These gluten free vegan sugar cookies are light and delicious and easy to make for the holidays. This is a simple recipe that results in tasty cookies that hold their shape while baking. Creamy frosting and sprinkles are a festive finishing touch.
When the holiday season rolls around, we start to think about baking. It’s so fun to be able to make and eat holiday cookies together, isn’t it?
Sugar cookies are one of the classic recipes that many families enjoy baking and decorating together. With all of the fun cookie cutters available, you can really get creative with your cookies!
There are some challenges when you have food allergies to contend with, but thankfully, baking cookies doesn’t have to be one of them. We love to bake shortbread, chocolate crinkles, and cut out cookies during the month of December.
These gluten free vegan sugar cookies taste exactly like regular cookies and are very easy to make.
Using a few good substitutes results in absolutely delicious cut out cookies that hold their shape very well and have a delicious buttery flavor. I think you’ll love this tried and true recipe – I’ve been making it for over 10 years!
- Gluten Free Flour Blend – You need a gluten free flour blend for this recipe. That means a grain free flour like coconut flour or almond flour will not be a good choice. Try a store bought flour mix like Namaste Perfect Flour Blend or Gluten Free 123 All Purpose Flour.
- Vegan Buttery Spread – I used Earth Balance Soy Free Vegan Buttery Spread. You could also use the Earth Balance Baking Sticks if you prefer. If you have a different brand of buttery spread that you like, that will probably work.
- Applesauce – Unsweetened applesauce helps hold these cookies together. If you can’t have apples, try mashed banana or pumpkin puree instead.
- Sugar – I used organic cane sugar to make these. You could also use traditional granulated sugar. I don’t recommend brown sugar or coconut sugar as that will change the color of the cookies.
- Sprinkles – Sprinkles are optional. Be sure to call and check on any brands of sprinkles to see if they suit your dietary needs. You can also use allergy friendly candy to decorate these cookies. We like chocolate no-no’s (which are an allergy friendly version of m&m’s).
Tips for Success
- This cookie dough needs to be chilled for at least two hours. If you are really in a rush, you can just put the dough in the freezer for one hour.
- If you haven’t rolled gluten free dough before, it can be a bit sticky, so you want to make sure you have enough flour on the rolling pin and on the rolling surface.
- Work quickly once you start rolling the dough – you don’t want it to get too warm. Keep the dough cool helps prevent spreading during baking.
- Line the cookie sheets with parchment paper to keep the cookies from sticking to the pan.
These cookies are very tasty plain, so you don’t have to decorate them if you don’t want to. However, they are also very good with dairy free frosting.
You can spread the frosting on the cookies with a knife or offset spatula or you can pipe it on with a piping bag and decorative tips. You could also make the frosting a bit thinner, like a glaze, and dip the cookies into it.
Once you frost the cookies, you can top them with colored sugar, sprinkles, or candy. Be creative and have fun! If you’re looking for natural food dye and allergy friendly sprinkles, one place to check out is Natural Candy Store.
Step by Step Instructions
- Mix up the cookie dough using an electric mixer. The dough will be quite thick!
- Pat the dough into two discs and wrap with waxed paper. Refrigerate for two hours.
- Coat the rolling pin, dough, and surface with gluten free flour. Gluten free dough can be tricky to work with, and using a lot of flour on the rolling surfaces helps it not to stick together.
- Roll the dough out until it’s about ¼ inch thick. Then you’re ready to cut out your cookies!
- Use cookie cutters in whatever shapes you like to create your cookies. I find that it helps to wiggle the cookie cutter a little bit after you press it down. That makes it easier to lift the cookie up.
- Place the cookies on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Leave a little room in between the cookies. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 10 minutes.
- While the cookies cool, make the dairy free frosting.
- Once the cookies are fully cooled, frost them. You can use a knife, offset spatula, or piping bag.
- Decorate the frosted cookies with sprinkles or candy if desired.
Store cookies in an airtight container. They should stay fresh for about 4 days.
You can freeze these cookies if you like – place in a freezer safe container and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
You could also freeze the cookie dough if you are planning ahead for the holidays. Place the wrapped discs of dough in a freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to bake, just thaw the dough in the refrigerator before rolling it out.
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Perfect Gluten Free Vegan Sugar Cookies
You have to try these delicious, buttery gluten free vegan sugar cookies with a sweet icing – they're just right for the holidays!
For the cookies:
- 1 cup vegan buttery spread
- 1 cup organic cane sugar
- ¼ cup unsweetened apple sauce
- 3 cups gluten free flour blend I have made these cookies with Namaste Perfect Flour Blend and Now Foods GF Flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
For the frosting:
- ¼ cup vegan buttery spread
- 2 ½ cups confectioner’s sugar
- 1 – 2 Tablespoons non-dairy milk or water
- colored sugar or sprinkles optional
- chocolate candies optional
To make the sugar cookies:
Place the buttery spread and sugar in a mixing bowl. Beat on high speed until it's light and fluffy. Add the applesauce and vanilla and continue to mix.
