Shortbread Matcha Cookies

The beautiful shortbread matcha cookies are a tasty treat that almost look too beautiful to eat! But once you smell them baking in the oven, you won’t be able to resist biting into a fresh and crunchy cookie. Serve these cookies that have a beautiful green color for any occasion.

A matcha cookie rests on the side of a wooden cutting board with a stack of cookies in the background.

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Matcha Shortbread Cookies Recipe

Matcha Shortbread Cookies are the perfect “anytime” cookies. They can be fancy cookies for your afternoon coffee or tea, and they can be a simple dessert after a tasty meal, too! Matcha is already unique, so why not use it in a delicious shortbread recipe?

If you love a matcha latte, the you’ll be obsessed with these crunchy, buttery matcha cookies. This easy cookie recipe is a step up from your typical shortbread cookie.

The super fun checkerboard pattern of these cookies actually has a Swedish origin. I just adapted the idea to make this matcha cookies recipe really unique. Because of that, this recipe for shortbread matcha cookies stands out from the rest — not to mention they’ve got the best buttery sweet flavor!

Matcha cookies look super complicated, but it’s actually a really simple and delicious recipe to make. But fair warning, once you try these you may never want to have a regular shortbread cookie again. And who would, when you you can make fun green tea cookies with a vibrant green color?!

More Cookie Recipes: No Bake S’mores Avalanche CookiesDouble Chocolate Chip CookiesWhite Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

Green and white checkered cookies rest on a white surface among green cookie crumbs.

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • These cookies are unique and have a gorgeous bright green presentation, making them perfect for parties, cookie swaps, and bake sales. Or maybe even an old fashioned tea party?
  • Matcha has loads of different health benefits, so maybe that’ll make these cookies more of a guilt-free indulgence.
  • Shortbread matcha cookies are a high quality recipe that look like they came straight from the bakery. But with step-by-step instructions, even an unexperienced baker can successfully complete this recipe!
A bowl of matcha with green leaves.

What is matcha?

Matcha is a finely ground Japanese green tea powder. Dried green tea leaves are taken and ground into a very fine powder.

This is said to preserve a lot of the health benefits, since the leaves themselves are not discarded and are instead consumed.

Depending on the brand of matcha, the unique flavor of this green powder can be anywhere from earthy to lightly sweet.

If you ask any matcha lover, they have their favorite brands and ways to prepare this type of tea with a gorgeous green color.

These green tea cookies are my favorite way…but maybe that’s just because I love cookies!

Tools and Equipment

Make sure you have at least two large mixing bowls, along with a stand mixer or electric hand mixer. You’ll need these, and a silicone spatula, to mix the cookie dough together.

Get your favorite baking tray ready and line it with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Make sure you have plastic wrap on hand too! A little bowl with a whisk or fork will be needed for the egg white, and a pastry brush.

Roll out the cookie dough with a rolling pin. And then make sure you have a sharp knife to slice the cookie dough up into individual cookies. Don’t use something dull. Trust me, it will smush the cookie dough and make sad misshapen cookies.

You will also need a wire rack to cool the cookies once they’re baked.

The ingredients for a snickerdoodle cake.

Ingredients

These simple ingredients are all you need to make the cutest sweet treat. Make sure you have everything on this list to make these perfect cookies. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • all-purpose flour
  • salt
  • unsalted butter
  • powdered sugar
  • large egg
  • vanilla extract
  • matcha powder
  • egg white of one egg

Substitutions

Make chocolate chip matcha cookies by mixing some chocolate chips into the dough. Milk chocolate, semi-sweet, and dark chocolate will all work. You can make white chocolate matcha cookies by adding creamy white chocolate chips into the batter. Alternatively, bake the cookies as normal and then melt chocolate to apply as a drizzle!

Feel free to experiment using gluten-free flour to make a version of this cookie without gluten. However, keep in mind that gluten-free flour can be different and you may need to adjust how much flour you use.

If all you have on hand is salted butter, then just omit the salt from this recipe for shortbread matcha cookies.

