Cardamom Shortbread Cookies with Orange Glaze Recipe – State of Dinner (2024)

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Cardamom shortbread cookies boast an exotic warm flavor, balanced with a sweet, citrusy orange glaze. The cookies are buttery, tender, and melt-in-your-mouth delicious!

Cardamom Shortbread Cookies with Orange Glaze Recipe – State of Dinner (1)
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  • What is Cardamom?
  • Ingredients
  • Step-by-Step Instructions
  • Variation
  • Recipe FAQs
  • Recommended Recipes
  • Recipe
  • Reviews

Cardamom shortbread cookies are excellent when you want something a little extra special. They make a delicious addition to an assorted cookie tray, and are perfect for a wedding or baby shower!

My family was a little suspicious of these cookies at first, but after one bite, my husband exclaimed, "These cookies are crave-worthy!" Once you taste them, I am sure you will agree! My kids would eat a whole tray of these cookies if I would let them!

If you are adding these to a Christmas cookie tray, consider these other delightful cookies as well:

  • Iced Thumbprint Cookies
  • Brown Butter Toffeedoodle Cookies
  • Salted Caramel Brownie Cookies
  • Marshmallow Chocolate Chip Cookies

What is Cardamom?

Cardamom is a warm spice, with a strong, sweet flavor. It has a hint of citrus and herbs. The seed pods come from a plant closely related to the ginger and turmeric families. This spice is the main ingredient in chai, so if you like chai tea, you will love these cookies!

Cardamom can be found already ground, but I like to use freshly ground cardamom for the best flavor. Once it is ground, the oils start to dissipate, which weakens the flavor of the cardamom.

I found cardamom pods in the spice section of my local grocery store, but if you have trouble locating them they can also be ordered through Amazon.

Cardamom Shortbread Cookies with Orange Glaze Recipe – State of Dinner (2)

Ingredients

Cardamom Shortbread Cookies with Orange Glaze Recipe – State of Dinner (3)

Looking for the full recipe? The recipe card at the bottom of this post includes the full list of ingredients, measurements, and instructions.

This recipe follows very closely with the formula for traditional shortbread cookies, which crumble as you bite into them, and then almost melt in your mouth.

The addition of the cardamom brings an unexpected warmth, and the orange glaze balances the cookie with a bright sweetness. Plus, it looks gorgeous!

  • Cardamom: Freshly grind your cardamom for the best flavor. You can use just the seeds inside the pod or grind the whole pod. There isn't a flavor difference with either method.
  • Confectioner's Sugar: We use confectioner's sugar (also known as powdered sugar or icing sugar) versus granulated sugar in this recipe because it has cornstarch in it. This makes the cookies less crisp and more tender.
  • Butter: Soften your butter to room temperature so that it creams with the sugar! I use salted butter, but if you prefer to use unsalted then just add ½ teaspoon of salt to your recipe.
  • All-Purpose Flour: The standard ratio for traditional shortbread is 1 part sugar, 2 parts butter, and 3 parts flour. This works beautifully for simple cookies, but the dough will spread as you cook it. I have added a little more flour to this recipe so that the dough will hold its shape as it bakes, but not too much, so it still feels like a shortbread cookie when you take a bite.

Step-by-Step Instructions

1) Cream Butter

  • Use butter that is softened, but not melted.
  • Cream the butter with powdered sugar until it is smooth.
  • The butter should be fully mixed in without chunks, but you do not want it to be as fluffy as when you make other types of cookies. Minimizing the air pockets helps produce a classic, dense shortbread.
Cardamom Shortbread Cookies with Orange Glaze Recipe – State of Dinner (4)

2) Stir in Flour and Cardamom

  • Once the flour and cardamom are added in, mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together. The mixture will still be crumbly, but it will be in large chunks instead of small crumbs.
  • It is important to mix the flour and cardamom in gently without adding too much air to the dough.
Cardamom Shortbread Cookies with Orange Glaze Recipe – State of Dinner (5)

3) Refrigerate

  • Think about your dough like butter (after all, that is a large part of what this dough is made of). If you touch soft butter then it will stick all over your hands. But you cannot roll out a stick of hard butter. The same is true for this dough. You want it to be cold enough that it isn't sticky, but not too cold.
  • Form the dough into a disk and refrigerate it for 30 minutes before it is rolled out. If it gets too soft while you are rolling it out, stick it back in the refrigerator for a little bit.
Cardamom Shortbread Cookies with Orange Glaze Recipe – State of Dinner (6)

