Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies are sweet, buttery, and citrusy with a crumbly texture and a pleasant burst of tartness from the dried cranberries. They are a slice-and-bake cookie, easy to make, and a recipe that you want to add to your list of Christmas cookies! For another buttery cookie, try my tried and true Shortbread Cookies, too! I saw these cookies on my friend Mom on Timeout’s blog and knew I wanted to try them!

Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies from overhead with oranges and cranberries.

Ingredients & Substitutions

Butter: One of the key ingredients in shortbread cookies is butter! You will need 2 sticks of unsalted butter for these cookies.

Confectioners’ Sugar: Using confectioners’ sugar in the cookie dough resulted in a crumbly, melt-in-your-mouth texture to the baked cookies.

Orange Zest: For the citrusy orange flavor, you will need 1 teaspoon of orange zest. You could substitute lemon zest if that is what you have on hand. It will still give you the citrusy flavor and complement the cranberries.

Cornstarch: Cornstarch kept the cookies together, but still soft. You could also use 1/2 cup rice flour in place of cornstarch.

Dried Cranberries: Dried cranberries provide a sweet-tart flavor that contrasts well with the buttery base of the cookies.

Rolls of Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookie Dough Before and After it is cut.

Can I Make The Cookies Without Chilling The Dough?

I do not recommend making cranberry orange shortbread cookies without chilling the dough. Chilling the dough is an important step because it solidifies the fat (in this case, the butter). This helps the cookies maintain their shape while baking, resulting in a better shape and texture. Plus, it’s a great way to get a head start on these cookies; you can store the dough in the refrigerator for up to 3 days before cutting and baking the cookies!

Close up of Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies with fresh cranberries and orange slices.

How To Store Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies

Store Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies in an airtight container at room temperature. They will last up to a week.

Stack of Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies with top cookie halved showing inside texture.

Can I Freeze Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies?

Yes, you can actually freeze the baked cookies or freeze the dough.

To Freeze The Dough: Wrap the log of dough into a few layers of plastic wrap. Store it in the freezer for up to 3 months. When ready to bake the cookies, let the dough thaw in the refrigerator a bit before cutting.

To Freeze Baked Cookies: If the cookies have been baked, first, let them cool completely. Then, store them in a freezer-safe container. They will last up to 3 months.

Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies from overhead with oranges and cranberries.
5 from 7 votes

Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Chilling Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 22 minutes
Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies are sweet, buttery, and citrusy with a crumbly texture and a pleasant burst of tartness from the dried cranberries. They are a slice-and-bake cookie, easy to make, and a recipe that you definitely want to add to your list of Christmas cookies!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks / 227 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup (62.5 g) confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 ¾ cups (219 g) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (64 g) cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup (65 g) dried cranberries, chopped

Instructions

  • To the bowl of a stand mixer, add butter and confectioners' sugar. Beat on medium speed until creamy.
  • Add vanilla and orange zest. Mix until incorporated.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, and salt.
  • With the mixer on low, add in flour mixture, one cup at a time.
  • Gently fold in cranberries.
  • Add dough to a lightly floured work surface and roll into a 6-inch log, about 3 inches in diameter. Wrap in plastic and seal the ends. Place the dough in the refrigerator to chill for 1 hour, or until firm.
  • When ready, preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place it onto a cutting board.
  • Slice into ¼-inch cookies and place cookies onto a lined baking sheet about 1 inch apart.
  • Bake 12-14 minutes, or until lightly browned.
  • Let the cookies rest for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool.

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What the Test Kitchen had to say about this recipe:

Autumn

The combination of cranberry and orange is so good in this melt-in-your-mouth cookie. Its an easy one to prepare and you can definitely make this one in advance!

Elizabeth

Both the orange and cranberry flavors really stood out in each bite of these soft cookies! They just kind of crumble in your mouth (which is a good thing)!

Rachael

These are really delicious tender shortbread cookies. The orange really comes through with the zest and the cranberry is a perfect match with the orange.

Bella

These cookies almost melt in your mouth! Cranberry and orange go well together. It has a sweet and tangy flavor.

Annabelle

These are so flavorful! I love the combination of orange and cranberry and these cookies are so soft!

Selena

These melt in your mouth! They have loads of flavor as well with all the cranberry and orange. Perfect for the holidays!

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Meet Amanda Rettke

Amanda Rettke is the creator of I Am Baker, and the bestselling author of Surprise Inside Cakes: Amazing Cakes for Every Occasion – With a Little Something Extra Inside.Over the course of her 15+ year blogging adventure, she has been featured in and collaborated with the Food Network, New York Times, LA Times, Country Living Magazine, People Magazine, Epicurious, Brides, Romantic Homes, life:beautiful, Publishers Weekly, The Daily Mail, Star Tribune, The Globe and Mail, DailyCandy, YumSugar, The Knot, The Kitchn, and Parade, to name a few.

Reader Comments

    1. If your cookies are going flat, there could be a few reasons for that:

      Butter Temperature: Softened butter is essential in this recipe. It should not be melted, that can cause the cookies to spread excessively during baking.

      Chilling Time: It’s important to chill the cookie dough for the specified time (1 hour or until firm). If the dough is not adequately chilled, the cookies may spread too much while baking.

      Slicing Thickness: The recipe mentions slicing the cookies into ¼-inch thickness. If they are sliced too thin, they may spread more than desired.

      Oven Temperature: Ensure that your oven is properly preheated to 350°F. An oven that is too hot can cause cookies to spread too quickly.

      Baking Sheet: Using parchment paper is a good choice for preventing sticking. Make sure it’s not greased wax paper as that can cause spreading and burning.

      It’s possible you may have encountered one of these issues.

  1. These are great! Like them so much I am making a 2nd batch with lemon zest and dried blueberries. Really good both ways!

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