Everyone needs a great sugar cookie recipe in their repertoire – this one happens to be gluten free, vegan, and friendly to most dietary needs! Whether you eat them plain or decorate with fancy frosting and sprinkles for your cookie exchange, we’re pretty sure you won’t be able to eat just one.
This post is sponsored by Kana. All opinions are our own.
Christmas is just around the corner, which means our weekends have been spent mostly by baking and watching Christmas movies. In recent years, we’ve spent more time baking than usual – hey, it’s work now! But at this time of year, it really doesn’t feel much like work.
Cookie baking and decorating is definitely my favorite holiday activity. It’s always fun to try new recipes, like these Tahini Thumbprint Cookies or these Homemade Peppermint Patties. But no matter how many new recipes we try, not a year goes by that we don’t also make the classics.
Shortbread, sugar cookies and spritz cookies qualify as classics in our house.
Spritz cookies are a family tradition – we still use great-grandma’s cookie press! Shortbread is my dad’s tradition (his side of the family is Scottish), and we usually dip them in chocolate and top with crushed candy canes. SO good.
Sugar cookies, of course, are the go-to for decorating. We’re no professionals, but we try pretty dang hard. They never turn out quite as pretty as we hope (blaming Instagram for my unreasonable expectations), but they definitely taste great. And it’s always such a fun way for us to spend extra time together!
This year, we’re finally sharing our vegan and gluten free sugar cookie recipe on the blog! It’s a recipe we’ve been working on for a while. We’ve tested it quite a few different ways, but this is by far the best in both taste and texture. We hope you give them a try this holiday season!
Before we get to more detailed information about the recipe, who’s ready for a giveaway?!
Introducing Kana parchment paper products!
We’re so excited to be partnering up with Kana this holiday season to give away their entire suite of parchment paper products AND a KitchenAid Stand Mixer (with a food grinder attachment) to one lucky winner. The prize package is valued at $580 and is truly a bakers’ dream!
We use our KitchenAid almost every day – especially during the holiday baking season. It’s one of our absolute favorite appliances, and we’re excited to be gifting one of them to one of you lovely readers. You can enter the giveaway via this link. It’s open until December 16th, 2019. The winner must live in North America. Good luck!
We’re also so excited to introduce you to Kana parchment paper products. We go through a LOT of parchment paper at Crowded Kitchen headquarters, especially when it comes to testing baked goods.
It’s important to us that the parchment paper we use is both sustainably produced and easy to use. Pre-cut sheets are a must – we all know how annoying those rolls are. They never tear in a straight line!
Kana is a brand new company that makes beautifully packaged, sustainable and recyclable parchment paper products. They have everything from pre-cut standard size parchment paper sheets, to pre-cut circular sheets for every cake pan size, to air fryer liners and more. I LOVE these easy-lift parchment paper rounds – seriously a lifesaver for fragile cakes!
In addition to having a fantastic range of products, we love that Kana is driven by sustainability. Their products are made from sustainably-sourced wood pulp and the packaging is made from recycled paper. They don’t use any glue or plastic lamination in their packaging, so it’s fully recyclable! Plus, their packaging is beautiful and easy to store.
Their pre-cut 12 ¼” x 16 ¼” sheets are perfect for cookies. It makes these vegan and gluten free sugar cookies so much easier to make! Plus, it really reduces the mess.
Cookie decorating is seriously messy business, so anything that lessens the dishwashing load is a huge plus. We actually reuse the sheets a few times for additional batches of cookies – they hold up so well!
How to make vegan and gluten free sugar cookies
These vegan sugar cookies are actually quite easy to make, but if you’re not used to gluten free and vegan baking, there are a few things you should know.
First things first, the most important ingredient is coconut oil. We’ve tried a few different brands of vegan butter in this recipe, but coconut oil always works better. We’re not sure why, but we can’t argue with the results! The final result is a tender, buttery cookie that still holds up well to cookie cutters.
To sweeten the cookies, we use a mix of regular cane sugar and agave nectar. The agave brings a bit more moisture back into the dough, which is helpful since the recipe does not contain eggs or regular dairy.
