dessert — kid-approved

Rainbow Pinwheel Cookies

prep time 30 minutes
cook time 12 minutes
yield 24-32 cookies


Whatever the occasion, your celebration will surely benefit from these colorful rainbow pinwheel sugar cookies! Made with a tried and true vanilla almond sugar cookie recipe as the base, these slice and bake beauties are as delicious as they look and easier to create than you think.

BY:Five Marigolds


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) Nellies Free Range Unsalted Butter, cold and cut into chunks
  • 1 large Nellie’s Free Range Egg
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple gel food coloring, natural or artificial (see notes)
  • Powdered sugar for rolling


  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, cream the sugar and butter. Mix in the egg and extracts.
  • Combine the flour and baking powder in a separate bowl, then add to sugar mixture and mix just until combined.
  • Divide dough into 6 even portions. Add 2-3 drops of gel food coloring to each portion until desired color is achieved.
  • Roll out the first portion of (red) dough onto a sheet of parchment paper, using a rolling pin dusted with powdered sugar to prevent sticking.
  • Roll out second portion of (orange) dough on a separate sheet of parchment paper until it’s rolled to a similar size and thickness of the first layer. Using the sheet of parchment, lift the dough and place it on top of the first portion of (red) dough. Repeat until all 6 layers of dough are are sandwiched together.
  • Place a sheet of parchment paper on top of the dough and roll it out to desired thickness.
  • Using the bottom sheet of parchment paper, begin tightly rolling the dough into a "log" until it reaches the desired cookie size, around 4-5” in diameter. Place in the fridge for about 30 minutes to chill.
  • Once chilled, evenly slice your log of dough with a sharp knife into cookies of desired thickness.
  • Place sliced cookies on parchment lined baking sheets and bake for 12 minutes.

Nellie’s Notes:

Natural food coloring will yield colors that are a bit more on the earthy side and more muted than those you see pictured. For this recipe, gel food coloring works better than liquid food coloring to create vibrant, even colors.

Use parchment paper when rolling out each layer of dough to help create smooth, consistent layers. Dust powdered sugar on the rolling pin and rolling surface instead of flour to help retain the sweet cookie flavor and avoid sticking.

Parchment paper placed under the layered dough helps ensure the dough rolls evenly and without cracking. Be sure to roll dough tightly to prevent gaps in the cookies.

Chilling this sugar cookie dough makes it easier to slice and helps it retain its shape. The dough can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days before slicing and baking.

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