Christmas Candy cane cookies are a delicious holiday dessert with nostalgic shape and classic festive colors. Made from our best sugar cookie dough recipe, these are a family favorite that we enjoy making all season long.
According to my little guy, they are "so so so good" and I love them for parties, neighbor gifts, and cookie exchanges during the Christmas season!
With Christmas right around the corner, we are starting to plan our baking including these favorite Italian Christmas Cookies, Snowball Cookies, and Perfect Gingerbread Cookies. Oh, and of course our very favorite Christmas Toffee!
This candy cane cookie recipe is great for holiday baking. It's simple and quick, and uses kitchen pantry staples. Not only do they bring that classic Christmas charm into your home, but they are the ultimate Christmas treat for anyone who loves cookies.
These candy cane cookies are a tasty buttery soft sugar cookie that are shaped into candy canes with their festive red and white stripes on full display. They are the perfect gift to hand out to friends and family, great for cookie exchanges and holiday parties and of course the best cookie to whip up for Santa!
Why You’ll Love these Candy Cane Cookies
- Simple and easy to make
- Uses Kitchen pantry staples - Minimal Ingredients
- Beautiful Christmas colors
- Perfect gifts for friends and family
- Kids adore them
- Great for cookie exchanges and holiday parties
Candy cane cookies are a festive holiday sugar cookie that's twisted to look like a real candy cane. They are perfect for those holiday parties you'll be attending, cookie exchanges, or make beautiful gifts for friends, family and neighbors.
Candy Cane Cookies Ingredients
- Eggs – We always use large eggs.
- Milk – I use whole milk, but you can use anything you have on hand.
- Pure Vanilla extract – I always buy the best vanilla extract I can find, or make my own. It makes such a huge difference to use a good quality vanilla!
- White granulated sugar-
- Butter – I use salted butter in this recipe
- Flour – I always use the spoon and level method. Spoon flour into measuring cup and level across the top with a knife or other utensil.
- Baking Powder
- Red Food Coloring
- Sanding Sugar- sold as clear sparkling sugar sprinkles in the cake decorating aisle.
How to Make Candy Cane Cookies
Step 1: Make the Dough
The full printable recipe is below.
- In a mixer, beat butter on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar and baking powder and beat for another 30 seconds, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs, milk, and vanilla until well combined.
- Add flour and mix until combined.
- Remove the dough from the bowl and pour onto a piece of parchment paper or other clean surface. Use a knife to divide dough in half and return one half back to the bowl. Add enough red food coloring to achieve the color you like for your candy canes. This will vary depending on the brand and type of food coloring, so just go with what looks right to you.
- Wrap each half in parchment paper and refrigerate covered dough for about 2 hours or overnight.
Step 2: Portion Out Dough
- Preheat Oven to 375°.
- Remove the dough from the fridge, and use a 1 tablespoon scoop to portion out each color of dough until you have a bunch of little dough mounds to work with.
Step 3: Shape the Candy Cane Cookies
- Roll one white and one red dough (separately) into a long noodle shape, roughly 6 inches long.
- Twist the two colors together to give it a candy cane look and create a hook at the top.
- Dip the top into sanding sugar or clear sugar sprinkles.
Step 4: Bake
- Place at least 1 inch apart on a parchment lined cookie sheet. I fit 6 cookies on a half baking sheet.
- Bake for 7 minutes or until the top has dried and bottoms are just barely beginning to turn a light brown. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before moving to a cooling rack or cool counter. Be very careful of the cookies while they are still warm because they will be more fragile until they cool.
- Add peppermint or almond flavoring to your sugar cookie dough to bring in different festive flavors.
- Cinnamon is another one of those classic holiday flavors. Try adding some to the red portion of your cookie dough to create a delicious cinnamon candy cane.
- You could try different Christmas sprinkle colors
- To add to the beauty of this cookie, try sprinkling crushed candy cane candies on top of your cookie.
- Sprinkle powdered sugar on top for a snow topped look.
- Chill the Dough. Chilling the dough is an important step to creating the best candy cane cookies. Chilling allows the butter to solidify in the cookies so when you roll them out, they won't become too soft and lose their shape.
- Don't Over Handle the Dough. the more you handle the dough, the harder it is to make it keeps its shape.
- Flour. Adding too much flour can cause your cookies to be dry. To ensure you don't add too much flour, I always use the spoon and level method.
- Don't Overcrowd the Baking Sheet . To save time, I know it can be tempting to stuff more cookies onto a baking sheet and cook them all at once. This will make them meld together, so make sure you give them their space.
