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So much better than the old-fashioned cake! These easy fruitcake cookies are a beautiful, festive addition to your holiday dessert tray. Spike them with alcohol or omit the booze, kids of all ages will devour these treats!

Close up shot of fruitcake christmas cookies on a plate
Table of Contents
  1. What are Fruitcake Cookies?
  2. How to make Fruitcake Cookies:
  3. Cook’s Tips and Recipe Variations:
  4. Fruitcake Cookies Recipe

If you’re looking for even more Christmas cookie recipes, be sure to try these old-fashioned Williamsburg gingerbread cookies, these cranberry white chocolate chip cookies, and these Russian tea cakes, too!

For years, my friend Jackie has delivered a tray of her homemade Fruitcake Cookies to us each holiday season. I’m always pleasantly surprised by how delicious they are, so I decided to make up my own recipe to share with you here!

What are Fruitcake Cookies?

Full of candied fruit, pecans, and walnuts, these Christmas cookies are bursting with flavor, color and delicious texture. They borrow the classic ingredients from a traditional fruitcake, but they’re so much better! Trust me: my husband and boys love these treats, and you won’t EVER find them touching a bourbon-soaked cake!

I do not include any alcohol in order to keep them kid-friendly, but you can certainly add a tablespoon of bourbon, rum, whiskey or sherry to the dough if that’s your preference.

Fruitcake cookies on an oval Christmas platter

How to make Fruitcake Cookies:

While Paula Deen and Trisha Yearwood each have their own versions of fruitcake cookies, your friends and family will soon discover why these are the best!

I simply took my favorite basic cookie dough, and filled the batter with candied fruit, dates, and nuts. The drop cookies are very easy to prepare, since you don’t have to chill the dough and there are no cookie cutters required! They’re simple, quick, and totally kid-friendly!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking soda and salt
  • Butter
  • Granulated sugar
  • Brown sugar
  • Egg
  • Vanilla extract
  • Pecans and walnuts
  • Chopped dates
  • Red and green candied cherries and candied pineapple

First, make the cookie dough in the bowl of an electric mixer.

Cookie dough with blue spatula in a large mixing bowl

Gently fold in the nuts and fruit.

Fruitcake cookie dough in a large mixing bowl

You’ll need a combination of red candied cherries, green candied cherries and candied pineapple, so you can purchase them in individual containers, or you can buy a mix (as shown here).

Jar of candied fruit

Then just drop the cookie dough by heaping tablespoons onto cookie sheets.

Fruitcake cookie dough on a baking sheet before the oven

Finally, bake the cookies in a 375 degree F oven for 8-10 minutes, just until slightly golden brown (but still soft).

Close up shot of fruitcake christmas cookies on a holiday plate

How to store Fruitcake Cookies:

Allow the cookies to cool to room temperature, and then store in an airtight container on the counter at room temperature. If using a deep container, place sheets of parchment paper between the layers to prevent the cookies from sticking together. You can even put a slice of white bread in the container to help keep the cookies soft and fresh!

Front shot of a plate of fruitcake cookies

Cook’s Tips and Recipe Variations:

  • The cookies only need about 8-10 minutes in the oven. Be careful not to over-bake them! The cookies will look soft and under-baked in the centers, but that’s fine — they will firm up as they cool. This keeps the cookies soft and chewy, rather than hard and crunchy.
  • For a touch of warm spice, add 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon to the dry ingredients.
  • How long will fruitcake cookies last? The cookies will keep on the counter at room temperature for 3-4 days.
  • Can you freeze fruitcake cookies? Yes! Wrapped tightly, the cookies will stay fresh in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • To make fruitcake cookies without nuts, simply omit the pecans and walnuts and substitute with an additional 1 cup of candied fruit of your choice.
  • To make fruitcake cookies with bourbon, rum, whiskey, brandy or sherry, simply add 1-2 tablespoons of your desired alcohol to the cookie dough at the same time that you add the egg and vanilla.
  • You can purchase individual containers of red candied cherries, green candied cherries, and candied pineapple. If available, I find it easier to purchase a container of mixed candied fruit, which includes the chopped red and green cherries, as well as the pineapple. You’ll need a total of 1 1/2 cups of candied fruit, no matter which combination you use.
Above shot of fruitcake cookies on a plate with a mug of coffee in background

More easy Christmas cookies that you might enjoy:

Square close up side shot of a plate of fruitcake cookies.

