nankhatai are Indian eggless cookies

Nankhatai Recipe (Indian cookies)

By Swasthi on October 22, 2022, Comments, Jump to Recipe

Nankhatai Recipe – Delicious, light & crisp eggless cookies made with flour, ghee, cardamom powder and sugar. Nankhatai are traditional Indian shortbread cookies made with all-purpose flour, semolina, sugar and ghee. There are so many variations of nankhatai and can be made with different combinations of flour. In the earlier days most Indian homes did not have an oven so these were baked in stovetop aluminum ovens & cookers. If you do not have an oven, go ahead and bake these in a pressure cooker or a heavy bottom kadai with my tips below.

Nankhatai are Indian Eggless Cookies

About Nankhatai

Nankhatai are shortbread cookies, popular in the Indian Sub-continent. These are made with just refined flour, sugar and ghee or butter. Sometimes cardamoms or saffron are used to flavor them. They are garnished with nuts like pistachios & almonds.

In India, you will find nankhatai in almost every bakery, eatery and even in super markets. They have a melt in the mouth texture and super delicious.

The recipe shared in this post will give you crisp nankhatai that are not only delicious but also have a unique flavor. I make different kinds of cookies often for my kids. These nankhatai are the easiest and make a great snack to pack in the kids’ school box.

I have made the nankhatai in a simple way by just mixing up the dry ingredients and then combining it with ghee to make a dough. Then divide the dough to portions, roll them to balls and then flatten to shape. Later these are baked until golden & crisp.

Here is the ingredient section that will help you make the recipe.


Flour : Traditionally nankhatai were made with all-purpose flour known as maida. However they also turn out good with wheat flour, or a combination of wheat flour and besan (gram flour). For healthier option make these with any whole grain flour. Read my substitute section below.

Fats: This time I have made these nankhatais with ghee but I have made several times with melted butter & oil too. But ghee makes the best crisp nankhatais. If using oil, try using extra virgin coconut oil. I did not feel the flavor of oil in the cookies as I double the amount of cardamom powder.

Sugar: This recipe needs powdered sugar. I powder the sugar in a small grinder. You can also use store bought icing sugar.

Cardamom powder: Nankahtais are flavoured with elaichi, cardamoms. To make cardamom powder, simply blend the cardamoms with sugar in the blender. You can also replace cardamom powder with vanilla or cinnamon if you like the flavours.

The first picture of nankhatai in this post was shared many years ago. These were made with more quantity of besan and little atta. The color of the cookies will depend on the combination of flour.

Nankhatai recipe

Related recipes:
Eggless chocolate cake
Biscuit cake
Ragi cake
Eggless Black Forest Cake
Eggless fruit cake

How to Make Nankhatai (Stepwise Photos)

Make Dough

1. Add wheat flour or maida to a mixing bowl.

2. Add besan or gram flour. You can substitute besan with maida or any nut meal or even with atta. But besan lends a good aroma to the nankhatai.

3. Next add sooji. It gives a light crunch. You can skip this completely and reduce a tbsp ghee in the recipe. You can also replace sooji with any nut meal. I used chiroti rava here but regular sooji works too.

4. Add cardamom powder and baking powder or baking soda. You can skip the baking powder or baking soda if using maida. But with atta they turn out too dense if you skip the leavening agent.

If you do not have cardamom powder, you can add some cardamom pods to the sugar and the powder them.

5. Add powdered sugar. Measure half cup powder and not the sugar.

6. Mix all of them well together. Ensure all the ingredients have combined well especially the baking powder.

7. Measure 1/3 cup ghee and pour it in 3 parts. Mix well to make a dough adding more ghee as needed.

8. The nankhatai dough should not be dry or crumbly but must bind together well. Do not knead it just bring the flour together with the help of ghee.

Shape & Bake Nankhatai

9. Divide the mixture to 12 portions and roll to smooth balls. If the mixture is dry and crumbly it means you need more ghee. Just add a tsp of it and mix.

10. Flatten the balls and place them on the tray. You can make some design with the help of a fork or a skewer. I also garnished the nankhatai with some chopped pistachios. They usually get browned so you can also skip them.

