Grain-Free Cut Out Sugar Cookies (1 Bowl!)

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Spreading matcha frosting onto a Grain-Free Sugar Cookie

As a child, the anticipation of the holidays meant one thing: My Aunt Patti’s famous sugar cookies. Fluffy, sweet, frosted, perfection.

We would often bake and decorate them together, having plenty of samples along the way. And over the course of the holiday weekend, I would tuck away what felt like dozens of cookies.

I know; not great. But since then, my appetite has matured. I can actually feel a sugar rush coming on and recognize it’s unpleasant, which allows me to enjoy desserts in moderation. A vast improvement for this baker.

Even now as an adult, it doesn’t quite feel like the holidays have arrived unless I bite into a perfectly frosted, fluffy sugar cookie.

Seeing as I’ve already perfected the vegan, gluten-free sugar cookie, I wanted to experiment with a grain-free (gluten-free) version to see if it was possible! Spoiler alert: It totally worked.

Let us show you how easy it is to make these fluffy, gluten- and grain-free 1-bowl sugar cookies!

Ingredients for making our Grain-Free Sugar Cookie Recipe

How to Make Sugar Cookies

Traditional sugar cookies are typically made by combining butter, sugar, eggs, and flour into a moldable dough, then baking.

Our version uses a similar method but with slightly different ingredients. We combine dairy-free butter with organic cane sugar, vanilla, baking powder, and one room-temperature egg.

For the flour, we went with:

  • almond flour for a crumbly, light texture
  • arrowroot starch for a bit of structure
  • potato starch for light, pillowy fluffiness
Wooden spoon in a bowl of Grain-Free Sugar Cookie Dough

This dough does best chilled. Once properly chilled, it can either be scooped out, rolled into balls, and pressed into discs, or rolled out to 1/4-inch thickness and cut out into shapes of choice.

Either way you go, these cookies are delicious. But we happen to prefer the roll-and-cut-out method for a festive effect.

Using a rolling pin to roll out the dough for making our Grain-Free Sugar Cookie recipe

Once cut out, it’s a quick 8-10 minute bake in a 350 degree F (176 C) oven on a lined baking sheet.

You’re looking for a slightly puffed-up cookie with no visible brown edges (which can make the cookies dry). Once done baking, they’ll continue to firm up slightly on the baking sheet. This is one of the secrets to fluffy, tender, perfect sugar cookies every time.

Using a Christmas tree cookie cutter to make Grain-Free Sugar Cookies

We include a frosting option below, which is basically a slightly thinned version of our vegan buttercream frosting.

Or use our Matcha Buttercream (pictured below)!

Bowl of matcha frosting beside Grain-Free Sugar Cookies for a natural Christmas cookie frosting idea

We hope you LOVE these sugar cookies! They’re:

  • Fluffy
  • Tender
  • Perfectly sweet
  • Easy to make
  • Grain- and gluten-free
  • & Absolutely delicious

These would make the perfect treat to share with loved ones this holiday season and beyond. We also think they’d be ideal for baby showers, wedding showers, birthday parties, and more!

More Holiday Cookie Recipes

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Platter of Grain-Free Christmas Cookies with matcha frosting and red sprinkles

Grain-Free Cut Out Sugar Cookies (1 Bowl!)

Fluffy, gluten-free and grain-free sugar cookies! Perfectly sweet, easy to make, and great for cut out or circle cookies! Just 1 bowl required!
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Cutting board with Grain-Free Sugar Cookie Dough cut into trees and a candy cane
5 from 10 votes
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 48 (Cookies)
Course Dessert
Cuisine Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 4-5 Days

Ingredients

COOKIES

  • 1/2 cup softened dairy-free butter* (1/2 cup = 1 stick or 113 g // we prefer Earth Balance or Miyoko's // sub dairy butter if not dairy-free)
  • 1 small chicken egg*, room temperature (see notes for vegan option)
  • 2/3 cup organic cane sugar*
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 ⅓ cups almond flour (not almond meal — the texture and flavor is different), plus more for rolling
  • 3/4 cup potato starch (not potato flour)
  • 3/4 cup arrowroot starch, plus more for rolling

FROSTING optional

  • 1/2 cup softened dairy-free butter* (1/2 cup = 1 stick or 113 g // we prefer Earth Balance or Miyoko's // sub dairy butter if not dairy-free)
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ – 2 cups sifted organic powdered sugar (organic to ensure vegan-friendly)
  • 1-2 Tbsp unsweetened almond milk
  • Natural food dyes (like Watkins or ColorKitchen or my DIY version // optional)

