Shortbread Cookies

Orange zest gives these classic shortbread cookies a little citrus flair. Enjoy them at the holidays or anytime you're craving a sweet treat.

Shortbread Cookies

Popping in here with one more holiday cookie post – how cute are these little stars?! I think they’re just so flipping adorable. I don’t do crafty baking very often, but I had so much fun making and decorating these shortbread cookies.

These cookies are based on the lemon shortbread cookie recipe that I made early last year. Because that recipe is a fan favorite, I thought I’d do a more festive Christmas cookie cut into stars. Unlike last time, I decorated this version, topping them with orange zest and these cute Supernatural white sequin sprinkles.

Orange Zest Shortbread Cookies

One thing I wanted to mention about this recipe is that the orange flavor here is not as strong as the lemon flavor in the lemon shortbread cookie recipe. Because oranges don’t taste as bold as lemons, the orange flavor here is very light. If you want a stronger orange flavor in your shortbread cookies, I’d recommend using a few drops of orange oil. Either way, they’re delicious – it’s just a matter of personal preference.

Orange Zest Shortbread Cookies

More Favorite Cookie Recipes

If you love these shortbread cookies, try one of these favorite cookie recipes next:

4.5 from 2 reviews

Shortbread Cookies

With a light citrus flavor from orange zest and juice, these shortbread cookies are perfect for holiday baking.
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 30 cookies
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ⅓ cup cane sugar
  • Zest of 1 medium orange
  • 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
  • A few drops of orange oil, optional, for more orange flavor
  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour, more for rolling
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon almond milk
  • sequin sprinkles, for decorating, optional
  • zest of 1 orange, for garnish
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Cream the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the sugar and beat until fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Then, add the orange zest, orange juice, and orange oil, if using, and mix again. Finally, add the flour and salt and mix until just combined. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and flatten into a 1” disk. If the dough is sticky, wrap and chill for 15 to 30 minutes until firm but still pliable.
  3. Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface until about ¼“ thick. If desired, you can roll the dough between two pieces of parchment paper. Use 2” cookie cutters to cut out desired shapes. Transfer to the baking sheet and bake for 10 to 14 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Keep any extra cut-out cookies in the fridge until ready to bake.
  4. Remove from the oven and transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely before glazing.
  5. Make the glaze. Whisk the powdered sugar and almond milk until smooth. Drizzle over the cooled cookies and decorate them with sprinkles, if using, and orange zest.


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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. Susan

    I haven’t baked cookies in years, and should not eat them, but this recipe sounds absolutely wonderful. I’m saving it for that moment when I just have to have some cookies. I need to consider the lemon ones, too. 🙂

  2. Susan

    I love this recipe – the dough is fairly easy to work with and the cookies have a delightful orange flavor. We used several different small cookie cutters and had fun decorating them for Christmas. I replaced some of the milk with orange juice in the icing for extra flavor instead of using more zest.

  3. kylie cotton

    These look delicious and healthier then regular cookies for sure!! Im so excited to try them!

  4. Delores Pease

    One of my wonderful friends gave me a zested for my birthday so I used it for this recipe. Worked like a charm. I cut out sugar skulls and decorated them with colored sugars and eyes. So cute and tasty! Thank you for sharing this recipe!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Delores, cute!! I’m so glad you loved them!

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.