Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies

by Aimee Stock

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Last Updated on November 28, 2021 by Aimee Stock

These slice and bake Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies come together so quickly and easily, they are perfect to make ahead. Simply make the dough, wrap in parchment and chill until ready to bake. They utilize your basic shortbread dough as the base. Let me show you how I made them!

Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies hero

How to make Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies

You’ll need to plan ahead with some softened butter for this recipe. I usually do a few cookies per day and just set out the butter when I get up in the morning. If you live in a cold environment, you might consider doing this the night before.

To the butter, you’ll add sugar and cream it in the bowl of an electric mixer (*affiliate link) until it’s light and fluffy. Then add the flour. This is a three ingredient dough – otherwise known as shortbread.

Cream together softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy

This recipe uses fresh cranberries which if you have ever tried to find out of season, is next to impossible. Each year when they go on sale, I buy several bags of them and stick them in the freezer. They keep really well and you can always just pull out the measurement you need for each recipe.

Chop them in a food processor (*affiliate link) . You want a pretty fine chop because if they are too large, the cookie will become fragile.

Finally, the zest (*affiliate link) of one orange – about 1 teaspoon.

Orange zest for Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies

Because the cranberries have a tendency to turn the shortbread batter pink, I fold (*affiliate link) them in along with the orange zest.

fold the chopped cranberries and orange zest into the batter

This next part requires parchment paper to accomplish. Use the parchment to help you first form the dough into a log. The dough is very soft at this point due to the butter so you’ll need to work quickly.

After you form the roll, tap in the ends so they are flat and roll the entire thing up, tucking as you go. Once it’s fully wrapped, you can perfect your log.

Use the parchment to help form a log

Twisting the ends of the parchment (*affiliate link) forces the log into a smooth shape. Now it’s into the refrigerator to chill for at least one hour or even overnight. This is a great make ahead cookie!

Wrap tightly in parchment

Once it’s chilled, you can discard the parchment. It’s still soft and you’ll need to work quickly to cut in 1/4″ slices and place on your cookie sheet. I thought I might use a fluted cutter, but didn’t want to risk breaking my dough rounds.

Slice chilled dough log for Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies

It’s also important to have your oven preheated. We want these going in the oven cold, so have your sheet pans (*affiliate link) ready.

Sliced and ready to bake Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies

Baking time will vary based on your oven, so use my recipe as a guide. We are looking for the bottom and edges to be golden, but not browned. They are soft and will firm up more as they cool.

Baked cookies

The end result is this tender, buttery cookie with just the right amount of fruit.

Bite shot

Check out our other Christmas cookies:

Classic Peanut Butter Blossoms

Ina’s Giant Crinkled Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies

Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies
Prep Time15 mins
Total Time1 hr 15 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12 cookies


  • Electric or Hand Mixer
  • Microplane or Grater
  • Parchment Paper


  • 1/2 c Butter softened
  • 1/4 c Sugar
  • 1 c All Purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp Orange ZEST
  • 1/2 c Fresh Cranberries finely chopped


  • In the bowl of an stand mixer, add the softened butter and sugar. Cream together until light and fluffy. Add the flour and mix just until combined,
  • Finely chop the cranberries (I used a food processor) and zest the orange. Fold in by hand or your mixture will turn pink.
  • Using parchment to help you, form into a log. Once rolled, twist the ends and smooth out the parchment. Chill for at least one hour or up to overnight.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat.
  • Using a sharp knife, cut into 1/4" slices and place onto prepared baking sheet.
  • Bake for 12-15 OR until the edges and bottom are golden. Do not underbake. They will still be soft and firm up a bit as they cool. They are a tender, not crisp, cookie.
  • Store lightly covered. Enjoy!

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