an overhead photo of a plate of fruitcake cookies with a second plate of cookies in the background with a glass of cashew milk and pine brances

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Who needs fruitcake when you can have fruitcake cookies?

I know that most people either love or hate it, but fruitcake has always been a holiday favorite of mine. I have loved it for as long as I can remember, and I never feel like Christmas is complete with out it.

Last year, I bought a big container of candied fruit to make it, but then I found out a day later that my mom had already made a batch. I put the candied fruit in the cabinet and it just sat there staring at me every time I opened the door.

I felt terrible that it was taking up so much space in my pantry, and that I hadn’t gotten around to making anything with it. But, I finally realized, I didn’t have to actually make fruitcake. So, I adapted my favorite dairy free chocolate chip cookie recipe and gave it a little fruitcake makeover.

More dairy free Christmas cookies: soft sugar cookies / grinch cookies / chocolate molasses sugar cookies / almond crescents / spicy gingersnaps

a stack of five fruitcake cookies surrounded by a red striped napkin, pine leaves, more cookies and a glass of cashew milk
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Here’s what you’ll need to make fruitcake cookies:

You’ll also need candied fruit for this recipe. I bought a fruitcake mix in the baking aisle of my grocery store, but you can also make your own blend or make some entirely from scratch.

closeup of fruitcake cookies

How to make fruitcake cookies

Mix your dry ingredients together. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda and salt together. Set aside.

Cream your shortening, sugars and spices (you can use butter if you aren’t dairy free) in a large bowl with an electric mixer. Beat it at a medium speed until it’s light and fluffy. I like to add my spices during this step to bring out the flavors and give them more time to develop.

Add the wet ingredients. Add your eggs and vanilla extract. Continue beating at a medium speed until incorporated, but be careful not to overdo it with your eggs or you’ll end up with tough cookies.

a plate of fruitcake cookies with a second plate of cookies in the background with a glass of cashew milk and pine brances

Combine your wet and dry ingredients. Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, about 3/4 cup at a time. Mix until incorporated, scraping the sides with a rubber spatula as needed.

Mix in the candied fruit and nuts. Add your candied fruits and walnuts (or pecans) just before you’re done, and mix until they’re evenly distributed in the batter.

Bake your cookies in a 350˚F oven for 10 – 11 minutes. Make sure to line your cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat for easy removal. Remove the cookies from the oven and let them rest on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

hand dipping a fruitcake cookies into a glass of cashew milk with more cookies scattered around the glass and a red and ivory striped napkin and pine leaves in the background

More Christmas recipes:


Fruitcake Cookies

  • Author: Melissa Belanger
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 36 cookies 1x


  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon all spice
  • 1 cup vegetable shortening (or vegan butter)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped candied fruit
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans


  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt and spices. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat shortening and sugars at medium speed until light and fluffy – about 2 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla, beating until combined. Add flour mixture, about 1/2 cup at a time, mixing until incorporated, scrapping sides as needed.
  4. Stir in candied fruit and nuts.
  5. Using a medium cookie scoop, drop 2 tablespoon balls of dough onto cookie sheet. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven and let cookies cool for about 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.


If you don’t have the spices listed, you can easily swap a pumpkin pie spice blend for the cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and all-spice. The flavor won’t be exact, but it will be very close.


  • Serving Size: 1 cookie
  • Calories: 164

Last Updated on November 5, 2021 by Melissa Belanger

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  1. Hi, Melissa. These cookies are so full of seasonal deliciousness! Just wondering if the directions got left off the recipe card on purpose? I am old fashioned and like to print out the recipe. I see that the directions are in the post itself, so I will use those for now. Thanks!

    1. Oh yeah. That isn’t right. Something must have gotten messed up. I’ll make sure to fix it right away.

  2. Soooooooo… would you be shocked and disappointed if I told you that I’ve never eaten fruit cake, let alone baked it, at the holidays? You hear all the stories about it, but I’ve never experienced it firsthand. That said, I’m so intrigued by these cookies and how you adapted your favorite chocolate chip recipe to include the candied fruit. They look so pretty!

    Thank you so much for helping with this year’s cookie exchange and sharing your new recipe AND spreading the love, too! I am so happy we got to meet this year and spend time together!

  3. I was looking for dairy-free Christmas treats for my neighbour and these were delicious! I love the spices, fruit, and chopped pecans. Mine took a lot longer to bake but when they browned up a bit, they were perfect. Thanks!

  4. They didn’t look done after the 10 to 12 minutes. They still looked too soft. Am I doin something wron. I added more baking time.

  5. I’ve never commented on an online recipe before, but after making your brownies and these cookies I thought it was only right to do so. Not only was the recipe incredibly simple and easy to follow, but the end result was delicious as well. As I’m located in the UK, I couldn’t find the sort of candied fruit you would find in the US, so I subsituted brandy-soaked dried fruit.

    I’ve been finding it difficult to located dairy-free desert recipes for Kosher meat meals, and your site has been a savior in this respect! Thank you!