Sugee Cookies – Makes Melt-in-Your-Mouth Magic!

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Sugee cookies are very light, crumbly, oh-so-very-buttery, melt-in-your-mouth cookies. These are festive favourites, but perfect treats for everyday tea.
Melt-in-your-mouth sugee cookies served on a plate

I can’t possibly start my Lunar New Year without sugee cookies!

My festive baking this year has seen better progress than most, with lapis cakes and pineapple tarts all done, and now, with just three more days to the start of the New Year, I quickly get to baking these light, crumbly, and oh-so-very-buttery ghee cookies.

Fresh baked sugee cookies

Sugee cookies are like a very lightweight version of shortbread cookies.

Biting into a sugee cookie, you first feel a crisp crunch, and the cookie quickly breaks into crumbly morsels, releasing an intense buttery flavour (as ghee is used instead of butter), and it all literally melts in your mouth.

It’s a sublime way to enjoy a cookie, don’t you agree?

Fresh baked sugee cookies

Sugee cookies are very easy to bake (yes, believe me – finally, here’s a Chinese New Year goodie that doesn’t have to test our baking skills to the hilt!).

These cookies tend to have characteristic cracks in their appearance, and that’s due to the action of baking soda when mixed into the cookie dough.

I tend to defer to traditional Nonya recipes like this one by the late Mrs Leong Yee Soo, which uses the simplest of ingredients, and omits the use of baking soda.

But if you just love those surface cracks in your sugee cookies, mix in 2 to 2 1/2 tsp of baking soda with the flour, before adding to the ghee mixture. Then proceed as per the recipe instructions, and shape into rounds without making impressions.
Ghee is clarified butter — the butter oil, without the lactose and other milk solids. It is traditionally prepared by gently heating butter until it becomes a clear golden liquid.
The lactose and other milk solids coagulate and are meticulously removed. This process also evaporates most of the natural water content, making ghee light, pure and resistant to spoilage (source:
Fresh baked sugee cookies

Perhaps, the only challenge you’re likely to face is the temptation to over-bake these cookies, and trust me, it’s easy to over-bake these.

You’ll tend to want to see the cookies brown a little, as most cookies and biscuits do, but these cookies should turn lighter, to a pale cream colour when baked (and I know that this might go against every impulse or instinct you have as a baker).

If they are over-baked, these cookies become hard, crispy and crunchy, though still delicious, and are perfectly edible.

If baked to a pale cream, these cookies will give you that full buttery taste of ghee, and that much sought after, characteristic, melt-in-your mouth texture.

Fresh baked sugee cookies
Sugee Cookies

Sugee Cookies

Yield: 200 cookies
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Rest Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 35 minutes

This recipe makes very light, crumbly, oh-so-very-buttery, melt-in-your-mouth sugee cookies. Makes approximately 200 cookies.


  • 400 g ghee
  • 300 g confectioner's sugar
  • 700 g plain flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 3/4 tsp salt


  1. In an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream ghee confectioner's (icing) sugar, essence, and salt on medium speed for 5 minutes. Change to a dough hook attachment, add the flour, and knead into a soft dough. Leave covered for 4 hours.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 120 deg C (250 deg F). Line baking trays with greaseproof paper.
  3. Using a teaspoon, scoop a heaped teaspoon portion of dough and roll between your palms into a ball, each the size of a marble. Place on the baking tray, spaced well apart. Using a small fork, make impressions by pressing lightly on the centre of each ball, and sliding the fork away from the centre to prevent sticking. (For round-shaped cookies, roll into balls, and press lightly in the centre with your finger).
  4. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes, until cookies turn lighter in colour. Transfer to a cooling rack. When completely cooled, store in airtight containers.

Did you make this recipe?

I’d love to see! Remember to share your pics on Instagram and tag @foodelicacy or #foodelicacy.


  1. Hi Carolyn, yes, you’re right that semolina flour is a traditional ingredient in sugee cookie. This recipe is one of the late Mdm Leong Yee Soo’s, one of Singapore’s culinary matriarchs, and I stayed true to it as printed in her cookbook.In my humble opinion, these cookies do turn out nice too.

