St. Patrick’s Day Rainbow Slice and Bake Cookie

Cookies, Dessert, Holiday Recipes, Kid Friendly Recipes | 84 comments

If I had to pick a recipe that I’ve made so far this year that was most popular with the kids I would have to say it was these Rainbow Slice and Bake Cookies that I tested out for St. Patrick’s Day. And not just because my kids love cookies, but because they thought that this was the coolest looking cookie recipe I have ever baked for them.

st. patrick's day rainbow cookies

Because, according to legend, the leprechaun’s pot of gold is hidden at the end of a rainbow I thought it would be fun to come up with a cute treat for the kids to eat on St. Patrick’s Day. One of the benefits of what I do is that I get double the holiday fun because I have to test out recipes before hand so I can share them with all of you!

I didn’t make the entire batch at once and froze half of the dough for later because we didn’t need that many cookies at once. It worked out perfect because I didn’t have time to make anything extra (like the Lemon Coconut Cupcakes we had for our family party) for Logan to take to his kindergarten class for his birthday last week, so I just baked up some of these. Everyone was impressed!

rainbow slice and bake cookies

Really you can use this same method for slice and bake cookies with any colors of your choosing. They’d be pretty as red and green for Christmas or orange and black for Halloween. I know some of you may be thinking – what about all the dye?! Well, from my perspective I figure that my kids are eating this type of thing only once or twice a year so it’s alright.

If possible, use gel food coloring instead of the traditional food coloring found in grocery stores. Gel food coloring produces vibrant color results with just a small amount of dye. I have this Ateco 12-Color Food Coloring Kit.

More St. Patrick’s Day Recipe Inspiration

What is your favorite way to celebrate St. Paddy’s Day?

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Rainbow Slice and Bake Sugar Cookies

cookie recipe from i am mommy

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1 1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
2 whole eggs
2 whole eggs yolks
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons almond extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder


In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the butter and sugar and beat well, for about 2 minutes. Add the whole eggs and 2 yolks, continuing to mix until combined. Stir in the vanilla extract and vanilla.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking powder and whisk until sifted. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture about 1 cup at a time, stirring with the paddle attachment (not the whisk) to incorporate each cup. Do not over mix.

Divide the dough into six equal portions - it helps if you have a kitchen scale for this. Using gel food coloring (gel works so much better for vibrant colors than standard food coloring), color each layer a color of the rainbow. I used a hand mixer to combine the color in with each dough section and then rinsed the bowl and beaters before moving on to another color.

Place dough in individual ziplock bags or saran wrap and refrigerate until firm, about an hour or two. One at a time, roll colors into approximately 6x9 inch rectangles. Refrigerate each layer after rolling, and then add subsequent layers on top in rainbow color order.

When all layers have been stacked, trim edges for a neat rectangle. Wrap again in saran wrap and freeze until very firm. Slice strips across the 6 inch side about 1/4 inch thick and cut each strip in half. Place cookies on a parchment lined cookie sheet and freeze again (this helps minimize spreading).

When you are ready to bake, heat oven to 350 degrees. Bake cookies on a parchment paper lined baking sheet for 6-10 minutes. Cool on the cookie sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Cool the cookie sheet in between baking each batch.

Leftover dough can be stored in the freezer for a few weeks.

Katie Goodman

About the Author:

Katie’s lifelong interest in cooking good food has shown her that part of the goodness in life is enjoying delicious food with friends and family. She is: Mom. Writer. Photographer. Recipe Developer. Website Founder. Lover of all things good in life. A mix of great recipes, family memories, and yummy photography is what Katie serves up each week at GoodLife Eats™. Katie and her family reside in Colorado.

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  • 1
    The Blue-Eyed Bakers - March 11, 2011 @ 6:40 am

    These are adorable! So colorful…and such a fabulous idea!


  • 2
    Cheryl - March 11, 2011 @ 6:59 am

    Would love to try these – do you have a link to the recipe?


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — March 11th, 2011 @ 7:01 AM

      At first I was like “what?” but then I realized I forgot to embed it in the post. Thanks for the note.

