Pinwheel Cookies

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These pinwheel cookies are made by layering and rolling chocolate and vanilla cookie dough together, then slicing and baking. They are delicious, tender and wonderfully eye-catching! And the best part is you only need to make one cookie dough!

Why You’ll Love These Pinwheel Cookies

Trying to decide which cookies you want to make? Here’s why you need to make these pinwheel cookies ASAP.

  • Chocolate-vanilla combo. Trying to decide between chocolate and vanilla? No need here! Both flavors are rolled together. And both melted chocolate and cocoa powder are used to give you great chocolate flavor. It’s not too strong/bitter or too subtle.
  • Visual appeal. There’s no denying that these pinwheel cookies are fun to look at. The way the chocolate and vanilla come together in a delightful swirl pattern really makes them stand out on the dessert table.
  • Great texture. Cookies like these can sometimes turn out dry because the dough needs to be thick enough to not spread too much. This recipe balances the need to keep the design intact while baking, with the need for a tasty cookie and nails it. They are tender and delicious. Just don’t over bake them.
A stack of pinwheel cookies. The top two cookies are broken in half.

What You’ll Need

This recipe includes pretty common ingredients. Just pay attention to the correct types of chocolate for the best results. Here’s what you’ll need for this pinwheel cookies recipe. You’ll find precise measurements in the recipe card below.

Ingredients for pinwheel cookies.
  • All-purpose flour – Be sure to measure your flour correctly, either with a food scale or using the spoon and level method. You don’t want dry cookies! A quality 1:1 gluten-free flour should also work.
  • Baking soda and baking powder – I like to use both to get the perfect rise and texture. I love how the baking soda helps keep them more tender, while the baking powder gives them a nice texture and chewiness.
  • Salt – A little bit of salt in cookies helps keep them from being bland.
  • Unsalted butter – The butter should be at room temperature. Otherwise, it won’t cream properly with the sugar.
  • Granulated sugar
  • Egg – Sure sure to use a large size egg, not medium or extra large.
  • Vanilla extract
  • Unsweetened chocolate – I’d recommend sticking with this kind of chocolate. A different one will make the cookie dough softer and a little harder to work with. The chocolate flavor will also not be as strong.
  • Dutch process cocoa powder – You could use natural unsweetened cocoa powder instead for a slightly less intense chocolaty flavor.

How to Make Chocolate Pinwheel Cookies

Here’s a quick overview of how to make pinwheel cookies. Don’t forget to scroll to the recipe card below for more detailed instructions.

  • Combine the dry ingredients. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  • Combine the wet ingredients. Cream together the butter and sugar for 2-3 minutes and then mix in the egg followed by the vanilla.
  • Put it all together. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Use a rubber spatula to help the dough come together to form a more cohesive ball. Divide the cookie dough in half. Wrap one half in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge.
  • Make it chocolate. Melt the unsweetened chocolate and stir the melted chocolate and cocoa powder into the 2nd half of the dough. Wrap it in plastic and set it in the fridge. Chill the dough balls for 30 minutes.
  • Roll. Roll the dough balls out (separately), each between 2 layers of parchment paper. Roll each ball out into an 8×14-inch rectangle (about ¼ inch thick).
  • Chill. Refrigerate the rolled-out cookie doughs for 5-10 minutes.
  • Make the pinwheels. Lay the chocolate cookie dough on top of the vanilla cookie dough and peel the parchment paper off of the chocolate cookie dough. Flatten the chocolate cookie dough on top of the vanilla cookie dough. Roll the cookie doughs together into a log and cut it in half.
  • Chill. Wrap the two logs in clear wrap and chill in the fridge for 2 hours.
  • Prepare to bake. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Bake. Cut each log into ½-inch thick slices, arrange them 2 inches apart on the baking sheets, and bake for 10-12 minutes.
  • Cool. Cool on the cookie sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to cooling racks to cool completely.
Closeup of pinwheel cookies spread over a work surface.

Tips for Success

Before you dive into this chocolate pinwheel cookies recipe, take a moment to read through these simple tips and tricks. They’ll help you achieve the best results possible.

  • Cream thoroughly. When creaming together the butter and sugar, do so until the mixture has lightened significantly in color and become fluffy. This incorporates air into the dough, which helps prevent your cookies from turning out overly dense.
  • Don’t over-mix. When combining the wet and dry ingredients and then again when adding the melted chocolate to half of the cookie dough, mix just until everything is incorporated. Over-mixing can cause the glutens in the flour to overdevelop which can give you tough, overly dense cookies.
  • Don’t skimp on chill time. You will chill the cookie doughs 3 times in the recipe; before rolling them out, after rolling them out, and once again after rolling them together into a log. Each of these chill times is crucial to ensure that the dough is easy to work with, doesn’t break apart too easily and isn’t sticky.
  • Symmetry. To get the most out of your dough and to get the proper number of cookies, do your best to create even-sized rectangles with straight edges when rolling out the dough balls. Then, when laying the chocolate dough on top of the vanilla, do your best to line the two rectangles up. Feel free to use a sharp knife or a pizza cutter to trim away any uneven edges.
  • Roll tightly. When rolling the chocolate and vanilla dough together, roll tightly, doing your best not to leave any gaps. Otherwise, your cookies will be less visually appealing.
A stack of pinwheel cookies with two cookies leaning against it.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get my cookie dough rectangles the same size?

