Fruitcake cookies are a delicious, bite-sized take on the traditional holiday dessert. They’re like a chewy, fruity spice cookie!

Fruitcake cookies arranged on white ceramic plates and metal cooling rack.

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Every year it feels like holiday baking season starts earlier and earlier.

It starts with the infamous Pumpkin Pushers and their PSL cravings in late August and snowballs from there. Before you know it, it feels like we’re making Christmas cookies before Halloween is even over.

For someone who gets a bit disgruntled when I see Christmas decorations pop up in the store before school supplies are off the shelves, I actually don’t mind the prolonged baking season.

I notoriously love all things gingerbread and could eat Gingerbread Cake any time of year.

Chai Sugar Cookies are so good they deserve to be as much a staple in May as they do in December.

Linzer cookies are genuinely perfect any day of the week.

And let’s not forget Maureen’s Rice Krispie Cookies. My dad could eat those in one sitting all year long.

Three fruitcake cookies stacked on a white ceramic plate.

Fruitcake Cookies are perhaps harder to justify outside of the October-to-December baking season, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t a cookie you’ll want to eat earlier than that.

This Fruitcake Cookies recipe is an old family favorite. In fact, they were my Uncle Mike’s favorite cookie growing up.

One year, when he was in high school, my great-grandmother made a batch of these cookies and sent them home with my uncle. He was, of course, supposed to be sharing with the family…but instead, he hid them under his bed and ate them all himself!

Now, you have to understand that the original recipe for Fruitcake Cookies makes approximately 120 cookies…and yes, he did manage to eat every. single. one. (It does help that, like actual fruitcake, these cookies get better with age.)

No one else even knew the cookies existed until my great-grandmother asked my grandmother how they were. I think perhaps the rest of the family was a little peeved, but my great-grandmother thought it was just about the cutest thing she had ever heard.

Fruitcake cookie ingredients arranged on a marble countertop.

CANDIED FRUIT FOR FRUITCAKE

Now, before you start thinking I have completely lost my marbles in trying to convince you to buy that mysterious candied fruit for fruitcake, you should know that you can buy a fruitcake fruit blend from King Arthur Flour.

I, however, choose to put off my normal reservations and embrace the retro-ness of this recipe and by using what is available at my local grocery store. 

Chopped candied fruitcake fruit tossed with flour in a white bowl.

I have to be honest that I kind of love the crazy colors in this particular recipe.

You can usually find candied fruit for fruitcake in the baking aisle of your average grocery store, especially during the holiday season.

If you’d like to make Fruitcake Cookies when candied fruit is unavailable, or you’re noting that it’s tricky to find, you can purchase a fruitcake fruit mix on Amazon. 

Two-day shipping for the win.

Batter base for fruitcake cookies in a glass bowl.

FRUITCAKE COOKIES RECIPE

Ok, so I assuaged your fears about the candied fruit…but I can still feel you eying your computer screen with suspicion.

Admittedly, many of us – especially those of us who grew up in the north – have probably grown up with fruitcake being the butt of Christmas re-gifting jokes. 

But rest assured, these Fruitcake Cookies are more like a chewy, nutty spice cookie than anything else.

My father has spent his entire adult life swearing off all forms of fruitcake, yet could not stop eating these. I think I’ve made a Fruitcake Cookie believer out of him…and I bet I can make one out of you, too!

Fruitcake cookie dough and a cookie scoop in a large glass mixing bowl.

Ingredients you’ll need

In addition to chopped candied fruitcake fruit, you will need:

  • 1½ cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar, well packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1½ tablespoons milk
  • ½ cup unfiltered apple juice (or orange juice)
  • 3 cups chopped pecans
  • 6 ounces (about 1¼ cups) white raisins 
Fruitcake cookie dough portioned onto a lined baking sheet, ready to go in the oven.

I know that apple juice is unusual to find in a cookie recipe, but again – just trust me here.

The batter for this recipe is very thin; it’s the fruit, nuts, and raisins that make it thick. And yet the cookies bake up perfectly.