- Cool Cookie Sheets Completely. You'll want to let your cookie sheet cool completely before putting in the next batch. Hot cookie sheets can cause the butter to melt in your cookie, causing them to overspread and lose their shape while you are still rolling out the other cookies. I love having multiple cookie sheets on hand so I don't have to wait for the cool down process. If you don't have a couple, this is a great investment to make.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I make this cookie recipe ahead of time?
Yes, absolutely! This cookie dough recipe can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Whenever you're ready to bake, just make sure to check out all my tips to create the best candy cane cookie.
What is it used for?
- Perfect for Christmas cookie exchanges and holiday parties
- Beautiful gifts for friends, family and neighbors
- The perfect accent to cookie platters
- The best cookie to give to Santa
How to Store
Refrigerator- If refrigerating the dough, you'll want to wrap it tightly in parchment and then slide into a ziplock bag. It will last for up to 3 days before baking. Once baked, these cookies don't need to be refrigerated. They can stay fresh and yummy for up to 1 week at room temperature.
Room Temperature- These cookies will keep fresh for 1 week in an airtight container at room temperature. They can be stored in the fridge for longer. With their shape being a bit more delicate than a normal sugar cookie, I like to place my cookies in a cookie tin or an airtight plastic container rather than a resealable plastic bag. This will keep the cookies from breaking.
Freezer- These candy cane cookies freeze well and last up to 2 months in an airtight container.
More Holiday Recipes You'll love!
With the holidays quickly approaching, make sure you try out some of these other scrumptious dishes and treats.
Sweet Potato Bites - With Thanksgiving in a couple weeks, try these perfectly portioned Sweet Potato Bites. It's a fun and flavorful way to eat a Thanksgiving favorite as an appetizer!
Smashed Potatoes with Garlic and Herbs - These delicious smashed potatoes with garlic and a pinch of herbs, rosemary and thyme are a quick and easy side dish for Thanksgiving or Christmas.
Christmas Peppermint Crispy Rice Treats- These are a gooey, soft crispy rice treat, with a lightly peppermint flavored, decadent chocolate topping, garnished with soft peppermint candies.
Best M&M Bars - Easiest Christmas Cookies - Make these colorful M&M cookie bars that will delight kids and adults this holiday season. Chock-full of M&M and chocolate chips, these bar cookies come together in minutes and will be one of the best Christmas cookies you'll have this season.
- To make this cookie dye-free, omit the food coloring and use beet powder instead.
If you make this recipe, please rate it below- and I would love to see! Tag me on Instagram @ellaclaireblog
Candy Cane Cookies
Candy cane cookies are a delicious holiday cookie with its nostalgic candy cane shape and its classic Christmas colors. Made from a simple sugar cookie dough recipe, these are a family favorite and ones we enjoy making all season.
- 1⅓ cups butter softened
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 4 teaspoons vanilla
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- red food coloring
- clear sanding sugar
Candy Cane Cookie Dough
In a mixer, beat butter on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar and baking powder and beat for another 30 seconds, scraping sides of bowl occasionally.
Beat in eggs, milk, and vanilla until well combined.Add flour and mix until combined.
Remove the dough from the bowl and pour onto a piece of parchment paper or other clean surface. Use a knife to divide dough in half and return one half back to the bowl.
Add enough red food coloring to achieve the color you like for your candy canes. Mix until all of the food coloring is incorporated.
Wrap each half in parchment paper and refrigerate covered dough for about 2 hours or overnight.
Portion Out the Dough
Preheat oven to 375°
Remove the dough from the fridge, and use a 1 tablespoon scoop to portion out each color of dough until you have a bunch of little dough mounds to work with.
Shaping the Candy Cane Cookies
Using your hands, roll one white and one red dough (separately) into a long noodle shape, roughly 6 inches long.
Twist the two colors together to give it a candy cane look and create a hook at the top. Dip the side that faces up into sanding sugar or clear sugar sprinkles.
Place 6 on a parchment lined baking sheet at a time and bake for about 7 minutes. The tops should appear to be dry and the bottoms should just barely be starting to turn light brown on the edges.
Be careful not to over-handle the dough. Soft dough is much harder to work with to create these candy canes.
Easy Candy Cane Cookies by Ella Claire & Co. | Simple Christmas Butter Cookies by Handmade Farmhouse | Gluten and Dairy Free Cranberry Thumbprint Cookies by Zevy Joy
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