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Matcha Checkerboard Shortbread Cookies

Rich, crumbly, and not too sweet matcha checkerboard shortbread cookies. Super easy to make and you can use up your matcha making cookies to share with friends.

Do you love shortbread cookies? And do you love matcha? If you said yes to both, then you are going to love this matcha checkerboard shortbread cookies.

These cookies are so crumbly, and so melt-in-your-mouth. They are not too sweet, which can be dangerous since they disappear so quickly before I even realize I have eaten half a dozen cookies before I stop myself. :D

Matcha Checkerboard Shortbread Cookies.
Matcha Checkerboard Shortbread Cookies.

Good Matcha is a Must

If you have been flummoxed trying to get that elusive bright green color in your matcha, then you are not alone. I am by nature (or is it by nurture?) a very frugal person.

The first couple of times when I shopped for matcha, I used to choose the cheap kind, and they always ended up looking brownish and the tea I made with them felt slightly gritty.

Well, lesson learned. Now I know better to look for good quality matcha so I don’t end up disappointed.

You can try this culinary grade matcha from Maeda-en if you are still looking. Or if you are a Costco member, I recently bought a huge 12 oz packet of Ito En Matcha for less than $30, super great quality at an unbelievable price.

Matcha Checkerboard Shortbread Cookies.
Matcha Checkerboard Shortbread Cookies.

Not Too Sweet Cookies

Once you have read enough Japanese recipes, you get this concept of not-too-sweet dessert/snack/sweet/cake/e.t.c.

I don’t grow up in Japan, but my Mom is an expert in making not-too-sweet dessert, so much so that I now end up having to cook/bake all sort of sweets at home since store-bought ones feel too sweet for me.

But, if you have a more normal palette, this cookie can be on the not-sweet side. In that case, feel free to increase the sugar to suit your preference. I would suggest adding 50% first, and if even that is not enough, go ahead and double the sugar.

Matcha Checkerboard Shortbread Cookies.
Matcha Checkerboard Shortbread Cookies.

Do Watch Your Oven

In the recipe, I states that the cookies need about 15 minutes of baking time. Know that oven can varies, and yours might need slightly less or slightly longer. But regardless, do start to watch out at around 12 minutes mark.

For this particular batch, it took about 18 minutes, but I think the edges are a bit too brown. ;) I looked at the cookies at 12 minutes, decided they need more time, and added 5 minutes.

Haha, shouldn’t have done that, should have added just 3 more minutes like I usually did. But, there will be plenty more batches since these quickly disappear into thin air around here.

Matcha Checkerboard Shortbread Cookies.
Matcha Checkerboard Shortbread Cookies.

Matcha Checkerboard Shortbread Cookies

4.8 from 17 reviews

Author: Anita Jacobson




Prep Time: 30 mins

Cook Time: 15 mins

Total Time: 45 mins

Serves: 48 cookies

Print Recipe


  • 140 gram (5 oz/1.25 stick/10 tablespoon) unsalted butter, softened
  • 30 gram powdered sugar (1 oz/0.25 cup ) (*)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 240 gram (8.5 oz/2 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon matcha


  1. Beat butter until light and fluffy. Add sugar, egg yolks, vanilla, beat again until creamy.
  2. Whisk together all-purpose flour and salt, then slowly add to the butter mixture until the dough becomes lumpy. Now use hands to knead into a smooth dough.
  3. Divide the dough into 2 portions. Add the 1 tablespoon of matcha to only one of the cookie dough, and knead until the color is uniformly green.
  4. Divide the regular dough into 2 portions, and the matcha dough into 2 portions. With the help of saran wrap/parchment paper, shape each into a 12-inch long cylinder. Stack the four cylinders together to create the checkerboard pattern, gently pat so the 4 cylinders stick together.
  5. Wrap the shaped dough with saran, and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours (I usually just leave them overnight).
  6. Preheat oven to 180 Celsius/360 Fahrenheit, and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  7. Remove cookie dough from the fridge. With a very sharp knife, slice the dough into 48 equal slices (each about 0.3cm or 1/8-inch). Arrange on the lined baking sheets.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes, or just until the edges are slightly browned.
  9. Remove from oven and cool for at least 10 minutes. Serve and store any leftovers in an air-tight container.


