Orange Poppy Seed Cookies

Please welcome guest author Garrett McCord who brought these cookies over today. They lasted about a second and a half. ~Elise

Generally, I stick to ice creams and sorbets come summer, it just gets too hot out to start cranking on the oven. Still, certain treats are worth the heat and when these orange poppy seed cookies bake it’s culinary aromatherapy.

The bright orangey flavors with the slightly citric and nutty, textural pop of poppy seeds make these cookies taste like bursts of sunshine itself. They’re easy to put together and during a season when lighter flavors just seem to pair so well with the warmer weather. The cookies are light and delicate yet pack in a lot of flavor, making them delectable for kids, yet still perfectly suited for bridal parties, baby showers, or other lighthearted events.

Feel free to switch out orange for lemon if you want something a bit more reminiscent of the classic lemon poppy seed muffin. If you do decide to use lemon, a novel option is to switch out the poppy seeds for a teaspoon of ground coriander and add it with the rest of the dry ingredients for a more Mediterranean, slightly savory cookie.

Orange Poppy Seed Cookies Recipe

  • Yield: Makes 3 1/2 dozen cookies.

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of butter, room temperature
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon of orange zest
  • 1 1/4 cup of flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of poppy seeds

Method

1 Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

2 Add the egg and the orange zest, beat for thirty seconds, scraping down the bowl part way through to ensure even mixing.

3 In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Slowly sift it into the butter mixture until just combined. Fold in the poppy seeds.

4 Place heaping teaspoonfuls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or Silpat, allowing them space as they will spread as they bake.

5 Bake at 350°F for 10-12 minutes or until just turning golden around the edges. Remove from oven. Let sit on the baking sheet for a minute or two to let the cookies solidify a bit, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

orange-poppyseed-cookies-2.jpg

Links:
Lemon poppy seed muffins here on Simply Recipes
Lemon poppy seed cookies from Chocolate Shavings
Poppy seed lemon loaf by Pille of Nami Nami

39 Comments

  1. Jennie

    Thanks for posting this recipe… I’ve been looking for it for ages! Back in college, my aunt would make these for me in care packages. I have always wanted to make them myself but she lost the recipe clipping she used back then. I’ve seen other recipes for these cookies, but they weren’t quite right. The pictures of yours look just like hers. Can’t wait to test it out!

  2. Kimi @ The Nourishing Gourmet

    Yum, this sounds wonderful. I love the variation idea for lemon with coriander. Thanks for sharing it! Because I can’t have sugar right now (I react to it), I may have to find another way to get my cookie fix. Maybe maple sugar…

  3. Meryl

    These look great. What is the texture like? Is it crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside or fairly crispy throughout?

    THey can have lightly crisp edges, but are for the most part soft cookies. ~Garrett

  4. Sonya

    OMG these are fabulous! I skeptically eyed the glass of milk my daughter pushed my way, but wow, the flavor combination… a little like a creamsicle. Yum! Thanks for sharing this one. I’m thinking ice cream sandwiches made with these and some pure vanilla Haagen-Daaz will be a hit.

    BTW, was that supposed to be sift together the dry ingredients and then mix them into the bowl? I’ve never heard of slowly sifting into a bowl while mixing. That would’ve made a giant mess of my kitchen and KitchenAid!

    So very glad you liked them, and I love the idea of putting some ice cream between these! Just sift them into a bowl and then add, or pause the mixer to sift it in. Either way works fine and dandy. ~Garrett

  5. Terry B

    How funny, Elise! I was just thinking these would be great with lemon zest when I got to your statement about feeling free to swap it for the orange zest. And “bursts of sunshine” must be exactly what these taste like–well put. Gorgeous photos, by the way.

  6. Sophia from Kitchen Caravan

    Poppy seeds remind me so much of summer, and your cookies look perfect for pairing with iced tea! Last night we made a birthday cake with lemon and poppy, and added coriander to the mix for added citrus aromas. Yum.

  7. IndieTea

    I just made your banana cookies on Monday, and these look FANTASTIC! I can ‘t wait to try them, especially since lemon sables are my favorite cookies…maybe I’ll have a new favorite? :)

  8. harrison

    Tonight I went on a slight cookie marathon. I used the recipes you’ve listed for peanut butter, butter pecan, & these. All of them were delicious. My friends were particularly impressed w/ the flavor combo on these guys.

