This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, read my disclosure policy.

Pinwheel Cookies are an easy sugar cookie recipe rolled up with a filling like spiral cookies! I’m showing you how to make four different versions of this cookie recipe I’ve been making for years. Your cookie trays will be a huge hit when you add these!

This post is sponsored by Challenge Dairy; I’ve been using their butter my whole life and it’s the perfect butter to use when you’re baking cookies!

Pin it now to save for later

Pin Recipe
overhead shot of tray of pinwheel cookies

I have been making these easy pinwheel cookies for years! They’re one of my favorite cookie recipes of all time, seriously. One, because they’re easy to adapt to the holiday I’m making them for and two, because I love the flavor.

Pinwheel swirl cookies or spiral cookies like these are super easy to make and fun to change up depending on your mood. Today I’m going to show you how to make FOUR different variations of the best pinwheel cookies you’ll ever eat!

You can make different flavors of pinwheel cookies SO easily:

  1. Christmas Pinwheel Cookies with red and green sugar
  2. Cinnamon sugar swirl cookies
  3. Chocolate Chip Pinwheel Cookies
  4. Spiral cookies with lemon curd (or jam)

I first made 4th of July Spiral Cookies several years ago and I’ve been changing up the flavors ever since (my cookbook even has a cinnamon roll version, with frosting!)

pinwheel cookies with challenge butter box

What is a pinwheel cookie?

Basically, these cookies are a sugar cookie that you roll. The cookie dough is actually a combination of sugar cookie and a spiral shortbread cookie; there’s a lot of butter and sugar but no leavening.

Because there is no baking soda or baking powder in these cookies, they don’t spread. They also end up soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside!

Sometimes you see pinwheel cookies with different color doughs (red layered with white or chocolate layered with vanilla) and you can definitely make that recipe from this dough too!

The ingredients in these cookies are simple:

  • Butter
  • Sugar
  • Extract
  • Egg
  • Salt
  • Flour

That’s it – it’s really a simple cookie dough!

challenge butter box with cookies behind

Now, when you’re making a cookie recipe that has few ingredients and is like a sugar or shortbread cookie, you want to use the best ingredients.

What kind of butter is best for baking?

My favorite butter is Challenge Butter. It’s no secret that I’ve been working with Challenge Dairy for years and it’s a perfect fit for me. You see, I’ve been eating Challenge Butter my ENTIRE life.

Challenge Dairy is a California company, based in the Bay Area, where I grew up. My dad grew up eating Challenge and it’s the only butter he buys. In fact, whenever we talk about cooking or baking and butter comes up, he talks about how much he loves the flavor and how it really is the BEST butter.

Challenge butter is farm to fridge in just TWO days; it’s made and ready to be shipped in just 24 hours after the cows have been milked. It has no hormones, additives or fillers and comes from happy cows at family-owned dairies. You really can taste the difference when you bake with Challenge!

When it comes to Christmas cookie baking – or any cookie baking – I always reach for Challenge Unsalted Butter. It’s the best butter to use in these pinwheel cookies.

Choose your extract for these cookies!

You’ll notice that the recipe calls for almond extract. I cannot get enough of almond extract and I’d add it to every cookie and recipe I make if I could! But – if you’re allergic or don’t like almond flavor you can switch it out. Try using:

  • Vanilla Extract
  • Lemon Extract
  • Cinnamon Extract

Or any flavor you want – pair it with your favorite filling!

The best part about this cookie recipe is that you can make it any flavor you want!

red and green sugar in pinwheel cookies in stack

Christmas Spiral Cookies

The traditional holiday sprinkle cookies I make are filled with colorful sugars. Because it’s the holiday season, I used red and green sugars. I use blue and red for the 4th of July, but you can make these for ANY holiday:

  • Orange and black for Halloween
  • Pastel colors for Easter
  • Red and pink for Valentine’s Day
  • Green for St. Patrick’s Day
  • Use your favorite colors for Colleges, High School colors or even sports teams!

In case you were wondering, you can put sprinkles on sugar cookies before baking – the result is that the sugar bakes into the cookie dough, giving it a crunchy filling!

cinnamon sugar pinwheel cookies in a stack

Cinnamon Sugar Pinwheel Cookies

These remind me of those cookies you make with leftover pie dough, the ones where you sprinkle cinnamon sugar on the scraps, roll them up and bake them. I have fond memories of doing that with my mom as a kid!

Cinnamon sugar is an easy combo and perfect for anyone and any holiday. Just sprinkle the dough with cinnamon sugar before rolling!

stack of chocolate chip cookies

Chocolate Chip Pinwheel Cookies

I’m going out on a limb to say these are the best pinwheel cookies because they’re like a chocolate chip cookie married a sugar cookie! Simply sprinkle mini chocolate chips on the dough before rolling it up! I recommend MINI chocolate chips because otherwise the dough will be too lumpy.

