Cookies Holidays Winter

Panettone Sugar Cookies

panettone sugar cookies on pink plates

Growing up, my dad would always try to sneak little pieces of the sugar cookie dough while my mom was baking. It is a vivid childhood memory: watching his head peek around the corner, checking to see if her back was turned, and then making a dash for the bowl. She would yell and throw a towel and him, and my sister and I would giggle and hope he would share some with us while we followed him out of the kitchen.

These sugar cookies are based on my memories of my favorite sugar cookies growing up, and also on sugar cookies from Chapter 1 in 100 Cookies (different than the Pan-banging Sugar Cookies). They have crisp edges and chewy, tender centers. I am calling them “Panettone” because they have some of the flavor notes found in actual Panettone, (similar to my Panettone scones), such as orange and lemon zest and dried fruit (I prefer dried cranberries and candied orange and lemon). I also like a good tablespoon of triple sec and plenty of vanilla.

They’re a great addition to holiday cookie boxes, or a lovely winter baking day.

Ingredient Notes for Panettone Sugar Cookies:

  • All-Purpose Flour: Make sure your all-purpose flour is not too high or low in protein; I like to use Gold Medal unbleached all-purpose for cookie baking. At 10.5 percent protein it is a good, moderate choice to keep baked goods tender.
  • Unsalted Butter: I use unsalted butter in my recipes so I can control the salt content. This recipe uses both salt in the dough and sprinkled on top before baking, so unsalted works well here in order to keep the cookies from getting too salty.
  • Candied and/or Dried Fruit: I love using King Arthur Flour’s “jammy bits” in these cookies; they have so much flavor and stay very tender. However, any dried fruit will work here: cherries, apricots, candied orange peel, candied ginger, cranberries, or pineapple are all good options. Just makes sure to chop them into very small, bite-sized pieces.
  • Liqueur: I use Triple Sec, but any orange liqueur will work nicely here.

Freezing Cookie Dough:

Cookie dough can also be formed into balls and frozen for up to 2 weeks. Freeze them on a sheet pan without them touching, then move into a freezer bag. When you’re ready to bake, let the cookies sit out at room temperature until the oven preheats. The cookies will need an extra minute if baked frozen.

panettone sugar cookies on marble surface
panettone sugar cookies on plates

More Sugar Cookie Recipes:

panettone sugar cookies on pink plates

Panettone Sugar Cookies

Servings: 20 cookies
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 13 minutes
Chewy sugar cookies with the flavors of panettone, such as orange and lemon zest and dried fruit. There's a splash of triple sec and plenty of vanilla, too.
Sarah Kieffer
4.93 from 13 votes
Print Pin Rate


  • 2 ½ cups plus 1 tablespoon [364 g] all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 cup [2 sticks or 227 g] unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 ¾ cup [350 g] granulated sugar plus ½ cup [100 g] for rolling
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg plus 1 large yolk
  • 1 tablespoon triple sec or other orange liqueur optional
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup [70 g] candied dried fruit or dried fruit chopped into small, bite-sized pieces (cherries, apricots, candied orange peels, etc. I love King Arthur Flour jammy bits and used those here)


  • Adjust an oven rack to the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350F [180C]. Line three sheet pans with parchment paper.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Add 1 ¾ cups [350 g] of the granulated sugar, orange and lemon zest, and salt and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the egg, yolk, Triple sec, if using, and vanilla, and beat on medium speed until combined, scraping down the sides as needed. Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until just combined. Add the dried fruit and mix on low again, then use a rubber spatula to mix the dough again to make sure it is completely combined.
  • Place the remaining ½ cup [100 g] of sugar in a medium bowl.
  • For the cookies into 1 ½ oz [45 g] balls (2 tablespoons). Roll each ball in the sugar and place 8 cookies on each sheet pan.
  • Bake one pan at a time, rotating halfway through baking. Bake until the sides are set and the bottoms are light golden brown, 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer the sheet pan to a wire rack and let the cookies cool for 5 to 10 minutes on the pan, then remove them and let them cool completely on the wire rack. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.


