Rich and buttery with just a hint of sweetness, these Orange Rosemary Shortbread Cookies have a subtle, but standout flavor that will have everyone coming back for more. This golden brown shortbread is perfect for the holiday season, as a hostess gift, or to just have stashed in your cookie jar for a buttery treat. The orange and rosemary flavors are subtle but add something special to a classic.

A stack of orange shortbread cookies.

​The Best Shortbread You’ll Ever Have

Buttery shortbread is so delicious, yet somehow we only seem to have it one time of the year. Hopefully, this recipe will change that and become one of your go-to cookie recipes! I personally love a buttery cookie, whether it’s a shortbread, a sugar cookie, or a chocolate chip shortbread! Everything is better with butter, right? 

Shortbread is one of those recipes that can easily be dressed up since the classic ingredients are just lots of butter and sugar. I wanted to go for something a little more elegant this time around and landed on the earthy, woodsy flavor of rosemary with the brightness that comes from citrus.

I love using fresh herbs whenever I can and highly recommend going with fresh rosemary for this recipe. You can find it at most grocery stores of if you’re lucky, in your very own herb garden. I just love the smell too! 

When making these shortbread cookies you can go one of two ways. You can either roll the dough into two logs or divide the dough in two and make two rectangles. Either way, you’ll want to wrap them in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to keep the butter cold and let it set. You can also freeze them for later.

Baked shortbread squares on a serving tray.

If making a log, you will roll it in demara sugar then slice. If cutting into shapes sprinkle the demara sugar on top of the rectangle and run the rolling pin over the top to embed the sugar into the dough before cutting. 

Pro Tip: Have you ever had a hard time keeping a roll from getting indentations or flattening in the freezer? Try wrapping it in a hand towel before placing it in the fridge or freezer, this will help keep it’s round shape when you want pretty circles.

This isn’t my only variation on classic shortbread! For more citrusy goodness, try my Lemon Shortbread Bars​ or Apricot Shortbread Bars. For more classic style cookies, try my Pistachio Shortbread

Why You’ll Love This Shortbread Recipe

  • Easy Holiday Gifts – Wrap these in a beautiful box with a ribbon and you have a delicious gift made with love! Everyone will appreciate that. 
  • Elegantly Simple – The addition of fresh orange and rosemary take this simple cookie to a new level. 
  • Next Day Goodies – As the cookies rest, the flavors continue to mingle together and build and even more incredible taste! 
  • Not too sweet – Most of the sweetness comes from the demara sugar on the outside, it’s more buttery than sweet making it the perfect cookie with a cup of tea.

Ingredients For Orange Shortbread Cookies

The ingredients to make orange shortbread cookies.
Gather the ingredients.

Dry Ingredients – Flour, sugar, salt, medium ground cornmeal, and Demerara sugar for coating. The cornmeal adds a nice texture.

Butter – Room temperature butter to start with. 

​Produce – Grated orange zest and finely chopped fresh rosemary. 

Egg Yolk – Room temperature egg yolks. You can save the egg whites for omelets or meringue! 

How To Make Shortbread

Step One: Whisk Dry Ingredients

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, and salt. Chop Rosemary and zest orange.

Teh dry ingredients in a bowl with a whisk.
Whisk the dry ingredients.
Rosemary chopped on a cutting board.
Chop the rosemary.

Step Two: Beat Sugar

Use a stand mixer to beat the butter and sugar until incorporated but not fluffy, about 1 minute. Add the citrus zest, and rosemary.

Butter and sugar creamed in a bowl.
Cream the butter and sugar.
Orange zest and rosemary added to the dough.
Add orange zest and rosemary.

and egg yolks, beating just until incorporated, then add the dry ingredients.

Eggs added to the shortbread.
Add the eggs.
Shortbread dough in a mixing bowl.
Add dry ingredients mixing just until combined.

Step Three: Chill Dough

Gather the dough into a ball and divide it in half. Shape each half into a 6-inch long log. Wrap tight in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for several hours, or freeze for 45 minutes. You can also roll the dough into two rectangles instead of logs if you want to cut them into shapes.

Shortbread dough formed into a log.
Form into a log.
Shortbread dough formed into a rectangle.
Or form into a rectangle.

Step Four: Bake

Place sugar all over the outside of the logs. Cut the logs into 1/3-inch thick slices. If making shapes, sprinkle the Demerara sugar over the rectangle and use a rolling pin to embed it into the dough. Cut into your desired shapes and bake until golden brown.

Shortbread cut into squares.
Cut into shapes.
Shortbread dough cut into squares on a cookie sheet.
Place on a cookie sheet and bake.

Step Five: Cool

Let cool for several minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Then grab your favorite warm beverage and enjoy.

Tips For Perfect Savory Shortbread Cookies

  • Don’t skip the chill! Since we’re starting with room temperature butter, we need the butter to get cold and solidify in the fridge. This keeps the cookies from spreading out and makes sure that there are delicious pockets of buttery goodness in every bite. 
  • ​Try to roll as thin as possible, if the dough gets to warm to handle, just pop it back in the fridge.

How To Store Rosemary Shortbread Cookies

On The Counter: Shortbread doesn’t need to be refrigerated, just stored in an airtight container. The flavors will continue to build the longer they last!

Buttery Orange Rosemary Shortbread Cookies

Rich and buttery with just a hint of sweetness, these Orange Rosemary Shortbread Cookies have a subtle, but standout flavor that will have everyone coming back for more. This golden brown shortbread is perfect for the holiday season, as a hostess gift, or to just have stashed in your cookie jar for a buttery treat. The orange and rosemary flavors are subtle but add something special to a classic.
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 48
Calories: 71kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter room temp
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal medium ground
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp. grated orange zest
  • 1 tbsp. fresh rosemary finely chopped
  • 2 egg yolk room temp
  • 1/4 cup Demerara sugar for coating

Instructions

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the four, cornmeal, and salt.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium high until incorporated but not fluffy, about 1 minute. Add the orange zest, rosemary, and egg yolks, one at a time, beating just until incorporated. Add the dry ingredients and mix just until combined.
  • Gather the dough into a ball and divide it in half. Shape each half into a 6 inch long log or a rectangle. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for about 2 hours or freeze.
  • Preheat oven to 350º. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll each log into the sugar so that the outside is coated. Cut the logs into 1/3 inch thick slices. Place cookies 1 inch apart and bake until lightly golden, 15-17 minutes. If cutting into shapes, sprinkle the top of each rectangle with Demerara sugar and runa rolling pin over it to embed the sugar in the dough. Roll until it is 1/3 inch thick and cut into shapes.
  • Let cool for several minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

Notes

  • Don’t skip the chill! Since we’re starting with room temperature butter, we need the butter to get cold and solidify in the fridge. This keeps the cookies from spreading out and makes sure that there are delicious pockets of buttery goodness in every bite. 
  • ​Try to roll as thin as possible, if the dough gets to warm to handle, just pop it back in the fridge.
  • Use a medium to fine cornmeal.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 71kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 18mg | Sodium: 59mg | Potassium: 12mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 138IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 4mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @easy.southern.desserts or tag #easysoutherndesserts!

I first published this recipe for Orange Shortbread Cookies on my Southern food blog Butter and Baggage.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating