This Nankhatai recipe ( Indian Butter Cookies) is tender, crumbly and literally will melt in your mouth. It is made with 5 simple ingredients and infused with cardamom and nutmeg. These cookies are not very sweet so pairs perfectly with a cup of tea or coffee .
Diwali is just around the corner. This festival is all about lights, colors and good food. I am all pumped up to make various fried and baked Indian snacks like these Nankhatai’s , Shakarpara’s , Crispy Chaklis , Thandai fudge and many more. These make ideal gifts to share with family and friends as well.What are you making this Diwali?
Coming back to these buttery biscuits. The word “Nankhatai” is derived from Persian word “Naan” which means “Bread” and “Khatai” from an Dari Persian word meaning “Biscuit”. Nankhatai is also referred as Indian shortbread cookies. It is a traditional Indian cookie recipe without eggs, baking powder or baking soda.
Best Eggless Indian Cookies
It is so easy to make Nankhatai at home. They are the best eggless Indian cookies that is made using basic handful of pantry ingredients. Take a quick trip to your kitchen and you will find everything that is needed to make these biscuits.
No special baking skills or tools required
These cookies do not require any special equipment or baking tools, not even a whisk. A simple spoon does the trick. This cookie recipe is perfect baking recipe for beginners. If you have never baked in your life you will be able to easily make these nankhatai’s.
My love for these Indian butter cookies go back 3 decades down. These are the first ever cookies that I got introduced to when I was a toddler. Back then in India packaged food for babies was not a thing. Everything given to kids especially babies was homemade. My mom made healthier version of nankhatai for me to munch on just when I started chewing well.
Those were the days when oven was not a common appliance to have. My mom and aunties used to bake these cookies in a pressure cooker.
My mom told me that the healthy Nankhatai recipe was made with ragi , whole wheat flour , ground almonds, ghee and jaggery. Since then, growing up I have eaten many versions of nankhatai’s.
Different styles of making Nankhatai recipe –
- Every home has it’s own way of making Nankhatai biscuits.
- Some make it with only maida that is all purpose flour and semolina ( rawa).
- Some make nankhatai without semolina and use a combination of maida and besan.
- Many recipes use yogurt or sweetened condensed milk.
- My aunt makes it with a combination of Maida or atta (whole wheat flour) plus some besan (chickpea flour) and some semolina ( rawa).
Adding besan gives an earthy taste to these cookies and adding rawa adds that texture for which nankathai’s are known for.
I feel this combination is spot on for crunchy yet melt in mouth Nankhatai. As my grandma used to say “ Nankhatai bilkul khasta honi chahiye jo muh mein ghul jaye. “
Today I am sharing the same butter cookie recipe with you which I have tried and tested many times with Maida or Whole Wheat Flour , Sugar and ghee. It is made with few basic ingredients and doesn’t require any baking powder, baking soda or yogurt.
Ingredients for making Nankhatai Recipe-
These age old homemade Indian biscuits are literally made with handful of ingredients featuring mainly Flour, Ghee (clarified butter), Sugar & Cardamom. Many people use butter instead of ghee too. Doesn’t it sound similar to buttery sugar cookies?
The only difference between the two is that Nankhatai recipe is made without eggs, baking powder or baking soda. Trust me it’s so basic and so amazing!!
Flavoring like cardamom, nutmeg, saffron or other warm spices is simply optional. I recommend using at least one of the spices to elevate the taste of the overall cookie.
Traditionally Nankhatai ‘s have a thumb indentation or criss-cross lines and are topped with nuts.
Step by Step of making khasta Nankhatai Recipe –
- Add room temperature Ghee to a mixing bowl.
- Put in the Icing Sugar/ Confectioners Sugar ( not granulated).
- Cream ghee and sugar well with a spoon.
- Add in the mentioned flours.
5. Start Mixing the dough till it comes together.
6.Knead it until it forms a smooth dough. Rest the dough covered for at least 15-20 minutes.
7. Divide the dough into equal balls.Make crisscross lines on each cookie and put some chopped nuts in the center if desired.
8. Bake in a pre heated oven for 17-19 minutes for large and 10-12 minutes for smaller cookies.
9. Let the cookies cool down in the tray for 10 minutes. Then slowly take them out with help of a spatula.
Tips on making the best Nankhatai –
- Use room temperature ghee that is semi solid and not completely melted.
