Skip to Content

Pinwheel Cookies Recipe

I’ve included some videos below for those who prefer to watch rather than read.

Pinwheel Cookies

Pinwheel cookies are a delightful treat combining chocolate and vanilla dough swirled together in a beautiful pinwheel pattern. These cookies not only look impressive, but they also offer a buttery, melt-in-your-mouth experience that’s perfect for any occasion.

To make these cookies, you start by mixing simple ingredients like sugar, butter, eggs, and vanilla. Divide the dough in half and mix cocoa powder into one half. Roll out both doughs, layer them, and then roll them into a log before slicing into perfect pinwheel shapes.

Baking these cookies is straightforward and quick. Once cut, place them on a baking sheet with space between each cookie and bake until the edges are golden. The result is a stunning and tasty cookie that’s sure to impress.

Exact Ingredients (+ Possible Substitutes)

To make pinwheel cookies, you’ll need some basic ingredients. Here’s a list with possible substitutes to help you out:

  • Flour: You’ll need all-purpose flour. You can substitute with gluten-free flour if needed.
  • Baking Powder: Helps the cookies rise. There’s no direct substitute, but you can use a mix of baking soda and cream of tartar if necessary.
  • Salt: Just a pinch to balance flavors. Sea salt or kosher salt can work too.

For the wet ingredients:

  • Butter: Use unsalted butter. If you’re out, margarine or a butter substitute can work, though the flavor might change slightly.
  • Granulated Sugar: Sweetens the dough. You can try cane sugar or even coconut sugar, though it will alter the flavor.
  • Egg: Binds the ingredients together. A flaxseed or chia seed mixture can substitute for eggs in a pinch.

For that classic pinwheel appearance:

  • Vanilla Extract: Adds flavor. Vanilla paste or vanilla beans are good substitutes.
  • Chocolate: Either cocoa powder or melted chocolate for the swirl. You can use carob powder if you prefer.

Possible add-ins:

  • Food Coloring: Optional if you want colored swirls. Natural food coloring made from veggies or fruits can be a good alternative.
  • Sprinkles: For decoration. Use any type or color you like.

Remember to follow the recipe steps closely, and you’ll have beautiful pinwheel cookies in no time!


Make the Dough:

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 cups of all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, and ½ teaspoon of salt.
  2. In a large bowl, using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat 1 stick of softened unsalted butter with 1 cup of granulated sugar until creamy (about 2 minutes).
  3. Add 1 egg and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, beating until combined.
  4. Gradually mix in the dry ingredients until a dough forms.

Divide and Color the Dough:

  1. Split the dough in half.
  2. For a chocolate swirl: Mix ¼ cup of unsweetened cocoa powder into one half.

Roll Out the Dough:

  1. Roll each half between two sheets of parchment paper into ¼-inch thick rectangles.
  2. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Form the Pinwheel:

  1. Remove the dough from the refrigerator.
  2. Place the chocolate dough on top of the plain dough and gently press together.
  3. Roll up the dough tightly into a log, starting from the long edge. Wrap in plastic wrap.
  4. Refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.

Slice and Bake:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C).
  2. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. Slice the chilled dough into ¼-inch thick discs and lay them on the prepared sheets, spacing 1 inch apart.
  4. Bake for 8-12 minutes, or until the edges are lightly golden.

Cool and Serve:

  1. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes.
  2. Transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy!

Tips, Tricks & Storing

Tips & Tricks

  • Even Slicing: For uniform cookies, chill the dough well before slicing.
  • Prevent Stickiness: Use parchment paper or a silicone baking mat to prevent cookies from sticking.
  • Consistency: Make sure your butter is at room temperature for easy mixing.
  • Chill the Dough: Chilling helps maintain the shape during baking.


  1. Room Temperature: Store cookies in an airtight container. They stay fresh for up to a week.
  2. Freezing Dough: Wrap dough logs tightly in plastic wrap and freeze. Thaw slightly before slicing and baking.
  3. Freezing Baked Cookies: Once baked and cooled, place cookies in a zip-lock bag. They can last up to three months in the freezer.

Recipe Variations & Serving Suggestions

Recipe Variations

  1. Chocolate & Vanilla: Roll out chocolate dough and place vanilla dough on top. Roll into a log for a beautiful swirl.
  2. Nutty Delight: Add finely chopped nuts like almonds or pecans to the dough for extra crunch.
  3. Colorful Fun: Add food coloring to the dough for vibrant, fun cookies. Perfect for parties.

Serving Suggestions

  • Holiday Treat: Serve on a festive platter during Christmas or other holidays.
  • Gift: Wrap a few cookies in decorative bags or boxes and give them as gifts.
  • Tea Time: Pair with a hot cup of tea or coffee for a cozy afternoon snack.
Chocolate & VanillaChocolate dough, vanilla dough
Nutty DelightChopped nuts like almonds or pecans
Colorful FunFood coloring in various shades

Enjoy experimenting with these ideas to make your pinwheel cookies unique!

Benjamin Happy Muncher

Hi, I'm Benjamin. I love cooking, long walks, and my girlfriend! Here you’ll find simple and delicious recipes that you can make in 30 minutes or less.