ruby red grapefruit cookies DSC6063

Ruby Red grapefruit cookies

In my kitchen, I have one drawer. Clearly, this greatly limits the amount of stuff I can possess, unless I want my kitchen to creep into other parts of my apartment. (Actually, it already does, as my stand mixer lives on my dining table/desk.) But I’m not complaining, as I like to keep my tool kit efficient. That said, sometimes I fail to add something that could make my life a little bit easier, like a cookie scoop, for example.

Making cookies is fun for me. And apparently it’s something that I’ve done all my life, as there are pictures of as a toddler me standing on a chair helping my mom roll out balls of dough. The family tradition of young people baking with older ones is timeless. How many of you recall baking cookies as a child with your mother or grandmother? For many, it’s their first introduction to the kitchen.

My mom was recently visiting my brother and his family, which includes my two nephews—one who is two months old and the other who is two years old. The baby is very cute and likes to smile a lot, but he’s not quite ready to make cookies just yet. But my toddler nephew loves to spend time in the kitchen, and had been asking her since she arrived: “Grandma, when are we going to bake cookies?” The tradition continues.

ruby red grapefruit cookies | Homesick Texan

She then turned to me for help. I had promised to send her a recipe, and my new purchase had prompted me to spend the better part of the past few days testing batch after batch after batch. Thankfully, the scoop made things a little easier, though it didn’t prevent me from eating half the cookie dough, which I’m sure many of you can agree is perhaps the best part.

Ruby Red grapefruits are at their peak right now and whenever I spot them at my local store, I grab them because the good ones from Texas aren’t always available in New York. While there are countless good things to do with grapefruit (such as this Ruby Red sheet cake), since I was already in cookie mode that’s what I decided to make instead.

There wasn’t much to do, really, as I simply added some fresh juice and zest to my basic sugar cookie recipe. The flavor is delicate, but the Ruby Red’s sweet and sour tang is definitely there. I’m also a big fan of the texture, as they’re a little crunchy and a little chewy. When you take a bite, the crisp outer layer soon gives way to a soft buttery center. And before you know it, the cookie is gone and I can guarantee you’ll reach for another one soon.

ruby red grapefruit cookies | Homesick Texan

If you’re baking with your grandkids this weekend, you’ll want to make these cookies. Or if you’re baking for yourself and your friends, you’ll want to make these, too. I insist, however, that you share them with someone, as these Ruby Red grapefruit cookies are just too good to be eaten on their own.

ruby red grapefruit cookies DSC6063
4.87 from 22 votes

Ruby Red grapefruit cookies

Servings 24 cookies
Author Lisa Fain


  • 1 1/2 cups sugar, plus more for dipping
  • 1/2 cup 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons Ruby Red grapefruit juice
  • 1 tablespoon Ruby Red grapefruit zest
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Pinch of ground ginger


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and either lightly grease or line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. Cream together the sugar and the butter until well combined. Stir in the egg, vanilla extract, grapefruit juice, and grapefruit zest until well combined. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and ginger and then combine with the liquid ingredients until a soft dough is formed. (This is supposed to be a soft dough, but if you find it’s too soft then chill it for 15 minutes before proceeding.)

  3. Pour some granulated sugar into a bowl and then form the dough into tablespoon-sized balls. Dip each dough ball into the sugar and then place on the sheet 2-inches apart, as they’ll spread as they bake. Bake one sheet at a time for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges are just set. They’ll be puffy when they come out of the oven but as they cool they’ll flatten and form those glorious cracks in the surface. Continue for the rest of the dough.

  1. Kim Vealey

    Those cookies have the perfect crackle finish on them…never had a grapefruit cookie…now I must try them.

  2. Lisa Fain

    Kim–If you love grapefruit, they are delicious.

  3. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

    These are super unique! Love this idea!

  4. I love all citrus cookies, so now I need to try these. My first cookies were made in my grandmother's kitchen, and as she was a mother of 7 during the Great Depression, her cookie cutter was a drinking glass, always.

    I really love my cookie scoop and will always make room for it. It's so fast and efficient to use one, and it helps me get them evenly baked. I have this theory that it would be great for making cookie dough balls to freeze and use later, however I always just bake the whole batch and worry about later, later!

  5. I just made these — they're sitting on my counter cooling, taunting me. I rubbed the zest into the sugar before creaming it with the butter, but otherwise followed the recipe. So excited to have these.

  6. Susan Scott

    How unusual! Can't wait to try them. I never bake cookies but this is inspiring!

  7. Stephie @ Eat Your Heart Out

    I have been obsessed with grapefruits lately, so I think these look fantastic!