- Use powdered sugar and not granulated sugar.
- It is important to rest the dough in the fridge for 15-20 minutes to retain the shape.
- After baking, let the cookies cool for 15 minutes on the baking tray itself before attempting to take it out.
Some FAQ’s about making these Indian butter cookies –
How to store Nankhatai cookies?
These butter cookies keep well in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks in a cool dry place. But I bet they will get over before that.
How to make Vegan Nankhatai ?
Simply swap ghee with vegan butter or vegetable shortening. You may use almond butter or peanut butter for healthier cookies.
Substitute Confectioners sugar with organic confectioners sugar or coconut sugar. Or blend sugar in raw in a blender until powder and use it.
How to make healthy Indian cookies for babies / toddlers?
Instead of store bought biscuits you may adapt this recipe to make healthy homemade cookies.
How to make Nankhatai without an oven ?
You can surly make nankhatai without an oven. Make them in a pressure cooker or kadai on stove top gas. You may even use convection mode in your microwave to make these cookies.
My Diwali Party Menu will have-
Welcome Drink –
Main Course –
Return Gifts –
Nankhatai cookies and a box of dia’s .
With not much time on hand I will use ready made freezer naan and parathas.
Let me know in the comment box what are you planning to make for Diwali party or pot luck?
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How to make Easy Nankhatai at home –
US standard measuring cup used. 1 cup = 240 ml
Nankhatai Recipe (Indian Butter Cookies)
- ½ cup / 113 ml Ghee at room temperature not melted.
- ½ cup 60 grams Confectioners Sugar/Icing sugar see notes.
- 1 cup / 138 grams Maida or wheat flour.
- ½ cup / 52 grams Besan ( chickpea flour or chana dal atta)
- ¼ cup / 45 grams Rawa ( Semolina flour)
- ½ teaspoon cardamom (Elaichi powder)
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg optional.
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Chopped Almonds
- Chopped Pistachios
- In a bowl whisk ghee and sugar with a spoon until creamy.
- Add in all the flours called for, cardamom, nutmeg & salt.
- Initially mix well with spoon then use your fingers and palm to rub the flour and put it together.
- Knead it until it forms a smooth dough.
- Rest the dough covered in the fridge for at least 15-20 minutes.
- Pre heat your oven at 350 deg F or 180 deg C.
- Divide the dough into equal balls. (9 balls for large cookies or 16 balls for small cookies)
- Flatten them a bit. Please note these cookies wont spread or rise much.
- Make crisscross lines on each cookie and put some chopped nuts in the center if desired.
- Bake in a pre-heated oven for 17-19 minutes for large and 10-12 minutes for smaller cookies.
- Let the cookies cool down in the tray for at least 10 minutes. Then slowly take them out with help of a spatula.
- Let it completely cool before storing.
Step by Step video of the recipe -
- The heat of your palm is enough to knead a smooth dough.
- Be patient you do not need to add any extra liquid to bring the dough together.
- As quality of flour varies, different flours absorb liquid differently. Even after kneading for 5 minutes, if the dough is crumbly and doesn’t come together in a smooth ball then add 1 teaspoon ghee at a time to get to that consistency.
- Substitute Besan for same amount of maida or atta.
- I have used Confectioners sugar that has cornstarch mixed in it. It makes nankhatai really light and tender. You may use powdered sugar or as it it is called boora shakkar in hindi.
- It is not necessary to grease the baking tray.
- Nuts toppings is optional. You may even use single almond or chocolate sprinkles on top.
- For flavoring you may add pinch of saffron if desired.
How to know that the cookies are done?Every oven is different. For smaller cookies I bake for 12 minutes and larger ones for 18 minutes. You know the cookies are done when they are dry to touch and not doughy , browned a little at the base. They will be still soft when taken out of the oven. Do not over bake. They keep on cooking with residual heat out of the oven. Cookies will become firm only after they cool down so be patient.
How to store Nankhatai cookies?These butter cookies keep well in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks in a cool dry place. But I bet they will get over before that.
Expert Tips on making the best Nankhatai –• Use room temperature ghee that is semi solid and not completely melted. • Use powdered sugar and not granulated sugar. • It is important to rest the dough in the fridge for 15-20 minutes to retain the shape. • After baking, let the cookies cool for 10-15 minutes on the baking tray itself before attempting to take it out.
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