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Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies

These slice-and-bake cranberry orange shortbread cookies are the Best. Cookies. Ever.  And they're ridiculously easy. Keep a dough log in the freezer so you can slice and bake them when needed.

Make some for Christmas. Or just because.

When my kids were young, we always did lots and lots of Christmas cookies.  They took them to school. We did neighborhood cookie swaps. And they loved arranging them in cookie tins and giving them out to their friends.  

I miss those days, but since I don't need to have so many sweets sitting around looking at me, longing to be eaten each day, I've scaled back.  

Now, I do just a few holiday cookies. Our family favorites are Spiced Dark Chocolate Dipped Orange Slices (I know, not a cookie at all, but delicious nonetheless), Chocolate Peppermint Shortbread, and these Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies.

cranberry orange almond shortbread cookies|Craving Something Healthy

I just don't think it would feel like Christmas without these three treats!

Shortbread Cookie Ingredients and Substitutions

I love the combination of cranberry and orange. Especially around the holidays. And since I'm partial to almonds, I use almond extract and chopped almonds too.

But if you're not an almond lover, swap the almond extract with vanilla extract instead. Or use orange extract if you like your shortbread extra orangy.

And for the nuts, you can try chopped walnuts, pistachios, pecans, or leave them out altogether.

If you have time, browse through the comments below this recipe post. It seems that these cookies are a new favorite for SO many people. And many have left helpful feedback and clever ways to adapt this recipe to their taste.

Cranberry Orange Almond Shortbread Cookies|Craving Something Healthy

No matter what you add, you'll agree that these shortbread cookies are so ridiculously easy and deliciously melt-in-your-mouth buttery.

How To Freeze These Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies  

The best thing about this shortbread dough is that it freezes incredibly well. That means you can make it in advance and do your cooking baking on an "as needed" basis.

Just prepare the dough and roll it into a log. I usually double the recipe so I have two dough logs in the freezer.

Wrap the logs tightly in plastic wrap. Give them a nice roll while they're wrapped in plastic, to smooth out any rough edges. Seal up the edges of the plastic wrap so the edges of your dough don't dry out in the freezer. I usually put the logs into a large freezer storage bag for extra protection.

Then, just pop the in the freezer (be careful they don't get squished) and keep them there until you're ready to use them. You can freeze this dough for up to three months.

When you're ready to bake cookies, take your dough out of the freezer and let it thaw for 20-30 minutes. Otherwise, it will be too hard to cut and your cookies will crumble.

If you prefer to bake your cookies and then freeze them, that works perfectly well too.

Cranberry Orange Almond Shortbread Cookies|Craving Something Healthy

Recipe

A stack of cranberry orange shortbread cookies

Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies

Easy, melt-in-your-mouth slice and bake shortbread cookies that everyone loves
4.20 from 83 votes
Print Pin
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
chill time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 36
Calories: 86kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 1 cup confectioner's powdered sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon almond extract or vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • cup sliced almonds, toasted or other finely chopped nuts
  • cup dried cranberries chopped

Instructions

  • Place butter, powdered sugar, almond (or vanilla) extract and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large mixing bowl if using a handheld mixer.
  • Beat until smooth, about 3 minutes. Turn mixer speed to low, and gradually add flour and orange zest. Mix until a dough forms.
  • Stir in almonds and cranberries with a spatula.
  • Pat dough into a ball, and then form into a log shape, about 2-inches in diameter.
  • Wrap the log in plastic wrap, and freeze until firm, about an hour.
  • Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray a cookie sheet or line with a silpat baking liner.
  • Remove the dough from the freezer and slice into ½-inch thick slices.
  • Place on cookie sheet, at least 1-inch apart. Bake for about 15 minutes, just until the edges start to turn golden. Check them after 10 minutes as ovens can vary!
  • Let cool for about 5 minutes before removing from the cookie sheet.

Notes

Adapted from Martha Stewart. Dough can be kept frozen for up to 3 months. If frozen solid, let the dough thaw for about 20 minutes before slicing.

