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Orange shortbread cookies couldn’t be easier or more delicious. Pair them with a mug of tea and your afternoon is complete!

Orange shortbread cookies couldn't be easier or more delicious. Pair them with a mug of tea and your afternoon is complete!

This is a sponsored post on behalf of Twinings. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that continue to make My Baking Addiction possible.

Being that I am a food blogger, I sometimes get caught up in the hype of making making over-the-top desserts like Double Chocolate Salted Caramel Cake and Coca-Cola Cupcakes and I forgot about the simple things like shortbread cookies.

I’ve always had a special place in my heart for shortbread cookies because of my Nana. Now, I don’t remember Nana ever making shortbread cookies, but she often had a blue tin of them on hand during the holidays.

And of course, my faves were the one ones with the extra sprinkling of coarse sugar. I’ve also always had an affinity for Trefoils over any other cookie from the Girl Scouts.

As a kid I loved dunking them in a glass of ice cold milk and as an adult, I love them paired with a mug of hot tea.

Orange shortbread cookies couldn't be more delicious. Pair them with a cup of Earl Gray for the perfect afternoon pick-me-up!

Shortbread cookies are one of the most simple and delicious cookies you’ll ever make. And since they require only a handful of ingredients, you probably won’t even need to make a special trip to the market.

You really only need butter, sugar, flour, and an egg. I mean, it doesn’t get much easier than that.

Using those basic ingredients, you can make crispy, buttery cookies that are perfect for just about any occasion. Or, you can kick things up a notch by adding in extract, citrus zest and even herbs to take your shortbread cookies to a whole new level.

Twinings Earl Gray Teas in Jasmine, Lavender and Extra Bold.

When the lovely folks at Twinings contacted me to create a recipe to pair with one of their new blends of Earl Gray teas, my mind immediately thought of shortbread. But not just any shortbread.

I decided to take cue from my friend Emily’s recipe for Rosemary Lemon Shortbread and add in loads of fresh orange zest. This butter citrus combination paired perfectly with Twinings Extra Bold Earl Gray which was only enhanced by the natural orange flavor in the orange shortbread cookies.

If you know anything about tea, you know Twinings. They’ve been in business for more than 300 years! Earl Grey Tea actually came about when the Prime Minister in 1831, Charles Grey, asked Richard Twining to replicate a tea he had been given by a Chinese Mandarin.

It’s pretty awesome that a tea blend created over 186 years ago is still going strong, and in fact, growing. Twinings has three new blends of bergamot-flavored tea; Jasmine Earl Gray, Lavender Earl Gray, and my personal favorite, Extra Bold Earl Gray.

Orange shortbread cookies couldn't be easier or more delicious.

If you’re not familiar, bergamot is a citrus fruit similar to an orange, but more like a lemon in flavor. I’d love to get my hands on some to make more baked goods with them, because I’m obsessed with the flavor in tea. But, since bergamots certainly aren’t going to grow in too-cold-for-its-own-good Ohio, I’m simply going to relish a steaming mug of Extra Bold Earl Grey like five times a day. Kidding not kidding.

Because it’s a citrus fruit, pairing it with other citrus is a no-brainer. These Orange Shortbread Cookies are delightful and just perfect for dipping and nibbling while you sip any one of these new varieties of Earl Grey tea.

Now let me tell you how to make a perfect cup of Earl Grey tea. Start with fresh, cold water. I prefer to use an electric kettle for boiling water. My friend Amber convinced me to buy one years ago, and I’ve never looked back. If you’re British and reading this post, you’re probably thinking, “Um, yeah, duh, who doesn’t own a kettle?!”, but they’re not commonplace in the U.S. I think they should be.

Orange shortbread cookies couldn't be more delicious. Pair them with a cup of Earl Gray for the perfect afternoon treat.
Boil water in a stove-top kettle or electric kettle. Do not use the microwave. It makes tea taste funny (to me, anyway).

When the kettle is just boiled, add a tea bag – Extra Bold Earl Grey for me, thanks! – to your tea cup, and pour water over it. Don’t over-boil the water, it can make the tea taste flat once brewed.

Allow the tea to steep for 2-4 minutes, but no longer. Any longer and you might end up with a cup of tea that tastes bitter and overdone.

Sometimes I prefer my Earl Grey with a bit of milk, or if I’m feeling extremely decadent, half and half. You can add a bit of sugar now too, but the cookies also provide plenty of sweetness if you eat them together.