    My first batch was slightly off. Having misread “heaping teaspoon” for tablespoon, they turned out a little large & misshapen. Their appearance did not stop my buddies from clearing the plate.

    And yes, I did get the second batch correctly proportioned!

    Thanks for the great recipes guys.

  9. Christine B

    I have not had an opportunity to bake since the holidays, but last night the urge took over and I made these cookies. They were incredible. Light, but still buttery, with amazing citrus flavor. The only thing I would note is that prep time to get all that orange zest was tedious, but worth it because they make so many. Aside from the zesting, very easy to make. I will keep this recipe!

    Christine, a microplane zester is a godsend in the kitchen for zest, cheese, chocolates and other mini-grating jobs that a box grater or knife just can’t do. It’s a worthwhile investment. I use mine all the time! ~Garrett

  10. m.e.

    Do you think that keeping the orange and using cardamom would be tasty?

    Why not? If it works out, let us know! ~Garrett

  11. Lillianne

    I love using zest and when I find a beautiful orange I use that tool that makes long long strings. I put about a tablespoon of sugar on all the strings and then chop with my big knife. They keep in an airtight container in the frig for weeks. The sugar kind of crystallizes after a day or so and you can put a spoonful in your ice tea too. Same thing with lemons.

  12. Marlene

    You are right about the Microplane Zester Garrett, I received one for a gift about 5 yrs. ago and have bought several since then to give away for gifts. It stays sharp if you keep the wrapper it comes in for storing it.

  13. Jessica

    Absolutely wonderful cookies. I enjoyed them with a nice cool glass of iced tea this afternoon. Next time I will substitute lemon to see how they taste. Thanks for the great recipe!

  14. Linda in Washington State

    Hi Garret,

    Thanks for posting your cookie recipe. Your light cookies are a nice alternative to shortbread cookies that I serve with macerated fruit and whipped cream.

  15. Anne

    I’ve never been big on leaving comments in the past, but I can’t resist- these cookies look and sound fabulous!! I’m a big fan of anything citrus but never thought about it in cookies, I can’t wait to make them!

    BTW, when I told my Mom about the micro-plane I just bought I had to ship one out to both her and my Aunt!

  16. Kristine

    Thanks for the great cookies. I did not have any oranges on hand when I made them therefore I used lime zest. They came our incredible. Next time I will have the try the orange zest. Thanks!

  17. Bunny

    Thanks for this wonderful recipe!! I reduced the sugar to 1/2 cup but I followed the rest of the instructions to the dot. My cookies didn’t spread into nice flat disks like yours, but my lumpy cookies still taste AWESOME!! My hubby can’t keep his hands off of them!! Yummy!!

  18. Christyne

    Just made these and had to have one hot off the pan – WOW! Absolutely delicious! Thanks you!

  19. SAS

    Elise, I’m so sorry, but I cannot, in good conscience, recommend this recipe to anyone. I have attempted it on three counts, and each time, I have been unsuccessful in actually retaining ANY of the cookies I baked. They are all consumed in such a short time that they never reach the intended destination. In other words, THESE ARE THE BEST COOKIES EVER!!! I absolutely adore them.

    Hey Steve-Anna, Yep, Garrett did a great job with these cookies, didn’t he? ~Elise

  20. Charlemange

    I had a similar problem to Harrison with the big spoonfulls but these cookies are great! I used honey powder instead of sugar.

  21. Jen S

    These look delicious! And perfect cookies for a hot day. The recipe actually sounds quite similar to a shortbread my mother treasures for the holidays from Land O Lakes – aka lots of butter! (When oranges are at the peak) She does hers with a citrus powdered sugar glaze.

    Lemon also works very nicely.

  22. miel

    Am afraid I found the cookies sickly sweet :-(

  23. Michelle

    I just tried this recipe out but swapped out the poppy seeds for toasted slivered almonds. (My local grocery store didn’t have poppy seeds in stock.) They are amazing! I didn’t get a flat cookie like the ones pictured, but the texture is terrific just the same. Wish I actually did come up with 3 1/2 dozen like the recipes specified… I wound up with 2 dozen.