A side view of a stack of green and white matcha cookies on a white speckled platter.

How to make Shortbread Matcha Cookies

You can make this cookie recipe in a few simple steps:

Butter and powdered sugar sit at the bottom of a stainless steel mixing bowl.
An egg yolk sits atop other creamed ingredients for cookie dough in a stainless steel mixing bowl.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C), then line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set it to the side to use later.

Whisk together the all purpose flour and salt in a medium bowl. Then, using a stand mixer or a hand mixer, beat together butter and powdered white sugar for about 2-3 minutes. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl periodically.

Once the butter and sugar are thoroughly combined, beat in the egg until well incorporated and fluffy.

Ingredients for matcha cookies are combined in a stainless steel mixing bowl with additional ingredients in a white glass bowl.
Two blocks of cookie dough, one white and one green, for matcha cookies sit side by side wrapped in plastic wrap.

Grab another large bowl and divide the butter mixture evenly between the two. In one of the bowls, add half of the flour mixture along with vanilla extract. Then mix together until it forms a smooth cookie dough.

Add the rest of the flour to the other bowl, along with 2 teaspoons of matcha powder to make a green color. Mix together to form the matcha cookie dough.

Lightly cover both large dough balls with plastic wrap, then shape them into a rectangular shape using a rolling pin. The thickness needs to stay around 1/4 inch thick.

Refrigerate the dough for about 30 minutes to let it set.

Cookie dough sits in alternating stripes of green and white dough.

Build the Checkerboard Pattern

Once chilled, cut each of the rectangles of dough into ½ inch thick strips with a sharp knife.

In a small bowl, beat one egg white to use as the glue that will hold the strips of delicious cookie dough together.

Brush a strip of vanilla shortbread dough with egg white on one side. Then attach a strip of the bright green matcha flavor dough next to it.

Brush the side again with egg white, and attach a strip of vanilla dough. Repeat this process until you have four strips of dough that alternate between vanilla and match.

Repeat and make a second row of dough stacked on top, but start with the matcha cookie dough this time to make an alternating pattern. Then repeat the process one more time to create three total layers of cookie dough.

Wrap the completed checkered log of dough with plastic wrap, and chill for at least 3 hours and up to 24 hours.

Green and white checkered matcha cookies sit on a round baking tray.

Bake the Cookies

When you are ready to bake, slice the dough with a sharp knife. Each of the shortbread matcha cookies should be about ½-inch in thickness. Place the cookies on the previously prepared cookie sheet, 1 inch apart.

Bake for 15-16 minutes, until the edges are slightly golden brown. Then allow the cookies to cool on the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack.

Allow cookies to cool completely, then enjoy! Store in a food-safe, airtight container or freeze for later.

A stack of green and white checkered cookies sits on a speckled white plate. A bite has been taken from the top cookie.

Tips & tricks

Here are some tips and tricks for making this recipe:

  • When chilling the dough, make sure it is sitting in the coldest part of the refrigerator. This will allow the dough to set more quickly and will ensure the butter in the mixture in very cold.
  • If you are having trouble getting the strips of dough to stick to each other, use your fingers to slightly pinch the cookie dough together and then smooth it out.
  • Don’t have a rolling pin? Grab an empty wine bottle or a long, flat, reusable water bottle. Anything that is a cylindrical shape and doesn’t have ridges or indentions will work.
A stack of matcha cookies rest on a wooden cutting board.

What to serve with Shortbread Matcha Cookies

These adorable checkerboard shortbread matcha cookies are the most perfect tea time cookie. Serve with a steaming hot cup of your favorite tea. For something a little more adventurous at tea time, serve with a fancy green tea shot!

Green tea matcha cookies would be a lovely sweet treat to pair with this creamy rose white hot chocolate too.

If you’re more into a chilly dessert than warm drink, then serve crispy cookies with some tasty ice cream or a bowl of homemade vanilla pudding. Or serve with a classic iced matcha latte.

