These gluten free dairy free sugar cookies are the real deal. Buttery and soft, they are made for any occasion. Decorate them with dairy free buttercream or royal icing. Just don’t forget the sprinkles!
How to make this recipe dairy free
Making these cookies dairy free is a breeze by just swapping out the butter from a traditional recipe. I used Earth Balance’s dairy free buttery spread and it works so well!
Whatever brand of dairy free butter you choose, make sure to check the ingredient listing. If it’s salted - omit the salt from the recipe.
How to make this recipe gluten free
Making these sugar cookies gluten free is so easy! I use a homemade Gluten Free Flour Blend. It uses white rice flour, tapioca starch, and sorghum flour. Be sure to check out the recipe for the blend - there are so many different flours you can use instead!
If you want to use another brand or blend of gluten free flour - please feel free. Not all gluten free flours are made the same, though, so results may not be as you expect. If you use a blend that contains xanthan gum, please omit it from the recipe.
Tips for measuring gluten free flour
Whenever I measure flour for a recipe, I always use a kitchen scale. Gluten free baking already comes with its challenges and using a scale makes things much more reliable. The scale I use everyday was inexpensive ($15) and so worth the spend.
To use a kitchen scale, set your bowl on top of the scale and tare it (set to zero). Then add in your ingredients as the recipe specifies - setting the scale to zero in between each addition. Add ingredients slowly and carefully to minimize over-weighing.
If you’re not down with the kitchen scale yet - that’s ok! I held out for many years. To measure the gluten free flour using cups just make sure to spoon it into the measuring cup and level off with a knife. Don’t scoop directly from any bags or jars - this can add more flour than intended into your recipe.
Ready to make some irresistible dairy free cut out cookies?! Here’s what you’ll need:
- Dairy free buttery spread: I really like Earth Balance
- Granulated sugar: in a sugar cookie? No way!
- Egg: just one
- Vanilla extract: essential in a sugar cookie
- Gluten free flour: I use a homemade blend of white rice flour, tapioca starch, and sorghum flour. It does not contain xanthan gum. Feel free to use whatever blend you’re most comfortable with; however, results may not be the same.
- Baking powder: to help make these sugar cookies soft and pillowy
- Salt: omit if your dairy free butter is already salted
- Xanthan gum: the essential binder that prevents gluten free baking from crumbling! Omit if the blend of gluten free flour you’re using already contains it.
How to make this recipe
To make these gluten and dairy free cut out cookies, start by creaming together the dairy free butter and sugar. Next, add in the egg and vanilla and whip the mixture until it becomes light and fluffy.
In a separate bowl, combine the gluten free flour, baking powder, salt and xanthan gum. Give it a good mix to combine, then add this mixture into the bowl containing the butter and sugar.
Mix the dough using a spatula until it’s thoroughly combined. It might look a bit dry and sandy, but as you continue to mix/knead, it will become soft and pliable. Chill the dough in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours, or overnight.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to the desired thickness and cut out using your favourite cookie cutters. Bake cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet in the oven at 375°F for 6-8 minutes.
Enjoy the smell of sugar cookies all throughout your house. (You’re welcome.)
Thickness of sugar cookies
The ideal thickness of a sugar cookie is a hot debate in our house. My son is in the “make them as thick as possible” camp, while I enjoy a slightly thinner cookie.
This recipe calls for the dough to be rolled out to ⅛” (3mm), which is thin. The baked cookies are soft right out of the oven, but as they sit - they will start to crisp up and get a bit crunchy.
Once decorated with royal icing or dairy free buttercream, the inside of the cookie will be soft from the moisture in the icing, while the edges will still be crisp. That’s the perfect dairy free sugar cookie - in my opinion!
Thicker cookies have a texture that is soft and pillowy from edge to edge.
Do these sugar cookies spread?
There’s no chill time in this recipe after the cookies are cut out. This means that the cookies will spread slightly during baking. I used a 2 ⅝” circular cookie cutter and it resulted in 3” cookies.
If you need the cookies to stay put and not spread, chill the cookie cut outs in the fridge for 15 minutes before baking.
