Candy Cane Cookies

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Candy Cane Cookies are a classic Christmas cookies that has stood the test of time. You may be surprised to find that these cookies are also a special favorite of Santa’s elves!

candy cane cookies

Candy cane cookies are a festive delight in the world of holiday baking. These treats feature a classic sugar cookie dough that undergoes a split personality transformation – one part takes on a vibrant red hue with the help of food coloring, while the other retains its natural color. The real artistry comes into play as the two halves are carefully twisted together to achieve the recognizable candy cane pattern.

Peppermint extract is the secret ingredient that elevates these cookies to holiday stardom, imparting a refreshing and minty flavor that mirrors the traditional candy cane taste. Some recipes go the extra mile by incorporating crushed peppermint candies, adding both sweetness and a satisfying crunch.

As these cookies bake, the kitchen becomes a fragrant haven of warmth and holiday cheer, thanks to the tantalizing blend of buttery richness and peppermint freshness. Beyond their visual appeal with the distinctive red and white stripes, candy cane cookies have become a popular choice for various festive occasions, from cookie exchanges to family gatherings, offering a perfect balance of tradition and flavor sophistication.

If you need some other holiday desserts to make check out some of these other recipes; Christmas Cutout CookiesHomemade Christmas CandiesPeppermint Fudge, Snowman Oreo Balls and Peppermint Oreo Milkshake.

What You’ll Need to Make Candy Cane Cookies

ingredients for candy cane cookies

  • Butter
  • Shortening or Coconut Oil (Refined has very little coconut flavor, but if you like coconut, get unrefined as it has lots of coconut flavor)
  • Sugar
  • Egg
  • Vanilla
  • Peppermint Extract
  • All-Purpose Flour
  • Salt
  • Candy Canes
  • Red Food Coloring or a healthier option Beet Root powder

Helpful Kitchen Tools

How To Make Candy Cane Cookies

cream butter and sugar

Cream butter, shortening and 1 cup of sugar until light and fluffy.

add eggs and vanilla

Add egg, vanilla and peppermint extract.  Mix.

stir in flour and butter to candy cane cookies

Stir flour and salt into batter mixture and combine well.

divide dough into two bowls

Divide in dough in half into two bowls.

stir red coloring into one dough bowl

Stir red food coloring or beet root powder into dough in one of the bowls.

scoop candy cane cookie dough into one teaspoon portions

Scoop dough for candy cane cookies into one teaspoon portions.

roll dough into ropes

Roll dough into ropes about 4 inches long. 

place two ropes side by side

Place two ropes side by side, press lightly together and twist into candy cane shape with curved top.

completed candy cane shape

They should look like this!

place candy cane cookies onto uncreased cookie sheet

Place candy cane cookies onto ungreased cookie sheets and bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until very lightly browned. 

baked candy cane cookies

While still warm, sprinkle with crushed candy cane and sugar mixture.

candy cane cookies

Elves LOVE These Cookies

If you have any little elves in your house this holiday season, you’ll probably notice these candy cane cookies disappearing faster than you had expected. I bake countless varieties of cookies all year ’round but especially during the Christmas season. I’ve never known any cookies to be as irresistible to elves as these are. I can make a batch of these, each of us only have one or two, and wake to find the jar empty the next day with my elves’ bellies looking slightly plumper than the night before.

Clearly, these are a favorite among Santa’s helpers, and Santa, too!

candy cane cookies

Candy Cane Cookies

This recipe for Candy Cane Cookies has stood the test of time. And the kids love making And eating them. Enjoy these holiday favorites.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 28 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cookies
Servings: 4
Calories: 82kcal


  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • 1/2 cup shortening or Coconut oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 2 and 1/2 cups unsifted all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon red food coloring or beet root powder
  • Topping
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup crushed peppermint candy cane


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • In a large mixing bowl, cream butter, shortening, and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add egg, vanilla and peppermint extract.
  • Stir flour and salt into butter mixture and beat until well combined.
  • Divide dough in half.
  • Stir red food coloring/beet root powder into one half of dough until well blended.
  • Roll 1 teaspoonful of each color dough into four inch rope.
  • Place 2 ropes side by side, press lightly together and twist.
  • Place on ungreased cookie sheets and curve top for the handle of the candy cane.
  • Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned.
  • While cookies are baking, crush candy canes to equal 1/2 cup mixture and add 1/2 cup sugar.
  • While still warm, sprinkle with topping mixture. The warm cookie will cause the topping to slightly melt enough to adhere to candy cane.
  • Makes about 4 dozen cookies.


Calories: 82kcal
Tried this recipe?Mention @southernplate or tag #southernplate!

You may also enjoy these recipes!

Iced Oatmeal Cookies

3 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies

Recipe For Spritz Cookies

My Must-Make Christmas Cookies


“Gratitude turns what you have into enough.”



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  1. Love the story, and the way to crush the candy canes, wouldn’t work here, they’d get lost in the snow on the drive.
    Will have to make some for the twins, they are not allowed chocolate until they are three, so these will have to do! LOL

  2. Making these today, Mama Janice! This will my 46th Christmas season making them. I just found out from my brother that he is the one that noticed them in a little booklet that was in a magazine and carefully cut that booklet out and asked my mom if we could make them… they have been a tradition ever since. Was so tickled to see you post this great Christmas cookie recipe!! (Love your clever way of crushing the candy, by the way)

    1. I am so glad to hear that someone else loves them as much as we do! Have a wonderful holiday season and tell Bro I said enjoy the cookies! He must have been a genius to hone in on that recipe! Janice

  3. I loved today’s post and will agree with all of my hear that the unexpected moments are the best memories. My momma was the best at doing unexpected things and at times would get so tickled at the mischief she was about to do that she gave herself away before getting it done. My how I miss that little, round, mischievous woman.

  4. I can just picture your mom running back and forth over the peppermint candy. Her neighbors must have thought she was crazy!! What a fun memory!

  5. That is the cutest elf I have seen! He is adorable. Would love to find one like him. If only I knew where to look….???

    1. I found him at Target this year for $3. A lot of times Mama brings her recipes to my house for the final pictures so I stuck him in there. I think they are meant to be ornaments but I bought four or five of them and have had them all over the house this year decorating things and getting into elf mischief 🙂

  6. What beautiful (and fun) cookies! I can’t eat peppermint in any form so I’m wondering… Would these still taste good just to make them as sugar cookies in the 2 colors and maybe sprinkle some large sugar crystals on the top? I love the way they look. What do you think? =^..^=

    1. Hi Fran ! YUP !! This recipe will work well without the peppermint flavoring and crushed candy. I’ve done it that way, from time to time. If you like almond flavoring, that can be substituted for the peppermint. Or, just up the vanilla instead. They will still be a yummy addition to your Christmas cookie platter. Have a wonderful Christmas !

  7. Janice, your cookies look very festive as well as I am sure delicious. I’m sure your children loved you running the car over the candy cane. You are so right about the memories that we make with them—It’s the little things in life that really make a difference. Merry Christmas to you and yours! ♥

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