Instructions

  • Using softened butter and a room-temperature egg is important to provide the right texture for the dough. To soften butter, set out at room temperature for about 1 hour. Resist the temptation to microwave, which will melt the butter and make it too runny. For the egg (uncracked), place in bowl and top with warm water. Let rest 10 minutes.
  • Add softened butter to a large mixing bowl and beat with a mixer on high for 30 seconds. Then add cane sugar, vanilla extract, and room temperature egg and beat on high for 1 minute, scraping down sides as needed.
  • Next add baking powder and sea salt and mix again to combine.
  • Add almond flour, potato starch, and arrowroot starch and carefully beat on low to combine, switching to a wooden spoon as needed if it becomes difficult to mix. You’re looking for a dough that’s neither crumbly nor too soft, but easy to form in your hand without sticking. If it's too tacky at this point (which we found), add a bit more almond flour, arrowroot, and potato starch a little (~1 Tbsp) at a time and stir until a soft but moldable dough is formed (see photo).
  • Cover and freeze for 30 minutes or refrigerate overnight. The dough is easier to roll when chilled.
  • In the meantime, preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 C) and line 1-2 large baking sheets with parchment paper (the recipe as written yields 48 cookies, and we recommend baking ~12 cookies on a tray at a time).
  • Once dough is chilled, dust a cutting board or clean surface with arrowroot starch and almond flour (we found the combination to work well to prevent sticking). Then roll into a circle or rectangle about 1/4-inch thick using a rolling pin (add more arrowroot and almond flour as needed to prevent sticking). We found 1/4-inch thick dough to yield fluffy cookies that weren’t too difficult to handle and baked evenly.
  • Use cookie cutters of choice to stamp cookies, then use a thin spatula (dusted with arrowroot) to carefully transfer them onto the baking sheet. (Alternatively, you can just scoop out 1-1 ½ Tbsp amounts of dough — we like this scoop — roll into balls, and press down slightly to form a disc. Bake as instructed.)
  • Bake cookies for 8.5 – 10 minutes. They don’t need to be golden brown at all to be baked, and they’re actually more soft and fluffy when pulled out just before browning. NOTE: We had the best success baking cookies 1 tray at a time versus 2 (or more).
  • Remove from oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes on tray, then transfer to a serving platter or cooling rack, being careful not to stack them until completely cooled.
  • Optional: To make frosting, add softened dairy-free butter to a mixing bowl and whisk or beat until soft and fluffy — about 1 minute. Then add the vanilla and sifted powdered sugar in 1/2-cup (56 g) increments and mix. Continue adding powdered sugar until you have spreadable frosting (we used about 2 cups powdered sugar // amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size). For thinner frosting, add dairy-free milk 1 tsp at a time to thin. If it becomes too thin, add more powdered sugar. If it becomes too thick, add more almond milk. Add natural food coloring or powdered dye of choice at this time (or make our matcha variation!). Once completely cooled, frost cookies or leave plain. We decorated with some naturally-dyed sugar sprinkles like these.
  • Storage: Once cooled, store leftover cookies covered at room temperature or in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or in the freezer up to 1 month.

Video

Notes

*We haven’t tested this recipe with coconut oil but suspect it wouldn’t work. Therefore, we highly recommend sticking with vegan butter (Earth Balance brand sticks) or organic dairy butter if not vegan.
*If you’d like to cut back on sugar, sub 1/3 cup of the sugar with 1 packet (~1/4 tsp) stevia extract (amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size). I like Trader Joe’s brand. This will make the cookies softer, so you may need to add more potato starch, almond flour, and/or arrowroot starch to help thicken the dough.
*The egg can potentially be substituted for aquafaba (chickpea brine) in this recipe. But we haven’t tested it and can’t guarantee the results. In its place, you can also try subbing 1/4 cup pumpkin purée or 1 egg replacer (amounts as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size). But we haven’t tested it with a flax egg or any substitute and can’t guarantee the results.
*If not gluten-free, you can sub the almond flour, potato starch, and arrowroot starch with unbleached all-purpose flour, although we haven’t tested it and can’t guarantee the results.
*You can make the cookie dough ahead of time and refrigerate up to 2-3 days in advance. Simply let the dough rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before scooping/rolling out and baking. It should be soft and moldable.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated without frosting.