For a refreshing boozy beverage to wash down these cookies, make a bright and minty matcha mojito!

A side view of a stack of green and white matcha cookies on a white speckled platter.

FAQ

What is the secret to making the best shortbread cookies?

There are a few different tips and tricks to making the best cookies, but my top three would be: use really good butter, don’t overwork the dough, and don’t skip the refrigeration steps. High-quality butter always has a better flavor, and a better texture, and will make the most perfect buttery matcha cookies. When you are careful and methodical with the dough, it will result in light and crunchy cookies. Chilling the dough will help the butter do its job in the oven, and will keep the cookies from spreading and changing its texture. Follow these key tips and you’ll have a perfect cookie!

What grade of matcha is best?

If you are using this Japanese green tea powder in baking, you will want to grab one that is culinary grade. However, if you plan on drinking your matcha then get something that is ceremonial grade. The leaves for each of these powders are harvested at a different time, making their flavors different. One is better for consuming in baked goods while the other is best for beverages.

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A plate of matcha cookies.

Shortbread Matcha Cookies

Yield: 12 cookies
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours 15 minutes
Get ready to hit the jackpot of sweet and green with these Matcha Checkerboard Cookies! They're like a game of delicious chess, where every bite brings a new, surprise combination of smooth, rich buttery dough and nutty, earthy matcha. 
5 from 2 votes
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ingredients

  • 1 ⅔ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • cup unsalted butter plus 2 tablespoons, room temperature
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons matcha powder
  • 1 egg white to stick the dough together

instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C) and line a baking tray with parchment paper and set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, and salt.
  • In a stand mixer (you can also use the hand mixer for this), add in the butter and sugar and beat it at medium speed, scraping down the sides for at least 2-3 min or until the mixture is creamy.
  • Add in the egg and beat until everything is well incorporated.
  • Divide the batter equally into two bowls. In one bowl add half of the flour along with vanilla extract and mix till it forms a dough. Take the rest of the batter in another bowl. Add the rest of the flour and matcha powder and mix till it forms a dough.
  • Lightly cover both the dough separately with a cling wrap and shape them into rectangular shapes using a rolling pin. Keep the thickness at about ¼-inch.
  • Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate both doughs for 30 mins.
  • Once chilled, cut both doughs into strips of around ½ inch width using a sharp knife.
  • Gently beat 1 egg white and use it as glue to stick the dough strips together. Place a strip of vanilla dough, brush a little egg white on the side, attach a strip of matcha dough next to it, and then again brush the side with egg white and attach a strip of vanilla dough. Repeat the process till you have 4 strips of alternating vanilla and matcha dough.
  • Repeat to make a second row of dough stacked upwards, this time starting with the matcha dough first. This will give you an alternating pattern. Repeat one more time to create three different layers stacked upwards.
  • Wrap the stacked dough log with plastic wrap and chill for 3 hours or up to 24 hours.
  • Slice the chilled dough to about ½-inch thickness. Place the cookies on the prepared baking tray about 1-inch apart.
  • Bake for 15-16 minutes or until the edges are lightly golden. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

notes

Chilling the dough for at least 2½ to 3 hours before baking is important to ensure that the cookies keep their shape and the layers don’t blend together during baking. It also allows the flavors to develop.
Use a sharp knife to slice the stacked dough log into cookies, as a dull knife can compress the layers and blur the checkerboard pattern.
The baking time may vary based on the size of your cookies and the oven, so keep an eye on them and check for doneness after about 10-12 minutes of baking.
Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

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nutrition information

Yield: 12 cookies

amount per serving:

Serving: 1cookie Calories: 137kcal Carbohydrates: 18g Protein: 3g Fat: 6g Saturated Fat: 3g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g Monounsaturated Fat: 1g Trans Fat: 0.2g Cholesterol: 27mg Sodium: 59mg Potassium: 30mg Fiber: 0.5g Sugar: 5g Vitamin A: 211IU Calcium: 6mg Iron: 1mg
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