I like to measure and mark the four corners on my parchment paper so that I can make the two doughs the same size. You can trim off excess dough with a knife or pizza cutter and work it back into the dough in the spots where you need more to get the right shape and size.

How do I keep my cookie dough from tearing?

When layering the two cookie doughs together, work quickly while it’s still chilled and firm. Because it’s rolled out thin, it will warm up quickly, which is when it can start to tear more easily.

Can I add other flavors or variations?

Yes, feel free to dip the cooled cookies in chocolate, or add different extracts to the cookie dough. You could try almond extract in the vanilla cookie dough. You could even leave out the chocolate and color one or both of the layers for a holiday or special occasion.

How do I store these cookies?

Once the cookies have cooled completely, seal them in an airtight container. Store them at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

More Cookie Recipes To Try

Is your cookie jar looking empty? Here are some classic and not-so-classic recipes that I bet will inspire you to fill it up.

Watch How to Make Them

Read Transcript

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A stack of pinwheel cookies with two cookies leaning against it.

Pinwheel Cookies

  • Author: Lindsay Conchar
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Chill Time: 2 hours 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 12 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours 37 minutes
  • Yield: 28 cookies
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


Chocolate and vanilla cookie dough are rolled together into a log, sliced, and baked into whimsical pinwheel cookies. You’re going to love them!


  • 2 3/4 cups (358g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (224g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups (259g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tsp Dutch process cocoa powder


  1. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a medium sized bowl and set aside.
  2. Cream the butter and sugars together in a large mixer bowl on medium speed until light in color and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. You should be able to see the change in color happen and know it’s ready.
  3. Add the egg and mix until well combined.
  4. Add the vanilla extract and mix until well combined.
  5. Add the dry ingredients and mix until the dough is well combined. It will be thick and shouldn’t be sticky. Do not over mix. Once it’s well combined, use a rubber spatula to help it come together to form a more cohesive ball.
  6. Divide the cookie dough in half. Wrap one half, which will be the vanilla half, in plastic wrap, then place it in the refrigerator.
  7. Melt the unsweetened chocolate and add the melted chocolate and cocoa powder to the other half of the cookie dough and gently stir to combine. You can use your mixer again, or do it by hand with a spatula. Wrap the cookie dough in plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator. Refrigerate both cookie doughs for about 20-30 minutes, until a little firmer and easier to work with, but still roll-able.
  8. Now it’s time to roll out each ball of cookie dough. I roll them out between two pieces of parchment paper. It’s naturally non-stick, so you don’t need to use flour or cocoa powder, but it also releases easily. Roll each ball out into an 8×14 inch rectangle. Remove one flavor of cookie dough at a time and roll them out. They should be about ¼ inch thick each. I try to get them as rectangular as I can and will trim off outlier pieces and place them on top of the cookie dough to re-incorporate them into the cookie dough, so that I don’t waste any. While your rectangles don’t have to be perfectly 8×14, this size will give you an accurate number of cookies.
  9. Refrigerate the rolled-out cookie doughs for 5-10 minutes (or freeze for about 3-4 minutes). You want the cookie dough to be firm enough that it’s easier to work with again.
  10. Turn the chocolate cookie dough over on top of the vanilla cookie dough and do your best to line them up. Carefully peel the parchment paper off of the chocolate cookie dough. Flatten the chocolate cookie dough on top of the vanilla cookie dough as best you can. You can use a pizza cutter or pastry cutter to straighten the edges, if needed.
  11. Starting on the long size, roll the two cookie doughs together, without leaving gaps. Go slowly and patch up the vanilla cookie dough with your fingers, as needed. Once it’s rolled into a log, cut it in half so you have two logs.
  12. Wrap each log in clear wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, until firm.
  13. When you’re ready to bake them, preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  14. Cut each log into ½ inch thick slices. You should be able to get 28 cookies.
  15. Place cookies onto the prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart and bake for 10-12 minutes or until just starting to brown around the edges.
  16. Remove from oven and allow to cool on the baking sheets for about 5 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  17. Store cookies in an air-tight container. Cookies are best if eaten with 4-5 days.


  • Serving Size: 1 cookie
  • Calories: 154
  • Sugar: 9 g
  • Sodium: 90.9 mg
  • Fat: 8 g
  • Carbohydrates: 19.1 g
  • Protein: 1.9 g
  • Cholesterol: 24.1 mg


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About Lindsay

I'm a wife and a mom to twin boys and a baby girl! And I've got a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the treats!

Scripture I’m Loving

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29