Sugar and Spice: Cardamom Cookies

Often found in Indian cuisine, cardamom has a distinctively warm and citrusy flavor. It is used in a wide variety of dishes from savory entrees to baked goods. While there are a few different varieties of cardamom, green cardamom — available both whole and ground — is the most common. Grinding it from a whole pod results in a much stronger flavor than the ground versions found in grocery stores. If you decide to purchase whole pods and grind them yourself, decrease the amount of cardamom in the recipe by about half.

In this recipe, the browned butter and orange zest highlight the spice notes of cardamom while also softening the flavor of the spice. Browned butter in any cookie or baked good adds a nice nutty flavor.

Cardamom Cookies

Recipe by Marcy Gaston, MS

This is delicate cookie; one enjoyed with coffee or tea. I consider this a "grown up" cookie simply because of the cardamom. If you feel the cardamom is too strong, you can reduce the amount of the spice in the recipe if you desire to do so.


  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 to 2 cups powdered sugar


  1. Place the butter in a sauté pan set over medium heat. Melt and brown the butter until it turns amber in color (light golden brown), about 3-5 minutes. Pour into a bowl and refrigerate until cool, about 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together the flour, cardamom and salt; set aside.
  4. In a mixing bowl, mix together the butter, sugar, egg yolk, cream, vanilla and orange zest until well-combined. Stir in the flour mixture and mix until a stiff dough forms. If the mixture seems too crumbly, add a little more cream. It should hold together when formed into balls.
  5. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and place on a cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes. The bottom of the cookie will brown and the top may form some cracks. Remove from the oven and cool for 1 minute on a wire rack.
  6. Roll the cookies in the powdered sugar. Cool the cookies completely and roll in the powdered sugar one last time. Store in an airtight container. Makes 2 dozen cookies.
Marcy Gaston, MS, RD, CD
Marcy Gaston, MS, RD, CD, is a Food Service and Culinary Arts Instructor in the Hospitality Management Program at Montana State University. While earning her master’s degree in Sustainable Food Systems from Montana State University in 2014, she collaborated on many projects including a community food truck, which sold affordable fresh produce to low-income residents in Bozeman. Marcy writes many recipes, many of which are on her blog, Cooking Sustainably. Her blog also covers issues pertaining nutrition and sustainability. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, baking, gardening and watching movies.