Fruitcake Cookies

4.91 from 11 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Cooling Time 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 33 cookies
Calories 126.4 kcal
So much better than the old-fashioned cake! These easy fruitcake cookies are a beautiful, festive addition to your Christmas dessert tray.

Ingredients
  

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  • Beat butter and sugars in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add egg and vanilla (and alcohol, if using); beat well. Gradually add the flour mixture just until combined, being careful not to over-mix. Gently fold in the nuts and fruit.
    Fruitcake cookie dough in a large mixing bowl
  • Drop batter by heaping tablespoons onto cookie sheets that have been lined with parchment or silicone mats.
    Fruitcake cookie dough on a baking sheet before the oven
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes, or just until slightly golden brown. You want them to still be soft when you pull them out of the oven. They will firm up as they cool, and this will keep them soft and chewy on the inside. Allow the cookies to cool on the cookie sheet for at least 1-2 minutes, and then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
    Square close up side shot of a plate of fruitcake cookies.

Notes

  • The cookies only need about 8-10 minutes in the oven. Be careful not to over-bake them! The cookies will look soft and under-baked in the centers, but that’s fine — they will firm up as they cool. This keeps the cookies soft and chewy, rather than hard and crunchy.
  • For a touch of warm spice, add 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon to the dry ingredients.
  • How long will fruitcake cookies last? The cookies will keep on the counter at room temperature for 3-4 days.
  • Can you freeze fruitcake cookies? Yes! Wrapped tightly, the cookies will stay fresh in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • To make fruitcake cookies without nuts, simply omit the pecans and walnuts and substitute with an additional 1 cup of candied fruit of your choice.
  • To make fruitcake cookies with bourbon, rum, whiskey, brandy or sherry, simply add 1-2 tablespoons of your desired alcohol to the cookie dough at the same time that you add the egg and vanilla.
  • You can purchase individual containers of red candied cherries, green candied cherries, and candied pineapple. If available, I find it easier to purchase a container of mixed candied fruit, which includes the chopped red and green cherries, as well as the pineapple. You’ll need a total of 1 1/2 cups of candied fruit, no matter which combination you use.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookieCalories: 126.4kcalCarbohydrates: 17.1gProtein: 1.3gFat: 6.8gSaturated Fat: 2.9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1.4gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 16.9mgSodium: 54.2mgPotassium: 47.6mgFiber: 0.6gSugar: 9g
Keyword: Christmas cookies, easy christmas cookies, fruitcake cookies
Course: Cookies
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

Read More

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Comments

  1. DeniseD says:

    Hi Blair! I’ve been craving fruitcake and theses look so easy besides delicious. I will be making these for my Thanksgiving dessert table. Thanks!

    1. Blair says:

      Wonderful! Thanks, Denise. I’m so glad that you’ll give them a try!

      1. Anel says:

        5 stars
        These cookies were a huge hit! Thank you for sharing this recipe. I wanted to make a traditional holiday treat to share with many and still enjoy with my family that usually do not like nuts in anything. This recipe was the perfect fit! Even my kids ate them, nuts and all. I feel like this recipe was fools proof and you can add as much or as little fruits and nuts as you like and the cookie itself maintains its chewy and delicious richness AND btw, add the whisky for that authentic fruit cake flavor. 😉

        1. Blair Lonergan says:

          Yay! I’m so happy to hear that they were enjoyed by all — even the kids! Thanks for your note, Anel!

  2. Scarlet says:

    These sound amazing. I have never tried fruitcake cookies but i love those dried fruits. Yum!

