Soft and chewy on the inside, crisp and sugary on the outside, these vegan chai sugar cookies are about to become your go-to holiday dessert! They're easily made in one bowl and are perfect treat for a cozy night in or to bring to your next gathering.
As we all know, everything Taylor Swift does is iconic. So I was so excited to hear she makes chai cookies for all her listening parties! You can now feel like you're hanging out with her with this vegan version.
They're warm, cozy, chewy, and everything that is good in this world. They're just like a classic sugar cookie but with more (and only) brown sugar and a blend of yummy spices to create that signature chai flavor.
These cookies are vegan, dairy-free, eggless, made in one bowl, are fall-inspired, and can easily be made gluten-free.
Why you'll love this recipe
- They're quick and easy to make! You only need 8 ingredients (plus a blend of spices), one bowl and 10 minutes to prep!
- These chai-spiced cookies make the perfect treat during the fall and winter months! They're great year round, but the warming flavors are especially great when it's cold outside.
- The dough is freezer-friendly, making it easy to either prep ahead of time or make a small batch whenever a craving hits!
- They're vegan, eggless and can easily be made gluten-free.
The equipment you'll need to make these chewy vegan peanut butter chocolate chip cookies is very basic:
- Baking sheet / Cookie sheet
- Parchment paper: to ensure the cookies don't get stuck to the baking sheet
- Electric hand mixer: to easily beat together the vegan butter and sugars!
- Rubber spatula: switch over to this when mixing the dry and wet ingredients together to avoid overmixing.
- Kitchen scale: for the most accurate measurements of all ingredients
- Measuring cups & spoons: if you don't want to use/don't have a scale. Be sure to use the spoon & level method for the flour.
- Vegan Butter: I recommend using vegan stick butters like Earth Balance or Melt. I feel like they add the best flavor and texture. Tub butters will work but they do have more oil in them so I would suggest adding an additional 1-2 tablespoons of flour to counteract that, should you choose to use them.
- Brown Sugar: we'll be using a mixture of dark brown and light brown sugar for this recipe. Using only brown sugars is the key to the soft and chewy texture of cookies! Brown sugars contain more moisture than white sugar because of the molasses, so these will be perfectly gooey.
- Spices: a TON of 'em. A combination of cinnamon, cardamom, ground ginger, ground allspice, ground cloves, nutmeg, and salt will give us a homemade chai spice blend!
- Flax Egg: to help bind all of the ingredients together. If you don't want to use a flax egg, here are some other vegan egg substitute options. A replacement egg powder would work well too.
- Vanilla Extract: a MUST in any baked good, I don't even know why I bother listing it!
- Flour: all-purpose flour works great and acts as our base for the cookies. If you're gluten-free, I'd recommend using 1-to-1 gluten free flour and not anything different to ensure the other ingredient quantities don't need to be messed with.
- Leavening Agents: we're using both baking soda and baking powder to help these bad boys rise.
Variations & Substitutions
I love this recipe as is but here a few variations & substitutions you can try that would be just as delicious:
- Make these chai cookies gluten-free by subbing out the all purpose flour for gluten-free flour at a 1:1 ratio.
- Feel free to replace one of the brown sugars with regular white sugar. However, the cookies won't be as soft. You could also just one brown sugar or the other entirely, rather than using both.
- Coconut sugar can be used in place of brown sugar but your cookies may be a bit more dry.
- Instead of vegan butter, you can use softened coconut oil! I suggest using refined coconut oil, as unrefined coconut oil will change the final flavor of the cookies.
- Turn these into dirty chai cookie by adding a teaspoon of espresso powder to the batter.
- Spice options! I know not all of these spices are pantry staples (and can be quite expensive). Replace all of the spices with ½ tablespoon of a chai tea bag or a pre-made chai spice mix. Or, if you do not have all of the chai spices, just use the spices you do have!
Start by prepping your flax egg and letting it set for at least 5 minutes, until thickened.
Step 1: Add room temperature butter, dark brown sugar, light brown sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, ground ginger, ground all-spice, ground cloves, and nutmeg to a bowl.
Step 2: Cream together using a hand-held mixer or kitchen-stand mixer until combined and fluffy.
Step 3: Add the flax egg and vanilla to the bowl and whip together until combined.
Step 4: Add in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to the bowl. Mix until just combined and the cookie dough has formed. Chill for 1 hour.
Step 5: Using a cookie scoop or your hands, scoop out and roll 12 evenly sized cookies, placing on the baking sheet about 2 inches apart.
Step 6: Sprinkle the cookies with white granulated sugar, then bake for 10-12 minutes, until the bottoms and edges are lightly browned but the centers are still soft.
After removing the oven, drop the baking sheet onto the counter to deflate them and get that crinkle effect. Let cool for 5-10 minutes then serve and enjoy!
