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Melt In Your Mouth Italian Iced Orange Cookies

Delicious Italian iced orange cookies that melt in your mouth with every bite. These beautiful, soft orange cookies are perfectly sweet and have hints of fresh orange juice and zest in every bite.

Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
25 mins

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My friend Angie makes the best Italian cookies during the holiday season, it’s a recipe passed down from her Nonna and they’re unbelievable. They’re soft, puffy and small Italian cookies with three different colors and a simple icing. The trick? Extra flour, just the right amount of sugar and real deal butter.

Truth be told, I never liked Italian orange cookies until I tried the ones she made and year after year I would tell Angie that I needed her to make her Nonna’s cookies for me. They’ve officially inspired today’s recipe. Thanks, Ang, I love you and think about you often.

I had originally made these glorious orange cookies last year and couldn’t stop eating them. They were soft (just like Angie’s Nonna’s), fluffy, and almost melted in your mouth like those lofthouse style ones from the store. Finally, I’m sharing the recipe with you and if you adore orange as much as I do, I know you’ll love these too.

italian iced orange cookies with glaze on a marble board

Everything you’ll need to make these Italian orange cookies

One of the things I love about these orange cookies is that they’re so easy to make. Yeah, yeah I realize it’s regular flour, butter and sugar, but that’s the way these Italian cookies roll, mkay? The dough is infused with real fresh orange juice and orange zest. It’s so good, you’ll think that you’re eating a dreamsicle. Bake them up and then glaze them with a perfectly sweet orange icing. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Butter: yes, we’re using good old fashioned butter because that’s what makes these cookies truly melt-in-your-mouth.
  • Sugar: regular, white sugar to perfectly sweeten these orange cookies.
  • Egg: you’ll need 1 egg to help the cookies bake up properly.
  • Orange: we’re using fresh orange juice and orange zest for all of that delicious, bright orange flavor.
  • Almond extract: the key to the flavor in these Italian orange cookies.
  • Flour: you’ll need regular, all purpose flour in this recipe.
  • Baking staples: don’t forget the baking powder (not soda!) and salt.
  • For the icing: you’ll need some powdered sugar, more orange juice & zest, a little melted butter and a little softened cream cheese. SO LUSCIOUS.

italian orange cookies with glaze on a marble board next to a linen and a spoon

Can I make them gluten free?

I haven’t tested these orange cookies with a gluten free substitute but I think a gluten free all purpose flour should work! Chickpea flour or quinoa flour may also work but you might get a different flavor. Let me know in the comments if you try it!

How to make vegan orange cookies

Feel free to use a flax egg in place of the regular egg (learn how to make one here!) And use a vegan buttery stick + vegan cream cheese in the recipe.

orange cookies with icing on a marble board with a linen and a spoon

Tips for the best orange cookies every time

  • Use parchment paper. Make sure to add parchment paper to your baking sheet to make sure the cookies don’t stick to the pan.
  • Use an electric mixer. It’s best to use an electric mixer for this recipe so that you can beat the butter and sugar together until it’s nice and fluffy. I love this hand mixer or this KitchenAid mixer, which is well worth the investment!
  • Use room temp ingredients. Make sure your butter is softened to room temperature and not melted. I recommend taking it out of the fridge an hour or two before baking these cookies. Do not attempt to soften your butter in the microwave — if you do this the cookies will not turn out correctly! Be sure to also use a room temperature egg by running it under warm water for a minute or two so that it does not coagulate with the butter.
  • Do not pack your flour. Scoop your flour into the measuring cup and then level it off with the flat end of a butter knife. See the perfect method here!
  • Cool before glazing. Allow the orange cookies to completely cool before glazing them so that the glaze doesn’t soak into the cookies. If you are in a rush and want to speed up the process you can put the cookie sheet in the freezer for 10-15 minutes after baking.

Storing & freezing tips

  1. To store: wait for the orange icing to completely harden on the cookies, then place them in a glass container in even layers. You can place parchment paper in between each cookie layer if you are concerned with cookies sticking to one another. Cookies will stay good for 5 days at room temperature in cooler weather. If humid, I recommend transferring cookies to the fridge in a glass container after a day or two.
  2. To freeze: get all of our best tips & tricks for freezing cookies before and after baking here!

traditional orange cookies with frosting on a marble board

Our fav tools for this cookie recipe

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I hope you love these Italian orange cookies! If you make them, be sure to leave a comment and a rating so I know how you liked them. Enjoy, xo!

Melt In Your Mouth Italian Iced Orange Cookies

4.97 from 27 votes
Italian iced orange cookies with icing on a marble board
Course Cookies, Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Keyword iced orange cookies, italian iced orange cookies, italian orange cookies, orange cookies
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Serves 14

Delicious Italian iced orange cookies that melt in your mouth with every bite. These beautiful, soft orange cookies are perfectly sweet and have hints of fresh orange juice and zest in every bite.

Ingredients

  • Wet Ingredients:
  • 6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup fresh orange juice (or from the carton works too)
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
  • Dry Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • For the icing:
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon softened cream cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar for 1 minutes until well combined. Turn mixer to medium-low speed and add in egg (make sure it’s at room temp -- you can do this by running the egg under warm water for 1 min); beating until well combined, smooth and creamy into the butter and sugar. Next beat in the orange juice, zest and almond extract for about 30 more seconds.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the wet ingredients and mix together on medium speed until combined.
  4. Drop about one heaping tablespoon full of dough onto prepared baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. You should end up with 14-16 cookies. Bake for 10-13 minutes until just barely golden brown on the edges. 
  5. Remove and allow to cool on baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling completely. Repeat with remaining dough.
  6. To make the icing: Once cookies have cooled, make the icing: add the powdered sugar, orange juice, zest, melted butter and softened cream cheese to a bowl. A drop of almond extract is also delicious in the icing, but please only do one drop if you'd like. Dip the top of the cookies in the icing then place back on the wire rack to allow icing to harden. Garnish with a little extra orange zest to make them pretty. Makes about 14-16 cookies.

Recipe Notes

To make cookies gluten free: I suggest using an all purpose gluten free flour such as Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 baking flour. I also think chickpea flour or quinoa flour would work very well but you may get a different flavor.

To make cookies vegan: Use a flax egg (1 tablespoon flaxseed meal + 3 tablespoons water) and a softened vegan buttery stick (such as Earth Balance) and vegan cream cheese.

Get all of our tips & tricks for freezing these cookies here!

Nutrition
Servings: 14 cookies
Serving size: 1 cookie
Calories: 148kcal
Fat: 6.4g
Saturated fat: 3.9g
Carbohydrates: 21.7g
Fiber: 0.4g
Sugar: 11.9g
Protein: 1.9g

Recipe by: Monique // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by: Eat Love Eats

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