These vegan and gluten-free sugar cookies will be your new favorites! They have perfectly crispy edges and a soft center, and I can assure you that they won't fall apart as soon as you take a bite. You can easily make them in one bowl or in your stand mixer. It's a go-to recipe for birthday parties or Christmas cookies during the holiday season.
Fellow foodie with food allergies, I see you! Being gluten-free for 10+ years myself, I know the struggle of finding a GOOD sugar cookie recipe that doesn't require 10 different types of gluten-free flour, xanthan gum, and an egg replacer. That's why I wanted to create a go-to recipe, with minimal ingredients and easy-to-follow steps for you.
I've spent a lot of time perfecting this sugar cookie recipe and I seriously can't wait for you to try them! The best way I can describe them is "vanilla almond flour cut-out cookies".
Having kids in mind, this recipe also contains much less sugar (4 tablespoons for 2 cups of flour) than regular sugar cookies but still has the right amount of sweetness.
If you're looking for more vegan and gluten-free cookie recipes, check out my oat flour chocolate chip cookies.
Key ingredients and substitutions
- Almond flour: I recommend white almond flour from the grocery store for light-colored sugar cookies with a fine texture. However, I have also made them with homemade almond meal (from raw almonds that I ground in my blender and strained through a fine-mesh sieve) and it worked just well. But the cookies were a little darker and the texture was more coarse-grained.
- Gluten-free oat flour: In combination with almond flour, it's the best alternative to all-purpose flour in my opinion. You can use store-bought Bob's Red Mill or Anthony's gluten-free oat flour or make your own by blending gluten-free certified oats.
- Corn starch or arrowroot powder: Starch is key to obtaining sugar cookies with crispy edges. Both work great.
- Vegan butter: You want to use vegan block butter (e.g., Violife, Miyoko's) and not spreadable butter, for the best texture and a flavor that resembles regular sugar cookies the most. Since different brands all have different compositions, the results may vary slightly. Don't be afraid to experiment with different types of butter. Personally, I use Solo available (available in the Benelux). I do not recommend substituting it with coconut oil.
- Brown sugar: Do not substitute with cane sugar or white sugar. Both have a lower molasses content compared to brown sugar and won't provide the same cookie texture. If you're in Europe or Québec, look for "cassonade".
- Maple syrup: Adds moisture and sweetness to the cookie dough batter. You could try substituting it with agave syrup or honey (if not vegan) but I have not tried that.
- Vanilla extract: Provides that delicate vanilla sugar cookie taste. No need to add almond extract since the batter is made with almond flour.
- Use a scale for best results. When baking with gluten-free ingredients, it's important to be precise. Using a scale and weighing everything in grams will ensure you obtain the cookies with the right texture. If you don't have a scale, make sure to fill your measuring cup with a spoon and then level it out. Don't scoop the flour out of the bag directly with the cup.
- Keep half the cookie dough in the refrigerator while you're cutting the cookies. You really want the dough to be cold and firm to cut out the cookies and move them over to your cookie sheet easily. Your kitchen is most likely going to be warm when you preheat the oven, which can soften the cookie batter and make the cutting process more complicated.
STEP 1: Beat the wet ingredients. Add the room-temperature butter, sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla to a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer. Beat them with an electric hand mixer or your stand mixer for 1 minute, until butter and sugar are well combined.
STEP 2: Add the dry ingredients. No need to mix them ahead of time. You can add the almond flour, oat flour, and corn starch or arrowroot powder straight to the mixing bowl. Use a rubber spatula to incorporate the flour and form a dough.
STEP 3: Chill. Form two flat disks of dough and wrap them tightly with plastic film. Refrigerate for 1 hour. This step is NOT optional.
STEP 4: Roll out. Take one of the disks out of the refrigerator and unwrap it. Place it in between 2 pieces of parchment paper to prevent the sugar cookie dough from sticking to the rolling pin. Roll out the dough until it's ⅓ inch (± 0,75 cm) thick.
