These Fresh Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies are so quick and easy to make with simple ingredients.
Whip up a batch of delicious buttery shortbread cookies with cranberries for the holiday season! Such a pretty cookie on a holiday cookie platter and they’re perfect for gift-giving like my Cranberry Pistachio Shortbread.
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The pop of tangy cranberries and fresh orange zest is a heavenly combination that pairs so well with this buttery shortbread cookie.
What do cranberries taste like?
Cranberries are tart, sour and typically require a sweetener with them to help mellow out the tartness to be enjoyed fully.
One of our favorite holiday flavours, cranberry and orange always make an appearance, this time in a Christmas shortbread. A batch of fresh shortbread cookies always gets us into the Christmas spirit!
If cranberry and orange flavors is one of your favorites too, you will not want to miss Cranberry Orange Loaf Cake and these Starbucks Cranberry Orange Scones.
They’re a Starbucks copycat recipe and we think they’re even better than Starbucks!
Why you’ll love this shortbread cookie
- Quick and easy shortbread to make with simple ingredients
- Cranberries and orange zest are Christmas flavors that pair so well with shortbread cookies
- Perfect for cookie exchanges and food gift giving
- Pretty cookie on any dessert holiday cookie tray
- Easy make ahead option to help during busy holiday season
Ingredients for orange cranberry shortbread cookies
This recipe calls for simple ingredients, some of which you likely already have in your pantry!
- Butter – use butter, softened at room temperature. Take it out of the refrigerator 30 to 60 minutes before you start the recipe.
- Powdered sugar
- Vanilla extract, pure vanilla extract for flavor
- Almond extract
- All purpose flour
- Fresh orange zest
- Cranberries – fresh tart cranberries
- Granulated sugar – for rolling the cookies into before baking.
Substitutions for cranberry orange cookies
You can substitute dried cranberries in this orange shortbread cookies recipe for cookies with fresh cranberries.
Dried cherries can also be used as a substitute for fresh cranberries in this orange shortbread cookie.
You can also use artificial vanilla extract in this shortbread orange cookies recipe.
Step by step instructions for easy cranberry orange shortbread cookies
The cookie dough will chill for 30 minutes before baking, so you will not need to preheat your oven until that time.
Line baking sheet with parchment paper. If you don’t have parchment paper, simply use an ungreased cookie sheet.
Using a food processor or a sharp knife, coarsely chop the fresh cranberries. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, or bowl from stand mixer, cream together butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract and almond extract. Beat until light and fluffy. (about one to two minutes).
With clean hands, add in the all-purpose flour just until combined.
Gently fold in the chopped cranberries and orange zest.
Divide dough into three equal portions and roll each portion into a log shape. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Unwrap dough and use a sharp knife to slice cookies into 1/4″ thick slices.
Dip the top and roll the sides of the cookies into a small bowl with 3 Tablespoons of granulated sugar.
Place unbaked cookies on prepared baking sheet approximately two inches apart.
Bake in 300°F oven for 17 to 20 minutes. Bottom of cookies will be light golden brown when they are done.
Cool on wire cooling rack.
Variations for cranberry shortbread cookies
This recipe for cranberry orange shortbread cookies has some good variations to try.
Cranberry pistachio shortbread cookies is a lovely shortbread cookie I made for the holiday season.
Cranberry shortbread cookies go very well with white chocolate chips. Grated or finely chopped white chocolate may be added to the batter following the cranberries to make Cranberry orange white chocolate cookies. It is a tasty variation!
Adding a glaze with orange juice – mix 1/2 cup powdered sugar with orange juice to make a thin glaze and drizzle over top. Start with 1 teaspoon of juice and add by teaspoon until drizzling consistency.
Top tips for making the best orange cranberry shortbread cookies
- Sort through the cranberries and remove any that are bruised. Use the whole or chopped in recipes.
- Use room temperature butter and eggs in this shortbread recipe
- Measure the flour with the scoop and level off method
- Line the baking sheets with parchment paper to help prevent over-browning
- Chilling the dough for this recipe is absolutely necessary. Plan ahead for the 30 minute chill time.
How to use fresh cranberries in your baking?
Fresh cranberries taste delicious in muffins, loves, cakes and cookies. Rinse the cranberries and dry with paper towels. Remove any berries that are bruised. Add them whole or chopped to your favorite cookie recipe.
Can you make these shortbreads ahead of time? Chill now and bake later!
This the is perfect cookie recipe to have ready in the refrigerator. Simply slice and bake them when you have company coming over! Keep the chilled dough in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Storing and freezing instructions for orange cranberry cookie recipe
Store cooled cookies in airtight container for 3 to 5 days at room temperature or in the refrigerator for one week. It is always a good idea to use parchment paper to line in between stored cookie layers.
Freeze cookies by placing layers of cooled cookies between layers of parchment paper in a freezer-safe container for 2 to 3 months.
Thaw in the fridge or at room temperature before serving.