Orange Cardamom Cookies

Make Orange Cardamom Cookies the new star of your cookie tray! Every year I strive to find my new *favorite* Christmas cookie and this year I decided to use a spice that is all too often overlooked: cardamom.

orange cardamom cookie with text overlay


 

With a lovely aroma and little black flecks of cardamom, it will have your guests pointing to the mystery cookie asking “what are these?” and then saying “they are delicious, but I can’t quite put my finger on the spice”. It can be our little secret or you can kindly share this recipe for cardamom cookies.

Why You’ll Love Our Orange Cookies

There are several reasons to love this recipe beyond it being a nice change from the traditional Christmas cookie.

  • Orange Flavor- So many cookies use lemon, even lime, but orange is refreshing. The zest and juice offer significantly different flavor profiles so using both makes it a balanced cookie
  • No Molasses or Ginger– So many of the other cardamom cookies use either molasses, ginger or both. While these are lovely friends of cardamom, they mask the freshness of orange. this cardamom cookie recipe allows both flavors to shine.
  • Slice and Bake Cookies- Slice and bake are an excellent cookie dough to keep in the freezer for unexpected visitors. Bright and just the right amount of sweet, they are the perfect thing to pair with a cup of tea or coffee.
  • Global Fusion- These cookies hail from Finnish culture, but have weaving themselves more and more into American cuisine. Cardamom itself is used in many global foods.
  • Holiday Season– While I make mine in the fall months, these are honestly a great cookie to bake year around.
close up of a an orange cookie

What is Cardamom?

If you have never had cardamom, you are missing out. It is made from the pods of seeds that come from the plants that belong to the ginger family. You’ll likely see it marketed as cardamom pods (usually green) but also flecked in a black pepper that looks like black pepper, but is much more soft and fine.

What Does Cardamom Taste Like?

It has a light peppery flavor with hints of lemon and mint which means it pairs well with citrus of all kinds.

It’s flavor lends itself extremely well to both savory and sweet dishes such as curries and garam masala spice mixes as well as chai spice mixes and other desserts. It complements citrus extremely well too which is why we used it in these cookies.

bowl of cardamom

Two Types of Cardamom

There are two types of cardamom that grow in different regions of the world: green cardamom and black cardamom. Both are sold as whole pods (which contain the seeds), seeds, as well as ground and have great cardamom flavors.

For baking purposes and especially for cookies, ground is typically the best thing to buy.

There is actually a third, white cardamom, but it is just green that has been bleached.

cardamom cookie with a bite taken out of it, looks soft

Substitutions for Cardamom

It has a unique flavor that is challenging to replicate, although most recipes will still work and complement other flavors if one of these alternate spices is used. Use a 1:1 ratio.

overhead image of orange cardamom cookies on a wire cooling rack

Orange Cardamom Cookies Ingredients

This recipe uses simple ingredients with the exception of cardamom which is sometimes with the premium spices and can be a tad pricey. The good news is that after you discover it, you’ll want to use it in more and more recipes, like my Lemon Cardamom Cake. Or at the very least, make this one over and over again.

  • Flour – All purpose flour works great for giving them structure. I’ve never used almond flour or coconut flour, but let us know in the comments if you do!
  • Baking soda – The air bubbles that baking soda gives off when baked provide a light and airy texture.
  • Salt – I like to use coarse kosher salt. If using salted butter, make sure to omit the salt altogether and if using a fine sea salt, reduce the volume by half. No one likes a salty cookie! I take that back… I kinda do.
  • Sugar – Although cardamom spice tastes great in savory recipes too, we need a sweet element to these cookies. White granulated sugar works great.
  • Butter – I always opt to use unsalted butter when baking so that I can control the amount of salt in a recipe. It’s always easier to work with when it’s room temperature.
  • Egg – Eggs provide structure, leavening and moisture to baked goods, and that’s exactly why we need one in this recipe.
  • Orange – Not only will we be using orange zest, but also fresh orange juice. This helps to bring out the fresh and bright orange flavor. Zest comes from grating the orange peel and the juice comes from squeezing the inside pulp.
  • Cardamom – Above we discussed the different types of cardamom. For these cookies we want to use ground black cardamom. You can either grind your own for maximum flavor or buy it ground from the store. Use a coffee grinder or spice grinder to make a fine powder if doing it yourself.
cardamom cookies on a glass serving platter

