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Retro Southern Recipes – Tea Cakes (Cookies)

Retro Southern Recipes – Tea Cakes (Cookies)

My Southern heritage is a huge part of me but it isn’t one that I celebrate often in my everyday life. I know that I’ve changed from my childhood but I want to reconnect with my heritage. So many of my memories are rooted in food. Growing up, I spent tons of time with my Granny and Grandaddy and at church. What better way to celebrate them than visit the food that I remember enjoying with them. With everything from cookies to pies to soups, it was all delicious and very, very Southern.

My Granny's Favorite Cookbook

The church I grew up attending was the same church that my mom and her siblings attended, Philadelphia United Methodist Church in Guin, Alabama. In the 1980s, they published a church community cookbook. Many of the recipes are ones that I’ve eaten over the years at church potlucks and dinners. Many were submitted by members of my extended family or close family friends. Together, we will take a trip down memory lane to experience these great retro Southern recipes!

Today’s recipe is for Tea Cakes. They were my Grandaddy’s favorite cookie. The recipe in the cookbook was submitted by their neighbor Inez Brown. I spent many childhood afternoons in her sunny kitchen with my grandparents. We stopped their on the way home from school to enjoy coffee and a chat. More often than not, we enjoyed Little Debbie snack cakes or Beebo cinnamon rolls but occasionally she would have tea cakes fresh from the oven.

Tea cakes are very similar to a sugar cookie. They are quick and easy to make and use ingredients you have in your pantry at any given time. Vary your baking time to give either a crisp cookie or a chewy cookie. As the name says, they go wonderfully with a cup of hot tea.

Retro Southern Recipes Tea Cakes

Tea Cakes

Retro Southern Recipes - Tea Cakes

Yield: 24 cookies
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 6 minutes
Total Time: 16 minutes

A simple and delicious cookie popular in the South. 


  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Cream butter and sugar together. Add egg and vanilla and mix well.
  3. Mix flour, soda and salt in a small bowl. Add to butter mixture and mix well.
  4. Turn out on a lightly floured surface and roll to a 1/4 thick. Cut with a cookie cutter.
  5. Bake 5-7 minutes until puffed and just starting to brown around the edges. (Bake less for chewy and more for crispy.)
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 24
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 102Saturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 16mgSodium: 111mgCarbohydrates: 15gSugar: 8gProtein: 1g


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Saturday 25th of March 2017

I love this recipe! The tea cakes were delicious and easy to make. My family and friends thought that I purchased them because it was my first time making them and they were so good! My husband want me to make them every other day!


Saturday 25th of March 2017

I made these for my first time making tea cakes and they were delicious! My family and friends thought I purchased them! The recipe was easy to follow and quick to prepare!

Merry Kuchle

Saturday 25th of March 2017

So glad you enjoyed them!

Becky Bryan

Wednesday 11th of November 2015

My great-grandmother kept a drawer in her kitchen lined with a tea towel.It was always full of teacakes. All the neighborhood 'children',who were my grandmother's age , said they remembered enjoying them as much as I did . as much as I did.

Jenna Em

Saturday 10th of October 2015

This recipe reminds me of shortbread cookies! Do they taste anything like them? I have memories of my grandma always dunking a sweat treat into her tea.

Merry Kuchle

Saturday 10th of October 2015

They aren't crumbly like shortbread. Chewy like sugar cookies but a bit more so. They are hard to explain.


Friday 9th of October 2015

These tea cakes sound like a great recipe to make with kids! I like that I have all the ingredients in my home! I'll have to try making these soon!

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