How To Turn Colored Dough Into Pinwheel Swirl Cookies

Making cookies using colored dough is one of my favorite things to do on lazy baking days. It eliminates all the measuring, sifting, and stirring that royal icing requires, but still creates a beautiful cookie. This is especially true if you use three different colored doughs! A pretty swirl pattern and a touch of sparkle around the edges takes these pinwheel swirl cookies over the top.

Pinwheel Swirl Cookies -

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Supplies for Pinwheel Swirl Cookies

To make pinwheel swirl cookies, you will need:

Sugar cookie dough made from your favorite sugar cookie recipe

Red, orange, and yellow gel food coloring (or any three colors)

1 egg

Green sparkling sugar (or any other color)

Mini leaf cookie cutters (or any other mini shape)

How To Make Pinwheel Swirl Cookies

Colored Dough -

Separate your sugar cookie dough into three equal sections. Add a small amount of food coloring to each section and knead the dough until the coloring is blended throughout.

Colored Dough -

Roll out each section of dough so that it is approximately 1/8″ thick. Since you will be layering the colored dough on top of each other, you want to roll them out thinner than your usual cut out cookies.

Colored Dough -

Stack the colored dough so that you have three layers of color on top of a sheet of parchment paper. The colored dough on the bottom of the stack will be the outer edge of your pinwheel swirl cookies. Try to line the layers up as closely as possible. Any excess unsightly pieces can be trimmed off later. 

Colored Dough -

If at any time, the cookie dough becomes to soft to work with, set it in the fridge until it is chilled. Be careful not to let the dough get too cold or it will crack when you try to bend it.

Using the parchment paper to help smoothly guide the dough, gently roll it into a log shape. 

Pour your sparkling sugar onto parchment paper, spreading it out in a thin layer. Beat your egg to make an egg wash and brush it on your cookie dough. Roll the dough in your sparkling sugar until it is evenly coated.

Set the log of dough in the fridge, along with a sharp knife, until both are chilled.

With  your chilled knife, slice off the jagged ends of your colored dough log. Then, slice the rest of the dough into approximately 1/4″ thick circles.

Pinwheel Swirl Cookies -

For circular pinwheel swirl cookies: Set the sliced dough on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake according to the directions of your favorite sugar cookie recipe. You may need to add a couple of extra minutes to the baking time if your pinwheel swirl cookies are thicker than your usual sugar cookies.

For leaf (or other shaped) swirl cookies: Use your cookie cutters to cut into the center of the circular dough. Set the sliced dough on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake according to the directions of your favorite sugar cookie recipe. You may need to shorten the baking time by a couple of minutes if you used mini cookie cutters for smaller than usual cookies.

Pinwheel Swirl Cookies -

Not sure what to do with those left over outer rings of your cookie shapes? Add a little hard candy to the center and turn them into stained glass swirl cookies. For a step-by-step tutorial on making stained glass cookies, check out Stained Glass Christmas Cookies | Edible Ornaments.

Pinwheel Swirl Cookies - 12


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Creative sweets made simple. Learn how to easily make decorated treats through recipes and tutorials at Are you ready for sweet inspiration?
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24 Responses to How To Turn Colored Dough Into Pinwheel Swirl Cookies

  1. ok this is goes on my must-do list! :)
    Lisa@hooplapalooza recently posted..april fool’s?My Profile

  2. What a fun tutorial! I love working with colored dough too! :)
    Jennifer @ Not Your Momma’s Cookie recently posted..Easy Cherry DanishMy Profile

  3. These would be cute in my lunchbox. I love sugar cookies, especially colorful ones=D
    Heather {Dietetic Sinners} recently posted..Pulled Pork PiesMy Profile

    • Janine says:

      Isn’t it great when you can make colorful cookies without using icing, Heather! That’s my favorite part about these Pinwheel Swirl Cookies.

  4. What beautiful cookies! I love the colors and the idea to make the stained glass cookies, too. Thanks so much for sharing at my Real Family Fun link party.
    Hope to see you again next week.
    KC @ The Real Thing with the Coake Family recently posted..Real Family Fun #8My Profile

  5. What adorable cookies – can’t wait to give them a try!

  6. Elizabeth says:

    Pinwheel cookies are so much fun!

    This month I’m hosting a roundup called Pantry Party. Our theme this month is cookies. I’d love to see you enter either this recipe or another cookie into the round up!
    Elizabeth recently posted..YakisobaMy Profile

  7. What a wonderful idea! Will definitely have to give this a try.

  8. HOW fun do these cookies look, TRUE!
    DEFINITE appeal for kids of all ages to make and enjoy too!
    Cheers! Joanne
    What’s On The List
    Foodie Friends Friday
    Joanne T Ferguson recently posted..INJERA featured- ETHIOPIAN FEASTMy Profile

  9. I can never get the two doughs to work together… AND refrigerator cookies never come out round. They always have a flat side, no matter how many times I turn and slice…
    Thanks so much for sharing on Two Cup Tuesday at Pint Sized Baker. I’ve Pinned this!
    Karyn – Pint Sized Baker recently posted..Chocolate BabkaMy Profile

  10. I love your pictures and recipes, they are mouth watering. Would love for you to share them with us at We are new but at we are not photography snobs, we are just foodies.

  11. These look awesome! Thank you for the step by step!

  12. foodienewz says:

    Your food photos are amazing. You can share your mouth watering photos with us at and your photos published on FoodieNewz without any editorial review.

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