Learn how to make the most delicious crispy Gluten-free Vegan Sugar Cut-Out Cookies that are also oil-free and no butter! These are so delicious with amazing crispy edges and soft and tender center. Topped with a homemade sugar icing that firms up and is the perfect sugar cookie icing recipe!
GLUTEN-FREE VEGAN SUGAR COOKIES
I cannot even say how many sugar cookies my household has been eating. All in the name of recipe testing, many trials happened. I’ve created, due to a crazy amount of reader requests, a Crispy Gluten-free Vegan Sugar Cut-Out Cookie recipe that does not use any oil or vegan butter! Most recipes rely on butter or oil or the they are fully almond flour-based. I love almond flour but my husband hates it with a passion and these needed to pass his test. This recipe was not easy to create, so I’m thrilled to be sharing it finally.
So mine uses a small amount, so that it doesn’t taste like an almond cookie. Also, many vegan cookies are crispy the first day but end up going soft by the next day, but these keep their texture!! This is so important so they hold their shape and not be so soft that they break apart or lose that wonderful crisp factor. They are crazy easy to make, too. I wanted these cut-out cookies to be easy to work with and slightly healthier than your traditional sugar cookie made with white flour and butter.
INGREDIENTS IN GLUTEN FREE VEGAN SUGAR COOKIES
- Superfine oat flour: This keeps the cookies gluten-free and gives a neutral flavor and soft and chewy center.
- Superfine almond flour: This helps to replace oil/butter so they have moisture and a buttery taste.
- White rice flour: Brown rice flour cannot be subbed here. It will really change the flavor and make them much more dry and crumbly.
- Tapioca starch: This starch helps the cookies bind together so they don’t fall apart. You might possibly be able to use cornstarch, but I haven’t tested this and cannot guarantee it will work here. Do not try potato starch, it is MUCH drier. Stick with tapioca for best results.
- Baking powder: We need just a little bit here so they aren’t too flat or dense since there are no eggs.
- Pure maple syrup: Even though the cookies are topped with sugar icing, I still wanted the cookie base to be a bit healthier per requests.
- Raw cashew butter: Do not use a store-bought roasted cashew butter! It will ruin the cookies. It absolutely must be raw cashew butter with no additives. It is a crucial ingredient to the cookies. Since this is incredibly hard to find, except for Whole Foods, I always make my own. It is super easy-see my tutorial here. Make it the day before or earlier than you want to make the cookies so it has plenty of time to come back to room temperature, as processing it will make it rather warm.
- Vanilla extract: Just a touch, so it doesn’t overpower the cookies. I tried more originally and my hubby complained of an alcohol taste, haha.
HOW TO MAKE GLUTEN FREE VEGAN SUGAR COOKIES
First, to a large bowl, add the dry ingredients.
Add the liquids to the dry and mix and form into a ball.
Place the ball of dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper and roll out to 1/4 inch even layer.
Use cookie cutters to make shapes and place on a lined pan of parchment paper.
Bake for 7 minutes at 350 °F until the bottoms (not the tops) are looking a golden brown.
Let the cookies fully cool before decorating.
CRISPY SUGAR CUT-OUT COOKIES
These cookies are not a soft sugar cookie. They have crispy edges with a somewhat soft and chewy center. But, if you are looking for the super soft cookies, make my other Vegan Sugar Cookies instead. Those are not the cut-out style. This is because there is much less liquid than traditional cookies, are thinner, as well as these being oil-free. They are wonderfully delicious, but they are more of a crispy cookie, so expect that.
SUGAR COOKIE DECORATING TIPS
I went all out and decorated these gluten-free vegan sugar cookies for hours, but obviously you don’t need to do this. You can simply spread the icing on top or do simple swirls or strips. Just don’t skip the icing entirely! Plain sugar cut-out cookies are meant to be covered with icing, they aren’t meant to be plain, as there isn’t a whole lot to them other than flour, sweetener and vanilla. You could always use another icing I suppose that you want that you love, just don’t leave them plain.