  2. Should there be semolina flour in the sugee cookies?

  3. Hi Shu, thank you so much for trying these cookies! If it’s a bit hard after it cools, it’s probably been baked a little too long. It happened to me the first few times I baked these, cos I’m so used to waiting for my cookies to brown a bit. But this is the opposite, the cookies should be slightly underbaked and still look pale. They they’ll turn out with more melt-in-the-mouth quality. Hope this helps!

  4. Hi Celia,
    Made it and it’s very tasty and pretty. Super easy, thanks for your recipes! Will try more.
    May I know why my sugee cookies are a bit hard? My friends say it’s tasty but a bit hard.

  5. Hello Arvina, sorry to hear but this dough should not be turning out watery with the ingredients listed – ghee, icing sugar and flour are all firm at room temperature. The cookie dough is indeed soft but can easily be shaped into balls. The only thing I can think of is that possibly, the mixture was creamed at too high a speed, creating heat and causing some of the ghee to melt. I would recommend chilling the dough until it’s firm enough to shape.

  6. Hi there, I did the same as per measurement given but the dough is so watery and it is impossible for me to make it into a ball? any idea?

  7. Hi Shahira, I think resting between 2 to 4 hrs should be fine! Hope these turn out to your liking !

  8. What happens if i don’t leave it for 4 hours? Maybe ard 2 hours?

  9. Hi Noridah! I’m so glad these worked out well! Thank you for taking the time to write in and share! Selamat Hari Raya!???

  10. Thanks Celia for the advice. I had some problems with my oven but managed to resolve the issue and ended up baking all the dough without having to keep it for another day. The results were fantastic! Thank you for sharing the recipe 🙂

  11. Hi Ida, I haven’t chilled this dough before but I think it should be okay to do so. But I would only do so overnight. Unlike other types of cookies which you can bake right out of the chiller, I would allow the dough to come to room temperature before rolling and baking. Hope this works out well for you!?

  12. Hi Celia
    Is it possible to keep the dough in the fridge to bake at another time?

  13. Hi Shanks, I can’t believe I missed replying to your comment! I know this is coming so late, but thank you so much for trying out these cookies, and sharing how you did it. I always use QBB brand of ghee too, just love the flavour! Please keep your comments coming (and I’ll try to reply asap…?)

  14. Hi Jing, I’ve never left this cookie dough overnight but it should be fine, as the dough doesn’t contain eggs or dairy. I would keep it covered in a dry, cool place. Hope you could share how it turns out! Happy baking!

  15. Hi. Can i leave the dough overnight?

  16. Hi Kavan, there is no semolina flour in the recipe which I realise is odd for these to be called sugee cookies. It’s how the original recipe was presented and I didn’t feel the need to tweak it then as these cookies really do turn out awesome and have that melt-in-the mouth texture.

  17. First time baking cookies and i love the outcome. QBB ghee brand is a must. I used regular cake mixer to blend ghee and sugar then kneaded flour in by hand till dough got nice and even. Rested dough for abt 3 hours. Cookies were smooth, no cracks, and yes that oh-so-buttery-melt-in-the mouth feeling…100% must try sugee cookies recipe, thanks to Celia.

  18. No sugee for this recipe?

  19. Hi Amelia, sorry to hear that. I’ve not encountered this before but my immediate thoughts would be that it’s possibly a case of over creaming the ghee. Do not replace icing sugar with raw sugar as the texture will turn out differently. Cookie dough, when rested enough, allows the flour to become coated evenly with the fats and gluten (protein) in the flour to relax, so that the cookies can have the melt-in-the-mouth texture. Resting also allows the flavours to develop better, so the cookies will taste nicer. Hope this helps!

  20. Hi Celia, I tried your recipe today but I halved all the ingredients. I roll them into balls but minutes later my cookies were flattened in the oven, I was shocked when I saw that. I’m not sure why. Can I replace icing sugar with raw sugar? Why do you rest your dough for 4 hours?

