Sugee Cookies

It just would not be Chinese New Year without sugee cookies. These pale yellow discs have a lot going for them: They’re sweet and salty (a killer dessert combination). They’re rich and buttery. They’re both melt-in-your-mouth and crunchy. And best of all, they’re one of the easiest cookies to make ever.

Sugee Biscuits

I wouldn’t dream of celebrating Chinese New Year without a huge batch of homemade sugee cookies for visitors and to give away to friends.

The rich flavour of sugee biscuits is thanks to clarified butter, or ghee, as it is known in Asia. Ghee is sold in supermarkets in tins, but you can just as easily clarify butter on your own. (I might do a Basics post on clarifying butter in future.)


Clarifying butter removes water and milk solids, leaving you with a fat that has a higher smoking point and a much more intense flavour than butter. If you cannot find ghee or don’t have the time to clarify butter, just use the same amount of butter in this recipe instead. You’ll get a pretty decent result, but the butter flavour in the cookies will not be as strong as if you had used ghee.

The other main part of a sugee cookie is sugee a.k.a. semolina. Semolina flour is often much coarser than regular wheat flour, hence why these cookies have a nice crunch to them.



200g ghee
150g icing sugar
1/2 tsp salt
150g semolina flour
200g all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda

Makes 40 large (2-tsp size) biscuits or 80 (1-tsp size) small ones.


Step 1: Preheat your oven to 175°C (350°F). Line a sheet pan (or two) with baking paper.

Step 2: In a mixer or in a large bowl by hand, mix all the ingredients until it forms a creamy, soft dough.

Step 3: Roll teaspoon-portions of the dough into balls and place them on the sheet pan about 2 inches apart. I like to use my disher because it’s just a cleaner and faster way to portion out the dough.

Using my disher

However, my disher’s capacity is two teaspoons, so my biscuits are pretty large. Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until the tops begin to crack.


Since ghee has a longer shelf-life than butter, these cookies will last you a good couple of weeks. (That is, if no one gets to them first!)

19 thoughts on “Sugee Cookies”

  • Hi Vivian, there are a few possible reasons for this. First, did you use butter or ghee? Butter melts more easily than ghee, so your cookies will spread out faster in the oven. The other thing is whether it was a warm day when you baked the cookies. Your dough might have been too soft because of the warm weather and so they spread out much more quickly when baked and come out flatter. To have a puffier cookie, try using ghee, then after you’ve shaped the dough balls in your tray, refrigerate them for at at least 30 minutes before putting directly into your preheated oven to bake. They should retain their ball shape better. Good luck!

  • This is great! Thank you so much for the recipe! Everytime I visit Singapore, sugee cookies are the first thing to buy. I tried this recipe this morning, with 1 Tbsp ground almond, and had the baking soda omitted. It turned out so good! My toddler son loves it. He’s the biggest fan of what he called “Singaporean cookie”… XD

  • Hi Hui Ru, sorry that the cookies didn’t turn out as you expected. Semolina is meant to be coarse, so the cookies should be grainy. At the same time, because of the high fat content, the cookie should just fall apart in your mouth.
    As for the wet sand texture of the dough, could it be that your kitchen is too hot? If you used butter instead of ghee, then the butter may have softened too much in the heat. (I wrote a post on butter some time back: If that happens, you can refrigerate the dough for an hour or so so that it will harden and be easier to shape. If it’s still too soft, then you can always add more flour. Otherwise, sorry, I don’t know how else to diagnose what went wrong just from what you’ve written. Try emailing me pictures at
    It seems to me that you also prefer butter cookies, which I have a recipe for as well:
    As for healthy, cookies aren’t exactly health food. I suppose you can make the argument that the sugar and fat give you energy? If not you can always try a recipe like my peanut butter oatmeal cookies ( so you can say the peanut butter provides protein and oatmeal has fibre for good digestion.
    Sorry for the long reply! Hope everything works out.

  • hi
    i have manage to find the semolina flour after such a long time but it didn’t went out well,before baking my cookies feels like wet sand and i couldn’t make a shape
    after baking it taste grainy
    it was a total disaster
    i have tried doing the cookies with plain flour and it turn out nicely
    what did i did wrong to make the cookies taste horrible?
    and may i know why are sugee cookies healthy ?cuz i nid to do a presentation after my cooking test

  • @Hui Ru, I don’t always sift my flour because I sometimes feel lazy, but if it’s for a test, I think you should. Sifting aerates the flour and makes it easier to mix in so you won’t over-mix. And the whole point of sugee cookies is the semolina; otherwise, it’s just a plain sweet cookie. The semolina also gives it a nice crunchy texture, so do try to find it if you can.

  • Hi Hui Ru, I think halving the recipe will give you enough cookies for your test. And try mixing in the colouring with the ghee, sugar and salt first so that when you add the dry ingredients, the colour mixed in more evenly. However, bear in mind the flours will lighten the colour, so make the colouring slightly more intense at first. Good luck!

  • hi i nid to bake these for my home econ test for school and i dun nid to bake up to so much cookies so i was wondering how do i lessen the amount of ingredients so it would do to around 15 large cookies ??? and if i wan to put food coloring inside wen should i put the coloring wen i am making the cookie ?

  • Hi Michelle,
    My disher is a 35mm one that holds 1 tablespoon or 0.5 oz. I got mine from a restaurant supply store, but I think you should be able to find it in the kitchen section of any large department store. If not, there’s always Amazon:
    Good luck!

  • Hi love your recipes and plan to do this for CNY. I have been looking all over for the cookie scoop/disher. Where did you get yours? I know there are different sizes to them right

  • These cookies won’t spread as much as conventional drop cookies which use butter. But they will puff up slightly if that’s what you mean by expand.

  • Made these last weekend and they were just so nyummy! Quick and easy recipe. Loved them!

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