    Ps, I can totally relate to the one-drawer kitchen problem. I have two very small drawers, so I'm right there with you!

  8. I miss those Ruby Reds! The only grapefruit we can get in Germany are from Spain… pale pink and bitter. It makes me sad that some people think that these sad citrus cousins are the 'real' grapefruit!

  9. oooo…I just bought a 3 lb bag of Ruby Reds and was wondering what to do with them. Thanks so much!! I am loving these grapefruits!!!

  10. Lisa Fain

    Katrina–Thank you!

    Celeste–Yep, I'm a big fan of the drinking glass as cutter myself! What a great memory.

    Nzie–That was fast! Hope you enjoyed them!

    Susan–They're worth it, in my opinion!

  11. Lisa Fain

    Stephanie–Thanks! And while I wouldn't mind having a little bit more space, I do like that my kitchen isn't cluttered.

    Johanna–That is sad. I'm surprised no one had though to grow them in Europe yet.

    Rosa–Well, now you have your answer!

  12. Miss Meat and Potatoes

    YUM. It took me 35 years to appreciate grapefruit and it was so worth the wait. Can't wait to try these. BTW I have bluebonnets growing all over my backyard! I will have to post some pics soon – the previous owner of our house went wild with the seeds and they took!

  13. Anonymous

    These look great, as I love Ruby Red's – but I was drawn to the link you provided for the Ruby Red sheetcake. It calls for 1 cup of pecans added to the cake mix. But there are pecans in the frosting in the photo. Are those in addition to the 1 cup? Did you mix them in or just sprinkle on top? Hope to make this this weekend;) Thanks, Anne

  14. Lisa Fain

    Alisa–Your bluebonnets have already started to bloom? Wow! It's so early! I'm not going to be in Austin until early April, so I sure hope I don't miss them this year.

    Anne–Can you believe that recipe has been made countless times by folks and no one's ever spotted that! Ha! In any case, that 1 cup of pecans definitely goes in the cake batter, and if you want to add pecans to the frosting, too, I'd add anywhere from 1/2 cup to a cup, chopped.

  15. kickpleat

    I eat grapefruit daily in the winter and I love the idea of these cookies. Going on my must-bake list!!

  16. Anonymous

    These are amazing! I woke up at 3 am and decided to go bake this. I had a bunch of tangerines and ruby reds, and was debating to add the juice and rind of them as well. Glad I didn't. Just pure grapefruit flavour. Wonderful taste! I can't thank you enough for a great new cookie. Thanks again from a Fort Worth native. I'm sorry you're in NYC. I don't think I could ever leave this great state. I love your blog, and check it daily. Plan to order your book very soon. Come home early if you want to see the bluebonnets. The wildflowers are going to bloom early this year. They seem to come earlier every year. Thank you Lady Bird Johnson!

  17. ultradave

    Well, I just messed up a pork and green chile stew, soooo….off to HEB to get all the makings for these cookies. Can't let the day end in failure 🙂

  18. Barbara

    Aw, bummer! Those of us who take statins (such as Lipitor) can't have grapefruit or the juice, and Ruby Red was my fav back in the day. Sigh.

  19. I just made these because I had some fabulous Ruby Reds from my CSA box, although I decided to take a French spin on them and substitute dried lavender for the cinnamon and ginger… OMG they were fabulous! Tart and slightly floral – so so good!

  20. Nicolle

    I have been reading through your blog this morning, and I just love it. Following along now.
    I'm a Texas girl, and I love it dearly! Fort Worth has always been my home. I love so many of your recipes here.
    Best wishes,


    More deliciousness to fuel my ruby red grapefruit obsession. I guess that's why G&S sells them in 10 lb bags…. Can't wait to make these! The first of the bluebonnets are blooming at the Wildflower Center here in Austin. I think you'll have plenty of time to catch them if you're here in early April!

  22. What a fun and lively flavor for cookies. I'm tempted.

  23. Just made the cookies for some relatives visiting Texas from out of state. I had trouble getting a tablespoon of zest, so although delicious and soft, the cookies rather resembled sugar cookies. Do you have any recommendations for zesting a grapefruit?

    • Hope you are using a microplane zester. It’s the only way to go. To intensify the flavor I added two thing. Make grapefruit sugar for the coating by combining grapefruit zest and sugar. Make a reduction of the grapefruit juice. If you are really into it you can buy grapefruit extract. Happy Baking Coleen

  24. Lisa Fain

    Kickpleat–If you love grapefruit, you won't be disappointed!

    Anon–That's what I'm hearing–hope I get back in time to see the wildflowers!