I’m here to tell you there’s not much more restorative on a cold day than a steaming mug of tea. Except maybe a steaming mug of tea and some Orange Shortbread Cookies!

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Orange Shortbread Cookies

By: Jamie
4.41 from 165 ratings
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 18 minutes
Chill Time: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 38 minutes
Servings: 3 dozen cookies
Orange shortbread cookies couldn’t be easier or more delicious. Pair them with a mug of tea and your afternoon is complete!


  • ¾ cup sugar
  • zest from 2 large oranges
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter softened
  • 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 2 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • coarse sugar for rolling optional


  • In a medium bowl, combine the sugar and orange zest. Use a fork to work the zest into the sugar until the sugar becomes moist and fragrant.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and egg and beat until incorporated.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.
  • With the mixer on low, gently add dry ingredients into the butter mixture. Mix until ingredients are well combined and a stiff dough is formed.
  • Cut two large pieces of plastic wrap. Divide dough in half placing one half of the dough on each piece of plastic wrap. Use your hands to form two 1 ½-inch diameter logs. Open the plastic wrap and sprinkle logs with sanding sugar (if using) and roll a bit more to coat the logs well in the sugar. Wrap logs tightly in the plastic wrap, place on baking sheet and freeze logs for 1 hour or until firm.
  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Remove dough logs from the freezer and remove the plastic wrap. Slice dough into ¼ inch thick slices and place on prepared baking sheets 1 inch apart.
  • Bake until cookies are just golden at the edges, about 16-18 minutes. Allow cookies to cool on wire racks.
  • Store cookies in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
4.41 from 165 votes (165 ratings without comment)

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  1. Larry Chappell says:

    Can the dough be frozen for later use. Or maybe sliced and frozen that way? I am a single male and I prefer to only make a few at a time so I can eat them fresh plus, I would eat to many if I make a whole batch. No willpower when it comes to cookies

    1. Jamie says:

      Hi Larry-
      I think you could definitely slice and freeze the cookies and bake off as needed. :)
      Thanks so much for stopping by!

  2. Deb Fletcher says:

    The last batch is in the oven. So buttery and delicious. Maybe mine were smaller because they only took 11 mins. to bake. Love this easy recipe!

    1. Jamie says:

      So happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you so much for stopping back and leaving your feedback.
      Happy Baking!

    2. Diane Baker says:

      @Deb Fletcher, Thank you so much for this comment! Since you said yours only took 11 minutes, that’s what I set my original timer for and was so glad I did! Half of the cookies still turned out darker than I would have liked but they certainly would have been burnt to a crisp if I left them for the recommended 16-18 minutes. Thank you, thank you!

  3. Emma says:

    My first adventure with shortbread cookies! Success, success, success!! Straightforward directions and delicious results. My husband is trying to talk me out of giving small cellophane bags of cookies, along with small tins of tea, to my friends for Christmas. He wants them all!! Thanks so much.

    1. Jamie says:

      So happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe, Emma! Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving your feedback. Happy Holidays!

  4. Julie Deruwe says:

    I made these cookies and they were wonderful.  I enhanced the orange flavor with a glaze made with 10x sugar, orange zest and juice, a little corn syrup.  They are beautiful and very tasty.  I’m testing cookies for my Christmas gift boxes and these are on the list.  A truly wonderful cookie that turned out perfectly.  I always give my recipients a list of the cookies and who the recipe developer is so you will receive credit for these cookies in the gift.  

    1. Jamie says:

      So glad to hear you enjoyed them! :)

  5. Annelie says:

    These are most amazing cookies !!!
    Made them for Christmas cookies,
    Added chopped dried cranberries, and 3 tablespoons of Grand Marnier
    Also 2 tablespoons cornstarch to the flour mixture
    They smell soooo good, and taste like the best you’ve ever had,
    A new Christmas tradition for us
    Make some now, and enjoy

    1. Jamie says:

      So happy to hear you enjoyed the cookies, Annelie! Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving your feedback!

  6. Brenda A. says:

    I have made similar cookies to these and when they are finished and cooled, I melt some dark chocolate in a double boiler and dip only half of the cookie in it, then set them on a rack to cool and harden.

    1. Jamie says:

      That sounds incredible. Thanks so much for the tip!

  7. Arlene says:

    Only inquiring about the 4 days since I plan to make them and take them to someone else’s house. I previously made the lemon and rosemary ones and we loved them. I made two batches in less than 3 days…lol

    1. Jamie says:

      I’m so glad you liked the cookies, Arlene! I hope everyone else does, too!