*Throughout my recipes posted on this website, 1 cup of flour equals 142g. Please note that 1 cup of flour can range anywhere from 120g to 142g, depending on the baker or website. I found that after weighting many cups of flour and averaging the total, mine always ended up around this number. If I am posting a recipe from another cookbook, I will use whatever gram measure of flour used in that book, which is why you may see a few posts with a different cup measurement. 
Different brands of flour have varying levels of protein, ranging from low to high, which can result in very different outcomes when baking. I’ve found Gold Medal all-purpose unbleached flour to be the best option for many of my recipes; I use it in all the baked goods that don’t use yeast. For yeasted doughs that call for all-purpose flour, I like to use King Arthur Brand. If you are using White Lily flour, please note that it is a low protein flour and doesn’t absorb liquid the same as regular all-purpose flours. Check the back of the flour bag for instructions on substituting it for regular all-purpose flours. 
  • Reply
    Saturday, December 30, 2023 at 6:04 pm

    4 stars
    I mistakenly creamed the butter and sugar together instead of adding the sugar after initially beating the butter alone. The cookies spread very thin and ended up with a texture like a cracker. Do you think this is why the cookies spread so much?

    • Reply
      Sarah Kieffer
      Tuesday, February 6, 2024 at 5:02 pm

      Hi Nancy – I don’t think that would have caused the cookies to spread so much, since you need to beat the butter and sugar together anyway. Did you make any substations to the recipe? And what kind of butter and flour did you use?

  • Reply
    Sharon Merrill
    Saturday, December 23, 2023 at 9:39 am

    5 stars
    Made them yesterday for gifts and I’m making more today. I make a point of making different cookies and I almost never repeat so a repeat is a very high compliment. I used candied peel, candied citron, and candied ginger. Delicious!

  • Reply
    Friday, December 22, 2023 at 8:51 pm

    5 stars
    these are fun, and in my case, I might be tempted to sample the triple sec ahead of baking over the dough! But seriously, a fun amped up version of a sugar cookie, thank you

  • Reply
    Wednesday, December 13, 2023 at 12:13 pm

    5 stars
    Could I press a cookie stamp on top to make a holiday design? Does that work with this kind of dough?

    • Reply
      Sarah Kieffer
      Tuesday, February 6, 2024 at 5:15 pm

      This dough is really soft, and the stamps won’t keep their shape during baking. I would use a shortbread or cutout cookie recipe for stamps!

  • Reply
    Monday, December 11, 2023 at 7:34 pm

    5 stars
    Mine didn’t crackle like the photo, so they aren’t all that attractive, but they are YUMMY. I used equal parts orange, cherry, apricot.

  • Reply
    Friday, December 8, 2023 at 2:06 pm

    Okay, I used about an eighth of a tsp of Fiori di Sicilia in the cookies. They are delicious! Thanks for a wonderful recipe.

  • Reply
    Katie F
    Thursday, December 7, 2023 at 10:34 am

    Hi I have a question: the notes say that the cookies are sprinkled with salt before baking, but I do not read that anywhere in the recipe itself. Would that be done before or after rolling in sugar?

    • Reply
      Sarah Kieffer
      Saturday, December 9, 2023 at 2:45 pm

      I always sprinkle just a little bit of salt after rolling in the sugar. I roll them, place them on the pan, and then sprinkle the salt on.

  • Reply
    Thursday, December 7, 2023 at 8:40 am

    How about a small amount of Fiori di Sicilia in these? I think it would blend beautifully with the other flavors. Will post when I try it!

  • Reply
    Tuesday, December 5, 2023 at 10:28 am

    What flavor of jammie bits did you use? Thanks!

    • Reply
      Sarah Kieffer
      Saturday, December 9, 2023 at 2:47 pm

      I used a combination of orange and cherry! Those are my favorite.

  • Reply
    Monday, March 13, 2023 at 1:03 am

    5 stars
    I made these cookies for my family and everyone loved them. They turned out delicious! It is going to be my new go-to cookie recipe.

  • Reply
    Sunday, January 15, 2023 at 4:08 pm

    5 stars
    Delicious! A nice change from “plain” sugar cookies. I used equal weights of dried cherries and apricots, small diced. To make sure the citrus flavor really popped, I also added candied lemon and orange peel. I ended up with about 90 gm of mix-ins, but it wasn’t an issue and each cookie had some bits. Lovely color and nice round cookies, not too much spread.

  • Reply
    Samantha Rowan
    Friday, December 23, 2022 at 4:33 pm

    5 stars
    This is a new recipe for me and it came out perfectly. The dough was easy to work with and the flavors were great. I made one addition – mini chocolate chips!

  • Reply
    Friday, December 23, 2022 at 5:45 am

    Could you substitute orange extract (maybe 1/2 tsp?) for the triple sec? Can’t wait to try baking these!

4.93 from 13 votes (5 ratings without comment)

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