- If you are a beginner at decorating cookies, just know, it takes TIME. Have patience, having a steady hand to decorate cookies takes practice.
- Get some piping tips and piping bags. I use Wilton #! tip to outline so it’s easy and more precise.
- If you are wanting to do different colors, make sure you have several piping bags to divide the colored icing.
- Watch some youtube videos for guidance.
- Have several different small bowls to divide your colored icing, if doing more than just white.
- Get sprinkles or any type of decorations you want to top the cookies with. I love the vegan options that Sweetapolita sells.
So, which do you like better, the red and gold or the blue and gold?? Obviously, when I created these I wanted something a bit different than the traditional red and green Christmas colors and it was such fun to make!
MORE VEGAN CHRISTMAS COOKIES TO MAKE
- Vegan Gingerbread Cut-Out Cookies
- Vegan Snickerdoodles
- Vegan Almond Butter Blossoms
- Vegan Cardamom Pecan Cookies
- Vegan Coconut Butter Gingersnaps
- Vegan Chai Coconut Oatmeal Cookies
- Dark Chocolate Molasses Cookies
Gluten Free Vegan Sugar Cookies (Oil-free!)
- 1 1/4 cups (160g) superfine oat flour (I highly recommend store-bought such as Bob's Red Mill, as homemade oat flour is often not fine enough to work and match my weight amounts and may alter the dough)
- 1/4 cup (40g) white rice flour (do not use brown, they will fall apart & not taste good)
- 1/4 cup (28g) superfine almond flour (it must be superfine or your dough will be way too sticky-SEE NOTES at bottom for sub!)
- 2 tablespoons (16g) tapioca starch
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
- 1/2 cup (160g) pure maple syrup
- 3/4 cup (192g) RAW cashew butter (SEE NOTES at bottom!)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
ICING (This is enough to fully ice the cookies. Use half if wanting to just drizzle or OMIT if wanting to just use sprinkles.)
- 2 cups (248g) powdered sugar
- 8 teaspoons (40g) lite coconut milk or soy milk
- 4 teaspoons (28g) pure maple syrup (this helps the icing to be shiny)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (use clear if desired for a whiter frosting)
- Please follow the recipe exactly, as this was a very tested and finicky recipe, as cut-out cookies tend to be. You know I always recommend a scale for baking, but I especially recommend it with these since cut-out style cookies require such exact ratios for the dough to be proper with the science of baking. Measuring with cups can really alter how the dough turns out. Use my exact weights listed, as this recipe has been tested multiple times strictly by weights, NOT cups, so you don't need to get out your cups to compare those measurements to weights. That is not needed here. You just need to use the scale and a bowl. Very simple. Make sure to zero out between each ingredient addition. This recipe is a breeze and QUICK if followed correctly.
- I use this scale
- Be sure to bake these cookies shortly after making the dough. Do not store in the fridge for several hours or overnight. Chilling it for a long time causes it to really dry and and break apart. Use it fresh.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper.
- To a large bowl, add the dry ingredients and whisk until thoroughly mixed and no lumps remain.
- Add the syrup, cashew butter and vanilla to the dry ingredients and stir together until it comes together into a ball. It will be a bit shaggy at first. Pressing the dough together with the back of a spoon will help it come together.
- Once it's in a rough ball, pick it up with your hands and knead, press and mold it together several times so it completely comes together and is smooth and NO more visible flour remains. Form into a very smooth ball. It should not be sticky and be very easy to work with if measured correctly. Refer to photo of dough in post. If for some reason you cannot easily form a ball and it's sticking too much to your hands, scoop the dough into plastic wrap and wrap into a ball and place in the fridge for just 1 hour.
- After forming the ball, if you have time, place the dough wrapped in plastic wrap in the fridge for 30 minutes to make rolling slightly easier. Although, I didn't even do this and found the dough easy enough to work with to bake right away. However, if your cookie cutters are sticking too much, chill it briefly or else you will have messy cookies.
