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Nankhatai Recipe

4.46 from 119 votes
Total: 26 minutes
Serves 18

Do you prefer light and crumbly cookies to enjoy with your evening tea? This bite-sized, melt-in-your-mouth Nankhatai recipe is just for you! Just like eggless coconut cookies, these Indian butter cookies require just a few pantry staples and are deceptively easy to make.

So get ready to fill your home with the delightful smell of the Nankhatai recipe, which is an excellent accompaniment to coffee or tea at any time of the day!

How to make Khasta Nankhatai

What is Nankhatai?

For those unfamiliar with this term, the name Nankhatai comes from the Persian word ‘Naan,’ which translates to bread in English, and khatai means light and flaky biscuit.

In simple words, it indicates light and buttery biscuits or Indian shortbread cookies made without eggs or leavening agents (baking powder and baking soda). 

I am a cookie lover, and whether it be eggless coconut cookies, Dulce de leche thumbprint cookies, eggless shortbread swirl cookies, or tutti frutti cookies, I love freshly baked golden-brown cookies with my cup of chai.

So, if you are looking for THE perfect cookie recipe for your upcoming tea party, this nankhatai recipe is worth a try.

This best nankhatai recipe will take you back to your childhood days.

Reasons You’ll ♡ Nankhatai recipe

These yummy Nankhatais are absolutely amazing! Soft and flavorful, with the melt-in-the-mouth texture, these little bites of deliciousness indeed have more reasons to be loved.

  • Easy and quick to make
  • Loved by kids and adults alike
  • Perfect make-ahead recipe
  • Easy to carry while traveling
  • Purely vegetarian
  • Satiate sweet cravings instantly!

The best part is that during the festive season, make a huge batch of nankhatais, box them up and share them with family, friends, and neighbors.

Nankhatais, or should I say Indian buttery cookies are a perfect sweet treat for every season and occasion.

Freshly baked Nankhatai

The secret to Khasta Nanakhatai Recipe!

This nankhatai recipe is not your regular cut-out sugar cookies. They are the perfect no-fuss, round and buttery shortbread that doesn’t require any fancy ingredients or baking tools.

All you need is a mixing bowl, your fingers, or maybe a spoon, a little refrigeration time before baking, and you are good to go.

The secret to these crumbly yet soft, melt-in-your-mouth nankhatais is ghee. The crunchiness of a nankhatai depends on a good balance of fat and its low moisture content.

During baking, the moisture in the ghee evaporates, producing acceptably stiff and crumbly nankhatais.

So, without further ado, let’s get ready to recapture the joy of your childhood with this khasta (flaky) nankhatai recipe that – 

  • Takes just a few minutes of hands-on time
  • Soft, moist, and delicate, just like the old traditional bakery-bought nankhatais
  • Rich and flavorful with a slight hint of cardamom, and 
  • Incredibly delicious. 

Ingredient list for Nankhatai

Nankhatai Recipe Ingredient List

Flours — I have used a combination of all-purpose flour, chickpea flour (besan), wheat flour, and semolina (sooji) to create this perfect, no-fail nankhatai recipe.

All-purpose flour and wheat flour are the staples, but the addition of besan lends a nice subtle earthy flavor, and likewise, sooji gives a great crunch to the finished cookie nankhatais. This combination lends a sturdy texture, a khasta (crunchy) bite, and a melt-in-your-mouth feeling of a perfect nankhatai.

Powdered Sugar — Also called confectioners’ sugar, the addition of powdered sugar is what makes these nankhatais incredibly soft and delicate. In addition to that, sugar lends crispy edges and smooth texture to our nankhatais. 

Cardamom Powder — for a hint of flavor. You can substitute cardamom with your favorite extract.

Salt — An essential ingredient as it draws out the flavor of this nankhatai. 

Ghee — Ghee lends a subtle nutty flavor to these Indian buttery cookies. And its low moisture content adds to the crispiness of our nankhatais.

Silvered nuts — as a garnish.

Indian Shortbread cookies on a laced plate

Recipe Tips and Variations

Ghee is an essential ingredient This delicious recipe of Nankhatai derives its richness, moisture, and soft texture from the ghee. The correct amount of ghee in this recipe is what makes it khasta and delectable. So, do not cut back up on this ingredient.

The right time to add melted ghee — Use semi-solid ( room temperature) ghee when you are combining the flours. The first batch of ghee that’s added to the flour mix should be in a granular semi-solid state, not melted. Once the mixture becomes crumbly, then gradually add the melted ghee to the mixture. 

Always use powdered sugar — This recipe makes it best with powdered sugar as it absorbs extra moisture from the other ingredients, giving the nankhatai a tender and flaky texture. As it melts, the granulated sugar encourages the nankhatais to spread, take a deeper tinge, and also have a crispier texture; therefore, it should be avoided. Likewise, brown sugar should also be avoided in this recipe.

