Are you a Chai fan? You know that famously spiced tea drink that sends your taste buds into sensory heaven? These Chai Shortbread Cookies have the delicious chai flavor of black tea, cardamom, cinnamon, and ginger baked right into a tender cookie. And to top it off, these tea-flavored cookies have a sweet chai icing on top too!
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I feel I must thank the Scottish from the bottom of my heart for creating this perfect cookie.
Shortbread cookies are always a favorite, and you can make them all year long. But one thing I look forward to is making these easy Chai spiced cookies during the holidays for cookie exchanges, gifts, and for my family.
Traditional shortbread cookies are made with three ingredients: flour, sugar, and butter. For today's recipe, I am using rice flour and powdered sugar, and I know this is unusual, but I add an egg to help bind the rice flour.
With a mildly sweet buttery flavor, these spiced shortbread cookies have that classic melt-in-your-mouth crisp and crumbly texture with the added flavor of chai. These are perfect cookies to serve with coffee and tea. And always a favorite during the holiday season.
Other shortbread cookie flavor
You can add so many different ingredients and flavors. here are some favorites-
- Vanilla bean
- Maple syrup
- Lemon zest
- Orange zest
- Finely chopped cranberries
- Finely chopped pecans
- Tea - Early Gray, Jasmine, Chai
- Browned Butter
- Add an icing glaze
- Use your imagination for all kinds of flavors
More easy shortbread cookie recipes
These almond flour Rose Petal Shortbread Cookies are flavored with rose water and topped with rose petals. It's so sweet and pretty.
Easy Lemon Shortbread Cookies with lemon zest and lemon juice for lots of citrus flavors.
Dark Chocolate Shortbread Cookies are simple slice-and-bake cookies that can be rolled in colorful sprinkles.
Chocolate Cacao Nib Shortbreads are another slice-and-bake cookie. If you haven't tried raw cacao nibs yet, give them a try, they are packed full of flavor.
Chai Cookie Ingredients
What is rice flour?
This simple gluten-free flour is made from long-grained or medium-grained rice that is ground and can be made with white rice or brown rice. There is also sweet rice flour.
Rice flour has lots of culinary uses, such as thickening sauces, and making noodles, and best of all it is excellent in baked goods. You will find rice flour in most gluten-free flour mixes.
The sandy texture of rice flour adds a wonderful crumbly texture to cookies and adds substance to bread.
Baking tips for shortbreads
Types of flour to use - All-purpose, cake flour, rice flour, almond flour. These shortbreads use rice flour, which is also gluten-free. In some recipes, cornstarch is sometimes added to the flour mixture.
Don't over mix - Overmixing the dough will make it tough, so handle it gently
Salted butter - adds just the right amount of flavor to the dough
Chilling the dough - It is important to chill the shortbread dough for at least 30 minutes before baking to firm up the dough, which will keep it from spreading while baking.
Use the creaming method - I prefer using a mixer to cream the butter with the flour and sugar mixture for a smooth texture.
Low baking temperature - Bake shortbread cookies at a low temperature so they stay nearly white or light golden brown.
Baking with tea
If you follow One Hot Oven, you know I drink a lot of tea. Seeing a cup of hot tea in my pictures is not unusual. After all, tea goes so well with desserts. Not only can you drink tea, but using loose-leaf tea in cooking and baking infuses a deliciously subtle flavor to your recipe.
Two of my favorite recipes using tea are Golden Brown Raised Buttermilk Waffles with Tea Infused Maple Syrup and Orange Oat Tea Biscuits.
Just look at these cookies with the flecks of tea and the sweet icing topped with chai. These spiced shortbread cookies are tender, mildly sweet, and full of the warm chai spices we all love.
What is Chai?
This tea originated in India and is really called Masala Chai, which means spiced tea
Chai means tea - so don’t order a Chai tea since that translates to tea tea
Known for its spices, Chai has regional spices added to it, but cardamom and vanilla are the staple spices; after that, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, peppercorns, and star anise can be found in the spice blend.
Chai is traditionally brewed with milk, but you can drink real chai only with tea and spices.
To me, there is nothing better than a cookie and a cup of tea. Sweet and fragrant chai is soothing to drink and also adds the perfect spiciness to these homemade shortbread cookies.
Infusing tea into a cookie batter is a delicious way to incorporate the flavors of tea, and shortbread cookies are perfect for this. Not only does chai taste great in cookies, but Earl Grey and Jasmine impart their wonderful flavors as well.
Buttery shortbread cookies are traditionally made in three shapes. Today, I am cutting the cookies into logs, but you can also cut the dough into small circles or pat the dough into a large circle, which you will cut into wedges; these are called "petticoat tails." I am here to tell you that you can throw tradition to the wind and make any shape you like.
Hot To Bake Chai Shortbreads
This will be easy to do ~
These cookies are all about the chai, which comes in loose-leaf form or in tea bags. You can use either one.
Today, I am using a very flavorful, high-quality, loose-leaf tea that has large pieces of black tea leaves, cardamom pods, and cinnamon bark; perfect for brewing, but for baking, this type of tea needs to be chopped or ground first.
