Get ready to celebrate in style with these festive 4th of July Cookies! These delicious and colorful sugar cookies are the perfect addition to your dessert table, whether it's for a 4th of July BBQ or a Memorial Day picnic. With their swirls of red, white, and blue, these cookies are fun, festive, and sure to impress!
Plus, they're easier to make than they look! So why not whip up a batch of these melt-in-your-mouth slice and bake cookies today and get ready to show off your patriotic spirit in the most delicious way possible! They really make the perfect party treats!
Why We Love These Red, White, and Blue Cookies
These festive red, white, and blue cookies are the life of the 4th of July party! With their vibrant colors and colorful spiral, these patriotic pinwheel cookies bring a pop of excitement to your Independence Day festivities. They're like tiny works of art for your 4th of July desserts table - each one unique and full of personality and resemble little fireworks cookies.
Biting into one is like taking a bite out of July 4th itself! Plus, they're perfect for sharing with friends and family, spreading joy and cheer with each delicious bite. Whether you're celebrating a holiday, birthday, or just want to add a little fun to your day, these red, white, and blue cookies are sure to bring a smile to your face and a skip to your step!
I like to make these chewy cookies for every holiday. They are a great way to add some fun color to any plate!
Taste and Texture
Made with powdered sugar, this might be the perfect sugar cookie recipe! Buttery and tender with just the right amount of sweetness. Perfection! These pinwheel cookies are versatile too. Whether you prefer a chewy cookie that melts-in-your-mouth or a crispier cookie, you can adjust the bake time to achieve your desired texture.
I highly recommend the melt-in-your-mouth texture, so I always bake these on the lower end of the baking time for best results. Either way, these Patriotic Pinwheel Cookies are sure to be a hit with anyone who loves a tasty treat, a fun baking project, or a celebration of Americana!
Sugar Cookies with Powdered Sugar
I like using powdered sugar (or confectioners’ sugar as it is also called) instead of granulated sugar in this sugar cookie recipe as it gives these cookies an irresistible melt-in-your-mouth texture with just the right amount of sweetness. The powdered sugar also keeps the cookies from spreading, so they puff up nicely but still result in chew cookies.
Tools Needed to Make Pinwheel Cookies
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Mixing bowls
- Electric mixer (stand or hand-held)
- Rolling pin
- Parchment paper
- Plastic wrap
- Sharp knife or pizza cutter
- Baking sheet
- Cooling rack
Additional tools that may come in handy are a food scale and a silicone baking mat.
To make these Fourth of July cookies, you'll need the following ingredients:
- Unsalted butter - Provides richness and flavor.
- Powdered sugar - Sweetens the cookies and also helps create a light, tender texture. Powdered sugar and confectioners’ sugar are the same thing, just goes by two different names.
- Egg - Adds moisture and richness to the dough.
- Vanilla extract - Provides flavor and aroma to the cookies.
- All-purpose flour - Forms the structure of the cookies and helps them hold their shape. TIP: Spoon flour into a dry measuring cup for more accurate measurements.
- Baking powder - Acts as a leavening agent to help the cookies rise slightly and become tender.
- Salt - Enhances the flavor of the cookies and balances out the sweetness.
- Red and Blue Food Coloring: Adds color to the cookies and makes them visually appealing, especially for special occasions or holidays.
- Optional- Roll the log in some Patriotic Sprinkles!
Now that you have your ingredients, it's time to make the patriotic cookies! Follow these step-by-step instructions for perfect pinwheel cookies every time.
Prep: Gather ingredients, preheat the oven, and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper
Combine: Add first 4 ingredients to a large bowl and mix until creamy
Mix: Using a hand or stand mixer with a beater attachment, mix in the dry ingredients to combine
Divide: Divide the dough into 3 equal portions approximately 14 ounces each. You can eyeball this, but if you have a food scale I recommend using it for accurate measurements.
Color: Use food coloring and a mixer to color one portion of the sugar cookie dough red and one portion blue. Leave the third portion plain, which will be the white. TIP: Clean out your mixing bowl before coloring each dough portion to avoid mixing colors.
Roll: Roll out each dough portion between parchment paper to 12 inches square, approximately. Tip: place a silicon baking mat under the parchment to keep the paper from sliding around.
