Southern Tea Cake Cookies Recipe

Classic Southern Tea Cake Cookies Recipe

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Southern Tea Cake Cookies are a delightful treat that has been enjoyed for generations. These cookies are soft, slightly sweet, and have a wonderful vanilla flavor that makes them perfect for enjoying with a cup of tea or coffee. With simple ingredients and easy-to-follow steps, these cookies are a wonderful addition to any baking repertoire. Let’s get started on making these timeless Southern favorites!


  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


  1. Preheat the Oven:
    • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
    • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  2. Mix the Dry Ingredients:
    • In a medium bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
  3. Cream the Butter and Sugar:
    • In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer or stand mixer, cream the unsalted butter and granulated sugar together until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
    • Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to ensure everything is well combined.
  4. Add the Egg and Vanilla:
    • Add the large egg and pure vanilla extract to the butter-sugar mixture. Beat until fully incorporated and smooth.
  5. Combine Wet and Dry Ingredients:
    • Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture, mixing on low speed until just combined. Be careful not to overmix the dough.
  6. Form the Cookies:
    • Using a cookie scoop or tablespoon, scoop out portions of dough and roll them into balls.
    • Place the dough balls onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 2 inches apart to allow for spreading.
  7. Bake:
    • Bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges are lightly golden but the centers are still soft.
    • Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. Serve:
    • Once cooled, serve the Southern Tea Cake Cookies with a cup of tea, coffee, or a glass of milk.

Cook Notes and Variations:

  • Lemon Tea Cakes: Add 1 tablespoon of lemon zest to the dough for a refreshing citrus twist.
  • Cinnamon Spice: Mix in 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon with the dry ingredients for a warm, spiced version of these cookies.
  • Glazed Tea Cakes: Drizzle a simple glaze made of powdered sugar and milk over the cooled cookies for an extra touch of sweetness.
  • Holiday Version: Sprinkle the tops of the cookies with colored sugar or nonpareils before baking for a festive look.

Keto Version:

  • For a keto-friendly version, use almond flour instead of all-purpose flour and replace the granulated sugar with a keto-approved sweetener like erythritol or monk fruit sweetener. Ensure the butter and vanilla extract are keto-compliant.

Low Carb Version:

  • Similar to the keto version, use almond flour or a low-carb baking mix and substitute the sugar with a low-carb sweetener. The texture will be slightly different, but the cookies will still be delicious.

Southern Tea Cake Cookies are a timeless classic that brings a taste of Southern hospitality to any occasion. Soft, buttery, and flavored with vanilla, these cookies are perfect for enjoying with friends and family. Easy to make and delightful to eat, they are sure to become a staple in your baking rotation. Enjoy the simple pleasures of these lovely cookies!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Q: Can I make the dough ahead of time?

A: Yes, you can prepare the dough in advance. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. When ready to bake, let the dough come to room temperature before forming and baking the cookies.

Q: Can I freeze the cookie dough?

A: Absolutely! Scoop the dough into balls, place them on a baking sheet, and freeze until solid. Transfer the frozen dough balls to a freezer-safe bag or container. Bake from frozen, adding a couple of minutes to the baking time.

Q: How do I store the baked cookies?

A: Store the baked cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. They can also be frozen for up to 3 months.

Q: Can I add mix-ins to the dough?

A: Yes, you can customize the cookies with mix-ins like chocolate chips, chopped nuts, or dried fruit. Fold them into the dough just before forming the cookies.

Q: What if I don’t have unsalted butter?

A: If you only have salted butter, you can use it but reduce the added salt in the recipe to a pinch.

Q: Can I double the recipe?

A: Yes, this recipe can easily be doubled to make a larger batch of cookies. Adjust the ingredient quantities accordingly and bake in batches as needed.

Enjoy your Southern Tea Cake Cookies, a delightful treat perfect for any occasion!

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