Making this recipe

Start these cookies by prepping the candied fruit. Fruitcake fruit is incredibly sticky stuff, so we want to counteract that.

Stir together the candied fruit with a few tablespoons of the flour. Set this aside for later.

Fruitcake cookies cooling on a metal cooling rack.

In a bowl, whisk together the rest of the flour with the spices and baking soda.

Use a mixer to cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, followed by the milk and apple juice.

Add in the dry ingredients, then mix in the nuts, floured candied fruit, and the raisins.

Remember, don’t worry that the dough seems more like a cake batter – that’s how it’s supposed to be!

Use a spoon or cookie scoop to drop the dough by spoonfuls onto lined baking sheets. I usually pat my down with a spatula – the cookies won’t spread much on their own.

Bake for 18-20 minutes. Let the cookies cool for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire cooling rack.

Three fruitcake cookies arranged on a white ceramic plate.

HOW TO STORE FRUITCAKE COOKIES

Fruitcake Cookies may not last as long as their fabled counterpart, traditional fruitcake, but they still last quite a long time!

Store Fruitcake Cookies for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container at room temperature. They actually taste better after they’ve aged a bit, so don’t be afraid to make them a few days before you plan to serve them.

Because of their long shelf life, they’re perfect for shipping to loved ones. I like to make a batch and send some to my uncle and grandmother.

If you want them to last even longer, they also freeze quite well.

Give these Fruitcake Cookies a chance. My uncle would surely encourage it.

For a more traditional take on fruitcake, take a peek at my Christmas Spice Cake recipe.

Two white ceramic plates with fruitcake cookies on them.
Three fruitcake cookies stacked on a white plate.

Fruitcake Cookies

Fruitcake cookies are a delicious, bite-sized take on the traditional holiday dessert. They’re like a chewy, fruity spice cookie!
4.47 from 28 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 60 cookies

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound chopped candied fruit
  • cups flour, divided
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup brown sugar, well packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • tablespoons milk
  • ½ cup unfiltered apple juice (you may substitute orange juice)
  • 3 cups chopped pecans
  • 6 ounces white raisins about 1¼ cups

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line sheet pans with parchment paper; set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, stir together the chopped candied fruit with a few tablespoons of the flour. 
  • This will prevent the fruit from sticking together later. Set aside.
  • Whisk together the spices, remaining flour, and baking soda. Set aside.
  • Cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, then milk and juice. Add the dry ingredients, then fold in the nuts, floured fruit and raisins. The dough will almost seem more like a cake batter than a cookie dough in consistency – that is ok, it’s how it is supposed to be.
  • Drop by spoonfuls about 1 inch apart (cookies will not spread much at all) on the prepared cookie sheets. If your spoonfuls are particularly rounded, I recommend patting them down slightly with a spatula. Bake for about 18-20 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool for 2 minutes on the cookie sheets before transferring to a rack to cool completely.

Video

Notes

Cookies will last about 2 weeks at room temperature, longer in the freezer. Cookies will get even better as they age, so do not hesitate to make them a few days before you plan to serve them.
The original recipe makes 120 cookies. I chose to halve it to produce a more manageable amount, but if you are baking for a crowd, simply double all of the ingredients.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 105kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 10mg | Sodium: 36mg | Potassium: 55mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 66IU | Vitamin C: 0.4mg | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 1mg

51 Comments

      1. I would consider that the sign of a good cookie and love my for a stunt like that! Can you substitute rum for the applesauce?

  1. These cookies look so festive and tasty! Great for gift giving! I’ve never bought the fruit cake fruit and am glad you informed us of the healthier, less processed option from King Arthur. I’m also excited that apple cider is used for the recipe, sounds great!