  21. Hi Pat, thank you for writing in!?I haven’t tried that myself though cashew sugee cookies are made with flour and ground cashew, so I’m sure ground almonds would work just as well. Nut-based sugee cookies would have more of a crunch to it than a melt-in-the mouth texture. Hope this helps!

  22. Hi Celia,
    Thanks for sharing your recipe. Do you think substituting some of the flour with ground almonds will work?
    Appreciate your comments. Thanks

  23. Thanks for the response. I am certainly going to wait for 4 hrs to get the ultimate taste. ?

  24. Hi Violet, I usually let mine rest for 4 hours, but if you can’t wait that long, I would let it rest it for at least 2 hours. Mine were worth the wait, they turned out crisp on the outside but melt-in-the-mouth, if baked just right. Hope your cookies turn out great too! Hope you can share!?

  25. hi, thank you for sharing. i am cooking half of the recipe, do i leave the dough covered for 2 hrs or 4hrs?

    Appreciate your advise as my dough has just crossed 1hr ?

  26. Hi Jo, I baked top and bottom heat, on the middle oven rack. Hope it works out beautifully!

  27. Hello, can I know if I bake the cookies at the lowest level or the medium level of the oven? Is it top and n bottom heat or just bottom heat?

  28. Hi Nicole,mmmm… yummm,cheese sugee cookies sound so good!??? I haven’t tried this before so I can’t be sure how to tweak this. I’d love to know if you do make a cheese version though!

  29. Hi Celia,can we make an additional cheese flavor in the ghee cookies??

  30. If my electric mixer does not have paddle or dough hook attachment, can I cream the wet ingredients with wooden spoon? Do I need to use icing sugar to get’melt-in-mouth’ effect? After browsing your recipe-I recalled successfully making sugee biscuits in 6-3-3 proportion. Can’t remember if I have to use icing sugar or fine sugar will do?

  31. Hi Shini, if you like the crack appearance in your cookies, mix in 2 to 2 1/2 tsp of baking soda with the flour, before adding to the ghee mixture. Then proceed as per the recipe instructions, and shape into rounds without making impressions. Hope this helps!

  32. Hi Shini, thank you for writing! It does have a melt-in-the-mouth quality if you are careful not to overbake, but it will be crisp on the outside.?

  33. Hi Celia

    Does this recipe require baking soda?

  34. hi Celia,

    I’m gonna make this tonight and does the recipe have the quality of melts in the mouth, because the previous recipe i used to do doesn’t give that kind of taste
    hope to hear you soon .
    Thank you in advance

  35. Hi Jenny, I’ve only made these with two brands widely available in Singapore, QBB and LEILA. Both worked out equally well in terms of flavour, in my humble opinion, though I use QBB more often for most of my baking and cooking.?

  36. Hi Celia,

    Have you experience with different brand of ghee? Which is the better tasting?

  37. Hi Sarah, sorry for the confusion!? hope you liked how your cookies turned out! Thank you for highlighting that, and I’ve updated the recipe. ?

  38. Hi Sarah, oh my! Thank you so much for highlighting that! Sorry forbthe confusion, am going to edit the recipe to include that right away! Hope your cookies turned out to your liking!?

  39. Hi,
    Just to let you know, in your method you have forgotten to add the vanilla and salt. It got me a little confused and I had to add it at the end before baking.

  40. Hi Adeeba, I usually do out of habit but you don’t need to for cookies. For cakes, it’s more important.?

  41. Sorry for too many questions,did you sift the flour and icing sugar?

  42. That’s so nice to hear!? Thank you so much for trying this recipe! Enjoy!?

  43. thank you for the recipe , my mom love it so much .

  44. Hi Adeeba, I left the dough out at room temperature.☺

  45. Did you leave the dough in fridge ?

  46. As per the instruction, pre-heat oven to 120 deg C (moderately hot) and bake at this temperature. Sorry for the confusion!? I’ll clear that up in the recipe. Thanks, Adeeba!

  47. Hi Adeeba, you only need to knead long enough to incorporate the flour, which shouldn’t take very long if I remember correctly.