Do not add any liquid to the mixture These are low-moisture shortbread cookies, meaning they do not need any added moisture. Most of its moisture and softness are rendered by the ghee. If the mixture doesn’t seem to bind well, feel free to add some more ghee but refrain from adding any liquid to the dough as this may spoil the recipe. 

Khasta Nankhatai

Line the baking tray Lining the baking tray with parchment paper when baking the nankhatais will ensure easy removal of the nankhatais when baked, and an easy clean-up to follow.

Chill the Nankhatai dough before baking — Refrigerating the dough before baking will provide the dough more stability (the ghee solidifies and takes time to melt when baked) and prevent the nankhatais from spreading in the oven while baking without chilling the dough will otherwise result in the flattened nankhatais. The chilling time also allows the flavors to meld well and come out ideally. 

Leave space for spreading The nankhatais will need space to spread when they are being baked. Therefore, leave enough space between nankhatais when placing them on the baking tray. They may turn out to be sticky and under-baked if placed too close.

Do not over-bake — Overbaking may result in dry and browned nankhatais, so avoid over-baking. Just bake them for 14- 16 minutes or until you see a slightly golden brown on the edges.

For easy lifting — Let the nankhatais sit in the baking tray for 5 – 10 minutes before removing them. Use a very thin spatula to lift them up and immediately transfer them onto a wire cooling rack. Leave them there to cool completely.

To prevent continued cooking — Remove the nankhatais from the baking tray after 5- 10 minutes to prevent continued cooking. They will continue to bake on the hot baking tray if not removed. 

Adding a festive vibe — Sprinkle slivered almonds and pistachios on top to render a festive vibe to the freshly prepared nankhatais. 

Variations — This is a basic nankhatai recipe. Feel free to improvise and add various flavors to it, like saffron or rose flavor for rose-flavored Nankhatai. Or add some Thandai mix for a Thandai nankhatai recipe. 

Go creative with shapes — You can cut the dough into different shapes to make them more appealing to kids.

Do not replace all-purpose four Replacing all-purpose flour with self-rising flour will not yield significant results because the latter contains baking powder, and the nankhatai recipe doesn’t need any leavening agents! 

Confirm doneness — You can know if the nankhatais are done by looking at the edges. If you see the light golden brown rim around the edges, this shows the nankhatais are done. However, the center will still be soft and pale to the touch.

Crumbly Nankhatai — Because they were removed from the tray too soon, Nankhatais are still soft when they come out of the oven, so please resist the urge to touch the nankhatais until they have cooled entirely; otherwise, they will crumble and fall apart. This is extremely important to let the nankhatai sit for 5-10 minutes on the baking tray before lifting them.

Perfectly baked Indian Shortbread cookies

LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK!

Can you resist these gorgeous-looking Eggless Buttery Indian Cookies (Nankhatais)? I am sure you can’t!

Neither can I! So, let’s dive straight into the recipe instructions and bake a lovely batch of these adorably delicious Nankhatais that just take a few minutes from the oven to your palate!

Let us begin!

Should you make this Khasta Nankhatai recipe, please let me know your thoughts by sharing your comment below.

And don’t forget to share it with your family and friends.

CRAVING FOR MORE, TRY SOME OTHER Eggless bakes!

This recipe post has been updated from the archives, first published on August 15, 2015

Follow the step-by-step instructions to make the best Nankhatai recipe

How to make Khasta Nankhatai

Nan Khatai Recipe

4.46 from 119 votes
Do you prefer light and crumbly cookies to enjoy with your evening tea? This bite-sized, melt-in-your-mouth Nankhatai recipe is just for you! Just like eggless coconut cookies, these Indian butter cookies require just a few pantry staples and are deceptively easy to make.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 16 minutes
Total: 26 minutes
Calories: 119 kcal
Servings: 18

