Cranberry-Orange Butter Cookies


How do you make a traditional butter cookie even better? Add the festive notes of cranberry and orange, that's how. This cookie dough needs to chill at least 2 hours, so you can make this the night before and bake cookies the next day. Before you get started, make sure your butter is adequately softened; this is key to creating a smooth and creamy dough. Try using dried cherries for the cranberries or lemon zest instead of orange, and add a touch of crushed, dried rosemary to the batter. To get a really sharp rectangular shape to your dough, after wrapping it in plastic wrap, put the log in an empty aluminum foil box, gently re-form the log around the box and refrigerate. This cookie recipe is a tasty selection when hosting or attending a cookie swap. Or add them to a lineup of other holiday cookies, package in a decorative tin and give as a delicious food gift. 

Cranberry-Orange Butter Cookies
Photo: Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall
Active Time:
25 mins
Chill Time:
2 hrs
Total Time:
1 hrs 10 mins
5 dozen


  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened

  • 1 1/4 cups unsifted powdered sugar

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 tsp. baking powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 3/4 cup chopped dried cranberries

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons orange zest (from 3 oranges)

  • 1 cup demerara sugar or sparkling sugar, as needed for decorating


  1. Beat butter with a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating until smooth. Beat in vanilla.

  2. Stir together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating on low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Beat in cranberries and orange zest until just combined, about 30 seconds.

  3. Divide dough in half. Shape each half into a rectangular log about 9 inches long x 2 inches wide x 2 inches tall. Wrap in plastic wrap, and chill at least 2 hours or up to overnight.

  4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place demerara sugar in a shallow dish. Unwrap dough logs. Gently press demerara sugar into long sides of both logs.

  5. Cut dough into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange slices 1 inch apart on 2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

  6. Working in 2 batches, bake cookies in preheated oven until edges are lightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on baking sheets 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks, and cool completely, about 20 minutes. Store in airtight containers up to 1 week.

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