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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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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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28 Comments

  1. Darlene Yee says:

    I bought cardamom seeds from the East Indian grocery store. I made these cookies with the ground up cardamom. It is a basic recipe but the flavour is unique and melt in your mouth goodness. I weighed out the ingredients and chilled the dough for an hour. The dough crumbled as a rolled it out so I let it rest for about 10 min then it rolled out nicely. 30 min chill would have been perfect rolling temperature. Thank you for the recipe.

  2. Do you use (bought) ground cardamom or do you grind the cardamom from the seeds? In my experience the flavor profile will be different based on which you use.

      1. I just made these and based on the comments I used ground cardamom and made some fresh ground cardamom including the shells, in a spice grinder. I used 1.5 tsp of each and the flavor was perfect!

      2. Thanks Jen.

        Satbir: I had never heard of grinding the whole pod including the shell. I either pick the seeds out of the pod or buy a jar of cardamom seeds and then grind them. After reading your comment I did a little research and found this article from Cook’s Illustrated which also suggests grinding the shell with the seeds.

        https://www.cooksillustrated.com/how_tos/6622-grinding-cardamom

        Always good to learn something.

  3. I do not recommend substituting vegetable shortening with butter for this recipe. I used 1 cup of butter (rather than half butter and half shortening) and the dough was unbelievably dry after mixing in the flour because there was not enough liquid. I added other things (I Can’t Believe it’s not Butter) and it eventually turned out alright. The cookies did not spread much thankfully and they do taste like shortbread, but I honestly can’t taste the cardamom. But that could happen for lots of reasons. I ended up backing the cookies for 14 minutes. With the cookie cutter I used I ended up with 2 batches.

    1. Yes, a mixture of butter and shortening as instructed in the recipe will give you the best results. Butter contains more water content than shortening and that will cause the cookies to spread during baking. These are shortbread cookies and the dough is meant to be dry. But if it’s not coming together at all, you most likely used too much flour by not properly measuring it. I have a thorough article on how to properly measure flour so you can have success with all my recipes.

  4. I love cardamom. We use cardamon in every Indian dessert. Is it okay to use only butter? Most shortbread cookies use only butter.

    1. The recipe was developed using half butter and half shortening so I can’t guarantee the results with all butter. They may spread too much.

  5. Christina G says:

    These are quite good. They’re a dry cookie, best to be eaten with coffee or tea. I love the flavor of cardamom, so these are lovely. The dough is a bit crumbly, but you just treat it with kid gloves, and you can work with it just fine.

  6. I just made this dough and it is currently in the refrigerator. I tasted the dough and it is SO GOOD. The cookies might not make it to the oven! 🙂

  7. nicole (thespicetrain.com) says:

    Cardamom is the best and these cookies sound and look delightful, so simple and so beautiful!

  8. Salt Valley says:

    These look so good. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  9. These look so simple yet tasty. I love cardamom and can’t wait to try these cookies!