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May 4, 2024

Polvorones de Naranja - Triple Orange Mexican Cookies

These polvorones de naranja are Mexican cookies flavored with orange three ways. They're super fluffy and cakelike, and not overly sweet. 

Polvoron cookies on a plate with one broken in half.

Polvorones are a Mexican sugar or shortbread cookie. According to the collective brains of Wikipedia, they are derived from a Spanish cookie. In the United States, they are often referred to as Mexican wedding cookies. 

These cookies can also be flavored with nuts, chocolate, cinnamon, or vanilla. The cookies are super crumbly and melt in your mouth. In fact, the name polvorones is derived from the Spanish word "polvo," or "powder" in English. 

Note: Many other countries throughout the world that were once colonized by Spain, including the Philippines, also have versions of a polvorón. 

Polverones on a blue plate.

This triple orange version, or Polvorones de Naranja, contains orange zest, orange juice, and orange liqueur. These cookies are crumbly and citrusy, but not particularly sweet. Thy are perfect with coffee or tea. I added little bit of salt to the batter, which I understand is not very traditional. Omit the salt if you want to be more authentic (or just use salted butter).

This week the Sunday Funday group is sharing recipes for Cinco de Mayo. To approach this challenge, I dug out my 1965 copy of Complete Book of Mexican Cooking by Elisabeth Lambert Ortiz, the first cookbook I ever owned. Elizabeth is considered one of the first "scholar cooks." Her story about learning about the Mexican kitchen as the wife of a diplomat is fascinating. The triple orange flavor is adapted from Pati's Mexican Table: The Secrets of Real Mexican Home Cooking

Orange Polvorones on a bee cake stand.


Pantry ingredients: Flour, powdered sugar, baking soda, and salt. 

From the refrigerator: unsalted butter, an egg, and an egg yolk.

The zest and juice from about two oranges. 

Orange liqueur such as Grand Marnier, Patrón Citronge, or triple sec. 


You could also add a teaspoon of vanilla extract for an orange cream flavor. You could also add a little orange extract or orange oil to amp up the orange flavor. 

Equipment You May Need

I used my 14-cup food processor to put together the dough. I've had mine forever and it's a workhorse. 

To ensure that the cookies were all the same size, I used a #40 cookie scoop (it's about 1 1/2 inches across) to measure the dough. To use it, scoop the dough, just filling the scoop, and no more. Turn the dough out onto a parchment lined baking sheet, flat side down. 

If you don't have the cookie scoop, Form the dough into balls with about 2 tablespoons of dough and then gently press them onto the cookie sheet, slightly flattening the bottoms. 

Polvorones without powdered sugar on top.

Once the cookies have cooled after baking, be sure to dust them with more powdered sugar. 


These cookies will keep for up to five days in an airtight container. If you'd like to make them in advance and freeze them, don't dust them with the powdered sugar until you are ready to thaw and serve the cookies. 

Polvorones de Naranja on a blue plate.

These are great dipping cookies too! 

More Cinco de Mayo inspired recipes from the Sunday Funday group this week!

Polvorones de Naranja -  Triple Orange Mexican Cookies on a cake stand.

Polvorones de Naranja (Triple Orange Mexican Cookies)

Polvorones de Naranja (Triple Orange Mexican Cookies)
Yield: 40 cookies
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
Prep time: 20 MinCook time: 20 MinInactive time: 30 MinTotal time: 1 H & 10 M
These polvorones de naranja are Mexican cookies flavored with orange. They're super fluffy and cakelike, and not overly sweet.


  • 226 grams (8 ounces/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 113 grams (1 cup) powdered sugar, plus more for dusting the finished cookies
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon packed orange zest
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons orange liqueur
  • 420 grams (3 1/2 cups) unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoons baking soda


  1. Place the butter and powdered sugar in a food processor and pulse a few times, until just combined.
  2. Add the egg, egg yolk, zest, juice, liqueur, and vanilla, and pulse until mixed.
  3. Add the flour and baking soda and pulse until the dough just comes together.
  4. Scrape the dough out onto the counter and press it together.
  5. Wrap it with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment.
  7. Form the dough into 1 1/2 inch balls and place them 1 inch apart on the baking sheet. Gently press them down to slightly flatten. (See note in post about using a cookie scoop)
  8. Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, for 18 to 20 minutes. Cool on a rack.
  9. Dust generously with powdered sugar. Can be stored up to 5 days in an airtight container.

Nutrition Facts



Fat (grams)

5 g

Sat. Fat (grams)

3 g

Carbs (grams)

11 g

Fiber (grams)

0 g

Net carbs

11 g

Sugar (grams)

3 g

Protein (grams)

1 g

Cholesterol (grams)

22 mg
cookies, polvorones, orange
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Post updated May, 2024. Originally published April 2014 (photo below). 

Triple Orange Mexican Cookies in a glass.

Would you like to comment?

  1. What an awesome cookbook to have - authentic and back from 1965. What a treasure. And what great cookies to bake for Cinco de Mayo with the bright citrus flavor.

  2. These cookies both sound and look delicious! I would love to try them :)

  3. I love your citrus twist on this classic cookie, Karen. And I am extremely jealous of your tangelo tree!

  4. Muchos gracias for your lovely citrusy wedding cookies recipe..My mother-in-law apparently made beautiful wedding cookies (well all her baked goods were spectacular.) But, I do believe your version of the recipe would bring a nostalgic smile to the hard working husband's face =)

    P.s. Fascinating, too, about the adventures Elisabeth Lambert Ortiz. I'd like to put her book on my reading list =)

  5. These look like they would just melt right in your mouth. And I love the citrus addition! I'm so jealous you have a tangelo tree. They're my fave! Definitely will be saving this recipe! :)

  6. Love all the orange in there!!! What a great Mexican cookie for Cinco de Mayo!!!

  7. Orange is a perfect twist on these wedding cookies. They look ready for a special occasion for sure.

  8. Love the story behind these cookies Karen, very interesting. Sounds delicious!

  9. I love that these cookies have a triple dose of orange, and just a dusting of powdered sugar.

  10. Polvorones! Great minds think alike! :D Love the orange twist!

  11. There are so many cookies to which 'polvorones' refer. I was wondering which ones you were making. These look delicious. And I love the addition of the orange flavor. Can't wait to try this, Karen. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Yes, there sure are. Even after narrowing it down to Mexico.

  12. I love that you used orange flavoring for these cookies.

    1. Thanks Wendy! There are so many options to choose from.

  13. A perfect treat to have for HI tea!


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