This recipe for cardamom cookies will blow you away! Imagine a chewy ginger molasses cookie except cardamom, orange, espresso and browned butter are the main flavor players. Get ready to sink your teeth into the most glorious chewy cardamom cookies!

Cardamom Cookies

These cardamom cookies have got it all going for them. They’re chewy, buttery, flavor-packed and feature a crunchy, sugary coating. Plus, they’re BIG! Each cookie is bigger than the palm of your hand.

I also love that you don’t need a stand mixer and there’s no chilling the dough!

brown chewy-looking cookies stacked on a wire rack on a blue table

Ingredients in Cardamom Cookies

  • Unsalted butter—it’s important to use unsalted when baking so you can control how much salt is added.
  • Instant espresso powder can most often be found next to the other instant coffee products. Make sure you use instant espresso powder, not coffee. It usually comes in a small glass jar with a green lid. Then use the espresso powder for other bakes like Peppermint Cookies and Olive Oil Brownies!
  • Ground cardamom, for the most flavor and oomph, purchase cardamom from quality sources like Burlap and Barrel or Simply Organic. You can also toast whole cardamom pods in a skillet then grind them into a fine powder.
  • Unbleached all-purpose flour is the flour of choice for these cookies.
  • Baking soda and baking powder are both important. Baking soda increases browning and encourages spreading while baking powder adds lift. 
  • Light brown sugar keeps the cookies moist and chewy and adds a much deeper flavor than white sugar.
  • Grated orange zest adds brightness to balance out the heavier flavors. Plus, “orange cardamom cookies” has a nice ring to it (they pair really well together).
  • Egg and an egg yolk are both used in these cookies. Yolks are higher in fat and protein and lower in moisture than egg whites. So removing the egg white means the cookies will stay moist and not crispy.
  • Pure vanilla extract adds even more flavor. I prefer to use pure extracts in baking, but if you have imitation that will work fine.
  • Turbinado, demerara or white cane sugar can be used for coating the dough balls. I find turbinado works best (raw cane sugar) because of its large granules.  
brown chewy-looking cookies stacked on a wire rack on a blue table

How to Make Cardamom Cookies

  1. Brown the butter in a skillet until it’s fragrant (and browned!). Then pour the browned butter over a few tablespoons of solid butter, espresso powder and the cardamom in a large glass mixing bowl. Stir to melt the fresh butter then let the mixture cool for about 15 minutes. This combination of melted butter and solid butter gives the cookie structure and chew.
  2. While the butter cools, whisk together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl.
  3. Add the brown sugar, orange zest, and salt to the butter and whisk until no lumps remain.
  4. brown sugar and orange zest in a bowl with browned butter
  5. Whisk in the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla. The mixture should become light and pale in color.
  6. Fold the flour mixture into the butter mixture JUST until combined (don’t overmix! Overmixing makes for a tough cookie.)
  7. Roll the cookie dough into balls then roll the balls in a mixture of turbinado sugar and kosher salt (for a sweet and salty crust!). One more reason not to use salted butter. If you do, these cookies will be too salty.
  8. Bake the cookies until they are puffed, the edges have just set and the centers still look raw between the cracks. Do not overbake these cardamom cookies or they won’t be chewy!
  9. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Tips for Making Cardamom Cookies

  • Measuring flour: if you aren’t baking by weight, make sure you fluff the flour with a spoon or whisk before spooning it into your measuring cup and sweeping it level with a flat edge (back of a knife). Scooping the measuring cup through flour will result in too much flour and make for a drier cookie.
  • Storing Cookies: these chewy cardamom cookies should be stored in an airtight container or resealable zipper-lock bag. They’re best within the first 2 days of baking. After 2 days I recommend placing a slice of sandwich bread in the bag or container to maintain moisture and chewiness. 
  • To freeze the cookies: stack the cookies, then wrap tightly in plastic wrap and transfer to a zipper-lock bag; freeze for up to 1 month.
  • Don’t over bake: Bake cookies until the edges are just beginning to set and the centers still look undercooked. The dough should still look raw between the cracks. 

How We Measure Flour

First and foremost, if you’re an avid baker, we highly recommend purchasing a food scale. Measuring by weight instead of cup measurement it always more accurate and is a foolproof way to get the same results every time.

In the case that you do not have a food scale, it’s imperative to know how the recipe developer measures flour—which isn’t always easy to know. Some people simply scoop the cup through the flour and sweep to level it off. Others spoon and sweep. In the test kitchen we fluff, spoon and sweep. Here’s what that looks like:

  1. Fluff the flour with a spoon or whisk. This aerates the flour and lightens it up.
  2. Use a large spoon to spoon the flour from the storage bin to the measuring cup.
  3. Sweep a flat edge, such as the back of a knife, along the top of the measuring cup to level the flour.
brown chewy-looking cookies stacked on a wire rack on a blue table

Storage and Freezing Instructions

These cardamom cookies should be stored in an airtight container or resealable zipper-lock bag. Cardamom cookies are best stored at room temperature in an airtight container and eaten within the first 2 days of baking.