4) Roll and Cut

  • Roll the dough ½-inch thick, then cut using your favorite dough cutter.
  • Gather the remaining dough and roll it out again, until all of the dough has been used. Remember, you can refrigerate your dough again if it gets too warm.
  • Use a small spatula to transfer the dough cutouts onto a parchment-lined plate and freeze them for 10-15 minutes before baking.
  • Freezing before baking allows the butter to harden so that the sugar and flour begin to bake before the butter melts. This keeps the dough from spreading too much.
Cardamom Shortbread Cookies with Orange Glaze Recipe – State of Dinner (7)

5) Bake

  • Shortbread is cooked at 325°F which is a lower temperature than most other cookies.
  • This low temperature helps the cookies to cook all of the way through without browning too much. You want the cookies to just begin to turn golden.
  • This lower temperature also helps contribute to the wonderful shortbread texture, as it controls how the butter melts into the starch.
Cardamom Shortbread Cookies with Orange Glaze Recipe – State of Dinner (8)

6) Glaze (Optional)

  • Once the cookies have cooled completely, whisk together powdered sugar, orange juice, and milk.
  • The glaze can be drizzled over the top of the cookies, but I like to cover the entire top surface of the cookie by dipping them.
  • Gently place a cookie top-down into the glaze, then remove the cookie and let it drip. Turn the cookie over and set it on a plate or cooling rack.
  • Wait to stack the cookies until the glaze has completely dried. Otherwise, they will stick together.
Cardamom Shortbread Cookies with Orange Glaze Recipe – State of Dinner (9)

Variation

  • If you want a simpler shortbread you can also slice the dough instead of rolling and cutting!
  • Simply roll the dough into a log.
  • Refrigerate the log for at least an hour. When you are ready to bake, slice the dough into ½-inch disks.
Cardamom Shortbread Cookies with Orange Glaze Recipe – State of Dinner (10)

Recipe FAQs

What's the difference between a shortbread cookie and a butter cookie?

Shortbread usually has more flour than a butter cookie, making them more delicate and tender. Butter cookies are also baked at a higher temperature than shortbread cookies.

What about sugar cookies? What's the difference?

Sugar cookies have more sugar and flour than shortbread and butter cookies and less butter making them sturdier cookies. They are ideal when you want to cut out fancy designs.

How do you store Cardamom Shortbread cookies?

Shortbread cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 7 days, in the refrigerator for 10 days, or in the freezer for up to 4 months.

Can I use already ground cardamom?

Freshly ground cardamom is much more potent than cardamom that is already ground. I have not tested this recipe with pre-ground cardamom, and recommend that you use freshly ground, if possible.

Cardamom Shortbread Cookies with Orange Glaze Recipe – State of Dinner (11)

Recommended Recipes

  • Soft Snickerdoodle Cookies Without Cream of Tartar
  • Buttermilk Spice Muffins Recipe
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Let me know how you like this recipe by leaving a review! And follow along on Instagram @stateofdinner for behind-the-scenes and to be among the first to know when new recipes post!

Recipe

Cardamom Shortbread Cookies with Orange Glaze Recipe – State of Dinner (16)

Cardamom Shortbread Cookies with Orange Glaze

Recipe by: Erin

Tender, buttery cookies are accented with the exotic spice of cardamom. An orange glaze balances these cookies with bright citrus.

4.96 from 82 votes

Print Recipe Pin Recipe

Prep Time 15 minutes mins

Cook Time 20 minutes mins

Refrigeration Time 1 hour hr 10 minutes mins

Total Time 1 hour hr 45 minutes mins

Course Dessert

Cuisine American, International

Servings 15

Calories 179 kcal

Ingredients

Cardamom Shortbread

  • 1 cup (226 grams) salted butter softened
  • ½ cup (60 grams) powdered (confectioners) sugar
  • 1 teaspoons (2 grams) ground cardamom
  • 1 ¾ cups (228 grams) all-purpose flour

Orange Glaze

  • 1 cup (120 grams) powdered (confectioners) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) milk
  • orange zest, to decorate optional

Instructions

Making the Shortbread

  • If using fresh cardamom, grind pods into a fine powder.

  • Beat butter, sugar, on low speed until the sugar is incorporated, and then increase to medium speed and continue to beat until creamed, about 30 seconds. Scrape the sides.

    1 cup salted butter, ½ cup powdered (confectioners) sugar

  • Add the flour and cardamom and mix on low speed until the dough comes together in medium-sized chunks and you do not see any flour streaks in the bowl. Do not overmix.

