If you’re a long time reader you may remember that I used to decorate sugar cookies for baby showers, bridal showers, etc. (WHOSE LIFE WAS THAT.) The sugar cookie recipe I used back then was on the crisp side to accommodate intricate designs, but what I truly love is a soft and chewy sugar cookie — and this gluten-free sugar cookie recipe is the BEST!
Watch How to Make Gluten Free Sugar Cookies
Soft and Chewy Gluten Free Sugar Cookies from scratch have a tissue paper-thinness of crackle-crisp on top which gives way to a soft and chewy texture with a perfectly sweet taste on the inside. You would never in a million years guess these cookies are gluten free — in fact, I’ve had several readers leave a comment to say that their family’s prefer this gluten free recipe to their “regular” sugar cookie recipe.
In short, they are INCREDIBLE!
Best of all? You can bake then frost them as regular drop cookies, or you can roll the dough out and cut into shapes using cookie cutters. Kids LOVE making these gluten-free Christmas cookies!
I love that this gluten free sugar cookie recipe is made with everyday “normal” ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Softened butter: I prefer baking with salted butter. You can also use your favorite vegan butter instead.
- Sugar: can’t have sugar cookies without granulated sugar!
- Eggs: help keep our cookies soft and chewy. I have used Bob’s Red Mill Powdered Egg Replacer with good results. The texture is a bit different than when the dough is made with regular chicken eggs, but still very delicious.
- Vanilla extract: adds cozy flavor to each cookie.
- Gluten Free Baking Flour Blend: you’ll want to use a baking blend that includes xanthan gum. More on my favorite brands below.
- Baking powder: ensures we have nice, puffy cookies.
- Salt: just a pinch to balance out the sweetness in the cookies and frosting.
Best Gluten-Free Flour for Sugar Cookies
As I mentioned, you’ll need a 1-to-1 / measure-for-measure gluten-free flour blend to make this gluten free sugar cookie recipe. When you see the term “1-to-1” or “measure-for-measure” it usually indicates that the flour contains a binder such as xanthan gum to keep your baked goods from falling apart. That said, be sure to read the label and locate “xanthan gum” before purchasing.
This recipe will not work with single flours and/or starches like almond flour, coconut flour, or tapioca starch. These ingredients don’t contain binders and can be more or less “thirsty” than gluten free flour blends. For example, coconut flour requires a ton of liquid/moisture when added to gluten free baking recipes.
This recipe is specifically formulated to work with a gluten free baking flour blend — here are my favorites:
- Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour
- King Arthur Baking Gluten Free Measure-for-Measure Flour
- Schar Mix It! Universal flour blend
Tips for Making Perfect Gluten Free Sugar Cookies
- If your dough is sticky: You may have a sticky dough if you’re baking at high altitude. Incorporate 2-3 Tablespoons more flour into the dough then refrigerate until firm and bake.
- Leave time to chill: If you plan on rolling out the dough to cut with cookie cutters, plan on leaving enough time to chill the dough for several hours or, better yet, overnight.
- Don’t roll too thin: this cookie dough is a bit softer than standard sugar cookie dough so, if you plan on rolling the dough out to cut into shapes using a cookie cutter, don’t roll thinner than 1/4 inch. Rolling pin guides are super helpful for this!
- Let them cool: gluten free cookies can be more fragile than regular cookies when they’re hot. Be sure to let your cookies cool on the cookie sheet for a full 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Where Can I Find Gluten Free Sprinkles and Frosting?
What are gluten free Christmas cookies without a flourish of frosting and sprinkles?!
- Frosting: Of course you can whip up your own buttercream frosting, but I usually go the store-bought route. We love Simple Mills Vanilla Frosting, and Pillsbury White Frosting. Both are gluten free and dairy free.
- Sprinkles: Did you know that while many sprinkles don’t contain gluten, many are manufactured on shared lines with products containing wheat? Be sure to check labels before adding to your cookies! Sweetapolita, Supernatural, Watkins, and Kate’s Safe and Sweet all offer gluten free sprinkles.
How to Make the Gluten Free Sugar Cookies
- Step 1: Make the gluten free sugar cookie dough
- Step 2: Decide if you’ll make drop cookies or roll the dough out and cut with cookie cutters
- Step 3: Bake
- Step 4: Decorate
Start the cookie dough by adding salted butter that’s been softened to room temperature, and white sugar, to the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or a large glass bowl if using a hand held mixer. Cream until pale yellow, about 1 minute, then scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Add 2 eggs one at a time, mixing until the egg is just combined before adding the next one, then add vanilla extract and mix to combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
In a separate bowl, stir together the dry ingredients: gluten-free baking flour WITH added binder, baking powder, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients in three batches, mixing until just combined before adding the next batch.
How to Turn the Dough into Drop Cookies
If you want to turn the sugar cookie dough into drop cookies (aka, round cookies) scoop out 2 Tablespoons worth of dough then roll into balls and place onto a parchment paper or silicone mat-lined half sheet pan leaving room for the cookies to spread.
Gently press down on the dough balls with your fingers to slightly flatten then bake for 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees or until the centers of the cookies have just barely set.
- Tip: The cookies will not be golden brown around the edges when they’re done, so pull them out of the oven just shy of being golden brown to ensure they stay soft and chewy in the center.
Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Finally, frost with a knife then embellish to your heart’s desire!
How to Make Gluten Free Cut Out Sugar Cookies
If you’d like to make cut out cookies using cookie cutters, divide the dough in half then wrap each half in plastic wrap and refrigerate until completely chilled – a couple hours or overnight.
Once chilled, remove one dough disc from the fridge then place it onto a sheet of parchment paper. Working quickly, cover with another sheet of parchment paper then roll 1/4″ thick.