How to Make Orange Cardamom Cookies

Making these cookies is easy, but it does take a little planning since the dough needs to chill or a significant amount of time. The dough can also be frozen in logs, making these easy to pull out and bake.

  1. Sift dry ingredients. Sift together the dry ingredients. Sifting seems like an unnecessary step, but don’t skip it. It will cut down on the amount of time you need to mix your dough and also evenly distribute the leaveners.
  2. Cream butter and sugar. In a large mixing bowl using an electric hand mixer or in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter well and then cream together butter and sugar until fluffy and light in color. Add egg through cardamom and mix well. Get them all good and mixed before you add the flour so you don’t have to overmix and create more gluten and add air, which leads to dry, frail cookies instead of soft ones.
  3. Whisk flour in. Add flour mixture until just combined.
  1. Roll into log. Form cookie dough into a log about 12 inches long and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Dough will be very soft. My best advice is to pour it onto the plastic wrap along an edge and then wrap it up, forming the log as you go. It might have a lot of bumps and this is ok, as it starts to harden, you can roll it on the counter or another hard surface to make a perfect circle. Place in the refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours but up to 5 days. If freezing, double wrap with plastic wrap and then aluminum foil.
  2. Slice. When ready to bake (thaw if frozen), preheat the oven to 375°F. Cut the cookie dough into 1/4 inch disks and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet sheet about 2 inches apart. Cookies will spread, so make sure they have some room.
  3. Bake cookies. Bake for 10-13 minutes, or until tops are golden brown and puffy. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before moving to a cooling rack. Oven temperatures and cooking times vary greatly. The goal is for a crunchy cookie around the edges, but a soft cookie in the center.
stack of cardamom cookies tied with a red and white string with oranges in the background

Variations

These orange cardamom sugar cookies are delicious just like this. But there are plenty of different varieties to make them your own.

  • Royal icing – I like the warm spices of these sweet treats just as they are, but you can certainly take them up a notch by adding some icing. Icing sugar mixed with a couple tablespoons of milk, egg whites and vanilla extract makes for a great royal icing to pipe on the tops of the cookies.
  • Orange glaze – You could also top these cookies with an orange glaze, a basic powdered sugar glaze but with orange juice instead of milk or water. Orange extract or fresh orange juice mixed with confectioners sugar or powdered sugar and melted butter.
  • Food coloring – For an extra burst of color, you could definitely add a couple drops of orange food coloring to your cookie shortbread dough.
  • Extracts – Take the flavor of these orange sugar cookies up a notch by adding vanilla or almond extract to the cookie base.
  • Chocolate coating – Dip baked cookies in melted chocolate, either dark chocolate or milk chocolate chips, for a whole new flavor experience.
  • Browned Butter– Browning butter adds even more depth and nutiness to the cookies, but will take more time. You’ll need to brown the butter and then allow it to come back to room temperature before making the cookie dough. The color will a deeper brown.
overhead of stack of orange cookies tied with string

Make-Ahead, Storage & Freezing

How to Store Cardamom Cookies

Store the cookies at room temperature in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. They will be best enjoyed within a week. Adding a few slices of sandwich bread to the container will assist in keeping them soft for longer.

Can I Freeze Cardamom Cookies?

Yes, these orange cookies can be frozen in a log of dough or as baked cookies. To freeze the cookie dough, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and then again in aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 6 months. Thaw at room temperature for about an hour before slicing and baking or in the fridge overnight.

