These easy Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies boast a perfect balance of tangy cranberries and zesty orange, with a tender, buttery texture, making them an irresistible treat for the holidays or any occasion.
Easy Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies
These cranberry orange shortbread cookies are soft and sweet, but not overly so. They have a buttery taste and texture like a traditional shortbread cookie, but taken a step further by adding some tangy and zesty flavor as well, for a perfectly balanced treat.
The red cranberries, orange zest, and white icing are the most beautiful combination of colors, making these cranberry orange cookies fantastic for any holiday dessert tray.
Why You’ll Love These Cranberry Orange Cookies
- Only 6 ingredients. Yup, really – these orange shortbread cookies require just 6 ingredients to prepare. Besides the cranberries and orange, most of the ingredients are pantry staples too.
- Short chill time. The shortbread dough does need to chill but only for 30 minutes.
- Perfect for the holidays. With cranberries throughout the cookie adding a pop of red and the incredible cranberry-orange flavor, these shortbread cookies are perfect for the holidays.
These orange cranberry shortbread cookies are made with just a handful of ingredients.
(Scroll below to the printable recipe card for details and measurements.)
- Sugar – For sweetness to balance out the tangy cranberries.
- Orange zest – The zest adds a vibrant citrus flavor to the cookies. Make sure when zesting the orange, only grate the outer orange part of the peel and avoid the bitter white pith beneath.
- All-purpose flour – Spooned and leveled when measuring, not scooped, to avoid excess flour which can result in a dry, crumbly cookie.
- Dried cranberries – Chopped into small pieces.
- Salted butter – Unsalted butter can be substituted with an added 1/4 teaspoon of salt if desired.
- Orange juice – I recommend fresh orange juice as 1 large orange will provide enough zest and juice for this recipe. The cookies may be sweeter if you use orange juice from concentrate.
- White chocolate chips – You can substitute dark, milk, or semi-sweet chocolate chips.
How to Make Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies
These orange cranberry cookies are pretty simple to make in just a few steps and short chill time.
(Scroll below to the printable recipe card for details and measurements.)
- Make the batter. Beat the sugar and orange zest for 1-2 minutes until the sugar is fragrant. Whisk in the flour and dried cranberries. Grate the frozen butter into the bowl. Blend with a dough hook or hand mixer. Add a tablespoon of orange juice at a time, stirring until a firm dough forms.
- Cut out the cookies. Transfer the dough to a well-floured surface. Cover with a second piece of parchment paper and roll to 1/2 inch thickness. Use a cookie cutter to cut the cookies, placing them on a baking sheet with 1-inch between them.
- Chill. Chill the unbaked cookies for 30 minutes.
- Bake. Bake each tray at 325F for 14 to 18 minutes, until the edges are just golden brown. Cool on the baking sheet for 5 to 7 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Add the chocolate drizzle. Once the cookies have cooled, melt the chocolate chips in 20-second intervals in the microwave. Drizzle over the top of the cookies. Allow to set completely before serving.
Tips for the Best Shortbread Cookies
Cranberry orange shortbread cookies are easy to make, and these helpful tips and tricks will ensure they turn out perfectly every time.
- Use cold/frozen butter. Freezing the butter before grating it into the dough helps create a flakier texture and ensures the butter incorporates evenly. It also helps prevent the cookies from spreading and turning into flat, crispy cookies.
- Chill the dough. After mixing the dough, it’s important to chill it in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. Chilled dough is easier to work with and helps the cookies hold their shape while baking. Chilling dough is especially helpful in warm climates or in summer when the butter melts quickly.
- Roll the dough evenly. When rolling out the dough, try to maintain a consistent thickness throughout. This ensures the cookies bake evenly and have a uniform texture.
- Keep spacing between cookies. Leave enough space between the cookies on the baking, which prevents them from sticking together and promotes even browning.
- Don’t overbake. Keep a close eye on the cookies while baking to prevent them from becoming overly browned or crisp. The edges should be just golden brown, and the centers slightly soft for a tender cookie. If you’d like a crispier cookie, you can bake them longer; however, I recommend rolling the dough out thinner, or the cookies will be difficult to eat.
- Customize with drizzled chocolate. The white chocolate drizzle adds a delightful touch to the cookies, but feel free to experiment with different chocolate types like dark or milk chocolate.
- Countertop or pantry. To store, line the bottom of an airtight container with parchment or wax paper. Store the cookies in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight on the countertop or in the pantry. (Note: It’s best to avoid storing the cookies in the refrigerator as it can affect their texture and make them stale faster.) When stored properly, these cookies can typically stay fresh for a full week.
- Freezer. To freeze, place them in a freezer-safe container or freezer bag. If stacking the cookies, place a layer of parchment or wax paper between each cookie to prevent sticking. The cookies can be frozen for up to 2 to 3 months. When ready to enjoy, thaw the cookies at room temperature.
More Festive Cookie Recipes:
- Reindeer Ritz Cracker Cookies
- Christmas Italian Cookies
- Hot Cocoa Cookies
- Cut Out Sugar Cookies
Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 2 & 1/3 cups all-purpose flour , spoon and leveled
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries , chopped
- 3/4 cup regular salted butter , frozen (1 & 1/2 sticks)
- 5-6 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- 1/4 cup white chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a large mixing bowl with a hand or stand mixer on low, beat the sugar and orange zest together for 1-2 minutes until the sugar is fragrant.
- Add in the all-purpose flour and chopped dried cranberries and whisk until well combined.
- Using a cheese grater, grate the frozen butter into the bowl and blend everything using a dough hook or hand mixer.
- Add orange juice 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring the dough with a dough hook until a firm dough forms.
- Turn the dough onto a sheet of parchment, wax paper, or a well-floured surface.
- Cover the dough with a second piece of parchment paper for best results or flour your rolling pin well and then roll the dough out to 1/2-inch thick. (1/2-inch dough provides a soft, tender cookie. For a crispy cookie, roll the dough to 1/4-inch thickness instead.)
- Using a 2 & 1/2-inch round cookie cutter, cut out cookies and place them on the prepared baking sheets at least 1- inch away from the edge and each other.
- Chill for 30 minutes.
- Bake each tray individually for 14-18 minutes or until the edges are just golden brown. (I recommend keeping the second tray refrigerated until the first pan finishes baking.)
- Cool for 5-7 minutes before moving to a cooling rack, and cool completely.
- Once the cookies have cooled, melt the white chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl in 20 second intervals, stirring well, until melted and smooth. Then use a fork or spoon to drizzle the melted white chocolate over the top of the cookies.
- Allow the chocolate to set before serving and enjoy!