3/4 view of a plate of Chai Spiced Snickerdoodle Cookies with a bowl of whole spices in the background.
Desserts,  Recipes,  Vegetarian

Chai Spiced Snickerdoodle Cookies

Do you like tea with your cookies? How about tea IN your cookies? Freshly toasted spices are ground and incorporated in and around these soft, fragrant cookies, giving Indian flair to a dessert classic.

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3/4 view of a plate of Chai Spiced Snickerdoodle Cookies with a bowl of whole spices in the background.

I put together this cookie recipe as part of a campaign to raise awareness for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer.

Cookies for Kids' Cancer 10th Anniversary Logo

Julie from The Little Kitchen is organizing this Valentine’s event for the 2nd year now. Lots of food bloggers, including myself, are rallying together, donating their money, time, and baking skills to raising money and awareness for this worthy cause.

Did you know that cancer is the #1 cause of death of children by disease in the U.S.? There are 40,000 U.S. children actively battling cancer right now. With less than 4% of the National Cancer Institute’s budget going to all childhood cancer combined, I knew it was important for me to get involved.

We have already reached our goal of $3000! Special thanks to Dixie Crystals, Mediavine and OXO, who each pledged to match our donations raised through this campaign up to $3000. And we can still raise more! If you’d like to contribute, please donate here.

Overhead view of a platter of Chai Spiced Snickerdoodle Cookies with a bowl of whole spices in the background.

So now, back to these awesomely aromatic cookies!

Snickerdoodle cookies have been a family favorite for as long as I can remember. I made some standard ones a few weeks ago for the billionth time, and thought it would be fun to give them a fun twist.

Have you ever toasted whole spices? It’s such a great way to enhance their flavor.

4 photos showing spices in a bowl, a spice grinder, a bowl of cookie dough, and cookie dough balls on baking sheets.

A few things to keep in mind – you want to start with a dry skillet. No oil/butter – just a dry skillet. Place the whole spices in there and put it over medium heat. Shake or stir occasionally, until the spices are nice and fragrant, about 5-7 minutes.

Once they’re done, pour them into a bowl. The skillet will still be hot for a while after you turn the heat off, and you run the risk of burning the spices if you don’t remove them.

Overhead view of a plate of Chai Spiced Snickerdoodle Cookies with a bowl of whole spices in the background.

I like to use an electric spice mill to grind my spices. The one I use is actually an old coffee grinder, but just be warned that once you start grinding spices, you aren’t going to be able to use it for coffee again. Unless you like your coffee to taste like curry. Ha!

You can also use a mortar and pestle or a small food processor, but I think the spice grinder will work best here since the cinnamon stick and star anise are so large.

Be sure to really grind the spices finely so you don’t hit any large chunks of spices in your cookies, as that can be a little off-putting.

I really wanted to maximize the spices here, but if you don’t have whole spices, you could certainly use pre-ground ones. You’ll want about 2 1/2 tablespoons total, using mostly cinnamon.

2 photos showing cookie dough balls on a baking sheet next to baked cookies on a baking sheet.

At first my plan was just to mix the spices with the sugar to roll the cookie dough balls in, but then I realized it’d be nice to have some of the spices flecked throughout the cookies as well. So I added part of the spice mixture to the dough, and mixed the remaining into the sugar for the coating.

These cookies turned out phenomenally well! A slightly crispy exterior and a super soft, pillowy interior.

3/4 view of a plate of Chai Spiced Snickerdoodle Cookies with a bowl of whole spices in the background.

My 6-year-old said that they’re the best cookies I’ve ever made. He actually said to me, “Ooh!! I can see why you added the spices to these cookies!!” – ha! He’s most certainly my mini-me.

I hope you give these cookies a try! I’d love to hear what you think of them!

Close-up view of a child holding a Chai-Spiced Snicekerdoodle Cookie

Looking for more cookie recipes? Check out some of our favorites:

3/4 view of a plate of Chai Spiced Snickerdoodle Cookies with a bowl of whole spices in the background.

Chai Spiced Snickerdoodle Cookies

  • Author: Big Flavors from a Tiny Kitchen - Ashley Covelli (adapted from Allrecipes)
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: About 3 1/2 dozen cookies 1x
  • Category: Cookies, Desserts
  • Method: Baking


Do you like tea with your cookies? How about tea IN your cookies? Freshly toasted spices are ground and incorporated in and around these soft, fragrant cookies, giving Indian flair to a dessert classic.



Chai Spice Mix:

  • 3 green cardamom pods
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 2 black peppercorns
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons loose black tea leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar


  1. Place cardamom pods, cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon stick, and star anise in a small, dry skillet. Place over medium heat and toast, shaking or stirring occasionally, until the spices are fragrant, about 5-7 minutes. Place toasted spices in a bowl until cool.
  2. Once cool, place the toasted spices, tea leaves, and ground ginger into a spice grinder and grind until finely ground.
  3. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  4. In a large bowl, cream together butter, shortening, 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the ground chai spice mix, eggs, and vanilla. Blend in the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt.
  5. In a small bowl, stir together the remaining chai spice mix and 1/4 cup sugar. Scoop dough with a #50 scoop (about a heaping tablespoonful), roll into balls, and roll each ball in the sugar mixture. Place 2 inches apart on un-greased baking sheets.
  6. Bake cookies in preheated oven until set but not hard, about 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer cookies onto cooling racks as soon as they come out of the oven.


Recipe adapted from Allrecipes.

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Overhead view of a plate of Chai Spiced Snickerdoodle Cookies.

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2 overhead photos of platters of Chai Spiced Snickerdoodle Cookies with a bowl of tea leaves and spices in the background.



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