  48. What do you mean by using a moderate oven ?

  49. Is there any possibility to over knead the dough after you add the flour ?

  50. Hi Adeeba, sure you can! This recipe is easily halved. Hope you like it!

  51. Can I divide this recipe by 2 ?

  52. Hi Yasin, yes, you can, you’ll get a little exercise doing it by hand?! It would be a lot easier if you could use a spoon/scoop/spatula with a long handle to beat the ghee and icing sugar mixture till it’s light and fluffy, then use your hands to knead in the flour.

  53. Can i use normal spoon to mix instead of electric mixer??

  54. Very nice nd simple

  55. Thank you so much, Doris!? So happy to hear that!

  56. Thanks for your special tips to leave the dough covered for 4 hours. This makes the biscuits melt in the mouth.

  57. Hi Su Yin,

    So happy to hear that! Thank you for sharing!? I recall that mine had a kind of a powdered sticky surface too, was it like that for you? I thought that was characteristic of sugee cookies, otherwise, they might end up being overbaked and crunchy but still delicious!?

  58. Hi my cookies using this receipe was a hit and brought back childhood memories. However the top layer was a little sticky like uncooked.

    I tried moving the trays up and down . Maybe next round I will do it in smaller balls


  59. Hi Daljit, this recipe doesn’t actually use semolina flour, which I know may seem odd ? you could easily experiment with it though, by using part plain flour, part semolina flour. The texture won’t be quite as melt-in-the-mouth, but I reckon it’ll have a nice crunch. Do let me know if you try it, ya? Cheers, Celia

  60. Hi Rachel. This seems like the perfect receipe but for some reaso n i am not able to see the most important ingredient which is the sugee. How much sugèe does one use for the main receipe written at the top ? Thank you.

  61. Hi Michelle, I know the amount of icing sugar looks insane ? but these cookies won’t turn out tasting sickly sweet, also because there’s salt added that blunts the sweetness just a tad. Do feel free to reduce the sugar if you’d prefer the cookies a little less sweet. You may need to reduce the salt a pinch too.?

  62. Hi. May I know what if the cookies are too sweet. What else can I do ?

  63. That’s so helpful to know, Rachel! Thanks a ton for sharing in detail how you made these. I’d definitely love to try it the way you did yours. I think it works out really well both ways, from what I’ve read elsewhere when looking for recipes for these cookies (i.e. melting the ghee, then stirring in the dry ingredients, or creaming the ghee with sugar and then kneading in the dry ingredients), but I’d happily go for a shortcut method anytime! Happy eating (am getting fat on my stock of these cookies!)

  64. Yeah they weren’t as snowy white as yours were (but that’s probably also because I just melt the ghee and stir it into the sifted dry ingredients instead of creaming the ghee and sugar so the dough doesn’t start out as pale either). I definitely need to try the creaming method, but fwiw melting and stirring (plus the 150C bake temp + time) gets you from start to finish in about 25 minutes total so it’s a great shortcut with less cleanup and (I think anyway) a pretty good texture!

    For reference my ingredients were….60g ghee, 1/2 tsp vanilla, 105g flour, 25g icing sugar, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp baking powder.

  65. Hi Rachel, thanks so much for sharing! That’s awesome! Now I know what to do if I’m short on time too! 🙂 Regards, Celia

  66. Didn’t have time to do 120C/20-25 min so I just tried a middle ground of 150C or thereabouts for about 16-17 min and they turned out great! My house is now out of ghee which…is probably a good thing since I cannot stop eating these things haha but I’ll definitely try 120C next time I make these! Thanks 🙂

  67. Hi Rachel, hope the texture of these sugee cookies as per the recipe works out to your liking, and if it’s not too much trouble, I’d love to hear from you how it turns out when you try this…happy baking!?

  68. Ooh! Finally a recipe that doesn’t call for 1:2 ghee to flour. I’ve been experimenting with Sugee cookies this year too and had some trouble getting them fully cooked without any browning – I’ll have to try your lower oven temp on my next batch. 🙂 thanks!

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