Candy Cane Cookies

Candy cane cookies recipe

​The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck 

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 30 mins
Servings: 48 servings

These candy cane cookies make a festive treat for the holidays.


  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (8 ounces)​ butter (softened)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk or light cream
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon red food coloring (or enough of the desired color)
  • Optional: 2 tablespoons finely crushed peppermint candies mixed with 1 tablespoon granulated sugar or red decorating sugar

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for candy cane cookies
    ​The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck 
  2. Into a mixing bowl, measure flour, baking powder, and salt.

    Measure flour
    ​The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  3. In a mixing bowl, beat the sugar with the butter until blended. Beat in the milk or cream, the egg, vanilla, and peppermint extract. Stir in the flour mixture. 

    Beat sugar and butter
    ​The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck 
  4. Divide the dough into two even portions. In a bowl, combine one portion with the red food color. Mix until well blended.

    Divide dough and add dye
    ​The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck 
  5. Cover the portions and refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours.

    ​The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck 
  6. Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

    Line a baking sheet
    ​The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck 
  7. For each candy cane, on a lightly floured surface, take 1 teaspoonful of plain dough and roll into a 4-inch rope. Repeat, using the tinted dough. Place the ropes side-by-side and gently twist together. Pinch ends lightly to seal and curve one end to form candy cane shape.

    Roll dough
    ​The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck 
  8. Using a spatula, move cookie to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough.

    Move cookies to sheet
    ​The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck 
  9. Bake the cookies at 375 F for 9 to 11 minutes, or until just lightly browned around edges.

    Bake the cookies
    ​The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck 
  10. Put the pan on a rack and immediately sprinkle with some of the decorating sugar, if using.

    Put on rack
    ​The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck 
  11. Remove to racks with a spatula and let cool completely.

    Let cool
    ​The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck 
  12. Serve and enjoy!

    Serve cookies
    ​The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck 


  • Store any leftover cookies tightly covered container for up to 1 week.