These orange cookies are infused with fresh orange juice and zest and topped with a simple frosting. They’re so soft, tender, and brightly flavored (and there’s no chilling required!).
Why You’ll Love These Orange Cookies
- Bright orange flavor from real oranges–no extracts, artificial flavors, or gelatin here. I make my strawberry cookies with real strawberries too, if you’d like to try a different but equally tasty fruity cookie.
- No chilling required! The dough doesn’t need to be chilled, so you can bake right away. If you’re impatient like I am, this is a huge plus 😁
- Lofthouse-style look and texture with their flat, round shape and smooth frosting. And don’t forget the orange zest on top!
- Speaking of frosting, we’re using a simple and tasty frosting today. You could pipe it on top if you want to get a little fancy, but I like to just spread it on with an offset spatula.
These orange cookies are so much fun! They have a bright and fresh orange flavor that especially comes through in the frosting, so don’t skip it. I also add some cream cheese to the frosting because it really complements the orange flavor (just like the frosting on my orange rolls!).
The cookies themselves are soft and tender (again, think lofthouse-esque) and must be flattened after baking. Similar to my lemon meltaways, this helps create a dense yet simultaneously more tender, melt-in-your-mouth center and a flat surface for applying the frosting.
I can’t wait for you to try them, so let’s dive right in!
What You Need
Let’s briefly go over a few of our key ingredients before we get started with our cookies.
- Oranges. Fresh oranges are a must for these orange cookies! We’ll be using the zest and juice of our oranges; I typically find that I need three oranges for this recipe, but you may need more or less depending on the size of yours.
- Egg yolks. We’re using only the yolks of our eggs here for tender and chewy results. If you’d like to use your egg whites instead of throwing them away, you can use them for coconut macaroons, French macarons, or angel food cake (just to name a few options!).
- Butter. I use softened unsalted butter for both the cookies and the frosting, though you could use salted for each if that’s all you have on hand. If you do use salted for the cookies themselves, you will need to reduce the additional salt to ¼ teaspoon.
- Cream cheese. Stick with full-fat, brick-style cream cheese. Make sure to let the cream cheese soften beforehand so it can easily combine with the butter to make the orange frosting.
SAM’S TIP: Always zest your citrus before juicing; it’s nearly impossible to zest after (I always end up grating my knuckles this way… ouch!).
Remember, this is just an overview of the ingredients I used and why. For the full recipe please scroll down to the bottom of the post!
How to Make Orange Cookies
Make the Cookie Dough
- Cream the butter, orange zest, and sugar until light and fluffy, then stir in the egg yolks and mix until combined. Adding the orange zest at this step helps to release its oils, ultimately resulting in a more pronounced orange flavor.
- Slowly drizzle in the orange juice while stirring on low speed, then mix until combined.
- Whisk the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl before gradually adding them to the wet ingredients.
- Roll scoops of dough between your palms, then bake. Make sure the dough balls are smooth and even so they have a nice round shape once baked!
- Flatten each cookie with the bottom of a measuring cup or glass, then let the cookies cool completely. I like to make the frosting while the cookies cool.
- Stir the cream cheese and butter together until smooth, then gradually add the powdered sugar.
- Add the orange zest and juice, then stir until the frosting is completely combined.
- Spread the frosting on top of the cooled cookies.
SAM’S TIP: I like to add additional orange zest on top of my frosted orange cookies, but you could skip this or even replace it with some fun sprinkles instead.
Frequently Asked Questions
I am comfortable leaving mine out of refrigeration for up to two days, but if you feel better refrigerating right away (because of the cream cheese), then by all means do so. If you plan to keep them beyond two days, I recommend storing your orange cookies in the fridge.
Yes! Store your orange cookies in an airtight container in the freezer, and they will keep for several months. When you’re ready to enjoy, simply let the cookies sit at room temperature to thaw.
Obviously I can’t force you to, but the frosting is a big contributor to the orange flavor of these cookies. So if you leave it off, your orange cookies won’t have as strong of a flavor, and they also won’t be as sweet as intended. I strongly recommend including it!
This is my final cookie recipe of 2023–whew! I’ve shared SO many this year and would love to know which one was your favorite 💕
- 4 oz (113 g) cream cheese softened
- 4 Tablespoons (56 g) butter salted or unsalted softened
- 3 cups (375 g) powdered sugar
- 2 Tablespoons orange juice
- 2 teaspoons orange zest plus additional for topping, if desired
- Preheat oven to 350F (175C) and line baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl using an electric mixer, combine butter, sugar, and orange zest and beat well until light and fluffy.1 cup (226 g) unsalted butter, 1 ⅓ cups (267 g) granulated sugar, 1 Tablespoon orange zest
- Beat in egg yolks until combined.2 large egg yolks
- While stirring, slowly drizzle in orange juice until combined.3 Tablespoons orange juice
- In a separate medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.3 ⅓ cups (416 g) all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, ½ teaspoon baking soda, ¾ teaspoon salt
- Gradually add dry ingredients to wet, stirring until completely combined.
- Scoop into 1 ½ tablespoon sized balls and roll gently between your palms to form into round balls. Place on prepared baking sheet, spacing cookies at least 2” apart.
- Transfer to center rack of 350F (175C) oven and bake for 11 minutes. Remove from oven and, within one minute of removing from oven, use the clean bottom of a glass to gently flatten each cookie to create a flat surface for the frosting.
- While cookies are cooling, prepare frosting.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, stir together cream cheese and butter until smooth and creamy.4 oz (113 g) cream cheese, 4 Tablespoons (56 g) butter salted or unsalted
- Gradually stir in powdered sugar until combined.3 cups (375 g) powdered sugar
- Add orange juice and orange zest and stir until well incorporated.2 Tablespoons orange juice, 2 teaspoons orange zest
- Once cookies are completely cooled, spread frosting on top of cookies. If desired, top with additional orange zest. Serve and enjoy.
StoringStore in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two days or in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days (I prefer cookies at room temperature so if I refrigerate them I usually let them sit at room temperature for 15 minutes or so before enjoying).
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.