Add the gluten free flour blend and salt and mix until combined. If the dough seems too dry, add a bit more applesauce. (I find that with GF flour blends, some of them soak up the wet ingredients more than others. If your dough seems too wet for sugar cookies, add some more flour. The dough should be quite stiff).
Divide the dough into two discs. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Spread waxed paper on your rolling surface and sprinkle with gluten free flour. Unwrap one of the discs and sprinkle liberally with gluten free flour as well.
Roll the dough to about ¼ of an inch thickness. If the dough is too crumbly, add a little water. If the dough is sticking to the rolling pin, add more flour to the pin and the dough.
Cut out your cookies, and place them on the cookie sheets, leaving a little space between cookies.
Bake at 350 degrees F for about 9-11 minutes. Switch the two cookie sheets between the top and bottom oven racks halfway through baking time. The cookies should be just slightly golden brown on the edges. The time may vary depending on the size of your cookie cutters.
Allow the cookies to cool on the cookie sheets for about 15 minutes before moving them to cooling racks.
To make the frosting:
Place the vegan buttery spread in a mixing bowl and mix on medium speed.
Add the confectioner’s sugar a little bit at a time. When the frosting starts to look crumbly, drizzle in the non-dairy milk.
Add the remaining confectioner’s sugar and mix. If the frosting is too wet, add more confectioner’s sugar. If it’s too dry, add a bit more non-dairy milk. Making frosting isn’t an exact science, and it will turn out just fine! Just make sure it is a nice, spreadable consistency.
Frost the cooled sugar cookies and top with sprinkles and candy if desired.
Nutrition facts will vary based on the size of your cookies. I used cookie cutters that were about 3 inches long.
Please double check that the sprinkles or colored sugar you use are safe for whatever dietary needs or allergies you have.
Enjoy! You can use this recipe for any holiday. We love to make heart-shaped sugar cookies for Valentine’s Day.
The BEST gluten free cookies!! They roll out and cook perfectly. My allergic grandson has yearned for beautiful tasty sugar cookies and here they are. The whole family, even those with no gluten problem, loved them. I have tried various recipes where the cookies spread and lose their shape and where they have an odd under-taste. This recipe is simple and works perfectly. My grandchildren have gobbled down batch one, and I am working on batch two.
These are delicious!!! Thank you so much!
Is there any other alternative to the vegan butter, my son is allergic to so many things, I cannot find one that he can have. I usually use palm shortening when baking, would this work do you think? If so, what would the ratio be?
I have actually never used palm shortening! I think you could try it, and just add a bit at a time until the dough is thick. It needs to be thick so you can roll it out.
Doespecially TJ’s gluten free flour have Xanthum gum in it or do I need to add. I know most do not have xanthum gum.
No, it doesn’t contain xanthan gum, but it seemed to be fine without it for this recipe!
Thanks for the awesome recipe! Tried a different GF sugar cookie recipe and it was an epic fail… This one is fantastic! My three old daughter loved making the dough, cutting out the cookie shapes, decorating them, and most of all EATING them! Thanks. This one’s a keeper. :)
Kelly @ The Pretty Bee: Cooking + Creating
Thank you so much for taking the time to let me know that you tried them and loved them! That really makes my day! :)
Holly Yzquierdo (@MyPlantBasedFam)
I’ve got to pin these! I love that I can make them as written with out substitutions for our many allergies.
Have you ever substituted an alternative “milk” for the almond milk? My daughter is allergic to almonds, but would love to try this recipe.
I have used hemp milk before, and it turned out well. I think any non dairy milk would work just fine!
Kim @ 2justByou
Wow, Kelly! I can’t believe Baby Bee will be turning two already. Crazy. Well, these cookies look delish, and I’m definitely going to try the recipe. I hope mine turn out looking like yours! =0)
Thanks, Kim! I hope you like them! Yes, I know how did two years go by so fast!?
These look amazing and super cute! Loving the fact they’re both gluten-free and vegan! :)
OHHHHHH, I think I love you. hee hee. Another favorite in vegan version! thank you, thank you!
You’re welcome, Lisa! I hope you enjoy them!
Natalie @ Tastes Lovely
My birthday is around Valentine’s day too! So I love this time of year. These cookies are so cute : )
Thanks, Natalie! Happy early birthday!
I have my dough refrigerated and ready to roll out and cut.
Is it normal for the dough to taste a little off? I’m hoping Ill bake them and they’ll be fine but the dough taste nothing like a cookie. HELP! :/