    1. Blair says:

      Thank you! I hope you’ll try them! 🙂

  3. Rachel M says:

    5 stars
    I used to make these years ago and lost my recipe. This looks very close, thank you!

    1. Blair says:

      Wonderful! Hope you enjoy, and happy holidays!

  4. Nancy Wilson says:

    Blair, I so enjoy your blogs! I plan to make the fruitcake cookies this week. All of today’s recipes look so yummy and the photos are stunning! Do you mind if ask what kind of camera you used to take them?
    Hope that you and yours a most wonderful Christmas and many blessings in 2021!
    Nancy Wilson

    1. Blair says:

      Hi, Nancy! Thanks so much for your kind note! All of my scenic and day-to-day photos are just snapped with my iPhone 11. It’s convenient! All of my food photography is shot with a Nikon D850 and a 50mm lens or a 100mm macro lens. Merry Christmas to you, too! 🙂

  5. Darla says:

    Hi I was wondering if you could use any combination of dried fruit such as apricot, dates, currents, and raisins? Thank you so much

    1. Blair says:

      Hi, Darla! Yes! If you use firm dried fruit (like currants or apricots) I would soak the fruit in rum, bourbon or orange juice to soften them before adding the fruit to the cookie dough. Drain off the extra liquid once the dried fruit has soaked and plumped up. Hope that helps, and enjoy!

      1. Darla says:

        Thank you! I just did a recipe from a well-known baking supply/recipe source and Just not happy and I’d like to use up the fruit… I should have gone with this recipe to start with!!!

        1. Blair says:

          No problem. Hope you love this version! 🙂

  6. Patty says:

    4 stars
    I followed instructions but the dough was crumbly not creamy like cookie dough. I ended up putting into a 9×13 pan and baking. Not sure what went wrong. Flavor was good. Any suggestions?

    1. Blair says:

      Hi, Patty! It’s really hard for me to know what may have gone wrong since I wasn’t there with you in the kitchen. If I had to guess, it sounds like maybe you inadvertently mis-measured one of the dry ingredients so that the flour to butter ratio was off? Or maybe the butter wasn’t softened to room temperature? The base of these cookies is really just like a classic chocolate chip cookie dough recipe, so the texture should be very similar. I’m glad that you were able to salvage the ingredients in a different form, though! 🙂

    2. Lynn says:

      5 stars
      Perhaps the issue came with creaming the butter and sugars together until fluffy, that will do it for sure.

  7. Janet says:

    5 stars
    These are our new family favorite. Great cookies.
    Took to a service, gone in minutes .

    1. Blair says:

      Wonderful! Thanks for letting me know, Janet. 🙂

  8. Lynn says:

    5 stars
    I can’t wait to make these tomorrow as I just made my White Fruitcake yesterday. As with my fruitcake I’ll sub craisins for the dates and use only pecans – personal preference. I’m excited to give these a try. Thanks for the recipe.

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Wonderful! I hope you enjoy them, Lynn!

    2. Darlene says:

      5 stars
      Sounds so good but if I don’t want to put in figs and walnuts do I have to adjust the other amounts of pecans and fruit (I’m using the fruit cake mix of sweetened fruit)

      1. Blair Lonergan says:

        Hi, Darlene! That’s totally up to you. If you like a chunkier cookie, you can just increase the amounts of the other ingredients (for instance, double the pecans and add an extra 1/4 cup of the candied fruit). Otherwise, simply omit the dates and walnuts and just use the other ingredients in their listed amounts. The cookies will be great either way! 🙂

  9. Lynn says:

    5 stars
    I made these this morning and they are outstanding. Oh my, are they ever chewy and delicious. As my comment says, I subbed craisins (dried cranberries) for the dates and omitted the walnuts. I think these are the best cookies I’ve ever made, very different. This is most definitely a keeper recipe. Thank you for the recipe. AWESOME!

