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Super Easy Mardi Gras Cookies

Now you can make Super Easy Mardi Gras Cookies at home. Bring the festive New Orleans celebration to your kitchen with the flavors of traditional king cake in a cookie. The best part is that they start with a cake mix and come together quickly.

Mardi Gras cookies made with a cake mix and stuffed with cinnamon.
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There are a few things that make these festive Mardi Gras cookies amazing. First of all, the flavor! It is based on the taste of a King Cake which is the traditional cake of Mardi Gras.

Although king cakes can be any flavor, the traditional taste is similar to a cinnamon roll, like this Cinnamon Roll Cookie. The cake is also covered in yellow/gold, green and purple sprinkles, just like these King Cake cookies.

The cookie starts with a vanilla base and is then stuffed with a cinnamon roll filling. This combination gives you all of the flavor you expect with a super fun cinnamon surprise inside. If you love surprises try this Black Bottom Bundt Cake!

A quick glaze and colored sprinkles finish this Mardi Gras Cookie perfectly. In fact, you will feel like you are eating it in a bakery on Bourbon Street in New Orleans.

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What goes into this recipe

Photo of the ingredients needed for the Mardi Gras cookies.

Sugar Cookies and Filling

  • Vanilla Cake Mix: To get a delicious and good cookie base, vanilla cake mix is always a fabulous way to start.
  • Butter: Added in both the filling and the frosting. The butter binds the cinnamon roll filling ingredients together.
  • Brown Sugar: You can use a light or dark brown sugar for the filling of this cookie. Just remember that the dark brown sugar will make the filling a deeper color with a bit of a richer flavor profile.
Photo of the ingredients needed for the Mardi Gras frosting and toppings.

Icing

  • Powdered Sugar: To get a super smooth consistency sift the powdered sugar before adding it to the recipe..
  • Milk: I suggest 2 percent or whole milk to give the icing a great flavor. Heavy cream can also be used in place of the milk.
  • Sanding Sugar: To get the traditional Mardi Gras colors on the cookie it is important to have a yellow/gold, green and purple sanding sugar.

See recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

Variations

  • Make a cream cheese frosting for the cookies before adding the colored sugar.
  • Melted white chocolate would also be delicious!
  • A touch of almond extract to glaze would add an extra layer of flavor that perfectly compliments the cinnamon.

How to make Mardi Gras Cookies with a Cake Mix

  1. Combine melted butter, brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Divide the cinnamon filling into 22 pieces and roll each piece in a ball.  Place them on a parchment lined baking sheet and freeze for 15 minutes.
  2. While the filling is freezing, combine the vanilla cake mix, eggs and vegetable oil in a large bowl.  Use a hand held mixer to mix the ingredients until you have a thick dough. Use a medium cookie scoop to scoop mounds of dough into your hand {if the dough is too sticky use a little flour to flour your hand}.  Roll it into a ball and place on a silicone mat {or parchment paper} lined baking sheet. Use your thumb to press an indentation into the center.
Photos of steps 1 & 2 for making Mardi Gras Cookies.
  1. Take one of the frozen cinnamon balls and place it into the indentation.
  2. Use your fingers to work the dough around the cinnamon ball and roll the cookie dough in a large ball.
Photos of steps 3 & 4 of making Mardi Gras King Cake Cookies.
  1. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes or until set and baked through.  Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet. This is a good trick for not over baking cookies like we do in this Thick Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe.
  2. Once the cookies are cooled combine the melted butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract and enough milk to create a spreadable glaze frosting. To finish the cookies, spread about a teaspoon of frosting on top of each cookie.  Top with  green, gold and purple sanding sugar while the frosting is still wet.  Allow the cookies to set up for a while before stacking.
Photos of steps 5 & 6 of making Mardi Gras Cookies with a cake mix.