Nutrition

Calories: 86kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 14mg | Sodium: 33mg | Potassium: 25mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 158IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 8mg | Iron: 0.4mg
Did you make this recipe?Tag me @CravingSomethingHealthy!

Are you baking this holiday season?  What's your favorite cookie?

Eat well!

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146 Comments

    1. Hi Doreen - I always use fresh zest, but you could probably use dried in a pinch. I think fresh has a more intense flavor though. Hope you like them, and thanks so much for visiting 🙂

    1. Hi Carol - I don't think fresh cranberries would work here. I've never tried them but I think they would release too much water when the cookies are baked and make for a mushy cookie. You can leave them out all together or try another type of dried fruit or fruit zest. Let me know if you try it though!

      1. Thanks for visiting and trying the recipe Linda! I'm so glad your son likes them - and white chocolate macadamia sounds positively divine 🙂

    1. I love that idea Karan! I personally love the almond flavor, but you still get plenty of it from the almond extract, and then you can use any nuts (or none). Let me know how it works out 🙂

    1. Yes - the orange flavored cranberries are delicious, and I think I've used them in these cookies before! Thanks for visiting Nancy!

    1. Hi Jacy - yes, if you don't care for almonds or almond flavor, you can leave out the nuts, and substitute vanilla extract for the almond extract. Thanks for stopping by, and hope you enjoy the cookies!

    1. Hi Veronica - yes, the dough freezes very well. I roll it into a log, wrap it in plastic wrap and keep it in a ziploc bag in the freezer. Just thaw it for about 30 minutes, so it's easier to slice. The baked cookies can also be frozen for a week or two, although they never last that long in my house! Thanks for visiting!

  1. You mention at the top of the recipe to preheat the oven before you mix the ingredients, but after you make the dough you have to put it in the freezer for an hour. My oven doesn't need an hour to beat up.

    1. Hi Sharon - I usually put the oven temp at the beginning of the recipe, but you are correct that you really don't need to preheat for that long. As long as it's at full temp and even, you should be fine.

    1. Hi Sara - thanks for visiting! The recipe should make at least 3 dozen, and up to 4 dozen if you make them a bit smaller. Mine are usually about 1 1/2 inch diameter.

  2. Made these as a gift and followed your directions precisely. They tastes as delicious raw as they do baked! Thanks for sharing, will be making these throughout the holidays.

    1. So glad you liked them Linda! And yes, I'm not proud to say that I've eaten quite a lot of the dough myself, and it is totally delicious 🙂

  3. Great recipe easy and nice blend of flavours love that the dough is slice and bake and my kitchen smells amazing thanks for sharing the recipe !

  4. What does engrossed cookie sheet mean?

    "Place on engrossed cookie sheet, at least 1-inch apart. Bake for about 20 minutes, just until the edges start to turn golden."

    1. Hi Jenny - sorry about my autocorrect! That should be " a greased cookie sheet". I usually just spray the cookie sheet or use a Silpat liner for easier cleanup. Funny - that recipe is one of my most pinned and no one has ever caught that mistake! Thanks for noticing and Enjoy!

  5. Wow Anne, these look and sound great! I love the idea of cutting and baking as you need them...especially in my crazy Italian household where people seem to drop in on a moments notice!

    Growing up, our house around Christmas time was pretty much a cookie factory - so I am really excited to go home for Christmas and get baking in the kitchen with my mom and 95 year-old grandma! I will definitely leave a couple pounds heavier, but thankfully I will also leave all of the cookies behind me, no matter how many ziplock bags my mom tries to stick in my suitcase. 🙂

    1. I love the tradition of baking Christmas cookies too - so many great memories! You're so lucky to have 3 generations cooking together - how fun! Have a wonderful Christmas with your family 🙂

      1. I goofed, I mashed the almonds after toasting and it made a very dry mess. Still yummy to eat. However I think if sprinkle on top of a pie (not sure what type would be a good mix of flavors) or rolled in semi sweet chocolate to make a candy. It may work.

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