Delicious Hawaiian Tea Cookies Recipe!

Looking for a tasty and unique cookie recipe that will wow your taste buds? Look no further than Hawaiian Tea Cookies. These sweet treats, also known as Hawaiian shortbread or Chinese tea cookies, originated in Chinese bakeries but quickly became a Polynesian favorite, adored by many in Hawaii for their irresistible flavor and lovely texture.

The history of Hawaiian Tea Cookies goes back to the mid-19th century, when Chinese immigrants introduced their traditional tea cookies to Hawaii. Over time, the recipe was adapted to local tastes and ingredients, such as adding coconut flakes and macadamia nuts. Today, these delightful cookies are a beloved staple in many local households and bakeries across the islands.

What sets these cookies apart from other desserts is their subtle sweetness and lightness that pairs well with a cup of tea or iced beverage. The addition of lemon juice and vanilla extract makes for a soothingly aromatic aroma that’s sure to calm your senses. Plus, with only a handful of easy-to-find ingredients and simple steps, baking up these delicious cookies couldn’t be easier.

So what are you waiting for? Grab some flour, sugar, and butter – let’s bake some delicious Hawaiian Tea Cookies!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe


Hawaiian Tea Cookies
Hawaiian Tea Cookies


Are you a fan of shortbread cookies? Do you enjoy a warm cup of tea, especially Hawaiian tea? Then meet your match made in culinary heaven with these delightful Hawaiian Tea Cookies.

These cookies are simple yet flavorful and are made with a few basic ingredients like butter, sugar, flour, and baking soda. They are rich with the taste of vanilla and hint of lemon juice, all wrapped up in a delectable shortbread texture. What sets them apart is the infusion of Hawaiian tea, which adds a unique twist to this beloved cookie classic.

Despite its origin in Chinese tea cookies, this cookie has turned into a Polynesian favorite, especially in Hawaii where it is commonly served at luaus and other celebrations. Its humble beginnings have since been elevated to gourmet status by notable chefs like Sam Choy, who has included them on his restaurant’s menu as well as featured them on his show “Sam Choy’s Kitchen.”

But you don’t have to be a professional chef to appreciate these delicious Hawaiian Tea Cookies. They are perfect for any occasion – whether it’s an afternoon indulgence or even as part of a dessert spread. Plus, they can be paired with a nice iced tea or even some matcha for added flair.

So what are you waiting for? Don your apron and head to the kitchen to make these delightful treats. Trust me; you won’t regret it!

Ingredient List


 A tropical twist on classic cookies
A tropical twist on classic cookies



Here’s what you’ll need to make Hawaiian Tea Cookies:

Dry Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Wet Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice or vanilla extract

Additional Mix-ins and Toppings (optional)

  • 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped macadamia nuts

Gathering these ingredients before you start baking will ensure a smooth cooking process. The dry ingredients consist of all-purpose flour, baking soda, and salt. Creamy butter, sugar, and lemon juice or vanilla extract are the base of the wet ingredients. In addition to the main ingredients, the recipe offers optional mix-ins such as shredded coconut and finely chopped macadamia nuts to enhance the flavor and texture of the Hawaiian Tea Cookies.


The Recipe How-To


 A taste of Hawaii in every bite
A taste of Hawaii in every bite



Now it’s time for the fun part: making the Hawaiian Tea Cookies recipe! Before you get started, make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature. This will ensure that the ingredients mix well and result in a more consistent texture.

Step 1: Cream the Butter and Sugar

In a large bowl, beat together 1 cup of unsalted butter and 2/3 cup of granulated sugar until light and fluffy. This should take about 2-3 minutes on medium-high speed.

Step 2: Add Flavorings

Add in 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to the butter-sugar mixture. Beat again for another minute until fully combined.

Step 3: Mix Dry Ingredients

In a separate bowl, whisk together 2 cups of all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt until well combined.

Step 4: Combine Wet & Dry Ingredients

Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients mixture, stirring until just combined. Be sure not to overmix as this can result in tough cookies.

