Refrigerate for 2 hours or up to 5 days. (At this point the dough can be wrapped in foil and frozen for up to 3 months; defrost in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours before baking.)
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • If using sprinkles, remove the dough from the wax paper and roll in sprinkles to coat on all sides.
  • Using a sharp knife cut roll into 1/8" slices. Place slices on an ungreased baking sheet. The cookies will spread slightly as they bake, so leave ~2" between.
  • Bake until cookies appear just set in the middle, 8 to 10 minutes. (The texture will be tender and buttery. I've been known to bake these for as little as 6 minutes. Soft, gooey, delicious.)
  • Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.
  • Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.


Calories: 132kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 24mg | Sodium: 34mg | Potassium: 43mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 201IU | Calcium: 16mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Author: Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef
Cost: $3.00
Calories: 132
Keyword: cookies, Fourth of July, party and entertaining, potluck recipe
Like this? Leave a comment below!Jump to Comments


Is there anything better in early July than a kiddie pool filled with cold hose water?

playing in the baby pool

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About Jess Smith

Jess is the recipe creator and photographer at She spent nearly a decade as the Chief Recipe Developer for the award-winning meal planning app Cook Smarts. Her colorful, healthyish recipes have been featured in popular online publications including Parade, Hallmark, and HuffPost.

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  1. I just made them. I don’t know what happened.
    My dough was a cream color (so I had no white dough)
    Then when I added the blue gel it was like mixing cream and blue which made blue green. The red would not turn red.
    So very disappointed.
    If I did something wrong I apologize.

    1. I’ve never had that happen! But it has to be either the butter or the eggs – one must be more yellow than what I’ve used? If you’re using really good, fresh eggs sometimes the yolks are so yellow that I’d imagine they might change the color of the dough. That’s my best guess, but I’m still so surprised to hear that you had this outcome. Usually my dough is quite pale, as you can see in the photos.

    1. Yes! Just make sure you roll it out so that one end is the full length listed the recipe and then halve the other end, so that you get full-size cookies when you roll them.

  2. 5 stars
    I love this cookie recipe. Not very sweet and easy to make. I’ve only tried it rolled per recipe but can this be use as cut out cookies as well? Would it spread?

    1. I think these would be great as a cut-out cookie. There’s so little spreading that I think they would be just fine. If you do, I’d love to hear how it turns out!

  3. 5 stars
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  4. 5 stars
    We shared this red and white blue pinwheel cookies this holiday season. Everyone in the family loves it! Every bite burst with happiness, it’s like the heaven opened its gates. This is so good, so thumbs up!

  5. 4 stars
    I am loving this cookie recipe. I will be making it again this New Year’s Eve Party celebration. My kids love it and they won’t stop eating. Thanks for this. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  6. Shucks! I’m a few days late. I would have loved to make this for the 4th of July. They look so lovely. I think my sons will enjoy this because the colors look like Captain America’s shield.