    1 teaspoons ground cardamom, 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

  • Press the dough together using a spatula or your hands, then turn onto a sheet of plastic wrap. Use the plastic wrap to help shape the dough into a disk. Wrap tightly with the plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

  • Preheat oven to 325 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  • Remove dough from the refrigerator. Unwrap the dough and place it between two sheets of parchment paper. Roll ½-inch thick, then cut out with cookie cutters. Place the cookies onto a parchment-lined plate and put in the freezer for 10-15 minutes.

  • Transfer the dough onto your baking sheet and bake for 20-22 minutes, or until very lightly golden. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Making the Glaze

  • Once the cookies have cooled, mix together 1 cup of powdered confectioner's sugar along with the orange juice and milk, until smooth.

    1 cup powdered (confectioners) sugar, 1 tablespoon orange juice, 1 tablespoon milk

  • Dip the cookies, top side-down, into the glaze. Then remove and turn top-side up. Sprinkle with zest, if desired. Set on a plate or cooling rack until the glaze has set.

    orange zest, to decorate

Nutrition

Calories: 179kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 33mg | Sodium: 109mg | Potassium: 23mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 378IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 8mg | Iron: 1mg

The nutritional facts provided are only estimates. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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Reader Interactions

Comments

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  1. Sam

    Cardamom Shortbread Cookies with Orange Glaze Recipe – State of Dinner (17)
    I made these for the first time tonight and they came out perfect! I hadn’t made a shortbread cookie before, and these cookies were super easy. I used fresh ground cardamom as per the recipe (I think this was essential, the flavor is awesome), but subbed clementines for oranges since that’s just what I had on hand.

    For folks that wanted more citrus flavor- just use more zest to garnish or throw it in the glaze. Mine came out very tasty and well balanced flavor wise. Next time I might try chilling them in a roll like another commenter since I was entirely too impatient to wait for it to warm up a bit to roll out 😅.

    Reply

  2. Susan Newton

    I have lots of comments! First, I think it’s an excellent recipe, but a lot of trouble for not much payoff.
    The next time I make this recipe, I’ll:
    Use twice as much cardamom. You can’t taste it at all.
    Double the recipe. I got 20 cookies out of this and I feel like 40 would be worth the trouble.
    Use heavy cream instead of milk, and orange juice concentrate for the frosting.
    All in all, they’re delicious and beautiful.

    Reply

    • Erin

      Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts! I'm curious, did you use freshly ground or already ground bottled cardamom? I recommend freshly ground for the best flavor.

      Reply

  3. Victoria

    Cardamom Shortbread Cookies with Orange Glaze Recipe – State of Dinner (18)
    Ok these are insanely delicious! I used fresh cardamom as I had a bunch of pods. Game changer! Rolled it into a square log and put in refrigerator for 45 minutes, sliced them quickly with a sharp knife and put straight in oven..
    made the glaze, ended up putting orange zest in it to enhance orange flavor, it was really helpful. Wished I had orange extract like some other comments. This is an easy and perfect shortbread recipe! Thank you !

    Reply

    • Erin

      Thank you for sharing! I love the idea of a square log!

      Reply

  4. Kara Anderson

    Divine! I will definitely invest in higher quality cardamom when I make these again. Totally worth the effort

    Reply

    • Erin

      I'm glad you enjoyed them!

      Reply

  5. Erica

    Cardamom Shortbread Cookies with Orange Glaze Recipe – State of Dinner (19)
    Love this cookie! I made a double batch and did half with the orange glaze (zested and squeezed mandarins), and half dipped in dark chocolate with crumbled pistachios. Both were a huge hit! I thought 1/2” was going to be too thick, but it really keeps the cookie tender and works with the thicker more substantial toppings too.

    Reply

    • Erin

      Those both sound absolutely amazing!

      Reply

  6. Clare

    Could I make the dough and leave in refrigerator for a couple of days prior to baking?

    Reply

    • Erin

      Absolutely! The dough can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

      Reply

  7. Cathy

    Cardamom Shortbread Cookies with Orange Glaze Recipe – State of Dinner (20)
    I consider myself a shortbread pro. This cookie is divine in all respects. I’ll increase my cardamom for my next baking for personal preference. I used a fresh tangerine juice for my glaze because I had some. I also used some mandarin bomb for decor. Gorgeous. Mandarin bomb is freeze dried mandarin that has been finely ground. My new favorite shortbread, and I’ve been baking shortbread for 50+ years. Thank you

    Reply

    • Erin

      Wow, Cathy! What a compliment! I bet the mandarin was a gorgeous garnish!

