Nankhatai is a melt-in-mouth, delicious, eggless Indian biscuit or shortbread cookie prepared using just five ingredients.
**This is my old blog post updated with new pictures.**
The bakery near our house had one of the best nankhatai, and whenever we had guests visiting our home, this would be our common tea time snack because all loved it. Nobody could stop eating after trying one cookie. So we always used to get them in large numbers. 🙂
I have tried to replicate and recreate the beautiful old memories. Nankhatais are famous bakery-style Indian biscuits. They are also called butter biscuits in some bakeries, Narayan Katar in Konkani, and are similar to Pecan Sandies available here in the United States. Traditionally only all-purpose flour (maida) is used to make nankhatai, and what I have shared below is quite close to my grandmother's recipe. I have followed the recipe given below multiple times and so have my readers. It is a no-fail recipe.
The nankhatai come out so perfect every single time that I don't miss the bakery cookies anymore. Make sure you reserve some for yourself even before you serve because these will disappear in no time
How to serve Nankhatai?
Nankhatai is a delicious and simple recipe to make at home for special occasions or festivals like Ganesh Chaturthi, Navratri, Diwali, Holi, or even give as a gift for Raksha Bandhan or Christmas. Serve it as a snack with a hot cup of coffee, tea, or milk. These can also be served as dessert after lunch or dinner.
What is Nankhatai made of?
Flour: Traditionally, only maida or all-purpose flour is used. To make it healthy, make it with whole grain flour. You can combine wheat flour, besan, or even ragi flour.
Fat: My grandmom prepares it only with dalda or shortening. I have tried it even with ghee in a semi-solid state. I like both versions, and they are unique in their own way.
Sugar: I use fine granulated sugar for all my baking recipes. If you are in India, make sure to powder the sugar in a mixer.
Cardamom powder: Powder the cardamom seeds in a mortar pestle or add the seeds to a mixer or blender along with sugar when you powder the sugar. You can even add vanilla flavor or nutmeg if desired.
Baking soda: This is used as a leavening agent, i.e., to make nankhatai fluffy, airy, and crispy. If this is skipped, cookies will be dense.
Salt: Optional ingredient, but adding a pinch to your cookies balances the flavors and makes everything taste better.
1 ½ cups All-purpose flour or Maida
¾ teaspoon Baking soda
¾ cup Fine sugar or Powdered sugar
¼ teaspoon Cardamom powder
⅛ teaspoon or A pinch of Salt (Optional)
⅔ cup Vegetable shortening (also known as dalda) or Ghee (clarified butter in semi-solid state)
How to make the best Nankhatai or butter cookies from scratch?
No liquid is added to make nankhatai dough. In a bowl, combine flour, fine sugar, baking powder, cardamom powder, salt, and mix. Now add shortening (or ghee) and mix well until the dough is formed. Cover and rest the dough for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Form around 16 golf-sized (or table tennis) balls and place them in a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Make sure you keep some space between them. I like to space them at least 1 inch apart.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until cracks are formed at the top and the bottom of the cookies become light golden in color. Do not overbake the cookies. Since every oven maintains temperature differently, it may take more or less time. Keep checking the cookies for doneness.
These cookies won't brown or develop color on the top surface. However, the top surface of perfectly baked nankhatais will have cracks. The nankhatais may look soft when they come out of the oven but will crisp up as they cool down completely.
For those who want to use ghee, make sure you use them in a semi-solid state. Place the ghee in the refrigerator for a few minutes if the ghee is in liquid form. You can even use butter at room temperature (softened or semi-solid state) to make nankhatais. The texture of cookies and the time for baking may vary slightly depending on the type of fat used in the recipe.
In the USA, fine granulated sugar is readily available in the market. In India, the sugar we use at home is coarse, so grind it in a mixer to get it to powdered form before adding it to the nankhatai dough. This powdered sugar is different from confectioners sugar.
There are several variations to the nankhatai recipe given above. Maida, wheat, ragi, besan, and suji (semolina) can be combined in different proportions to give each nankhatai a unique taste. Do check out the recipe for two variations of traditional nankhatai below:
- Wheat Nankhatai -This is prepared using whole wheat flour
- Ragi Nankhatai - Mixture of flour and ragi
- Wheat and Oats Nankhatai
- Thandai Nankhatai - Perfect recipe for Holi
Naan means bread, and Khatai means cookie, or in other words, a shortbread cookie.
Preheat the microwave oven to convection mode at 180 degrees C. Then bake nankhatais for 15-20 mins or until it's done.
You can store nankhatais in an airtight container for up to 10 days.
Using a microwave in convection mode is the best alternative to a regular oven.
If you want to prepare these on a stovetop, then take a heavy bottom pan or pressure cooker, and fill the bottom half with rock salt crystals:
1) Place a trivet and preheat on a medium flame for 10 mins.
2) Once preheated, place a plate over the trivet.
