These cranberry spice cookies combine cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and dried cranberries with buttery shortbread-like cookie dough. It’s an easy cookie recipe prepared in 1 bowl with 9 simple ingredients. The creamy eggnog icing is optional, but I recommend it because it tastes divine with these festive spice flavors!
This recipe is part of my annual Christmas cookie countdown called Sally’s Cookie Palooza. Every year since 2013, I work on a handful of new Christmas cookie recipes and publish the 10 best ones for readers to enjoy! You can browse dozens of recipes on the Sally’s Cookie Palooza page.
These are my Cranberry Spice Cookies with Eggnog Icing!
What are Cranberry Spice Cookies?
Today’s cranberry spice cookies are a spiced cranberry version of snowball cookies. Like little drops of Christmas cookie heaven, they combine cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and dried cranberries with buttery shortbread-like cookie dough. We’ll cover the teeny cookies with sweet and creamy eggnog glaze, a combination of confectioners’ sugar, real eggnog, vanilla, and cinnamon. Honestly the cookies don’t even need icing on top, but I couldn’t resist a little eggnog addition here!
Here’s Why You’ll Love These
- 1 bowl recipe
- Brilliant & festive spice flavor
- 9 simple ingredients in the dough
- Only 30 minutes chill time
- Bite-sized & adorable
- Crumbly & soft
- Topped with creamy icing
And bonus: If you skip the eggnog icing, the cookies are totally egg-free! If you’re interested, see below for some icing alternatives, too. 🙂
How to Make Cranberry Spice Cookies
Adapted from my snowball cookies and pistachio cookies, these cranberry spice cookies have the same shortbread-like crumbly texture, while remaining extra soft and buttery. Consider them the holiday version of lemon coconut shortbread cookies. All of these linked cookie recipes are similar.
Before you even begin making the dough, chop dried cranberries into itty bitty pieces. These cookies are small and we want to make sure there are a lot of cranberries in each bite. The smaller, the better. Dried cranberries are a little sticky, so be patient and use a very sharp knife. Then start the prep:
- Make the dough: Beat room temperature butter until it’s creamy and smooth. Add confectioners’ sugar. Confectioners’ sugar sweetens the cookies and replaces some of the flour. (The cookies dry out with too much flour.) The butter and confectioners’ sugar combination will be extremely creamy and lush. Add vanilla extract and the remaining ingredients: cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, salt, flour, and cranberries. The cookie dough will be extremely crumbly and you will definitely doubt that it will all come together, but I promise you, it does! Keep on mixing.
- Chill the cookie dough for 30 minutes.
- Preheat your oven as instructed in the printable recipe below.
- Roll the chilled dough into balls and arrange on a lined baking sheet.
- Bake the cookies until lightly browned.
- Cool the cookies.
- Make the super easy icing.
- Dip the cookies in the icing. No piping tips needed!
Note: The cookie dough will seem dry, but keep mixing because it will eventually combine. The dough is still a little crumbly, but will easily roll into balls after the 30 minutes of chilling.
These cranberry spice cookies taste great on their own, but taste even better with a little icing. You need eggnog (I just use store-bought), confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract, and cinnamon. Whisk together, taste, then add a pinch of salt if desired. You can add more confectioners’ sugar to thicken the icing or more eggnog to thin it out. It’s creamy, sweet, and tastes like melted vanilla ice cream. (It really does!)
If you’re not a fan of eggnog, I have other options for you:
- Brown Butter Icing from my Pistachio Cookies
- Vanilla Icing
- Orange Icing from my Cranberry Orange Scones
- Coat in confectioners’ sugar like regular Snowball Cookies
- Maple Icing from my Maple Brown Sugar Cookies
Or if you can’t get enough eggnog, try these spiced eggnog oatmeal cream pies next.
These have a way of NOT making it out of the kitchen. Should any survive to land on your holiday cookie platters, I know they’ll be equally loved. The cookies are uniquely tasty, plus the ingredient list is short and the preparation is simple. Christmas cookie success!
P.S. Here are 75+ Christmas cookies with all my best success guides & tips.Print
Adapted from my snowball cookies, these soft and crumbly Cranberry Spice Cookies have deliciously festive spice flavor. The cookie dough is made from 9 easy ingredients and requires just 1 mixing bowl. There’s only 30 minutes of cookie dough chilling needed, making this a quick cookie recipe.
- 1 cup (2 sticks; 230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 3/4 cup (90g) confectioners’ sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 and 1/4 cups (281g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- 3/4 cup finely chopped dried cranberries*
- 1 cup (120g) confectioners’ sugar
- 2–3 Tablespoons (30-45ml) eggnog
- 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- pinch of ground cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter for 1 minute on medium speed until completely smooth and creamy. Add the confectioners’ sugar then beat on medium-high speed until creamy and combined. Add the vanilla extract, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, salt, flour, and dried cranberries and beat on medium speed until combined. The dough may not come together at first, but keep mixing. The cookie dough will be thick and a little crumbly.
- Cover the cookie dough tightly and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes and up to 3 days. (If chilling for 2+ hours, let the cookie dough sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before rolling into balls. The cookie dough will be very stiff after being in the refrigerator that long.)
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
- Roll the cookie dough into balls, about 1 scant Tablespoon of dough each, and place dough balls 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. If the cookie dough is too crumbly, keep rolling and working it with your hands. The warmth of your hands will help bring it together.
- Bake the cookies until golden brown on the bottom edges and just barely browned on top, about 14-15 minutes.
- Allow the cookies to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack. Make sure cookies are cool to touch before dipping in icing.
- For the icing: Whisk the confectioners’ sugar, 2 Tablespoons (30ml) of eggnog, vanilla, and cinnamon together. It will be very thick. Whisk in the remaining Tablespoon of eggnog. Taste. Add a pinch of salt if desired (I always do). Add more confectioners’ sugar to thicken or more eggnog to thin out, if desired.
- Dip cookies in icing and/or drizzle on top. If desired, sprinkle extra cinnamon on top of the icing. If coated lightly, the icing will set after a few hours.
- Cover leftover iced cookies tightly and store at room temperature for 1 day or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Cookies without icing can sit covered at room temperature for up to 1 week.
- Freezing Instructions: Freeze baked cookies with or without icing for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator or at room temperature. You can also freeze the cookie dough or cookie dough balls for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before baking.
- Confectioners’ Sugar: Use confectioners’ (powdered) sugar. Don’t use granulated sugar. The cookies will over-spread and have a granular texture.
- Dried Cranberries: Use dried cranberries, not fresh or frozen cranberries. Chop the dried cranberries into itty bitty pieces. These cookies are small and we want to make sure there are a lot of cranberries in each bite. The smaller, the better. Dried cranberries are a little sticky, so be patient and use a very sharp knife.
- Be sure to check out my top 5 cookie baking tips AND these are my 10 must-have cookie baking tools.
Keywords: cranberry cookies, shortbread, Christmas cookies