Inspiring healthier eating one dish at a time

Cranberry Orange Almond Shortbread Cookies

These slice and bake shortbread cookies are unbelievably delicious and ridiculously easy.  Make some for Christmas!

Are you a year-round cookie baker, or just a holiday baker?  Or are you one of the smart ones who doesn’t bake at all!  Christmas cookies are lots of work, which is usually “rewarded” with lots of cookie eating, and we all know what happens then.  I personally love cookies, which means I really have to limit my baking.  I’ve been known to devour an entire Loaded Granola Skillet Cookie over the course of a few days.  For breakfast.  Yep.  I do love cookies.

When my kids were younger, 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 really 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 really scaled back.  Now, I do just a few, and my favorites are Spiced Dark Chocolate Dipped Orange Slices (not actually a cookie at all) and these Cranberry Almond Shortbread Cookies.

I’ve narrowed it down to these two for a reason – and yes, this is probably silly, but I feel better that the both have healthy ingredients – fruit, and chocolate in the orange slices, and fruit and nuts (ahem, let’s just ignore the butter and sugar) in these shortbread cookies.


Cranberry Orange Almond Shortbread COokies|Craving Something Health


Plus, these are just ridiculously easy, deliciously melt-in-your mouth buttery, AND, the batter freezes really well.  That means, make it, roll it up, freeze it, and just slice them up and bake them as needed.


Cranberry Orange Almond Shortbread COokies|Craving Something Health



Cranberry Orange Almond Shortbread Cookies

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: about 3-dozen cookies

Cranberry Orange Almond Shortbread Cookies


  • 1cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup confectioner's (powdered) sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 2/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries, chopped


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet or line with a silpat baking liner.

Place butter, powdered sugar, almond 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, at least an hour.

Remove the dough from the freezer and slice into 1/4-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.


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.


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

Eat well!

114 Responses to “Cranberry Orange Almond Shortbread Cookies”

  1. Shortbread is such a guilty pleasure of mine! Love the festive flavours going on here!

    • Anne says:

      I know – me too! Nothing like that real butter flavor! Thanks for visiting Genevieve 🙂

      • Regina says:

        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.

  2. Skye says:

    My kiddo LOVES cranberries, so this would be perfect! Pinning.

  3. Anne Marie says:

    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. 🙂

    • Anne says:

      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 🙂

  4. Jenny says:

    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.”

    • Anne says:

      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. Rose says:

    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 !

  6. Linda says:

    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.

    • Anne says:

      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 🙂

  7. Sara says:

    As per your recipe how many cookies does it yield? Need to make 10 Doz?

  8. Sharon says:

    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.

    • Anne says:

      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.

  9. Veronica says:

    Hi! Do these freeze well? Can I make them in advance and freeze them for later holiday baking?

    • Anne says:

      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!

  10. Jacy says:

    These look great, but can they be made without almonds?

    • Anne says:

      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!

  11. Nancy says:

    I am going to try this with the Orange flavors dried cranberries I buy at Trader Joe’s.

    • Anne says:

      Yes – the orange flavored cranberries are delicious, and I think I’ve used them in these cookies before! Thanks for visiting Nancy!

  12. Karan Johnson says:

    Using pistachios instead of almonds would make it red and green – what do you think?

    • Anne says:

      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 🙂

  13. Linda says:

    Hi, did you use self raising flour or plain? No raising agent needed?

  14. Carol says:

    Can I use fresh cranberries?

    • Anne says:

      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!

  15. Doreen says:

    Do you zest fresh oranges or use dried?

    • Anne says:

      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 🙂

  16. Sally says:

    Just made these and they are delicious. Will use this recipe instead of my usual shortbread recipe..they will form part of my cookie gift packages. Thanks for the recipe. One thing though, I baked for 10 minutes, reversed the cookie sheet and then it only took another 4 minutes till they were done.

  17. Gabriel says:

    Great recipe, thank you.