Step 5: Fold in Coconut

Gently fold in 1 cup of shredded coconut into the cookie dough mixture until evenly distributed.

Step 6: Chill Dough

Cover the cookie dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to overnight. Chilling the dough will help cookies maintain their shape when being baked.

Step 7: Shape and Bake

When you’re ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Using a small melon baller or spoon, scoop out heaping tablespoons of cookie dough onto the sheet, spacing them about an inch apart.

Bake the cookies for approximately 12-15 minutes, or until lightly golden brown around edges.

Step 8: Enjoy!

Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely. Once cooled, serve with a warm cup of tea or coffee and enjoy!

Note: This recipe makes approximately 24 cookies but can easily be doubled to serve more.


Substitutions and Variations


 These cookies are the perfect companion to a cup of tea or coffee
These cookies are the perfect companion to a cup of tea or coffee


There are several ways to make variations and substitutions in this Hawaiian Tea Cookies recipe. Here are some options to consider:

-Coconut: If you’re a fan of coconut, you can replace the macadamia nuts in the cookie dough with shredded coconut to add texture and tropical flavor.

-Lemon Juice: For an extra tangy twist, swap out the lemon juice for lime juice or a combination of both.

-Flour: To make these cookies gluten-free, you can use gluten-free flour instead of all-purpose flour.

-Butter: Unsalted butter can be used as a substitute for salted butter. If you’re looking for a dairy-free option you may also use vegan butter.

-Tea: Earl Grey tea can be used as an alternative to Hawaiian Tea. You may also considering using matcha green tea for a different flavor profile

-Macadamia Nuts: If macadamia nuts are not your thing, try using other types of nuts such as almonds or hazelnuts

-Sugar: Brown sugar or honey can be used in place of granulated sugar in the cookie dough if desired.

-Flavorings: Additional flavors like cinnamon or almond extract may be added to intensify the flavor

Remember that some substitutions might significantly alter the taste, texture, and overall outcome of the cookie dough, so it’s always best to test them beforehand. Be mindful of allergies or dietary needs specific to your audience when making variations or substitutions.

Serving and Pairing


 Aloha vibes all around with these Hawaiian-inspired treats
Aloha vibes all around with these Hawaiian-inspired treats


These Hawaiian Tea Cookies are perfect for serving as a light snack or dessert any time of day. The delicate, buttery cookies are subtly sweet with just a hint of lemon and nuttiness from the coconut and macadamia nuts. They make for an excellent accompaniment to your morning cup of coffee or tea.

For those looking to elevate their serving game, try serving these cookies alongside some fresh, sliced fruit like pineapple, mango, and papaya to create a tropical twist. They also pair well with refreshing drinks such as iced tea or a cold brew coffee.

As for pairing with other desserts, why not include them in a cookie platter mix including classics like chocolate chip and Russian tea cookies? They are sure to be a hit at any occasion.

Overall, these Hawaiian Tea Cookies offer versatility in their serving potential while still managing to bring unique flavors to elevate any dessert experience.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating


 Bring a piece of paradise to your kitchen with this recipe
Bring a piece of paradise to your kitchen with this recipe


Hawaiian Tea Cookies can be made ahead of time and stored for later enjoyment. Once baked, the cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week. If you want to keep them fresh for longer, store them in your refrigerator or freezer.

To store cookies in your refrigerator, first, allow them to cool down completely, then place them in an airtight container or bag. You may also layer cookies with parchment paper in between to keep them from sticking together. Make sure to use containers that won’t leak moisture, as excessive moisture may cause the cookies to become soggy.

To freeze the Hawaiian Tea Cookies, prepare them as directed and allow them to cool down completely. You may also freeze the doughballs before baking for ultimate convenience. When ready to bake, simply thaw the dough at room temperature for about 15-20 minutes before baking.

When reheating stored or frozen cookies, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and place them on a baking sheet. Heat them up until warm, about 5-7 minutes if they’re thawed or up to 10 minutes if they’re frozen.