  • (*) This amount of sugar produce shortbread with only a hint of sweetness, which I really like. If you prefer sweeter cookies, you can easily increase the sugar amount by 50%.
Indonesian Pantry
Indonesian Kitchen


  • Lisa Lisa says:

    Omg, these cookies were soooo cute. And I love matcha so they were totally a delicious treat.

  • Tristin Rieken Tristin Rieken says:

    Shortbread cookies are my favorite and this cute checkerboard and matcha recipe is perfect! Thanks for sharing!!

  • Alexandra @ It's Not Complicated Recipes Alexandra @ It's Not Complicated Recipes says:

    This is such a clever idea! I love the look - the matcha is such a nice effect :) Can't wait to try!

  • Chantal Chantal says:

    Matcha shortbreads are my favorite and I love the checkerboard effect

  • Sara Sara says:

    What a tasty combo for a cookie! They look good but I know they will taste even better!

  • Milky Milky says:

    These are a very attractive, low sugar treat!
    You're very right that the cheaper green tea doesn't give the color or flavor QUITE like a higher grade, but I couldn't resist making this with the packet I have on-hand: it'll do, you know?
    I think next time I make these, I'll stack the dough again and make it an 4x4 instead of just a 2x2 because it was already super easy, so... why not make it more fancy and complicated hahahahaha
    OH! I almost forgot the most important part: since it called for 2 yolks, I had 2 egg whites to work with. Since I was already in the mood for the sweets, I whipped up a batch of meringue cookies based from an ancient Betty Crocker recipe:
    2 egg whites
    1/4 tsp cream of tartar
    1/2 c sugar
    (optional, dash of flavor extact, drop of food color)
    Using electric hand mixer, beat egg whites and tartar until frothy, then slowly add sugar and keep beating until peaks retain shape. Squeeze small 1" shapes out of a pastry bag, or cut the corner of a ziplock, or even just dollop onto a parchment covered baking sheet. Bake 200F for 45min, or longer if they're bigger cookies.
    And the best part was sprinkling the tops with a bit of green tea powder so they matched their little shortbread friends! Meringues are sweet like candy, so it was definitely a dessert of contrasts hahahah

    • Anita Anita says:

      Oh, what a superb idea turning the leftover egg whites into meringues. And not just any meringue, but ones sprinkled with even more matcha! I think I'll do that the next time I make these checkerboard cookies. :)

  • Sapana Sapana says:

    I was so happy to see I already had everything I needed ot make these delicious cookies - thank you!

  • Megan Ellam Megan Ellam says:

    These look so great. I am a bit of a matcha fan so I will have to give these a try.

  • safira safira says:

    These are the cutest. Cannot wait to make them soon. Love Matcha!

  • Heidy L. McCallum Heidy L. McCallum says:

    These Checkboard Matcha Cookies sound amazing. Loved reading all the reviews and now want to make these. I need a few things from the market today so this is going to happen!

  • Biviana Biviana says:

    The matcha dough was too crumbly to be shaped ☹️ I added 2x the amt of sugar any tips?

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hi Biviana, the biggest culprit usually is too much flour, especially if you don't use a scale but use cup/volume measurement. It is very easy to end up with too much flour, and even as much as 50% more flour, which will make the dough very crumbly.

      If you follow the recipe as is (not increasing the sugar by two times) and measure the flour with a scale, and still end up with a crumbly dough, you can add a little more softened butter, or a few drops of water, until you can get the dough to come together at all. Try rolling between 2 sheets of waxed paper or parchment, wrapping that in plastic wrap, and then chilling it for few hours before cutting.

  • Subadra Subadra says:

    I love this recipe so much~ It was a hit with everyone and they look so cute! I subbed the 1 tbsp of matcha with cocoa powder and it turned out great. Also tried with 1 tbsp of ground black sesame seeds and it was also great!

  • Heather Johnson Heather Johnson says:

    thanks for the tip on the quality macha - i'm new to it - so it's helpful and these cookies are tasty but not too sweet - which i liked!

  • Jacqueline Meldrum Jacqueline Meldrum says:

    Those look so neat and perfect. I bet they don't look nearly as food when I make them. Looking forward to them.

  • Shanika Shanika says:

    I love how unique these cookies are! Adding matcha to anything is always a great idea!

  • Tara Tara says:

    Such beautiful cookies! I love that checkerboard pattern and color from the matcha. So perfect for pairing with tea.

  • MJ MJ says:

    These cookies turned out so adorable and yummy! I might make them again for Easter and/or Mother's Day. They're so cute!

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