11. Ensure your own is preheated for at least 15 mins at 180 C or 350 F. Bake them at 180 C or 350 F for 10 mins. When done the nankhatai will be golden and almost dry on the top.

12. Immediately remove to a wire rack and cool them completely. They will continue to brown at the bottom if you leave them in the hot tray.

Store nankhatai in a air tight steel or glass jar. They keep good for 2 to 3 weeks at room temperature.

These are besan nankhatai made with 3/4 cup besan and 1/4 cup atta.

nankhatai recipe

More cookie recipes
Eggless ragi biscuits
Eggless choco chip cookies
Chocolate chip cookies
Coconut ragi cookies


Besan : I always prefer besan or gram flour in nankhatai as it really elevates the flavor of the cookies. The aroma of the baked besan is unique and cannot be got by substituting it with any other ingredient.

However if you do not want to use it just replace with any nut powder, all-purpose flour or whole wheat flour. The same amount of almond meal works well in this recipe.

Semolina or rava (suji) : The recipe uses 1 tbsp of fine semolina just to add a crunch to the nankhatai. I personally prefer the chiroti rava for this recipe.

Substitute it with the same amount of nut meal or flour. You can also just skip it and reduce 1 tbsp of ghee in the recipe.

Best combination of flour
¾ cup atta or maida, ¼ cup besan & 1 tbsp of semolina is what I have used in this recipe. You can also alter this proportions but the texture is not the same.

Make Nankhatai without Oven

If you do not own a oven, you can also make these in a heavy bottom pan or pressure cooker.

Fill 1 inch of the cooker or pan base with crystal salt and then place a trivet or a ring or some stand. Preheat it well until hot for 10 to 15 mins.

Place the nankhatai on a plate and keep it on the stand/trivet. Ensure the cookies are in the center of the cooker (heightwise). Remove the gasket and close the lid. Bake on a low flame. Keep checking after 10 mins.

Related Recipes

Recipe Card

nankhatai recipe

Nankhatai Recipe

Traditional Indian eggless cookies known as Nankhatai, made with flour, sugar, cardamoms and ghee. This recipe works with different combinations of flour and turn out light and delicious.
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For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card

Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time25 minutes

Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )

  • ¾ cup (75 grams) wheat flour (or all-purpose flour)
  • ¼ cup (25 grams) besan (gram flour )
  • 1 tablespoon semolina suji (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder (or 1 pinch baking soda for 1x recipe)
  • 3 green cardamoms powdered (or ½ tsp powder for 1x recipe)
  • ½ cup (65 grams) powdered sugar
  • ⅓ cup (75 grams) ghee or soft butter (use only as needed)



  • Preheat the oven to 360 F or 180 C at least for 15 mins.
  • Prepare a tray with parchment paper. Powder sugar along with cardamom seeds.
  • Sieve the flours, semolina, sugar and baking soda together. Set this aside.
  • You can also just mix up all of them together and skip sieving. Ensure the baking powder is mixed well.

How to Make Nankhatai

  • Pour ghee in parts and bring the flour together to make a stiff dough.
  • Use ghee only as needed for mixing. You may need a tsp more or less depending on the temperature where you live. Do not knead the dough.
  • Make 12 balls out of the dough. Slightly flatten and press with a fork lightly to make a design.
  • Bake exactly for 10 mins. Or until light golden and crisp. The timing may vary depending on many factors – size of your oven, kind of the tray etc.
  • Remove to a wire rack immediately. Cool the nankhatai completely and store in an airtight jar. They keep good for 3 weeks.
  • Enjoy nankhatai as a snack with milk or tea.

Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.

For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.


NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)

Nutrition Facts
Nankhatai Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 103 Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Fat 5g8%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Cholesterol 13mg4%
Sodium 2mg0%
Potassium 44mg1%
Carbohydrates 13g4%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 5g6%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin C 0.1mg0%
Calcium 8mg1%
Iron 0.6mg3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Mention @SwasthisRecipes or tag #swasthisrecipes!

© Swasthi’s Recipes

Nankhatai recipe First published in Dec 2012. Updated & Republished in October 2022.

