If you’re used to the mediocre, sometimes stale fortune cookies that come out of a crinkly package, prepare to be blown away. Here you can expect a crunchy treat with a sweet flavor accented by the addition of strong tea. Fortune cookies came to the United States via Japanese immigrants who settled around San Francisco and Los Angeles and then served them in chop suey houses, according to Jennifer 8. Lee, author of “The Fortune Cookie Chronicles.” During and after World War II, Lee says Chinese restaurant owners and manufacturers helped popularize the cookies and Americans came to expect them in their local Chinese restaurants across the country.

Making the cookies requires a bit of practice and quick fingers, but it’s a fun project. Take care, as the cookies must be shaped when hot.

Recipe note: The baked cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 weeks or frozen for several months.

Scale and get a printer-friendly version of the recipe here.


  • 3 large egg whites
  • 2/3 cup (133 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick/113 grams) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons strong brewed tea
  • 1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with a rack in the middle. Lightly grease a large, rimmed baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.

Step 2

Prepare the fortunes, fold and set aside.

Step 3

In a medium bowl, combine the egg whites, sugar, salt and vanilla. Stir in the melted butter and tea. Mix well. Add the flour and stir until the batter is smooth. Chill the batter in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Step 4

For each cookie, place a rounded tablespoon of batter on the greased baking sheet. With the back of a spoon, spread out the batter to form a thin circle about 3 inches in diameter. Bake no more than 2 to 3 cookies at one time, because they must be folded before they begin to cool and harden. (If possible, use 3 baking sheets: While one sheet is in the oven, the second sheet is being prepared and the third is cooling.)

Step 5

Bake for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies are brown. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and carefully remove one cookie with a spatula. Lay the cookie flat on a clean plate and place a fortune on top. Working quickly, fold the cookie in half to form a semicircle and enclose the fortune. Lay the semicircle across the rim of a glass and press the folded edge against the glass, half inside and half outside. The curved edge should be left to flare out, to give the cookie its characteristic “nurse’s cap” shape. Set the completed cookie in the well of a muffin tin to hold its shape while it cools. Repeat with the remaining cookies.

From a 1986 Washington Post recipe.

Tested by Ed Lichorat; email questions to voraciously@washpost.com.

Scale and get a printer-friendly version of the recipe here.

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Calories: 90; Total Fat: 5 g; Saturated Fat: 4 g; Cholesterol: 15 mg; Sodium: 25 mg; Carbohydrates: 12 g; Dietary Fiber: 0 g; Sugars: 7 g; Protein: 1 g.