Candy Cane Cookies

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These adorable Candy Cane Cookies are the perfect Christmas treat. They look just like candy canes and have peppermint flavor, too. This is such a fun Christmas cookie recipe to make with the kids.

Candy Cande SHaped Cookies about to be dunked in a glass of milk.

Christmas Candy Cane Cookies Recipe

When you think of candy cane cookies, crushed candy canes being incorporated is likely what comes to mind. In this case, you are making two different colored cookie doughs and twisting them to look like candy canes. With subtle mint flavor coming from the peppermint extract, these cookies are both tasty and cute!

I remember making a cookie similar to this with my mother when I was young. It was a simple sugar cookie dough that was separated and colored. Adding peppermint extract is a total game-changer. It reminds you of a real candy cane, but you still get the soft, chewy cookie texture. 

What You’ll Need

This recipe calls for easy and inexpensive ingredients. Many of the staples will already be in your pantry, so grabbing the couple of extras you may need will be super simple.

  • Milk: Divided ¼ cup for the vinegar mixture and 1 tbsp to brush on the cookies before baking. I like to use whole or 2% milk.
  • White Vinegar: You won’t be able to taste this in the cookie but it will help the dough rise.
  • Sugar: Granulated sugar is used in the cookie dough and white sanding sugar is used to sprinkle on the candy cane cookies before they bake.
  • Unsalted Butter: Make sure the butter is softened at room temperature before making the cookie dough. If it is too cold, it will be lumpy.
  • Egg: You’ll need 1 large egg.
  • Extracts: This recipe uses vanilla and peppermint extract.
  • Flour: Use all-purpose flour for this recipe.
  • Baking Powder: This will ensure the dough rises.
  • Salt: Adds more flavor and balances the sugar.
  • Red Gel Food Coloring: Any brand will work!
Ingredients to make Candy Cane Cookies.

How to Make Candy Cane Cookies

Making these candy cane Christmas cookies is easier than you may think! As long as you have the right tools, the result will be cute and delicious cookies that are sure to please a crowd.

  • Step 1. Pour white vinegar into ¼ cup of milk and set aside.
  • Step 2. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and line large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Step 3. Cream butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer.
  • Step 4. Add a large egg, peppermint extract, and teaspoon vanilla extract. Beat until incorporated. Then, add the vinegar mixture and mix well.
  • Step 5. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
  • Step 6. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients until a soft dough forms.
  • Step 7. Divide the cookie dough in half. Add the red food coloring to one of the halves. Gently mix until fully incorporated.
  • Step 8. Spoon 1 tablespoon of each dough and roll them into 5-inch ropes. Twist the colors together and pinch the ends together. Bend into a candy cane shape.
  • Step 9. Brush the candy can cookies with the remaining tablespoon of milk and sprinkle with sanding sugar.
  • Step 10. Bake for 10-11 minutes or until the bottoms of the cookies start to brown.
Candy Cane Cookies on a cooling rack.

Tips and Tricks

  • If you do not have white vinegar, lemon juice can be used instead.
  • Roll from the center of the dough when rolling out the ropes. This will ensure the thickness remains the same.
  • Do not scoop the dough ahead of time to prevent it from drying out and cracking when you twist it.
  • Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container and stored at room temperature. They will stay fresh for up to 2 weeks.
A bunch of Candy Cane Cookies with white milk.

More Holiday Cookie Recipes

A hand holding a candy cane shaped cookie.
Candy Cane Cookies feature
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Candy Cane Cookies

These adorable Candy Cane Cookies are the perfect Christmas treat. They look just like candy canes and have peppermint flavor, too. If you are searching for the right Christmas cookie recipe to make with your kids, this is it!
Servings: 24 Cookies
Prep: 45 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 55 minutes



  • Add vinegar to ¼ cup milk, stir and set aside.
  • Preheat the oven to 350F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Cream together in a large bowl sugar and butter. Add egg, peppermint and vanilla until incorporated. Blend in milk/vinegar mixture.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until dough forms.
  • Divide dough into two. Add red food coloring to one half and mix until food coloring is incorporated thoroughly.
  • Spoon 2 – 1 tablespoon portions of dough, 1 from each colored dough and roll into 5 inch ropes. Twist the red and white ropes together, lightly pinch the ends together and bend into a candy cane shape. Place on a sheet pan; bake 10 canes per sheet.
  • Lightly brush candy canes with 1 tablespoon of milk. Sprinkle each candy cane with white sanding sugar.
  • Bake for 10-11 minutes. Until the bottom starts to lightly brown. Cool for 5 minutes on the pan and then transfer to a cooling rack to completely cool.

Last Step:

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Lemon juice can be used in place of the white vinegar.
When rolling out the ropes, be sure to roll from the center out to keep the rope consistent in thickness from beginning to end.
Do not prescoop all the dough before rolling and shaping. The dough will dry out and break as you twist and shape the cookies.
Store leftovers in an airtight container on the counter for up to 2 weeks.


Calories: 158kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 22mg | Sodium: 53mg | Potassium: 53mg | Fiber: 0.5g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 191IU | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 1mg


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2 comments on “Candy Cane Cookies”

  1. I have been looking for a candy cane
    recipe. Will this one taste really good without peppermint? My Grandkids don’t like peppermint.

    1. Hi Kathy. These are sugar cookies with peppermint added so without they will taste like a regular sugar cookie. If you omit the peppermint, I would add 1/4 tsp almond extract and up the vanilla extract to 1 1/2 tsp.