  18. Janet says:

    Very good abd eady to make. Beware…20 minutes is way too long to bake. 10 minutes tops for 1/4″ slices.

  19. Kay says:

    I made these with my kids today and it is our new favorite cookie! The 20 minute baking time was perfect for our cookies. Thank you so much for sharing! This cookie will be made every Christmas…and possibly several other holidays 😉

  20. Mary says:

    I baked these yesterday, burned first batch 20 min too long! Next batch at 14 min better but will try again with less time maybe 10 to 12 min @325. They r tasty, my dog really enjoyed the toasted ones!

    • Anne says:

      Oh Mary – I’m so sorry about the burnt cookies 🙁 I guess it really depends on your oven, and the thickness of the cookie. I’ve had a few people tell me they followed the directions exactly and they turned out perfect. Try a slightly lower temp and start with 10 minutes and add from there if needed.

  21. Dianne says:

    I want to try a gluten free version. I can substitute a rice/tapioca flour blend cup for cup. What do you think?

    • Anne says:

      Hi Dianne! I’ve never tried to make them gluten free, but since these don’t have to rise, I think the flour blend you mentioned would work. They’re pretty dense and buttery even with regular flour. Let me know how it works!

  22. Victoria says:

    About how many cookies do you get from this recipe? They look really yummy. Thanks

    • Anne says:

      Hi Victoria – this recipe should make at least 3 dozen plus or minus a few (depending on how you slice them). Thanks for visiting!

  23. linda says:

    what can use instead of cranberries…

    • Anne says:

      Hi Linda – you can either leave them out if you don’t care for cranberries – maybe use a bit of extra orange zest instead – or substitute a different dried fruit like minced dried apricot.

  24. Jan says:

    Don’t preheat the oven till you take the log out of the freezer, duh.

  25. Waunda says:

    Does a single batch really make 4doz cookies if the log is 2 inches? I’m looking at my log now and I have to stretch it to less than 2 inches to get even close to 4 doz. Any advice for the next batch?

    • Anne says:

      Hi Waunda – It depends on how thick you cut them. I often get about 40 cookies but I scrap (i.e. eat) the ends. I usually form a log that’s a bit smaller than 2″, because they will spread just a little bit when they bake. Bake a few to see how thick/big you like them. If you get less than anticipated, you might want to double the recipe next time and just keep any extra dough in your freezer for another time.

      • Waunda says:

        Hi Anne – I was very mistaken. Everything you said was accurate. I got 45 from the first batch and 42 from the second – all 1/4-in thick. And they do spread, which was a surprise because I wasn’t expecting them to. They are gorgeous! Baked for 12 mins to perfection – using metal cookie sheet and silicone baking mat. However they took a little longer on my baking stone – but equally as pretty. Thank you! Butter is already softening for batch #3 🙂

        • Anne says:

          Yay!! Thanks for letting me know! I’m so glad you like them. I’ll be making them tomorrow and hope they last until Christmas 🙂 These are such a hit that I’ll be working on a summer version. I’m thinking lemon…

  26. Alice J Sprague says:

    I made these today, very easy, great flavor! I also had a little trouble with baking time, but managed. Just might make another batch, they surely will become part of Christmas cookies, Thanks

    • Anne says:

      Thanks Alice! I guess each oven is different! I have a few cookie recipes that I make every year, and no matter what, I always burn the first batch :). I’m going to make a note in the recipe to watch them carefully!

  27. Dana says:

    Hello, I made 10 dozen of these delicious babies tonight for our annual cookie exchange party and everyone loved them. It’s my new favorite cookie! I took a few taste testers to my co-workers today and they requested I bring in more so I will be baking them again this weekend! Thank you so much for sharing! Happy Holidays

    • Anne says:

      Thanks for letting me know Dana! So funny – I’m making the dough right now and will bake them up tomorrow 🙂 Happy Holidays to you too!

  28. Margy says:

    Delicious! A new holiday favorite!

