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Gluten Free Sugar Cookies

These tender and sweet Gluten Free Sugar Cookies are the perfect delicious blank canvases to decorate this holiday season! 

Did you ever decorate cookies around the holidays as a kid?

I did, and I loved it. I wanted to keep that annual tradition with my girls, so I created this allergy-friendly recipe for Gluten-Free Sugar Cookies.

These gluten-free cut out cookies are blank canvases for creativity. I’ve made several batches over the years that my girls have decorated. 

How to decorate Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Cookies:

Dairy-Free Glaze

Made from organic powdered sugar and water (or you could use dairy-free milk instead). In a medium sized mixing bowl, add 2 cups of organic powdered sugar then add water, teaspoon by teaspoon until the glaze is at your desired thickness.

Gluten Free Dairy Free Sugar Cookie Cut Outs from Allergy Free Alaska

Dairy-Free Frosting

This is our favorite dairy-free frosting recipe (and it’s definitely my husband’s preference of decorating!):

1 pound organic powdered sugar
1/2 cup palm shortening
1/4 cup vegan butter or ghee (or more palm shortening)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-5 tablespoons water or dairy-free milk

In a large sized mixing bowl, add the organic powdered sugar, palm shortening, vegan butter or ghee, vanilla extract, and 2 tablespoons of water or dairy-free milk. Beat until light and fluffy, and add more water or dairy-free milk until the frosting reaches the desired consistency.

To either, the glaze or the frosting, you can add natural food dye, regular food dye, or leave it out entirely.

And don’t forget the sprinkles! We like these naturally dyed ones.

Frequently asked questions about this Gluten-Free Sugar Cookie recipe:

Q: Is the texture crispy or soft? 
A: It depends. If you roll the dough thin, between 1/8-1/4″ thick, and then bake them until they are golden, they will be more on the crispy side. If you roll the dough thicker, 1/4″ thick, or a little thicker, and then bake until they are just done/set, they will be more on the soft side. Frosting helps keeps them soft too! 

Q: Can I make these egg free? 
A: I have not tested this recipe egg free, but since there is only 1 egg in this recipe, it might work well egg free. If I had to choose a substitute, I’d try either egg replacer, or a chia egg (To make a chia egg combine 1 tablespoon of ground chia seed with 3 tablespoons hot water. Let the slurry sit for at least 10 minutes for the slurry to gel.). 

Q: Can I use all butter in place of the vegan butter/ghee and palm shortening? 
A: Absolutely! 

Q: Why do you freeze the raw cookie cutouts on the baking sheets before baking vs. chilling the dough and then rolling it out to cut shapes?
A: This is an updated recipe. When I originally published this recipe, I recommended refrigerating the dough and then rolling it out to cut shapes. BUT, the more I made the dough, I realized it became hard to work with after it had sat in the refrigerator; the dough became dry and crumbly. It is much, much easier to roll the dough out immediately after mixing it, cutting shapes, placing them on the baking sheets, and then freezing the cutouts on the baking sheets. 

Q: Why do I have to freeze the raw cookie cutouts on the baking sheets? 
A: This keeps the cookie cutouts from spreading too much and losing their shape. 

Tips for rolling out the Gluten-Free Sugar Cookie dough:

  • If your dough is too soft, and transferring the cut out shapes to the baking sheet is difficult, pop the raw dough in the refrigerator for 20-60 minutes. Humidity and temperature will vary greatly, and it will effect your dough. The temperatures and humidity I deal with here in Alaska are drastically different than what someone in Florida might experience. 
  • If your dough is too crumbly, it needs more moisture. Either wet your hands, and then gently massage the dough, or pop the dough back into the bowl of your electric mixer. Add additional water, teaspoon by teaspoon until your dough is back to being pliable. 
  • This pie crust bag is also super handy for rolling out cookie dough, not just pie crust! 

How to make gluten-free sugar cookies

  1. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, add the vegan butter or ghee, palm shortening, and cane sugar. Cream together for 2 minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed.
  3. Add the egg, cold water, and vanilla extract. Beat well.
  4. Add the sea salt, baking powder, xanthan gum, millet flour, sorghum flour, and tapioca starch. Mix until blended.
  5. Divide the cookie dough into 2 equal sized disks.
  6. To roll the dough, lay a piece of parchment paper on a work surface and lightly sprinkle with sorghum flour. Place a disk of dough in the middle of the parchment paper, sprinkle the disk with sorghum flour, and roll the dough until it’s 1/4 inch thick, starting in the middle and working out towards the edges. Keep sprinkling the dough with more flour as needed to prevent the dough from sticking to the rolling pin.
  7. Use cookie cutters to cut the dough into desired shapes. Carefully transfer the cut shapes onto the prepared baking sheets using a spatula.
  8. Place each baking sheet in the freezer, and freeze for 15 minutes before baking. This will keep the cookie dough from spreading too much and losing its shape.
  9. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). Bake for 10 – 14 minutes, just until the cookies appear slightly golden around the edges. Cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet and then transfer to cooling racks to cool completely.
  10. Decorate as desired and enjoy!

