Chinese Almond Cookies

Whether you make these Chinese almond cookies to ring in the Lunar New Year or simply to enjoy as anytime treats, we know you'll find them delectable!
Chinese Almond Cookies Recipe photo by Taste of Home

After a delightful dinner at my go-to Chinese restaurant, my family always got to choose between two cookies: fortune or almond. It’s hard to resist the secret message folded into the crescent-shaped fortune cookie, but it’s impossible to resist the flavor and texture of Chinese almond cookies. The nutty, sweet cookies are a little bit crumbly, a little bit chewy and also somehow crunchy—think of a cross between a peanut butter cookie and a perfect shortbread. Like many popular Chinese food recipes, almond cookies are delicious and fun to make at home.

Are almond cookies authentic?

Chinese immigrants introduced almond cookies to the U.S. in the 19th century. The cookie is likely based on an ancient walnut cookie recipe which has been baked in China since the Ming Dynasty (dating all the way to the 16th century!). Back then, only royalty and the upper classes enjoyed walnut cookies. Today, coin-shaped almonds represent prosperity and good fortune.

Ingredients for Chinese Almond Cookies

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  • Almond extract: Almond extract imparts a subtle nutty flavor to these cookies. These are our Test Kitchen’s favorite almond extract brands.
  • Sliced almonds: You’ll press sliced almonds into the cookies before baking. This decoration symbolizes good fortune, and it adds a delicious flavor note.
  • Butter: A full cup of butter makes for meltingly tender, rich cookies. Use the best quality you can buy; these are our favorite butter brands.
  • Flour: This Chinese almond cookie recipe uses all-purpose flour, but we discuss almond flour alternatives in the Variations section below.
  • Egg: To create the chewy-yet-crunchy texture of these cookies, use a whole egg that you’ve brought to room temperature.


Step 1: Make the cookie dough

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Preheat the oven to 325°F. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, five to seven minutes. Beat in the egg and almond extract.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beating until fully incorporated.

Step 2: Shape the cookies

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Roll the dough into 1-inch balls. Arrange on ungreased baking sheets, spacing the cookies 2 inches apart. Flatten each cookie slightly with a fork. Sprinkle almonds over the cookies, gently pressing them into the dough to adhere as needed.

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In a small bowl, beat the egg white and water. Brush over the cookies. This will add color to the cookies as they bake, and keep the almonds in place.

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Step 3: Bake the cookies

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Bake until the cookie edges and bottoms are lightly browned, 14 to 16 minutes. Let cool for two minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely. Almond cookies taste delicious slightly warm or cool.

Recipe Variations

  • Replace the butter with lard: Traditional recipes for almond cookies call for lard rather than butter. Mild in flavor, lard makes cookies quite tender. Lard has a slightly higher fat content than butter, so you might want to experiment with measurements for the perfect cookie.
  • Toast the almonds: To enhance the flavor of the sliced almond garnish, toast the almonds before adhering to the cookies. Be sure to toast lightly, though, as the almonds will continue to bake along with the cookies.
  • Use almond flour: You can substitute almond flour for all-purpose flour using a 1:1 ratio, says Sarah Fischer, associate food stylist for Taste of Home. You could do a half conversion or a full conversion. Just keep in mind you may need an extra binding agent like an egg or xanthan gum if you opt to fully swap the flour.

How to Store Chinese Almond Cookies

Almond cookies should be kept at room temperature in a cool, dry place. Wait for them to cool completely, then transfer to an airtight container or resealable plastic bag. They will keep for up to a week. Here are our best tips for keeping cookies fresh.

How to Freeze Chinese Almond Cookies

If you don’t plan to eat these cookies within a few days, they will keep very well in the freezer. Allow them to cool completely, then seal them in an airtight freezer bag. They will keep for up to six months. Let cookies thaw briefly on the counter, or gently heat in the microwave to enjoy immediately.

Chinese Almond Cookies Tips

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When should I serve Chinese almond cookies?

You can serve Chinese almond cookies for any snack or dessert, and they’d be a nice addition to a Chinese New Year menu.

Can I make Chinese almond cookies gluten-free?

To make gluten-free cookies with something other than almond flour, you could use a gluten-free flour mix. Don’t forget to add a binding agent, such as 1/2 teaspoon xanthan or guar gum, for the cookies to hold their shape.

Chinese Almond Cookies

Each Christmas, my mother baked these Chinese almond cookies and stored them in clean coffee cans. When she passed away, I started giving our kids a can of these sentimental sweets. (Traditional Chinese almond cookies typically use lard, but butter is a great substitute if you don't have lard on hand.) —Jane Garing, Talladega, Alabama
Chinese Almond Cookies Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time

Prep: 20 min. Bake: 15 min./batch


5 dozen


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1/2 teaspoon water


  1. Preheat oven to 325°. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 5-7 minutes. Beat in egg and extract. Combine flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture.
  2. Roll into 1-in. balls. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Flatten slightly with a fork. Sprinkle with almonds, pressing to adhere as needed. In a small bowl, beat egg white and water. Brush over cookies.
  3. Bake until edges and bottoms are lightly browned, 14-16 minutes. Cool for 2 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.

Nutrition Facts

1 cookie: 67 calories, 3g fat (2g saturated fat), 11mg cholesterol, 67mg sodium, 8g carbohydrate (3g sugars, 0 fiber), 1g protein.