Tips for making these cookies
Gluten free baking is already complicated. Use these suggested tips to make your gluten and dairy free sugar cookies the best they possibly can be!
- Keep the dough chilled. Rolling out a chilled gluten free cookie dough is much easier than a warmed, melted one. If you find the dough is warming up too much during rolling, pop it into the fridge for 10 minutes to chill.
- Use a silicone baking mat. Gluten free doughs can get a bit sticky, so I like using a silicone baking mat to make rolling easier. Lightly dust the surface with flour before starting and be careful of sharp cookie cutters - don’t cut the mat! (The silicone mat also comes in handy when transferring gluten free pie crust into a pie plate.)
- Work in stages. I like to divide the dough in half or quarters and roll out small sections, cutting out cookies as I go. When one batch is in the oven, I’ll use the remaining dough to roll out the next round.
I’m all for eating plain sugar cookies, but some people like to decorate them. The provided recipe includes an amazing dairy free buttercream, which is one of my favourites for sugar cookie icing!
Royal icing also works well with sugar cookies. Make a thick icing to use as an outline, and flood the inside with a thinner version. Need a recipe for royal icing? Check out the recipe for Gluten Free Gingerbread.
Store undecorated sugar cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for a week. Keep decorated cookies in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Gluten Free Dairy Free Sugar Cookies
- ½ cup (115g) dairy free butter, softened
- 1 cup (210g) granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 ¾ cups (350g) gluten free flour blend (see note below)
- 1 teaspoon (5g) baking powder
- ½ teaspoon (3g) salt (omit if the dairy free butter is salted)
- ½ teaspoon 2g xanthan gum (if using a commercially available gluten free flour blend with xanthan gum, omit this from the recipe)
- ½ cup (115g) dairy free butter, softened
- 3 cups (360g) icing sugar
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1-2 tablespoons dairy free milk
- food colouring if desired
To make the cookies:
- In a medium or large bowl, cream together the dairy free butter and sugar using an electric mixer. You can use a hand mixer with beaters or stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Whip the dairy free butter and sugar until pale and the texture is light.
- Add the egg and vanilla into the butter mixture and beat until fluffy.
- In another medium-sized bowl, combine the gluten free flour, baking powder, salt (if applicable) and xanthan gum. Mix.
- Add the dry flour mixture into the bowl containing the wet ingredients. Using a spatula, mix the dough until it is thoroughly combined. The dough may look a bit sandy and dry, but it will come together by working it with a spatula - or your hands.
- Shape the dough into a disc, wrap it in plastic wrap (or use an airtight container) and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours, or overnight.
- After chilling the dough, preheat the oven to 375°F. Line 1- 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Remove the chilled dough from the fridge and knead it gently with your hands to soften slightly.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to ⅛” (3mm) and cut out cookies using a cookie cutter. If desired, dough can be rolled thicker - which will result in a softer cookie.
- Transfer cookies to the prepared baking sheet and set apart about ½“ (1cm). Bake for 6-8 minutes. The cookies may turn slightly golden or not at all.
- Allow the cookies to sit on the baking sheet for a minute (they will be quite soft) before transferring to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
To decorate the cookies:
- In a large bowl, combine the softened dairy free butter and icing sugar using a hand mixer or stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Add in the vanilla extract once combined.
- Add in the dairy free milk, tablespoon by tablespoon, until the icing is soft and spreadable.
- Spread desired amount of icing on each cookie.
- Gluten free flour: I used a blend of 50% white rice flour, 30% tapioca starch, and 20% sorghum flour. You can blend your own by following this recipe: Gluten Free Flour Blend (All Purpose). Another blend can be used; however, results may not be the same.
- Cookie spread: the cookie cutouts are not chilled prior to baking, so they spread slightly. When testing the recipe, I used a 2 ⅝” cookie cutter and it resulted in 3” cookies. To minimize spread (if needed), refrigerate cookies for 15 minutes prior to baking.
- Storage: store undecorated cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for a week. Keep decorated cookies in the fridge for 3-4 days.