Southern Tea Cake Cookies


There’s nothing quite like the sweet flavors and warm memories that a simple Southern cookie can conjure up. One bite of these tender, buttery tea cake cookies, and I’m instantly transported back to my grandma’s cozy kitchen on a hot summer day. The mouthwatering aroma of nutmeg and vanilla wafting through her little house, a perspiring glass of sweet tea sweating on the counter, and a fresh batch of these soft, cakey tea cakes emerging from her well-seasoned oven.

Baking was grandma’s truest love language, and these classic Southern tea cake cookies were her undisputed magnum opus. Straightforward yet sublime, they struck that perfect balance between a rich, buttery cookie and delicate, pillowy tea cake. Warmly spiced with nutmeg and kissed with vanilla, they tasted like pure, edible nostalgia. Like a little baked hug of Southern comfort and hospitality in every bite.

Why These Southern Tea Cookies Are My Family’s Favorite

  • They’re a heavenly hybrid of tender, cakey cookie and melt-in-your-mouth tea cake
  • That signature blend of nutmeg and vanilla is pure old-fashioned Southern flavor
  • Such a fuss-free recipe using basic pantry staples like flour, butter, sugar and eggs
  • You can make the dough in advance for warm, fresh-baked cookies any time the craving strikes
  • The batch makes the ideal amount for sharing with loved ones (or selfishly keeping all to yourself!)

These classic little tea cakes require just a handful of basic baking ingredients – your standard flour, butter, sugar, egg situation with a sprinkle of spice. But oh, what those simple staples become when creamed together and baked into cookie form! Little pillowy clouds of buttery vanilla bliss with gently crisp edges and that tender, cakey crumb grandma’s were famous for.

It’s the nutmeg that really makes these signature Southern cookies stand out from all the rest. That rich, earthy essence instantly invokes sweet memories of old-fashioned home baking from an easier, simpler time. Of hot summer days spent in grandma’s kitchen, chatting over a batch of dough and catching up on all the latest family news.

While grandma would argue these plush little tea cakes are appropriate for munching all day long, they’re an especially perfect afternoon treat. Paired with an ice cold glass of sweet tea or fresh-squeezed lemonade, they’re downright addictive. I’ve polished off more than my fair share during those languid summer days.

How to Bake a Batch of Southern Nostalgia

  • Cream together butter and sugar until pale and fluffy
  • Beat in an egg and a generous glug of pure vanilla extract
  • Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients including nutmeg until a soft dough forms
  • Chill that dough for 30 minutes, then scoop into balls
  • Bake at 325°F for 10 minutes until just lightly golden around the edges

These humble yet completely irresistible Southern tea cake cookies are like little edible time capsules, harkening back to an easier era when time seemed to move just a hair more slowly. When simple home baking was an unhurried act of love, not just sustenance.

They may seem unassuming in appearance, but these nostalgic, nutmeg-spiced tea cakes pack a serious punch of Southern flavor in each buttery, delicate crumb. They never last long in our house – I usually whip up an extra batch or two to keep stashed in the freezer. That way I always have grandma’s signature tea cakes on hand anytime those sentimental cravings strike for a little taste of genuine down-home comfort.

Southern Tea Cake Cookies

There’s nothing quite like the sweet flavors and warm memories that a simple Southern cookie can conjure up.
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 12 Cookies



  • In a bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda and nutmeg until combined.
  • In a larger bowl, beat the softened butter and sugar with a hand mixer for 4-5 minutes until light and fluffy.
  • Beat in the egg and vanilla until fully incorporated.
  • Gradually mix in the dry ingredients until a soft dough forms.
  • Cover and chill dough for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 325°F and line a baking sheet with parchment.
  • Scoop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls and roll into balls. Space 1-2 inches apart on baking sheet.
  • Gently flatten each dough ball with the bottom of a glass or measuring cup.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes until just lightly golden around the edges.
  • Allow to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

1 Comment

  1. Lana Brooks

    5 stars
    Love your recipes.

Comments are now closed.
5 from 1 vote