These beautiful stained glass cookies are buttery sugar cookies with a candy center. A holiday classic that tastes as good as it looks!

If you’ve never made stained glass window cookies before, this is the year you need to try. They’re unique, pretty and so very festive!

Stained Glass Cookies | Stained Glass Window Cookies | Sugar Cookies | Christmas Cookies

Stained glass cookies filled with melted candy and sprinkled with sugar.

I’m not going to lie, I was a little nervous when I put these stained glass cookies into the oven. Would they come out  like the pretty pictures you see in magazines, or would they melt everywhere and be a Pinterest fail? Imagine my relief when I pulled the cookies out of the oven and found these beautiful little gems. If I can make picture perfect stained glass window cookies, so can you! This is a great project to do with the kids, my girls had so much fun making these with me.

A star shaped stained glass cookie on a serving plate.

How to make stained glass cookies

This recipe starts with a basic sugar cookie dough that will hold its shaped when baked. The dough needs to chill before you start rolling and cutting, so plan accordingly. I used star shaped cookie cutters here because that’s what I had on hand, but you can use any holiday cookie cutters you like, as long as you have them in two different sizes so you can cut out your windows! I press sparkling white sugar into the tops of the cookies before I fill the windows to add more sparkle. The windows are made with crushed hard candy. I used Jolly Ranchers, but you can also use Lifesavers or any other hard candy. You’ll want to separate the candies by color, then put them in a resealable bag and crush them with the flat end of a meat mallet, or a rolling pin. The candy should NOT be ground into a super fine powder, otherwise it might get over caramelized in the oven. You also don’t want huge chunks of candy, think coarse sand or small pebbles.

Stained Glass Window Cookies in various colors.

You only need to fill the centers of the cookies about 2/3 of the way full with the candy, otherwise you run the risk of it overflowing onto the cookie. I use a toothpick to gently nudge the candy into each point of the star.

A plate of star shaped stained glass cookies with colorful centers.

You’ll be rewarded for your efforts with cookies that are beautiful and delicious! These cookies keep at room temperature for about 2 days, but you should store them in a single layer or place parchment in between layers so that they don’t stick together.

If you’re looking for an impressive treat to bring to a cookie exchange this year, these stained glass cookies can’t be beat!

More holiday cookie recipes

Stained Glass Cookies Video

4.85 from 13 votes

Stained Glass Cookies

AuthorSara Welch
These beautiful stained glass cookies are buttery sugar cookies with a candy center.
These beautiful stained glass cookies are buttery sugar cookies with a candy center. A holiday classic that tastes as good as it looks!
Prep Time40 minutes
Cook Time12 minutes
Total Time52 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Serves 20


  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup coarse sparkling sugar
  • 1/2 cup crushed hard candies Jolly Ranchers or Lifesavers work great, separate them by color them crush in plastic bags using a rolling pin or flat end of a meat mallet.


  • In the bowl of a mixer, beat the butter and sugar until smooth, about 2 minutes. 
  • Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • Add the vanilla and salt, then slowly mix in the flour until thoroughly combined. 
  • Remove the dough from the bowl. Place the dough on a large piece of plastic wrap and shape it into a disc. Wrap the plastic wrap around the dough and chill for at least 1 hour, or up to 1 day before you plan to bake your cookies.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. 
  • Divide the dough in half. Re-wrap one half of the dough and place it in the fridge. Roll the remaining dough into a 1/2 inch thick rectangle.
  • Using a 4 inch star shaped cookie cutter, cut out as many shapes as you can from the dough. Place the stars 1 inch apart on the cookie sheet, and use a 2 inch star cookie cutter to cut out your windows.
  • Re-roll the dough and repeat the process until you've filled your first baking sheet.
  • Gently press sparkling sugar into the tops of the cookies. 
  • Place the pan of cookies in the fridge and chill for 20 minutes.
  • Remove the cookies from the refrigerator. Fill each cookie 2/3 of the way full of crushed candy, using a toothpick to nudge the candy into small crevices.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes or until cookies are light golden brown and the candy has melted. Cool completely.
  • Repeat the same process with the other half of the dough that you previously put in the refrigerator.
  • Store covered in a single layer for up to 2 days.


Adapted from Food Network.


Calories: 195kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 40mg | Sodium: 66mg | Potassium: 28mg | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 305IU | Calcium: 8mg | Iron: 1mg

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Recipe Rating


  1. 3 stars
    I made these for our office cookie exchange. They really are beautiful and presented well, and the
    cookie flavor was great. However, they met with mixed reviews from a practical/eating perspective. My teenaged, candy-loving son thought they were great, but difficult to eat. My coworkers concurred. At least two people mentioned their fear of “breaking a tooth” because of the extreme differences in textures. My husband suggested using them as ornaments versus eating them. “You have to eat the cookie, then suck the candy. If you try to just bite into it and eat it normally it doesn’t work.” Not exactly the reviews for which I was hoping. For the second half of the batch I will try using a smaller diameter cookie cutter than what is called for in the recipe, which might help with edibility. Disappointing, to say the least.

    1. I’m sorry that this happened to you. When I make these cookies the layer of candy is very thin, easy to bite through with your teeth. How full did you fill the empty centers of the cookies? I just add a small amount, enough to cover the bottom. You get that pretty look without a thick candy center. I will take another look at the recipe to see if there’s a way to make this clearer. Thanks for the feedback!

  2. 5 stars
    I made these last night. They turned out really cute and they taste really good too! I was worried they may be hard to eat with the candy center but they were fine. Curious though why it says they only keep for 2 days?

    1. Glad you liked them! For me, they didn’t keep for that long only because the candy windows got sticky, but sometimes that’s an issue related to humidity etc so they might stay longer for you in your climate!

  3. THose look so beautiful and delicious. Sugar cookies are my favorite! I am going to make them for Christmas!

  4. 5 stars
    This is perfect for the holiday season. I love the colors and the stained glass idea. Its so festive! And of course, delicious too.

  5. I have never made STAINED GLASS COOKIES before. They look so delicious. I am sure they will be a big hit with my cookie exchange.

  6. These cookies are so beautiful. I would never have thought to use Jolly ranchers or life savers for the window.

  7. First, I love the name. When i first saw the name I wondered if they would be real!!! you need an amazing job and the really do look like stained-glass!!!

  8. We always do a cookie swap during Dec, and I am not a great cook. However, if I could pull these cookies off, I might just redeem myself. These look amazing!

  9. 5 stars
    How fun are these festive cookies?! Not only do they look perfect for the holiday season, I can not believe they are so easy to make. too. Fabulous!

  10. These stained glass cookies are adorable. I honestly think I have seen them around before, like in my younger years. I am going to try to make this, super fun idea.

  11. 5 stars
    Those are such pretty cookies! I would love to make some for my children. They’ll love this. I can also make a batch and give as teacher gifts. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  12. 5 stars
    Looks like your creations turned out wonderful! I’ve never heard of these, and they sound yummy. A fun cookie to make with the kids.

  13. 5 stars
    I am making SO MANY of these for the Christmas season. They are super cute, and they sound super delicious. You really can’t beat that combo!

  14. 5 stars
    I can’t think of a better cookie than these for Christmas. It looks like the perfect thing to bring to a party.