- Place the dough onto a piece of parchment paper and place another sheet of paper on top of the dough. Roll the dough out continuously starting from the middle to ensure even rolling. Roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thick, NO less, or they will bake up really thin and too crispy and become more dry.
- Use desired cookie cutters to make shapes close together using all the dough. Make sure to use similar shaped cookie cutters so they bake evenly. Carefully peel away the unused portion of the dough around the cookie shapes Gently pick up the cookie shapes and place them on the lined pan.
- Form the dough back into a ball and repeat the process until all the dough is used. I got 20-24 cookies using the size of standard cookie cutters. You may get less or more depending on the ones you use. Just keep the cookie cutters to similar size so they bake evenly.
- These cookies are meant to be frosted with the icing, as we all know, that is traditional. You can choose to fully ice like I have in the photos or just do stripes or minimal icing decorations. If you really want to skip icing, then just sprinkle the cookies with sprinkling sugar before baking.
- Bake 1 pan at a time for just 7 minutes (6 minutes if using the no almond flour version) and set your timer! Sugar cut-out cookies bake very fast so stay close. They are done when you look through the oven window and see the bottoms forming a golden brown color and the tips may just beginning to turn golden brown. Obviously, ovens can vary, so yours may take slightly longer, but look for the description noted. The tops won't change much color, but be very light. Do not overbake these or they can really dry out.
- Cool just 5 minutes on the pan and transfer to cool completely on a wire rack before icing.
- Mix the icing ingredients with a whisk until completely smooth. This icing should be the consistency of toothpaste. This is used to outline the cookies so it hardens quickly and doesn't run off the cookie. Test outlining one cookie with a piping tip and if it's not running off, you are good. If it's too runny, add a bit more sugar. Please note that if you don't use a milk listed, yours will be runnier and may require more sugar.
- If just drizzling the cookies, you don't need to divide the icing, but if you want to flood the cookies (fill the outline) you need a bit of runnier icing so it's easy to fill in. You will add a tiny bit of milk, start with a teaspoon and it should be more easily runny, but not watery. Fill in a cookie with another piping tip to test. Don't worry if your icing ever turns too runny, just always add more sugar.
- Do this same process if wanting to use colors. I made several different bowls of icing to do this.
- Place all the cookies on wire racks to cool. The icing will take several hours to fully harden. I let mine sit overnight to harden on the racks uncovered. Don't worry about them drying out. Honestly, it kept them crispier this way and the icing helps to keep them moist!
- If you just did the cookies with sprinkling sugar and no icing, once they are cooled, place them on a plate covered with foil or a glass container to store them. I wouldn't use plastic, as it will make them become soft.
- ALMOND FLOUR: I'm sure many cannot have almonds, so I tested a version without almond flour. Please note that this version dries out faster, but as long as you still ice the tops, they are definitely still yummy and wonderfully crispy. To make them without almond flour, follow the recipe as written, but use 1/2 cup (80g) white rice flour instead of only the 1/4 cup and omit the almond flour. Bake for JUST 6 minutes for them to be a light color and the bottoms just starting to turn golden. Of course ovens vary, but this was the correct time for mine. If you overbake these, they will be very dry.
- CASHEW BUTTER: Do not use a store-bought roasted cashew butter! It will ruin the cookies. It absolutely must be raw cashew butter with no additives. Since this is incredibly hard to find, except for Whole Foods, I always make my own. You can see the tutorial here. Make sure you are blending it long enough to reach the correct soft and flowy stage as listed in the directions, so the cookie dough will come together correctly. The cashew butter absolutely cannot be subbed here in these cookies. It is a crucial ingredient to both the flavor and texture, as the flavor contributes considerably to the sugar cookie taste. No other nut butter will taste right here. If you sub, do so at your own risk. Keep in mind, I make my recipes without oil or butter, which means fat is needed, which is why I use nut butters to replace the standard fats.
- NUTRITION: Nutritional stats is per cookie and does not include icing, as I found it impossible to figure that out since it will vary so much.