Stained Glass Cookies


Beautiful, festive stained glass cookies. Sugar cookies cut out and filled with hard candy to look like stained glass windows when they are baked.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

“We can EAT these?” Andrew (age 5) asked incredulously.

“Yes, you can eat them,” I replied, “they’re cookies. You can also hang them from your tree.”

“What’s inside?” asked Matthew (7).

“Lifesavers. And Jolly Ranchers.”


It’s as if Santa himself had just poked his head through the fireplace. The boys, my young neighbors, dissected and demolished the ones they had each picked out to eat. It was all I could do to keep their hands off the remaining cookies. Oddly, they went straight for the hard candy center, and only after it was discussed (“What is this, watermelon? Must be a Jolly Rancher”) and devoured, did they move on to the cookie border.

This recipe is a classic, originally from Yankee Magazine. The cookies make beautiful Christmas ornaments!

Stained Glass Cookies Recipe

  • Yield: Makes 2 to 4 dozen cookies, depending on how large you make them.


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 30-40 hard candies (such as Life Savers), preferably in several flavors/colors


1 Preheat oven, prepare baking sheets: Pre-heat oven to 375°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat.

2 Beat butter, sugars, then add molasses, vanilla, then egg: Using an electric mixer, beat together butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the molasses and vanilla extract. Add egg and beat on medium speed until light and smooth.

3 Whisk together dry ingredients, add to wet: In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients a third at a time, mixing until the flour is just incorporated.

4 Chill the dough: Divide the dough in half and flatten into two disks. Wrap disks in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least an hour and up to 2 days.

5 Crush candies: Remove any plastic wrapping on the hard candies. Sort the hard candies by color and place them into separate plastic bags. Crush the candies with a mallet or hammer.


6 Roll out dough: Place one of the dough disks between two large sheets of waxed paper and use a rolling pin to roll out to an even thickness of 1/4-inch.

7 Cut shapes with cookie cutters: Use cookie cutters to cut the dough into forms. Transfer the cookies to a prepared baking sheet, placing them about 1 inch apart from each other. Using a smaller cookie cutter of similar shape or a knife, cut shapes into centers of cookies. (You can use the centers for extra dough.)

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8 Sprinkle crushed candies into cookie centers: Sprinkle the crushed candy into the empty centers of the cookies, filling them to the edges. Try to keep the candy within the centers. Any candy specks that fall on the cookie will color the cookie.

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9 Poke hole if using for decorations: If you plan on using the cookies as decoration, to be hung as an ornament, poke a small hole in the top of each cookie before baking.

10 Bake: Bake at 375°F for 9 to 10 minutes. The candy should be bubbly and the cookies just barely beginning to brown. Remove baking sheets from oven and place on wire racks to cool.

Allow cookies to cool on pans at least 10 minutes; otherwise, the candy centers may separate from the dough. When cookies are completely cooled, remove and store in an airtight container.

String with ribbon if you want to hang as an ornament.

Hello! All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own unique words and link back to Stained Glass Cookies on Simply Recipes. Thank you!


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Many thanks to my friend Heidi in Carlisle, Mass, who pointed me to the recipe in Yankee Magazine.


Stained Glass Cookies

If you make this recipe, snap a pic and hashtag it #simplyrecipes — We love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, & Twitter!

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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44 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  • Whitney

    This dough was so hard and crumbly I couldn’t roll it out. Maybe 2 eggs are needed?

  • Diane Keyser

    On the heart stained glass Christmas cookies there is the word Noel stamped in small letters? I’m not a crafty so I don’t know how I can do that. Can anybody help me?

  • Nicole Putkisto

    Dear Elise my name is Nicole Putkisto I recently viewed your recipes for the spritz cookies and the stained glass cookies. I was wondering if you think it would be possible to use the stained glass method for the center of the spritz cookie recipe?

  • nupur

    Hi Elise
    Thank you for the tip. My cookies turned out nice… well not as nice as ur images. :)
    A tip for anyone in South East Asia/ India : Use poppins, nothing else gives that glazed effect. i tried almost everything.

  • nupur

    Hi Elise
    Thank you so much for this beautiful recipes, I have tried a few of your recipes(lot of your ingredients are not available in India.
    When I tried this recipe, my dough became very sticky and just won’t leave the baking paper. Can I add more flour to it?

    I would try refrigerating the dough first. If that doesn’t help, add a little bit more flour. ~Elise

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Stained Glass Cookies