If you like lemon curd or jam, you can also fill these with your favorite! Just spread some jam or jelly onto the dough and roll it up!

How do you roll pinwheel cookies?

Watch the video for a visual, but it’s really easy to roll cookies like this. I have a few tips:

  1. Divide the dough into two pieces after mixing for easier handling.
  2. Before you chill the dough, press/roll it into a rectangle between two sheets of wax paper.
  3. Fill the dough and roll before chilling so there’s no cracking.
  4. Chill it until it’s firm before slicing!
overhead shot of cookies

These cookies are the perfect Christmas or holiday cookie!

Other Christmas Cookies you’ll love:

Other recipes using Challenge Dairy:

Have you made this recipe?

Tag @crazyforcrust on Instagram or hashtag it #crazyforcrust

overhead shot of spiral cookies

Pinwheel Cookies

4.34 from 3 votes
Pinwheel Cookies are the perfect easy sugar cookie recipe for any holiday. You can fill these cookies with anything you want! Here are four different pinwheel cookie variations that we love to make: cinnamon sugar, chocolate chip, colorful sugar for any holiday, and lemon curd or jam! You're going to love this easy cookie recipe!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Chill time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Yield 40 cookies
Serving Size 1 cookie


Cookie Dough:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted Challenge butter softened
  • 1/2  teaspoon almond extract , optional (use vanilla extract if you prefer)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

Filling suggestions:

  • 1/4 cup each of two colored sugars (red and green for Christmas)
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup lemon curd or jam


  • Cream sugar and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. (You can also use a hand mixer.) Add almond extract, salt, and egg and mix until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Slowly stir in your flour and mix until just combined.
  • Divide dough into two pieces. Place one half on wax or plastic wrap spread out on your counter. Cover the top with another sheet of wax paper or plastic wrap. Use your hands or a rolling pin to press the dough into a 8-inch rectangle (oblong is fine). Fill the dough as desired using one of the filling suggestions below. Use the bottom sheet of wax paper or plastic wrap to help you roll the dough. Repeat with the second half of dough. Wrap rolls in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator until firm, about 1 hour (overnight is fine).
  • Heat oven to 350°. Slice rolls of cookie dough into 1/4-inch slices. Place on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper or a silpat baking mat.
  • Bake 6-9 minutes until the bottom edges begin to brown. You may want to rotate the cookie sheets halfway through baking. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet and then remove to a cooling rack. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze for up to one month.


  • Pick two colors of colored sugar (i.e. red and green for Christmas). Working on one rectangle of dough at a time, sprinkle alternating lines of colored sugar before rolling up.

Chocolate Chip:

  • Working on one rectangle of dough at a time, sprinkle about 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips on each rectangle, then press to adhere them, before rolling up.

Cinnamon Sugar

  • Mix 1/4 cup granulated sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Working on one rectangle of dough at a time, sprinkle half the cinnamon sugar on each before rolling up.

Lemon or Jam

  • Working on one rectangle of dough at a time, spread each with a thin layer of lemon curd or jam before rolling up.

Recipe Video

Recipe Nutrition

Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 115kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 17mg | Sodium: 35mg | Potassium: 10mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 158IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 1mg
Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Author Dorothy Kern
Keyword cookies
collage of pinwheel cookies

If you’re looking for the perfect cookie recipe, try my Pinwheel Cookies. You can make them in so many different variations (the chocolate chip is my favorite) and they’re the best holiday cookie recipe!

Dorothy Kern

Welcome to Crazy for Crust, where I share recipes that are sometimes crazy, often with a crust, and always served with a slice of life.

Learn to Bake in 4 Days!
Get my tips, tricks and recipes to take your baking to the next level for FREE!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating


  1. I have looked at your video countless times and followed the directions exactly, but my cookies turn out very small. Like you pop 1 whole cookie in your mouth and it is like a baby bite!

  2. I love cooking but have always struggled with baking. I have been trying to find recipes to help me learn and this one was great. It was not too hard and simple ingredients I already had. I was able to make three different wheels with this recipe.

  3. I don’t see a video to click on. I’ve never made pinwheel cookies before and I’d like to have a little tutorial before I try. They do sound delicious. I noticed that 2 other comments asked if you can substitute margarine. My answer would be NO! It a huge difference in flavor and consistency. In fact, we don’t even buy margarine at all anymore. I’m looking forward to the video. Thank you.

  4. This is an amazing cookies, looks soo good and sound too delicious dorothy..this is one of my favorite cookie of all time….can’t wait to try it…Thanks for sharing a beautiful recipe….!