Buttery and crisp, these festive Candy Cane Shortbread Cookies will leave a lasting impression.  Little ones will love their fun shape and everyone will love their sugary, buttery flavor.  A great project to get the kids to help with!

Candy Cane cookies on green doilies on a white background.

Bringing back a bit of nostalgia this year with a fun cookie recipe from my past. Easy Candy Cane Cookies are made with a buttery shortbread dough before being shaped into a festive candy cane. They’re really easy to make and so much fun for the kids to get involved in making.

And if you’re a freak about messes in the kitchen….I’m sorry but you’re just going to have to let it go this one time.  Because this cookie needs little hands.  It’s just so much fun for the little ones and if you don’t have any little hands around….it’s fun for you, too.  A glass of wine would be nice as well, but someone will have to pour it in your mouth…unless you have an extra arm.  This is a two handed cookie making task.  Wine can wait….until they’re baked

Candy Cane Shortbread Cookies

My mom made these every year (I remember every year but it may have only been once….however, they are forever etched in my brain.)  They weren’t called shortbread cookies but I felt that needed to be added to the description for you all….just so you know what you’re in for, taste-wise.  They’re not a traditional shortbread recipe but the flavor and texture is all there.    You can call them whatever you like…I will never know.

These easy Candy Cane Cookies are made with the same dough I use for my Witch Fingers with the same almond flavor and buttery texture. You can substitute the almond extract with Peppermint Extract if you want your cookies to taste minty like a candy cane.

Candy cane cookies being packaged in a box.

Ingredients You Will Need

Most of the ingredients for these Candy Cane Cookies you already have in your kitchen so they’re a breeze to whip up!

Here’s what you’ll be using:


Baking Powder

All Purpose Flour – You can make a gluten-free cookie by substituting the AP Flour with your favorite Gluten Free Flour. 

Butter – We like to use salted butter here. If you use unsalted butter, be sure to add a pinch of salt to your dough so the flavor isn’t flat. Also, room temperature butter works best here.

Sugar – Regular granulated sugar is used for testing purposes but I’ve played around with other sugar like coconut sugar with excellent results.

Egg – One large egg, room temperature. White or brown….it doesn’t matter.

Almond Extract – We love the almond flavor in these cookies but you can substitute with peppermint extract to make your cookies taste more like a legit candy cane.

Vanilla Extract – Don’t skip this ingredients, it’s the base for the buttery cookie flavor. 

Candy cane shortbread cookies on a white background with a box of cookies in the background.

How To Make In Advance

You can make the dough in advance if you’re planning a cookie baking party. Simply follow the instructions up to and including the coloring of the dough. Store the dough in separate containers to prevent bleeding and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

When you’re ready to shape your candy cane shortbread cookies, allow the dough to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before rolling out.

To freeze your dough, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and transfer to a freezer safe container or zip top bag. Freeze the dough for up to 3 months. Thaw completely at room temperature before rolling out the dough.

How To Store Them

You can store your Candy Cane Cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 10 days. We’ve enjoyed them long after that, too, but 10 days is for maximum cookie freshness.

We love, love, love these Candy Cane Cookies but we also really like making these NO BAKE Peppermint Bark Cookies. Super simple, you won’t believe how fast they disappear, too!

No Bake Peppermint Bark Cookies Recipe | TheSuburbanSoapbox.com

And definitely give these easy Pizzelles a try…..they’re super simple to make and you can flavor them anyway you like. We also like making these easy Spritz cookies with the kiddos.  They’re super fun and so festive!


Get the Recipe: Candy Cane Shortbread Cookies

A Christmas tradition, these Candy Cane Shortbread Cookies are a must from my childhood.
4.25 from 4 votes


  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon Christmas red food color, I use Wilton Paste…it’s the best in my opinion
  • 1/4 cup sugar


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the baking powder, salt and flour. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the egg, almond extract, vanilla, and salt. Slowly add the flour into mixture in small amounts, beating until just combined.
  • Remove half the dough from the bowl and blend red food coloring into the half remaining in the bowl until the coloring is even and bright red. Cover the dough with a damp kitchen towel to keep it from drying out as you work. Using a floured teaspoon to measure 1 teaspoon each of white and red dough for each cookie and roll into 4-inch ropes on a lightly floured surface. Place a red and white rope side-by-side, press together lightly and twist to form a spiral. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and curve the top down to form the handle of the candy cane. Sprinkle with the remaining sugar. Bake until set, about 8 minutes. Transfer the cookies, carefully, to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.
Serving: 1g, Calories: 119kcal, Carbohydrates: 15g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 20mg, Sodium: 89mg, Potassium: 20mg, Fiber: 0g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 185IU, Calcium: 7mg, Iron: 0.5mg