My Air fryer Nankhatai with funfetti are so crumbly, melt in the mouth and full of sprinkles! These egg less Indian shortbread cookies, or besan nankhatai, are easy to make with few ingredients. Flavoured with real vanilla extract, they make the perfect birthday or bake sale treat all prepared on your counter top!
This post contains affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links at no cost to you.
The BEST Bakery-style Nankhatai!
One of my first memories of Indian grocery shopping was wishing that my Mum would buy me and my brother a small box of nankhatai. Afterall, the job of designated list holder is a difficult task, so I deserved a treat right?!
They had a few different brands of nankhatai on the shelves but the best by far was version that was crumbly with a bite on the inside and a tender “khasta” top. One bite and the biscuit would simply melt-in-my-mouth and release warm nutty and ghee flavours.
Proper bakery-style nankhatai is flaky on the surface and slightly crunchy inside. It also has grittiness which you can really feel once the biscuit has begun melting away.
It should not be chewy like a soft cookie but more like good quality Scottish shortbread. The surface of the nankhatai should have deep cracks.
My Mum perfected her nankhatai recipe when I was younger and now there is no other recipe that we would ever use! This recipe yields perfect buttery nankhatai every single time and this same recipe forms the base for the one we will be using today.
The concept of “funfetti” or confetti bakes started with the classic vanilla cake which was given a colourful makeover with sprinkles added to the batter. Sounds like the ultimate birthday cake that is guaranteed to make you smile!
I came across a funfetti cookie recipe recently – the batter was American style chewy cookies which inspired me to add funfetti to my favourite eggless cookies.
In the UK, we call funfetti rainbow sprinkles, hundreds and thousands or 100s and 1000s! Therefore, these can also be called hundreds and thousands cookies.
Air fryer Nankhatai
Up until now, we have always baked our nankhatai – after all why fix something if it isn’t broken? Since owning a few Air fryers in our household, we have been experimenting more with air fryer recipes.
Not long ago I shared air fryer Rose and Pistachio Puff Pastry Cream Horns and Sutarfeni with you guys and that I know many of you have made and loved the recipes. These are perfect to celebrate any occasion!
Air fryer Nankhatai is so, so easy and quick! You can make small batches without having to play about with your oven and heat up your whole kitchen!
The nankhatai only need 8 quick minutes in the air fryer. I also find it much easier to control the temperature of an air fryer. Often with ovens, it is difficult to get the heat just right and depending on fan vs conventional ovens there is just too much variation.
In the air fryer, you will still get the original nankhatai crumbly texture with the characteristic cracks on the surface.
Love making air fryer recipes in your kitchen? Try my Air fryer Puff Pastry Chilli Cheese Pineapple Parcels
What flavour are these Funfetti Nankhatai?
Traditional Besan Nankhatai is flavoured with cardamom and saffron. The abundance of desi ghee imparts an incredible warm and nutty flavour which is also elevated thanks to the addition of besan/chickpea flour.
These particular biscuits are flavoured with real vanilla extract and I have omitted the cardamom and kesar. However, you could still add it should you want. Whilst the funfetti does not have a flavour of its own, I feel like visually they definitely add a little something to the senses! Nankhatai is not meant to be overly sweet but more buttery in taste.
Ingredients for these Eggless Indian Butter Cookies
Now that I’ve convinced you to make these funfetti nankhatai, let’s take a look at the ingredients required for this recipe.
(full ingredients and measurements found in the recipe card below)
Flour – for authentic nankhatai that you find in the bakery, add white flour/plain flour or all-purpose flour. Sieve the flour prior to using for the best results.
Semolina – we have used fine semolina
Besan – also called chickpea flour or gram flour, we have used fine chickpea flour
Ghee – using good quality desi ghee is the key to perfect nankhatai. We like to make our own homemade desi ghee from unsalted butter
Sugar – You will need white sugar for these nankhatai. Use caster sugar where possible as you do not want sugar granules in your dough. If you only have granulated sugar to hand, simply grind it down in a food processor. If you do not have access to a food processor, you could add granulated sugar but at the sugar and ghee creaming stage, you will have to keep on whisking until the sugar has dissolved – this takes a while!
