Gluten Free Sugar Cookies

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These gluten free sugar cookies are perfect for the holidays! Bake them into soft and chewy lofthouse-style cookies or make them into cut out cookie shapes and decorate them.

gluten free cut out sugar cookies

Some of my fondest Christmas memories involve baking cookies with my family, ESPECIALLY sugar cookies. There was seriously nothing better than getting to cut out your favorite shapes from the dough and then decorate your cookies however you liked. Even now, developing these gluten free sugar cookies was one of the most fun tasks we've taken on in a while. We turned on some Christmas music, mixed up our icing, laid out the sprinkles, and got to decorating – even Gus got his own special Great Pyrenees cookie!

When testing these gluten free sugar cookies, we wanted to create a dough that could turn into both a soft, fluffy, chewy sugar cookie, and one that we could roll out into shapes that would maintain its shape. After a few tests (and watching our cookies turn from stars to unidentifiable blobs in the oven) we finally landed on the right ingredient ratio, which gave us a cookie that holds its shape while baked, but still has that tender, chewy texture with slightly crisp edges.

What is the best flour for gluten free sugar cookies?

For these gluten free sugar cookies, and almost all of our other cookie recipes, we recommend using King Arthur Measure for Measure flour. This flour works as a 1:1 flour replacement in traditional recipes and we have found that it consistently produces soft, fluffy baked goods that hold together and aren't gritty like many other gluten free flours can be. If you can't find the measure for measure flour, some people have had good results with Bob's Red Mill 1:1.

gluten free cut out sugar cookies

How to Make Gluten Free Sugar Cookie Dough

Here's what you'll need to do to make this gluten free sugar cookie dough:

  1. Whisk together the dry ingredients. First, you'll whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder until well combined. This helps ensure that the baking powder and salt are evenly distributed throughout the cookies.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar. Next, you'll add softened butter and the sugar to a bowl and beat them with an electric mixer for about 1 minute, until fluffy. This helps add a light, creamy texture to the cookies.
  3. Mix in the rest of the wet ingredients. Once you've finished beating the sugar and butter, you'll mix in the vanilla and egg.
  4. Add in the flour. Finally, you'll add the flour in about 1/2 cup at a time until it is fully incorporated, then you'll transfer the dough to the refrigerator!

For Lofthouse Style Gluten Free Sugar Cookies

As mentioned above, these sugar cookies can be made in two ways! For a soft and chewy, lofthouse-style cookie, you'll roll the cookies into 1-inch balls and bake for about 12-13 minutes, until they are browned on the edges and soft in the center. From here, you can either frost them (we recommend using buttercream or cream cheese frosting) or leave them plain. If you don't frost them, you can also roll them in coarse sugar before baking for a fun, crunchy finish.

For Gluten Free Cut Out Sugar Cookies

To make cut out sugar cookies, you'll want to roll the dough out so you can cut out the shapes. First, spread flour on your countertop, then use a rolling pin to roll the dough to 1/4 inch thickness. From there, cut shapes into the dough as closely as possible, then roll the scraps from the dough into a ball, roll them out again, and cut again. These won't spread much, so you can place more on a sheet, and they'll only need to bake for about 8-10 minutes.

Let them cool for about 30 minutes, and then frost with our sugar cookie icing in the recipe below!

gluten free cut out sugar cookies

What are the best dye-free food colorings and sprinkles?

Once we nailed down the sugar cookie recipe, the next question on our minds was what kind of food coloring we would use in place of the traditional, artificial dye-filled varieties. We decided to go with Watkins as an affordable, safer, and easy-to-find alternative. McCormick has also recently come out with dye-free food coloring that is receiving good reviews. Note that with the lack of artificial dye, the coloring does turn out to be more pastel than a true deep red or green. To frost, we combined a few drops of dye (color it to your liking) with powdered sugar and a bit of milk, then placed it in a piping bag (note that if you don't have any pastry bags or tips on hand, you can also add the frosting to a plastic bag and make a tiny cut in the tip to get the job done). Then, we outlined the cookies and filled them in.

If you want to decorate your cookies with sprinkles, but want to make sure they are also free of dyes and other questionable ingredients, India Tree makes tons of varieties of sprinkles, Supernatural has some very fun holiday sprinkle varieties (see Ugly Christmas Sweater and Big Blizzard), and Watkins also has a handful of holiday sprinkles without artificial dyes.

We hope you and your family enjoy making these gluten free sugar cookies as much as we did!

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Gluten Free Cut Out Sugar Cookies

These gluten free cut out sugar cookies are sure to become a holiday tradition in your home!

  • Author: Amber Goulden
  • Prep Time: 00:45
  • Cook Time: 00:08
  • Total Time: 53 minutes
  • Yield: About 24 cookies
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baked Good
  • Cuisine: Holiday

Ingredients

For the Cookies:

For the Icing

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt, then set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar on high with an electric mixer or stand mixer for 1-2 minutes, until fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat again until fully combined.
  3. Add the flour to the butter mixture 1/2 cup at a time, mixing constantly, until the flour is fully incorporated and a soft dough has formed. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for one hour, up to overnight.*
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  5. Sprinkle flour over your counter, or over a large piece of parchment paper, then take half of the dough and place it on the floured surface. Sprinkle flour over the dough and use a rolling pin to roll it out to even 1/4-inch thickness. If the dough sticks at any time, you can add more flour to prevent it, or place another piece of parchment paper over top if you are still experiencing sticking. If the dough cracks around the edges, simply pinch it back together and roll over it again.
  6. Once the dough is rolled out, cut your shapes, taking care to cut them as closely together as possible to utilize all of the dough. Once you have cut out all of the shapes, carefully place the cookies one inch apart on the cookie sheet. At this point you can roll the extra dough into a ball then roll and cut again. Repeat this process for remaining dough.
  7. Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes, until the edges are browned, then remove from the oven and let cool.
  8. In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar and milk, until desired consistency is achieved. From here, spoon a small amount of icing into a piping (or plastic) bag to outline the cookies. This step makes filling them in with colored icing much easier later.
  9. Once you're finished outlining the cookies, divide the rest into individual bowls and add food coloring to your liking. Add the food coloring to your piping bag, or Ziploc bag with the tip cut off, and use it to outline, then fill in your cookies.
  10. Decorate the cookies with sprinkles, then set aside to let the icing harden slightly, about 30 minutes. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days, or eat immediately. Enjoy!

Notes

  • If you are having trouble with the dough sticking, add more flour to both sides. It can also be helpful to sandwich the dough between two pieces of parchment paper (dusted with flour) while rolling out the cookies!
  • For Lofthouse-style sugar cookies, form the dough into 1-inch balls and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake for 12-14 minutes.

Keywords: gluten free, low FOD-MAP, vegetarian, nightshade free, holiday, baked goods

Comments

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  1. Michele says:

    Yum! This sounds delicious. Quick question – how much better does the recipe call for? 1/2C is 1 stick of butter for the brands I use. Just wanted to check, thanks!

  2. Marta says:

    These are delicious! I added 1/4 tsp. nutmeg so they’d taste more like my mom’s cookies & they came out beautiful! Thank you!

  3. Candy says:

    The ingredients say baking powder but the instructions say baking soda – it’s powder, right?

  4. Candy says:

    These turned out great! Flavor and texture are perfect. I added 1/2 tsp almond extract and used Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 GF baking flour.

  5. Marcey says:

    What can be subbed for butter to make these dairy free? Need to know ASAP please.