  • 3
    Amber | Bluebonnets & Brownies - March 11, 2011 @ 7:04 am

    Oh my gosh, Katie, these are so cool! I love how vibrant they are. Will you be my mom so I can have these for my birthday??


  • 4
    Cheryl - March 11, 2011 @ 7:19 am

    Thank you! I read and re-read it a few times thinking I must be missing something, but then figured I might as well ask because I wasn’t finding the recipe. LOL


  • 5
    Amanda - March 11, 2011 @ 7:47 am

    These are beyond gorgeous!!! What a fantastic cookie!


  • 6
    Wenderly - March 11, 2011 @ 7:54 am

    I’m. In. Love.

    These are beyond fabulous!


  • 7
    bridget {bake at 350} - March 11, 2011 @ 7:55 am

    Love these! Totally making them next year! (Or maybe sooner!)


  • 8
    Julia - March 11, 2011 @ 7:59 am

    Wow, gorgeous!


  • 9
    MOXIELisa - March 11, 2011 @ 8:04 am

    Love these!


  • 10
    DawnK - March 11, 2011 @ 8:42 am

    Such pretty cookies!


  • 11
    Tracy - March 11, 2011 @ 9:12 am

    Oh my gosh, I just love these! So pretty!


  • 12
    Mindy - March 11, 2011 @ 9:33 am

    These are so lovely…I can’t wait to make them for my color-obsessed daughter!


  • 13
    Alison @ cooking with friends - March 11, 2011 @ 9:45 am

    So lovely! What a neat St. Patrick’s Day treat. So clever. We like to mix a little traditional with a bit untraditional — mini irish soda bread muffins and corn beef empanadas!


  • 14
    Bridgett - March 11, 2011 @ 10:10 am

    Oh goodness, these are fabulous! My daughter will love these.


  • 15
    Kathy - Panini Happy - March 11, 2011 @ 10:18 am

    These are so vibrant and fun, Katie!


  • 16
    patsy - March 11, 2011 @ 11:15 am

    Oh, I HAVE to make these! Such fun, colorful cookies! I’ve seen the layered rainbow cakes before, but not cookies until now! Love them!


  • 17
    Stephanie - March 11, 2011 @ 1:35 pm

    I adore these! I’m looking forward to eating some kind of chocolate-beer concoction on St. Pat’s.


  • 18
    EatLiveRun - March 11, 2011 @ 1:45 pm

    these are so FUN!!! Love it!


  • 19
    Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles - March 11, 2011 @ 3:19 pm

    Wow!! These are so much fun. I’ll have to show my 9YO, as she’s really into the whole leprechaun thing right now!


  • 20
    Jamie | My Baking Addiction - March 11, 2011 @ 3:42 pm

    These are so creative, fun, and festive!


  • 21
    sara - March 11, 2011 @ 3:44 pm

    These are SO cute! I love them!! :)


  • 22
    Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen - March 11, 2011 @ 4:57 pm

    I can see why his class was impressed, these are so colorful and fun. Someone really needs to come up with a line of all natural food coloring so that we can make and eat beautiful things like this more than on special occasions and not feel guilty about it.


    • MrsAllyGally replied: — March 13th, 2011 @ 4:48 PM

      Sylvie, I agree. While I don’t mind using a bit of normal food colouring on occasion, I find it’s not ME I need to be concerned with but other parents / children. I’m currently planning a party and know there would be much tut tutting over the provision of anything like this! I have discovered a good natural range here in Australia, (Hoppers) but they aren’t gel, and they aren’t going to provide the depth of colour that gels provide. I’m tempted to give them a go just for fun to see what happens.

  • 23
    Lisa (Dishes of Mrs. Fish) - March 11, 2011 @ 5:43 pm

    These are so fun! They actually remind me of my favorite erasers I had in grade school! :)


  • 24
    Sues - March 11, 2011 @ 7:01 pm

    These are absolutely adorable!!! And I LOVE how you tied them together with the twine :) SO fun!


  • 25
    Nikki (Pennies on a Platter) - March 11, 2011 @ 10:50 pm

    REALLY cute idea. Who cares about the dye, I’d gobble these up any day!


