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These cardamom shortbread cookies are supremely tender and flavorful. With this recipe, you’ll get a soft, buttery shortbread cookie infused with the rich aroma of ground cardamom.

five cardamom cookies stacked

Cardamom cookies

There’s just something so cozy about the sweet aroma of cardamom! Cardamom is a spice made from the seeds of several plants native to India. I adore it and often use it to make vanilla cardamom scones.

But because it’s the world’s third-most expensive spice, I only use it for special occasions. And what’s more special than Christmas and cookie exchanges?

With cookie exchanges and office parties happening now, I thought it would be fabulous to add a delicate cookie infused with cardamom to the archives.

The cookie itself is nothing more than a classic shortbread. They are similar to my butter cookies and ice cream sandwich cookies but much more tender and crumbly.

If you like cardamom, you will love these cookies!!

cardamom cookies on a white plate

Ingredients for cardamom shortbread cookies

Flour – All-purpose flour is best for cookies

Cardamom – The main flavor of the cookie

Salt – To balance the sweetness

Vanilla – Use pure vanilla extract

Butter – For buttery richness

Shortening – Keeps the cookies tender and prevents spreading

Sugar – Confectioners’ sugar works best for shortbread cookies


How to make cardamom cookies?

Begin by creaming the butter and shortening together until smooth. But, be careful not to whip too much air in as this will affect the overall texture and appearance of the cookies.

Once the butter and shortening are creamed together, add everything else besides the flour.

Most baking recipes call for combining all the dry ingredients then mixing it into the wet ingredients. When testing these cookies, I found that the end result is more flavorful if you mix the cardamom into the butter mixture rather than sifting it into the flour.

Add the flour last and stir just until there are no visible streaks of flour. Try to avoid overmixing or the cookies won’t be as tender.

cardamom cookie dough in glass bowl

Shape the dough into a ball then flatten it into a disk. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 30 minutes to 1 hour. It needs to be just cold enough to roll out but not so cold that it breaks while rolling.

If you begin to roll your dough and you find that it’s cracking, let it sit for a few minutes so it softens enough to roll without breaking. But don’t let it sit too long or it will become soft and sticky.

It takes practice to learn the right texture but you’ll get it!

Don’t roll the cookies to thin. Aim for a little less than ½-inch thick. I tried ¼-inch thickness but they came out too thin for my liking. Shortbread cookies are meant to be thick.

You can use any shape you desire for cutting out the cookies but it’s recommended that the cookie cutter is around 1 and ½-inches. Of course, you can go larger but you’ll get fewer cookies and they may need more time in the oven.

cardamom cookies cut out with red round cookie cutter

Bake the cardamom cookies just until the edges begin to brown. Let them cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then move them to a wire rack to cool completely.

You are going to be so impressed with the tender texture of these cookies!

They go perfectly alongside coffee, tea, and even milk. And they make incredible gifts.

stack of cardamom shortbread cookies

How to store cardamom cookies?

Cardamom shortbread cookies should be kept in an airtight container either at room temperature, in the refrigerator, or in the freezer.

How long will cardamom cookies stay fresh?

The great thing about cardamom cookies is they stay fresh for quite some time as long as they are stored properly. Keep them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week, in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, or freeze them for up to 4 weeks.


Tips for this recipe

  • Let the butter and shortening sit at room temperature for about 45 minutes before you begin making the cookies. They should be soft but still slightly firm and not melty!
  • Measure the flour by weighing it or lightly spoon it into a measuring cup then level it off with the back of a knife. Avoid scooping the flour out with the measuring cup because you’ll end up with too much flour and the recipe will fail.
  • Try this recipe with vanilla paste! Use ½ tablespoon in place of the vanilla extract. YUM!

More cookie recipes you’ll love

Since you loved these cardamom cookies so much, you must try these chai cookies, chewy coconut cookies, white chocolate peppermint cookies, classic snickerdoodle cookies, and classic sugar cookies. They are all incredibly delicious and have been loved by many!