Expert Tips

  • Freeze the filling before adding it to the middle of the cookies.  This will make wrapping the dough around it so much easier. I use the same technique for this Chocolate Cheesecake Cookie recipe.
  • Lightly flour your hands before working with the dough if the cookie dough is too sticky.  It doesn’t take a lot of flour but it can make a big difference when it comes to forming the cookie dough into a ball.
  • Don’t over bake the cookies.  Bake the cookies until they are set but not too brown.  If you over bake the cookies then the inside cinnamon section will be hard once they have cooled.
  • Be sure that the Mardi Gras Cookies are completely cooled before adding the frosting. If you add the frosting too early it will melt.
  • If you can’t find the right color sanding sugar skip it or make your own. Katie over at Scrambled Chefs has a wonderful post and photos on exactly how to do this.

Storage and Freezing

Store: The best way to store these cookies is in an airtight container at room temperature with a piece of parchment or wax paper between layers. This will ensure that the cookies do not stick together.

Freeze: Yes, these cookies freeze well for up to three months as long as they are packaged well and airtight.

Recipe FAQs

Can I make this Mardi Gras cookie recipe in advance?

Yes, you can make these a day or two in advance.  They keep well at room temperature for up to 4 days.

What if I can’t find the right color of sanding sugar?

Sometimes it can be hard to find the exact color of sanding sugar that you want or need.  Most grocery stores have a good variety but if you find yourself needing a color they don’t have you can make your own.

Granulated sugar, gel food coloring and quick bake in the oven is all you need to accomplish it.  Katie over at Scrambled Chefs has a wonderful post and photos on exactly how to do this.

Looking down on a large tray of Mardi Gras Cookies.

Do you love fun cake mix cookies?  Try these awesome recipes…

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Mardi Gras cookies made with a cake mix and stuffed with cinnamon.

Easy Mardi Gras Cookies made with a Cake Mix

Turn a cake mix into festive and fun Mardi Gras Cookies that have all of the flavors of a King Cake with only a few easy steps.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 2 minutes
Servings: 22 cookies
Calories: 218kcal
4.89 from 26 votes
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Ingredients

Cinnamon Filling

  • ¼ cup butter {melted}
  • ¾ cup brown sugar {packed}
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon

Vanilla Cookies

  • 1 box vanilla cake mix {15.25 ounce}
  • 2 eggs
  • cup vegetable oil

Glaze Frosting

  • 2 tablespoons butter {melted}
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk {or heavy cream}
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

Topping

  • 3 tablespoons green sanding sugar
  • 3 tablespoons purple sanding sugar
  • 3 tablespoons yellow sanding sugar

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°.

Cinnamon Filling

  • Combine the melted butter, brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Divide the mixture into 22 mounds and roll in your hands to make them round. Place on a baking sheet that is covered with parchment and freeze for 15 minutes.

Vanilla Cookies

  • In a large bowl combine the vanilla cake mix, eggs and vegetable oil. Use a hand held mixer {or by hand} and mix until you have a thick dough. Use a medium cookie scoop to scoop mounds of dough into your hand {if the dough is too sticky use a little flour in your hand}. Roll the mound into a ball and place onto a silicone mat {or parchment} lined baking sheet. Use your thumb to make an indentation. Take one of the frozen cinnamon filling balls and place inside the indentation. Use your fingers to press the dough around the cinnamon filling and roll into a ball. Place back onto the baking sheet.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the cookies are set. Remove from the oven and allow the cookies to cool completely on the baking sheet.

Glaze Frosting

  • Once the cookies are cool, combine the melted butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract and enough milk {or heavy cream} to make a spreadable frosting. Spread about 1 teaspoon of frosting on top of each cookie and then top with sanding sugar as desired.

Notes

  • Freeze the filling before adding it to the middle of the cookies.  This will make wrapping the dough around it so much easier.
  • Lightly flour your hands before working with the dough if the cookie dough is too sticky.  It doesn’t take a lot of flour but it can make a big difference when it comes to forming the cookie dough into a ball.
  • Don’t over bake the cookies.  Bake the cookies until they are set but not too brown.  If you over bake the cookies then the inside cinnamon section will be hard once they have cooled.
  • Be sure that the cookies are completely cooled before adding the frosting. If you add the frosting too early it will melt.
  • If you can’t find the right color sanding sugar skip it or make your own. Katie over at Scrambled Chefs has a wonderful post and photos on exactly how to do this.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 218kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 23mg | Sodium: 199mg | Potassium: 34mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 121IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 64mg | Iron: 1mg
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