Chai Sugar Cookies - Handle the Heat
Filed Under: Christmas | Cookies | Dessert | Fall

Chai Sugar Cookies

October 12th, 2023
4.92 from 36 votes
4.92 from 36 votes

Easy Chai Sugar Cookies are thick, soft, loaded with sweet warm spices, and topped with a simple espresso glaze. Perfect 30 minute recipe for a cozy autumn day!  FREE Cookie Customization Guide here!

Yield: 23 cookies

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook: 15 minutes

Tessa's Recipe Rundown...

Taste: Just like a dirty chai – but BETTER!
Texture: The cookies are ultra thick & soft.
Ease: Simple 30 minute recipe.
Pros: Quick & fun twist on the classic sugar cookie that’s perfect for fall and holiday baking. Your house will smell AMAZING after baking.
Cons: None!!
Would I make this again? Absolutely.

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These Chai Sugar Cookies are the perfect quick, easy, cozy afternoon bake when it’s chilly outside.

chai cookies neatly drizzled with espresso glaze, on a plate to serve.

I remember the first time I ever tasted chai as a teenager. I was amazed.

It was like the flavors of autumn but even more interesting and slightly exotic.

And that was just an iced chai from the Starbucks at the mall.

Chai Sugar Cookies on a cooling rack, pictured from above.

These cookies are infused with all the chai spices you know and love. I even topped them with an espresso glaze, so I guess technically these are dirty chai cookies.

Whatever you want to call them, they make the perfect afternoon pick-me-up all season long and will make your home smell better than every fall candle from Bath & Body Works.

plated and ready to serve.

How to Make Chai Sugar Cookies

The Sugar

This Chai Sugar Cookies recipe calls for granulated sugar (white sugar) with a splash of honey. That liquid sweetener helps to create slightly puffy and soft cookies because of the extra moisture it adds. You can omit the honey if you don’t have any, but your cookies won’t be as soft and fluffy.


There’s just a touch of cornstarch to help make these cookies a little softer. Feel free to omit if you don’t have any.


I use an extra egg yolk in this recipe for an extra dose of richness, moisture, and chewiness.

The Spices

I used pretty traditional chai spices, but feel free to experiment with the spices and amounts. Check your spices to ensure they’re not expired. Even if they’re not expired, give them a sniff and make sure they’re still very aromatic– otherwise your cookies may be bland. Older spices carry less flavor; fresh spices will carry a LOT more flavor. So, just be aware of that and adjust accordingly. 

Chai Sugar Cookies Glaze

  • The espresso glaze is simply made by combining a splash of espresso with powdered sugar.
  • You can also use very strong coffee if you don’t have espresso.
  • I just used instant espresso powder + boiling water to make things easy.
  • If you’d prefer, you can also omit the glaze entirely. I just like the added flavor and interest it gives these cookies.
  • To make picture-perfect glazed cookies, transfer the glaze to a sandwich baggie or small piping bag. Snip a small hole in one corner and use that to pipe the glaze onto the cookies in stripes (as evenly or unevenly as you wish – they’ll look pretty either way!).
  • Make sure the glaze is completely set and dry to the touch before stacking these cookies to transport or store.

Can I Double This Recipe?

Sure! Simply double all ingredients listed to make about 46 cookies. 

Can I Make Chai Sugar Cookies Ahead?

Yes! I prefer to make the dough, portion it out, and freeze it inside an airtight container to bake it off whenever the craving strikes! Learn how to freeze cookie doughs and bake off from the freezer here.

How to Store Chai Sugar Cookies

These Chai Sugar Cookies will keep well in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. If you want to ensure they stay soft, add a little scrap of bread, a tortilla, or an apple wedge to the container, to prevent the cookies from drying out.

Cookie Customization Guide

Want to learn how to make your cookies softer, chewier, cakier, crisper, or whatever else your heart desires?! Download my FREE Cookie Customization Guide here!

Chai Sugar Cookies on a cooling rack, pictured from the side.

More Cookie Recipes You’ll Love:

4.92 from 36 votes

How to make
Chai Sugar Cookies

Yield: 23 cookies
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Easy Chai Sugar Cookies are thick, soft, loaded with sweet warm spices, and topped with a simple espresso glaze. Perfect 30 minute recipe for a cozy autumn day!  FREE Cookie Customization Guide here!