After 2 days I recommend placing a slice of sandwich bread in the bag or container to maintain moisture and chewiness.

To freeze cardamom cookies, stack the cookies, then wrap tightly in plastic wrap and transfer to a zipper-lock bag; freeze for up to 1 month.

More Cookies to Try

  • Love the sound of a chewy browned butter cookie? Try our chewy Halva Cookies! They feature a chewy browned butter dough studded with melty puddles of halva and chewy bits of candied orange.
  • If you love a crunchy cookie, try our Christmas Biscotti that’s loaded with dried fruit and nuts or our Peppermint Cookies.
  • Once you’ve gotten your fill of crisp and crunchy cookies, try our uber-chewy Hermit Cookies which are also filled with dried fruit.
  • If you love these Cardamom Cookies, try these Chewy Gingerbread Cookies!
  • Another Christmas favorite are our Eggnog Cookies. Fun and festive!

Cardamom Cookies Recipe

4.81 from 26 votes
Prep Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Yield 13 cookies (bakers doz)
Category Dessert
Cuisine American
Author Lauren Grant

Description

The ultimate chewy, spice cookie featuring a crunchy sugary coating.

Ingredients

  • 14 tablespoons (200g) unsalted butter (1 ¾ sticks)
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
  • teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 2 ¼ cups (300g) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon Morton kosher salt + more for rolling (or ¾ teaspoon Diamond Crystal)
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 ⅔ cups (356g) packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup turbinado, demerara sugar or white sugar, for rolling

Instructions

  • Heat 10 tablespoons butter in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until melted, about 2 minutes. Continue to cook, swirling pan constantly until butter is dark golden brown and has a nutty aroma, 2–3 minutes.
  • Remove skillet from heat and transfer browned butter to large heatproof bowl with remaining 4 tablespoons butter, 1 tablespoon espresso powder and 1¼ teaspoons cardamom. Stir to combine and melt butter; set aside for 15 minutes (do not cool this mixture or let it solidify).
  • Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350ºF (176ºC). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Whisk 2¼ cups (300g) flour, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, ½ teaspoon baking soda, and ¼ teaspoon baking powder together in medium bowl; set aside.
  • Add 1 ⅔ cups (356g) brown sugar and 1 teaspoon orange zest to bowl with cooled butter; whisk until no sugar lumps remain, about 30 seconds.
    brown sugar and orange zest in a bowl with browned butter
  • Add 1 egg, 1 egg yolk, and 1 tablespoon vanilla; whisk until fully incorporated and pale in color, about 1 minute.
  • Scrape down sides of bowl with a rubber spatula, then add flour mixture and mix until just combined. Give dough a final stir with rubber spatula to ensure no flour pockets remain.
  • In a shallow bowl or plate combine ¼ cup turbinado sugar and ½ teaspoon kosher salt.
  • Using ¼ cup measure (#16 scoop, 2-ounce scoop, or 65-70 grams per ball), scoop dough and roll into balls. Working in batches, toss dough balls in turbinado sugar mixture and roll to coat; transfer 5 dough balls to prepared baking sheet, spacing them 2–3 inches apart.
  • Bake, one sheet at a time, until cookies are still puffy and edges have just begun to set but centers are still soft (cookies will look raw between cracks and seem underdone), 11–12 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking. Do not overbake.
  • Repeat rolling, coating and baking with remaining cookie dough.
  • Cool cookies on baking sheet 5 minutes; using wide metal spatula, transfer cookies to wire rack and cool to room temperature.