Cooked Orange cardamom cookies can also be frozen in an airtight container for up to three months. Thaw at room temperature.

close up bite shot of a cookie

Commonly Asked Questions

Can these cookies be rolled and cut-out?

Unfortunately, no, this recipe isn’t great for cut-out cookies because the dough does spread so the shapes will not hold.

Does cardamom taste like cinnamon?

Cardamom is earthy like cinnamon, but I would say it is more akin to ginger and pepper with a spicy, fruity flavor. They do work interchangeably.

collage of orange cardamom cookies with text overlay for pinterest

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Soft Ginger Molasses Cookies

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Orange Cardamom Cookie Recipe

4.22 from 235 votes
Orange Cardamom Cookies  provide a festive flavor for holiday slice and bake cookies. Make ahead and even freeze until you are ready to bake!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 14 minutes
Total Time: 24 minutes
Servings: 20

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Sift or whisk together the flour, cardamom, baking soda and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Set aside.
  • In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy and light in color. Blend in the egg, orange zest and orange juice.
  • Slowly, add the flour mixture until fully combined.
  • Form the cookie dough into a log about 12-inches long and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Dough will be soft and sticky. Pour it onto the plastic wrap along an edge and then wrap it up, forming the log as you go. It might have a lot of bumps and this is ok, as it starts to harden, you can roll it on the counter or another hard surface to make a perfect circle.
  • Place it in the refrigerator for a minimum of 4 hours but up to 5 days. If freezing, double wrap with plastic wrap and then aluminum foil.
  • When ready to bake (thaw if frozen), preheat the oven to 375°F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Cut cookie dough into 1/4 inch disks and place on the prepared cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Cookies will spread, so make sure they have some room.
  • Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes, or until tops are lightly browned. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before moving to a cooling rack. Cooking times vary based on your oven, so watch them closely and remove when centers are tacky and shiny.
  • If you've tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or ratings.

Video

Notes

After feedback that cookie dough was spreading to much, we updated this recipe to include more flour for structure. The also makes them more puffy and chewy. If you prefer the original, please reduce flour to 1 1/2 cups. 

Nutrition

Calories: 79 kcal, Carbohydrates: 6 g, Protein: 1 g, Fat: 6 g, Saturated Fat: 4 g, Cholesterol: 22 mg, Sodium: 50 mg, Potassium: 7 mg, Sugar: 6 g, Vitamin A: 190 IU, Vitamin C: 1 mg, Calcium: 3 mg, Iron: 1 mg
Author: Jessica Formicola
Calories: 79
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cardamom cookies, Christmas cookies, orange cookies
Did you make this recipe?I’d love to see your recipes – snap a picture and mention @savoryexperiments or tag #savoryexperiments!
close up of cookie bite shot
Jessica Formicola in her ktichen

About the Author

Jessica Formicola

Jessica the mom, wife and food lover behind Savory Experiments. She is obsessed with butter, salt and bacon and spends all her time in the kitchen and behind a camera. Jessica is a contributor to PopKitchen by Parade, Better Homes & Gardens, The Daily Meal Food + Travel and more!

Read More About Jessica

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Recipe Rating




Questions and Reviews

  1. 5 stars
    The recipe and instructions were easy to follow. I followed the recipe except I didn’t have black cardamon. I used cardamon but didn’t taste it. I would use some orange extract to punch up the orange flavor which I found to be very subtle. A good tasting cookie though.

  2. 5 stars
    The recipe was very easy to follow. I made no substitutes however when I make them again, I would punch up both the orange and cardamon with 1/2 – 1 teaspoon orange extract and an additional tablespoon of cardamon. Very nice tea biscuit.

  3. 5 stars
    This is a very good recipe! I subbed butter flavored crisco for butter. Refrigerated overnight, then placed logs in freezer for 15 mins before slicing. Delicious!

