Panettone Fruitcake Shortbread

5 from 1 vote

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These Panettone Fruitcake Shortbread cookies are a colorful cookie recipe perfect for Christmas! Soft and buttery with dried fruit, nuts, and citrus. A classic Italian holiday flavor. Egg free.
A pile of Panettone Fruitcake Shortbread cookies on a counter.

These Panettone Fruitcake Shortbread are soft and buttery cookies featuring the popular flavors of candied fruits, citrus, and almonds.

A pile of Panettone Fruitcake Shortbread cookies on a counter.

Why You Will Love This Recipe

These shortbread cookies are a slice and bake icebox cookie recipe.

Studded with candied fruits, orange, and nuts to bring a lot of flavor and color, these are inspired Italian cookies perfect for a holiday and Christmas.

These are a great way to bring color to a cookie platter with popular flavors!

What is Panettone?

Panettone is a traditional Italian sweet bread originating from Milan. It is typically enjoyed during the Christmas season but is available year-round in many places. The dough is enriched with ingredients like eggs, butter, and dried or candied fruits.

Panettone has a light, airy texture and a tall, cylindrical shape. It often contains raisins, candied orange, and lemon peel. The top is usually adorned with powdered sugar or a sweet glaze.

Filled with candied fruits, it is almost like the Italian version of the fruitcake but much, much better!

The bread has a buttery flavor and when paired with the flaky and airy texture, you will see why they love it so much!

These cookies use those same flavors as inspiration.


All Purpose Flour


Powdered Sugar – this will make the cookies soft. If you want crisp, hard cookies, use granulated sugar instead.

Orange Zest – optional but bring a great light, bright flavor

Almonds – you can omit if you prefer

Candied Fruit Mix – sometimes called fruitcake mix, made of dried cherries, pineapple, and citrus



White Chocolate – optional, for decorating

The ingredients sitting on a counter.

Instruction Overview

Full recipe instructions and details can be found in the recipe card below.

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

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

Add the dried fruit mix and additional almonds 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.

The dough shaped into a log.

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.

The Panettone Fruitcake Shortbread cookies on a baking sheet.

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.


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.

A pile of Panettone Fruitcake Shortbread cookies on a counter.
Pin of Panettone Fruitcake Shortbread cookies with title at top.

More Shortbread Cookie Recipes

Shortbread Cookies

A collection of delicious shortbread cookies!

A pile of Panettone Fruitcake Shortbread cookies on a counter.

Panettone Fruitcake Shortbread Cookies

These Panettone Fruitcake Shortbread cookies are a colorful cookie recipe perfect for Christmas! Soft and buttery with dried fruit, nuts, and citrus. A classic Italian holiday flavor. Egg free.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate Save Recipe
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: Christmas, Holiday, Vegetarian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Chilling Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 18 pieces
Calories: 220kcal



  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (250 grams)
  • cup powdered sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon orange zest
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks, 226 grams) cold, cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons water more as needed
  • ½ cup candied fruit
  • cup almonds
  • 2 Tablespoons almonds if you want some chunks in the cookies as well
  • ½ cup white chocolate optional, for decorating, or bright white candy melts


  • Preheat oven to 325°F with the rack in the middle position.
  • In a food processor, add the flour, sugar, salt, orange zest, cinnamon, and almonds. Pulse together a few times to mix.
    2 cups all-purpose flour, ⅔ cup powdered sugar, ¾ teaspoon salt, 1 Tablespoon orange zest, ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon, ⅓ cup almonds
  • 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 water
  • Add the dried fruit and additional almonds (if you want chunk pieces of almonds in the cookies) and pulse just to combine.
    ½ cup candied fruit, 2 Tablespoons almonds
  • 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 and 12 inches long. 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 white chocolate when the cookies are cool. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
    ½ cup white chocolate


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.


Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 220kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 28mg | Sodium: 106mg | Potassium: 57mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 323IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 1mg
By on December 23rd, 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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