whole bunch of cranberry orange shortbread cookies on a pink plate
Healthy Treats

Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies

Cranberry orange shortbread cookies are a healthy, gluten free and vegan version of the classic shortbread cookie. Soft, sandy cookies are bursting with cranberry and orange flavor, making them perfect for the holidays!

plate of cranberry orange shortbread cookies with a few cookies on the side

Every year my mom and I bake Christmas cookies together. We spend an entire weekend rolling, cutting, baking and frosting hundreds of cookies. This is about the only time my mom and I spend in the kitchen, and it’s one of my favorite times of the year.

We always make sugar cookies {which this pumpkin spice sugar cookie recipe was based off of}. They’re a family tradition, and seriously one of my favorite cookies ever!

Then, we sit down together and pick a few other cookies that would be perfect to share with family and friends. We pick a chocolate cookie, white cookie and one or two others that would look really nice on a tray.

cranberry orange shortbread cookies on a plate up close

This year, I suggested to her these cranberry orange shortbread cookies. They’re so perfect because they’re gluten free, vegan, healthy {among all the tasty unhealthy cookies}, and a white cookie.

My issue? Not eating ALL the cookies before making it to our baking weekend.

Cranberry orange shortbread cookies gluten free/vegan base

Since most of the cookies on our tray are loaded with butter and traditional flour, I thought it might be nice to include a vegan/gluten free cookie on the tray.

Shortbread cookies typically have a nice sandy, melt-in-your-mouth texture. So I knew I had to mimic that same texture in this gluten free version. Oh, and not using butter.

top: cranberry orange shortbread dough in a food processor before blending. bottom: cranberry orange shortbread dough all blended together

I instantly thought of my vegan cherry almond scones, which use frozen coconut oil in place of cold butter. Sandy texture accomplished!

Because shortbread cookies don’t typically rise, replacing the traditional all purpose flour with an alternative gluten free flour wasn’t too difficult. But the cookies still needed to be light in texture. Enter coconut flour. Fine, light and fluffy, this flour made for a perfect addition to these cranberry orange shortbread cookies. Coconut flour is pretty readily available at most grocery stores, either in the health foods section, or with other alternative flours.

Cranberry orange shortbread cookies rolling and slicing

This cookie dough is quite sandy, and can seem a little difficult to work with right away. Don’t let this intimidate you!

The best way to work with it is to split it into two balls, place each on a large piece of cling wrap, and roll into a long log. If you’re okay with not perfectly round shortbread cookies, then you’re done.

top: two logs of cranberry orange shortbread. Bottom: one long sliced and slices on a baking sheet

Refrigerating the dough is a must here. It will bring all of the delicious cranberry orange flavors together in the light dough. It will also solidify the dough so that it’s easier to slice.

Once chilled, slice the dough into nice little cookies and bake them off! You can slightly underbake them, and they’ll be a nice light white/red/orange cookie (perfect for Christmas!}. Or, feel free to bake slightly longer to get a nice golden brown crust on each cookie. Either way, they’re insanely delicious, and a cookie you’re going to want to make for your own Christmas cookie trays.

Cranberry orange shortbread cookie final topping

This white cookie wouldn’t be complete without a nice drizzle of white chocolate. If you’re making these vegan, make sure to pick up some non-dairy white chocolate chips.

stack of cranberry orange shortbread cookies with a plate of cookies in the background

I love the little added sweetness the white chocolate gives to these sandy cranberry orange shortbread cookies.

If you’re in need of a perfect Christmas cookie recipe that will hit ALL the people on your list, then this cookie is for you!

Looking for more perfect cookie tray treats? Check these out:

Gluten Free Maple Pecan Cookies

Chocolate Guinness Rolo Cookies

White Chocolate Apricot Cookies

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Healthy cranberry orange shortbread cookies are vegan, gluten free and dairy free. This easy recipe is perfect for the holidays. Check out these Christmas cookies. #healthycookies #vegancookies #glutenfreecookies #dairyfreecookies #christmascookies

Vegan Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
2 hrs
Total Time
35 mins
Cranberry orange shortbread cookies are a healthy, gluten free and vegan version of the classic shortbread cookie. Soft, sandy cookies are bursting with cranberry and orange flavor, making them perfect for the holidays!
Course: Dessert
Keyword: christmas, cookies, dairy free, gluten free, vegan
Servings: 30 cookies
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • ¾ cups raw cane sugar divided
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 2 ½ cups coconut flour
  • 2 ½ tsp. xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp orange extract
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup coconut oil frozen and cubed*
  • 3/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • ½ cup white chocolate chips**
  1. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, add the dried cranberries, ¼ cup sugar and orange zest. Pulse a couple times to break down the cranberries.
  3. Add the remaining sugar, flour, xanthan gum, orange and vanilla extract, and half of the frozen coconut oil. Pulse until the dough becomes crumbly.
  4. With the food processor running, add the remainder of the cubed coconut oil through the feed chute.
  5. With the food processor still running, slowly pour in the orange juice, until the dough just starts to come together.
  6. Form the dough into two balls and place on the lined baking sheet. Shape each ball into a ½” thick log and wrap in plastic wrap.

  7. Place in the refrigerator for 2 hours, to overnight.
  8. Once the dough has chilled, preheat oven to 325°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  9. Slice the log into ¼” thick slices and place on the prepared baking sheets.***
  10. Bake for 15-17 minutes for lighter cookies, or 17-21 for lightly browned cookies. Let cool slightly and then move to a wire rack to cool completely.

  11. Melt the white chocolate chips in a small microwave safe bowl. Pour into a small Ziploc bag and cut the tip off.
  12. Drizzle the cookies with the melted white chocolate chips and let dry before storing in an airtight container.
Recipe Notes

*Note: spoon a ½ cup of coconut oil into a small bowl and freeze until firm. Then cube the frozen coconut oil like you would cube cold butter.


**Note: use non-dairy white chocolate chips if making dairy free.


***Note: these cookies don’t spread, so it’s okay to place them close together.

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