Matcha cookies are a delicious Japanese snack that balances matcha's earthy flavour with white chocolate's bright sweetness. We love this dessert's versatility, as you can make it fudgier or crunchier to your liking with just a few tweaks.
Moreover, the green tea element of the recipe adds so much flavour while still being so nutritious.
We'll teach you how to make matcha cookies that are fresher than store-bought options and taste better too. To find the perfect recipe, we tested various combinations in our kitchen to find the tastiest one.
While we've used green tea powder and white chocolate, you can customise the recipe by choosing different types of chocolates or other ingredients to suit your needs.
In addition, our recipe will show you how to substitute ingredients for vegan, gluten-free, and keto-friendly dietary needs.
These easy matcha cookies are a great way to enjoy all the benefits of green tea without having to drink tea. So, put on your apron, and let's get baking.
What are Matcha cookies made of?
Matcha cookies are made of matcha powder, flour, baking soda, eggs, butter, salt and sugar. Some recipes also add brown and white sugar and different types of chocolate for more variety.
Matcha cookies ingredients
Use these ingredients for the best matcha cookies recipe:
- Baking soda
- Matcha powder
- White sugar
- Brown sugar
- Vanilla extract
- White chocolate chips
Matcha powder comes from green tea leaves pounded into a fine powder. These leaves are plucked from the green tea plant.
We prefer culinary-grade matcha powder for our recipe. That's because the tea leaves are harvested in June, compared to ceremonial-grade tea leaves. As a result, they are exposed to more sunlight. The final result is a bitter, intense umami taste that counterbalances other ingredients' sweetness.
If you want your final product to be sweeter, choose ceremonial-grade matcha powder instead. These tea leaves are harvested early in the year and taste much sweeter than culinary-grade ones.
However, you can use green tea bags if you cannot find culinary-grade matcha powder. Open the tea bags and pour out the tea leaves. Grind them into a fine powder to use. Because green tea powder quickly oxidises and turns into a dull grey, use it as soon as possible and try not to keep it for too long.
Use all-purpose flour so that these healthy green treats achieve a firm shape. Doing so also gives your dessert a soft, reasonably chewy middle with a crispy exterior. Of course, the more flour you use, the fluffier your biscuits will become. However, if you prefer crunchy thin dessert bars, then use less flour.
White chocolate chips
To make white chocolate matcha cookies, you will require white chocolate chips. You can use any version found in grocery stores. You can also use milk chocolate, although the ‘milky’ flavour can dilute the unique green tea flavour and fragrance.
If you dislike chocolate, use large sugar crystals, adding a tiny sparkle to the desserts. For a healthier cookie, use macadamia nuts instead. Chop it until it's the same size as a chocolate chip so that you can easily incorporate it into your dough.
This recipe uses white and brown sugar for the best flavour and texture. White sugar will aerate the dough and encourage browning, so your final dessert is thick and puffy. On the other hand, brown sugar is compact and dense, with fewer air pockets.
You can make chewy matcha cookies with brown sugar because it adds moisture. The molasses content is what makes the sugar brown. The darker it is, the more moist and richer the flavour of your baked goods.
If you would like to use a natural sugar alternative, you can use honey, agave or maple syrup. However, if you use honey, the higher sugar content means it will caramelise and burn faster.
So to ensure your baked desserts do not brown quickly, bake in small batches, lower the heat by about 3 degrees Celsius (25 Fahrenheit), and often check to avoid overbaking. For every cup of sugar, substitute ½ to ⅔ of honey so that it will not be too sweet.
Gluten free mochi matcha cookies
Gluten-free matcha cookies are the perfect snack for any occasion. You can use most of the same ingredients as in our recipe if you want to make them. However, you will need to substitute the ingredients containing gluten, a protein found in wheat and other grains.
Fortunately, if you want to make mochi matcha cookies, the glutinous rice flour typically used for mochi is gluten-free. So you can use glutinous rice flour instead of all-purpose flour for a gluten-free alternative.
However, since rice flour has no gluten, it does not absorb water well and is a much harder grain. You can substitute rice flour in a 1:1 ratio for regular flour, which will create slightly gummy green tea desserts.
If you prefer a less sticky or mochi-like cookie, mix in a ¼ cup of gluten-free tapioca or oat flour. The starch content in these flours will bind the mixture together smoothly and create a softer texture.
Pure brown and white sugar are gluten-free, but you can also use maple syrup.
How to make keto matcha cookies
You will need to substitute ingredients with a high carbohydrate content for keto matcha cookies. So, instead of all-purpose flour, use coconut flour, almond flour or oat-fibre flour. Don't confuse oat fibre with oatmeal, which is not keto-friendly. Oat fibre is made from the husk of oats smashed into a fine powder.
For almond flour, you can substitute it at a 1:1 ratio. However, since it's denser and the texture is drier, you'll need more eggs to bind it. Suppose you use oat fibre flour; substitute one and ⅓ cups of oat for 1 cup of regular flour. Add more liquid if the batter is too stiff. For coconut flour, use ¼ to ⅓ to substitute 1 cup of regular flour. Again, add more eggs for a moister dough.
The general rule of thumb is to add one egg for moisture every ¼ cup of almond, oatmeal or coconut flour. It will also help to reinforce the structure of the green tea dessert.
You will also need artificial sweeteners such as stevia to replace sugar. For the chocolate, you can use low-sugar dark chocolate to substitute white chocolate. Alternatively, you can also look for a keto-friendly white chocolate brand in your local grocery store.