We use regular all-purpose gluten free flour in this vegan sugar cookie recipe. We typically use this brand and highly recommend using it in baked goods. Our recipe also calls for xanthan gum, which isn’t completely essential, but definitely recommended.
Despite the weird name, xanthan gum is a common additive used for thickening and stabilizing. It’s perfectly safe for consumption, and you only need a very small amount in the recipe. We only have to purchase a bag every couple of months and it’s really helped us take our gluten free baked goods to the next level!
The remaining ingredients are all perfectly normal – vanilla extract, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Once the dough comes together in your mixer, it should be very pliable and easy to work with. You may find that refrigerating the dough for a 10-15 minutes before rolling out helps a bit, but I usually don’t have any issues rolling it out right away.
To prevent the dough from sticking to the surface, I usually roll it out on a sheet of parchment paper. I put a silicon baking mat underneath the parchment paper, which keeps it in place so it doesn’t move around as you roll out the dough.
I typically also divide the dough into a few portions to make it easier to roll out. We made a double batch to photograph this recipe, so I divided the dough into four parts. If you’re just making a single batch, dividing it in half will make it easier to work with.
Once you get the cookies in the oven, they only take about 6-8 minutes to bake. Take them out of the oven as soon as they’re just barely golden brown. They will continue to bake for a minute or two when you take them out of the oven. Don’t worry if they don’t look or feel totally baked – once they cool, they’ll harden up.
Let’s talk cookie decorating!
Like I said before, I’m no pro when it comes to cookie decorating. For this recipe, we used a very simple glaze made with powdered sugar and full fat coconut milk. It’s easy to make and hardens up nicely, making it a pretty easy option for novice and experienced cookie decorators alike.
If you’d prefer, you can also opt for homemade frosting. Check out our vegan recipe here! It’s SO good.
Instead of using artificial food coloring, try opting for natural plant-based powders instead. We use these supercolor powders to naturally dye frosting and other baked goods. They work perfectly well, and don’t have any of the unwanted artificial colors and textures. Sprinkles are up to you – anything will work!
More vegan holiday dessert recipes
Not sure about you, but we’re baking as much as we can this December. Here are a few more festive recipes to try!
- Vegan Chocolate Pie with a chocolate cookie crust
- Homemade Twix Bars
- Coconut Lime and Raspberry Cheesecake Bars
- Chocolate Gingerbread Bundt Cake
If you make these vegan and gluten free Sugar Cookies, we’d love for you to leave a comment and rating below! We also love to see your creations on Instagram – tag us at @crowded_kitchen so we can see what you’ve been cooking.Print
Everyone needs a great sugar cookie recipe in their repertoire – this one happens to be gluten free, vegan, and friendly to most dietary needs!
- 1 ½ cup coconut oil, softened at room temperature
- 1 cup cane sugar
- 1/2 cup agave nectar
- 2 tbsp vanilla extract
- 4 cups gluten-free all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 5 cups powdered sugar
- ½ cup + 2 tbsp full fat coconut milk
- Sprinkles for decorating
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Line two baking sheets with Kana pre-cut parchment paper.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream coconut oil, sugar, agave, and vanilla until smooth and creamy. If you don’t have a stand mixer, use an electric hand mixer. Scrape down the sides a few times to ensure even mixing.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together gluten-free flour, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, and salt.
- Slowly incorporate the dry mixture into the wet mixture until dough comes together.
- Knead dough into a rough ball shape, cover with a clean towel and chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, transfer dough to a lightly floured surface. It may be easy to divide the dough into 2 or more portions so it’s easier to roll out. Roll dough to about ⅛ in. thick. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters and transfer to parchment paper-lined baking sheets.
- Bake for 5-8 minutes (start checking at 5 as it depends on the oven), until the top of the cookies are lightly golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for at least 15 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Let cool completely before frosting.
- To make icing, sift powdered sugar into a large mixing bowl. Whisk together with coconut milk until completely smooth. Transfer to a piping bag and decorate as desired. Top with sprinkles. Enjoy!
Keywords: vegan sugar cookies