Easy Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies Recipe

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Easy Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies are a delightful twist on the classic shortbread cookie, infusing the buttery, crumbly texture with a burst of tangy, orange goodness.

Cranberry orange shortbread cookies on a holly plate.

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Ingredients

Since dried cranberries are available year round, make these orange cranberry shortbread cookies anytime the feeling strikes.

  • Unsalted Butter, at Room Temperature
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Pure Vanilla Extract
  • Salt
  • All Purpose Flour
  • Orange Zest
  • Sliced Almonds, not slivered almonds
  • Dried Cranberries
Sliced almonds in a skillet.

How do you toast almonds?

These cranberry orange shortbread cookies include toasted, sliced almonds. Not slivered, but sliced. Because these cookies are so delicate, sliced is the better choice here.

If you’ve never toasted almonds before, it’s very easy, BUT they will burn very quickly so DO NOT take your eyes off of them. In a saute pan over medium heat, add the almond slices. Using a heatproof spatula or wooden spoon, even out the almonds and allow them to sit a minute or two, then stir and move them around.

Repeat until they are fragrant and starting to get some color. Don’t let them burn. This process should take less than five minutes.

Why you’ll love this recipe

When the busy holiday season rolls around you want to have some easy cookie recipes in your repertoire. These cranberry orange shortbread cookies are perfect.

  • They are a slice and bake cookie meaning you can form dough ahead of time and wrap in plastic wrap. You can store the dough log in the refrigerator for up to two days before you bake cookies.
  • If you’re pressed for time, you can make this shortbread dough up to two days in advance. It also freezes well but don’t keep it for more than 2 months. Make sure it’s wrapped well if you’re freezing it.
Slices of cranberry orange shortbread cookies on a baking sheet ready for the oven.

Tips for Success

Read through these tips so your cookies are successful.

  • Check the cookies after the minimum bake time of 12 minutes. If the dough still looks a bit moist, bake a minute or two longer until it looks dry and the edges of the cookies are golden.
  • The cranberry orange combination is a classic flavor pairing. The orange flavor comes from fresh orange zest. It should be fragrant in the shortbread cookie dough.
  • Roll dough into a log and wrap it well in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the log of dough. Don’t skip this part.
  • Using a sharp knife, cut slices about a quarter-inch to a half-inch thick. Don’t cut really thick slices.
  • When you’re ready to bake cookies, you can place them fairly close together on the baking sheet because they don’t spread.
  • Line your baking sheets with parchment or silicone baking mats for even browning.
  • I used a stand mixer with the paddle attachment but a hand mixer will work just fine too.
  • Cool the cranberry orange shortbread cookies on a wire rack completely before storing them.
  • If you want more of an almond flavor, add a quarter to half a teaspoon of almond extract. I think they are perfect without but it would be a nice variety.
  • Be sure to read through the recipe card thoroughly before starting.
The inside of an orange cranberry shortbread cookie over a plate with more cookies on it.

How do you serve cranberry orange shortbread cookies?

Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies are versatile and can be made year-round, though they are especially popular during the holiday season. The delightful combination of cranberries and oranges embodies the warmth and cheer of the season.

They make an excellent choice for family gatherings, on a holiday cookie tray for a cookie exchange, or in gift tins for friends and co-workers.

Shortbread cookies are typically served with tea, but coffee is also a good choice.

How do you store shortbread cookies?

The best way to store cranberry orange shortbread cookies is in an airtight container. There’s no need to refrigerate them, they will be fine on the counter. They will keep 4 to 5 days.

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More tasty slice and bake cookies

Slice and bake cookies are some of the easiest cookies you’ll ever make. Cherry pecan shortbread is perfect for any time of year but the red color makes it ideal for a holiday cookie tray. Cinnamon walnut cookies are a tasty slice and bake icebox cookie.

Did you make this recipe? If so, please leave a comment and 5-star review on the recipe card below. If you really love this recipe, please share it on your social media!

Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies

Classic holiday flavors in a delightful shortbread cookie.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Chilling Time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 25 minutes
Course: Christmas Cookies
Cuisine: American
Servings: 39

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • cup sliced almonds
  • cup dried cranberries, chopped

Instructions

  • Place softened butter, powdered sugar, pure vanilla extract, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat until smooth. This takes 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Turn the mixer speed to low, and gradually add flour and orange zest. Increase speed slightly and mix until a dough forms.
  • Using a rubber spatula, stir in the almonds and dried cranberries.
  • Using your hands, bring the dough together in a ball. Remove it from the mixing bowl and roll it into a log on a clean counter.
  • Wrap the log in plastic wrap, and freeze until firm, an hour at minimum.
  • Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
  • Remove the cookie dough from the freezer. Slice it into ½-inch thick slices.
  • Place the slices on a cookie sheet, at least 1-inch apart. They don't spread much. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes, just until the edges start to turn golden brown and the center is set. Check them after 10 minutes as oven temperatures can vary.
  • Remove them from the oven and let them cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet. before removing them from the cookie sheet to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  • Store in an airtight container.

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