candy cane sugar cookies
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Twisted Candy Cane Sugar Cookies

No messy frosting required for these candy cane sugar cookies.

It wouldn’t be Christmas without some holiday baking! Instead of frosting your sugar cookies, shape them! The kids will have fun rolling out “dough snakes,” and, they won’t get messy with frosting.

Heather Smith shares how to turn your basic sugar cookie dough into shaped candy canes. She says to skip the grocery store food coloring and go for something like Americolor. That way, you’ll get a true red rather than pink.

Find more food inspiration on Instagram, @orsongygi, or at



Candy Cane Sugar Cookies


  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • Red gel food coloring
  • 1 large egg white, beaten
  • Coarse sanding sugar for decorating


1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

2. Beat in vanilla, salt, and eggs. Gradually add flour and mix on low until just combined. Remove half the dough and set aside.
3. To the remaining dough in the mixer, add peppermint extract and about four drops of gel food coloring until desired color is reached. Mix thoroughly.
4. Form both dough pieces into disks, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate 20 minutes, up to overnight (dough can be frozen for up to 1 month; thaw in the refrigerator before using).
5. Divide untinted dough into 12 pieces. On a lightly floured surface, shape each into a 12-inch long log. Refrigerate until firm but pliable, about 10 minutes. Repeat with tinted dough.
6. Twist a tinted and untinted piece together; roll gently to form a log. Cut crosswise into 2 equal pieces and bend one end to form a cane. Repeat. Arrange on parchment-lined sheets, about 2 inches apart. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour and up to overnight.
7. Preheat the oven to 325ºF. Brush each candy cane with egg white and sprinkle with sanding sugar. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until cookies are firm but not taking on any color, 20 to 24 minutes. Transfer sheets to wire racks and let cool completely.

Notes*Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.

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