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. Anyway the sugar cookie recipe I used back then was on the crisp side to accommodate royal icing vs fluffy frosting, but what I’ve been craving this holiday season is a soft and chewy sugar cookie – made gluten free of course!
Soft and Chewy Gluten Free Sugar Cookies from scratch have a tissue paper-thinness of crackly sugar on top which gives way to a soft and chewy cookie on the inside. You would never in a million years guess these are gluten free. They are INCREDIBLE!
Best of all? You can bake them as regular drop cookies or roll the dough out and cut into shapes using cookie cutters. So cute, and just like the “real thing”.
Tips for Making Gluten Free Sugar Cookies
- Best flours to use: You’ll need a “measure for measure”, “1 to 1”, or “recipe ready” gluten free flour blend for these Christmas cookies. I prefer King Arthur Flour GF Measure for Measure Flour or Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour. Both blends already include xanthan gum as a binder.
- What flours to NOT use: You cannot swap the gluten free flour blends for single gluten free flours like coconut flour or almond flour, for example. These flours do not contain binders and can be more or less “thirsty” than the blends. For example, coconut flour requires a ton of liquid/moisture when added to gluten free baking recipes.
- Leave time to chill: If you’d like to roll the dough to cut with cookie cutters, plan on leaving enough time to chill the dough for several hours, or up to overnight.
- Frost then decorate: These sugar cookies are HEAVENLY topped with Simple Mills Vanilla Frosting then embellished with cute, seasonal sprinkles. Hobby Lobby carries a ton of GF sprinkles.
How to Make the Gluten Free Sugar Cookie Dough
Start by adding salted butter that’s been softened to room temperature (NOT MELTED) and white sugar to the bowl of an electric mixer, 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 mix in vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
In a separate bowl, stir together the dry ingredients: gluten free flour WITH added binder, baking powder, and salt. Add 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, scoop out 2 Tablespoon portions of the dough then roll into balls, place onto a silpat or parchment paper-lined baking sheet at least 2″ apart, then gently press down with your fingers to slightly flatten. Bake for 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees or until the centers of the cookies have just barely set.
- Tip 1: The dough should be soft but not sticky. If it’s sticky while trying to roll into balls, refrigerate the whole bowl for 10 minutes. I’ve never had this problem, but if you do, refrigerate vs adding more flour.
- Tip 2: The cookies will NOT be golden brown when done. Pull them out of the oven just shy of being golden brown around the edges 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. Then, frost and embellish to your heart’s desire!
How to Make Cut Out Cookies
If you’d like to make cut out cookies with 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.
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 a silpat or parchment paper-lined baking sheet 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. 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.
- Tip: I 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.
Can I Freeze Gluten Free Sugar 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 overnight 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 gluten free sugar cookies. Take it from me – the girl who lost count of how many she ate – they’re super fun to make, but even more fun to eat. Enjoy!
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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
- 2-1/2 cups gluten-free flour blend with binder (see notes for brand used)
- 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 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 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 and embellishments (I love Simple Mills Vanilla Frosting.) Store in an airtight container for 3-4 days or freeze unfrosted cookies for several months.
- I use and recommend King Arthur Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour or Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking 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 the dough in the refrigerator overnight 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'll thaw quickly.
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.