Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies

5 from 1 vote

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Soft and buttery Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies in an easy sliced cookie recipe. A perfect cookie platter addition for Christmas and Thanksgiving with classic sweet and tart flavors.
Closer view of round Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies on a bed of fresh cranberries in a row.

Soft and buttery Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies are packed with dried cranberries and orange for a delicious and easy sliced cookie recipe.

Closer view of round Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies on a bed of fresh cranberries in a row.

Why You Will Love This Recipe

These Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies are made with a classic flavor combination that is sure to be a hit for your holiday baking!

Shortbread cookies are known for their crumbly, buttery texture. Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies are delightful treats that blend the buttery richness of shortbread with the tartness of cranberries and the citrusy brightness of orange.

While the combination of cranberry and orange has a festive feel and is often associated with the holidays, Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies can be enjoyed throughout the year.

Ingredients

You can find full quantities and recipe information in the full recipe card below.

All Purpose Flour

Unsalted Butter

Powdered Sugar – Powdered sugar is what will give us soft cookies!

Salt

Orange Zest – Citrus zest is key to infuse the cookies with a bright, citrusy aroma and flavor. without adding a lot of moisture

Orange Juice – Fresh is best! I just use the orange that I zested.

Dried Cranberries – The chewiness of dried cranberries adds a pleasant contrast to the crumbly texture of the shortbread.

Orange Glaze – Optional for decorating the cookies. This glaze adds sweetness and an extra layer of orange flavor.

Closer view of Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies scattered on a stone surface with fresh cranberries.

Instruction Overview

You can find full recipe information in the recipe card below.

First blend the dry ingredients together in a food processor to combine.

Then add the butter and orange juice and pulse until the dough just starts to come together.

Add the cranberries and pulse just to combine.

The dough should look a little dry but hold together when you squeeze it in your hand. If not, add a touch more water and pulse as needed.

Roll the dough into a log approximately 2 inches wide and wrap in plastic wrap or parchment paper. Chill at least 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 325F.

Slice the dough log into cookie slices approximately one half inch thick.

Place the cookies on a baking sheet at least one inch apart.

Bake approximately 20 minutes until just starting to turn light golden brown on the edges.

Let cool completely before decorating, if desired.

Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies on a bed of fresh cranberries in a rectangular tray on a stone surface.

Kim’s Tips

It is important not to add too much liquid to the dough. You want just enough to hold it together.

Modifications and Substitutions

These cookies are soft. Want a crisp shortbread? Swap out the powdered sugar for the same amount of granulated sugar.

FAQs

What is the secret to making good shortbread cookies?

You want to make sure that your butter is cold, only mix until the dough is just combined, and make sure to chill the dough.

What are common mistakes when making shortbread?

Common mistakes when making shortbread includes overmixing the dough, the dough being to dry from too much flour or not enough liquid, and not chilling the dough.

What makes shortbread taste like shortbread?

Shortbread gets its flavor from a large amount of butter.

Should you refrigerate shortbread dough before baking?

Yes. This helps solidify the butter so that it does not melt and spread too much during baking.

Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies scattered on a stone surface with fresh cranberries.
Pin of Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies with title.

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Closer view of round Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies on a bed of fresh cranberries in a row.

Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies

Soft and buttery Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies in an easy sliced cookie recipe. A perfect cookie platter addition for Christmas and Thanksgiving with classic sweet and tart flavors.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate Save Recipe
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Vegetarian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Chilling Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 18 pieces
Calories: 170kcal

Equipment

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 325°F with the rack in the middle position.
  • In a food processor, add the flour, sugar, salt, and orange zest. Pulse together a few times to mix.
    2 cups all-purpose flour, ⅔ cup powdered sugar, ¾ teaspoon salt, 1 Tablespoon orange zest
  • Add the butter chunks around the flour along with the orange juice. Pulse again until the dough starts to come together. Do not over process. It should still look crumbly. The dough should stick together when squeezed. If too dry, add a little more water or lemon juice and briefly incorporate.
    1 cup unsalted butter, 1 ½ Tablespoons orange juice
  • Add the dried cranberries and pulse just to combine.
    If you want the cranberries chopped up into smaller pieces, add them when you add the butter instead.
    ½ cup dried cranberries
  • Dump the dough onto a large sheet of parchment paper or plastic wrap. Start pressing it together into a log shape, and roll up the paper around it to help make it into a log approximately 2 inches wide. Twist the ends and place in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.
  • Remove the dough log from the paper and using a serrated knife, slice the dough into ½ inch (or thinner) pieces.
  • Place the cookies on a silicone mat or parchment lined baking sheet at least one inch apart. Bake approximately 20 minutes, until the bottom edges that touch the baking sheet are just starting to turn a golden brown.
  • Remove the cookies from the oven. Place the cookies on a wire rack to cool.
  • If desired, dunk or drizzle with the orange glaze when the cookies are cool. Sprinkle with more zest on top of the wet glaze to set. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

Notes

You can also make this by hand by pinching the butter into the flour mixture, or using a pastry cutter or fork. If it gets too warm from your hands, chill for a few minutes before continuing.
If you want to make these in a square pan and cut them into triangles or rectangles, follow instructions for Lemon Lavender Shortbread Cookies after making the dough.
Swap out powdered sugar for the same amount of granulated sugar if you want crunchy cookies.
The orange is more subtle in this recipe. For a stronger orange flavor, be sure to use the glaze and/or increase the orange zest in the cookies to 2 Tablespoons.
Shortbread freezes well! The baked cookies or the dough can be frozen up to 3 months.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 170kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 27mg | Sodium: 99mg | Potassium: 23mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 319IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 1mg
By on December 8th, 2023

About Kim

Kim has grown up with a passion for cooking good food! You can find her in the kitchen experimenting with new recipes, making dog treats, and eating Italian food!

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