These Buttery Nankhatai Cookies Will Disappear in Seconds!

bNankhatai is not just any shortbread cookie. These cookies are crumbly, melt-in-your-mouth delights that are packed with flavor. Made with wholesome ingredients, they offer a tasty and nutritious snack that feels really special.

Be sure to check out the traditional Nankhatai recipe video below my friend Nadee shared with me for step-by-step instructions and tips!

Why I Love Nankhatai Cookies

I remember the first time I tried baking Nankhatai biscuits. The smell of saffron and cardamom filled my kitchen, and I could not wait to taste them.

Nankhatai biscuits

The buttery richness and warm spices make these cookies absolutely irresistible. Plus, this recipe has been around for over a hundred years and does not use common baking ingredients like eggs, making it a healthier option.

What is Nankhatai?

Nankhatai shortbread biscuits

Nankhatai means shortbread cookie, or biscuits, whichever you like to call them, but they are so much more than that. Originating from India, these cookies have a rich history and are especially popular in many Indian households.

They are crumbly, slightly sweet, and topped with an almond or pistachio before baking. Made with ingredients like ghee (clarified butter) and either semolina or besan flour, they can also be made with whole wheat or all-purpose flour.

Why I Love Baking with Besan Flour

I have really fallen in love with baking with besan flour, also known as gram flour or chickpea flour. It has this amazing nutty flavor that gives my baked goods a unique twist. Plus, it is naturally gluten-free and organic like the one below.

Jiva Organics Organic Chickpea Flour, Besan Flour 2 Pound - Non-GMO, Gram Flour Fine - Vacuum Packed

Another bonus is that it is high in protein and fiber, so I feel a bit better about indulging in treats made with it. Whether I am whipping up some savory pakoras or experimenting with sweet recipes, besan flour always adds something special.

If you have not tried baking with besan flour yet, I highly recommend giving these Nankhatai Cookies a go!

Traditional Nankhatai Cookies Recipe

Recipe by Jen Evansy
0.0 from 0 votes
Course: DessertCuisine: IndianDifficulty: Easy


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This traditional Indian Nankhatai recipe offers a rich, crumbly, melt-in-your-mouth shortbread cookie experience. Made with a blend of all-purpose flour, chickpea flour, and aromatic cardamom, these cookies are not only delicious but also have a nutritious edge. Perfectly topped with almonds or pistachios, Nankhatai cookies are a delightful treat for any occasion.

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  • 1 cup (120 grams) All-purpose flour

  • 1/2 cup (60 grams) Besan (chickpea flour)

  • 1 tsp Baking powder

  • 1 cup (125 grams) powdered sugar

  • 1 tsp Cardamom powder

  • 2 tbsp (20 grams) Semolina

  • 1/2 cup (120 grams) Ghee, (clarified butter) at room temperature

  • Almonds or pistachios for decoration


  • Sift Dry Ingredients: Combine 1 cup (120 grams) of all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup (60 grams) of besan (chickpea flour), and 1 teaspoon of baking powder. Sift these dry ingredients into a mixing bowl. Sift 1 cup (125 grams) of powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon of cardamom powder, and 2 tablespoons (20 grams) of semolina into the same mixing bowl. Mix the sifted dry ingredients thoroughly.Sift and Mix Dry Ingredients for Nankhatai Cookies
  • Add Ghee: Add 1/2 cup (120 grams) of room-temperature ghee to the dry ingredients.Add Ghee
  • Form Dough: Gently mix the dry ingredients with the ghee using your fingers until the texture becomes crumbly. Do not add any water or milk; use the heat of your fingers to bring the dough together. This should take about 5 minutes. If the dough does not come together, add extra ghee, about 1 teaspoon at a time, until you get a smooth, firm, and pliable dough.
  • Shape Cookies: Shape the dough into equally sized small balls using your hands and place them on the prepared baking tray, leaving space between each cookie.Shape Cookies
  • Decorate Cookies: Use your finger to press a small hole in the middle of each cookie and decorate each Nankhatai with an almond or pistachio.Decorate Cookies
  • Bake Cookies: Bake the cookies in the preheated oven for about 10-12 minutes, until the edges of the cookies turn slightly golden brown and your kitchen smells amazing.Bake Cookies
  • Cool Cookies: Take the cookies out of the oven and let them cool on the baking tray for about 5-10 minutes before moving them onto a plate to cool completely.Cool Cookies

Recipe Video


  • Measure Accurately: For the best results, use a kitchen scale to measure ingredients accurately, especially the ghee and flours.
  • Room Temperature Ghee: Make sure the ghee is at room temperature for easier mixing and a better dough consistency.
  • Uniform Size: Try to make all cookies the same size to ensure they bake evenly.
  • Decoration Variations: You can experiment with different nuts for decoration, such as cashews or walnuts, to suit your taste.
  • Baking Time: Keep an eye on the cookies while baking, as ovens vary. The edges should be slightly golden brown, but the cookies should not be too dark.
  • Cooling Time: Allow the cookies to cool on the tray before transferring them to a plate, as they will continue to firm up as they cool.
  • Flavor Enhancements: For a different flavor profile, you can add a pinch of saffron or a few drops of rose water to the dough.

Nutrition Facts

  • Total number of serves: 12
  • Calories: 158kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 19g
  • Protein: 3g
  • Fat: 8g

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Another Cookie Recipe to Try

You should also check out these Unbelievably Good Gnanakatha Cookies — they are a must-try recipe! These cookies are another favorite of mine, and they are just as delicious and easy to make as Nankhatai. You will love them!


Whether you stick to the recipe exactly or add your own twist, Nankhatai cookies are sure to delight you. They are a hit every time I make them, and I am sure they will be for you too.

I would love to hear your thoughts! If you have any questions or comments about this Nankhatai biscuits recipe, please leave them below the article or in the comments section of the YouTube video.

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About Jen Evansy

Nutritionist, researcher, avid home cook, and writer interested in everything nutrition and food-related. Striving to inform, encourage, and inspire all the readers to make healthy and informed choices when it comes to cooking, food, diet, and nutrition.