You can enjoy these chai sugar cookies as is throughout the holiday season, dunked in a glass of your favorite plant-based milk. Or, you can totally get away with eating one (or a few) for breakfast alongside a cup of coffee or tea. They also make the perfect treat for holiday parties, in a holiday cookie box, school festivities, and gifting to friends and family.
- Break out your kitchen scale. Correctly measured ingredients are essential in baking for the most accurate results!
- To get crinkle cookies, drop the baking sheet onto the counter to help the cookies deflate a bit.
- Do not skip the chilling your dough!! Because these cookies use only brown sugar, the dough has more moisture than regular cookies. This is key to prevent your cookies from overspreading. If you don't chill the dough for at least 1 hour, they will be a thin, brittle mess.
- Do not flatten the cookies before baking. Again, because the dough has a bit more moisture, they will flatten and spread out on their own. Flattening them will only make them super thin and dry.
- Use a cookie scoop! They ensure an even bake since all the cookie dough balls will be the same size, are mess-free, and make scooping quick and easy.
- Make sure your baking soda is fresh! Baking soda is only good for 30 days after it has been opened. Wild, I know. So make sure you have a fresh/active baking soda to get the optimal flavor and texture of these cookies.
- You will need to use at least 2 baking sheets as all of the cookies will not fit on one baking sheet. Bake one tray at a time rather than putting both trays in the oven at the same time. This will allow for even heating.
Refrigerator: The unbaked cookie dough can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Then, roll into balls and bake as directed!
Freezer: These chai-spiced sugar cookies are freezer friendly. Allow the baked cookies to cool completely first then transfer to freezer safe bag or container and freeze for up to 3 months. Allow them to thaw at room temperature before enjoying. You can also freeze unbaked cookie dough for quick and easy cookie baking in the future. Follow recipe direction steps 1-4 as is. Once chilled, form the balls of cookie dough then place each cookie dough ball on a lined baking sheet. Flash freeze for 2-4 hours, or until the cookie dough balls are frozen solid. Transfer the dough balls to a freezer friendly ziploc bag or container and freeze for up to 3 months! When ready to bake, remove the cookie dough balls from the freezer and pick back up with recipe step 7. Bake for 1-2 minutes longer than directed, or until puffy and golden on the edges.
Room temperature: Baked chai sugar cookies will store best in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. Do not store the raw cookie dough at room temperature, ever!
There are a few reasons this could have happened:
1. Not measuring flour properly! I highly recommend using a kitchen scale, as this will help you achieve the most accurate results. Too much flour leads to the cookies not spreading, whereas too little flour will cause them to spread too much.
2. Baking soda that is old or inactive would cause your cookies to not spread.
3. Not chilling the dough! This dough needs to chill for at least 1 hour before baking.
Of course! These cookies are rolled in cinnamon sugar but if you prefer icing feel free to make some. This would really make them similar to Taylor Swifts Chai Cookies! Simply whisk together ½ cup of powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons of plant-based milk or egg nog. Be sure to allow the cookies to fully cool before adding the icing, otherwise it'll be a mess!
Other cookie recipes you might like
Vegan Chai Sugar Cookies
- 1 cup (113 g) vegan stick of butter softened to room temperature
- ½ cup (100 g) dark brown sugar packed
- ½ cup (100 g) light brown sugar packed
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon cardamom
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground all-spice
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 flax eggs 2 tablespoons flax seed meal + 6 tablespoons water
- ½ tablespoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- 2 ¼ cups (270 g) all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- Start by prepping your replacement egg by mixing together flax seed meal or replacement egg powder and water, and letting it set for at least 5 minutes, until thickened.2 flax eggs
- Add room temperature butter, dark brown sugar, light brown sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, ground ginger, ground all-spice, ground cloves, and nutmeg to a bowl. Cream together using a hand-held mixer or kitchen-stand mixer until combined and fluffy.1 cup vegan stick of butter, ½ cup dark brown sugar, ½ cup light brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon cardamom, ½ teaspoon ground ginger, ½ teaspoon ground all-spice, ¼ teaspoon ground cloves, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- Add the flax egg and extracts to the bowl and whisk together until combined.2 flax eggs, ½ tablespoon vanilla extract, ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- Add in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to the bowl. Mix with a rubber spatula until just combined and the cookie dough has formed. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour.2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, ½ teaspoon baking powder, ½ teaspoon baking soda, ½ teaspoon salt
- About 10-15 minutes before removing the dough from the fridge, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Using a cookie scoop or your hands, scoop out and roll 12 evenly sized cookies, placing on the baking sheet, 2 inches apart.
- Sprinkle the cookies with white granulated sugar, then bake for 10-12 minutes, until the bottoms and edges are lightly browned but the centers are still soft.
- After removing the oven, drop the baking sheet onto the counter to deflate them and get that crinkle effect. Let cool for 5-10 minutes, then serve and enjoy!