  2. I love these cookies and had forgotten about them. I feel fairly certain that I could eat at least 60 of the 120 cookies which MyFitnessPal would not think is as cute as Ma-Ma would. I will make them for Christmas Eve and hide them from myself. 🙂

  3. These will make my dad, the fruitcake lover, very happy in his stocking. Can you please clarify for me what ‘white raisins’ are? I am familiar with golden raisins, but not white. Thanks, I look forward to giving these a go soon.

  4. haha ok fruit cake still freaks me out! But I trust you, those cookies do look DELISH darling! Im so excited its Christmas cookie season 🙂 We need to have a real cookie exchange too!!

  5. I’ve made something like this, and as a bonus you can brush them with a little brandy when they’re warm out of the oven. It will soften the cookies slightly, but it’s a nice addition.

  6. I found these too late to make them last year, but couldn’t wait to try them out for my dad this year. These are very good, says the girl who doesn’t like fruitcake. Dad loves Collin Street Bakery fruitcake, so I peeked at their description and subbed honey for the sugar, and added a splash of cognac since I couldn’t find the brandy. Can’t wait to delivery them on Thursday. Thanks for sharing your family recipe, and the story of it, too.

    1. Robby I love you and Stephie.

      God help me. I grew up eating Collins Street Bakery Fruitcake every year of my life.
      I was recently DX as having a wheat allergy.
      No more CSB for me . Every *cry*

      But these…subbed with GF flour….just might work.

  7. Dad deemed them ‘very good, maybe better than fruitcake’. And this from a man who is spoiled with regular homemade cookie infusions. Thanks for sharing the recipe, it will be a regular in the holiday rotation.

  8. Have you ever tried these as “bars”?? you know how you take the chocolate chip cookie batter and put in a 9 x 13 pan and bake? I am better these would be wonderful!! and I really like the thought of glazing them with a cognac/brandy style glaze…..

    1. I have never tried it! If you do, I would think you would want to keep an eye on the baking time; I have no idea how long they would need. If you try it and it works, let me know!

  9. I LOVE good Fruitcake! And it is hard to find! I made this recipe (doubled) and these cookies were BEYOND AWESOME! I ate almost all of them myself (some people are too afraid to try something new). I didn’t find unfiltered apple juice, so I used apple cider, and since I doubled the recipe, I used a 16oz container of red candied cherries, an 8oz container of green candied cherries, an 8oz container of candied pineapple, a 4oz container of diced mixed candied fruitcake mix, and an entire box of golden raisins. I am so happy to have found this recipe! I plan to make them at Christmas from now on! (Someday I’m going to be the legendary Grandma that makes these cookies!)

    1. I love this! The original recipe is the amount you made, so my great grandmother would love that you went for all 120 cookies! So glad you loved them and plan to make them again 🙂

    2. Oh, my gosh, this made my day. My Ma-Ma (grandmother) would have been so pleased to know how much you loved them. She also had multiple good fruitcake recipes (when you grow up an hour and a half away from New Orleans, it’s a Christmas staple). Enjoy them and now you know why my little brother hid them from us!

    1. i think i just ruined all my ingredients…i used baking soda like the recipe call for and the baking soda flavor is very strong…

  10. A friend gave me this recipe years ago and I LOST it!! Delighted to see your post. I HATE fruitcake but these cookies are so darned good!!! I have looked at many recipes, but they’re never the right one! Thanks so much for posting!!!

  11. Has anyone tried substituting dried cranberries for part of the white raisins? I’m not a huge raisin fan and thought it might be really good with the cranberries!

  12. Gave the annual batch of these to my dad at THanksgiving, and when I saw him yesterday he said they “Might be my all time favorite cookie.” I’m trying to decide on a mix of simple dried fruit to put in them since the candied cherries are already gone from my store. Thanks again for such a winner of a recipe.

  13. 5 stars
    My grandmother used to make fruitcake cookies and give them as gifts in tins. They were THE BEST! I don’t have the recipe but this one has the spices that others are lacking – that’s what made hers so good, I think. I’m going to try it. The cookie base makes all the difference and when you said this is more like a spicy, nutty cookie, I would describe hers the same way. Thanks for the recipe!

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