How to make vegan matcha cookies
To make vegan matcha cookies, you can use the same ingredients (all-purpose flour and matcha powder). That’s because both flour and matcha powder are vegan.
However, instead of regular flour, some vegans prefer alternative flour. This is because all-purpose white flour has a type of bleaching agent which gives the flour its colour. Instead, you can use coconut flour, almond flour or oat fibre.
Use a 1:1 substitution for almond flour. If you use oat fibre, substitute one and ⅓ cup of oat for 1 cup of regular flour.
For coconut flour, use ¼ to ⅓ to substitute 1 cup of regular flour. As these flours are drier, you'll usually need to add more eggs to bind the dough mixture.
However, since vegans can't eat eggs, you'll want to mix vegetable oil and baking powder. Combine one and ½ tablespoons of vegetable oil with one and ½ tablespoons of water and one teaspoon of baking powder. The mixture can replace one egg.
Why do my cookies turn brown?
If you want to know how to make matcha cookies with a vibrant green hue, then you'll need to learn to control the heat of baking. Matcha is also prone to browning when exposed to heat or air.
One way is to bake your cookies on the middle rack of the oven, using an oven thermometer to ensure it's at the right temperature. The oven temperature should be at 175-degree celsius (350 Fahrenheit).
Adding more liquid to your cookie dough can also reduce the risk of browning. This creates a less dense cookie that will bake more quickly, browning less easily.
Spreading out or spreading too thin
Your green tea desserts will spread out or spread too thin if the dough is not rested. For the best matcha cookies, rest the dough between steps (like when waiting for the cookie sheets to heat up) or let it rest in the fridge overnight.
If you're short on time, allow it to rest on a cool surface for 10 minutes before baking. This will help add enough structure and strength to your dough, so it does not spread too much.
How to get chunkier cookies
The key to thick cookies is to keep your dough chilled in a refrigerator. For best results, store your dough overnight in the fridge. Another reason is to do with the butter you use.
Since butter melts quickly, you'll have to work with it soon once you get it out of the fridge. Cream it gently with the sugar for a fluffy consistency, but do not overdo it. Melted butter creates flat, thin biscuits.
Use real butter and not margarine. Some might think swapping butter out is the solution for healthy matcha cookies. But margarine has too much moisture and will cause your dessert bars to spread more. On that note, you'll also need to use the exact flour measurement specified in our recipe. Otherwise, your eggs and butter will make the mixture too watery without enough flour. The dough will also spread out once it's in the oven.
If you want chewy matcha cookies, add a tablespoon (21 grams) of molasses or honey to increase the moisture content. Add only a little, or your dough will lose its structure. You can also skip white sugar and just use brown sugar. Brown sugar has more moisture, so you'll get a spongier texture. The final product will also have a stronger caramelised taste.
You can also use egg yolks instead of egg whites. Yolks have more fat than whites, increasing the moisture in your dough. For every egg that is needed in a recipe, use two yolks.
During the baking process, check your dough in the middle constantly. Take them out when the centres are set but not brown. You'll get a fudgier texture with crispy sides.
Conversely, if you prefer crunchy desserts, you'll do the opposite of the above steps. First, decrease the amount of sugar and fat in the dough. Use granulated sugar and vegetable shortening (instead of butter), so your dough texture is drier. Next, bake the cookie dough longer than usual. Go for 13-15 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius (356 Fahrenheit).
Instead of brown sugar, use white sugar. This is because white sugar has less moisture, so you'll get crispy bites with less moisture in your dough.
How to store
Here are some tips to properly store your green tea desserts so that you can eat them later:
- Keep them in an airtight container.
- You can keep these desserts for two months in a fridge and up to six months in the freezer. Since matcha oxidises quickly, try not to keep them any longer.
- Freeze any extra cookie dough so you can bake anytime you want.
- You do not need to thaw cookie dough before baking.
Healthy Matcha Cookies Recipe
- Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius (350 Fahrenheit).
- Heat your butter. Keep it over medium heat until the butter turns golden yellow. Pour butter into a bowl to cool.
- Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and matcha powder in a mixing bowl. Mix well and set aside.
- Add white sugar and brown sugar to your butter. Mix well, and add in your eggs and vanilla. Whisk until it is a light and creamy texture.
- Slowly add the dry ingredients from step 3. Mix everything until a green dough forms.
- Add white chocolate chips. Afterwards, let the dough rest in the fridge for 30 to 45 minutes.
- Cover two baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop dough onto baking sheets.
- Bake for 15 minutes. Let them cool before placing your green tea desserts on a cooling rack for another 15 minutes before serving.
- Make sure you chill the dough in the fridge. This step will intensify the flavour and also helps the green tea desserts retain their shape while baking. It also creates a chunkier texture.
- You can always add substitute ingredients according to your dietary needs.
- You can also adjust baking times accordingly. Remember that if you bake longer than usual, you'll get a crispier texture if that's what you like.
- For gluten-free, keto and vegan versions, please refer to the article above.
Calories have been calculated using an online calculator. Nutritional information offered on Honest Food Talks is for general information purposes and is only a rough estimate.
If you've tried this recipe and want to have a go at another green tea creation, hop over to our matcha bread recipe. If you enjoyed making our easy matcha cookies, remember to tag us on Instagram and follow us @honestfoodtalks for more Asian-inspired treats.