  • 26
    Lauren at Keep It Sweet - March 12, 2011 @ 5:54 am

    Love these, adorable!


  • 27
    Barbara | VinoLuciStyle - March 12, 2011 @ 9:05 am

    These are so cute…I mean, who doesn’t want to eat a rainbow!


  • 28
    Venance - March 12, 2011 @ 11:05 am

    So cool! How many cookies does this recipe make? I’m considering making these to bring into class– one of my finals is on St. Patty’s. :]


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — March 12th, 2011 @ 1:29 PM

      You know that is a really good question. I made them in two batches and I know the second batch made 2 dozen because we needed that many for Logan’s class. I would say 3-4 dozen (with the size I cut them at) because I can’t quite remember how many I made the first time around. What a fun treat for your class after finals!

  • 29
    Food Frenzy - March 12, 2011 @ 11:16 am

    These cookies are amazing. The color is so vivid and being sugar cookies I am sure they taste wonderful.

    We invite you to share this post and some of your favorite food posts on Food Frenzy.
    Please check out our community.


  • 30
    Kendra - March 12, 2011 @ 12:21 pm

    I just love to see my bowls and glasses and linens in your photos. Apparently we have freakishly similar tastes in style and shopping. I love it. Your photos get better and better, Katie. Love reading here.


  • 31
    Liesl - March 12, 2011 @ 12:58 pm

    These are spectacular. Well done!


  • 32
    Maris (In Good Taste) - March 12, 2011 @ 1:13 pm

    These look fun – and are so cheerful!


  • 33
    Kristen - March 12, 2011 @ 2:15 pm

    Such a fun cookie for kids! Love all the colors.


  • 34
    Lauren @ Crave. Indulge. Satisfy. - March 12, 2011 @ 2:28 pm

    What a fun idea, love how vibrant these cookies turned out!


  • 35
    Jenn@eatcakefordinner - March 12, 2011 @ 11:10 pm

    I don’t think I have ever seen a rainbow cookie before? I think these are so incredibly cute and I am very impressed too. I was just wondering when you stack the layers how do you get them to stick together? Do you have to press them down? Or do they just stick together?


  • 36
    Damaris @KitchenCorners - March 13, 2011 @ 1:02 am

    these are beyond pretty. I can see why it’s your kids’ fave.


  • 37
    Tamara - March 13, 2011 @ 9:15 am

    These are amazing! I’m going to try these for my daughters birthday using pinks and greens. I’m wondering though, do you think after I sliced them I could use a cookie cutter to make a shape?


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — March 13th, 2011 @ 9:20 AM

      Yes, I think you could do that. The cookie dough is a cut out sugar cookie recipe.

    • MrsAllyGally replied: — March 13th, 2011 @ 4:49 PM

      That’s a fabulous idea Tamara! The “offcut” cookies would be weird and wonderful too!

  • 38
    Jan @ Family Bites - March 13, 2011 @ 12:39 pm

    These are just too cute! I can only imagine how much the class loved digging into them.


  • 39
    Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction - March 13, 2011 @ 7:01 pm

    These are so pretty! So much fun :)


  • 40
    Katie - March 13, 2011 @ 7:29 pm

    These are absolutely amazing. I tried making a batch today but it seemed like the dough was really greasy and hard to work with. I couldn’t roll them out into sheets so I chose to just make individual colored cookies instead. Any idea what I did wrong?


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — March 14th, 2011 @ 10:37 AM

      They were greasy for me too and softened easily which is why I mentioned in the instructions that I refrigerated all the dough colors before rolling and then each layer after rolling and once the whole thing was assembled freezing it. I may try it again sometime with a different cookie recipe than the one I used. The dough for this one was so delicious tasting though!

  • 41
    Corrie - March 16, 2011 @ 3:32 pm

    Made these today – my 3 yr old son LOVED squishing the colored dough (like playdough!), and then I took the cut-off edges, cut them into more long slices, stacked the slices, rolled them together, froze them, and then sliced them crosswise to make fun kaleidoscope-like cookies. He was very excited to wake up from nap to see the baked cookies!

