Rainbow Swirl Slice and Bake Cookies {Recipe}

Rainbow Swirl Cookies | Lil Miss Cakes

I am freaking out over these cookies right now! I know that rainbow desserts are sort of trending right now, and I wanted to come up with my own version. I wanted my dessert to be rainbow colored but elegant and easy to do. I did not want to separate batter into 6 different bowls to mix up each color of the rainbow. I didn’t want to bake 6 different cakes, or knead challah dough into 6 different colors and then braid the rainbow. I’ve seen people dye cookie dough into rainbow colors but something about that looks like play-dough to me and I just couldn’t do it! These tender cookies are my cute and simple rainbow treat. They are not too sweet and the texture is perfect for eating with tea or coffee. Kids will devour these, because of the fun colors and the rainbow sprinkles! The sprinkles are definitely optional but I love the added color and texture they bring to these cookies. This was my very first try making these cookies, I may add a bit more gel food coloring next time. I may also add a dot of white icing in the center to make them look like more of that traditional bakery style cookie. I love how easily these can be customized, you could mix and match the colors of the food gel and the sprinkles to match any party theme or occasion. I took a bunch of progress photos to show you how I made these, They aren’t the best but I hope they will be clear-please ask if you have any questions on the process! Applying gel food color to cookie dough

Mix your cookie dough (recipe at the end of the post). Roll out your dough or since it’s soft, press it out flat and square onto a piece of parchment or wax paper. Mine is about 11×11 inches. Using gel food coloring (I use Americolor brand) take a food only paintbrush and paint vertical lines of each color you want to include. I painted about 1 inch lines of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. I left spaces in between each color so I wouldn’t get any blending but next time I may paint each color up until the next color to get some blending. I cleaned my brush of in between painting each color.

Folding the cookie dough

Lift up your parchment or wax paper and fold the cookie dough over 1/3 of the way making sure to match up your colors, (You want your red folding down on the red, orange on orange…)

Remove wax paper

Peel the parchment or wax paper back onto your work surface.

Folding cookie dough again

Lift your paper and fold the bottom of the dough over 1/3 of the way to close up your dough and seal the food coloring inside.

peel paper back

Again, peel back your paper.

Dust with powdered sugar

Dust your cookie dough with flour or powdered sugar and roll it out with a rolling pin.

Roll out your cookie dough

You only want to roll out the dough in one direction, in the same direction that your vertical stripes are going, towards you and away from you. Do not widen it by rolling it left to right. Try to roll it to about 12×12 inches. At this point, I folded the dough the same way as before: from top to middle about 1/3 of the way down matching your vertical stripes, and then bottom up to form a rectangle. I then rolled it out the same way, towards and away, not left to right.

Rotate your dough and roll up

Now rotate your dough 90 degrees by turning your whole piece of paper. The colored lines should now be horizontal. Lift your dough from the bottom by lifting your paper (I started from the purple color) start rolling your dough into a log.

Rolling your dough into a log

Keep lifting the paper to allow it to roll up making sure to peel the paper away.

divide your dough

Once your dough is rolled up, divide it into 3 equal pieces (or as equal as you can get it-no need to measure). Cutting will make the dough easier to handle.

swirly rainbow cookie dough

Once you divided your dough, you will be able to see the cool swirly effect! Take each log and lengthen/ thin it by rolling it to about 8 inches long. You may feel some air inside the log. That’s okay, just squeeze the dough a bit to remove those pockets and continue to roll into a smooth tight log.

roll in sprinkles

This part is optional, but I couldn’t skip the rainbow sprinkles! Spread out some rainbow sprinkles and then roll your dough in the sprinkles. You can leave the ends bare since they will get sliced off anyway.

cookie dough covered in sprinkles

Once your dough is covered in sprinkles, tightly roll it up in wax or parchment paper and chill it in the freezer for at least 1/2 hour. (At this point you could store it in the freezer for up to 3 months, I would just store it in a freezer ziplock bag. Just slice and bake when needed).

slice your cookie dough

After your dough is chilled it will be easier to slice. Using a serrated knife, slice your cookies about 1/2 inch wide. You should get 12-15 cookies from each of your 3 logs.

ready to bake

Arrange your cookies cut side up on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for 10-12 minutes. You don’t really want to see any browning, you just want the cookies to look dry on top. If you brown them too much they may not be tender.

Rainbow Swirl Cookies | Lil Miss Cakes

You did it! Hope you enjoy making these impressive cookies. They really are easy to make-I can’t wait to see your cookie designs! Here’s my easy dairy-free recipe.

Rainbow Swirl Slice and Bake Cookies {Recipe}
Serves: 36 cookies
  • 1½ cups vegetable shortening, such as Crisco
  • 1½ cups powdered sugar
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1¼ tsp. baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. clear vanilla extract
  • gel food color
  • rainbow sprinkles, optional
  1. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the shortening and powdered sugar.
  2. Add in the flour, baking powder, and salt and mix to combine. The dough will be crumbly.
  3. Add in the eggs and vanilla and mix until dough forms.
  4. Follow my blog tutorial for coloring and forming dough.
  5. Freeze your 3 logs of dough for at least ½ hour.
  6. While your dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  7. Slice your dough into about ½ inch wide slices.
  8. Arrange your cookies cut side up on cookie sheet, spacing them apart because they spread.
  9. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the cookies no longer look wet.
  10. Enjoy!