Fresh Cranberry Shortbread Cookie Recipe

This is the best time of year to make fresh cranberry shortbread cookies. You may be able to find frozen cranberries any time of year, but why not buy a couple of extra bags now, and toss them into the freezer, while they are still in season.

Fresh Cranberry Shortbread Cookie Recipe

This festive cranberry shortbread cookie recipe uses fresh cranberries instead of dried. I promise you won't miss the extra sugar.

There are many cranberry shortbread recipes out there, and they are all very similar. Heavy on butter, usually no baking soda or baking powder, making them dense and delicious. However, most use dried cranberries.

Cranberry Shortbread Cookie Dough

I wanted to use the fresh cranberries that I had bought for some other recent projects like the wood, candle, cranberry and fresh evergreen centerpiece, and the cranberry garland in the rustic tree decoration post. The result was amazing, and I felt good about using the fresh cranberries, because it cut down on the sugar content. I promise you will not miss the extra sugar.

Cranberry Shortbread Cookie Dough Slices

Once you mix up the dough you need to refrigerate it in logs. I like this because you can make the dough in a short time, and then whip up the cookies later or even the next day. Since all you have to do is slice them, and place on a cookie sheet, they come together pretty quickly.

This festive cranberry shortbread cookie recipe uses fresh cranberries instead of dried. I promise you won't miss the extra sugar.

The color is so festive at the holidays.

Added Bonus: They freeze really well, so you can make them ahead.

Here’s the recipe:


Fresh Cranberry Shortbread Cookie Recipe

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 2 .5 dozen


  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries finely chopped
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest


  1. Combine butter and sugar and mix together on medium speed until well blended.
  2. Add flour about 1/2 at a time and mix until combined.
  3. Add cranberries and lemon zest, mix well.
  4. Transfer about 1/2 of the dough onto plastic wrap and roll into a log.
  5. Continue with the remaining dough.
  6. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
  7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  8. Cut dough into 1/4 inch rounds and bake for 10 minutes.
  9. Switch pans by moving top pan to the bottom and the bottom pan to the top, then bake for an addition 10 minute or until the cookies start to brown.
  10. Makes about 2.5 dozen.


About Patti Estep

Patti is the creator of Hearth and Vine, a home and garden blog filled with projects to inspire your creative side. She loves crafting, gardening, decorating and entertaining at her home in Pennsylvania. When she is not working on a project at home or searching for treasures at nurseries and thrift stores with her girlfriends, you’ll probably find her with family and friends, at a restaurant, or home party enjoying new and different food adventures.

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  1. In the cranberry shortbread recipe instructions you say add cream but you don’t list it in the recipe.

    • Hi Wilma,

      I’m sorry. That is just a cooking term that means to mix the butter and sugars together. I’m going to edit the recipe to clarify this.
      I hope you like the cookies and thanks for your great question.


  2. Hi Patti – looks like a great recipe – thank you for sharing! Can you explain what you mean by changing pans?

    • Hi Rose,

      Can you tell I’m juggling?

      I’m so sorry that this post was confusing.

      When I first learned to bake chocolate chip cookies my mother told me to bake them half way then switch the cookie trays in the oven by moving the bottom to the top and the top to the bottom to make sure that they cook evenly.

      I’m not sure that you really need to do this but it’s a habit that I have gotten used to.

      Have a great holiday,

  3. These look yummy and simple to make and I love cranberries. Have a few bags in the frig and ready to get baking.

    I think all us ladies are juggling too much this week. But I wasn’t confused. Cream was taught to me by my grandmother and she did the same thing as you she switched the pans. I’m not sure if would make much difference but I still do all these decades later.

    Merry Christmas

  4. These sound tasty, I use Oat flour now so I may have to give this a try. Trying to keep the sweets at a distance but I love cranberries, especially fresh. I’ve also started adding less sugar to my cookie recipes and found them to be better because the other ingredients stand. Thanks for sharing – this one is a keeper!

    • Hi Carole,

      So glad you like the recipe. In addition to using fresh cranberries I think you could get away with reducing the sugar by at least 1/3 or 1/2, especially if you are used to doing that kind of thing.
      Merry Christmas friend!

  5. The cookies sound delicious and I want to give them a try. I do have a question, do you need to use a piece of parchment paper or apply anything to the baking sheet to keep them from sticking?

    • Hi Deborah,

      I don’t use parchment because the cookie sheets I have usually do not stick. That being said I see no reason why you could not use it, especially if that is what you are used to doing.
      Hope this helps,

  6. I love the idea of the fresh cranberries in this cookie! Thanks for sharing at the What’s for Dinner Link up!

  7. Love this recipe! Thanks so much for sharing this with us at the DI & DI Link Party.

  8. Oh my goodness, these cookies look delicious! I will definitely grab some fresh cranberries and give them a try! Thanks for linking up to Funtastic Friday!

  9. Your Cranberry Shortbread Cookie’s look delicious, we will love these cookies! Thanks so much for sharing your awesome post with us at Full Plate Thursday. Wishing you a fantastic 2017!
    Miz Helen

  10. These look and sound delish! Featuring you as a host pick on Funtastic Friday this week!

  11. Just wanted to mention that I made a batch of these cookies for Christmas, and they were delicious. I happen to love a sweet/tart relationship in a dessert anyway, but these were exceptionally amazing.

  12. I am planning to make these tonight because they will be perfect for our National Championship viewing party tomorrow night (red and white). But I have one question. Do you use self rising flour or plain?

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