    Here’s the picture I took:


    • Corrie replied: — March 16th, 2011 @ 3:34 PM

      Oh – I didn’t have gel food coloring so I used regular drops. I had to use quite a bit but it still turned out fine!

  • 42
    Eleanor - March 19, 2011 @ 8:51 am

    Oh my goodness, these are totally and utterly amazing. I’ve just discovered your blog, and I’m hooked! I’ve just shared over on my blog, I hope thats ok. xxx


  • 43
    Amy @ A Little Nosh - March 22, 2011 @ 1:09 pm

    Those are so cute! My son would love them.


  • 44
    Sue - March 28, 2011 @ 11:08 pm

    I absolutely LOVE these cookies!


  • 45
    Nancy Corsten - June 26, 2011 @ 5:30 am

    only comments published were how cute and good they were. After all the time, effort, and expense, ended up throwing everything in the trash and cried! Never again.


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — June 26th, 2011 @ 3:58 PM

      I’m sorry you had a bad experience. I published all the comments related to the recipe regardless of whether the author mentioned how “cute and good they were.”

  • 46
    sienna - September 28, 2011 @ 3:44 pm

    how many batches of 12 does it make?


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — October 2nd, 2011 @ 2:35 PM

      I made them in two batches and I know the second batch made 2 dozen because we needed that many for Logan’s class. I would say 3-4 dozen (with the size I cut them at) because I can’t quite remember how many I made the first time around.

  • 47
    Rachel - September 28, 2011 @ 6:19 pm

    I just made these cookies for our preschool co-op and they turned out great! The recipe is delicious. I only had 2 eggs so I didn’t add the extra 2 egg yolks and the dough turned out fine. I used traditional food coloring – about 10-15 drops per color. I rolled each color out on freezer paper. Then I used the freezer paper to lift the layer and flip it onto the last layer. This saved me the step of having to chill the dough after rolling it out. The kids loved the end product- and so did I! These took a little more work than traditional sugar cookies but the result was so fun that I think it was worth it!!


  • 48
    Amber - October 18, 2011 @ 6:27 pm

    This might be a weird question, but how well do you suppose these would do being posted to another state? I’m talking South Carolina to Florida, and it would be overnight, if at all possible… just wondering. Because I’ve never thought about mailing cookies before. Can you even do that? Er… :)


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — October 19th, 2011 @ 5:30 PM

      Wrapped well and overnighted should be fine.

  • 49
    Elizabeth - December 06, 2011 @ 8:21 am

    I had these as a little girl in kindergarten and loved them so much my mom got the recipe from the teacher. These have been a family tradition in my home for the past . . . well many years (don’t want to give away my age ;) – not only are the colors fantastic but they taste delicious too!!


  • 50
    Courtney - January 06, 2012 @ 1:47 pm

    Wow! What a cute idea! I love themed baked goods :)


  • 51
    Danielle - January 17, 2012 @ 8:13 am

    I just made these for my daughter’s birthday. They are so cute and delicious! I had a problem though with the different colors sticking together though. I think I may have used too much flour when rolling the dough out and then the colors didn’t stick together. Has anyone had similar experiences? Otherwise, these are really adorable and fun to make.


  • 52
    Amanda - February 18, 2012 @ 4:54 pm

    These are awesome.
    I made them today for my daughters Gluten Free rainbow party by just substituting Flour for GF Flour and just adding a little more (which seems to be the way with GF flour) and they have worked perfectly! LOVE THEM – thank you so much for sharing this with us.
    Have to say they are a little sticky but just rolled them between baking paper which made layering really easy too!!! :) Very happy and thankful!


  • 53
    Jenny - March 01, 2012 @ 2:58 pm

    I’m planning the St. Patrick’s Day party for my daughter’s class. I can’t wait to make will be a hit with the kids! I found some cello candy bags from Box and Wrap that have shamrocks on the bags….so cute. It’s the extra special touches that make the party great. Thanks so much for the recipe.


