Put the happy in your holidays with this cranberry orange shortbread cookies recipe! A fully-rounded tray of Christmas cookies always has fruit cookies — and let’s face it, the flavor combination of cranberry and orange instantly makes the season merrier! Add in the fact that these are shortbread cookies, which means hello buttery, crumbly heaven, and your guests will be begging you for this cranberry orange shortbread cookies recipe!
Move over gingerbread — there’s a new favorite type of cookies this holiday season! Let’s get baking up some happiness.
What I Love About Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies Recipe
I’ve yet to meet a shortbread cookie I don’t love! This cranberry orange shortbread cookies recipe hits all the right notes!
- Tart, sweet taste balance
- Crumbly and buttery
- Make-ahead friendly
- Homemade slice-and-bake magic!
Cranberry Cookies Recipe Notes
A lot of people shy away from cranberry cookies, thinking they’ll be too tart or puckery. Not these! Trust me, if you haven’t fallen in love with the citrus + berry combination yet, this cranberry orange shortbread cookies recipe will make you a believer.
Cranberry Orange Cookies Ingredient Notes
Cranberries: If you’re not the biggest cranberry fan, I always tell people that cranberry orange cookies are the best place to start. Orange really mellows out the famous tart bite of cranberries. But if you still aren’t convinced, you can easily swap the cranberries for dried cherries and still keep the brighter berry note!
Orange Zest: Orange zest is not the same thing as orange peel! Orange zest is much more finely grated and only includes the very top layer of orange skin. A peel is just as it sounds — the deeper rind of the orange. This recipe calls just for orange zest, so don’t go too deep!
Butter: The crowning ingredient of any shortbread cookie is butter. Be sure to use unsalted, room temperature butter — there’s a reason, I promise! Unsalted butter is pure cream, so no additives like salt or water, while room temperature butter allows for even distribution throughout the dough.
You’ve made enough cookies to last until the winter ends — how do you store them to make sure every delicious bite stays delicious? Read on!
Can You Freeze This?
Yes, yes! This cranberry orange shortbread cookies recipe is absolutely divine right out of the freezer. For long-term storage, you can get up to 6-12 months out of these treats! Just be sure to seal them nice and tight, either in baggies or an airtight container.
Orange Cookies Make Ahead Tips
These orange cookies are a make-ahead master’s best friend! Simply prep the recipe through the dough, wrap in plastic wrap, and store in the fridge for up to two days or in the freezer for up to three months. Then, when you’re ready, thaw and finish up the recipe!
This cranberry orange cookies recipe lets you have those handy slice-and-bake cookies at your fingertips, only homemade, so instantly yummier!
How Long Can You Keep This?
The best part of this cranberry orange shortbread cookies recipe? You don’t have to store your leftovers in the fridge! You certainly can though — they’ll last a few weeks properly stored there. But! All you really need to do is pop these cookies in a baggie and toss them in your pantry.
They’ll last at room temperature for up to three weeks!
Shortbread dough is deliciously versatile, and the cranberry and orange flavors are very welcoming to other combinations. Let’s experiment!
Can I Add Chocolate Chips?
Chocolate chip shortbread cookies are decadent, cocoa-filled morsels of pure yum! And if you still want the fruit pairing, try my strawberry chocolate chip cookies. Yes, strawberry! Let’s bring some spring to these winter months.
But if you want to really embrace the cold, go for my double chocolate snowballs. I mean, double chocolate. You can’t go wrong!
Can I Add White Chocolate Chips Instead?
Oh, yes! Turning this into either white chocolate cranberry cookies or orange creamsicle cookies creates instant crowd-pleasers. For a different pop of flavor, try lemon white chocolate chip cookies for delicate citrus and luxurious white chocolate!
Can I Add Some Oats?
Winter cookies should be hearty, and what’s heartier than cranberry orange oatmeal cookies? If you want a yummy treat that can double as a breakfast bite, try banana oatmeal cookies or pumpkin oatmeal cookie. But definitely put oatmeal cranberry cookies on your to-make list — so festive!
Can I Turn These Into Italian Christmas Cookies?
Want some Italian flair to your holiday? Pignoli cookies are the Italian version of the coconut macaroon — so you know they’re good! Italian fig cookies bring in all kinds of dried fruit goodness. And Italian Christmas cookies are a tender, sweet classic!
What Other Shortbread Cookies Can I Make?
The list is endless! Scottish shortbread is one of the original shortbread recipes, so bring some tried and true treats to your table. If you’re feeling adventurous, lavender shortbread cookies are absolutely wonderful! Floral and delicate. Or, if you want to bring shortbread to your other desserts, this shortbread crust recipe will spruce up anything!
Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 tablespoons orange zest
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1 tablespoon corn syrup
- 1 tablespoon orange juice
- 2-4 tablespoon whole milk
- 1/4 teaspoon ground mace
- In the bowl of a standup mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter, sugar, vanilla extract, almond extract, and orange zest on medium speed until light and creamy, about 3 minutes.
- With the mixer set on low, mix in flour, baking powder, and salt just until combined, and the mixture looks like coarse salt. Mix in cranberries until evenly distributed
- Remove dough to a work surface. Divide dough in half and roll each half into a 1 1/2 inch log. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment.
- Cut logs into 1/2 inch slices and place on prepared baking sheets 1 inch apart.
- Bake in preheated oven for 12-14 minutes or until cookie edges just begin to get golden. Rotate sheets front to back and switching shelves halfway through baking. Remove from baking sheets and place them on a wire rack to cool completely.
- In a mixing bowl, stir together confectioners' sugar, corn syrup, orange juice 1 tablespoon of milk, and mace until smooth. Add more milk as needed, a little at a time, to thin icing to a drizzling consistency.
- Drizzle each cookie with icing. Allow icing to set. Store cookies in an airtight container.
Fans Also Made:
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More Shortbread Recipes…
In love with shortbread as much as I am? It’s a good thing there are enough recipes to appease us!
- Biscochitos – The Spanish shortbread!
- Millionaire Shortbread – Packed with goodies.
- Whipped Shortbread Cookies – Fluffy and light perfection!
- Almond Shortbread Cookies – Yummy goodies
- Pecan Shortbread Cookies – Pecan + shortbread FOREVER!
This cranberry orange shortbread cookies recipe is Christmas at its finest. Tart cranberry brightens up the cold days while orange mellows the flavor and whisks you away to citrus paradise. Plus, it all comes in a buttery shortbread package. YUM!
Do you like cranberry or orange better? Let me know in the comments!
Diane Robinson says
these cookies are awesome… I did my own orange glaze though… Question : why do you have the recipe reading 2 cups flour divided? no where in the mixing instructions does it say to add flour now and then the rest later?
Thank you so much for reaching out Diane. The “divided” was a typo! I’ve removed it from the recipe. So sorry for the confusion. I’m so happy to hear you loved the cookies. <3
Diane Robinson says
I am somewhat confused on this recipe? In the recipe it says 2 cups flour divided??? yet no where does it say why ? doesnt mention splitting it when it comes to the actual preparation? And are you saying while the cookies are baking I am to open the oven and turn the cookie sheet around and also move it to a different shelf? is this only because I think you are suggesting to put 2 cookie baking sheets in the oven at once? so sorry …this is a little confusing and not explicit enough
Hi Diane, I suggest rotating the sheets to get an even bake on them. Yes, halfway through the baking time, open the oven and rotate the sheets.