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Chai Ginger Spice Cookies

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These chai-spiced cookies combine the warm, aromatic spices of chai masala with the charm of gingerbread, creating a perfect treat for festive occasions like Christmas and Diwali. They are also great any time of the year to accompany a nice cup of chai.

About this Recipe

Ginger chai spice cookies

I came up with this recipe in 2014 after returning from a trip to India. It was almost Christmas, and after overcoming jetlag, with India still on my mind, I wanted to do something festive. I often use chai spice as a substitute for winter spices because they have a similar, warm flavor profile. 

In crafting these cookies, I aimed for a softer texture than the traditional sugar cookie, ensuring a chewy bite that still holds its festive shape. Through experimentation, I found the ideal combination of ingredients to achieve slightly fluffy, flavorful cookies.

Ginger chai spice cookies

The Icing

These cookies use my tried-and-true version of a classic royal icing. Traditionally, royal icing was made with raw, whipped egg whites, which are not pasteurized. This more modern approach is to use meringue powder. The egg whites (or meringue powder) help thicken up the icing and help it hold its shape. Using meringue powder eliminates contamination concerns and eliminates the need for the hassle of whipping egg whites.

I have experimented with leaving the meringue powder out, but the icing did not hold together well enough to pipe. I have also experimented with using milk in place of water, which I just found was unnecessary and makes storing the cookies at room temperature questionable. If you prefer to dip your cookies in the icing rather than pipe it, use an extra tablespoon or so of water in the icing.

Pink icing cookies
The pink icing is made with water and grated beet. The green icing is made with matcha powder.

I avoid using food coloring by using my favorite natural food coloring: beets and matcha. The matcha gives the icing a light green color, but has a slight grassy, earthy flavor. If you do not like the flavor of matcha, use it sparingly. The beet coloring imparts no noticeable flavor but creates a lovely pink color.


For the Cookies

Chai Spice: Elevate your cookies with homemade chai masala, or use store-bought.

Ginger: Both fresh and dry ginger add a punch of warmth to the cookie.

All Purpose Flour: The backbone of the cookie, providing structure and texture.

Brown Sugar: Adds a rich sweetness, with the option to use jaggery for a caramelized note.

Vanilla: Enhances the overall flavor profile.

Salt: Balances the sweetness and enhances the spices.

For the Royal Icing

Meringue Powder: A safe alternative to traditional egg whites for royal icing.

Powdered Sugar: Thickens and sweetens the icing for a smooth finish.

Water: Adjust the quantity for the desired consistency.

Coloring (Optional): Natural options like beet, matcha, or turmeric, or traditional food coloring.

Mix of cookies with a glass of chai


A stand mixer will help with ease and efficiency in preparing the dough. Alternatively, use a hand held mixer.

Cooking Tips

  • This recipe is relatively forgiving, but take care not to overdo the jaggery, which could cause excess moisture that will compromise the cookie’s structure.
  • Substitute with 1 tbsp flaxseed + 2 tbsp water for an eggless version. 
  • Experiment with whole wheat flour, ground cardamom, or even a tablespoon of amaretto for almond flavor.
Different shape cutouts for the chai ginger spice cookies.
These make for great cutout cookies, such as the ones seen here, decorated by my son.
Ginger chai spice cookies

Ginger Chai Spice Cookies

Warm chai masala spices and the festive charm of gingerbread in these Chai-Spiced Gingerbread Cutout Cookies, offering a unique, chewy texture perfect for Christmas and Diwali celebrations.
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Resting time 2 hours
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Indian
Servings 36 cookies
Calories 128 kcal


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp chai masala
  • ½ tsp dried ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup packed and grated jaggery or substitute more brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 egg large
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp amaretto optional, use 2 tbsp milk if you skip

Royal Icing

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp meringue powder
  • 6 Tbsp water
  • beet, finely grated optional, for red food coloring
  • matcha powder optional, for green food coloring
  • turmeric powder optional, for yellow food coloring


  • In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, spices.
  • In a large bowl, beat together butter, brown sugar, milk, amaretto and egg until well blended.
  • Add jaggery, vanilla and fresh ginger and beat until well mixed.
  • Slowly mix in dry ingredients until well mixed and smooth.
  • Divide dough into half and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment.
  • Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/4 inch thick.
  • Cut out cookies into circles or desired shape.
    Cutting circles in the ginger cookies
  • Space 1 inch apart and bake 1 sheet at a time for 7-10 minutes.
  • Cool on wire rack.
  • Ice with Royal icing.
    Icing the chai ginger cookies

Royal Icing

  • Whisk together powdered sugar and meringue powder. Also whisk in any dry powders for color, such as turmeric or matcha.
  • If using a wet color, such as beet, combine grated beet and water in a separate bowl.
  • Add water to dry mixture. If combined with grated beet, use a strainer to remove beet. Whisk with a fork or whisk to form the icing.



Calories: 128kcalCarbohydrates: 26gProtein: 1gFat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 45mgPotassium: 43mgFiber: 0.3gSugar: 17gVitamin A: 66IUVitamin C: 0.01mgCalcium: 17mgIron: 1mg
Keyword holiday cookies
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

(Originally published 12/23/2014, with a major rewrite 12/7/2023)



  1. The cookies look lovely!! Will surely make them sometime! The henna designs look beautiful as well. I really enjoy reading your blog.

  2. Hi – These looked so pretty so I was excited to try making these today. I am not a baker so could use some tips. We got jaggery powder from the Indian spice store and used that instead of fresh. Not sure if that was the issue but unfortunately, these cookies turned rock hard right after cooling. I tried 6, 7 and 8 minutes at 375. Is the butter supposed to be room temperature at the beginning? (mine was). My royal icing work looked nothing like this – could you share some suggestions on how you got such fine lines? Thank you!

    1. Try reducing the temperature, I reduced it to 340f and cooked it for 12 mins. My single cookie was around 13 grams and 1/4 inch thick. Take them out of the oven whilst still a little soft on the top. Let them stay on the tray for 2-3 mins and then transfer them to the cooling rack. Hopefully, my tips work for you.

    1. Hi Pragya! Try substituting the egg for two tablespoons of water and one tablespoon of oil. It should work pretty well. I haven’t tested it for this exact recipe but I’ve done it for similar ones. Let me know if you try it!

5 from 5 votes (5 ratings without comment)

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