Soft, tender and filled with bright, zippy orange juice and zest, our orange cookies with a homemade icing are sure to please—and pucker!
Iced Orange Cookies Recipe photo by Taste of Home

We can’t deny, orange desserts taste like a slice of summer sunshine, and these orange cookies perfectly ride the line between rich and refreshing. Each cookie is sink-your-teeth-in soft and flavored with orange zest and orange juice. A fragrant orange icing is poured atop the cookies to solidify the indulgent, citrusy taste these cookies promise.

Orange Cookies Ingredients

  • Orange zest: Make sure you know how to zest a citrus fruit to avoid getting its bitter pith in the dough. Another pro tip: It’s easier to zest an orange before you juice it!
  • Orange juice: Don’t throw just any orange in your cart! Learn all the juicy secrets to choosing ripe oranges. Hint: The best season to buy them isn’t the summer!
  • All-purpose flour: We prefer all-purpose flour to any other flour for cookies. All-purpose flour creates the best structure but still has a tender enough crumb for a chewy cookie.
  • Confectioners’ sugar: The best sweetener for an icing is confectioners’ sugar. It dissolves easily and doesn’t leave your icing gritty and grainy. We recommend having a little extra on hand just in case you add too much liquid to the icing.
  • Orange paste food coloring: You can usually buy this type of food coloring at craft stores, grocery stores or super centers, and they’re also available through online retailers.

Directions

Step 1: Beat the egg mixture

Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, use a hand mixer or stand mixer to cream the shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the orange juice and zest.

Step 2: Create the batter

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to the egg mixture, and beat just until everything is combined.

Editor’s Tip: Don’t overbeat this mixture, or your cookies will turn out dense.

Step 3: Scoop and bake

Drop the cookie dough by the tablespoonfuls spaced 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake the cookies until the edges begin to brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the cookies to wire racks to cool completely to room temperature.

Editor’s Tip: We love using a cookie scoop for the dough so the cookies bake evenly and look consistent!

Step 4: Finish with icing

Iced Orange Cookies served with icingTMB Studio

In a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, orange juice, butter and, if desired, food coloring until smooth. Drizzle the icing over the cookies.

Editor’s Tip: If you like, you can add any extra garnishes or decorations right away, before the icing hardens.

Recipe Variations

  • Sprinkle on a topping: Finish your iced orange cookies with a sprinkle of additional orange zest before the frosting sets. A single orange-shaped gummy candy on top of each cookie would be adorable, too.
  • Add a mix-in: Dried cranberries pair perfectly with orange! They will add a tiny burst of tart sweetness to the cookie. Fold the dried cranberries into the cookie dough just before scooping.
  • Halve the recipe: This recipe makes 48 cookies. If you don’t need that many, use our guide on how to cut down a recipe.
  • Add extra citrus to the glaze: If you prefer a brighter taste, sub in a little lemon or lime juice for the OJ in the icing. You’ll be astounded at how a simple squeeze of another citrus can enhance a recipe!

How to Store Orange Cookies

To store, allow the icing to harden completely, then place the cookies in an airtight container. If you’re layering the cookies in the container, place a piece of waxed paper in between each cookie layer to further prevent sticking. The cookies will keep at room temperature in the airtight container for up to five days.

Can I freeze these orange cookies?

Yes, you can freeze these cookies. For this recipe, we recommend freezing the raw cookie dough, and later thawing it before baking and icing the cookies. You can also bake the cookies before freezing, but don’t freeze them with the icing on. Instead, prepare the icing while the cookies thaw, then ice the cookies as the recipe instructs. Here’s how to freeze cookies, no matter what type you’re baking.

Orange Cookies Tips

Iced Orange Cookies served with orange icingTMB Studio

Can I use a different type of citrus in these cookies?

Of course! Go ahead and substitute your preferred citrus (blood orange, lemon, lime, etc.) for the orange, and proceed as the recipe instructs. However, keep in mind that other citrus fruits have different levels of acidity and sweetness, so your results might be more sweet or more sour than these iced orange cookies.

Do I have to use freshly squeezed orange juice, or can I use bottled juice to make orange cookies?

No, you don’t have to use fresh-squeezed juice, but you will need a fresh orange or two on hand anyhow, since the recipe calls for orange zest. Using fresh citrus is a smart way to jazz up baked goods. If you’re really not in the mood to juice oranges, use one of the best orange juice brands from the store for these cookies.

Watch how to Make Iced Orange Cookies

Iced Orange Cookies

I usually make these bite-size orange cookies at Christmastime, when Florida citrus is plentiful, but they're delicious any time of year. Every time I sniff their wonderful aroma, I remember my grandmother, who shared the recipe. —Lori DiPietro, New Port Richey, Florida
Iced Orange Cookies Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time

Prep: 25 min. Bake: 10 min./batch + cooling

Makes

4 dozen

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • ICING:
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Orange paste food coloring, optional

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in orange juice and zest. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture.
  2. Drop by tablespoonfuls 2 in. apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake until edges begin to brown, 10-12 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool. In a small bowl, combine icing ingredients until smooth; drizzle over cooled cookies.

Nutrition Facts

1 cookie: 87 calories, 3g fat (1g saturated fat), 9mg cholesterol, 47mg sodium, 15g carbohydrate (9g sugars, 0 fiber), 1g protein.