For the cookies:

  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (270 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 10 tablespoons (142 grams) unsalted butter, at cool room temperature
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 large egg, at cool room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk, at cool room temperature

For the glaze:

  • 1 1/4 cups (156 grams) powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons espresso or strong coffee


Make the cookies:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cornstarch, salt, cinnamon, cardamom, allspice, ginger, and cloves.

  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the egg, egg yolk, and honey. On low speed, gradually add in the flour mixture until just combined.

  4. Divide the dough into 1 1/2 tablespoon-sized balls using a spring-loaded scoop and drop onto prepared baking sheets, spacing 2 inches apart. Gently flatten dough with the smooth side of a spatula.

  5. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until cookies are just set and slightly golden brown. Cool cookies on baking sheet for 2 minutes then transfer to cooling racks to cool completely.

Make the glaze:

  1. In a small bowl, use a small whisk or a fork to combine the powdered sugar and espresso until a thick but pourable glaze forms. Drizzle all over cooled cookies. Allow the glaze to set.

  2. Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Course : Dessert
Cuisine : American
Keyword : chai, chai latte cookies, dirty chai, easy, fall, fall baking, fast cookies, m&m christmas cookies, quick recipes

This post was originally published in 2018 and has been updated with additional recipe tips. Photos by Ashley McLaughlin.

Tessa Arias
Author: Tessa Arias

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

Tessa Arias

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

Find Tessa on  

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Recipe Rating

  1. #
    Donna — October 17, 2023 at 10:05 am

    can I double this recipe?

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — October 18, 2023 at 8:43 am

      Hi Donna! Yes, feel free to double this recipe! Let us know what you think of these cookies once you have given them a try 🙂

  2. #
    Jessica — August 17, 2023 at 10:32 am

    these are insanely delicious! I didn’t make any changes to the recipe and they are slightly crispy on the edge and soft in the middle. I like the lightly spiced flavor. Honestly these are really good without the glaze too, so next time I might skip that part to save some time time and sugar. so so good!

  3. #
    Em — December 23, 2022 at 1:52 pm

    Exactly what I was looking for! I also rolled the cookies in a chai flavored sugar before baking and they came out great! Perfect recipe for a snowy day and I’ll definitely make it again!

  4. #
    Jessie Francisco — December 17, 2022 at 8:34 am

    Such yummy, chewy cookies! Definitely going to make them again!

  5. #
    Brenda — December 10, 2022 at 9:03 pm

    Hi Tessa,
    can I use this recipe as a rollout /cutout sugar cookie and decorate with royal icing?

    Thank you,

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — December 13, 2022 at 9:27 am

      Hi Brenda! These cookies are designed to be drop cookies, and won’t really keep their shape well when rolled out. You could certainly try, but I don’t see them baking well as shapes. You could otherwise try using Tessa’s cutout sugar cookie recipe here, and add a little of some of the spices to mimic the flavor of the Chai cookies? Let us know how it goes if you give any of this a try 🙂

  6. #
    Ruth — October 16, 2022 at 7:16 am

    My new favorite cookie – with rave reactions from all who taste it.

  7. #
    Ruth — October 12, 2022 at 7:37 am

    These are my absolute new favorite cookies

  8. #
    Dina — October 10, 2022 at 12:37 am

    Do these freeze well?

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — October 10, 2022 at 9:27 am

      Hi Dina! We typically recommend freezing the dough, rather than the baked cookies, for best results – that way, you can bake off a few fresh, delicious cookies whenever you wish! Tessa talks about this in the pink tip box above the recipe, or in this article here. If you’d rather freeze the baked cookies, just be sure to store in a ziptop bag or an airtight container, and I’d recommend freezing unglazed cookies, and then glaze after thawing. Happy baking!

  9. #
    Persis — March 23, 2022 at 8:05 am

    The best ever. Made it to gift. Did not give all away, as they were so delish! Kept a few for self!

    • #
      Emily — March 25, 2022 at 2:14 pm

      haha love it! So glad you enjoyed them 🙂

  10. #
    Lauren — March 19, 2022 at 4:53 pm

    The warm spices in these cookies are so tasty! And not too crazy sweet. A great cookie for any time of year. 🙂 I halved this recipe and came out with 12 cookies exactly.