Nankhatai Recipe (Indian cookies)

About Swasthi

I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills. More about me

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5 stars
Hi Swasthi, thank you for your lovely recipes. I am a big fan of Indian food and I always try some Indian recipes at home. This is my first Indian sweet. After 10 minutes I could not get them out of the baking tray, they crumbled, so I left them on the tray out of the oven for another 3-4 minutes and then I transferred them to the rack carefully. They turned out delicious, my son loved them. I only regret that I made only one batch!

Hey, if we replace wheat flour and besan with all purpose flour, the measurement for total flour would be 100gm then, is that correct?

My friend bought me a box of these cookies at a local Indian market. They are so good I have looked up a recipe to try making myself. Thanks for posting an easy to follow recipe.

5 stars
I tried your recipe and the taste shape was so good. yummy same like professional one. thank you so

Texture is like a buiscuit. Taste is good but nowhere near how the kathai should taste

5 stars
I tried the recipe without besan. It was tasty, just that i baked bit over 10 mins as the cookie still looked soft(at 10th minute).
Its tasty but crunchy. How do i get that “melt in mouth” texture

5 stars
I have yet to taste them, but if they taste half as good as they look…we will have a happy hubbie today. My dough was a bit crumbly too but I added more ghee to help bind it together. Your recipes are all five star and so grateful for your posts. Thank you ?

5 stars
Hey Swasthi ! I tried them ….they turned out good in taste but they weren’t holding that good shape and doughwas little more crumbly ,as of yours …I want to know where I went wrong?

Hello Swasthi,

Thank you for the recipe. However, I can’t see how much ghee is required; it’s not in the list of ingredients.

Kind regards,

Many thanks for your prompt response Swathi.

5 stars
Hey Swasthi, thanks for the recipe.

After 10 mins of baking in a big gas oven my nankhatai were very soft then I further baked them for 5 more mins and they were the same…. So I just got them out with lot of disappointment but to my surprise after cooling down they became hard and tasted very nice.

This is the first time I got them right and I’m super happy.

I wanted to ask you if you had any Gujarati Muslim naan recipes, if so please forward to my email address.

Please and thanks

Hi Swasthi,

Thanks for sharing the recipe.

The taste is amazing 🙂
why are they so light , how can I make them darker next time without burning.

I used white flour , began , sooji

I used baking powder and also a pinch of baking soda as I wanted
Them softer.

I had to add more ghee than the recipe called for.

Any suggestions

Turned out beautiful, everyone loves them!!!

My mom passed away 5 years ago.. she would be so proud and happy I’m making nankhathi 🙂

Thanks for sharing recipe

5 stars
Hi Swasthi… wifey always complained that I cannot cook and now cant stop gushing about my culinary abilities.. all thanks to you.. baked Nankhatai today and it turned out so good.. cant thank you enough for all the vegetarian recipes..

5 stars
Turned out perfect

5 stars
They came out so so well. Everybody loved the taste and crunchiness of the cookies.
I got a lot of praise for these cookies.
I have tried so many of your recipes and they always turn out to be perfect. Your website is the first one I visit if I want to try out something new.
Thank you!

5 stars
A Very simple recipe and very tasty too. I have made four batches so far and all of them got polished off in a jiffy!!! Thank you so much for the wonderful recipe!

5 stars
Simple, easy, came out perfect, eat the full 12 in one go. Awesome! Thank you!

5 stars
Hi swasti,
I made them today, I used virgin coconut oil, their taste is very good.
Where can I find your email address so I can share photo of them and you can tell me if they look right.
They dint get golden on top though I kept for fifteen mins in OTG middle rack both too and bottom heating elements on with fan mode ( as given in my manual for cakes etc).
I removed them at 15 mins as I saw some cracks, is it ok? The taste is very good but am not sure whether I had to bake it a little more.
How do we know they cooked through is there a method of checking ( like toothpick test for cakes)?
With cookies I am always never sure if they are cooked fully…

One chutki salt not required swathiji to.enhance the sweetness

5 stars
Superb recipe, thanks

Hi, can we use brown sugar instead of icing sugar? Thanks