  4. 5 stars
    I just found this recipe after watching a baking competition show on TV. Their recipe called for cardamon and orange, and it sounded so good. Did a search and found this recipe online. I didn’t see where to add the orange peel and juice, but figured it out. Read through the comments, and I was not aware of the term “adding egg through cardamon”. The printed recipe also does not say when to add the orange peel, orange juice or the egg. But, I figured it out, and will make notes on my printed copy. Delicious cookies. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  5. My dough is chilling! Always read through on line recipes carefully, comments are so helpful ! Dough smells wonderful and I tasted a smidge of dough, can’t wait to bake !
    Also , I saw it said serves 20, assuming that it makes 20 cookies ?

    1. This is not meant to be negative but I do have a nutrition question. I realize you are not presenting this as a healthy recipe, however, I assume you want to be accurate with the nutrition information. I’m confused as to how the carb count can be 6 g with the sugars as 6 g as well when you used flour which has carbs and does not seem to be factored in to the carb count.

      1. We use an application that estimates nutrition. We have many disclosures that these are guidelines and not always 100% accurate- these things can vary greatly based on brands and many other elements. We do not calculate this manually for each recipe.

  6. I’m looking forward to trying these. I think I’ll try refrigerating the dough in the bowl first and then take it out and form and refrigerate again for a bit.

  7. Hi Jessica,
    Am trying out this cookie recipe today. Dough is chilling now! Smelled se good as I was mixing it up. Just thought I would point out that when you choose print recipe from the website, the resulting recipe and instructions are different from what appears on the website. Can’t wait to taste these cookies.
    Thanks for the recipe, Brenda 😊

      1. 5 stars
        These were lovely! Yes, they were thin, but that’s what I love about them. Ib funny find the directions confusing at all, and while the dough was sticky, I expected that… they sliced up perfectly after chilling overnight. Great flavor!

    1. Hi Rebecca, actually step #2 clearly state to add “egg through cardamom” which would include orange zest and orange juice, hence the word THROUGH. So, nope, not a shame.

    2. I am making this right now and i had no idea what “through” meant in step 2. Extra details are appreciated for novice bakers 😊

  8. 5 stars
    I made these cookies with gluten free flour and they were absolutely perfect. Just cook them about 1/2 the normal time. Thanks for a new favorite Christmas cookie recipe.

  9. 4 stars
    The flavor of these cookies is delicious. I did end up with quite a soft dough and had to put it in the fridge before forming it into a log. The cookies came out like thin, crispy butter cookies (not like in the image). Any tips on what may be going wrong? The ingredients listed 2 Tb of orange juice but then didn’t list in in the instructions- should this not be added into the dough? Thanks!

    1. Hi Susan, The cookies are pretty thin, it is a little difficult to to tell in the images. The orange juice is added in step #2, “add eggs through cardamom”, that includes the orange juice.
      My only question would be about the butter- was it room temperture or did you melt it by chance? Butters can also have different water contents, using a good quality butter can provide less water and more butter fat, resulting in less loose doughs and batters. But if you need to chill before forming into a log, that works too. As long as you chilled for long enough before slicing and baking, you should be good.

  10. 4 stars
    I attempted making the orange cardamom cookies. I wanted a simple slice and bake cookie in addition to the several others this holiday. This recipe is complete and utter rubbish. You could never form the batter into a log as the recipe is written. I’ve added so much flour and I still can’t form a log. I’ve got an ewey gooey mess from what was supposed to be easy. You ought to be ashamed for calling this simple slice and bake.

    1. H Donia, I am sorry it didn’t work out for you, but I make these all the time and I am NOT ashamed. Maybe your butter was too soft? Was it a humid day? There are a lot of reasons that doughs can go wrong, but calling me a liar isn’t a good one. I hope you have a festive and bright holiday season.

  11. 5 stars
    My favorite sweet treat for the Holidays is for sure frosted sugar cookies. They’re delicious and so much fun to decorate too! Thank-you for this generous chance. 🙂