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.

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.

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?


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.


DID YOU KNOW? 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:

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.


4.49 from 25 votes
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Sugee Cookies

This recipe makes very light, crumbly, oh-so-very-buttery, melt-in-your-mouth sugee cookies. Makes approximately 200 cookies. (Adapted from 'The Best of Singapore Cooking' by Mrs Leong Yee Soo)
Celia Lim
Course: Cookies, Snack, Snacks and Treats, Tea
Cuisine: Asian, Chinese, Chinese New Year, Festive
Servings :200 cookies
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 2 hrs
Total Time: 2 hrs 19 mins


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


  • 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.
  • Pre-heat oven to 120 deg C (250 deg F). Line baking trays with greaseproof paper.
  • 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).
  • 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? Share it on Instagram!I'd love to see! Don't forget to mention @foodelicacy or tag #foodelicacy so we can drool with you!


  1. Very nice nd simple

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

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

  4. 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!?

  5. 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


  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.?

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

  10. 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!)

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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 🙂

  14. 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!?

  15. 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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