    The only thing I’m not 100% crazy about is the glaze, but I think my palette is just really sensitive to powdered sugar. I reduced the amount of sugar as much as I could without compromising the structure of the glaze, and it still tasted chalky, almost soapy or metallic? My sugar is fresh, 10x, and was sifted. I’ve used a bunch of different brands and they all have that taste to me. Maybe it’s like the gene that makes cilantro taste like soap, idk! But because I think it’s a me-problem, do you have any recommendations for an alternative glaze for this cookie? Maybe some sort of a cream cheese glaze?

    • #
      Emily — March 22, 2022 at 9:31 am

      Interesting to hear about your powdered sugar sensitivity! I wonder if there just aren’t enough ingredients in the glaze for your senses to balance out the powdered sugar. You are more than welcome to omit the glaze completely and enjoy the cookies on their own. If you do try a cream cheese glaze (linking one HERE from The Spruce Eats), just know that you would have to refrigerate the cookies. I wonder if a simple icing would suit your tastes more? While this isn’t our recipe either, I make these Vanilla Chai Shortbread Cookies every Christmas, and the cinnamon-y glaze is super delicious. I bet it would taste great on these (it’s a thinner glaze, so I typically dunk my cookies in the glaze, but you’re welcome to drizzle). I hope that helps!

  11. #
    P C — January 1, 2022 at 5:20 pm

    Delish cookies

  12. #
    Tori — December 30, 2021 at 1:31 pm

    Amazing! Great chai flavor and the cookie was the perfect amount of chewiness. I ended up adding a little vanilla extract to the glaze the first time I made these since I made the espresso a tad too bitter, oops, but the next time I adjusted my espresso and didn’t need to add the vanilla. I’ve made these a few times now and will continue.

    • #
      Emily — January 3, 2022 at 12:07 pm

      So glad to hear that, Tori!

  13. #
    DPennderson — December 27, 2021 at 7:20 am

    I made these exactly as described except I couldn’t find ground cardamom at 3 stores, so I skipped that. And I don’t have a cookie scoop, but it was easy to roll them into balls and then flatten slightly. They were delicious! One of my new favorite cookie recipes.

    • #
      Emily — December 27, 2021 at 10:13 am

      So happy you enjoyed them! Thanks for letting us know 🙂

  14. #
    Beachhouse3 — December 14, 2021 at 2:43 pm

    I don’t have cornstarch nor would I use it beyond these cookies so do you think I could add a tad more flour instead?
    They sound delicious!

    • #
      Emily — December 15, 2021 at 11:16 am

      Hi there! Please check out the pink tip box above the recipe, Tessa details the most important ingredients 🙂

  15. #
    Lola — December 13, 2021 at 7:00 am

    These were amazing! Soft and chewy and such an awesome chai flavour!

  16. #
    markedup2 — December 12, 2021 at 9:08 pm

    I’ve always wondered what is in “chai” and now I now. Based on your “thick cookie” post, I split the sugar half-and-half with brown sugar and the butter half-and-half with shortening. They turned out great – evenly round and no flattening. If only I had that scoop you mention…

    • #
      Emily — December 13, 2021 at 4:00 pm

      Glad you enjoyed them!

  17. #
    IBPDE — December 8, 2021 at 6:16 pm

    Excellent cookies! Came out puffy and tender with crispy edges, great spice flavors, and not too sweet- even with the glaze. I subbed Five Spice powder for the Cardamom, Clove, and Allspice. They were yummy!

    • #
      Emily — December 9, 2021 at 9:34 am

      Delicious! Glad you enjoyed them 🙂

  18. #
    Marie Louro — December 8, 2021 at 12:26 pm

    So good!…. and something a lil different from all the usual christmas cookies!

    • #
      Emily — December 8, 2021 at 4:36 pm

      Happy you loved them! I agree, these are perfect for cozy nights at home with a cup of hot cocoa or tea 🙂

  19. #
    Jen — January 27, 2021 at 11:08 am

    This recipe is SUCH A HIT!! I lived in India for 4yrs and it really captures the flavors of what I used to buy in the streets!! A+++

    • #
      Tessa — January 27, 2021 at 11:37 am

      So happy to hear this, Jen!

  20. #
    Elizabeth — December 23, 2020 at 11:13 am

    So good and so pretty! I skipped the cornstarch and cardamom because I didn’t have any, and they still turned out amazing! They held their shape while baking, so flattening the top of the dough balls was worth the effort. I also did a maple/powdered sugar glaze instead of the espresso glaze.

