Get a gluten-free shortbread cookie recipe that’s dairy-free, vegan, and made with only 4 ingredients!
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If you love shortbread but feel like you’ve been missing out while following a gluten-free and vegan diet, you’re not alone.
I used to love shortbread cookies when I was younger, but since I’ve eliminated gluten and dairy from my diet, this type of cookie feels like it’s been off limits for quite some time.
Since I’m tired of waiting for a brand to come out with a really good shortbread cookie option that works for folks who avoid gluten, dairy, and eggs, I thought I’d give it a shot to make these at home.
It turns out – it’s exceptionally easy to make shortbread and they’re so delicious too. Try this recipe that’s made with only almond flour, maple syrup, vegan butter, and baking powder!
How to make shortbread cookies gluten-free
The easiest way to make shortbread cookies gluten-free is to use gluten-free flours. My shortbread recipe uses almond flour.
I love to use almond flour in my baking, because it has added nutritional value in the form of vitamin E, protein, and fiber.
You’ll also want to be sure that the baking powder you choose is also gluten-free.
Read on: Is baking powder gluten-free?
How to make shortbread cookies vegan
To make gluten-free shortbread cookies vegan, I simply substituted the butter for vegan butter. Since traditional shortbread only calls for butter, flour, and sugar, this recipe was easy to adapt using vegan butter in place of butter made from cow’s milk.
Ingredients for gluten-free shortbread cookies
You don’t need too many ingredients for delicious vegan gluten-free shortbread cookies. Here are the ingredients I use in my recipe.
I like that these cookies are full of healthy fats, protein, and fiber from the almond flour used. Many traditional recipes call for all purpose flour, but this recipe goes gluten-free with almond flour.
You may be able to use gluten-free all purpose flour in this recipe, however I haven’t tested it myself.
While I tend to use coconut oil in a lot of my baking, I opt for vegan butter in this recipe. The taste is similar to real butter and gives the fat you need to make these shortbread cookies feel like comfort food.
I use Earth Balance vegan butter that already has salt in the ingredients, so I find that these cookies don’t need any additional salt. If your vegan butter is unsalted, you may want to add a pinch of salt to your cookie dough.
I’ve made these cookies both with and without baking powder, and yet I like to add it to give the cookies a little bit of a chance to rise in the oven.
This ingredient is optional, so if you know you won’t like it in your shortbread cookies or you don’t have it on hand, simply omit it.
Since I decided to keep the refined sugar out of this recipe, I followed the same idea that I did for my gluten-free chocolate chip cookies and used maple syrup instead. It provides a subtle sweetness, and you need much less of it than sugar.
This ingredient is completely optional, but if you love a little extra flavor of “home” in your cookies, you may want to add this ingredient.
Now that you know what’s in these gluten-free shortbread cookies, let’s talk about how to make them step by step.
Read on: 101 Gluten-free dairy-free cookies
How to make vegan gluten-free shortbread cookies
Making these shortbread cookies couldn’t be easier. Try including your kids to help make them too! They’ll love mixing the dough and pressing it into the pan.
Prepare the pan
Prepare an 8″x8″ baking pan by lining it with parchment paper or lightly greasing with cooking spray. Set aside.
Make the cookie dough
In a large bowl, combine almond flour, melted vegan butter, maple syrup, baking powder, and vanilla extract, if using. Stir to combine.
Transfer the shortbread cookie dough
Transfer the dough to the prepared pan and press into an even layer with the back of a spoon or your hands. Score the dough into 16 squares and prick the top of each square with a fork.
Chill the shortbread cookie dough
Chill in the fridge for at least one hour, longer if you have other things you need to do. The minimum is one hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F in the last few minutes of the dough in the fridge before baking.
Bake the gluten-free shortbread
Remove the pan from the fridge. Transfer the shortbread cookies in the pan to the preheated oven to bake for 30 to 35 minutes.
You’ll look for lightly browned edges and your house will smell incredible. That’s how you’ll know they’re done.
Cool and slice
Once baked, remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
Before the shortbread is completely cool, slice through the scored lines, creating 16 shortbread squares.
Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to finish cooling. Enjoy these cookies on their own or dipped in melted dairy-free chocolate for an extra sweet treat.
Can I use this as a cutout gluten-free shortbread cookie?
Absolutely! If you don’t want the traditional squares of this shortbread, you can opt to chill the dough in the fridge wrapped in plastic wrap or in the bowl you mixed it in.
After the hour is up, roll the dough out and use cookie cutters to cut into your favorite shapes.
These will bake up in less time as the dough will be thinner, so keep your eyes peeled for when the edges start looking brown after about 20 to 25 minutes.
How to store gluten-free shortbread cookies
These cookies soften up after about a day at room temperature in an airtight container. If you want them to last longer, you can store them in the fridge to extend their life and texture.
- 2 cups almond flour
- 1/2 cup vegan butter, melted
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
- Line an 8" x 8" baking pan with parchment paper or lightly grease the pan.
- In a large bowl, combine almond flour, melted vegan butter, maple syrup, baking powder, and vanilla extract, if using. Stir to combine.
- Transfer the dough to the prepared pan and press into an even layer with the back of a spoon or your hands. Score the dough into 16 squares and prick the top of each square with a fork.
- Chill in the fridge for at least one hour. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F in the last few minutes of the dough in the fridge before baking.
- Remove the pan from the fridge, then transfer to the oven to bake for 30 to 35 minutes.
- Once baked, remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
- Before the shortbread is completely cool, slice through the scored lines, creating 16 shortbread squares.
- Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to finish cooling. Enjoy these cookies on their own or dipped in melted dairy-free chocolate for an extra sweet treat.
To make chocolate dipped shortbread, simple dip shortbread cookie squares into melted dairy-free chocolate. Set on parchment paper to cool and transfer to the fridge to set.
If you love shortbread cookies and are looking to avoid gluten, dairy, and eggs, give this recipe a try and let me know what you think in the comments!