Video

Notes

How to Measure Flour
  1. Fluff the flour with a spoon or whisk. This aerates the flour and lightens it up.
  2. Use a large spoon to spoon the flour from the storage bin to the measuring cup.
  3. Sweep a flat edge, such as the back of a knife, along the top of the measuring cup to level the flour.
Less-sweet cookie: don’t love super sweet cookies? Skip rolling the dough balls in the turbinado sugar and bake as directed. The result will be a super chewy cookie without any crunchy coating!
For a bolder cookie: If you’re looking for more of a “spiced” cookie, I recommend increasing the espresso powder to 2 tablespoons and using 2 teaspoons grated orange zest. 
Sweet and salty lover: for those of us who love a strong sweet and salty action, use 1 teaspoon of Morton kosher salt (or 1 ¼ teaspoons Diamond Crystal) in the turbinado sugar mixture. 
Orange Cardamom Cookies: skip rolling the dough balls in turbinado sugar and instead drizzle the baked cookies with a glaze. For the glaze, whisk together confectioners’ sugar (powdered sugar), orange juice and a pinch of salt.
Storing Cookies: these chewy cardamom cookies should be stored in an airtight container or resealable zipper-lock bag. They’re best within the first 2 days of baking. After 2 days I recommend placing a slice of sandwich bread in the bag or container to maintain moisture and chewiness.
To freeze the cookies: stack the cookies, then wrap tightly in plastic wrap and transfer to a zipper-lock bag; freeze for up to 1 month.
Clumping espresso powder: I have heard from a few readers that their espresso powder clumps when mixed with the butter. I have tested and retested this recipe in an effort to recreate the issue and it simply does not happen for me. A few things to consider in order to avoid this: 1) add the espresso powder to the bowl with the solid butter then pour the warm butter over top. 2) do not allow the butter mixture to become cold. It should just rest for 15 minutes before you proceed with the recipe. 3) if it does clump, it will likely unclump and work itself out when the eggs are added. 
Due to reader reviews, we have decreased the espresso powder (from 2 tablespoons to 1) and the orange zest (from 2 teaspoons to 1) to allow the cardamom to shine a bit more. If you like a spiced cookie, go ahead and use the original measurements. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookieCalories: 320kcalCarbohydrates: 48gProtein: 3gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 64mgSodium: 194mgFiber: 0.5gSugar: 30g
Like this? Leave a comment below!I love hearing from you and I want to hear how it went with this recipe! Leave a comment and rating below, then share on social media @zestful-kitchen and #zestfulkitchen!
brown chewy-looking cookies stacked on a wire rack on a blue table

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About The Author

Lauren Grant is a professional culinary food scientist, food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer. Lauren is a previous magazine editor and test kitchen developer and has had work published in major national publications including Diabetic Living Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, Cuisine at Home Magazine, EatingWell.com, AmericasTestKitchen.com, and more.

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Irresistible cookies. Perfect flavor combinations and will be a regular in my recipe box. On a side note the recipes when printed are chopped up with ads and half pages. To print this recipe it would require 22 pages and a few weeks ago the format didn’t do this. If fixable would really appreciate, thanks.

    1. Hi Karen! I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed the cookies (I just made another batch yesterday). I will look in to fixing the print issue—apologies for that. There is an option to remove the images, recipe notes and nutrition. Once you hit “print” a new page will load. At the top of that page click “print options” then unclick the recipe card features you do not want to include in the printed version.

  2. Made these for a cookie bake-off competition for a wedding weekend, and they shared the top prize. Everyone loved them!
    * My test batch was WAY too salty. I cut salt in half, and was careful when rolling them to not pick up too much salt. The turbinado sugar and kosher salt don’t really mix well.
    * Added cinnamon because I love cinnamon and it goes well with cardamom.
    * A full 1/4 cup scoop makes 3.5″ cookies. I used a bit less to get 3″ cookies.
    * Mine came out thicker than they look in the pictures here. Not sure if there’s a trick to make them thinner, but they were fine thicker. Nice balance of crunchy from the sugar coating and chewy from the inside.

  3. 5 stars
    This is one of our GO-TO Christmas Cookie recipes now. We all LOVE cardamom, it is the perfect flavor in this cookie.

  4. Question: is the espresso powder supposed to clump up when added to the browned butter? I’ve attempted this part of the recipe now twice, and as soon as the not browned butter amount hits the hot browned butter, the espresso powder clumps up into a solid clump that will not dissolve. I’m wondering if the recipe amount is incorrect and it’s only supposed to be 2 TEASPOONS of instant espresso powder? Or, am I just doing something wrong? I am an experienced baker, so this is baffling to me.

    1. Hey Melissa, thanks for the comment. I took a look at the recipe and all of my testing notes and 2 tablespoons is the correct amount. Is the espresso powder loose in the jar or pretty compact? Medaglia D’Oro is our preferred brand in the test kitchen, but any instant espresso powder should work. I do find it works better when it’s fresh and not clumpy out of the jar.
      This is baffling me as well—I’ve never had this happen. Next time I recommend just adding the espresso powder to the flour mixture. I usually like to bloom it a bit (which that hot browned butter is doing) but it’s not worth it if it’s clumping! I’m so sorry about this, it should not be happening. Thinking it through, you could add the espresso powder and cardamom to the skillet with the hot butter right before you remove it from heat. But I worry the cold butter is the reason for clumping. Is the un-browned butter cold from the fridge? Maybe if it’s soft / room temp it won’t seize the espresso powder.

