Candy Cane Cookies

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Classic peppermint-flavored Candy Cane Cookies are a Christmas staple around here! A simple peppermint flavored sugar cookie dough is made in two colors and twisted into a pretty candy cane shape.

Candy Cane Cookies on a wood board

Ahhh… Christmas time. Lights strung up along windows and walls, Christmas dresses adorned with colorful ornaments, carols that start being played a little too early—each of these things is characteristic of that wonderful season. Each item in that list carries with it a strong sense of nostalgia…at least for me. Candy cane cookies definitely fall into that list.

Our Christmas Cookie

Candy Cane Cookies are a Christmas tradition around here. We make a big batch of peppermint-flavored candy cane cookies at the beginning of December, and then a big batch on Christmas Eve. (Though in recent years we’ve had to make another batch in the middle of December to get us through to Christmas. They’re just so darn good!)

These cookies are delicious and they’re pretty too! Like any well-decorated sugar cookie, they’re one of the first to go at any Christmas party.

Candy Cane Cookies on a cooling rack

Get Creative With Your Cookie

Sometimes I’ll color part of the dough green and make wreaths for a fun variation that still comes out tasting like a classic Christmas cookie.

If you’re in the mood to try out a new taste (or if you’re serving someone who doesn’t like peppermint), try using almond extract instead. My family has always flavored the cookies with vanilla and peppermint, so that’s how I do it. I think they taste best that way. But if you want to give the almond flavor a try, replace the peppermint extract with ½ teaspoon almond extract.

Candy Cane Cookies on a white and red plate

Bonus Tips

  • This recipe works best if you make one full cookie at a time. Don’t roll out a bunch of white cords, and then roll out a bunch of red cords. This will make the dough too dry to work with. Instead, roll a single white cord and a single red cord. Make the whole cookie, then move on to the next one. Using minimal flour helps the two cords of dough won’t stick together. Use just enough to prevent the dough from sticking to your hands or the counter.
  • If the dough becomes too crumbly, just stick it back in the fridge for another 15-20 minutes. The extra chill time will help it to form up better.
  • Be sure to let the cookies cool on the baking sheet. I usually let them sit on the sheet for 10-15 minutes. Trying to move them too soon can cause them to crack.

More Christmas Treats:

Candy Cane Cookies on a wood board
5 from 4 votes
Review Recipe

Candy Cane Cookies

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 9 minutes
Total Time 34 minutes
Servings 24 cookies
Author Kathleen
Traditional candy cane shaped sugar cookies are the perfect addition to your holiday baking.


  • 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup confectioner's sugar sifted
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoon red food coloring

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  • In a medium mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in egg, peppermint extract and vanilla. Add in the flour and salt and mix well.
  • Divide the dough in half and stir the red food coloring in half the dough. Shape both doughs into a disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Line cookie sheets with silicone cookie mats or parchment paper.
  • For each candy cane, pinch off a rounded teaspoon of each dough and roll into a rope, about 4 inches long. Place the red and the white ropes next to each other and pinch them together at the top. Twist the two doughs together then gently bend the top into a hook. Place directly on prepared cookie sheets.
  • Bake in preheated oven 9-12 minutes or until cookies are set (do not brown or the cookies will be dry). When cookies are cool enough to handle, very carefully (they'll be super fragile) remove to a wire rack and cool completely.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 147, Carbohydrates: 16g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 27mg, Sodium: 100mg, Potassium: 21mg, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 245IU, Calcium: 6mg, Iron: 0.8mg

(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)

Keyword candy cane cookies, christmas cookies
Course Cookies, Dessert
Cuisine American

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About the author


Kathleen is a recipe developer, passionate home cook and the author of the blog Gonna Want Seconds. She has been married to her best friend for 32 years and has two great kids, two Bernese Mountain Dogs, a Quarter Horse and a little green parrot. She is obsessed with cookbooks, cowboy boots, red wine and vintage costume jewelry. Kathleen’s recipes are all tried and true, tested and tweaked and, most importantly, family and friend approved!

More Posts by Kathleen

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Recipe Rating


    1. I haven’t tried it and this may change the consistency of the cookie. Let us know how it works out for you!

  1. These turned out really cute. I ended up being too impatient to make the entire batch into candy canes but it made some cute pinwheel cookies as well!5 stars

  2. My candy canes did not look quite as professional as the pictures, but the cookies are so yummy! I love that the peppermint isn’t too overpowering.5 stars