  29. Christine says:

    This cookie came together quick and easy! My logs are chilling now and I can’t wait to bake them and taste one! The ends will be my taste testing cookies!

    • Anne says:

      I just made mine yesterday, and I think the ends are SO perfect for taste testing! Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment 🙂

  30. Pamela says:

    These look scrumptious and perfect treat with my cup of tea.
    Could parchment paper be used on the cookie pans?
    Your Summer idea of lemon has my mouth watering for that lemony tang.

    • Anne says:

      Hi Pamela – Yes, I think parchment paper would be fine. If you have nice, new, nonstick cookie sheets, that would probably be fine too because these cookies are so buttery. My cookie sheets look like they’ve been through a war 🙂 Thanks for visiting!

  31. Bonnie says:

    These are now my favorite cookie! I love the flavors and so simple! Can be popped in oven when you need them. Thank you

  32. Deb says:

    Ann I’m wondering if anyone has had a problem slicing…when I slice through the nuts and fruit the slice starts to fall apart.

    • Anne says:

      Hi Deb – Mine do sometimes crumble when slicing if they’re too cold. I just piece them together and pat them into shape on the cookie sheet. I also fine that my log gets squished as I cut and they come out flat on one side, so I’m always pressing them a bit to make them round and hold together if needed. Try letting the dough soften a bit, and that may help.

  33. Deb says:

    Anne do you use sliced almonds or slivered almonds?
    My cookie taste good, but they are very dry…what do you suggest?

    • Anne says:

      Hi Deb – I use sliced almonds. If you used slivered, I would chop them because they are a bit thick to cut through. Shortbread isn’t chewy at all. They should be crisp but really buttery so they almost melt in your mouth. Did you use the right amount of butter? I’m wondering if you had too little butter or too much flour, especially if they were too crumbly when you were slicing them 🙁

  34. jill says:

    Not normally a baker but these sounded so good thought I should try.
    I used parchment paper and had to let the log soften for better slicing. These are amazing Thank you

    • Anne says:

      I’m so glad you like them Jill! I’m not much of a baker either, so I always make a double recipe and keep an extra log for when I want home made cookies but don’t feel like doing the work! Thanks for visiting 🙂

  35. Linda says:

    Very good recipe, love them! They are beautiful and so yummy! thanks for sharing this one is a keeper.

  36. Helen says:

    I made these to share with family this Christmas. They make the house smell wonderful when baking. I dipped half of the cookie in dark chocolate for the first roll of two. In the second batch I drizzled chocolate just on the top because I thought dipping even just 1/2 if the cookie was too sweet. The family says they are a new favorite. I used the orange flavored craisins from Trader Joe’s which we love! Thank you so much for sharing the recipe!!

    • Anne says:

      Oh my goodness Helen – Dipping and drizzling with chocolate is such a wonderful idea! Thanks for visiting and sharing how you made these cookies your own! Happy New Year 🙂

  37. D Schadt says:

    Thank you for this cookie!
    The perfect blend of Old County Christmas Almond Butter Cookie texture and flavor with fresh new citrus and cranberry tastes.
    My mother and I were transported back to days in Grandma’s kitchen and excited by the new twists.
    Merry Christmas!

  38. Donna Smart says:

    My new favorite cookie! Will be baking these often! Thanks for sharing!

  39. mary escobar says:

    I just found your recipe by chance looking for a cookie recipe. And now I can say I found the perfect cookie for a baby shower I am throwing in july. Thanks

  40. Kim says:

    I made these last weekend and they were amazing. I have found the recipe for my cookie exchange this year!

  41. Tina says:

    Do you use fresh orange zest? Can I substitute dried, and does it need to be reconstituted, or what?

    • Anne says:

      Hi Tina – Yes, I do use fresh orange zest. I’ve never tried dried zest. It might not have as intense of a flavor. No need to reconstitute.