3) Carefully place the cookie dough balls.
4) Close the pan or cooker with a lid and bake on low flame. Keep frequently checking for doneness after the 10-minute mark.
I do not prefer the stovetop method, as I had a bad experience baking in a pressure cooker. I had to throw away my favorite cooker. So, use this method only if you have baked on a stovetop using this approach before.
Instead of the classic cardamom flavor, you can consider adding Kesar strands (saffron) or thandai spice powder. You can also add rose, vanilla, chocolate, butterscotch, lemon, pineapple, malai, pista, almond, or peppermint flavoring essence while preparing the nankhatai dough.
The fat used while preparing the dough must be in a semi-solid state. However, if the room temperature is high, the fat can start to melt, resulting in flatter nankhatais once baked. To avoid this, you can place the dough in the refrigerator for 30 mins to an hour before shaping them into balls.
This recipe is vegan, as it uses vegetable shortening or dalda. Other fat alternatives for dalda are vegan butter or coconut butter.
Yes. You can substitute all-purpose flour with wheat flour - check out my Wheat Nankhatai recipe! You can also substitute a portion of all-purpose flour with ragi flour to prepare Ragi Nankhatai. You can also combine wheat flour and oats to prepare Wheat and Oats Nankhatai.
Another potential substitution for all-purpose flour is:
1.5 cups all-purpose flour can be substituted with 1.25 cups all-purpose flour, ¼ cup besan, and 1 tablespoon semolina/sooji. Besan or Chickpea flour gives a unique nutty aroma to the biscuits, and semolina adds an additional crunch.
Some people also add powdered nuts such as almonds, pista, cashews, or pecans while preparing the dough. The options are endless, and the recipe is quite forgiving.
Nankhatai Recipe | Nankhatai Cookies | How to make Nankhatai
- 1 ½ cups All purpose flour or Maida
- ¾ teaspoon Baking soda
- ¾ cup Fine sugar or Powdered sugar
- ¼ teaspoon Cardamom powder
- ⅛ teaspoon Salt optional
- ⅔ cup Ghee or Vegetable shortening Ghee is also known as clarified butter and Vegetable shortening is known as Dalda
- In a bowl, add flour, baking soda, sugar, cardamom powder, and salt, and mix.1 ½ cups All purpose flour or Maida, ¾ teaspoon Baking soda, ¾ cup Fine sugar or Powdered sugar, ¼ teaspoon Cardamom powder, ⅛ teaspoon Salt
- Now add shortening (or ghee) and mix to form the dough. Note that I have not added any water to the dough. Vegetable shortening (or ghee) binds everything together. Cover it and keep this aside for at least 30 minutes.⅔ cup Ghee or Vegetable shortening
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F / 148 degrees C.
- Form 16 golf size balls from the dough and place them in a baking tray lined with parchment paper, at least 1 inch apart.
- Bake it for about 20 to 25 minutes or until cracks are formed on the top and it becomes light golden at the bottom. This is very important. Do not overbake the cookies. Since oven temperature varies, it may take more or less time. Keep checking it.
- These cookies may look soft but will crisp up once it cools completely. Allow it to cool down for about 10 – 15 minutes.
- Nankhatai is now ready. Serve with a cup of coffee or tea and enjoy.
- You can also check out my variations to nankhatai like Wheat Nankhatai, Ragi Nankhatai, Wheat & Oats Nankhatai, and Thandai Nankhatai.
- For those who want to use ghee, make sure you use them in a semi-solid state or even use butter at room temperature (semi-solid state). The texture of cookies and time for baking may vary accordingly. I have tried making it with ghee, and it tastes great!
- You can store it in an airtight container for up to 10 days.
- You can also bake this in the microwave on a convection mode. Preheat the microwave oven to convection mode at 180 degrees C. Then bake nankhatais for 15-20 mins or until it’s done.
- Baking time depends on the size of the nankhatai, so adjust accordingly. Smaller ones generally take between 10 to 15 mins, and larger cookies will take 20 to 25 mins.
- These cookies won’t brown, but cracks are formed when nankhatais are baked to perfection. They may feel soft when they come out of the oven but will crisp up as they cool down completely.
- Every oven is different in how the temperature is maintained, and how the heat is circulated. So baking time may vary slightly.
- In the USA, fine granulated sugar is readily available in the market. In India, the sugar which we use at home is coarse, so grind it in the mixer to get it to powdered form before adding it to form the nankhatai dough. This powdered sugar is different from confectioners sugar.
Must try Indian Sweets
Don't miss to check out some of my popular and delicious Indian desserts and sweets to try this festival and holiday season.
- Badam Ladoo (Laddu)
- Gasagase Payasa (Kheer)
- Rose Milk Barfi
- Milk Burfi or Milk Barfi
- Carrot Halwa / Carrot Pudding
- Quick 2-Ingredient Kalakand Recipe
***Click below to save it on Pinterest***