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Vegan Penguin Shortbread Cookies

These vegan penguin shortbread cookies are off the cute scale. A ‘melt in the mouth’ buttery orange shortbread is decorated with dairy-free dark chocolate and orange fondant. They’re easy to make, perfect for Christmas, a treat everyone will enjoy and you only need 6 ingredients!

Penguin shaped cookies with chocolate details.

Vegan Penguin Shortbread Cookies

The festive season is upon us so what better way to enjoy the Holidays than with a super fun, creative bake. These penguin shaped shortbread cookies are only fun and super delicious. Made with the zest of fresh oranges and dairy-free dark chocolate, it’s the perfect flavour combination for Christmas.

Looking for more christmas recipes? Check out my Vegan Christmas Pudding, Gluten-free Vegan Yule Log, Gluten-free Vegan Mini Yule Logs and Vegan Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls. Find ALL of my christmas recipes here.

Orange shortbread cookie with chocolate.

Why you’ll love this recipe:

  • A fun and festive treat : Baking is the MOST fun during the Holidays and these cute little penguin themed cookies are a super fun and yummy baking activity everyone will love getting involved in making. Shortbread is also great for the little ones to help knead and shape. You could even use different shaped cookie cutters to make things move fun!
  • Only 6 ingredients : This recipe couldn’t be easier. With only 6 ingredients, a simple method and easy decoration.. you’ve got to give them a go!
  • Simple but effective : These cookies may look intricate but they take minutes to whip together and minutes to decorate. The decorations are simple dairy-free dark chocolate and orange fondant for the penguin beak. SO CUTE!
  • One bowl recipe: A HUGE bonus of this recipe is that it only requires one bowl (or one food processor bowl) bowl to mix the shortbread dough together. There is only a few other pieces of equipment you’ll need such as a rolling pin, round cookie cutter, baking tray, saucepan etc.. most of which are probably already in your kitchen cupboards.
  • They make great gifts: Make a batch of these cookies then place them in food grade bags, tie with some ribbon and share with your friends, family and loved ones over the holidays. They are sure to put a festive smile upon their faces.
  • Delicious and flavour packed: Buttery shortbread, zesty orange and dark chocolate are a scrumptious flavour combination. Together these cookies have the ultimate festive ‘chocolate orange’ flavour which you’ll love!
Close up of penguin shape cookies.

Tools you’ll need:

This recipe only uses 6 simple ingredients and a few tools, most of which you possibly already have to have in your kitchen. I have listed them below with shop-able links, they also make great christmas presents for a keen baker! You can find the full written recipe and method in the recipe card at the bottom of the page.

Penguin shortbread cookie with icing sugar.

Ingredients for vegan penguin shortbread cookies:

Shortbread cookies are a classic cookie, made with only a few simple ingredients. I swapped out the dairy butter for vegan butter, added orange zest for a deliciously zesty and fresh flavour and also used icing sugar instead of caster for a grain-free texture.

  • Dairy-free butter: Make sure the vegan butter is chilled and chopped into cubes. This makes it easier to blend and will keep the dough from being too soft and melty.
  • Plain / all purpose flour: Sieve the flour before use to remove any clumps.
  • Icing sugar: Make sure to sieve the icing sugar a few times to remove any lumps or clumps.
  • Oranges: Use a fine, microplane to zest the orange. Try to only get the orange zest, not the white rind as this can be quite chewy and not what you want in shortbread.
  • Dairy-free dark chocolate: Use any dairy-free chocolate you like. I prefer for 70% or above for a really rich, decedent flavour.
  • Orange fondant: Roll balls of orange fondant for the penguin beak. If you don’t have orange fondant, you can roll yellow and a-little red fondant together to make orange. Alternatively you could use a orange sweet / candy.
Pinterest pin of penchocolate orange shortbread cookies

If you make, and love this recipe, please leave a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ rating below. Thank you & happy baking! Make sure to tag me in your photos on Instagram , TikTok and Facebook! And if you want to pin this recipe for later, you can use the button on the recipe card, above or below this post, or on any of the photos. Happy baking all!

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Penguin shaped shortbread cookies

Vegan Penguin Shortbread Cookies

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5 from 3 reviews


The cutest Vegan Christmas cookies EVER. Delicate orange flavoured shortbread cookies with  dairy-free chocolate decorations, they’re a fun holiday treat that everyone will enjoy.


Units Scale

Ingredients for the shortbread

  • 160g of plain / all purpose flour
  • 45g of icing sugar
  • 150g of dairy-free butter (chilled)
  • Zest of 1 large orange

Ingredients for the decorations

  • 100g of dairy-free dark chocolate
  • Orange fondant (See step 2)


Method (shortbread)

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C fan and line two baking trays with grease proof paper.
  2. Add the flour and icing sugar into a food processor, blitz to combine.  Add the dairy-free butter and orange zest. Blend on a low-medium speed until blended well and a dough forms. The dough will look soft and should squish together when squeezed in your hands.
  3. Flour a clean worktop and rolling pin with flour, then roll out the dough. You want it to be about 1-2 in thick. The thicker the dough, the more buttery and crumbly the shortbread will be. Use a medium round size circle cookie cutter to chomp out the shapes then place on the lined trays. Continue re-rolling the dough until it is all used. Make sure the rolling pin is floured or it can stick.
  4. Bake in the middle of the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the cookies are lightly golden in colour.
  5. Once baked, remove the tray from the oven, allow the shortbreads to cool on the trays for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

Method (decoration)

  1. Fill a small saucepan 1/4 full with water and place on the hob over medium heat. Add the dairy-free chocolate into a heat proof bowl. Place the bowl over the pan, creating a bain-marie. Allow the chocolate to melt, stirring with a heat proof spatula. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.
  2. When the shortbread has chilled, dip them into the melted chocolate at an angle on one side, then rotate it and dip in the other side, leaving a small triangle of the cookie uncovered (watch video or refer to photos for reference).
  3. While the chocolate is still wet, add on some edible eyes (you can either use store bought or homemade sugar / candy eyes or make your own with some white chocolate buttons and a dot of the dark chocolate in the middle).
  4. Using a tooth pick, add three dots down the middle of the uncovered cookie for decoration, and place on a ball of orange fondant or an orange sweet / candy for the penguin beak.
  5. Place in the fridge and allow the chocolate to set, This will take around 10-15 minutes.
  6. Serve and enjoy! 


To store: Keep the shortbread fresh by storing in an air-tight / sealed container in the fridge. Allow to come to room temperature before enjoying. 

Best eaten within 3-5 days of making. 

Can be made gluten-free by swapping out the regular wheat flour for a good / high quality gluten-free blend.

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10-12 minutes
  • Category: cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


  1. Angela
    December 7, 2023 / 1:04 pm

    These are so tasty. And look adorable. we had fun making them.

  2. Rosie H
    December 14, 2023 / 3:09 pm

    They were perfect! Thank you for such a fab recipe Holly :]

  3. Anthony
    December 20, 2023 / 11:40 am

    I added a bit more Orange for a more festive taste. Loved making them! Gorgeous as always Holly.

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