      Reply

  8. Sarah

    Cardamom Shortbread Cookies with Orange Glaze Recipe – State of Dinner (21)
    I really enjoyed these! They certainly pack a punch! Great flavor and texture. I did more of a slice and bake ro save time,, and used orange extract in the icing. This one is going in the Christmas cookie rotation. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply

    • Erin

      I appreciate you sharing this, Sarah! Merry Christmas!

      Reply

  9. Valerie

    Cardamom Shortbread Cookies with Orange Glaze Recipe – State of Dinner (22)
    Delicious cookies. Thank-you for the recipe and the detailed instructions which helped make the perfect texture cookie.

    Reply

    • Erin

      Thank you, Valerie! I am happy to hear you enjoyed them!

      Reply

  10. Carie

    I was only able to find pre-ground cardamom, would you recommend increasing the amount used since it is not fresh?

    Reply

  11. Diane Oppenneer

    They good, but really didn’t taste the cardamom. What is the amount?

    Reply

    • Erin

      The recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of ground cardamom. I recommend freshly ground cardamom for the best flavor. And if you are using store bought ground cardamom, make sure to use it within 6 months of opening as it loses flavor over time.

      Reply

  12. MS

    Cardamom Shortbread Cookies with Orange Glaze Recipe – State of Dinner (23)
    IMO this recipe is missing egg. These cookies fell apart and the texture was too grainy.
    I do appreciate the flavor combos which I’ll use for a tried and true shaped cookie recipe.

    Reply

    • Erin

      Thank you for sharing your input! Traditional shortbread cookies do not typically contain eggs. It sounds like you are looking for more of a spritz-style shortbread.

      Reply

  13. Deeanne Akerson

    Cardamom Shortbread Cookies with Orange Glaze Recipe – State of Dinner (24)
    These are spectacular, and I’m wondering how you think they would hold up with gluten-free flour as one of my best friends cannot eat gluten but loves cardamom. Have you tried it? Do you think it would work best with a generic, gluten-free flour, or perhaps coconut flour?

    Reply

    • Erin

      I have not tried it, but your best bet is probably Bob's Red Mill 1:1 Gluten Free Flour. In the gluten free baking I have done that's the brand that has produced the most consistent results. Report back if you try it!

      Reply

    • Ana-Marija

      why should i be putting them in a freezer after cutting them out? I don’t have a freezer at home so just wondering if it works if I omit this step ?

      Reply

      • Erin

        Hi Ana-Marija! Placing the dough into the freezer re-chills the butter, which is an important step to help the cookies keep their shape. If you do not have a freezer then place them in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

  14. Fran Van Horn

    Cardamom Shortbread Cookies with Orange Glaze Recipe – State of Dinner (25)
    Erin,

    Do you think it would hurt to put a drop or of two orange extract into the glaze? I made these this morning for the first time and, even with orange zest on top, can’t really taste orange flavor from the fresh orange juice in the topping.

    Thanks, Fran in NJ

    Reply

    • Erin

      That addition should be fine!

      Reply

      • Fran

        Thanks!

  15. Eny

    Cardamom Shortbread Cookies with Orange Glaze Recipe – State of Dinner (26)
    I think I've made this recipe 4 times in the last month because these cookies are such a hit! I make them vegan by using plant-based butter and milk but otherwise I follow the recipe to a T. Thank you for sharing!

    Reply

    • Erin

      Thank you for sharing that plant-based butter and milk are good substitutions! So glad you enjoy these cookies!

      Reply

  16. Lisa Dudley

    Cardamom Shortbread Cookies with Orange Glaze Recipe – State of Dinner (27)
    Wow! These are delicious. When I opened the bag of cardamom, I was initially put off by the smell. I was afraid the taste would be overpowering in the cookie. However, I decided to give them a try. I used my coffee grinder to grind the cardamom. After that, these were a snap to put together. I squeezed the juice from an orange I was zesting for the glaze. These were light, buttery, and had a beautiful flavor.

    Reply

    • Erin

      Thank goodness the flavor is more mild than the aroma, right? So glad that you enjoyed the recipe and that it made good use of your orange!

      Reply

  17. Emily

    Was so excited to make these, will have to try again later this week! Turns out when you grab the wrong measuring cup and only use half the flour they don’t hold up too well 😂

    Reply

    • Erin

      Oh no! Don't beat yourself up. We've all done that before. I hope you enjoy them next week!