    UItradave–Here's wishing you success in all your cooking endeavors!

  25. Lisa Fain

    Barbara–That is a bummer.

    Jen–I'm so pleased you enjoyed them!

    Nicolle–Welcome and thanks for reading!

    Lonestarjoiedevivre–That's good to know!

    Nisrine–Give in to temptation!

  26. Lisa Fain

    Amy–Do you have a zester? I use a zester and zest the grapefruit before slicing, which makes it easier. There's plenty of skin you shouldn't have a problem getting a tablespoon. You can also use a Microplane, but I find you need to be careful with those as they are so sharp they reach the white pith, which you want to avoid as it's bitter.

  27. Anonymous

    I made these two weekends ago and froze the dough then thawed and baked for dinner guests this weekend. I'm in love with these…they are incrediblely good. Thank you!!

  28. That description of "crisp outer layer, soft buttery center"–that's what sold me.

  29. Renee @ Tortillas and Honey

    This are beautiful and am so curious about these cookies. Can't wait to get my hands on some ruby reds!

  30. kristin eldridge photography

    Oh man! This truly looks soooo good. I've been eating a Ruby Red every night for a snack and after buying a flat at Costco, I now have extras to try this recipe!

  31. I was wondering if they would taste grapefruity at all and boy do they. They are one of the best cookies I've ever had. Yummy.

  32. Microplaners make zesting easy. I used to struggle with recipes calling for citrus zest. If you have a lot of grapefruit, make some candied grapefruit peel. Oh, yummy! Not everyone loves it, but I do. My granny made it every Christmas–candied orange peel, too.Becky

  33. Dan from Platter Talk

    I've been a fan of cookies my entire life and of ruby red grapefruit most of my adult life. Never, did I think the two would meet!! I love this idea and can't wait to try! Thanks for posting.

  34. These are fantastic! I will admit, I was skeptical. I made them for my boyfriend who loves grapefruit. He loved them, I loved them, and everyone else who tried them loved them. Baking time is very important. I've made these twice and each batch (probably 4-6 cookie sheet's worth) came out a little bit different. Some were definitely underbaked (but still delicious). I suggest waiting a little bit longer than the time it takes for the edges to just set. I would take them out when they begin to look a little crinkly (though a lot of that will come while they cool). Thanks for the recipe Lisa!

  35. I made these last weekend and thought they were really wonderful. I added extra grapefruit zest to the bowl of sugar for rolling the dough balls. I just may make them again this weekend. Thanks so much for a new keeper cookie recipe!

  36. I just discovered you today, I'm a Dallas girl, myself. 🙂

    To this recipe I say…WHAT?! YES. I love me some bright red, sweet TX grapefruit. Just the smell from the outside is intoxicating, I have one nearly every morning for breakfast.

    I'm not usually a sweets person, but I must try these!

  37. I made these this morning for the Ladies' Art League. They have just the faintest hint of grapefruit flavor, and they were enjoyed by one and all. Using a #50 scoop, my dough made 28 cookies. I used turbinado sugar to roll them in an got a very nice crisp exterior and a wonderfully chewy interior. Thanks so much for this recipe. HT!

  38. No ruby reds to be found here in Amsterdam, but we do have a big bag of Florida grapefruits. They are delicious. I just finished making these cookies (and inhaling 5 of them immediately)…yum! The texture is a perfect mix of chewy and crispy. I will add more zest next time for a little more citrus zing, and might swap the regular salt for sea salt flakes. I like my cookies sweet and salty! Love the recipe, though. Thanks!

  39. I’ve made batches of 150 or so for work and they disappear in around 2 hours. People constantly ask “when are you making those cookies again?”.

    • Lisa Fain

      Dan–I love it! I’m so glad they’re a hit with your crowd.

  40. 5 stars
    Just made these and man are they good. This recipe will be entering the rotation.

    • Lisa Fain

      Jon–I’m so glad you enjoyed them and they’re entering the rotation!

  41. I imagine that this recipe could be adapted for lemons, oranges, and limes in addition to the current use of grapefruit. If I did that I would have to use food coloring to differentiate them but it would make a wonderful summer cookie tray.

    • Lisa Fain

      Jon–You could use food coloring. Though it could also be a fun game to guess by taste alone which fruit was used!

  42. Lisa, I am very glad I stumbled across your recipe for these a few weeks back..Tonight I made my third batch and they are a huge hit- people love them! thanks so much for kindly sharing your great recipe and I look forward to trying other treats from your recipe list..

    • Lisa Fain

      Kevin–I am very glad you found the recipe and have enjoyed it three times already! Happy cooking!

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