  42. Renee says:

    Just found this recipe & I Can’s wait to make a double batch, to have an extra log in the freezer for when I want something to eat w/my several cups of green tea I always drink during the day especially as it’s starting to get cold here in AR. I was wondering if you can use unsweetened cranberries or other dried fruits.
    Also instead of reg. all purpose flour could you use almond or coconut flour, or would it make the cookies taste different?

    • Anne says:

      I think either flour would work because the cookies really don’t rise much at all, but I’ve never tried it. The coconut flour might give a coconutty flavor. If you try it, let me know and I’ll post it! Thanks for visiting!

  43. Leslie says:

    I would love to use fall shaped cookie cutters. How can I incorporate them in this recipe. Wanting to make them tomorrow for Thanksgiving.

    • Anne says:

      Hi Leslie – you can just roll the dough out to about 1/4 inch thickness or a bit thicker, and use your cookie cutters. Easy!

  44. Joleen says:

    This was my first shortbread cookie…and I read many recipes and was scared…..this was perfect!! Thank you!! I even added the flour into the mix b4 I should have…and it was still good! This is a No miss recipe for the season baking and anyone else reading recipes for shortbread that are intimidating…try will feel like a pro! The only change I did…was to add more orange zest…cause I really wanted the orange to over weigh the almond. Thank you soooooh much for this guided recipe….your a Godsend!! Happy Holidays!!

  45. Sondra Daroshefski says:

    This are amazing! I topped them with a few sprinkles of white sparkling sugar and they are BEAUTIFUL!
    Instantly added to my holiday baking list!

  46. Diane says:

    Two questions please, can I safely double this recipe and how many inches long should the logs be? I know you said 2″ in diameter but I’m trying to figure how many logs it makes and how long it should be rolled out to. Thanks!

    • Anne says:

      Hi Diane – Yes, it doubles and freezes beautifully! I tend to roll them about 16″ long. It’s a rich, buttery cookie, so I prefer a smaller diameter cookie. Good luck, and hope you enjoy the recipe!

  47. Diane says:

    Can I double this recipe and freeze the dough ahead of time?

    • Anne says:

      Yep! Just roll the extra dough into a log, wrap it in plastic wrap and then in a ziploc bag to prevent freezer burn. It freezer pretty hard, so let it thaw a bit before slicing. Thanks for stopping by Diane!

  48. Mary Teixeira says:

    This is an fabulous recipe, I have made it several times. The cookies are crispy, buttery and flavourful.

  49. Kat says:

    Made these once and they are delicious! I am trying to use more whole wheat flour. Could I sub regular flour for whole wheat pastry flour?

    • Anne says:

      Hi Kat – So glad you like them. I haven’t tried whole wheat flour, but since they really don’t rise, I think it would work with at least part whole wheat flour. If you try it, let me know, and I’ll share 🙂

  50. Ruth says:

    I think it should be mentioned in the directions to thaw after freezing fir about 20-30 minutes. I took my dough from the freezer and tried to cut at 1/4″ and they just crumbled. So my biscuits ended up about 2/3 – 1/2″ and I baked fir 15 minutes and they were just starting to turn golden at the edges. I am yet to taste as they are cooling on the rack.

    • Anne says:

      Thanks Ruth! It does say at the bottom of the recipe to let it thaw if thoroughly frozen, but I added you suggestion of about 20 minutes. Many thanks for that 🙂 Happy holidays and thanks so much for visiting!

  51. Moni says:

    Thanks for sharing your great recipe. Made these yesterday and they disappeared as soon as they cooled. Tomorrow will definitely be a double batch!

  52. Jordan says:

    Have you ever added orange juice to the cookies?

    • Anne says:

      Hi Jordan – I have not tried adding OJ to the recipe. There’s not much liquid, so I’m not sure how it would work. I would go with orange extract if you really want an orangy flavor. Good luck!

  53. Elizabeth says:

    I did add orange juice. After I zested the orange, I added juice from one half. The dough (and the cookies) turned out perfect!

  54. Lee says:

    Just made these and they’re so awesome! I subbed vanilla extract for almond as I didn’t have a good. Will be making these again.

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