Nutrition (1 of 48 servings)

Serving: 1 cookies Calories: 75 Carbohydrates: 7.7 g Protein: 1.3 g Fat: 4.7 g Saturated Fat: 0.8 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.1 g Monounsaturated Fat: 2.62 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 3.85 mg Sodium: 42 mg Potassium: 41 mg Fiber: 0.7 g Sugar: 3 g Vitamin A: 6.5 IU Vitamin C: 0 mg Calcium: 18 mg Iron: 0.21 mg

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  1. Ashley says

    Could I use Bob Mills gf 1:1 baking flour blend as opposed to making the blend you recommend? Basically, I already have it. It’s sweet white rice flour, potato starch, sorghum, tapioca, xanthan gum. I’m looking to make cookies to frost and decorate. Thank you so much, I you are my go to:)

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Ashley, we haven’t used it in this recipe, but it might work! Let us know if you give it a try!

  2. Aarian says

    So the flavor of these were AHMAZING and texture when eating was great but the overall look of them seemed to be a bit grainy especially when covering in royal icing. I’m assuming it’s the sugar not being beat enough into the butter but have you tried any Other sweetener like honey or maple syrup? I’m wondering if it’ll give me a smoother looking cookie ?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      We haven’t tried other sweeteners, but it’s maybe possible? Otherwise, just beat the sugar and butter together for longer :D

  3. Jenn says

    These were phenomenal! I made them vegan by substituting aquafaba instead of an egg. I made these for a cookie exchange at work and for Christmas baking for my family. I turned them into Linzer cookies (sandwhich cookies with jam in the middle) and they were a huge hit! This is going on my yearly Christmas baking list!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks so much for the lovely review and for sharing your modification, Jenn. We are so glad you enjoyed them! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. Thanks so much! Xo

  4. Julia says

    These cookies are delicious! I made these for Christmas and they were a hit with both gluten and non-gluten eaters! Plus, the matcha buttercream icing was the perfect color to use with my Yoda cookie cutter!

  5. Kaitlyn says

    These turned out well even though I messed up the dough a bit. I used corn starch instead of potato, Miyoko’s butter, and a 1-egg equivalent using the Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer. The first time I mixed everything, the dough was so dry that it didn’t come together on it’s own (I was using an electric hand mixer on low), but in retrospect maybe I should have mixed using my hands or something. It just seemed too dehydrated! To try and get the dough to come together I used maybe a tablespoon of almond milk and a tablespoon of neutral oil (to prevent the dough from becoming less fluffy from the additional liquid, which I find can happen sometimes). I also rolled out using cornstarch. The extra oil made the dough a bit of a pain to work with–it was just too soft and kept absorbing the starch–but it still held together well enough for me to slide them onto a baking sheet. Either way these taste delicious, the texture is lovely, and because it made like 34 cookies I’m going to have some fun with the vegan matcha frosting. I’d love to experiment with these a little further!

  6. Hailey says

    Best gluten free cookies I’ve ever baked! I was nervous about rolling the dough and cutting it as a lot of previous gluten free recipes I’ve baked are very crumbly, but these were amazing! So easy to handle, so soft, fluffy and chewy. My boyfriend couldn’t tell the difference :) followed the recipe exactly and had amazing results.

  7. Jannely Sanchez says

    These cookies taste amazing! To make it vegan I actually substituted the egg for 1 tbsp of chia seeds mixed with 3 tbsps of water, let that thicken for 30 minutes, and it all worked out fantastic. Will definitely be making these again !

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Megan, other readers have mentioned using GF all purpose or doubling the arrowroot, but we haven’t tried either. Hope that helps! Let us know how it goes!

      • Megan Roberts says

        I ended up going to Whole Foods and finding the Potato Starch. These are FANTASTIC!!!! In the frosting I did almond extract instead of vanilla. YUMMY! Thank you for all your hard work recipe testing, especially your GF stuff. :)

        • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

          Yay! We’re so glad you enjoyed them, Megan! Thanks so much for your kind words and lovely review! xo

  8. Kerttu says

    Apparently we don’t have arrowroot in Finland, or nobody just knows actually what it is :D So do you know if that can be replaced with something? What it actually is and does it do more than adds the structure?

  9. Caitlin says

    Hi Dana!

