Blood Orange Crinkles

published Dec 3, 2021
Blood Orange Crinkles Recipe

Blood oranges zest up these bright and chewy crinkle cookies.

Makes24 (2-inch) crinkles

Prep50 minutes

Cook14 minutes

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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk; Prop Styling: JoJo Li

This recipe is from our Cookie Time Machine — a trip through the most iconic cookies of the past 10 decades, paired with 10 fresh twists for right now. Click here to see the most important cookies of the 1920s through today — and gaze forward with our Cookie of the Future!

Blood oranges are truly one of the most visually alluring fruits around, IMHO, but unquestionably the most visually alluring in the citrus family. The flesh is a purply crimson — a color seemingly like no other. But even the rind is gorgeous: orange with patches of faded pinky-red. Although they’ve been around since the 18th century, there is something distinctly 21st century about blood oranges, particularly when it comes to baking. And when you rub a bit of their zest into the sugar of your crinkle cookie dough (and squeeze a bit of their juice in, for good measure) the result is one of the most exciting-looking (and tasting) crinkle cookies making the holiday rounds.

I mean a crinkle cookie is always kind of a showstopper, what with its deep crevices surrounded by bright white, cloud-like, patches of confectioners’ sugar. But these blood orange crinkle cookies are like no other, with soft, chewy middles, crispy edges, and the tastiest and brightest of orange flavors.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk; Prop Styling: JoJo Li

If blood oranges aren’t in season when you make your crinkles (and so are not super flavorful), don’t fret. A little orange extract will go a long way in helping to boost their citrus flavor in the most natural-tasting of ways. A drop or two of orange food coloring (or a mix of yellow and red) is also nice to help punch home the blood orange’s unique color. All the cool cats roll their crinkles in granulated sugar, before they roll them in confectioners’ sugar pre-bake (in case you did not know). This step helps the confectioners’ sugar adhere to the cookie instead of melting into the dough. But because this is a 21st-century crinkle cookie, we don’t settle for a roll in plain ol’ granulated sugar. Instead, we roll them in red and orange sanding sugar, producing a crinkle in (a very modern) time.

The Classic

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk; Prop Styling: JoJo Li

For the classic 1920s cookie recipe, check out the Orange Drop Cookies.

Our Three Most-Loved Cookie-Baking Tools

Before you preheat the oven, gear up with these cookie-making essentials.

  • The Sheet Pan Every Kitchn Editor Owns: This sturdy, won’t-ever-warp pan is great for cranking out a ton of picture-perfect sweets. Bonus: It comes in great colors, which makes baking even more fun.
  • Our Tried-and-Tested Favorite Cooling Rack: We love these racks for their criss-cross design, which adds stability, makes sure your precious treats won’t slip though, and prevents the rack from wobbling or warping.
  • The Little Spatula That Every Baker Needs: This thin-but-sturdy spatula is great for gently loosening your cookies from the pan and transferring them to the cooling rack. It’s particularly handy for moving small or delicate treats.

Blood Orange Crinkles Recipe

Blood oranges zest up these bright and chewy crinkle cookies.

Prep time 50 minutes

Cook time 14 minutes

Makes 24 (2-inch) crinkles

Nutritional Info


  • 8 tablespoons

    (1 stick) unsalted butter

  • 1

    large egg

  • 1 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 1 to 2 small to medium blood oranges

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    orange extract

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    vanilla extract

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 2 1/3 cups

    all-purpose flour

  • Orange food coloring with a little red mixed in, or a mixture of red and yellow (with the emphasis on red) food coloring

  • 2 tablespoons

    orange sanding sugar

  • 2 tablespoons

    red sanding sugar

  • 1 cup

    powdered sugar


  1. Place 1 stick unsalted butter and 1 large egg on the counter and let sit at room temperature until the butter is softened.

  2. Place 1 cup granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer (or large bowl if using an electric hand mixer). Finely grate the zest of 1 to 2 small to medium blood oranges until you have 1 tablespoon zest. Add the zest to the sugar and rub it in with your fingers until the sugar is fragrant and moistened. Juice the oranges until you have 3 tablespoons juice.

  3. Add the butter and 3/4 teaspoon orange extract and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract to orange sugar. Beat on medium-high speed with the paddle attachment until lightened in color and fluffy, scraping down the bowl as needed with a flexible spatula, about 2 minutes.

  4. Add the orange juice, egg, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and beat on medium speed until combined, about 1 minute. With the mixer on low speed, add 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour and beat until just until a streak or two of flour remains. Add a few drops orange food coloring with a little red mixed in (or a mix of red and yellow with the emphasis on red) - your goal is an orange-y red - and briefly mix to incorporate. Cover the dough and refrigerate for 1 hour.

  5. Arrange 2 racks to divide the oven into thirds and heat the oven to 350ºF. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Place 2 tablespoons orange sanding sugar and 2 tablespoons red sanding sugar in a small shallow bowl and stir to combine with a fork. Place 1 cup powdered sugar in a second small, shallow bowl.

  6. Scoop the dough out into 24 (about 1 1/2 tablespoon) portions. Roll each portion into a ball. Roll each ball in the sanding sugar (re-roll into a ball again if needed after rolling in the sanding sugar) and then the powdered sugar. Place the dough balls on the baking sheets, spacing them evenly apart.

  7. Bake for 7 minutes. Rotate the baking sheets between racks and from front to back. Bake until the cookies look puffy and dry, about 7 minutes more. Let cool completely on the baking sheet before serving.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The cookie dough can be frozen for up to 2 months. Form the dough into balls (do not roll in the sugars) and freeze in a single layer in a baking sheet until solid, then transfer to a plastic zip-top bag. When ready to bake, transfer the dough balls to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and let sit while the oven heats. Roll the dough balls in the sugars before baking.

Storage: The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.