These cranberry orange icebox cookies deliver big flavor from surprisingly simple ingredients. Enjoy a buttery shortbread-like cookie flecked with chewy dried cranberries and fragrant orange zest. For a sparkly edge and sweet crunch, roll the logs of dough in coarse sugar before slicing and baking. And drizzle on an easy 2-ingredient orange glaze for a flavorful finishing touch.
These bejeweled-looking cranberry orange cookies are surprisingly simple to make. You need very basic baking ingredients, and the dough comes together in just 1 bowl. (Is that music to your ears!?)
The juice and zest of a fresh orange gives these buttery shortbread-like cookies a bright and cheery flavor, complemented by the sweet-tart dried cranberries. I love this flavor combo, as evidenced by recipes like cranberry orange scones and orange glazed cranberry bread.
And you’ll love the convenience of these icebox cookies! Make the dough ahead of time, pop it in the refrigerator, then just slice and bake when you’re ready. Such a great make-ahead recipe.
Why You’ll Love These Cranberry Orange Icebox Cookies
- Simple, basic ingredients
- Easy-to-follow 1-bowl recipe
- Buttery shortbread flavored with fresh orange and studded with chewy dried cranberries
- Soft and thick in the centers, crispy around the edges
- Cranberry + orange combo is flavorful and colorful—so festive!
- A great make-ahead cookie recipe
- No rolling individual dough balls—just slice and bake
- Easy 2-ingredient icing
They’re called icebox cookies for a reason: chilling the cookie dough logs is essential. Like pinwheel cookies (another slice-and-bake style cookie), the cookie dough is very buttery and, without time in the refrigerator, will bake into greasy puddles. Let’s save the puddles for chocolate lava cakes.
It may seem like an exercise in delayed gratification, but I prefer to think of it as a great make-ahead recipe! The cookie dough logs can hang out in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or you can freeze them for even longer. Simply thaw in the refrigerator for an hour or two before slicing and baking. Having some cookie dough in the freezer is such a time-saver during the busy holiday season!
The base dough for these slice-and-bake cookies is just like reader-favorite dark chocolate orange slice-and-bake cookies. Which, honestly, is sort of like my shortbread cookie dough and classic roll-out dough for sugar cookies combined. Butter, sugar, egg, vanilla, flour, salt… Cookie Crew, assemble!
The only other ingredients you need are a navel orange (zest and juice), dried cranberries, some coarse sugar for rolling, and confectioners’ sugar for the icing.
How to Make Cranberry Orange Icebox Cookies
Shape each portion into a log (just roll it), and then wrap up tightly and chill for 3 hours. After that, roll the dough logs in coarse sugar. I always use these sparkling sugar sprinkles or something like Sugar in the Raw. It provides a little extra sparkle and crunch, but it’s an optional step.
Slice the dough logs. They’re about 7 or 8 inches, so each cookie is a bit more than 1/2 inch thick.
Arrange on your lined baking sheet and bake.
Once your cookies have fully cooled, make the easy icing by whisking together sifted confectioners’ sugar and a little orange juice. Honestly, this might be even easier than the topping for Andes mint chocolate cookies! For extra control over the drizzling, I pour the icing into a squeeze bottle, but you certainly don’t have to do this. (The same squeeze bottles I use for decorating Christmas sugar cookies with easy cookie icing!)
Or you can simply dip a fork in the icing and drizzle it over the cooled cookies.
Can I use white or dark chocolate instead? YES! See recipe Note for details.
The icing sets after 30–60 minutes, so you can easily store, stack, and transport the cookies. They may seem really simple, but these cranberry-speckled cookies were the first to go from a cookie tray I put together the other week… which also included crowd-favorites peanut butter blossoms and chocolate crinkle cookies. That says something!!!!
Sally’s Cookie Palooza
This recipe is part of my annual cookie countdown called Sally’s Cookie Palooza. It’s the biggest, most delicious event of the year! Browse dozens of cookie recipes over on the Sally’s Cookie Palooza page including:
and here are my top 10 cookie baking tools if you’re looking for recommendations!
Enjoy a buttery shortbread-like cookie flecked with chewy dried cranberries and fragrant orange zest. Drizzle on an easy 2-ingredient orange glaze for a flavorful finishing touch. Make sure you have a citrus juicer and zester.
- In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and granulated sugar together on medium-high speed until combined and creamy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract on high speed. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed, and continue to beat until fully combined. Add the flour and salt and beat on low speed until combined. Finally, beat in the orange juice, orange zest, and dried cranberries until just combined. The cookie dough will be thick and slightly sticky.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and, with floured hands, divide or cut in half. Roll/shape each half into a 7- or 8-inch log, about 2.5 inches in diameter. The measurements don’t have to be exact. Tightly wrap the dough logs in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours and up to 5 days. Chilling is mandatory for this cookie dough. I prefer to chill mine overnight; the orange flavor really comes through the longer this dough sits!
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
- Optional rolling in sugar: Pour enough coarse sugar on an 8-inch or larger plate to cover it. Roll the logs in the sugar. You may need to really press the dough logs down into the sugar if it’s not really sticking. (I find coating the dough logs in sugar after chilling much easier, as the dough is too sticky to neatly roll in sugar right after mixing.)
- Slice each dough log into 12 equally thick cookies and arrange cookies on prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart.
- Bake the cookies for 13–15 minutes or until very lightly brown around the edges. Remove from the oven and allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Icing: Whisk the confectioners’ sugar and orange juice together. Drizzle over cooled cookies. Feel free to top each with more orange zest while icing is still wet. The icing sets after 30–60 minutes, so you can easily store, stack, and transport the cookies.
- Cookies will stay fresh covered at room temperature for up to 1 week.
Keywords: cranberry orange icebox cookies
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