STEP 5: Cut out the sugar cookies using your favorite cookie cutters. Place them on a prepared baking sheet with a large piece of parchment paper. Repeat the process with the other half of the batter.
STEP 6: Bake for 6 minutes until lightly golden for softer sugar cookies and 7-8 minutes for golden brown crispy cookies. Let the cool on a cooling rack. Once cold, you can decorate them with icing or enjoy them as they are.
Decorate with icing
Check out my post on how to color icing with plant-based foods if you want to color the icing without artificial dies. You can use powders, juices, and frozen berries to create the most beautiful color palette.
STEP 1: Combine. Add the icing sugar to a small bowl and add a few drops of lemon juice at a time.
STEP 2: Transfer the icing to a piping bag once you obtain a thick consistency that slowly drops from a spoon.
STEP 3: Cut off the tip of the piping bag. The smaller the whole, the thinner the lines will be, and the more precisely you can decorate your cookies.
STEP 4: Decorate your cookies to your liking.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, it's crucial for you to be able to roll out the cookie dough and cut out the cookies easily. If the dough is too warm, the cookies may stick after being cut out.
You can keep them on your counter for 1-2 days. Then, store them in an airtight container at room temperature for another 2 days. Please note that these cookies are the crispiest right after baking. They start to soften after 24 hours.
Don’t forget to join the Cooking With Elo newsletter. You’ll get gluten-free and vegan dinner ideas sent right to your inbox.
Vegan Gluten-Free Sugar Cookies
Icing + natural food dies (optional)
- ½ cup (50 g) icing sugar
- A few drops of lemon juice
- If your butter is not at room temperature, microwave it for 10 seconds until soft to the touch but not melted.
- Beat the butter, sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla extra in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer or in a stand mixer (see step-by-step pictures).
- Add in the dry ingredients and combine with your hand or with a spatula.
- Form two disks and wrap them in parchment paper or plastic wrap. Chill for 1 hour in the refrigerator.
- Once the dough is chilled, preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) fan. Remove the baking sheets and line them with parchment paper.
- Roll out one of the sugar cookie dough disks between two sheets of parchment paper. It should be ⅓ inch (± 0,75 cm) thick. Cut the cookies using cookie cutters.
- Place the cookies on the baking sheet that you lined with parchment paper. Repeat the process with the other cookie dough disk.
- Bake the cookies for 5-7 minutes depending on their size.
- Let the cookies cool down completely.
For the icing
- Add of few drops of lemon juice to a bowl with powdered sugar. Stir and continue adding lemon juice until you obtain a thick texture that drips off a spoon in a slow steady drizzle.
- Transfer the icing to a piping bag or zip bag. Cut off the tip (you want a very small opening for precise decortions) and decorate your cookies.
- American brown sugar: In Europe, brown sugar is often mistaken for crystalized cane sugar. For this recipe, however, you want American brown sugar, which has a higher amount of molasses and the texture of wet sand. It's often called "vergeoise" in France and "cassonade" in Belgium and Québec. Alternatively, you can make your own (see below).
- To make your own dark brown sugar, mix ¾ cup of white sugar with 1 ½ tablespoons of molasses.
- Use a scale for best results. When baking with gluten-free ingredients, it's important to be precise.
- Chill the dough! You want the butter to solidify and the cookie dough to be firm enough to be rolled out.
- Keep half the cookie dough in the refrigerator while you're cutting out the first cookies. Your kitchen will most probably be warm once turn on the oven, which will soften the cookie dough and make it more difficult to move the cookies over to your cookie sheet.
- Colored icing? No problem, read my post on how to color cookies with plant-based foods instead of food coloring.
- Storage tips: You can keep the cookies on your counter for 1-2 days. Then, store them in an airtight container at room temperature for another 2 days. Please note that these cookies are the crispiest right after baking. They start to soften after 24 hours.
Loved it? Please rate it!
If you tried this recipe or any other recipe from the blog, make sure to let me know how you liked it by leaving a star rating and a comment below. Your feedback really matters! To never miss a recipe, follow me on Instragram, Pinterest and Facebook.