      Reply

  18. Olivia

    Cardamom Shortbread Cookies with Orange Glaze Recipe – State of Dinner (28)
    Simple process, incredible flavour! These were a hit at Christmas. My brother-in-law doesn't like sweet things, but I watched him eat 4 of these. Such a great flavour combo. I'll be using a bunny cookie cutter to make them again for lunar new year. Thank you so much!

    Reply

    • Erin

      I hope that your bunny cookies turned out just as perfectly! Happy new year!

      Reply

  19. Patti

    Cardamom Shortbread Cookies with Orange Glaze Recipe – State of Dinner (29)
    I think when I wrote my initial comment yesterday only 4 stars came up - I certainly intended it to be 5!!!

    Reply

  20. Patti

    Erin, these are just wonderful. My father’s family was Finnish and every Christmas we make Pulla, a traditional Finnish braided cardamom bread. We’ve dubbed your recipe ‘Pulla cookies’! Our family just loves them! Thank you so much for sharing!

    Reply

    • Erin

      I love the new name! And that these cookies bring back sweet family memories. Thanks, Patti!

      Reply

  21. Linda

    Hi; I am very frustrated. The butter is left overnight and still it is NOT soft. Yes it is very cold. What do I do. Also what mixing attachment should I use. I made these before and had an awful time but I love the cookies! Need help. The butter is not soft. HELP please.
    Thank you 12-19-22
    Please respond today, Please

    Reply

    • Erin

      Hi Linda! When you push on the butter it should leave an indentation but your finger should not sink all the way into the butter. If you keep a cold home (below 68 degrees) or you need to quickly soften your butter you can fill a heat-safe bowl with boiling water. Let it sit for about 30 seconds then empty the bowl. Immediately turn that bowl upside-down over the butter and leave it there for 2 minutes. The residual heat from the bowl will soften the butter.

      Regarding the mixing attachment, the paddle attachment on a stand mixer works best. The regular beaters of a hand mixer works as well.

      Reply

  22. Linda

    Cardamom Shortbread Cookies with Orange Glaze Recipe – State of Dinner (30)
    Wonderful. Thank you

    Reply

  23. Cindy Lee

    Cardamom Shortbread Cookies with Orange Glaze Recipe – State of Dinner (31)
    These cookies are extraordinary!! Very light! The glaze is just the right touch for them!!

    Reply

    • Erin

      Thank you so much, Cindy! I am glad that you enjoyed them!

      Reply

  24. Susan

    Cardamom Shortbread Cookies with Orange Glaze Recipe – State of Dinner (32)
    This Cardamom Shortbread Cookie with orange glaze did not disappoint. Texture was just as you promised. The aroma along with the orange glaze is just perfect.
    Thanks and Merry Christmas

    Reply

    • Erin

      I am thrilled to hear that they met your expectations, Susan! Enjoy and Merry Christmas to you!

      Reply

  25. Emma

    Hi! Do you grind the pod too? Thanks! These sound great.

    Reply

    • Erin

      Hi Emma! You can grind either just the seeds or the pod. I prefer to use the whole pod.

      Reply

      • J

        Do you think I could make these with a cookie press!

      • Erin

        I have not tried them with a cookie press. If you do decide to give it a shot then definitely refrigerate the shaped cookie dough before baking. The fine detail of pressed cookies may not hold.

  26. Amy VanSickle

    Cardamom Shortbread Cookies with Orange Glaze Recipe – State of Dinner (33)
    When I saw Erin making these, I knew I HAD to make them for a cardamom-loving friend. So glad I did! We both agree they're addictive, and I'm not usually a shortbread OR cardamom fan, but YUM!! Your step-by-step tips were GOLD when I was making them. I felt like you were there teaching me 😉 and it helped me side-step any mistakes I could have made. Will definitely make them again, both as written and at my friend's request, with lemon glaze next. 🙂

    Reply

    • Erin Gierhart

      This is amazing! I am so glad that the tips were helpful to you, and that your friend loved the cookies! An even bigger compliment that you liked them as well! Lemon glaze would be an incredible substitution!

      Reply

    • Gerrie

      What size cuttter and how many cookies does it make? Can’t wait to try these.

      Reply

      • Erin

        I used a 2x2-inch cutter and they made 15 cookies.

Cardamom Shortbread Cookies with Orange Glaze Recipe – State of Dinner (2024)

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