Daily Cooking Quest

Matcha Checkerboard Shortbread Cookies

Rich, crumbly, and not too sweet matcha checkerboard shorbread 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. They are so crumbly, and so melt-in-your-mouth. The cookies 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.

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.

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.

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

5.0 from 6 reviews

Author: Anita Jacobson




Prep Time: 30 mins

Cook Time: 15 mins

Total Time: 45 mins

Serves: 48 cookies


  • 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%.


  • Lisa says:

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

  • 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 says:

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

  • Chantal says:

    Matcha shortbreads are my favorite and I love the checkerboard effect

  • Sara says:

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

  • 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 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. :)

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