Hawaiian Tea Cookies

We were invited to our neighbor’s luau themed BBQ.   She asked us to bring our favorite appetizer.  I instantly thought of cookies.  That’s an appetizer, right?

The first cookie that came to mind to match the luau theme were these Hawaiian tea cookies.  I had never heard of these cookies until my husband told me about them a few years ago.  They are his favorite cookie.

These cookies are like sugar cookies filled with shredded coconut.  That’s what makes them Hawaiian I figure.  All I know is if you love buttery cookies and coconut then you’ll fall in love with these cookies.

03Hawaiian Tea Cookies

Hawaiian Tea Cookies Recipe
(Makes about 32 cookies)
Note: Requires time to chill the dough overnight.


  • 1 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup (equivalent to 1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • colored sugar


  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda. Set the dry ingredients aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy.  Make sure the butter is softened not melted or this is nearly impossible.
  3. Beat in the egg, lemon juice and vanilla extract.
  4. Add the dry ingredients and coconut and stir until combined.
  5. Shape the cookie dough into 2 rolls.  Each roll should be about 1 and 1/2 inches to 2 inches  in diameter.
  6. Sprinkle each roll with colored sugar.
  7. Wrap each roll tightly in wax paper and chill it overnight.
  8. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  9. Line a baking sheet with a silicon mat or parchment paper.
  10. Slice 1/4 inch thick cookies off each roll and place them on the baking sheet.  I fit 8 cookies per baking sheet.
  11. Bake them for 9 to 11 minutes.
  12. Once you remove them from the oven, place them on rack to cool.

Store them in an air tight container at room temperature or in a freezer friendly bag in the freezer.


Whisk together the dry ingredients and set them aside.

Cream the butter and sugar.  Make sure the butter is soft, but not melted.  If the butter is melted then you won’t be able to roll the dough.  Seriously, don’t overshoot on this.  Liquid butter will all but destroy your chances of getting fluffy creamed butter.  If you don’t have the time to leave the butter sitting on the counter for a bit, be super careful microwaving it in short increments.  Then beat in the egg, lemon juice and vanilla extract.

Add the dry ingredients and coconut into the wet ingredients and stir until combined.  The cookie dough will be sticky and a tad soft, but it should be firm enough in order to shape the cookie dough into two rolls.

01Hawaiian Tea Cookies

I love to bake these cookies at Christmas time.  I’d sprinkle one cookie roll with red colored sugar on the other roll with green colored sugar.  So festive!  Today I decided to coat all of the cookies using a green colored sugar.  (Okay, so I only had green available without a trip to the store so the choice was pretty easy.)  You can use whatever color you like.  Actually, the colored sugar is optional, but I highly recommend using it because it adds a nice sugary-crunchy texture.  Plus it makes them look pretty and could be another reason they are called Hawaiian.     🙂

02Hawaiian Tea Cookies

Wrap each roll tightly in wax paper and chill it overnight.  It’s not important that you seal the ends of the rolls if you only plan to leave them one night in the fridge.  I know that this requirement is annoying because it means that you have to plan ahead of time to make these, but it’s worth it.  Just think about it this way, when you wake up and look in the fridge you’ll be happy to see that all the work is done and all you have to do is slice the cookies and bake them, just like if you bought pre-made dough from the store.

15Hawaiian Tea Cookies

These sweet cookies are chewy on the inside and crunchy on the outside.  They are like sugar cookies, but full of tropical coconut flavor.  Look out coconut lovers!  These cookies are calling your name.  You can see the shredded coconut pieces busting out.  Yummy.     🙂

05Hawaiian Tea Cookies

These are the perfect cookie for the holidays or a luau.  But let’s be real, cookies are perfect for any occasion at any time of the day.



I prefer chocolate desserts so I’m hard to impress when it comes to sugar cookies, which is the primary reason why I didn’t rate these cookies higher.  I asked my husband how he would rate these cookies and he said he’d give it 38 chef hats.  Yes, that’s still out of a 5 hat scale.  Lol.  That’s how much he loves these cookies.     🙂

My hubby’s rating:


Adapted from: Cooks.com 


If you love coconut then you’ll love these Coconut Fudge Bars.





  1. Love the pretty green sprinkles!! Such awesome looking cookies!

    1. Tina says:

      Thank you so much!

  2. These would be awesome on St. Patrick’s Day! So green, pretty and festive, YUM! 🙂

    1. Tina says:

      Absolutely! I love that idea. 🙂

  3. These cookies look irresistible! Love the colored sugar on the outside. I bet I’d give them 38 hats too 🙂

    1. Tina says:

      LOL! Thanks Laura! I’ll make sure to let my husband know that because he’d get a kick out of it. 🙂

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