Cranberry Lemon Cookies

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Buttery Cranberry Lemon Cookies have plenty of lemon flavor from lemon zest and lemon juice with bursts of tart cranberries that are rolled in sweet powdered sugar for a sweet and tart dessert.

A top view of a plate of cranberry lemon cookies with ornaments around the plate.

As soon as the weather starts cooling down I start looking for holiday recipes.  One of my favorite winter holiday recipe ingredients are cranberries.  I love the sweet and tart flavor of baking with cranberries.

Some of my favorite holiday recipes with cranberries are cakes.  Cranberry Coffee Cake is great for breakfast, Cranberry Buckle can be served with tea or at a brunch, and my Cranberry Pecan Bundt Cake is the perfect holiday dessert.

So when I saw a recipe for a cookie with both cranberries and lemons I was excited to try it.  Since both fruits are tart I knew that would be so good in a sweet butter cookie.

I’ve made a lot of cranberry cookies in the past but these are the first ones with lemon.  These Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies are the perfect holiday treat while these Cranberry Bliss Bars are always number one on my Christmas cookie list.

The one thing to note about this recipe is that you need to use fresh or frozen cranberries.  Don’t use dried cranberries as they won’t work the same in this recipe.


  • flour:  Use all purpose flavor or half all purpose and half whole wheat flour.
  • baking powder
  • salt
  • butter:  I use salted butter as I like the hint of salt in my cookies but feel free to use unsalted.
  • sugar
  • eggs
  • lemons:  If you want a bit of a sweeter lemon try using a Meyer lemon.
  • vanilla extract:  Use a good quality vanilla
  • cranberries
  • powdered sugar

To Make the Cookies:  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.   In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.  In a large bowl whisk together the butter and sugar until smooth.  Add in the eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla and mix until well combined. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until completely combined.  Fold in the cranberries.  Scoop into golf ball sized balls and arrange 2 inches apart. Bake for 15-17 minutes. 

When making these cookies you can leave the cranberries whole or you can chop them.  I did a very rough chop which seemed to work out well.

Pin Image: Text title, a plate of Cranberry Lemon Cookies.

If you don’t chop the cranberries they will burst while baking which can leave holes in your cookies depending on when they burst.   If you aren’t worried about that feel free to leave them whole.

These cookies are a cross between a sugar cookie and a butter cookie and they have plenty of each in the cookie.  The original recipe only calls for lemon zest to be in the cookies but I put both the zest and the juice in the cookies which gave them a nice citrus zip.

Can I use bottled lemon juice?

You can but since you need lemon zest too it’s easier just to zest the lemons and then use the juice from the same lemons.  I wouldn’t skip the zest because it really adds a punch of flavor to the cookies that the lemon juice won’t give you.

Can I use dried cranberries or craisins?

In this recipe you really can’t.   You want the burst of the cranberries and the tartness of fresh or frozen.  The dried cranberries and craisins are sweet so you won’t get the same flavor or texture from them.

If using frozen cranberries should I thaw them first?

Yes!  If you keep them frozen the dough closest to the cranberries will bake slower and the water content of the cranberries will work against you when making the cookies.   Thaw in the refrigerator over night or else put in the microwave on defrost.  Drain extra liquid before chopping.

How do I store these cookies?

Store them in an air tight container for up to 5 days.   They may start getting a little soft after 3 or 4 days but they are still good to eat.

After the cookies are baked let them cool completely on a wire rack.  Once they have cooled you can make the glaze.  The glaze in basically just powdered sugar and lemon juice so it’s super tart along with the sweetness.

A plate with seven Lemon Cranberry Cookies on it.

You can drizzle the glaze on top of the cookies or you can dip the tops into the glaze and let it drip off.  I found that I got better coverage of the cookies when I dipped them into the glaze.

More Cranberry Recipes:

These cookies were so good!   The cookie itself was soft and sweet but the lemon and cranberries gave it a tasty tartness.   The combination was pure bliss.

Think cranberries are just for dessert?   Think again!   Some of my favorite cranberry recipes are for appetizers!  My Baked Brie, Bacon, and Cranberry Pull Apart Bread is always a favorite at New Year’s parties.  This Cranberry Pistachio Cheese Ball is a winner for sports parties.  These Cranberry Onion Pinwheels are easy to make but fancy enough to serve at a dinner party.

If you’ve tried my Cranberry Lemon Cookies or any other recipe on Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks please take a minute to rate the recipe and leave a comment letting me know how you liked it. I love hearing from you! You can FOLLOW ME on:

A plate with seven Lemon Cranberry Cookies on it.

Cranberry Lemon Cookies

Yield: 2 dozen
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Buttery Cranberry Lemon Cookies have plenty of lemon flavor from lemon zest and lemon juice with bursts of tart cranberries that are rolled in sweet powdered sugar for a sweet and tart dessert.


  • 3 c. flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon zest
  • 1/4 c. + 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 c. fresh or frozen cranberries, roughly chopped
  • 2 c. powdered sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. in a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar. Add in the eggs, half of the lemon zest, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, and the vanilla extract.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat until completely combined.
  5. Fold in the cranberries.
  6. Scoop the dough into 1 1/2 inch balls and place 2 inches apart on a baking sheet.
  7. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until they are slightly golden brown.
  8. Remove from oven and transfer to a baking rack to cool.
  9. To make the glaze combine the powdered sugar, remaining lemon zest, and remaining lemon juice. Whisk until smooth.
  10. Either drizzle over top of the cookies or dunk the cookies into the glaze. Allow the glaze to set.


Recipe adapted from Food Network Magazine.

A plate piled high with lemon cranberry cookies and Christmas ornaments around the plate.


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