Iced Orange Cookies

Orange Cookies are soft, fluffy sugar cookies covered in a zesty orange glaze. These refreshing cookies always remind me of spring, but they’re also a lovely addition to holiday cookie trays!

frosted orange cookies on a cooling rack

Baking for the Soul

When life hands you a global crisis, turn on the oven. Can someone cross stitch that on a pillow for me? It’s my new mantra.

Baking has always been an outlet for me, but never more so than right now, when we’re home bound with our kiddos for the foreseeable (uncertain) future.

My usual stress-busting recipes are the ones I know almost by heart–Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies, Sour Cream Banana Bread, and Crazy Cake, but there’s something about Orange Cookies that feels especially right for this time.

Making these old fashioned Orange Cookies feels like crossing a bridge to another generation. They’re familiar and fresh at the same time, and their bright, zesty flavor is inherently cheerful.

Orange Cookies are the kind of sunny, comforting recipe we could all use right now, and it’s another great easy baking recipe for kids. My four year old never turns down a chance to dig in the sugar canister or break out the citrus juicer!

Our whole family devoured these. Mr. NeighborFood said they reminded him of a muffin top–an irresistible combination of fluffy cake and sweet glaze!

Orange Cookies are perfect as an afternoon snack, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t also tell you they make a fine accompaniment to your morning coffee.

So let’s get to the kitchen for some baking therapy!

soft orange cookies on a baking sheet

How to Make Orange Cookies

Orange cookies are essentially a soft sugar cookie, with a puffy, domed shape and buttery, subtly sweet flavor. The edges are golden and just a tad crisp, but the centers are soft, melt-in-your-mouth goodness.

If you’ve ever made drop cookies before, you’ll be familiar with this process.

  1. First, whisk together all your dry ingredients–flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  2. In a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until it’s pale in color and quite fluffy.
  3. Beat in the eggs, vanilla extract, Greek yogurt, and orange zest until smooth. 
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and beat until just combined.

These cookies require a 1 hour refrigeration, but then they’re ready to bake!

hand frosting orange cookies

The Best Iced Orange Cookies

There are a couple key ingredients that make these cookies special.

  • First, the dough and icing is absolutely loaded with fresh orange zest, which infuses them with a lovely citrus flavor and scent.
  • Second, Greek yogurt is added to the dough to provide richness, lift, and a subtle tang that compliments the orange flavor perfectly. I prefer to use whole milk Greek yogurt for baking (and eating, actually!). You can also make orange cookies with sour cream if you prefer!

orange cookies and orange slices on a gray background

Orange Icing for Cookies

Of course, orange cookies wouldn’t be complete without a sweet, zesty glaze, and this one is the absolute BEST!

Fresh squeezed orange juice, more orange zest, cream cheese, and powdered sugar join forces to create a smooth icing that spreads like a dream and tastes even better.

When the cookies are first iced, they’ll be shiny and sticky, but the glaze sets up into a smooth finish that crackles apart with every bite. The tangy sweet glaze is the perfect foil to the soft, buttery cookies underneath.

iced orange cookies on a gray background

Storage and Make Ahead Tips for Orange Cookies

To Make Ahead of Time:

The dough for orange cookies can be made and refrigerated for up to 48 hours before baking. Be sure to remove the dough from the fridge 20 minutes before scooping to allow it to soften slightly.

To Store Baked Orange Cookies:

Cookies can be stored frosted or unfrosted. Store orange cookies in a tightly sealed airtight container. The cookies will stay softer for longer (at least 4 days) if they’re already frosted. Be sure to let the glaze harden completely before storing, and place sheets of wax paper or parchment paper between any layers.

To Freeze Orange Cookies:

I prefer to freeze these cookies baked, either frosted or unfrosted, in an airtight freezer bag or container. Defrost at room temperature, preferably in a single layer. You can learn more about freezing cookies here.

interior of a soft orange cookies

More Great Citrusy Recipes:

iced orange cookies in a stack of four

iced orange cookies in a stack of four

Iced Orange Cookies

Yield: 36
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 13 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 3 minutes

Fluffy and soft orange cookies are glazed with a zesty orange glaze for a refreshingly light cookie.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 16 Tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup whole milk Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange zest

For the glaze:

  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1 ounce cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Set aside.
  2. In a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together on medium high speed until pale and fluffy, scraping the bowl as needed. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.
  3. Reduce speed to low, and beat in yogurt and orange zest until just combined.
  4. Add the flour mixture, beating on low speed until just incorporated. Cover the bowl tightly with saran wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 2 days. If refrigerating overnight, remove the bowl from the fridge 20 minutes before scooping.
  5. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper or silicone mats. Scoop heaping Tablespoons of dough onto the sheets, leaving 2 inches between each one.
  6. Bake for 13-15 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through. Cookies are done when the tops are puffed and firm and the edges are just golden. Allow the cookies to cool completely on the pan.
  7. To make the glaze, whisk together the cream cheese, zest, and orange juice. Sift the powdered sugar into the orange mixture and whisk until smooth. If you'd like to be a bit thicker, add up to another 1/2 cup of powdered sugar. Glaze the cooled cookies, and be sure to let the glaze set before storing the cookies.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 36 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 153Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 26mgSodium: 88mgCarbohydrates: 23gFiber: 0gSugar: 15gProtein: 2g

Please note nutritional information for my recipes is calculated by a third party service and provided as a courtesy to my readers. For the most accurate calculation, I always recommend running the numbers yourself with the specific products you use.

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17 Comments

  1. Tasty. I brought a batch to my bookclub and the plate was finished, that doesn’t often happen. Cookies were full of flavor and not too sweet. My only difficulty was getting the cream cheese to incorporate into the orange juice for the glaze. I had little white specks and the cream cheese was room temp. I wonder if sour cream would have worked?

  2. My daughter made these as she was entering a cookie competing..there were 12 bakers in total..
    Low & behold she won the bake off..She thanked me for the recepie and has been baking them at least every few weeks..totally delicious..thank you for sharing..!!!@

  3. These cookies are just what the Dr ordered! My husband loved orange cookies that his mom use to make every year around Xmas. Well, his mom passed and left no recipe for me to make for her son..but you have! They are the cookies! And they are delicious so thank you and Happy Holidays.
    Reggie

  4. I’m so excited to make these with my mom. You see, these are a family favorite to bake during the holidays. My grandfather, (my mom’s dad), would make them every Christmas. He was a chef. I unfortunately never met him but my mom does a great job keeping his memory alive. All that to say, just the other day we were dreaming about Christmas & she exclaimed how she was looking forward to baking our traditional orange cookies. When I asked if she had the recipe she said she’d have to track it down after having recently moved. Now thanks to you…I have the recipe at the ready. Grandpa’s recipe had sour cream. I think I’ll try with the Greek yogurt considering I just bought a large container. Thank you again!

  5. My cookies spread flat and looked terrible. I made the dough the night before. I double checked the ingredients and didn’t miss anything.

    1. I’m so sorry to hear that! Is there any chance you are baking in a country besides the US? Sometimes ingredients can vary widely internationally.

  6. I am 100% going to make these! I’m not even great in the kitchen but these look like something I can handle. (I love orange-flavored desserts!) Thanks for this!

    1. I’ve never tried it with milk, but it might work. Buttermilk would be a better substitute, or add a Tablespoon of lemon juice to your milk.

  7. Which is it Yogurt or sour cream. In the ingredients it says yogurt in the directions it says sour cream

    1. Either full fat Greek yogurt or sour cream works great! Thanks for the catch though–I’m going to clarify in the recipe.

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