These Orange Cranberry Shortbread Cookies are buttery, sweet, full of winter flavors, and have a perfect crisp-but-tender texture. Made with real orange zest and dried cranberries, this recipe makes for the best Christmas shortbread cookies (or any time of the year)!
Orange Cranberry Shortbread Cookies
These cookies are crumbly (in the best way ever), melt-in-your-mouth perfection. You’ll only need 6 simple ingredients for this recipe!
Orange Zest – The zest of 2 oranges brings out the orange flavor in these cookies. This zester makes it quick and easy to zest oranges!
Dried Cranberries – Chopped dried cranberries really bring this recipe to life and add a holiday feel (as well as delicious texture)!
Sugar – These shortbread cookies only need a few tablespoons of regular sugar.
Butter – Feel free to use salted or unsalted butter in these cookies, depending on your taste!
Powdered Sugar – Powdered sugar helps to give these cookies that crumbly, melt-in-your-mouth texture. So good!
Flour – This recipe calls for all-purpose flour.
This icing recipe is optional, since the cookies are actually deliciously sweet and amazing on their own. However, it really brings out the cranberry orange flavors, can make them even more beautiful, and finishes them perfectly! Here’s what you’ll need:
Orange Juice & Zest – The zest and juice of one regular orange is the best amount for the icing. The juice should come out to about 1/2 cup. If you need more, feel free to add juice from one of the oranges that was zested for the cookie dough!
Light Corn Syrup – A small amount of light corn syrup thickens and sweetens the icing to perfection.
Powdered Sugar – The base of the icing is powdered sugar. If the icing seems too thin, feel free to add a little more powdered sugar as desired. However, it’s important to remember that the icing will be thinner at first and will then set as it dries on the cookies!
Dried Cranberries – Add more chopped dried cranberries to the icing if desired!
How to Make Orange Cranberry Shortbread Cookies
Here’s the quick rundown for how to make holiday shortbread cookies in 7 simple steps:
- Zest the oranges.
- Chop the dried cranberries and combine with sugar in a food processor.
- Mix together the cookie dough ingredients.
- Flatten on a baking sheet.
- Chill in the refrigerator.
- Cut into slices and top with sugar or make the icing!
Orange Cranberry Pecan Shortbread Cookies
Take things to the next level by adding chopped pecans to the cookie dough, sprinkled over the icing, or both!
Cranberry & White Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies
Another variation? Add a white chocolate chip drizzle over the shortbread cookies. Simply melt white chocolate chips, then drizzle and let set with chopped dried cranberries on top. So yummy!
Substitutes for Orange Zest
Don’t have time to zest oranges? No worries. You can use these substitutes instead:
- Equal amount of lemon zest.
- Roughly 2-3 teaspoons of orange extract per zested orange.
Using Cookie Cutters for Shortbread Cookies
Yes, it is possible to use cookie cutters for shortbread cookies! Simply roll out the dough over a floured surface until it’s about 1/4 inch thick. Cut out cookie shapes and carefully lift them to place on a baking sheet. Roll out the leftover dough again and repeat!
TIP: Whether you’re using cookie cutters or not, be sure to cover the flattened dough with a sheet of parchment paper and lightly roll with a rolling pin to create a flat texture on top instead of a lumpy one!
How to Store Shortbread Cookies
Allow these Orange Cranberry Shortbread Cookies to fully cool before storing! Then place them in an airtight container and store at room temperature for 2-3 days.
Another option is to freeze these cookies before icing them! To freeze, place the cooled cookies in an airtight container and add the lid. Freeze for up to 3 months! To thaw, simply remove them from the freezer a couple of hours before you need them. Then add the icing (optional) and enjoy!
More Recipes You’ll Love
- Homemade Eggnog Latte
- Butterscotch Pecan Pie
- Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake
- Apple Fritter Cake
- Homemade Strawberry Pop Tarts
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Orange Cranberry Shortbread Cookies
Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies
- 2 medium navel oranges, zested
- 3 Tablespoons sugar divided
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup butter
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 medium navel orange, zested and juiced about 1/2 cup juice
- 1/2 Tablespoon light corn syrup
- 1/2 Tablespoon chopped dried cranberries
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Prepping The Dough
- Zest 2 medium oranges.
- Combine the orange zest and 1 Tablespoon of sugar in a bowl, then set aside.
- Add the dried cranberries with 2 Tablespoons of sugar to a food processor.
- Pulse to chop into small pieces, but not completely ground. Set aside.
- Cream the butter in a large bowl, then add in the set aside orange zest and dried cranberries mixtures.
- Gradually add in the powdered sugar, beating until well blended.
- Slowly add in the flour until combined.
- Press the cookie dough into a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. You may not fill the entire pan, so press the dough into one end to square it up and press out until all the batter is about 1/4” thick.
- Optional: Add a layer of parchment paper on top of the cookie dough and roll a rolling pin over it to smooth out the dough.
- Prick the dough all over with a fork.
- Chill for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
Baking The Cookies
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Bake the dough for 5 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to 300 degrees F and continue to bake for another 20 minutes (or until golden on the edges).
- Let cool for about 5 minutes, then slice into squares while warm.
- If you will not be using the icing, sprinkle the cookies with sugar while warm.
Making The Icing
- In a small bowl, mix the orange juice, zest, and corn syrup together.
- Slowly add in the powdered sugar, mixing until smooth.
- Mix in the dried cranberries.
- Drizzle over the cooled cookies, using as much or as little as you’d like.
- Let the icing set for about 10 minutes.