These orange cookies are a classic sliceable sugar cookie, flavoured with orange juice, zest and orange blossom water. Known in my family as orange refrigerator cookies, they're a recipe that's been passed down for generations and have always been one of my dad's favourite!
- Flour - either all purpose flours or plain flour will work in this recipe.
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Butter - unsalted butter, softened at room temperature. You can use salted butter in this recipe, but if doing so, reduce the amount of additional salt by about half.
- Sugar - either granulated sugar or caster sugar.
- Brown sugar - light brown sugar firmly packed works best in this recipe. It is sometimes called muscovado. Dark brown sugar is a bit too strong in molasses flavour and will overpower the orange.
- Orange juice - my family usually uses fresh squeezed orange juice for this recipe. Since you'll also want orange zest, it is best to zest an orange and then juice this. The number of oranges you'll need will depend on how ripe and large these are - you may need a couple. You can also substitute with store bough orange juice, but this needs to be fresh and not from concentrate.
- Orange zest
- Orange blossom water - this helps to add a little extra oomph to the cookies. If you're not able to find orange blossom water, you can use lemon extract, which will still give a citrus hit to the bake.
How to Make Orange Sugar Cookies
This is a quick one bowl recipe. Honestly, the most difficult bit will be juicing your orange if you, like me, don't always have access to a juicer!
Start by beating your sugars, butter and egg together until well combined. Then add the orange juice, zest and orange blossom water. Beat to incorporate.
Sift your dry ingredients into the mix - the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Begin stirring the mixture to incorporate. You'll find it to become stiff quickly and it will be easier to work with your hands to knead together the orange cookie dough.
Once your dough has come together smoothly, divide this in half and form two logs. Mine are usually about 2" in diameter. As these are slice and bake orange cookies, keep in mind the diameter will be roughly the size of your individual cookie rounds.
Wrap your two logs in plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours (or up to three days).
Slice and Bake Orange Cookies
When it comes time to slice and bake your cookies, preheat your oven and prepare a couple of baking sheets. I like to line mine with parchment paper, but you can use silicone mats or simply grease these well with cooking spray.
Remove a log of cookie dough from the refrigerator and use a sharp knife to cut slices of cookie dough, about ¼" thick. Place slices a couple of inches spaced out on your sheets and bake for about 12 minutes until starting to go golden on the edges.
Once baked, remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Tips and Tricks
- To keep your cookies round while slicing, rotate the log every couple of slices. This helps to more evenly distribute the pressure of the knife against the work surface, which can cause the cookies to become less rounded.
- Keep any dough not being sliced in the refrigerator up to the last minute. This recipe will make a few batches of cookies (depending on the size of your trays and the size of your oven). You want to keep the dough chilled as much as possible, so avoid leaving any out while your waiting for a batch already baking.
- You can make these cookies larger or smaller, thicker or thinner - the sizes I've suggested here are just my preference. Be aware that if your cookies are wider or more thick, these may take longer to bake. Significantly larger cookies should be baked at a lower temperature as they will need to bake more slowly to ensure they don't go too brown on the edges.
Yes - this recipe is for my family's traditional orange cookies. These are a super easy recipe made using orange juice and zest as key flavourings. It is important that fresh orange juice is used - either freshly squeezed or store bought. Orange juice from concentrate may impact the flavour and bake of the cookies.
I also call for orange blossom water, but this can be substituted with lemon extract if you can't find orange blossom water.
These easy orange sugar cookies keep well for about a week if stored in an airtight container.
If you're wanting to make in advance, I recommend making the dough and freezing the logs of unbaked cookie dough. When you're wanting to make the cookies, allow the dough to thaw in the refrigerator overnight and then slice to bake fresh.
Looking for more vintage cookie classics:
- 2¾ cup all purpose flour or plain flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened at room temperature
- ½ cup granulated sugar or caster sugar
- ½ cup light brown sugar or muscovado, firmly packed
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoon orange juice freshly squeezed
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- ½ teaspoon orange blossom water (see note)
- In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter, sugars and egg until well combined.
- Add the orange juice, zest and orange blossom water, beating until incorporated.
- Sift the dry ingredients (the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt), into the mixture and stir well to combine. Knead into a a dough. (see note)
- Once the dough has come together, divide in half and shape each half into a log, roughly 2"-2.5" in diameter. Wrap these logs of dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours (or up to 3 days).
- When ready to bake, preheat an oven to 350°F (175C/155C Fan) and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Remove a dough log from the refrigerator and cut about ¼" thick slices. These rounds will be your cookies - place spaced on your cookie sheet and bake for about 12 minutes, until starting to go golden at the edges. (see note)
- Rotate the log as you're cutting - this will help more evenly distribute the pressure. When slicing cookies, the pressure of the knife will start to cause the cookie log to go flat against the countertop. Rotating helps to avoid this.
- Keep any unused dough in the refrigerator - these cookies will make a few batches, so while they bake, keep any dough that is waiting to be cut in the refrigerator to keep it chilled. This will help it to slice more easily and stay rounded.