  21. #
    Jo — December 23, 2020 at 2:16 am

    This is just a lovely cookie! I replaced the flour with gluten free and it turned out amazing! Lovely flavours and so delicious!

    • #
      Tessa — December 23, 2020 at 9:20 am

      So glad you enjoyed these cookies!

  22. #
    MAKELL BREKENFELD — December 20, 2020 at 12:00 pm

    Love these cookies! Giving them as Christmas gifts thus year.

    • #
      Tessa — December 22, 2020 at 1:11 pm

      So glad to hear that!

  23. #
    Nikki — December 19, 2020 at 11:34 am

    I love the idea of this cookie! Unfortunately, mine came out a bit too salty. I followed all the instructions and even double checked the measurements. I may try again with slightly less salt and baking powder since they are good and seasonal.

    • #
      Tessa — December 22, 2020 at 1:29 pm

      Hi Nikki! Did you use unsalted butter for these cookies?

  24. #
    Kay — December 10, 2020 at 7:05 am

    I plan on making these for Christmas cookie exchange. Can I use LOL salted European butter and just omit adding the salt?

    • #
      Tessa — December 10, 2020 at 1:25 pm

      I believe that should work!

  25. #
    Vannessa — December 9, 2020 at 11:24 am

    These were so easy to make and unbelievably good! A dirty Chai in cookie form! I added some sparkly sugar to the tops while the icing was still wet.

    • #
      Tessa — December 10, 2020 at 1:24 pm

      I’m so glad you loved these cookies! Love the idea of adding sparkly sugar on top.

  26. #
    Beth — November 22, 2020 at 5:12 am

    Can these be frozen without the glaze for longer storage?

    • #
      Tessa — November 23, 2020 at 4:30 pm

      Yes, freeze unglazed! There are more tips for freezing the cookie dough in the pink box above as well.

    • #
      Vaishali chitale — December 9, 2020 at 7:38 pm

      Which ingredients in mix spices please share

  27. #
    Melanie — November 2, 2020 at 2:22 pm

    Hello, I wanna make this, but is it possible to use melted butter instead?

    • #
      Tessa — November 5, 2020 at 2:05 pm

      Your cookies will spread too much if you use melted butter, I’d recommend room temperature butter!

  28. #
    Thiloshini — October 21, 2020 at 2:25 am

    Hi There

    What can be used as a substitute for the eggs?

  29. #
    Tania — October 12, 2020 at 9:51 pm

    i just made these adding brewers yeast flax seed meal and fenugreek to make a lactation cookie. I had to add a bit more sugar and spices to help with the flavor but I am hoping they turn out all right. The batter tasted good. Do you happen to have this recipe as a lactation cookie?

  30. #
    Angela — May 1, 2020 at 3:03 pm

    Ahhmazzing! Tastes like you are eating a chai tea. Thank you for the recipe. Do not over bake. Cookies will feel soft when done. Otherwise they will get too crispy if over baked.

  31. #
    Jo — February 26, 2020 at 5:02 pm

    I plan to make these using a chai spice mix instead of each spice individually. Any idea on how much of the spice mix I would use? Thanks in advance for any feedback!

    • #
      Debra O. — February 26, 2020 at 5:20 pm

      I used a chai spice mix ( King Arthur) and measured out 5 tsp to equal the amount of the others combined. Additionally, I substituted half the butter for shortening as they spread too much on the first go round. Also, sifted the dry ingredients to better incorporate. They were perfect!

      • #
        Jo — February 26, 2020 at 5:28 pm

        Thanks, Debra!

  32. #
    Barbara Lindsey — February 13, 2020 at 7:01 pm

    I’ve made these twice and they are so good. I’ve made them for Christmas and also for a sister who is a chai tea lover. She and my mom love them! I would like to know the calorie count if possible.

  33. #
    Debra O. — December 1, 2019 at 12:26 pm

    These are delicious! I had to tweak though to get it right. I made the recipe as stated. Measured carefully and whisked. The cookies were very flat and spread considerably. Tasted good but looked terrible. So I went back and substituted shortening for the butter (113 gr) and sifted the dry ingredients. Used American measurements with the exception of the shortening. These turned out beautifully! Might just be the weather it’s humid right now.

