Fruitcake Cookies

published Oct 28, 2022
Fruitcake Cookies Recipe

The beauty of fruitcake cookies is that you’re able to get classic fruitcake flavors without needing to wait weeks to dig in.

Makes20 cookies

Prep45 minutes

Cook26 minutes to 30 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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A photo of fruitcake cookies, topped with pecans and dried fruit.
Credit: Meleyna Nomura

Fruitcake can get a bad rap. But at its heart, it’s a flavor- and texture-packed loaf chock-full of dried fruit and nuts. And what’s so bad about that? A full cake can be a commitment, but these cookies are lovely little treats that can easily be swapped and shared with friends and family this holiday season.

The process for fruitcake traditionally starts several weeks before it’s planned to be eaten. It’s soaked with alcohol like brandy or rum, preserving the cake and intensifying the flavor. The beauty of fruitcake cookies is that you’re able to get those classic fruitcake flavors without waiting weeks to dig in. The dried fruit is steeped in a modest amount of alcohol before being stirred into the cookie dough, providing that classic flavor. Prefer not to use alcohol? Substitute apple juice.

The Best Dried Fruits for Fruitcake Cookies

Premixed fruitcake mixes can be purchased and typically contain a mixture of dried, sweetened, and often dyed citrus peel, cherries, and pineapple. But opting to choose your own dried fruit mix gives better control over overall sweetness and texture. Use a combination of the following:

  • Dried dates
  • Dried figs
  • Raisins
  • Currants
  • Prunes
  • Dried apricots
  • Dried tart cherries
  • Dried cranberries
  • Dried, sweetened pineapple
  • Crystalized ginger
Credit: Meleyna Nomura

Can Fruitcake Cookies Be Made Ahead?

These cookies have the best texture the day they’re made, when they have the greatest contrast of textures. The dried fruit will cause leftover cookies to soften over time, so it’s best to store them in the refrigerator.

Fruitcake Cookies Recipe

The beauty of fruitcake cookies is that you’re able to get classic fruitcake flavors without needing to wait weeks to dig in.

Prep time 45 minutes

Cook time 26 minutes to 30 minutes

Makes 20 cookies

Nutritional Info


  • 1 pound

    dried fruit (such as raisins, dates, figs, tart cherries, pineapple, apricots, crystalized ginger), chopped (about the size of a raisin, about 3 cups total)

  • 8 ounces

    nuts (such as pecans, walnuts, cashew, almonds), chopped (about the size of a raisin, about 2 cups total)

  • 1 tablespoon

    orange zest, from half an orange

  • 1 tablespoon

    lemon zest, from one lemon

  • 1/4 cup

    dark rum, brandy, bourbon, or apple juice

  • 2 tablespoons

    orange juice, from half an orange

  • 2 tablespoons

    lemon juice, from one lemon

  • 1 3/4 cups

    all-purpose flour

  • 2 tablespoons

    cocoa powder

  • 1 teaspoon

    espresso powder

  • 1 teaspoon

    baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    ground cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    ground allspice

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    ground nutmeg

  • 12 tablespoons

    unsalted butter, melted

  • 1/2 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 1/4 cup

    (packed) dark brown sugar

  • 1

    large egg

  • Nut halves, additional dried fruit pieces for decoration (optional)


  1. Arrange oven racks in upper and lower thirds in the oven and preheat to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

  2. Roughly chop 1 pound dried fruit until about equal size pieces, about the size of a raisin, about three cups. Add to a medium bowl. Zest the fruit and add 1 tablespoon orange zest and 1 tablespoon lemon zest to the bowl. Pour over 1/4 cup rum (or other alcohol or juice), 2 tablespoons orange juice, and 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Stir, and cover bowl with a plate or plastic wrap. Microwave until very hot, about 2 minutes. Uncover and stir well. Place in the fridge to aid cooling while you prep the other ingredients, stirring occasionally.

  3. Roughly chop 8 ounces nuts, until the largest pieces are about the size of a raisin, about 2 cups. Add to one of the prepared baking sheets and place in the oven. Toast until fragrant and starting to brown, 12-13 minutes. Remove from the oven, lift the parchment and pour onto a clean plate and place in the fridge to cool.

  4. In a large bowl, add 12 tablespoons unsalted butter. Microwave until almost completely melted, about 1 minute. Whisk until fully melted. Whisk in 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar. Add 1 egg and whisk until smooth.

  5. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour, 2 tablespoons natural cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon espresso powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice, and 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg.

  6. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl with the wet and use a rubber spatula to gently stir until almost completely combined. Add the nuts and dried fruit (they don’t need to be completely cool, just not hot) and fold until evenly combined. Use a 3 tablespoon scoop to form balls of dough and place on the prepared baking sheets 2 inches apart. Gently press additional nuts and dried fruit into the top of each cookie, flattening the cookies to about 2 1/2-inches wide.

  7. Add the two trays to the oven and bake, rotating the trays halfway through, until set and no longer wet looking, 13 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: Dried fruit can be chopped and soaked the night before. No need to heat in the microwave, just cover and let steep at room temperature. Nuts can be chopped and toasted three days before. Cool and store in an airtight container at room temperature until ready to use.

Storage: The dried fruit will cause the cookies to soften the longer they sit. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to three months.