Orange drop cookies on a marble counter


Do you have a favorite food that takes you back to a specific time in your life? Or makes you remember someone special?

These Orange Drop cookies give me those EXACT warm and fuzzies! My grandmother was an avid baker and cook that lived during a time when everything was homemade, and pre-packaged crescent roll dough was an urban legend.

We lovingly referred to her as “Nanny”, since she had great disdain for the name grandma and didn’t like feeling any older than she was!

Nanny has since passed, but her many handwritten recipes are still intact in a small aluminum recipe box that my mom keeps. I had been bugging my mom for over a year about the Orange Drop cookie recipe, and the recipe FINALLY surfaced after a lot of frantic searching.

Everything she made was delicious, but these cookies were my favorite. She would always have a big box of these cookies waiting for my brother and I when we would come to visit.

I had not had these cookies in over 20 years. A lazy Sunday seemed like the best time to tackle this recipe, and to see if I could channel some “Nanny Power” in the kitchen.

orange drop cookies on a cooling rack



One bite into these cookies and I felt like a little girl again ?!  Although not as beautiful as Nanny’s Orange Drop cookies, these cookies will win every blue ribbon for taste.  I’d even challenge Ree Drummond to a bake off (just kidding, but I do love you Ree!!)

The orange zest really takes them to the next level, and the glaze……that sweet, sweet glaze (heavy breathing)

What more could you ask for in ONE cookie?!

Orange Drop Cookies Tips for Success:

  • The recipe calls for orange zest. UH OH….I don’t have a zester. No worries!! If you have a cheese grater with very tiny holes, this works wonders too.
  • Buttermilk! Not a common fridge staple in our house. Luckily, I made Apple Baked donuts for New Year’s and had leftover buttermilk from that recipe. If you buy buttermilk for this recipe, go check out our donut recipe too!
  • The glaze took some trial-and-error. I used about 2.5-3 cups of powdered sugar to get it to the thicker consistency I wanted. It cools VERY quickly so you have to work fast when icing. I ended up using a butter knife to spread it on top of the cookies, which seemed to work well. You can always call it “rustic” when they aren’t picture perfect <3
  • If you would like the glaze a bit runnier, use less powdered sugar. This may also afford you the ability to dip the cookies into the glaze instead of spreading it with a knife. That’s only a guess, since I didn’t try making the glaze very thin!
  • Let set for at least 10 minutes (if you can even stand it) on a cooling rack, and then enjoy!

Do you have a favorite family recipe like these Orange Drop cookies? We’d love to hear them!  That is…..if your sweet Grandma Mabel won’t come back to haunt you for giving away the cherished family pot pie recipe.

Orange drop cookies on a marble counter


Nanny's Orange Drop Cookies

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes


Orange Drop Cookie

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup shortening (Crisco)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sour milk OR buttermilk Add 1 T. white vinegar to milk as a buttermilk substitute
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 orange *Juice & rind of*
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 tsp. baking powder


  • 1 orange *Juice & rind of*
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 2.5-3 cups powdered sugar *Add more or less to reach desired consistency*



  1. Cream together the sugar, shortening, and eggs.
  2. Add the baking soda to the buttermilk/sour milk.
  3. Add the buttermilk/baking soda mixture to the mixing bowl with the creamed ingredients. 
  4. Zest and juice one orange.  Add these ingredients to the bowl.
  5. Combine the remaining dry ingredients to form a dough.
  6. Scoop out cookie dough using a large tablespoon for measure.
  7. Bake 10-12 minutes at 375 degrees, or until edges are brown! 


  1. Heat the juice and rind of another orange to a small sauce pan on low heat.
  2. Add a tablespoon of butter to the juice.
  3. Gradually add in the 2.5-3 cups of powdered sugar to the pan.  Be sure to whisk and fully combine the sugar with the liquid after each step!
  4. Place warm glaze onto the cooled cookies.  Let glaze set for at least 10 minutes and enjoy 🙂

Let us know if Nanny’s Orange Drop cookies turn out to be a new favorite in your recipe arsenal