The most delicious, fragrant, buttery Jeera Shortbread that is sweet, salty, crumbly and crispy. Perfect with a cup of Masala Chai. 

Cumin Biscuits and Masala Chai and spices on a tray

Jeera Shortbread – What are they?

 A favourite Indian tea time snack, Jeera Shortbread is loved by all. 

Jeera or zeera is the Indian name for Cumin Seeds. For this recipe, we use roasted and fragrant jeera or cumin seeds.

The shortbread itself is buttery, crumbly and oh so delicious. It is great with masala chai and I like them crispy, so i bake them for longer. Perfect for an indian inspired afternoon tea with friends and family.  Or as we call it Chai Nashta.


Shortbread is traditionally Scottish and they are the most loved biscuits the world over.  They also happy to be one of the easiest recipes ever with very few ingredients. Most recipes are made up of 3 store cupboard ingredients only:

  • Butter
  • Flour
  • Icing Sugar 

In my opinion, homemade shortbread cookies are so much better then store brought shortbread too. 

Where does the name come from?

Shortbread gets its name from its crumbly short texture. The cause of this texture is its high fat content, provided by the butter. 

According to The Taste of Britain, ‘short’ has been used to describe a ‘friable, brittle, crumbling texture’ since medieval times and that is where shortbread and shortcrust pastry gets its name from too.

How to make Shortbread Cookies

The most important thing with shortbread cookies is not to handle the dough too much otherwise the biscuits become tough.

Some recipes ask for softened butter and other recipes suggest grating cold butter into the dough. I prefer to use softened butter and then put the dough into the fridge. 

The aim with shortbread cookies is to ensure that they melt-in-your-mouth and are nice and crumbly.

Here’s how to make this particular shortbread:

  • Dry fry Cumin Seeds in a pan.
  • Combine the sugar and butter in a large bowl until creamy.
  • Add flour and cumin seeds and mix together quickly using your hands. 
  • Press together to form a log.
  • Refrigerate.
  • Cool in the fridge, cut and bake.

Comparison of different methods

There’s a few different ways to make shortbread cookies:

  • Rubbing cold butter into flour and then adding sugar – This gives a crumbly shortbread with a rough surface.
  • Using a food processor to blend all the ingredients together – This isn’t really the best option in my eyes because it is easy to over work the dough but also the texture is very rough.
  • Cream softened butter into flour – This achieves a smooth result and a delicate crumbly shortbread.
  • Creaming the softened butter and sugar together before adding to the flour – I used this method for this recipe and I feel like it is the one that works the best in this particular case.

**Do let me know if you make this recipe and please tag me if you make it. I would love to see your pictures. Don’t forget to leave a rating below! **

5 from 5 votes

Jeera Shortbread

The most delicious, fragrant, buttery Jeera Shortbread that is sweet, salty, crumbly and crispy. Perfect with a cup of Masala Chai. 

Course Baking
Cuisine Indian
Keyword Afternoon Tea, Chai Nashta, Chai Paani, Indian Food, Indian Masala Chai, Indian Snacks, Indian Tea, Jeera Shortbread, Masala Chai
Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 18
Author Safira


  • 1 tbsp Cumin Seeds
  • 115 g Butter At room temperature
  • 40 g Icing Sugar
  • 140 g Plain Flour


  1. Add the Cumin Seeds to a dry pan and toast gently on medium/low for 30 seconds or until fragrant.

  2. Mix the butter and icing sugar together in a large bowl.

  3. Add the flour and cumin to the bowl. Use your hands to bring it together into a smooth ball of dough but don't over handle!

  4. Roll roughly into a log shape, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

  5. Preheat oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4 and line a oven tray with baking paper.

  6. Remove from the fridge and cut into rounds, then place on the tray.

  7. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes until edges are very light golden and most of the surface is still pale gold.

Recipe Notes

  • Rice flour or fine semolina are thought to make the shortbread a little more tender. If you think you might over work the dough a little, I would replace some of the flour with rice flour but otherwise I don't think rice flour makes a huge difference. 
  • Recipes using cornflour, suggest that it gives a nice melt in your mouth texture and it does but I prefer my shortbread without it. You can replace some of the plain flour in this recipe with it though.
  • I like to use icing sugar in shortbread because the grains are finer so you get a smoother finish on the surface. Also icing sugar is about 1/2 the sweetness of sugar by volume.  The icing sugar can be caster or golden caster sugar.
  • Cumin Seeds can burn very quickly so keep a close eye on them and remove them off the stove when they become fragrant.
  • There are a few different methods you can adopt when making shortbread. You can use a food processor, you can rub the butter into the flour, you can cream the butter first etc. In this recipe I cream the butter and sugar together first and then add the flour. You can of course try the other methods if you wish. 

Total time is based on baking time only. 


Jeera Biscuits




8 thoughts on “Jeera Shortbread

  1. 5 stars
    A while ago I saw a similar recipe in one old cookbook and wanted to give it a go but completely forgotten all about it. Thanks for reminding be. I will use your recipe 🙂

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