Thanks to orange cointreau in the cookie, tequila in the icing, and plenty of lime juice, these Margarita Cookies taste just like the drink! They're perfect for summertime parties or as happy hour treats.
Who needs a drink? Who needs a cookie? Who needs both? Why not just combine them together and call it a day (or a really fun night??).
For me, one of the best parts of summer is enjoying a margarita on the deck in the sunshine. But sometimes I just want a sweet treat instead of a full-on cocktail. These margarita cookies actually taste like a margarita thanks to the fact that they have both a hint of tequila and orange cointreau in them.
I do have some tips below for making the cookies alcohol-free, but if you're OK with a little alcohol, make them as is. The tequila and orange cointreau can definitely be tasted in the cookies, but is still nice and discrete.
❤️ Why you'll love this recipe
Isn't it obvious? If you love margaritas and cookies, these baked goods will be right up your alley!
But even if you don't drink, but like the idea of a crispy citrus-y cookie, you will love these.
The cookies are easy to make and perfect for bringing to summer parties and BBQs. They'd also be a great dessert idea for a Cinco de Mayo party.
These margarita cookies are easy to make with a pretty standard slice-and-bake shortbread dough recipe. OK, a pretty standard shortbread dough recipe that also involves lots of lime zest, lime juice, and orange cointreau.
Here's everything you need to make them (be sure to view the recipe card at the bottom of this post for ingredient amounts and full recipe instructions):
- Unsalted butter
- Granulated sugar
- Lime zest
- Freshly squeezed lime juice
- Orange cointreau: you can substitute with triple sec or the orange liqueur of your choice
- All-purpose flour
- Large egg
- Coarse/decorative sugar
- Sea salt: for sprinkling
And here's everything you need for the tequila glaze:
- Confectioners' sugar
- Lime zest
- Freshly squeezed lime juice
🍪 How to make margarita cookies
In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, cream butter, sugar, and salt on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes.
Mix in lime zest, lime juice, and orange cointreau. Your butter mixture will already be smelling so good!
With mixer running on low speed, add flour to butter mixture and beat to just blend, taking care not to over-mix.
Once you make the cookie dough divide it into two portions and place each on a large piece of plastic wrap.
Fold the plastic wrap over dough to completely cover the dough and use your hands to roll the dough into a smooth log, about 2″ in diameter. Repeat with second half of dough.
Now, the dough log will need about 2 hours to chill in the fridge.
And then it needs to be brushed with egg wash and rolled in some coarse sugar. Yes, needs.
And then sliced and baked!
Using a sharp knife, slice each log into ½”-thick rounds and arrange on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet about 1″ apart.
Bake cookies for 11-13 minutes, until edges are just beginning to turn golden brown. Let cool slightly on pan before moving to a wire rack to cool completely before icing.
While the cookies are cooling, you can whip up that tequila icing! This is key to these margarita cookies since there's no actual tequila in the cookies.
For this, you'll just whisk together confectioners’ sugar, lime zest, tequila, and lime juice in a small bowl.
I like to sprinkle on a little more lime zest on the icing, along with a healthy sprinkling of sea salt. It's like the salted rim on the margarita glass.
But seriously, even if you usually opt out of the salted rim on your margaritas, try these cookies with a little sea salt on them. There's something about the sugar, salt, citrus, tequila combo that is just awesome.
Would these margarita shortbread cookies go perfectly with a nice extra large icy margarita? Well, yes, of course. But they're also quite nice on their own. As an afternoon treat. They're the perfect summer cookie!
They're especially ideal for bringing to summertime parties or gatherings. Just make sure you warn everyone that there's alcohol in the cookies! Though there's not a lot in the grand scheme of things, you can definitely taste it and you probably wouldn't want kids at the party running around eating these.
But adults? Adults will want to eat these.
If you prefer the idea of a soft cookie instead, you can make my recipe for lime cookies and top them with the tequila icing.
⏲️ How to store
Store these shortbread cookies in an airtight container at room temperature. When stored properly, they should keep fresh for 5-7 days.
If you're planning to stack the cookies in your container, I recommend placing sheets of parchment paper or wax paper in between the layers.
🍹 How to make cookies without alcohol
Really, margarita cookies are best when there's alcohol involved, but you can still make a pretty good mock margarita cookie sans alcohol. After all, so much of a margarita's flavor is thanks to all that lime juice.
If you want to leave alcohol out of these cookies, use orange juice instead of orange cointreau in the cookie. And just leave the tequila out of the icing, using more lime juice instead.
Make sure to sprinkle on the sea salt since this will help contribute to the margarita taste!
I can't wait to make these margarita shortbread cookies all summer long. Though I may not be attending as many summer parties this year as is typical, I'm planning to bake these up and deliver them to friends!
If cookies aren't quite your thing, I also have a recipe for Margarita Cupcakes! And if you prefer to sip your margaritas, I highly recommend these Spicy Grapefruit Margaritas. I also can't wait to make these Tropical Margarita Popsicles from Urban Bliss Life!
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 tsp lime zest
- 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 Tbsp orange cointreau (can substitute with triple sec)
- 2 cups plus 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- ¼ cup coarse/decorative sugar
- Sea salt, for sprinkling
- 1 ½ cups confectioners' sugar
- 1 tsp lime zest, plus more for sprinkling
- 2 Tbsp tequila
- 1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat butter, sugar, and salt on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Mix in lime zest, lime juice, and orange cointreau.
- With mixer running on low speed, add flour to butter mixture and beat to just blend, taking care not to over-mix.
- Divide dough in half and place each half on large pieces of plastic wrap. Fold plastic wrap over dough to completely cover and use your hands to roll the dough into a smooth log, about 2″ in diameter. Repeat with second half of dough and then place in fridge to chill until firm, about 2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Taking one dough log out of the fridge at a time, brush the outside of each log with egg wash and roll in coarse sugar.
- Slice each log into ½”-thick rounds and arrange on prepared baking sheet about 1″ apart. Bake for 11-13 minutes, until edges are just beginning to turn golden. Let cool slightly on pan before moving to wire racks to cool completely before icing.
- Dip cooled cookies in tequila glaze coating about ½ of cookie. Sprinkle on sea salt and additional lime zest.
- In a small bowl, whisk together confectioners’ sugar, lime zest, tequila, and lime juice.
- To make these cookies non-alcoholic, substitute orange juice for orange cointreau in cookies and lime juice for tequila in icing.