Vegan Candy Cane Cookies

Soft peppermint-flavored dough twisted and curved in candy cane form. Coated with sugar and crushed peppermint candies then baked to perfection, these festive candy cane cookies are perfect for Christmas!

hand holding candy cane cookie topped with sugar

Candy cane cookies were a tradition in my house. We’d bake these cookies for Santa, plus they are super cute and fun to make!

What are candy cane cookies?

Candy cane cookies are a soft, sugar cookie-like dough flavored with peppermint extract. Half the dough is dyed red and then the dough is twisted together. Topped with sugar and crushed peppermint candy, these cookies are full of peppermint-sugar perfection! Plus, they are vegan so winning!

ingredients for candy cane cookies



  • vegan butter (I like Earth Balance)
  • sugar
  • peppermint extract
  • vanilla extract
  • arrowroot flour
  • almond milk
  • flour
  • baking power
  • salt
  • red food coloring
  • candy canes or peppermint candies

instructions on how to make candy cane cookies


  1. Start by creaming the vegan butter and sugar until “whipped”. This can be done with a hand mixer or a stand mixer. (fig. 1)
  2. Add almond milk and extracts. Beat a few seconds to incorporate
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients and add to the wet mixture. Beat until just starting to form. (fig. 2)
  4. The dough should have a playdough consistency (soft and pliable, not crumbling apart). (fig. 3) If too crumbly, add water a little bit at a time until desired consistency is reached.
  5. Divide the dough in half and add red food coloring to one half. Use a rubber spatula or hands to fully mix the dye with the dough (fig. 4 and 5)
  6. Wrap both balls of dough in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill

forming cookie dough into candy canes

Once the dough is chilled, you’re ready to form your candy canes.

  • Grab a small piece of dough and knead a few times in your hands to ensure the dough is soft and pliable. Roll the dough in between your hands to create thin “ropes”

Note: If the dough is falling apart when rolling, dampen hands and knead a few more times to incorporate some moisture into the dough.

  • Place a thin rope of each color next to each other and twist, then curving at the top to form a candy cane.
  • Optional, but cut off the top and bottom to smooth out the ends. This also helps to make uniform-sized cookies.

candy cane cookie on plate topped with sugar and crushed peppermint candy

Top each cookie with sugar and crushed candy canes.

Note: This step is optional, but I highly recommend because these cookies are subtly sweet so the extra sugar and crunch help to elevate this cookie!

candy cane cookies on baking sheet

Place cookies on a lined baking sheet and pop in the freezer while you preheat your oven.

The reason you want to chill the dough and again put them in the freezer is to prevent too much puffing or spreading while baking. Cold dough helps to maintain the shape of the cookies.

candy cane cookies on white plate with ribbons and garland

These cookies are so cute and festive making them perfect for Christmas parties, cookie swaps, or Santa’s cookie plate!

They are fun to make too so it’s a great recipe to get the kids involved.

vegan candy candy shortbread cookies


For those of you who stay away from artificial dyes can use a natural dye or make your own with beetroot powder. The colors definitely won’t be as vibrant. 

I tested this recipe with Watkin’s natural dyes and the red made the dye more purple than red!

I used Wilton red gel dye which is artificial, but vegan. So use your discretion here!

candy cane cookies on marble background

If you tried these vegan candy cane cookies, let me know in the comments below and share a photo using #mindfulavocado. I’d love to hear from you! Want to see more recipes? Let’s get social! CONNECT WITH ME on FacebookTwitterInstagram, or Pinterest to see what I’m currently cooking up!

If you like this cookie recipe, check out:
Vegan Chocolate Peppermint Cookies
Vegan Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies
Vegan Gingerbread Cookies + How to Use a Cookie Mold

vegan candy candy shortbread cookies

Vegan Candy Cane Cookies

Soft peppermint-flavored dough twisted and turned in the shape of a candy cane! Topped with sugar and candy canes, these festive cookies are PERFECT for Christmas!
4.91 from 10 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, Christmas, Vegan
Keyword: candy cane cookies, chocolate peppermint cookies, vegan christmas cookie recipe
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 9 minutes
Chill Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 9 minutes
Servings: 16 to 18 cookies depending on size
Calories: 121kcal
Author: Amanda


  • 1/2 cup vegan butter softened (I like Earth Balance baking sticks)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons peppermint extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons almond milk
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 Tablespoon arrowroot flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • red food coloring I used Wilton gel food coloring. Can substitute with a natural coloring but results will vary.




  • In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter and sugar with a hand mixer. You can also use a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.
  • Add peppermint extract, vanilla extract, and almond milk. Beat to incorporate.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, arrowroot flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • Add dry ingredients to wet and blend until just incorporated. The dough should be soft and pliable like Play-doh. If too crumbly, add water a little bit at a time until desired consistency is reached.
  • Divide the dough in half and add a small amount of red food coloring to half of the dough. Mix well.
  • Form red and plain dough into separate balls and wrap in plastic wrap. Place in the fridge to chill for 30 mins
  • Crush candy canes and mix with sugar on a plate. Set aside.
  • When the dough is chilled, remove from the fridge. Take a small amount of either the red or plain dough and knead a few times in your hands so it's soft and pliable. Roll the dough into thin ropes. Repeat with the other color. If the dough is crumbly, dampen hands and knead a few times to incorporate the moisture into the dough. Then try re-rolling!
  • With both colors rolled into ropes, twist together and curve at the top to form a candy cane shape. Use a bench scraper to trim the ends. Simply untwist the excess dough to use for the other cookies.
  • Top each cookie with crushed candy cane/sugar combo and place on a lined baking sheet. The dough should make 16-18 cookies depending on size.
  • Pop cookie sheet in the freezer and preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Bake for 9-12 minutes until bottoms are light brown.
  • Let cool slightly and transfer to a cooling rack.


Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 121kcal | Carbohydrates: 16.4g | Protein: 1.5g | Fat: 5.7g | Sodium: 68mg | Potassium: 37mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 5.7g | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 1mg

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20 thoughts on “Vegan Candy Cane Cookies”

  1. 5 stars
    These candy cane cookies are adorable! I love that they are vegan, my sister in law is vegan and now I have a dessert for her! Thanks!

  2. 5 stars
    I have never seen these before – they are so pretty! I doubt ours will come out quite like this with two 5-year-olds involved, but I bet they are just as tasty!

  3. 5 stars
    I am obsessed with these! I always spend the holidays baking cookies and giving them to neighbors and friends. More and more of my friends are vegan, so this recipe was perfect. Not to mention how cute they are! Such a hit.

  4. 5 stars
    I made these with the kids yesterday and they loved rolling the strands together. We were planning to leave some out for Santa, but we need to make another batch as these were so yummy that they shared them with their friends down the street!

  5. 5 stars
    I love you put a vegan twist on a Christmas classic cookie. I gifted these to a friend that recently started eating plant based food for health reasons. She adored them, and they were so cute. Thanks for a great recipe.

  6. 4 stars
    I love that you made this vegan, it’s one of my childhood favorites. But I definitely recommend putting the candy cane bits on after you cook them, the candy melted and got really hard and almost impossible to take off the cookie sheet.


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