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Oh, I’m SO glad to hear that, Lynn. Thank you very much for taking the time to come back here and let me know. 🙂

  10. Katy Arthur says:

    5 stars
    Delicious! I had looked at quite a few fruitcake cookie recipes before deciding on this one. This is a keeper! I toasted the nuts in the oven prior to adding them to the cookie dough and that nicely enhanced their flavor. Using candied fruit cake mix for the fruit is easy and tasty. I also added a tablespoon of Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum to the dough which was the perfect addition! It did make the dough a little sticky so I refrigerated the dough two hours which firmed it up nicely. I’ve gotten rave reviews from my family taste testers, so this cookie is destined to become a holiday tradition.

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Thank you, Katy! Your version sounds amazing! So glad they’re a hit. I especially love the idea of toasting the nuts for more flavor!

      1. Carol Tedesco says:

        Hi Blair, I love receiving your recipes. I just started to receive them this month. I’m going to start my Christmas baking this week and your fruit cake cookies will be a welcome addition. I can’t wait to make them. Thank you! Kind regards, Carol T.

        1. Blair Lonergan says:

          Hi, Carol! I’m so glad that you found my site! Enjoy the cookies, and happy holidays!

  11. Rosie says:

    They were totally moist and delicious! Can cookie dough be put in freezer until ready to bake some more? Just wondering. Thank you!

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Hi, Rosie! Yes! I would portion out the dough into round balls, flash freeze them on a baking sheet until firm, and then transfer the dough balls to an airtight container or Ziploc freezer bag. That way you can pull out as many dough balls as you need to bake, leaving the rest in the freezer. Bake the cookie dough directly from frozen (no thawing necessary), and just add a minute or two to the total baking time to account for the frozen dough. Hope that helps! 🙂

  12. Rosie says:

    Thank you for your reply….great idea to portion out the dough into round balls and take out only the amount you want to bake, BUT I forgot to ask….”For how long” can the dough itself be stored in the freezer? I know you posted once they are baked you can freeze cookies for up to 3 months, although for safety purposes what about unbaked? Really appreciate your help!!

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Hi, Rosie! Wrapped tightly or in an airtight container, the dough balls should be good for about 3 months as well.

  13. Ellyn says:

    5 stars
    I have been eating Fruit Cake most of my 67 years. My Grandmother was a kitchen maid when she worked in Scotland. The house was a dry house so whenever we had Grandma’s sober cake As the years have passed and people have gone … the love of Fruitcake has diminished. Since it’s an expensive cake to make as well as a time consuming cake these cookies look like a great idea… I’m going to try them this week .

    Thanks

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Thanks, Ellyn! I love fruit cake, too — both soaked in booze and the dry variety. 🙂 These cookies are definitely easier to make, though!

  14. Colleen says:

    I didn’t rate these because I had some issues with them and I’m guessing part of it was because of my error. I made these as directed and baked the first batch @ 375 for 8 minutes. They were flat as a pancake and not done in the center and did not bake any more after they cooled. I added a tablespoon of flour because the dough was very soft (thus the flat cookies…I think) and baked them for 9 minutes. They were very brown. The next batch I baked for 8 1/2 minutes and they were still brown but not flat. I’m not really sure why they didn’t come out. They taste good and hubby likes them so I guess that’s all that matters. Any suggestions?

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Hi, Colleen! It sounds like the dough was just too warm. Sometimes when your kitchen or house is warmer than average, it helps to chill cookie dough for a couple of hours to prevent spreading. I’m not sure why they would have been so brown, though.

  15. Lynn S says:

    5 stars
    They’re a favorite.

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Thanks, Lynn! So glad to hear that!

  16. Lynn says:

    Hi Blair! Can I leave out the nuts completely? We are rife with nut allergies in our family!

    1. The Seasoned Mom says:

      Hi Lynn! Yes, to make fruitcake cookies without nuts, simply omit the pecans and walnuts and substitute with an additional 1 cup of candied fruit of your choice. We hope you enjoy!

  17. Lynette says:

    These cookies were a huge hit last Christmas! I will be making them every year.

    1. The Seasoned Mom says:

      We’re so glad to hear it, Lynette! Enjoy!