  34. #
    Suhasini Madidi — November 20, 2019 at 12:57 pm

    I baked them, I loved them…! 🙂
    Replaced half of the flour with Almond flour and was perfect…

  35. #
    lesley opheim — November 19, 2019 at 5:40 pm

    I LOVED this recipe and so did my kids…I actually put real chai tea into it to give it more flavour and made super strong espresso for the icing…these disappeared in a day!!
    Very good cookies…thinking of some spicy peanut butter cookies now too!

  36. #
    SusanO — November 19, 2019 at 11:55 am

    Can these be frozen? If yes should I wait to glaze til after they thaw or will the glaze freeze and defrost well too?

    • #
      Tessa — November 20, 2019 at 8:17 am

      Freeze unglazed!

  37. #
    lesley opheim — November 11, 2019 at 9:56 pm

    Loved it…even added some chai xmas tea mix into the batter…very good and I love the fact you can mix it up a bit to make your own cookies too!!

  38. #
    Meagan — October 31, 2019 at 5:54 am

    these taste really good but mine are a bit dry…i’m not sure what i did wrong? also my glaze is much more runny than in the photos. in orer to get a nice “structural” drizzle, coul i add more sugar?

    • #
      SHIRLEY — September 10, 2020 at 11:20 am

      For the glaze, you would half the recipe, and add more powdered sugar, until right consistency. If you made the full glaze recipe and added more powdered sugar, you would end up with loads. As for dryness, you could add a little more butter, as you mix it, watch the texture, or try a teaspoon of milk. Could be your butter, every brand has a different amount of milk solids, resulting in different results than Tess.

  39. #
    Ni — October 23, 2019 at 10:57 pm

    Am making this for a kids birthday, do you think if will still be good if i skip the spices. Honey sugar cookies sound so good by themselves

  40. #
    Autumn — September 12, 2019 at 11:59 am

    What a wonderful idea! This cookie suits the Canadian fall weather we’ve been having. It was a hit from my family and friends. I altered the recipe a little, adding nutmeg and allspice predominately. And honestly I have never heard of a coffee glaze before (or maybe i’m late to it) but it really hit the spot. I was worried it would be too much. Both with and without the glaze taste awesome! Thank you for this recipe!

  41. #
    Logan O. — June 18, 2019 at 12:26 am

    these came out so delicious! I made a few changes since I am dairy free > I substituted out the butter for canola oil (about 8 tablespoons) & I used a pre-mix of masala chai spices from the Indian grocery store that I had on hand but it didn’t have cinnamon so I added that. I also only used one whole egg instead of the extra egg yolk. My cookies didn’t flatten much in the baking process but I was totally fine with that since they were still soft and chewy!

    but I am going to be making these often + I loved the espresso glaze – such a nice touch!

  42. #
    sam — March 10, 2019 at 8:52 am

    Can i skip the creaming process?

    • #
      SHIRLEY — September 10, 2020 at 11:06 am

      Texture will not be the same.

  43. #
    Lisa Keys — December 15, 2018 at 7:58 am

    delicious and posted on IG thanks for all the testing you do. I only made half of the espresso glaze since I wanted a little less sweet.

  44. #
    Giada — December 6, 2018 at 7:53 am

    Where I live ground cloves are nowhere to be found, and I already tried to ground them myself making other recipes but it was like it wasn’t even there. Do you think I can change it to something else but still keeping the taste you got in there? I tried to look for them online but even with the fastest shipping I would not receive them before early January..

  45. #
    Nicole — November 24, 2018 at 9:36 am

    Just made these. With zero substitutions (instant coffee instead of espresso) and they are AMAZING! Soft, chewy – totally outstanding. Perfect for the non chocolate people 🙂

    • #
      Tessa — November 26, 2018 at 8:58 am

      Yay! Glad to hear it 🙂

  46. #
    Ayana — October 29, 2018 at 7:34 pm

    If I was feeling extreeemely lazy… could I just ground up some tea leaves and put that in instead of the spices? I love love looove chai tea!

  47. #
    HimalayanSalt — October 29, 2018 at 3:05 am

    These cookies look so delicious. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  48. #
    tina — October 26, 2018 at 1:50 pm

    they look amazing cannot wait to try. Have you baked them without flattening them?

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