These delightful tea cookies make a great gift for friends and family during holidays and celebrations. Consider packaging them in festive cookie tins or jars wrapped with decorative ribbons and bows. With proper storage, these delicious Hawaiian Tea Cookies will retain their taste and freshness, adding joyous moments to your daily routine.

Tips for Perfect Results


 The combination of pineapple and coconut creates a truly irresistible flavor
The combination of pineapple and coconut creates a truly irresistible flavor


When making Hawaiian Tea Cookies, there are a few tips to help you achieve the perfect result. These tips are based on my experiences baking these cookies, and I hope they’ll be helpful for you as well.

Firstly, make sure your butter is softened before you begin. This is especially important since most of the mixing in this recipe is done by hand. If your butter is too hard, it will be difficult to incorporate all the ingredients evenly.

Secondly, use fresh ingredients, especially when it comes to your eggs and lemon juice. Using fresh eggs will ensure that your cookies have a great texture and taste, while fresh lemon juice will give them the perfect tanginess.

Thirdly, be careful not to over-mix your dough. Over-mixing can cause your cookies to become tough and dry. You want to mix just until everything comes together and forms a cohesive dough.

Another tip is to chill the dough before baking. This will help the cookies keep their shape and prevent them from spreading too much while baking. I usually chill my dough for at least an hour in the fridge before scooping them onto a baking sheet.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to experiment with different variations of this recipe. For example, try adding macadamia nuts or coconut flakes for added flavor and texture. You can also try using different types of tea to give your cookies a unique twist.

By following these tips, you’ll be on your way to making delicious Hawaiian Tea Cookies that are sure to impress. Remember that practice makes perfect, so don’t give up if your first attempt isn’t perfect. Keep trying and experimenting until you find the method that works best for you!

Bottom Line

In conclusion, the Hawaiian Tea Cookies recipe is a delicious and easy-to-follow dessert that will impress your family and friends. With its Polynesian flavors, this cookie recipe is perfect for any occasion, from afternoon tea to a birthday party. The combination of macadamia nuts, coconut, and lemon juice creates a mouth-watering treat that is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.

As you have learned, this recipe is versatile and can be customized to your liking. From using different types of tea to substituting ingredients like sugar or butter, there are endless variations you can experiment with. Don’t be afraid to make this recipe your own by adding your favorite flavors.

Whether you’re a beginner baker or an experienced one, these Hawaiian Tea Cookies will not disappoint. They’re easy to make and require few ingredients. Plus, they can be stored and reheated for later enjoyment. So why not give this recipe a try? And who knows, maybe it’ll become one of your go-to cookie recipes too.

Remember, baking is all about having fun and experimenting with new ingredients to produce new flavors. So why not start with the wonderful Hawaiian Tea Cookies recipe?

Hawaiian Tea Cookies

Hawaiian Tea Cookies Recipe

I can't remember where I found this recipe, but these are my favorite cookies at any time of the year. I love anything with cconut! If you are a coconut lover as I am, you're sure to love these cookies! The recipe can be adapted to fit the season, simply by changing the color of the sugar you use to coat the outside of the rolls! Can be halved or doubled, although i have never mad
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Hawaiian
Keyword: < 30 Mins, Christmas, Cookie and Brownie, Dessert, Hawaiian, Lunch, Oven
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 60 cookies
Calories: 101.6kcal


  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups shredded coconut


  • Combine dry ingredients and set aside.
  • Cream butter and sugar until fluffy.
  • Beat in eggs, lemon juice and vanilla.
  • Add flour and coconut until well blended.
  • Shape into (4) 2 inch rolls.
  • Roll in colored sugar.
  • Wrap in plastic wrap and chill at least 4 hours.
  • With a sharp knife, saw into 1/4 inch slices.
  • Bake at 375 degrees for 10- 12 minutes, or until SLIGHTLY browned.

Your Own Notes


Serving: 1396g | Calories: 101.6kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 1.2g | Fat: 5.1g | Saturated Fat: 3.6g | Cholesterol: 15.2mg | Sodium: 104.5mg | Fiber: 0.7g | Sugar: 7g

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