Chill: Chill each sheet of cookie dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes until just firm
Stack & Roll: Stack cookie dough with red on the bottom, then white, and top off with the blue sheet of cookie dough. Carefully roll into a log and trim the ends.
Slice: Slice into ½ inch pinwheel cookies and place 2 inches apart on baking sheet
Bake: Bake each batch of pinwheel cookies for 8 minutes for softer, melt-in-your-mouth cookies. Bake a little longer if you prefer a crispier cookie.
Cool: Cool on the sheet pan for 2-3 minutes then move to a wire rack to cool completely
Food Coloring Tips
I used McCormick red and blue food coloring in these pinwheel cookies. To achieve the colors you see in the photos, I used 50 drops of red to make the red stripe and 100 drops of blue to achieve the blue desserts color you see in the photos.
These amounts may vary depending on what brand of food coloring you use, so you might want to start with less food coloring and keep adding until you achieve the color you like best. The more food coloring you add, the deeper the color will be.
If you prefer natural alternatives for food coloring, look for vegetable-based food dyes. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for the amount needed to achieve your desired color.
Substitutions & Additions
- Unsalted Butter: You can substitute with an equal amount of salted butter, but reduce the added salt in the recipe slightly to maintain the desired balance.
- Pure Vanilla Extract: You can substitute with an equal amount of other extracts, such as almond extract or maple extract, to add a different flavor profile to the cookies.
- Baking Powder: If you don't have baking powder, you can make your own by combining 1 part baking soda with 2 parts cream of tartar.
- Kosher Salt: Regular table salt can be used as a substitute for the kosher salt, but use only half as much because regular table salt is saltier. It also is slower to dissolve and might add a metallic taste to the recipe. Kosher salt is preferred.
- Sprinkles - Add sprinkles to the outside of the log before slicing and baking cookies. Brush the log with a tiny amount of corn syrup so the sprinkles will stick to it, then sprinkle red, white, and blue sprinkles all over the cookie dough log.
- Turn these cookies into ice cream sandwiches! Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream to the cookies for the perfect July dessert for your block party!
Remember, when substituting ingredients, the texture, taste, and appearance of the cookies may vary slightly from the original recipe. It's always a good idea to experiment and adjust based on personal preferences and dietary needs.
To ensure the best results with this recipe, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Make sure the butter is softened to room temperature before using it. This will help ensure that the cookies have the right texture.
- Use a stand mixer or hand mixer to cream the butter and sugar together. This will help ensure that the dough is evenly mixed and that the ingredients are fully incorporated.
- Be careful not to overmix the dough. Overmixing can result in tough cookies.
- Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes before stacking it. This will make it easier to handle.
- Use parchment paper or a silicone baking mat on the baking sheet to prevent the cookies from sticking.
- Bake the pinwheels for the recommended time, but keep an eye on them towards the end to make sure they don't overbake.
- Allow the pinwheel cookies to cool completely before storing.
How to Store Pinwheel Cookies
To store these cookies, allow them to cool completely and then place them in an airtight container. You can layer them with parchment paper to prevent them from sticking together. These cookies can be stored at room temperature for up to one week. If you want to keep them for longer, you can store them in the freezer for up to three months.
How to Freeze
If you want to keep your 4th of July pinwheel cookies for longer, you can store them in the freezer for up to three months. To freeze, place the cookies in an airtight container or freezer bag, making sure to remove as much air as possible. Thaw the cookies at room temperature before serving.
Slice and Bake Cookies
This recipe makes the perfect log of slice and bake cookies. Prepare the cookie dough as instructed and and roll them into the log. Wrap the log tightly in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to a week. When ready to make cookies, just slice the number of cookies you want and bake as directed in the instructions. Store the remaining log of cookie dough in the refrigerator for up to a week.
You may also freeze the log for later use. Be sure to thaw before slicing and baking as instructed.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)
Can I substitute margarine for butter in this recipe?
It is not recommended to substitute margarine for butter in this recipe as the texture and flavor of the cookies will be negatively affected.
Can I use regular granulated sugar instead of Confectioners’ sugar?
No, it is not recommended to use regular granulated sugar instead of Confectioners’ sugar as the texture and consistency of the cookies will be different.
Can I freeze the pinwheel cookie dough?
Yes, the cookie dough can be frozen for up to 3 months. Make sure to wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and store it in an airtight container.
Can I use gel food coloring instead of liquid food coloring?
