Candy Cane Cookies are fun and festive Christmas cookies, perfect for gifts or sharing at holiday parties!

Red and white twisted candy cane cookies on a plate.

Have you started your holiday baking? Have you finished already? If you have room on your list for one more Christmas cookie recipe, these candy cane cookies are both delicious and festive.

I bake these candy cane sugar cookies every year, along with my family’s other favorites: snowball cookies, biscotti, chocolate crinkle cookies, cherry cream cheese cookies, and gingerbread cookies.

These Christmas candy cane cookies are a family favorite. These cookies are easy to make, but it does take a little time to shape the candy canes. I enjoy making these, and my kids love to help, too. Rolling and twisting the candy canes is a fun project for them. The finished candy cane twist cookies are so pretty with their sprinkling of peppermint and sugar.

I prefer to make my candy cane cookies with almond extract but you can use peppermint extract if you want even more peppermint flavor. If you are baking plates of cookies to share with friends or neighbors, these candy cane cookies are a fun and festive addition!

Candy cane cookies on a plate with wrapped presents in the background.

How to make Candy Cane Cookies

Make the Cookie Dough:

To make these peppermint candy cane cookies, you’ll start by beating together butter and powdered sugar using an electric mixer. Once the butter and sugar are well combined and creamy, mix in an egg, almond extract and vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour and salt. Mix these dry ingredients into the cookie dough until everything is just combined.

To color the cookie dough, first divide the dough in half. Mix red food coloring into half of the dough and leave the other half white.

Chill the Dough:

To make the dough easy to handle, wrap it in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours.

Make the Candy Cane Topping:

While the dough chills, mix together crushed candy canes and granulated sugar. This will be the topping that you will sprinkle on the warm cookies after baking.

Shape the Cookies:

To make each candy cane cookie, take one teaspoon of each color of cookie dough. Roll each teaspoon of dough into a ball. Then roll the balls into 4-inch ropes. Lay the two ropes (one of each color) next to each other and gently twist them together. Then bend over the top to form the candy cane shape.

Bake the Cookies:

Bake the cookies on baking sheets lined with parchment paper for 9 minutes, or until set and barley golden on the bottom. Be careful not to overbake the cookies.

As soon as the candy cane cookies come out of the oven, sprinkle them with the peppermint sugar. You want to sprinkle the topping on when the cookies are warm because it sticks to the cookies better that way.

Baking Tips for Candy Cane Sugar Cookies

  • This recipe calls for almond extract. If you prefer more peppermint flavor you can replace the almond extract with peppermint extract.
  • You can use green food coloring to make part of the dough green if you want to make red and green or green and white candy canes.
  • You can make the dough up to one day ahead. Store it wrapped in plastic wrap in the refrigerator until you are ready to shape and bake the cookies.


Candy cane cookies on a plate with wrapped presents in the background.

Candy Cane Cookies

Servings: 48 cookies
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 9 minutes
Chilling Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 54 minutes
Candy Cane Cookies are fun and festive Christmas cookies, perfect for gifts or sharing at holiday parties!


For cookies:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ½ teaspoons almond extract*
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Red food coloring, or red and green

For topping:

  • ½ cup crushed peppermint candies or candy canes
  • ½ cup granulated sugar


  • Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and powdered sugar together. Add the egg and extracts and mix until combined.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. With the mixer on low speed, mix in the flour and salt until just combined.
  • Divide the dough in half. Add red food coloring to one half and leave the other half white. (If you want half of your cookies to be red and white, and half to be green and white, tint ¼ of the dough red and ¼ green, and leave ½ white.)
  • Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  • While the dough chills, make the peppermint sugar topping: In a small bowl, mix the crushed peppermints and granulated sugar together. Set aside.
  • To make each cookie, shape 1 rounded teaspoon of white dough and 1 rounded teaspoon of red (or green) dough into 4-inch ropes. Lay the ropes side by side and gently twist them together. Shape the twisted ropes into candy canes and place on parchment-lined baking sheets.
  • Bake cookies for 9 minutes, until just set and barely golden on the bottom.
  • As soon as the cookies come out of the oven, sprinkle them with the peppermint-sugar mixture. Let cool for a few minutes on baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.


  • You can substitute peppermint extract for the almond extract if you want more peppermint flavor in your cookies.
  • Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.
  • Recipe is adapted from an old Betty Crocker cookie magazine.
Serving: 1cookie, Calories: 86kcal, Carbohydrates: 12g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 14mg, Sodium: 50mg, Potassium: 9mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 123IU, Calcium: 3mg, Iron: 1mg
Nutrition information is an estimate.
Cuisine: American
Course: Dessert
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