candy cane cookies
Sweet Treats

Candy Cane Cookies

These easy and charming candy cane cookies are the perfect addition to your Christmas cookie boxes – or just as a treat to enjoy while wrapping presents or to leave out for Santa!

candy cane cookies

Happy December! And happy about 2 and a half weeks to Christmas!

Wait–is that even possible? I feel like I’ve lost all sense of time. Even though the weather is suddenly freezing outside and all the leaves got taken off our trees by the recent storms, it still feels like it should be sometime in August. Maybe September. But we’re almost at Christmas?

I think it’s because we’re missing so many of the usual milestones. There have been no trips back home to visit family, no family adventures at Great Country Farms to pick pumpkins and taste cider, no apple picking, no trick-or-treating, and decorating only when I can tear myself away from my meetings and my code long enough to muster up enough energy to do it.

We don’t overdo it for the holidays, but we normally have some fun with them. That feels even more important this year, given how isolated we all are. It was a blast putting up the Christmas lights with Scott’s folks and we got our tree up pretty early – but just our small one, and thanks to our little two year old son, He of the Grabby Hands, all the of the ornaments are all hung above 4+ feet.

And we’ve been working our way through recipes for the annual cookie boxes we put together to give and send to friends. My mom and I used to do that all the time when I was a kid. Plates for relatives, for teachers, friends’ families, for neighbors. Lots of good memories wrapped up in the crinkling of tissue paper and cellophane, and the smell of melting butter, vanilla, and sugar.

These candy cane cookies were favorites of ours, because they’re really cute {even if, like me, you don’t quite have the skill to make them look beautiful and uniform}, and because they’re really easy. They’re just sugar cookies at their most basic level, so you can reuse a recipe you’re probably using for other cookies as well.

Then all you do is divide that dough in half, dye half of it red, put it in the fridge or freezer {you’ll need it to be well chilled for it to work}, roll it out, twist it up, and bake! And you get these charming cookies as a result.

I’m also told, or so I tell my son, that Santa especially likes these. Although I have a feeling that between my husband and son, these won’t last long, and we’ll have to leave a better snack for Santa. Although who’s to say Santa wouldn’t like a peppermint latte by the time he gets to our house?

Candy Cane Cookies

These easy and charming candy cane cookies are the perfect addition for your Christmas cookie boxes - or just as a treat to enjoy while wrapping presents or to leave out for Santa!
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Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 12 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 18
Calories 136 kcal


  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 1/2 cup milk room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp red food coloring


  • In a large bowl or the bowl of your mixer, cream the butter until soft and fluffy. Stir in the sugar, milk, vanilla, and egg until well combined.
  • Add the flour a cup at a time along with the baking powder and salt. Stir until well combined and the dough is fluffy.
  • Divide the dough in half. Stir the red food coloring into half of the dough and mix until well combined and the dough is red.
  • Refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours, so it will be firm when you roll it out and braid it.
  • Remove the dough from the fridge and preheat your oven to 375F.
  • On a floured surface, take about a half cup of each color dough and roll out into long ropes. Lay them out side by side, press together tightly, and then twist. Cut or pinch the ropes when you have enough for a candy cane and shape on a large cookie sheet.
  • Bake the cookies for 9-12 minutes, or until the non-dyed part of the candy cane becomes lightly golden brown.
  • Remove to a wire rack and cool completely. Serve and enjoy!


Calories: 136kcalCarbohydrates: 28gProtein: 3gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 11mgSodium: 80mgPotassium: 53mgFiber: 1gSugar: 12gVitamin A: 46IUCalcium: 43mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Christmas, Cookies, Holiday
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

We like them by themselves, but they can be a little plain, so we like dusting them lightly with granulated sugar or even with a little bit of crushed peppermint candy {like candy canes, naturally!}.

Perfect for some seasonal cheer.

candy cane cookies

There is nothing like the cozy glow of a Christmas tree this time of year.

Happy baking, y’all!

About the ChefKristin

Career Army officer with a tendency toward workaholism. On the side, self taught cook, carpenter, and gardener, working to build a beautiful life for my family. Trying to tilt my balance in the right direction.


  1. Those candy canes look tasty. I hope you liked them.

    Of course… I do help our sister Karen decorate her gingerbread cookies during the holidays, so we know how fun this is. I also like decorating Easter Eggs during Easter, too.

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