Candy Cane Cookies are a perfect treat for the Christmas season. These delicious, buttery sugar cookies are easy to make, and they look downright adorable on dessert tables and treat trays. Santa and the elves will love when you add this classic Christmas cookie recipe to your holiday baking lineup.
Reasons You’ll Love This Recipe:
- Cute – There is no denying it, these sweet little treats deliver big on the cute factor.
- Easy – This recipe calls for just a few simple ingredients, and comes together easily.
- Fun With The Kids – Shaping these cookies involves rolling and twisting the dough, which the kids not only love to do, they are pretty great at it as well!
- Customizable – While shown in traditional red and white colors, you can easily use different food colors for your own unique color combinations.
Candy Cane Cookies
With Christmas less than two weeks away, Christmas Cookie Season is in full swing! I’m always looking for fun and unique cookies to add to the Christmas cookie lineup, but I also like to keep it easy. These Candy Cane Cookies check all those boxes. These are simple to make, do not require any special tools or ingredients, and they really look fantastic when you put them in cookie boxes or platters.
This is a great recipe to let the kids help out with. All the time they’ve spent playing with Play-Doh can come in handy when it comes to shaping these cute candy canes!
How To Make Candy Cane Cookies
Let’s discuss the ingredients you’ll need, and the steps you’ll take, to make these easy Candy Cane Cookies. If you want to skip my discussion, tips, information and answers to frequently asked questions, just scroll to the bottom of this post for the printable recipe.
- Butter – While I used unsalted butter in this recipe, you can use salted if it’s what you have on hand. Make sure butter has been softened to room temperature. If you want to make a dairy free version, you could use a product like Earth Balance Sticks.
- Granulated sugar – For this recipe, you do want to stick with white sugar, do not substitute with brown sugar.
- Vanilla extract – As always, pure vanilla extract is always best.
- All-purpose flour – It’s important to measure your flour correctly. Give it a stir, then spoon it into the measuring cups, and level off. Do not measure flour by scooping it with the measuring cup.
- Baking soda – Double check that you are using baking soda, and that it is fresh.
- Salt – I prefer a kosher or sea salt.
- Whole milk – Whole milk is ideal, but other types can be used.
- Red food dye – Feel free to use other colors for creative and colorful candy canes.
- Powdered Sugar – This is for garnish at the end, and gives a fun, snow topped look.
Reminder, the full printable recipe is found at the bottom of the page.
To make the dough, butter, sugar and vanilla are mixed together. Then in a separate bowl, flour, baking soda and salt are combined. The two mixtures are combined, until a crumbly dough is formed. Milk is then added and the ingredients are combined until a smooth dough comes together. Next, the dough is divided so that red food coloring can be added to half the dough. Then into the fridge it goes to chill for 30 minutes.
When it’s time to assemble the cookies, both the uncolored dough and the red dough are each divided into four equal sized portions, which are rolled into balls. Each ball is rolled into a rope that is approximately 20″ long.
To create the candy cane look, a red dough rope and white dough rope are placed next to each other, and the ropes are then cut into five equal size pieces. At that point, the ropes are twisted and shaped into the standard candy cane shape and appearance, then gently transferred to a cookie sheet for baking.
Cookies are baked for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. After they have been removed from the oven and cooled completely, dust with powdered sugar.
Tips and Advice
Storage: Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week, though are best in the first few days. If you are making cookies in advance, I recommend storing them without the powdered sugar garnish. Simply sprinkle with powdered sugar when you are ready to serve or share the cookies.
More Christmas Recipes To Try
If you are looking for more quick, easy and delicious Christmas recipes, here are some of my favorites!
- Snowball Cookies
- Linzer Cookies
- Christmas Rice Krispie Treats
- Easy Christmas Pretzels
- Christmas Tree Brownies
- Hot Chocolate Brownie Cups
- Eggnog Cookies
Candy Cane Cookies
- 1/2 cup butter softened
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons milk
- red food coloring
- powdered sugar
- In a large mixing bowl, mix butter and sugar together. Add vanilla extract and mix until well combined.
- In a separate bowl, combine flour, add baking soda and salt until well mixed. Add to butter mixture and stir together. This mixture will be dry and you may need to work with your hand until a crumbly dough is formed.
- Add milk and stir together until a soft dough is formed. Divide dough into 2 equal parts, and add red food coloring (as much as needed to reach the color you desire) to one half of the dough, stirring well to combine.
- Cover dough and place in refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Divide each ball of dough (colored and plain) into four equal sized portions. By hand roll each piece of dough into a ball shape, then roll each ball into a rope shape that is approximately 20″ long.
- To create the candy cane look, place a red dough rope and white dough rope next to each other, and cut the ropes into five equal size pieces. Twist the ropes and shape into the standard candy cane shape and appearance. Gently transfer onto a baking sheet. Repeat the same process with remaining dough. Make sure to leave a bit of space between the cookies on the cookie sheets.
- Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until starting to turn a light golden brown. Remove from oven and allow cookies to cool on baking sheet, place on a wire cooling rack, for approximately ten minutes prior to moving.
- Once cookies have cooled completely, sprinkle with powdered sugar.