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Easy Buttery Gluten Free Shortbread Cookies (Dairy Free)

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Our tender and buttery shortbread cookies are easy to make and are gluten free and dairy free! These have a delicious melt-in-your-mouth texture and don’t require chilling or rolling cookie dough.

A stack of gluten free shortbread cookies on a baking sheet.

One of my favorite cookie recipes as a teen was a shortbread cookie recipe my mom and sister would make that was softer than a traditional shortbread cookie and had mini chocolate chips in it and usually orange flavoring. So good!

It was a favorite of ours for giving to friends or for cookie exchanges, so I thought about trying to make my own version of shortbread that was similar.

After a lot of recipe testing, our version didn’t end up being very close to that older recipe, but our version is SO GOOD. It has a slightly soft flaky and tender melt-in-your-mouth texture with a buttery flavor.

These are definitely worth a try if you’re looking for an easy gluten free shortbread recipe!

Food allergy notes:

  • Gluten free
  • Egg free and vegan
  • Peanut free

Why you’ll love our allergy friendly shortbread recipe

Though our shortbread doesn’t look like traditional shortbread (which is usually cut in rectangles or circles), it has a similar buttery taste and tender, flaky texture.

Plus our version is easy to make and doesn’t require chilling or rolling the cookie dough!

Gluten free shortbread cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

How to make gluten free and vegan shortbread cookies

Here are the steps to make our gluten free shortbread cookies. This is just an overview of steps, the full recipe is at the end of the post.

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. Add the room temperature Violife vegan butter to a bowl with vanilla extract and cream together with a hand mixer.
  3. Add the powdered sugar to the bowl and mix again.
  4. Add the salt and sorghum flour and mix.
  5. Add the gluten free baking mix and mix again. A thick dough should form that is not too sticky or too dry, and about the consistency of soft playdough.
  6. Roll dough into 1-inch balls and place on the cookie sheet. Cover the remaining dough with a piece of plastic wrap to keep it from drying out.
  7. Flatten the cookie dough balls lightly with a fork twice to create a crosshatch pattern and bake for 11 minutes. The edges will be very lightly golden brown
  8. Allow the baked cookies to cool on the pan for about 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.
  9. Cool completely before serving, and store in an airtight container or bag at room temperature.
A series of photos showing how to make gluten-free vegan shortbread cookies.

Is this recipe like a traditional Scottish shortbread cookie?

Our shortbread cookies are different from a classic shortbread recipe in that these do spread a little bit on the pan, so you don’t want to flatten them too much with the fork. Just enough to make impressions and flatten the cookies slightly.

Regular Scottish shortbread is also usually cut out, either into rectangles or cut into circles. I really tried to make these close to traditional shortbread, but with making these allergy friendly, I couldn’t get them exactly the same texture and shape.

We tested our recipe by rolling the dough and cutting it into rectangles, etc. and these had the best texture when just rolled into balls and pressed lightly with a fork.

Some traditional shortbread cookies are covered in sugar, we decided not to do that with our recipe but you can press the top of your dough ball into sugar before pressing with a fork if you want to have a little bit of sugar on top.

A few recipes for shortbread also have white rice flour in them to help achieve that traditional “sandy” texture. We got that with a mix of fine sorghum flour and the gluten free baking mix instead. Our version is a little more melt-in-your-mouth with powdered sugar instead of granulated sugar, too.

A gluten-free bowl of cookie dough next to a baking sheet pan.
Your cookie dough shouldn’t be too sticky or too dry, and should have the consistency of soft play dough that’s easy to roll.

Can I use a different brand of butter or flour in this recipe?

For the best results in flavor and texture, I recommend using the specific brands we list in this recipe. We did testing with 2 different brands of dairy free butter and multiple types and brands of flour. The best results we achieved are with the specific brands we list in the recipe card.

This recipe should still work with the Country Crock plant butter sticks, but the Violife unsalted plant butter is firmer and results in a flakier and more buttery-tasting shortbread in our recipe.

If you want to try other kinds of dairy free butter here, I’d stick with a butter that still holds it shape well when it’s at room temperature. I’d avoid using anything that gets too soft at room temperature, like the Earth Balance tub margarine.

Gluten-free shortbread cookies on a baking sheet with cookie broke apart to show the inside.

For flour, I tested this with the Bob’s Red Mill gluten free 1-to-1 flour and for some reason it didn’t work in this recipe, I’m not entirely sure why. So if you can, I’d stick with the flour we have listed in the recipe card.

Please note that we use the King Arthur gluten free all purpose baking mix in this recipe vs the King Arthur gluten free all purpose flour. They make a few different types of gluten free flour blends and mixes and the gluten free all purpose baking mix is the one we tested this recipe with.

Here’s a comparison of the differences in their gluten free flour and all purpose baking mix. We use the product featured on the top that has salt and baking powder already in it.

Chart comparing different king arthur gluten free flours and mixes.

If you do decide to switch flours, you’ll want something with a little xanthan gum in it to help keep this recipe from being too crumbly since it doesn’t have eggs or another binder. 

Check out our other allergy friendly cookie recipes!

A stack of gluten free shortbread cookies on a baking sheet.

Buttery Gluten Free Shortbread Cookies (Dairy Free)

Our gluten-free shortbread recipe is tender and buttery, and completely dairy free! These cookies melt in your mouth thanks to powdered sugar and they don't require chilling or rolling out the cookie dough.
Gluten free, dairy free, vegan, peanut free
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Cookies
Cuisine: American, Scottish
Keyword: dairy free gluten free shortbread, vegan shortbread cookies
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 11 minutes
Cooling time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 41 minutes
Servings: 24 cookies
Calories: 81kcal

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet pan with parchment paper.
  • In a medium bowl, cream together the dairy free butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla.
  • Add the salt and sorghum flour to the butter and mix again.
  • Add in the gluten free all purpose baking mix and mix again until a thick dough forms. This dough should be easy to roll into balls, it shouldn't be too wet/sticky or too dry.
  • Roll cookie dough into 1-inch balls and place them on the parchment-lined baking sheet.
  • Gently press a fork into the cookie dough balls twice to create a cross-wise pattern. These cookies will spread a little so make sure not to flatten the cookies too much.
  • Bake in the oven for 11 minutes. Allow to cool on the pan for about 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.
  • Allow to cool completely before serving.
  • Store in an airtight container at room temperture.

Video

Notes

For the best results, we recommend using the specific brands we list in the ingredients since we tested these brands in this recipe. We cannot guarantee the results with other brands of flour and dairy free butter.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 81kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 0.5g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 69mg | Potassium: 0.3mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Calcium: 0.1mg | Iron: 0.003mg
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photo collage of Gluten free shortbread cookies with text overlay.

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