Honey Cookies, scented with cinnamon and orange zest, are soft, a little chewy, and with a slight crispness on the edges. These Jewish cookies are made with honey, brown sugar, and butter, making them moist, tender and irresistible.
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They’re a perfect cookie for the fall or winter holidays, as an alternative (or addition!) to Honey Cake for Rosh Hashanah, or just for seasonal deliciousness!
To me, Honey Cookies (duvshaniot or duvshanit cookies in Hebrew) seem made for celebrating Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year.
They’re a bit easier to make and to give in a Rosh Hashanah gift basket than a full-size Honey Cake. But they still have that delicious honey flavor meant to usher in a sweet new year. So much so, in fact, that I was tempted to call these Jewish Honey Cookies or Rosh Hashanah Honey Cookies.
But after some research, it turns out that Honey Cookies aren’t just Jewish cookies! They feature in the cookie repertoires of numerous cuisines, especially eastern European ones. And they’re as common on a Christmas cookie platter as they are in a Rosh Hashanah gift basket or as part of a Hanukkah dessert spread.
They’re also a great option for Thanksgiving, when their fall flavors will fit right in! Of course, these soft honey cookies are also perfect any time of year with a cup of coffee, tea, or milk!
This honey cookie recipe reminds me of soft gingerbread cookies. But instead of zingy ginger and intense, dark molasses, you get nice strong honey flavor along with spicy cinnamon and bright, citrusy orange.
It really is the perfect honey cookie. It’s a simple recipe, but the resulting cookies have surprising flavor that makes them a nice change from the usual suspects.
What do you serve these cookies with?
I love to add these cookies to a festive cookie platter for the Jewish holidays alongside Hamentashen, rugelach, kolacky, and others. They work just as well on an Easter or Christmas cookie platter, too!
What ingredients do you need to make Honey Cookies?
This Honey Cookies recipe requires simple ingredients that are probably all in your pantry right now!
- Brown sugar
- Freshly grated orange zest
- Vanilla extract
- All-purpose flour
- Baking soda
How do you make them?
This honey cookie recipe is very similar to many basic drop cookie recipes, like chocolate chip cookies. It’s very easy to make.
- Cream butter, honey, and brown sugar in a large bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer.
- Beat in the eggs, orange zest, and vanilla.
- Mix flour with baking soda, cinnamon, and salt and then add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and beat to combine well.
- Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven.
- Spoon or scoop dough (using a small cookie scoop) onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes.
- Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Honey Cookies Frequently Asked Questions
I always use unsalted butter in my baked goods. If you use salted butter, leave out the salt. Either way, the butter should be at room temperature before you begin.
You can use any type of honey you like. I love to use local wildflower honey, so I always have that on hand. Clover honey is a great neutral-flavored honey. Orange blossom honey would be a perfect match for the orange flavor in the cookies. But any honey with a nice honey taste will be perfect here.
Yes! The dough for these cookies will be very soft and sticky. This is what makes the cookies so lusciously tender and moist. But it also means that it will be difficult to handle if you don’t chill it before you try to scoop it onto the baking sheet. 30 minutes is a good amount of time for the dough to stiffen up, but you can chill it for longer if you like. You can even leave it, covered, in the refrigerator for 24 hours or more.
You can substitute vegan butter or margarine or solid vegetable shortening for the butter. I don’t recommend substituting liquid oil, simply because the dough is already soft and sticky. Using oil would likely make it difficult to handle.
You can make them several days ahead of time and keep them in an airtight container at room temperature. They will lose their crispy edge, but they’ll still be delicious.
Yes, you can freeze honey cookies either before or after baking. To freeze baked cookies, arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet and place in the freezer until they are frozen solid, at least 3 hours. Transfer to a freezer-safe, resealable plastic bag. They will keep frozen for up to 6 months. To serve, let thaw, uncovered, at room temperature.
To freeze the unbaked honey cookie dough, scoop it onto a parchment-lined baking sheet (you don’t need to leave much space between the scoops since you won’t be baking them immediately). Place the baking sheet in the freezer until the dough balls are frozen solid, at least 3 hours. Transfer the dough balls to a freezer-safe, resealable plastic bag. You can store the unbaked honey cookie dough balls for up to 6 months. To bake, place the frozen cookie dough balls on a parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches in between, and bake for about 10 minutes.
Round out your rosh hashanah menu
For more ideas for your Rosh Hashanah menu, check out 55+ Best Recipes for Rosh Hashanah, including Brisket with Dried Fruit and Spices, Roasted Beet Salad with Harrisa Dressing, and my favorite Honey Cake!
More Jewish holiday recipes you’ll love
- Honey Cake
- Honey Cookies
- Lemon Coconut Macaroons
- Jewish Beef Brisket
- Meat-Filled Borekas or Pastelicos
- Passover Orange Sponge Cake
- Passover Potato, Tomato, and Olive Stew
- Kreplach with Beef Filling
- Sufganiyot or Jelly Donuts for Hanukkah
- Potato Latkes for Hanukkah
- Classic Chopped Liver
- Vegetarian Chopped Liver
- Check out all of my Jewish Recipes!
- 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ½ cup honey
- 2/3 cup (packed) brown sugar (you can use light or dark)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon (or from 1 large orange) grated orange zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- In a large mixing bowl using a hand-held electric mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter, honey, and brown sugar until it is very creamy, about 3 minutes.
- Add the eggs, orange zest, and vanilla and beat just to incorporate.
- In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and beat to combine well.
- Place the bowl in the refrigerator and chill the dough for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Scoop (using a small cookie scoop) or spoon the dough, about 1 tablespoon at a time, onto the prepaerd baking sheet. Leave about 2 inches of space between the cookies. You will have to bake the cookies in 3 batches.
- Bake for 10 minutes, until the cookies are nicely browned and set.
- Transfer to a wire rack to cool.