    So I tried to make this recipe with an already prepped GF flour blend – because getting that much arrowroot powder where I live (In Dubai) is not possible. I only used 2 cups of my GF blend – and that seemed to be fine. Im not sure where I went wrong though – the dough tasted DIVINE – but then when baking them they came out very brittle and kept falling apart. I also used Raw sugar – which my friend told me could have been my mistake because the sugar doesn’t get a chance to actually melt.

    Is there a healthy sugar I can use in this version? or is Organic cane sugar the healthiest option?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hmm, it could be the sugar, but we would think the GF blend would be the more likely culprit. What was the brand/product you used?

  10. Sarah says

    Made these tonight, fabulous! I did not have potato starch so did a 1:1 swap with all-purpose gluten free flour. Otherwise, I filled the recipe exactly and they turned out perfect. I also added a touch of beet juice (squeezed the heck out of a cooked beet to get a tsp) to the frosting. These will be my go-to sugar cookie recipe from now on. Dana, thank you so much for your wonderful recipes. You never disappoint. Your blog is a real gift!

  11. Carly Heys says

    My two kids and I made these and this is the first DF GF Christmas cookie recipe we have found that actually turned out well. We didn’t have potato starch, so just doubled the arrowroot starch and it worked well.

    We love all of your recipes and thank you for sharing them with us.

  12. Yvonne says

    Hi there, can I sub sunflower oil or which oil best for the butter and how much oil shd I use here. I bake your 1 bowl carrot cake recipe and I got so much rave and I so glad that it made people yummy happy too!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hmm, not sure about that. This recipe does best with butter of some kind (either organic dairy, or dairy-free like Myokos or Earth Balance).

    • Nicole says

      We used flax egg and 1/4 cup less almond flour (and didn’t wait for softened miyokos butter, because it softens quickly)… It worked well. At first it feels too dry, until you mix with your hands… My girls made them pretty thick.

  13. Carrie says

    This is by far the best GF sugar cookie recipe I’ve made for Christmas cutouts. The dough is easy to handle and no fuss. I’m in Australia and we don’t have ‘almomd flour’ that I know of. I used purchased blanched almond meal which is finer than my homemade almond meal and it worked well. The texture is great! Also I used butter in place of vegan butter and it was perfect. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe. It will transform the dread of GF cutouts back to joy ?

  14. Cassie Thuvan Tran says

    Looks so yummy! I love cookies, but it’s been a while since I’ve had the roll out cut out ones. I’d have to try the aquafaba substitution!

  15. Janett says

    I made these cookies tonight & they came out great! I used all purpose flour instead of potato starch and arrowroot. It was quite dry and crumbly so I added a splash of almond milk. Like maybe a teaspoon and that brought it together. I also used coconut sugar instead of cane sugar. They’re not on the crazy sweet side but still so good. I’ve never made cookies with almond flour. I’m quite impressed! Thanks for the great recipe!

  16. Melissa says

    I made this recipe today as I was so happy to find a grain-free sugar cookie recipe, and I was pleasantly surprised how delicious these cookies tasted, the texture came out perfect too! I think that the combination of almond flour, arrowroot flour and potato flour was just right for these cookies. My 2 kids had no idea these were the healthy version of the cut-out sugar cookies, so I let it be a secret :) I also made the frosting for it, and it was very tasty too, we added natural food coloring to it & had fun decorating. Thanks again for another great recipe that I‘ll be making quite often! ;)

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      I’m thinking a mix of potato starch, arrowroot, and a little coconut? Or, just swapping the almond flour for a GF blend?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      We didn’t test it but I think it would work! It won’t be as sweet and the cookies will be brown, FYI.

  17. Zoe says

    Have you tried these with aquafaba or egg replacer to make them vegan? My mum wants to make vegan sugar cookies for christmas which I know you have on the blog but I am gluten free so was hoping we could make it happen. If you think they wouldn’t work I don’t want to waste the time trying. I’d rather just make the vegan ones for my family (who all just went vegan, hooray!) and just not eat them myself.

  18. Shauna says

    Do you have a substrate for the almonds? A lot of your recipes look great but I can not use nuts at all so any time you can put a sub. in the recipe that would be so helpful!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      What about a mix of mostly potato starch, some arrowroot, and a little coconut flour OR GF blend?

  19. Kristen says

    Hi – Can you use coconut flour in place of the almond flour? My daughter is GF and has an almond allergy and we are trying to find a good vegan sugar cookie.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      It’s worth a shot! But I’d say use more potato starch and arrowroot starch than coconut because coconut is super absorbent and will likely dry them out.