      I hope some of these tips help! Feel free to decrease the espresso powder too if you think that will help—2 teaspoons will still add a nice oomph!

      1. Hi! Thank you for your response. The espresso powder is fresh – I bought it just over the summer for a tiramisu. It’s loose in the jar. The brand is Ferrara “Instant Espresso Coffee.” And the “cold” butter is room temp. I may just try adding it to the flour mixture. T

        1. I had the same problem – really wish I’d seen this comment before trying the recipe 🙁 I bake a lot and use Nestle Gold Espresso whenever a recipe calls for instant espresso powder and have never had issues before, but I do notice now that the label actually says instant coffee in fine print. Maybe that was part of the issue for me? I ended up starting over after that step and adding the espresso powder in with the flour instead which worked great.

          I didn’t want to waste the ingredients from the first attempt so I strained the clumps out of the butter mixture and now have a little brick of cardamom/espresso-infused brown butter saved in the fridge — hoping to use it up somehow if anyone has ideas!

          Anyway, I’m glad I gave the recipe another shot with the adjusted steps because WOW the flavour combination of these cookies is AMAZING!!!

          The kosher salt available to me isn’t great for baking unfortunately, so I ended up using 1/2 tsp of fine sea salt in the dough. I tasted the mixture before rolling and liked it as is so I just skipped the salt in the coating.

          The espresso experience was a major bummer but if avoided, I highly recommend this recipe! So delicious!

          1. Hi Ruth,

            Thanks for letting me know you also had trouble with the espresso powder. This is such a baffling thing that has now happened for a few readers. Great idea to strain the butter and keep marching forward! I’m glad you didn’t have to waste all those flavorful ingredients. Thanks again for letting me know, I will make edits to the recipe.

  5. 5 stars
    Just made these and my wife said they were a winner. Just chewy enough with a crunch. Also, the orange was a nice flavor profile addition.
    The espresso powder also clumped a bit on me too, but I noticed it blended right on in when the eggs were added.
    I rolled them in sanding sugar with good results.
    Thanks for a good recipe.

    1. Hi Hugh,

      I’m happy to hear your wife thinks these are a winner! And thanks for letting me know about the clumping—I’ve now heard from a few other readers experiencing the same issue. So bizarre. But I’m glad it mixed right in when the eggs were added! Thanks for giving these a try and leaving a comment—your notes are so helpful for other readers.

  6. I had a problem with the espresso powder (from King Arthur Baking). It congealed into a sticky glob, and aI can’t dissolve it. Next time I’ll try mixing into the flour.

    1. Hi Jeff,

      Thanks for letting me know. Sounds like this is a problem for quite a few readers. Adding it to the flour mixture is a great idea.

  7. Unfortunately, these didn’t work out for me. Love the texture- chewy with a sugary crunch. But I’d hoped the cardamom and browned butter would stand out more; instead, both the orange zest and the espresso were too punchy, resulting in a bit of a bitter taste. I also didn’t add salt to the rolled sugar bit- if I had, they also would have been too salty. May try them again with half the orange & espresso, and maybe some grated ginger to see if I get more of the spice & warmth I was hoping for. Thank you for the recipe!

    1. Hi Jess, thanks for trying this recipe! Such helpful feedback—I’ve tested these countless times but will test them again and assess the balance of flavors. I can totally see how the orange and espresso may overpower the cardamom. It is important to only include the orange zest (none of the white pith which can add bitterness). Also important to use kosher salt. If table salt is used they will be too salty.
      Thanks for these notes!

  8. HELP! My cookies did not turn out soft and chewy. They were puffy and hard. Thought I followed the recipe exactly… any tips would be greatly appreciated! I’m baking these for a Xmas cookie exchange. Thank you!!

    1. Hi Sheena,

      Oh no! I have a few ideas. Frist, make sure you are scooping enough dough for each cookie. Use 1/4 cup of dough for each cookie. If you’re using less dough per cooking then you’ll need to drop down the bake time.
      Second, when measuring out your flour, if you don’t have a food scale, be sure to first fluff the flour then spoon it into your measuring cup before leveling off. Scooping compacted flour will add much more flour to the dough and make it drier.
      Third, I’d double check your oven temperature—it sounds like it may be running hot. Bake on the middle rack, not the bottom rack—that should help.
      Fourth, be sure to use large eggs—one whole egg and one whole egg yolk. That extra egg yolk will help make the cookies chewy.
      Fifth, it sounds like there may be too much leavener, but I trust that you did it right! So I’m stumped. I gotta think it’s too much flour and too small of dough balls.

      I hope this helps!!!