Cranberry Shortbread Cookies are a delicious Christmas cookie recipe that is easy to make. The buttery shortbread pairs perfectly with the tart dried cranberries making them a festive cookie for holiday dessert platters.
One of my favorite Christmas cookies is shortbread. I love the buttery melt-in-your-mouth texture and they can be flavored in so many ways. For the holidays, you can’t beat a red and white cookie and these cranberry shortbread cookies are just perfect.
Shortbread cookies are so easy to make and they keep well at room temperature so they are great for gifting. For this recipe, you only need five ingredients!
They are so simple and the flavors are great. Sweet, buttery, and each bite has tart cranberry. If you want an easy cookie recipe to make this year, you need to give them a try.
- All-purpose flour – be sure your flour is at least 11-12% protein, this will help keep the cookies from spreading.
- Softened butter – I use salted butter, but if you use unsalted add a bit more salt.
- Caster sugar – this is a very fine sugar.
- Pinch of salt
- Dried cranberries
Beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer (or stand mixer) in a large bowl for about two to three minutes or until the mixture is creamy.
Sift the flour and salt into the butter mixture and stir. When it’s almost combined, add the cranberries and continue mixing on medium speed until the dough is firm.
Wrap the cookie dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 30 to 60 minutes. You can also chill it overnight.
Take the dough out of the refrigerator. If it’s very firm, gently knead it to soften it up. Place the dough between two pieces of plastic wrap and roll it out until it’s 1/4″ thick.
Cut the dough out into rounds or squares using a cookie cutter and place them on baking sheets or cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle sugar over the tops, if desired.
Place the pans in the refrigerator for 15 minutes while the oven preheats to 320°F.
Bake the cookies for approximately 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, cool them for two to three minutes on the cookie sheets before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
You could add some orange zest a little orange flavouring, some white chocolate chips or even some coarsely chopped nuts.
Fresh and frozen cranberries are not good for this recipe. They have too much moisture which will change the texture of the shortbread cookies. For best results, use dried cranberries.
Caster sugar is very fine and really makes a difference in these cookies. it melts into the butter so your cookies practically melt in your mouth. If you only have granulated, you can blend it in a food processor until it’s finely ground like caster sugar.
Did you chill the dough for at least 30 minutes? Chilling it allows the butter to firm up so your cookies don’t spread. And be sure to use a flour with at least 11-12% protein, this also helps from spreading.
Store them in an airtight container. They can keep for several weeks as long as they are in a good container stored in a cool, dry spot.
Yes, the baked cookies freeze great. Place them in a freezer container and separate the layers with parchment paper. They will keep for up to three months.
Whether you make these cranberry shortbread cookies for you or to share, I hope you love them! You can’t beat the color combination – it’s perfect for the holidays. Enjoy!
More Cookies Recipes
Easy Cranberry Shortbread Cookies
- 1¾-2 cups all purpose flour (at least 11-12% protein / sifted)** (220-250 grams)
- ⅔ cup + 1 tablespoon butter (softened)* (165 grams)
- ⅓ cup + 1½ tablespoons sugar (caster / fine) (85 grams)
- 1 pinch salt*
- ¼-½ cup dried cranberries
*If using unsalted butter then use ¼ teaspoon salt. Be sure to use a good quality butter, apparently this year 2022, store brand butter quality is not what it used to be. Less fat could mean a dry not so tasty cookie.
- Beat the butter and sugar until creamy, approximately 2-3 minutes, add the sifted flour (start with 1 3/4 cups add the remaining 4 tablespoons if needed one at a time) and the salt, combine, when almost combined add the cranberries and continue to beat with the flat beaters (#2 speed) until a firm dough is obtained, be aware that it does take time to bring it together. If you knead by hand it will take approximately 4 minutes of kneading.
- Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes or even overnight).
- Remove the dough from the fridge, and if very firm, gently knead, place the dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper and roll to ¼ inch thickness, cut out with round or square cookie cutters, place on the prepared cookie sheets. Sprinkle with sugar before baking if desired. Refrigerate the cookies while the oven is pre-heating, for about 15 minutes.
- Pre-heat the oven to 320F (160C). Line 1 or 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Bake the cookies for approximately 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, let sit 2-3 minutes on the cookie sheet then move to a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy!
Ruth Miles says
These cookies are missing something? I tried the recipe two times and they both came out to dry! You need to add something? I ended up adding an egg, more butter and I added oatmeal fo mine then I could handle it without it crumbling in my hands. Please check your ingredients.
Hi Ruth, these are shortbread cookies, there is no egg in shortbread, I added some info in the recipe on butter. Butter this year is not the same quality as it was before, you need to use a good quality butter. If it’s too dry you need to add more butter, not an egg. 🙂
Although the cookies were good, I only got 14 cookies. I used a 2 1/2 inch round cutter , rolled the dough to 14 inch between 2 sheets of parchment paper as suggested. I also increased the baking time to 13 minutes. A little disappointed to only get a few cookies for the amount of work going into it.
I meant to say I rolled the cookies to 1/4 inch thickness,
Hi Becky the amount of cookies depends on the size of your cutters and the thickness. And shortbread cookies are probably one of the least amount of work cookies there is. 🙂