Using a simple food chopper breaks down the chai into small pieces for this recipe; it is simple and quick to do, or you can use a coffee grinder to grind the tea. If you still have some larger pieces after chopping, such as the cardamom pod or pieces of cinnamon, remove them after grinding.
If you use a teabag, the tea will be much finer and ready for baking.
Step 1. Prepare the tea using either whole-leaf chai tea or use the tea from a teabag.
Step 2. Using a large mixer bowl, add the butter and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until the butter is creamy. You can also use a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.
Step 3. Add the egg and beat on medium speed to incorporate.
Step 4. Combine the flour, powdered sugar, and tea in a small bowl.
Step 5. With the mixer on low, beat the flour mixture in three batches until a soft dough forms.
Step 6. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface.
Step 7. Form the dough into an 8" x 4 ½" rectangle. It helps to use a bench scraper to shape the sides.
Step 8. With a rolling pin, gently roll over the top of the dough to smooth it out and make it nice and flat.
Step 9. Wrap the dough in a piece of parchment and chill for one hour.
Step 10. Using a sharp knife or a bench scraper, cut the dough long ways down the center, then cut it into ½" logs. Place on a parchment-lined baking pan and bake at 300 degrees F. for 30 minutes. Cool completely before icing.
Step 11. To make the icing, mix the powdered sugar and some brewed Chai.
Step 12. Using a whisk, mix together until the icing is nice and smooth.
Step 13. Dip one end of the cookie into the icing and set it on a cooling rack.
Step 14. Sprinkle the iced cookie with tea.
Step 15. Store the cookies in an airtight container for up to 10 days. Or freeze the cookies for three months.
Brew yourself a cup of tea and enjoy these flavorful spiced chai cookies.
I love making these cookies for holiday parties during the fall and serving our favorite cookies for Thanksgiving with hot Chai Lattes.
Yes, the results will be a chewier cookie over a crumblier cookie when they are made with rice flour.
Just scoop out the cookie dough onto a baking sheet and then flatten the cookie with a cookie stamp to make a pretty design, or you can use the bottom of a glass.
Since these cookies have so few ingredients, make sure you are using good quality butter for the best flavor. After all, if you are not adding extra flavor to the shortbread recipe, the butter is going to be what flavors the cookie, plus the butter adds richness.
More cookie favorite recipes
Chai Shortbread Cookies
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Chai Shortbread Cookies
Chai Tea Icing
- 1 cup powdered sugar This is for the icing which is optional
- 1 tablespoon Chai Tea brewed
- ½ cup Boiling water
- 1 tablespoon Chai tea Optional for topping
Making Chai Shortbread Cookies
- Heat your oven to 300° F. when you are ready to bake, and prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
- Grind loose chai tea leaves using a food chopper or coffee grinder.Add the chai tea leaves and grind the tea to make finer pieces. After grinding the tea, remove any of the bigger pieces such as the cardamom pod. This should yield about 2 tablespoons.Alternatively, you can use the tea from chai teabags. The flavor will not be as pronounced as the loose leaf tea.
- Using a large mixer bowl add the butter and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed un the butter is creamy. You can also use a stand mixer for this.
- Add the egg and beat slowly into the butter. Note: the mixture will look a bit watery since the egg will not totally blend with the butter.
- In a small bowl add the rice flour, powdered sugar, and 1 ½ tablespoons of the ground chai tea together and mix together.
- With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three batches and beat on low speed until the flour is incorporated.
- Turn the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper and form into an 8″ x 4 ½″ rectangle. Use a bench scraper to straighten the sides and then flatten the top of the dough with a rolling pin. Cover the dough with the wrap and transfer the dough to the fridge and chill for an hour.
- Preheat your oven to 300 degrees
- Remove dough from wrap then cut the dough longwise with a knife or a bench scraper then cut crosswise into ½" logs. Place the shortbreads on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.When done remove the cookies from the baking sheet to a wire rack.
Chai Tea Icing
- Brew a small amount of chai tea by putting 1 teaspoon of tea in a bowl and pour ½ cup of boiling water over the tea to steep. Let sit for 3 minutes then strain the tea.You can also use a Chai teabag and brew the tea.
- In a small bowl add the powdered sugar then add 2 tablespoons of the cooled brewed Chai tea. Stir to make a smooth icing. You may have to adjust and add additional tea if the icing is too thick.
- Once the cookies are totally cooled, dip one end of the shortbread cookies into the icing then place them on a sheet of parchment paper. Sprinkle with the remaining ground Chai tea while the icing is still wet.
- Store these cookies in an airtight container for 10 days.
First published Nov. 23, 2019, last updated May 27, 2022.
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From learning to cook on a farm in Indiana to culinary school in California, my passion for food is never-ending. Turning on my oven to bake something for friends and family is my happy place, and I am glad to be here at One Hot Oven sharing sweet and savory family-friendly recipes for your cooking and baking inspiration.