Back to Better-Than-Fruitcake Cookies

Print Options


Card Sizes

Better-Than-Fruitcake Cookies Recipe

Better-Than-Fruitcake Cookies Recipe

Mostly fruit and nuts, these sweet and chewy clusters make excellent gifts, freeze well, can be shipped easily, and most importantly, live up to their name. —Lillian Charves, New Bern, North Carolina
TOTAL TIME: Prep:15 min. + standing Bake: 15 min./batch YIELD:36 servings


  • 2 cups raisins
  • 1/4 cup bourbon or unsweetened apple juice
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 3/4 cup red candied cherries, halved
  • 3/4 cup green candied cherries, halved


  • 1. In a small bowl, combine raisins and bourbon. Cover and let stand for 30 minutes.
  • 2. In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until blended. Beat in egg. Combine the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and cloves; gradually beat into creamed mixture. Stir in the pecans, cherries and raisin mixture.
  • 3. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Bake at 325° for 12-15 minutes or until firm. Cool for 2 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely. Store in an airtight container. Yield: 3 dozen.

Nutritional Facts

1 cookie: 93 calories, 3g fat (1g saturated fat), 8mg cholesterol, 40mg sodium, 16g carbohydrate (11g sugars, 1g fiber), 1g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1 starch, 1/2 fat.

Reviews for Better-Than-Fruitcake Cookies

Sort By :

Average Rating
Pamela User ID: 8989561 258303
Reviewed Dec. 18, 2016

"Soooo Good! Just made these and just ate 4.....missed my mothers fruit cake,she is 94 and has dementia, I used fruit cake, fruit and peel mix... making these for Christmas with egg nog ice cream...very easy to time I will triple the recipe. Happy Holidays."

Renee User ID: 8987025 258196
Reviewed Dec. 16, 2016

"Thank you forthis recipe. Have done it for many years, lost the recipe..couldn't remember the quantity of ingredients...sooo glad I found it here. Will be making a couple of batches as of tomorrow!...Are you getting 36 cookies? I use a generous teaspoon instead of tablespoon and only got 26 cookies! Inalso reduced the raisins to 1.5 C and drain them of juice b4 adding to mixture..These are delicious., sooo glad I found it again????????"

Wendy User ID: 8985976 258160
Reviewed Dec. 15, 2016

"My husband loves fruitcake so I thought I'd give these a try. They are delicious. No substitutions or changes, the recipe is wonderful just the way it is. Thanks so much for sharing, these will be an addition to the cookie list every year."

debpetersen User ID: 452182 241902
Reviewed Jan. 17, 2016

"Excellent - we love these!"

lcb1953 User ID: 8658948 239210
Reviewed Dec. 12, 2015

"This is the recipe my Mom always used. I grind my fruit in a meat grinder because my family doesn't like big pieces. They are delicious Use raisins, cherries, chopped dates, and pineapple."

kayitten User ID: 1493828 218139
Reviewed Jan. 18, 2015

"Delicious. They tasted just like fruitcake. I also used the fruitcake mix from the store. It included citron which added the taste I associate with fruitcake. I will definitely make these again."

eekcatz User ID: 8149865 215769
Reviewed Dec. 24, 2014

"Great!! Used candied cherry and pineapple mix and Apple juice,"

christmastreegal User ID: 2258158 215365
Reviewed Dec. 19, 2014

"Excellent! I didn't have raisins so I substituted Craisins instead. I also used the Fruit cake mix that our grocery store had and they turned out wonderful! So much so, I went back to the grocery store to purchase more Fruit cake Mix."

