These holiday citrus sugar cookies are a yearly tradition around here and something everyone looks forward to during the holidays. These citrus cookies have hints of orange and lemon, are very forgiving, and can be made into more than just cutout cookies.
Why you'll love this citrus cookie recipe
I am a big fan of crisp sugar cookies and this citrus sugar cookie recipe is our favorite one to make at the holidays. These are lemon and orange cookies but with just a hint of those flavors in the dough to really elevate the flavor of these cookies.
These are crisp sugar cookies that are lightly citrus-flavored and not too sweet. In other words, delicious!
This citrus sugar cookie dough can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge until you are ready to roll and cut it out. You make a large batch of this citrus sugar cookie dough at the beginning of the month during the holiday season and bake up a batch each weekend.
Let me show you how easy it is to make!
How to make crisp citrus sugar cookies
Here is what you will need to make these citrus cookies:
- All purpose flour: The base for the cookies. You can also use gluten free 1:1 flour.
- Baking powder: This gives rise to the cookies.
- Kosher salt: Helps flavor the cookies.
- Unsalted butter: Adds flavor and texture.
- Lemon and orange: The citrus in these sugar cookies.
- Granulated sugar: For sweetness.
- Egg: I use large eggs for all my baking. It helps bind together the ingredients and give the cookie structure.
- If the dough feels a little dry before rolling, do not add extra flour. You can grab a big chunk of the dough and squeeze it in your hands to warm it up a bit. This will help make the dough more pliable. Just keep doing this until the dough is ready to roll.
- Like any cutout cookie recipe, you will be left with scraps after your first cuts with the cookie cutter. Go ahead and re-roll your dough and cut out some more shapes but only do this once. After you cut out your second round of shapes, grab your dough and pull it all together and either chill it for 30 minutes to roll out again or you can immediately begin making these citrus snowball cookies with it if you don't want to wait.
Ideas for Serving at these during the holidays
Here are some ideas to use these festive citrus sugar cookies:
- Have a cookie party! We love having cookie parties at the holidays where we make our Italian Pizzelle Cookies, Peanut Butter Cookies, and Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies.
- Add these to a holiday dessert table! A whole dessert table at the holidays? Yes, please 🙂 We love serving Italian Bread Pudding, Creamy Lemon Bars, and Easy Bread Pudding Sauce.
- Make it a part of your holiday gift-giving. We are all about food gifting at the holidays and these citrus cookies are perfectly paired with Homemade Alcohol Free Eggnog, Oven Baked Pizzelle, Homemade Marshmallows, and Sugared Cranberries
Holiday Citrus Sugar Cookies
- 2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- the zest of one lemon with a microplane or zester
- the zest of 1 orange with a microplane or zester
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup of powdered sugar for icing
- ½ cup of milk
- food coloring use one drop at a time to achieve the desired color
- Sift flour, baking powder and salt into medium bowl.2 cups unbleached all purpose flour, 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder, ¼ teaspoon salt
- Using electric mixer, beat butter, lemon peel and orange peel in large bowl until light.¾ cup unsalted butter, room temperature, the zest of one lemon, the zest of 1 orange
- Add sugar and powdered sugar and beat until fluffy.½ cup sugar, ¼ cup powdered sugar
- Beat in egg.1 large egg
- Add dry ingredients.
- Using spoon, stir until mixture forms dough (dough will be soft).
- Divide dough into thirds.
- Gather each third into ball; flatten into disks.
- Wrap each disk in plastic and refrigerate until firm, about 4 hours. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead. Keep refrigerated. Let soften slightly, if necessary, before rolling out.)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Remove dough from the fridge about 20 minutes before you are ready to roll it out. This helps soften it a bit for rolling.
- Generously flour work surface and rolling pin.
- Place 1 dough disk on work surface.
- Press rolling pin into dough several times to flatten slightly for easier rolling. Press together any cracks that form.
- Roll out dough to ⅛ inch thickness, frequently lifting and turning dough to prevent sticking. Using cookie cutters cut out cookies.
- Transfer cookies to ungreased nonstick baking sheets, spacing ½ inch apart.
- Bake until cookies turn brown on edges, about 10-15 minutes.
- Let cookies stand on sheets 1 minute. Using metal spatula, transfer cookies to racks and cool completely. Once cooled you can proceed to the decorating part!
make the quick icing
- Mix powdered sugar, food coloring(if using) and 2 tablespoon of milk in a large shallow bowl.1 cup of powdered sugar for icing, ½ cup of milk, food coloring
- Make sure all of the sugar lumps are gone and the consistency is nice and smooth but not watery.
- If it is watery just add 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar at a time until it thickens. If it is too thick add 1 tablespoon of milk at a time until it thins.
- If you are adding coloring, add your food coloring and mix well
Adding the icing (quick and easy way)
- Take your cooled cookies and place them face down into the bowl of icing and carefully pull it out and place it right side up on a cooling rack to dry.
- The cookies after being iced will need at least 2 hours (or more depending on humidity) to dry fully.
A quick sugar cookie frosting (same as what is in the recipe above):
This is our favorite type of easy frosting to make for cookies. To make this you need 1 cup of powdered sugar, ½ teaspoon vanilla and a couple of tablespoons of milk. Mix until you reach the desired consistency. We like to turn our cookies upside down into the frosting and then remove it and place it on a cooling rack to dry. It is usually dry in a few hours.
Brown butter frosting:This is our decadent way of decorating cookies and it is also really easy! To make this you will need to brown some unsalted butter on the stove. To do this add ½ stick of unsalted butter to a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, until the butter starts to brown, about 5 minutes. Once it is browned, pour it into a bowl with 1 cup of powdered sugar and teaspoon vanilla and mix well. You can add a few drops of milk if you need to thin it out. Add more powdered sugar to make it thicker. This makes a great drizzling icing for your cookies. This will take about an hour to fully dry.
Nutrition Values are estimates only.See full nutrition disclaimer here
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