  • 54
    Amber - March 09, 2012 @ 3:46 pm

    My dough came out very crumbly! I added a touch of milk and that helped a lot, but I don’t know why the dough was falling apart…


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — March 19th, 2012 @ 8:59 PM

      Each cup of flour can measure differently so it probably just needed a touch more moisture to account for a little extra flour.

  • 55
    Pili - March 16, 2012 @ 6:41 am

    These are oh so cute and so unique!!


  • 56
    Marisa - March 16, 2012 @ 2:03 pm

    I love the look of these! I would love to make them, but I’m scared of all the time involved in it and since I’m still new to the kitchen scene, I’ll just save this recipe for much later!! haha!!


  • 57
    Zoe - May 30, 2012 @ 1:05 pm

    I am actually making these right now. I am excited but I have a question about the eggs. It may be obvious but I just wanted to make sure. It says 2 whole eggs and then 2 whole egg yokes. So this is actually 4 eggs, right? Just two of them w/out the whites? Thanks in advance.


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — June 11th, 2012 @ 9:48 AM

      2 eggs plus an additional 2 egg yolks

  • 58
    Alex - July 20, 2012 @ 4:25 pm

    Thanks for sharing this recipe! I have a rainbow birthday party I am doing next month and this will come in very handy. They look amazing!


  • 59
    Emily Grause - August 02, 2012 @ 9:15 pm

    I made these for my daughter’s rainbow birthday party, mine didn’t turn out quite as pretty as yours, but they tasted great! Thanks for the recipe!!


  • 60
    Olivia - August 08, 2012 @ 9:56 am

    Made these for my girlfriend for Pride Month! Went over very well in our LGBT community!


  • 61
    Kristina - August 28, 2012 @ 1:48 am

    Love this recipe! Thinking of making these for our wedding sweet table can they be frozen? Any idea how long they will last?


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — August 30th, 2012 @ 9:41 AM

      I have not frozen the cookies before so I can’t comment on that. But I have frozen the dough once the colors are all together in the stack. I wrapped it in plastic wrap and stored in a freezer ziploc bag. However, I only froze the dough for a week at most. The cookies were completely fine, but if you’re freezing more long term I would test in advance.

  • 62
    Paulette - September 28, 2012 @ 1:13 pm

    Yum! These look fabulous! I think I might make these for my daughter’s fairy party and use a rainbow cookie cutter. Hmmmmm…wonder if I can squish a little cloud on the end…..


  • 63
    Bhani - January 27, 2013 @ 1:26 am

    March 17th is my birthday, will you make them for me? I adore them!


  • 64
    Kat - February 26, 2013 @ 1:59 pm

    These are gorgeous! I would love to make them, but I don’t have a stand mixer, I mix all of my stuff by hand. Will that make a difference at all?


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — February 27th, 2013 @ 7:52 AM

      The dough might be too difficult to mix by hand.

  • 65
    Neenersf - March 15, 2013 @ 11:31 am

    Thanks so much for this recipe and the ideas! I made them for my kids’ first grade classes and they were a hit-also made them for an adult dinner party as the favor and I don’t know who was more the excited-the 7 year olds or the adults!


  • 66
    Andrea - April 01, 2013 @ 2:21 pm

    What should I do if I’m allergic to almonds?


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — April 1st, 2013 @ 8:26 PM

      Just leave out the almond extract. You can add extra vanilla if you like or some lemon extract.

  • 67
    Paulette - May 07, 2013 @ 4:48 pm

    These look great! I want to make them tonight although I have a weird question. Another similar recipe says to boil the eggs and use the egg yolks already cooked. I have never seen that before but it leads me to wonder if this is what you did or did you just use the wet yolks?


  • 68
    Sami // Poor & Pretty - March 13, 2015 @ 12:24 pm

    Yum!!! These are so awesome! Thank you for sharing this! I included this recipe in my roundup of 17 St. Paddy’s Day Drinks & Desserts:


  • 69
    Christina - May 18, 2015 @ 12:57 am

    I made a variation of these that were egg free and had more almond extract (posted on my site: – they came out great! It was definitely sticky and required time and patience but they were a huge hit. Thanks for the recipe!


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