  24. Ingrid

    Garrett,

    Took me a while to bake these, since I had to shop around a bit before I could get my hands on some poppy seeds. I think these are going to be as much of a staple around here as your banana cookies – thanks again!

    (Since I am allergic to eggs, I did adapt your recipe a bit. For fellow sufferers: replace the egg with 1,5 tablespoons of potato flour mixed with 2-3 tablespoons of OJ. You can use water as well. Just add the mixture instead of the egg. It’s more moist, but that will be absorbed by the potato flour in the baking process.)

  25. anya

    I was compelled to make these last night and they are just fabulous. I shared them with my household then took some to a choir group – everyone loved them! I topped some with powdered sugar thinking I would dress them up and wouldn’t you know everyone preferred without! Your site is the best and I hit it every time I need a creative boost in the kitchen. Thanks Elise!

  26. Carol

    I have made these 4 or 5 times and they are amazing!!! I made them for a bbq last weekend; I accidentally bought a grapfruit instead of an orange (dumb, I know) so I went ahead and used the grapefruit zest and I added a little bit of lemon zest. The finished product tasted exactly like fruit loops cereal!!! Everyone loved them!

  27. Jules

    My boyfriend loves moonseed so it was great fun to make these for him. They taste great. Just don’t put the dough in the freezer between batches! I did and the solidified butter did my second batch no good.

    Also, my batch got really big, whereas i was hoping for a nice thin cookie… did i put in too much baking powder?

  28. Katie

    These cookies have become a favorite among myself, my family, my friends and my co-workers. They are extremely easy to make as well as easy to eat ;-p They look great, smell great and taste great! What more could you ask for in a cookie?

  29. Zoe

    Loved these. Thin. crispish, yet soft. Just the right amount of zest and poppy. I declare it a winner.

  30. Silvertoe

    These are delicious! Instead of using orange or lemon zest, I used 2 teaspoons of extract instead. They are delicate and dainty little cookies. I will be making them again. Thanks for this recipe!

  31. Cal

    I’m sorry to say that i wasn’t impressed with this recipe. I made it exactly has recommended and they were very dry. Too much flour, perhaps? Next time, i’ll omit the extra forth cup.

  32. Bramble

    I made these the other day and they were gone in a flash. My family loved them so this recipe is definitely going into my recipe book, with credit given of course. I do have one question though. How much fruit does it take to make one tablespoon of zest? I only had half a lemon (which I subbed for the orange) and I know that wasn’t enough. So I’m thinking a whole lemon or orange would be enough. Is that right? thanks for the wonderful recipe!

    It depends, Elise grows lemons that can give zest by the bucketloads, ones at the store might give half a teaspoon. Use your best judgment. ~Garrett

  33. Sophia

    Best cookies ever!

  34. Jules

    I made these bright and flavorful cookies this afternoon. On the last batch, I shaped teaspoon size balls and rolled them in sugar before baking. It made them more uniform in shape and gave them a beautiful sparkle which fancied them up without making them too sweet plus added an extra bit of crispness. Excellent with tea. I loved the other reviewer’s suggestion to use them for vanilla ice cream sandwiches. I will try it this summer! Thank you for blogging.

  35. Katie

    These cookies will not disappoint you if you make them. Very light and tasty. I originally made them for as a fundraiser for cancer research with a plate of samples for people to try along with a little print out of the recipe (and your website link noted) attached to the little packages. They sold out! A lot of compliments!

  36. Christine

    How long will these keep? I have a shower this weekend and wanted to know how far in advance I could make them/best ways to store them. I love these cookies – they are always a hit :) But I usually make them a night or two before. This time I’d like to get ahead as much as possible. Advice? Thanks!

    I would make the dough and freeze it, then just bake them the day of. Fresh cookies can also be frozen. ~Garrett

  37. Regina

    Instant favorite.

  38. cindy

    Made these today for x-mas gifts and they are wonderful. Next time I will try rolling them in orange sugar before baking for that holiday sparkle. :)

  39. Poppy

    Wow those cookies look great. I can tell I would have a problem with these….I wouldnt be able to stop eatin’
    Mmmmmm

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