Yes, you can use gel food coloring instead of liquid food coloring. However, you may need to adjust the amount of food coloring used as gel food coloring is more concentrated than liquid food coloring.
Can I use a different flavoring instead of vanilla extract?
Yes, you can use a different flavoring instead of vanilla extract. Almond extract, lemon extract, or peppermint extract are all good options. Just make sure to use the same amount as called for in the recipe.
More 4th of July Recipes
- 1 ½ cups unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- 2 ¼ cups powdered sugar
- 1 egg at room temperature
- 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 50 drops of red food coloring more or less to achieve desired color
- 100 drops of blue food coloring more or less to achieve desired color
Heat oven to 350 degrees F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper (325 degrees for convection)
In a large bowl mix together the butter, powdered sugar, egg, and vanilla on low speed until combined. Increase speed to medium and mix until creamy. About a minute.
Add flour, baking powder, and salt and mix on low until just combined.
Divide dough into 3 equal portions. If dough is sticky, dust your hands with a little confectioners’ sugar.
Roll out one cookie dough portion, between 2 sheets of parchment paper, into a 12 inch square, approximately, and set aside. This is the white portion of your pinwheel cookies and will be in the middle between the red and the blue..
Place the 2nd cookie dough portion into the mixing bowl and add 50 drops of red food coloring. Mix on low speed until the food coloring is evenly distributed. Add more food coloring for a deeper color. (see notes)
Roll out the red cookie dough, between 2 sheets of parchment paper, into a 12 inch square, approximately, and set aside.
Place the 3rd cookie dough portion into the mixing bowl and add 100 drops of blue food coloring. Mix on low speed until the food coloring is evenly distributed. Add more food coloring for a deeper color. (see notes)
Roll out the blue cookie dough, between 2 sheets of parchment paper, into a 12 inch square, approximately, and set aside.
Place the cookie dough sheets into the refrigerator for 30 minutes to firm up just a little to make them easier to handle. You don’t want them too firm.
Carefully stack the cookie by placing the red sheet of cookie dough on the bottom with the parchment side down. Make sure you have enough parchment at one end to help with rolling the cookie dough. If needed, lay a bigger sheet of parchment on the counter and place the red cookie dough on that.
Place the white sheet of cookie dough on top of the red with the parchment side up and carefully remove the parchment from the white cookie dough. If the cookie dough pulls apart, it’s okay, just patch it back together.
Lastly, carefully place the blue sheet of cookie dough on top of the white with the parchment side up and carefully remove the parchment.
Using the parchment paper, start rolling one end of the cookie dough into a log. Use the parchment to start the roll and then carefully pull the parchment away from the cookie dough. Keep rolling in this way until all of the cookie dough is rolled up and formed into a log. You will likely see the red cookie dough start to break as you are rolling. That is normal. Just smooth it back together using your fingers. Refer to step-by-step photos.
Trim each edge of the cookie dough log (see step-by-step photos)
Slice log into ½ pinwheel cookies and place cookies onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. Spacing 2” apart.
Bake for 8-10 minutes. 8 minutes will yield softer, chewier cookies. Cook longer for crispier cookies
Cool on pan 2-3 minutes until firm enough to move to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Serve and enjoy!
- Convection oven - preheat to 325 degrees F and bake for 8-10 minutes.
- Use parchment paper to line your baking sheet. This will prevent the cookies from sticking and make clean-up easier.
- Don't over-mix the dough. Once all the ingredients are combined, stop mixing. Over-mixing can lead to tough, dry cookies.
- To accurately divide dough into 3 equal pieces use a kitchen scale. Each dough ball will weigh approximately 14 ounces (this could vary depending on how ingredients are measured).
- If dough is sticky, dust your hands with a little confectioners’ sugar. When rolling out dough, you don’t have to roll it into a perfect square. Just be sure all the dough is rolled out to about the same size and is between ⅛-¼ inch in thickness. Place dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper to roll out to avoid sticking.
- I recommend trimming the dough after rolling it into a log. However, if you prefer a neater look before rolling into a log, you may trim the edges of the dough before rolling it up.. Keep in mind you may have to still trim the edges of the log after rolling.
- Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack. This will help them set and prevent them from falling apart. If you want a crispier cookie, bake them for an extra minute or two. Keep in mind that they will continue to cook slightly as they cool on the baking sheet.