April 26, 2024

Orange Cookies

Soft, tender sugar cookies flavored intensely with fresh orange zest and real vanilla bean. These orange cookies are dipped in a fresh orange juice and vanilla bean glaze for a double orange flavor.

5 from 4 votes
Yield: 16 cookies
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Sugar cookies, but flavor them with lots of fresh orange zest and then decorate or glaze them as you please. 

Recipe Origins 

Way back before Covid I used to host a ‘galentines day brunch’ and I’d always make these cookies: sometimes I’d make them and leave them unglazed and then leave out cookie decorating supplies, sometimes I’d roll them out thin and sandwich them with some orange flavored buttercream, and since then I just make them because they’re lovely to eat: bright and brimming with fresh citrus flavor in a soft sugar cookie. 

The recipe came to mind in early april, when I was surrounded by spring blooms and thought of making them to decorate with buttercream flowers (someone do this pleASE!) but I ran out of time and I just ended up dunking them in a glaze – which, if not as pretty, was honestly delicious, no notes. 

Recipe Ingredients 

Sugar: fine granulated sugar. Not organic (the granules tend to be bigger, are harder to cream). 

Oranges: fresh orange zest for the cookie dough and we’ll use some of the juice for the glaze. 

Salt: fine sea salt. If using table salt, halve the amount. 

Butter: unsalted butter, softened to a cool room temperature (not melty). I used american style butter for these, which has a lower butterfat percentage, but you can use whatever you like.  

Vanilla: pure vanilla bean paste, or scrapings of a vanilla bean for the best flavor. You can also use pure extract. 

Egg: one large egg, preferably at room temperature (you can set it in a bowl of hot water to warm it up). 

Powdered sugar: preferably made with tapioca not cornstarch. Tapioca melts on the tongue so it does not leave you with that chalky aftertaste.  

Flour: all purpose flour, of a medium protein content (around 11%). 


How to make Glazed Orange Cookies 

Zest the orange and rub into the sugar: 

Cream the flavorings, the butter and the sugar: 

Crack in the egg and beat to combine: 

Add the dry ingredients and beat until well mixed: 

Wrap and chill: 

Prep the pans, preheat the oven. 

Roll out the cookie dough to about a quarter of an inch (for thick cookies), then stamp to cut out: 

Bake the cookies, slightly under: try to avoid getting any brown on the edges. 

Chill completely then make the glaze (whisk everything together, aiming for a thick consistency): 

Dip the cookies face down into the glaze or spoon it onto the center to top.

Shaping & Topping Options for Orange Cookies 

Buttercream frosted orange cookies: make a vanilla orange buttercream by beating together 113g/one stick softened butter (salted or unsalted) with 190g or 1 ½ cups powdered sugar and the zest of 1-2 oranges, a pinch of salt and a dash of vanilla. 

If you like you can add some cream cheese to the frosting; use about ¼ cup and add more powdered sugar as needed to get it thick. 

Orange Sandwich Cookies: roll out the cookies thinner than instructed below and bake for a minute or two less (since they’ll be thinner). When they are completely cool, add a dollop of buttercream (see above for recipe) in the center of one then press another on top. 


Storing the Cookies 

Once the glaze has completely set on these cookies (a couple of hours) they can be stored in an airtight container and they’ll keep for 3-4 days.

Orange Cookies

Soft, tender sugar cookies flavored intensely with fresh orange zest and real vanilla bean. These orange cookies are dipped in a fresh orange juice and vanilla bean glaze for a double orange flavor.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Yields: 16 cookies
5 from 4 votes


Orange Cookie Dough

  • 100 g or ½ cup fine granulated sugar
  • Zest of 2 oranges
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • 226 g or 1 cup butter unsalted and softened to room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 65 g or ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 390 g or 3 cups all purpose flour

Orange Glaze

  • 260 g or 2 cups powdered sugar preferably made with tapioca starch (not cornstarch)
  • 2-3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • Pinch fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the fine granulated sugar and zest the oranges over it.
  • Using your fingers, rub the zest into the sugar until it resembles wet sand.
  • Add the salt, vanilla and butter and affix the paddle attachment and beat until creamed; about 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the egg and beat to combine, it’s ok if the mixture looks like it’s separated.
  • Add the flour and powdered sugar and beat until you have a thick, very sticky, dough.
  • Wrap the dough in plastic wrap to loosely seal then use a rolling pin to roll it out a bit more until it stretches the wrap. Hold it on its side and roll it on the counter like a wheel (this will even out the edges).
  • Chill the dough for at least 4 hours but preferably overnight.
  • The next day, line two greased cookie sheets with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350 F.
  • On a floured surface, roll the dough out to about a quarter of an inch thickness. Use a cookie cutter to stamp out shapes and carefully place them on the prepared pan.
  • Squish the remaining dough together back into a ball and repeat the roll and cut process until you’ve used up all the dough.
  • Bake the cookies until *JUST* beginning to get golden on the edges, about 10 minutes (don’t over bake them, they’ll turn crispy instead of tender).
  • Out of the oven, let the cookies completely cool. At this point the cookies can be placed in an airtight container and reserved for glazing and serving later.
  • Make the glaze by whisking together all the ingredients in a bowl; if the glaze is thick, add more orange juice, if it’s thin, add more powdered sugar, you’re looking for the consistency of elmer’s glue.
  • Dip the completely cool cookies face down into the glaze. Alternatively, spoon the glaze into the center of the cookies and use the back of a spoon to spread it around. You can also dip the whisk in the glaze then quickly drag it over the cookies in a zig zag motion to create a pretty pattern. Let the glaze ‘set’, this will take around 20 minutes depending on the thickness of the glaze layer.
  • The cookies are ready to eat or they can be stored in one layer (so as not to mess up the glaze) on a plate for later.

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