- Tip: Be sure to not roll thinner than 1/4″ or you will have trouble transferring the shapes to the baking sheet. Rolling pin guides help with this!
Press cookie cutters into the dough then wiggle a bit to make sure they’re completely separated from the surrounding dough. Transfer the cookies to half sheet pans lined with silpat mats or parchment paper then bake for 7-9 minutes at 375 degrees (NOTE: this is a higher temperature then the drop cookies!) or until the edges are barely golden brown. Freeze scraps for 5 minutes before re-rolling and cutting.
- Tip: I DO like to bake the cut out cookies until golden brown around the edges (vs the drop cookies which I don’t) because it’s a little easier to frost cookies with arms/legs/boots, etc when they’re a bit sturdier. Still soft, but just a touch sturdier.
Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cool, frost and decorate.
Royal Icing Recipe for Cut Out Cookies
Here’s the tried-and-true royal icing recipe I used back in the day for my cut out sugar cookie business. The icing dries hard and shiny for a professional look!
- 2 large eggs whites of pasteurized liquid egg white product
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- gel food coloring
- To the bowl of an electric mixer, or a large glass bowl if using a hand held mixer, add egg whites and lemon juice then beat to combine. Add powdered sugar then mix on low speed until smooth. If the icing seems too thin, add more powdered sugar. If it seems too thick, add a little water or milk.
- Add gel food coloring if desired then mix until the color is even. If you want to make several colors, divide the icing between bowls then stir gel food coloring into each bowl. Scoop into piping bags with tips to ice.
- Icing will harden as it sits so be sure to transfer to an airtight container if not using immediately.
Can I Freeze Gluten Free Cookies?
Yes! Both the dough and baked gluten free sugar cookies freeze beautifully.
- To freeze the dough: Divide the dough in half then wrap each half tightly in plastic wrap. Place inside a Ziplock freezer bag then freeze. Thaw the dough in the refrigerator for 24 hours then bake per recipe instructions.
- To freeze the baked cookies: Cool cookies completely then layer in a Ziplock freezer bag and freeze. Eat or frost directly from the freezer – they thaw quickly.
I hope you LOVE these sweet and chewy, best gluten-free sugar cookies. Take it from me — the girl who always loses count of how many she devours every time she bakes them — they’re super fun to make, but even more fun to eat. Enjoy!
More Gluten Free Cookie Recipes You’ll Love
- Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Soft Batch Ginger Molasses Cookies
- Gluten Free Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies
- Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Brown Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
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Soft and Chewy Gluten Free Sugar Cookies (Cut Out and Drop Options)
You'd never know soft and chewy gluten-free sugar cookies are made with gluten-free flour! Make into drop cookies or roll and cut into any shape you like.
- 3/4 cup salted butter (1-1/2 sticks), softened to room temperature (NOT MELTED)
- 1-1/2 cups sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2-3/4 cups gluten-free flour blend with binder (see notes for brands recommended)
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- heaping 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Add butter and sugar to the bowl of an electric mixer, or to a large glass bowl if using a hand-held mixer, then cream until pale yellow, scraping down the sides of the bowl once. Add eggs one at a time, mixing until just incorporated before adding the next egg. Add vanilla then mix until just incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- In a separate bowl, stir together gluten-free flour, baking powder, and salt. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients in three batches, mixing on low speed until just incorporated before adding the next batch. Dough should be soft but not sticky - if sticky, place bowl in the refrigerator for 10 minutes to firm up.
- To make drop cookies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees then line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper and set aside. Scoop dough into 2 Tablespoon-sized portions then roll between your hands to form a ball and place onto prepared baking sheet at least 2” apart. Press down gently with your fingers to flatten the balls slightly then bake for 8-10 minutes or until the centers of the cookies are set. NOTE: cookies will NOT be golden brown around the edges! Let cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- To make cut out cookies: Divide dough between two sheets of saran wrap then shape into flat discs, cover, and refrigerate until completely chilled. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees (this is a higher temperature than the drop cookies) then line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper and set aside.
- Unwrap one disc then place onto a sheet of parchment paper. Working quickly, cover with another sheet of parchment paper then roll 1/4” thick. Use cookie cutters to cut the dough into shapes (it helps to wiggle the cookie cutter once pressed to separate the cut out from the surrounding dough) then carefully transfer cut outs to the prepared baking sheet. If cutouts are too soft to transfer, refrigerate or freeze parchment paper with cut outs for 5-10 minutes then try again. Freeze scraps for 5 minutes before re-rolling and cutting.
- Bake cookies for 7-9 minutes or until cookies are barely golden brown around the edges. Let cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Frost cookies with your favorite frosting, icing, and/or embellishments. Store in an airtight container for 3-4 days or freeze unfrosted cookies for several months.
- Leave a comment and star rating if you loved the recipe! Thank you for considering!
- I recommend King Arthur Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour, Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour, and Schar Mix It! Universal flour to make these cookies.
- To freeze the dough: Divide dough in half then wrap each half tightly in plastic wrap. Place inside a Ziplock freezer bag then freeze. Thaw dough in the refrigerator for 24 hours then bake per recipe instructions.
- To freeze the baked cookies: Cool cookies completely then layer in a Ziplock freezer bag and freeze. Eat or frost directly from the freezer - they thaw quickly.
- Royal Icing Recipe: add 2 large eggs whites of pasteurized liquid egg white product to a large mixing bowl with 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice then beat with a mixer to combine. Add 3 cups powdered sugar then mix on low until smooth. Add more powdered sugar if too thin, or a little water or milk if too thick. Add gel food coloring then mix until color is even. Transfer icing into piping bags then ice. Transfer icing to an airtight container if not using immediately.
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.
Photos by Ashley McLaughlin