Did you try this recipe? I would love for you to leave me a 5-star rating or comment. This way, I have a better understanding of which recipes you like and can create more of them.

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You can also shop my favorite baking tools. Thank you so much for your support!

stack of cardamom shortbread cookies

Cardamom Cookies

Yield: 36 cookies
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours

These cardamom shortbread cookies are supremely tender and flavorful. With this recipe, you’ll get a soft, buttery shortbread cookie infused with the rich aroma of ground cardamom. 

Ingredients

  • ½ cup (113 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup (102 g) vegetable shortening, softened
  • ½ cup (60 g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 ½ cups (325 g) all-purpose flour

Instructions

  1. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a handheld electric mixer, cream the butter and shortening together on medium speed for 1-2 minutes. 
  2. Add the confectioners' sugar, vanilla, cardamom, and salt. Beat on medium-low speed just until combined.
  3. Add the flour and beat on the lowest speed just until no visible streaks of flour remain. 
  4. Shape the dough into a ball and flatten into a disk. Wrap the disk tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes, until the dough is firm enough to roll out.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
  6. Lightly flour the work surface and roll the dough to a little less than ½-inch thickness. Use cookie cutters to cut desired shapes. (I used 1 and ½-inch fluted round cookie cutters.)
  7. Place the cookies 1 inch apart on the baking sheets. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  8. Bake 1 sheet at a time for 8-10 minutes, until lightly browned around the edges and center is just set.
  9. Cool cookies on the pan for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Notes

To prevent spreading, the cookies should be cold when entering the oven. Don't try to rush things by not chilling the dough or the cutout cookies!

Don't roll the cookies too thin or they may spread! Aim for ⅓ to ½-inch thickness.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 36 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 87Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 3gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 15mgCarbohydrates: 8gSugar: 2gProtein: 1g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the values shown are just an estimate.

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29 Comments

  1. Jeyn E Johnstone says:

    Great recipe. I put an orange glaze on some and sprinkled allspice-sugar on some of them. Very good.

  2. I had some rose sugar to use up so I made this recipe and added lemon zest, then a Royal icing with lemon juice in a rose pattern before finishing with the decorating rose sugar. Very cute!

  3. These are very delicious but I found the dough quite crumbly to deal with. Too little mixing? Too much? I weighed ingredients so I don’t think Iused too much flour.

    1. Yes, this is a crumbly dough. Make sure the butter and shortening are at room temperature and knead the dough together when shaping into a ball. Keep pressing and squeezing until it comes together.

  4. Roberta L Navarro says:

    can this recipe be used in a cookie press if I don’t chill the dough?

    1. I don’t think it will work in a cookie press. This dough isn’t soft enough even when not chilled.

  5. Anita Rojas says:

    Hi, can you tell me what is “shortening”?. I am from Chile. Thanks.

    1. Vegetable shortening is a solid fat that is often used in place of butter or combined with butter to help prevent cookies from spreading. It is made by hydrogenating (adding hydrogen to) vegetable oil, such as soybean or cottonseed oil.

  6. Did everything according to directions but didn’t have shortening so I substituted with firm coconut oil.
    When I went to shape into disc, it just crumbled horribly.
    I managed to shape on stretch wrap and I’m hoping I can actually roll it out?
    Wonder if there is anything I can do to save these?

    1. For one, coconut oil is not a substitute for vegetable shortening in baking. This will completely change the texture of the cookie. Also, this is a shortbread recipe and the dough is meant to be somewhat dry. Think of pie crust! The dough shouldn’t be wet but will hold together when squeezed. If the dough is too dry, most likely you didn’t measure the flour or fats correctly.

    2. Marie Levasseur says:

      Maybe wrapping up the dough in stretch n seal and refridgerate overnight before rolling, if that doesn’t work, add an egg and mix well, Sounds like you mix is too dry