INGREDIENTS 

FOR NANKHATAI

GARNISHES

  • Slivered Almonds and Pistachios
  • Cardamom Powder sprinkle on top

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Combine all-purpose flour, salt, wheat flour, semolina, chickpea flour (besan), eliachi powder, and powdered sugar in a large mixing bowl.
    Combine flours in a bowl
  • Mix until all the ingredients are well blended.
    Mix the flours
  • Add ghee.
    Add ghee
  • With your fingers, work the ghee into the flour mix.
    Add ghee
  • Mix until the mixture becomes crumbly.
    Add more ghee
  • Add melted ghee to this flour mix and mix until it forms a soft, pliable dough. Add ghee one spoonful at a time, as you may not need the recommended quantity.
    Tip — When you add melted ghee, the nankhatai dough will be extremely smooth and soft but not sticky.
  • Take some dough in your hand, and roll it between your palms to finish rounding it like a ball. Form a crack-free, smooth round ball.
  • Flatten the ball slightly in the palm of your hand and use your fingertips to smooth out the edges of your nankhatai.
  • Repeat this process until all the dough is shaped.
  • Place them on a baking tray.
  • Gently make a small cut on top of each nankhatai.
    Tip — This indent or cross on top will ensure that the nankhatais have room to expand and will develop beautiful cracks during baking.
  • Sprinkle eliachi powder. Cover and chill the unbaked nankhatai in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour.
    Tip — This is an important step, and it will prevent over-spreading. When these chilled cookies are baked, the solidified fat/ghee takes time to melt, and during baking, whatever the steam is released, it puffs up the dough, and the cookie spreads out less and becomes flaky. And if we start baking the dough without chilling, the fat (ghee) will melt immediately, resulting in flat-out, greasy cookies.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. After the desired time is over, bake the chilled nankhatai in a preheated oven for 14-16 minutes.
  • Once the cooking time is done, remove the nankhatai from the oven.
    Freshly Baked nankhatai
  • The center of nankhatai will still be very pale and soft when fresh out of the oven. This is important – let them cool slightly in the tray for 4-5 minutes. As they cool, the nankhatai will continue to firm up.
    Freshly baked Nan khatai
  • Here is what the nankhatai should look like right as they cool.
  • Garnish with slivered nuts and store it in an airtight container at room temperature.

VIDEO

RECIPE NOTES

Frequently Asked Questions

 
Can I skip the cardamom powder?
Of course, you can skip the cardamom powder entirely if you don’t have a liking for it, or you can even replace it with vanilla extract or some other flavoring.
 
How can I get perfectly shaped and consistently sized nankhatais?
You can use a cookie scooper to form a ball and enjoy the perfectly sized nankhatais!
 
Can I use maple syrup or honey as a replacement for sugar?
I would not suggest you add any liquid ingredients as the dough will lose its consistency, and the runny dough will not make the best nankhatais.
 
Can I bake these nankhatais in a pressure cooker?
Sure you can. To bake these delicious Nakhatais in a pressure cooker – 
  • Layer the bottom of the pressure cooker with sand or salt.
  • Close the lid and heat the cooker on a low flame for 7-8 minutes.
  • Arrange a stand in the cooker and place nankhatais over it.
  • Bake/cook nankhatais for 5-6 minutes on a medium-low flame.
  • Allow the nankhatais to rest for 4-5 minutes, and then gently remove it from the pressure cooker.
  • Remember, the nankhatis will be soft at this point. So remove carefully with a spoon.
 
How can I store these Nankhatais?
Once these delicious Nankhatais have completely cooled, transfer them to an air-tight container and seal them. They will keep for about 2- 3 weeks at room temperature if stored in a cool place.

NUTRITION

Calories: 119kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 18mg | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 27mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 1mg
Disclaimer: The nutritional information provided above is approximate. Variations may exist due to the ingredients/brands used. These numbers should be considered estimates, as they are not calculated by a registered dietician.
Author: Ruchi
Course: Dessert, Sides
Cuisine: Indian

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Comments

  1. Nileema says:

    Oh.. I so wish you lived nearby me and I could eat up everything you make, so delicious and photography make it even more delicious. Will surely try this one out and as mentioned no baking soda! Umm.. I am loving it! Thanks for taking the time out and posting your amazing recipe collection with simple instructions for people like me.

    • RK says:

      Thanks Nileema, that’s so sweet of you. Your comment made me smile from ear to ear. Glad to hear that you found something of your liking. Do give these Nankhatai a try and I am sure you will like it as much I do. 🙂

  2. Sharmitha says:

    Ruchi I wait for your post, You always post something tempting. You recipes are so clean, neat, well presented and very well executed. I am tempted to try it. This one too was a success. Great taste and very crunchy.After matar kulcha, kurkuri bhindi and khaman this one is my fourth try and all were a success. Thank you.

    • RK says:

      Thank you Sharmitha for your wonderful feedback. Glad to learn that you are enjoying my blog! Keep checking back for more!!

  3. Shilpa says:

    Hi Ruchi,
    Came accross your blog and gave a try for nankhatai.. Followed the recipe..however, the sugar I added didn’t melt and cookies even though came out good, taste like sugar cookies.. Should I have put sugar powder instead of granules?

    P.S. cookies even with granular sugar, turned out really good.. Thanks for the recipe

    • RK says:

      Thanks for trying out the recipe, Shilpa. Sugar will not completely dissolve in nankhatai recipe. This is a low-moisture recipe and it will take a lot of heat to melt or dissolve sugar in the dough. In fact granulated sugar crystals add extra crunchiness to these nankhatais. If you don’t like the crunchiness in nankhatai then maybe next time you can churn the sugar in a mixer and add it to the dough. I hope that answers your questions!!