VTaster User ID: 3063137 215313
Reviewed Dec. 19, 2014

"Very good recipe! I also used dried fruits instead of candied ones. The dried pineapple, cherries and dried apricots. Maybe will add some citrus next time. I Used only apple juice

for the mix. baking time is the key. 12 minutes is enough or they dry out too much! I placed mine in the cupcake liners both mini and regular--works great."

msbigbaker User ID: 3940801 215307
Reviewed Dec. 18, 2014

"I used to make these many years ago. I substituted 1 1/2 cups of candied fruit peels for the candied red and green cherries and added this to the 2 c raisins and let these soak overnight in 1/2 cup of Brandy instead of bourbon, turning the container over once or twice to be sure the brandy flavored the entire contents of the container. I also used chopped pecans (walnuts are also good....have used them in the past). These are my Hubby's favorite Christmas cookie and I found out today, one of our friends flipped over them when he tasted them. Delicious!"

kee003 User ID: 8168853 215292
Reviewed Dec. 18, 2014

"These are absolutely wonderful!!! Just took the first batch out of the oven & had to sample. My husband who is not a sweet lover thought these were divine!! I ran out of candied cherries and used some candied pineapple instead. Already adding the ingredients to my grocery list to make another batch!! The bourbon adds a hint of flavor that is not at all overwhelming! I did chill the batter for a few minutes before placing on the cookie sheet and it worked well."

ccdse User ID: 4095810 215265
Reviewed Dec. 18, 2014

"These cookies are wonderful!! My husband says they are better than fruit cake. Very moist. I did learn though not to over bake them, 12 minutes was all mine needed, I also made them into large cookies. I also used a mixture called fruit cake candied fruit, that is all our store."

grannyq User ID: 966588 215263
Reviewed Dec. 18, 2014

"I have a recipe almost exactly like this but called "Lizzies" that I have been making for many years. Since my family doesn't like fruitcake, these are a great substitute. These my family like. They are delicious and keep very well. I use only red cherries but it wouldn't make any difference except more colorful with green and red."

lauren55 User ID: 1777722 215240
Reviewed Dec. 18, 2014

"Very easy to make."

Sharonc43 User ID: 7664515 215124
Reviewed Dec. 17, 2014

"Can I substitute candied pineapple for the raisins. My family will not eat anything with raisins. I would eliminate the bourbon."

KayPaulsen User ID: 6137041 214825
Reviewed Dec. 13, 2014

"These cookies are easy to throw together and an exceptionally delicious as well as colorful addition to the gift tins of cookies I prepare. The recipe is a keeper and will be a tradition inthe Paulsen household from now on."

vj221979 User ID: 5329286 214810
Reviewed Dec. 13, 2014 Edited Dec. 29, 2014

"Wonderful and easy! I did use Crasins instead of the red candied cherries."

mnc09 User ID: 7499288 152936
Reviewed Nov. 21, 2013

"These are delicious. They taste like fruitcake (with a great balance of spices) but the texture is a lot more enjoyable! My only issue was that they are difficult to put on the baking sheet because they kept kind of crumbling and falling apart-- my suggestion for this is to cool the batter for 5-10 minutes before baking. The batch only made 20 cookies because I made them a little larger so if you don't want them as tiny as the picture, but want a bigger payoff for your efforts, double the recipe! I can't wait to see how they are rated in my holiday cook-off at work tomorrow!

@Joscy- the candied cherries I got have 15g sugar and 23 total carbs for only 10 pieces!!! I would look at the label first and maybe substitute some sugar-free Craisins or something similar :)"

Joscy User ID: 2694585 213488
Reviewed Mar. 15, 2013

"Just asking....are these suitable ((with candied cherries??)) for folks with Type I diabetes? I noticed it has 16 grams of carbs (I consider that 1 (one) carb). Thank You!!"

dv520 User ID: 7040030 196023
Reviewed Dec. 16, 2012

"Loved them..yum!"

SpinningYogini User ID: 965432 196022
Reviewed Dec. 6, 2012

"I dont like fruitcake at all, but my husband really likes it. I made these for a cookie exchange because I knew that he would enjoy the leftovers. As it turns out, these cookies are fantastic! They got rave reviews at the cookie exchange. The recipe name is definitely appropriate."

Loading Image