Optional – baking powder. Our original nankhatai recipe contains a small amount of baking powder. I completely forgot to add it to these nankhatai that you see pictured above and still ended up with pretty much the same results. I’m not quite sure what to take from this, but I would suggest adding baking powder if you do have it! I will still continue to add it to my future nankhatai bakes to ensure they are airy and perfect inside.
Vanilla – for the vanilla flavouring, we have used real vanilla extract.
funfetti, confetti, rainbow sprinkles, coloured vermicelli, 100s and 1000s – whatever you choose to call them! Strictly speaking, 100s and 1000s are known as nonpareil sprinkles – they are tiny and round. The other funfetti mentioned tend to be long and thin, though still small! In more specialist bake shops or online, you can find funfetti or cake decorations in an assortment of shapes and colours – for example daisy, hearts, stars, unicorns, round, leaves just to name a few.
I have used regular love hearts naturals sprinkles, which are suitable for vegans and gluten-free diets.
How to make Funfetti Nankhatai in the Air-fryer + Tips
Preparing the Nankhatai dough
Ensure your ghee is at room temperature and semi-solid. Cream together the ghee and sugar until the mixture is whipped and airy – it should lighten in colour and go pale.
Whisk in the vanilla extract.
Sieve the plain flour and besan into the mixture and add the semolina. Add the baking powder at this stage also.
Bring the mixture together to form a dough
Add your sprinkles and combine well.
If you are pressed for time, make round balls all roughly the same size
If you have a little more time, use a weighing scale or scoop/spoon of some type to ensure all pieces of dough are the same size. Do between 25-30g each.
Shape into round balls. Do not flatten.
Air-frying the Funfetti Nankhatai
Preheat the air fryer to 180C for 4 minutes.
Cut parchment paper into the same size as the air fryer basket. Cut through a few holes to prevent the paper from flapping in the basket during the cooking stage
Keep a decent gap between the nankhatai when adding into the basket. They will spread slightly. Nankhatai are not meant to be flat but should have height and still look round.
We have air-fried for 8 minutes. The nankhatai will seem crumbly and soft at this stage but they will continue to cook as they cool so do take them out of the air-fryer. Use a wide flat spatula to remove them gently.
Do not leave the biscuits in the air fryer once the air-frying is complete. The air-fryer remains hot and will continue to cook!
No. Many cookie recipes require chilling the dough before placing in the oven. This is to ensure that the fat is cold preventing the cookies from overspreading. In this case, we are shaping the dough into perfect spheres. We are only air-frying for a short period of time therefore the dough balls do not need to be refrigerated.
If you live in warmer climates, you may want to try this step out if you feel your ghee is melting.
Yes, you can. Chocolate sprinkles are easily available in the baking aisle. You may add cocoa powder to the dough and make Chocolate Nankhatai.
Absolutely yes, please follow our original Nankhatai recipe to bake them in the oven. Link is above in the post.
As always if you make this recipe, rate it below and tag me on Instagram at @jcookingodyssey. I love seeing all of your photos of my recipe recreations. Don’t forget to follow along on Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube also. I’d love to keep in touch!
Other eggless baking recipes
Air fryer Funfetti Nankhatai (Indian Funfetti Cookies)
- Parchment paper
- Air fryer
- 500 g Plain flour
- 50 g Chickpea flour
- 70 g Semolina
- 220 g Sugar castor
- ½ tsp Baking powder
- 350 g ghee at room temperature
- ¼ cup funfetti rainbow sprinkles, heart sprinkles
- Pre-heat the air fryer at 180C for 4 minutes.
- In a big bowl beat the ghee and sugar until fluffy.
- Now add Flours, semolina, baking powder.
- Bind into a dough and add funfetti.
- Mix it gently, then make small balls (between 25-30g each)
- Place a piece of parchment in the air fryer basket. Arrange cookies on parchment. Bake at 180C for 8 minutes.
- Remove the basket from the air fryer and allow the cookies to rest in the basket for 4-5 minutes before removing.
- Let it completely cool at room temperature.
The nutritional information provided is an approximation calculated by an online calculator/plugin. Please consult a professional dietitian for nutritional advice.