Favorite gluten-free Christmas cookie recipes:

Gluten Free Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
Gluten Free Mocha Hazelnut Cookies
Gluten Free White Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies from My Gluten Free Kitchen
Guilt Free Paleo Pecan Pie Cookies
Gluten Free Peanut Butter Blossoms from What the Fork food blog

I hope you enjoy these gf sugar cookies as much as my family does!
xoxo,
Mēgan

gluten free dairy free sugar cookies

Gluten-Free Sugar Cookies Recipe:

gluten free dairy free sugar cookies

Gluten-Free Sugar Cookies

Yield: about 2 dozen
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 14 minutes
Total Time: 44 minutes

These tender and sweet Gluten-Free Sugar Cookies are the perfect delicious blank canvases to decorate this holiday season!

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup vegan butter or ghee, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup palm shortening
  • 1 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon cold water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum
  • 1/2 cup millet flour
  • 3/4 cup sorghum flour + more for rolling
  • 1 1/4 cups tapioca starch

Instructions

  1. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, add the vegan butter or ghee, palm shortening, and cane sugar. Cream together for 2 minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed.
  3. Add the egg, cold water, and vanilla extract. Beat well.
  4. Add the sea salt, baking powder, xanthan gum, millet flour, sorghum flour, and tapioca starch. Mix until blended.
  5. Divide the cookie dough into 2 equal sized disks.
  6. To roll the dough, lay a piece of parchment paper on a work surface and lightly sprinkle with sorghum flour. Place a disk of dough in the middle of the parchment paper, sprinkle the disk with sorghum flour, and roll the dough until it’s 1/4 inch thick, starting in the middle and working out towards the edges. Keep sprinkling the dough with more flour as needed to prevent the dough from sticking to the rolling pin.
  7. Use cookie cutters to cut the dough into desired shapes. Carefully transfer the cut shapes onto the prepared baking sheets using a spatula.
  8. Place each baking sheet in the freezer, and freeze for 15 minutes before baking. This will keep the cookie dough from spreading too much and losing its shape.
  9. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). Bake for 10 – 14 minutes, just until the cookies appear slightly golden around the edges. Cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet and then transfer to cooling racks to cool completely.
  10. Decorate as desired and enjoy!

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Lisa

Thursday 10th of December 2020

I’m so excited to try this recipe! Do you have any suggestions for replacing the Miller flour? Would tiger but or teff flour be a good replacement? Or maybe cassava?

Thanks!

Mēgan

Thursday 24th of December 2020

Hi Lisa, I would try subbing it with a combination of sorghum flour/brown rice flour. I've never worked with tiger nut, and cassava isn't something I would try in this recipe.

KANEEZ FARID

Saturday 16th of March 2019

Hi there

Did you use all natural food dyes for the cookies above?? I want to stick to natural food dyes.

Thank you, Kaneez

Megan

Saturday 6th of April 2019

Hi Kaneez, No, what you see above it artificial food dye. Not what I would normally use, but for pictures of decorated cookies (for marketing) that's what I decided to use. To feed my family, I either don't dye the frosting, OR I use beet powder for a pretty pink color.

TJ Toronto

Saturday 2nd of December 2017

Hi there, does anyone have any comments on the actual cookie that this recipe creates? Are they crunchy, chewy, grainy, comparatively sweet, etc? I've looked at the post and the comments a few times and can't get a sense of how they actually turn out. Any notes on the cookies themselves would be very helpful. Thanks in advance! :)

Megan

Tuesday 30th of January 2018

Hi TJ, These cookies can vary from soft to crispy, depending on how thin you roll them out, and how long you bake them. I prefer to roll mine out to 1/4 inch, then try to catch them when they are just done (NOT golden), so they stay a little soft. BUT, if I misjudge the baking time and they end up crispy, my family still loves them. To me, these cookies are not grainy, unless you use a ton of excess flour to roll them out. Hope that helps!

Thomas Murphy

Saturday 19th of December 2015

The year my family went to Disney world for Christmas.

Amanda Whitley

Saturday 19th of December 2015

my favorite holiday memory is my first Christmas after i was married starting our own family traditions