Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies

These perfect cranberry orange shortbread cookies are studded with cranberries and a hint of orange zest, they pair perfectly with hot tea on a cold day. 

I plan all year for my holiday baking. Throughout the year I test and taste recipes that may be so lucky to make it into my gift boxes. Cranberries are the quintessential holiday flavor, and as a New England native, I have fond memories of passing the cranberry bogs all fall until they were harvested. If you have never seen a lake of floating cranberries – I highly recommend a trip to south-eastern Massachusetts where there is a bog on just about every corner.

These shortbread cookies are bright and fresh. The cranberries are perfectly balanced and with just a little zest of an orange. These tart beauties shine with a little help from the butter and we have reached maximum holiday flair. 

These cookies come together fast with only 6 ingredients. They are perfect for make-ahead to save time for your more complex bakes. See my tips below on how I roll the perfect cookie log for slicing and freeze them for a quick bake!

I have tested several options and found a split vote when it comes to sizing, so I will give both options for cook time.

What you need for this recipe

  • Orange
  • Dried Cranberries
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Flour
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Butter

Helpful Tips

  • Make sure your butter is room temperature. These cookies come together dry and cold butter will make the process more difficult.
  • I add a squeeze of the orange juice and find that it adds just a little kick of orange, it also helps make the dough a little softer which I prefer.
  • I also bake with Pink Himalyan Salt – just a personal preference.
  • If using a Kitchen Aid, I recommend starting on Stir for the first 2 minutes and then setting it to 4 until the butter is light and fluffy
  • I prefer to bake these on a silicone or similar as I find the bottoms get nice and crispy and I have less issues with cracking.
This is my rolling technique. I use this when I make any rolled chicken dishes and now for any baking that requires a uniform log for cutting. The trick is in how you wrap it and then roll it against the counter to continue to tighten the roll.

Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies

These perfect shortbread cookies are studded with cranberries and a hint of orange zest.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Chill Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 27 minutes
Servings: 24


  • 1 cup Cold Unsalted Butter
  • 1/2 cup Powdered Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Orange Zest
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2 cups Flour
  • 1 pinch Salt
  • 1/3 cup Dried Cranberries


  • Begin by beating your butter in your stand mixer for 2-3 minutes on speed 2.
  • Add the sugar, orange zest, vanilla and salt to the butter and cream until incorporated. Aproximately 2 minutes on speed 6.
  • Once fully incoporated change your mixer to STIR and begin to add the flour. Once half of the flour has been added include your cranberries. I opt to slice my cranberries to more easily incorporate.
  • As the dough forms you will need to finish with mixing with your hands. Flip the dough onto a floured work surface. Roll the dough into a ball and cut into 4 equal quarters.
  • Roll each quarter into a 12 inch log.
  • Wrap each log in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours. (See my video on how I roll the perfect cookie log!)
  • Once the cookies have been refrigerated, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prep pans with parchment paper or silicon mats.
  • Cut the logs into 1 inch pieces using a ruler for consistency. I have also experimented with 1/2 inch pieces, and they are great if you like your shortbread a little crispy.
  • Bake 1 inch cookies for 9-11 minutes, or 1/2 inch cookies for 7-9 minutes.
  • Allow cookies to cool completely on pans before moving to a cooling rack.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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