Vegan Gluten-Free Shortbread Cookies (1 Bowl)

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Stack of crispy gluten-free shortbread cookies made with coconut oil

When we were creating recipes for Girl Scout Cookies (specifically these Tagalongs), we loved the cookie base so much we wanted to turn it into shortbread cookies. Hence, this creation was born.

While these vegan, gluten-free shortbread cookies are healthier than your average shortbread, they don’t lack in crispy texture, butteriness, or sweet flavor. Plus, they’re surprisingly easy to make — just 7 ingredients and 1 bowl required. Let us show you how it’s done!

Bowls and spoonfuls of almond flour, gluten-free flour blend, tapioca flour, baking soda, sea salt, coconut oil, and maple syrup

Origins of Shortbread Cookies

It’s believed that shortbread originated in Scotland and was adapted from a medieval biscuit. Traditionally, it was made with 1 part sugar, 2 parts butter, and 3-4 parts flour.

Because it was expensive to make, it was considered a luxury item and reserved for occasions such as weddings, Christmas, and Hogmanay (Scottish New Year’s Eve). Shortbread’s popularity has since expanded around the world, and it is especially popular in the UK, Denmark, Ireland, and Sweden.

The following is our gluten-free and plant-based take on the delicious treat!

Vegan Gluten-Free Shortbread Cookies

To achieve the right texture for these cookies, we included a combination of gluten-free flours. Almond flour and our DIY gluten-free blend are light and fluffy and mild in flavor, while tapioca flour helps the cookies crisp up. Baking soda provides additional fluffiness and sea salt adds flavor.

Want to take a deeper dive into learning about the different types of gluten-free flours? Check out our Guide To Gluten-Free Flours here!

Whisking almond flour, gluten-free flour blend, tapioca flour, baking soda, and sea salt in a bowl

Next, we use a pastry cutter to mix the solid coconut oil into the dry ingredients (this step could also be done in a food processor!). This creates the flaky texture that makes these cookies buttery without the butter (magic, right?).

Using a pastry cutter to cut coconut oil into dry ingredients

Then we add the maple syrup for sweetness and the mixture turns from a crumbly texture to a moldable, rollable dough.

Bowl of gluten-free vegan shortbread cookie dough

The dough can be rolled into a log then chilled and sliced.

Shaping a ball of gluten-free vegan shortbread cookie dough

Alternatively, form the dough into a disc, roll flat, and cut with a cookie cutter (our preferred method for consistent-sized cookies and ease).

Vegan gluten-free shortbread cookie dough cut into circles with a cookie cutter

Using a cookie cutter yields cute little circles, while slicing creates a more rustic look.

Unbaked shortbread cookie dough on a baking sheet

After a quick bake in the oven, they develop golden brown edges. And after cooling for a bit, they become perfectly firm and crispy for that classic shortbread snap!

Vegan gluten-free shortbread cookies on a baking sheet

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

Crisp
Sweet
Balanced
Buttery
Quick & easy
& Versatile!

They’re especially delicious with a glass of dairy-free milk or English breakfast tea. Enjoy as an afternoon snack, dessert, or any time a shortbread craving strikes!

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!

Stack of vegan gluten-free shortbread cookies

Vegan Gluten-Free Shortbread Cookies (1 Bowl)

Easy, crispy shortbread cookies that are undetectably vegan, gluten-free, and naturally sweetened! Made in 1 bowl with just 7 ingredients.
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Sliced gluten free shortbread cookies on a stack of more cookies
4.8 from 10 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 20 (Cookies)
Course Dessert
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 3 Days

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond flour (not almond meal // or try subbing cashew flour, though we haven't tested it and can't guarantee the results)
  • 3/4 cup gluten-free flour blend (the closest store-bought blend is Bob's Red Mill 1:1 GF flour)
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour (also called tapioca starch)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup solid refined coconut oil (if oil free, you could try subbing water, though we haven't tested it this way and can't guarantee the results)
  • 6 Tbsp maple syrup

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F (176 C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a medium mixing bowl (or food processor) whisk (or blend) together almond flour, gluten-free flour blend, tapioca flour, baking soda, and salt until well combined.
  • Add in the solid coconut oil (if the coconut oil has liquified, simply place it into the fridge for a couple of minutes) and with clean hands (or a pastry cutter, or by pulsing in the food processor), begin mixing the solid coconut oil with the dry ingredients until no obvious lumps of coconut oil remain. The texture should look sandy and hold together in clumps when you squeeze it.
  • Add maple syrup and mix with a spatula or wooden spoon (or pulse in the food processor) until combined. It should look like play dough — scoopable, moldable, not too tacky or crumbly.
  • Place a piece of parchment or wax paper on the counter and transfer the cookie dough onto the paper. Mold the dough together into a disc and place another piece of parchment or wax paper on top of the dough. Using a rolling pin, begin rolling the dough between the pieces of paper until it is 1/4-inch thick. Then, using a 2-inch circle cookie cutter, cut out as many cookies as possible (see notes if you don’t have a cookie cutter). Use a spatula or butter knife to carefully transfer the cookies to the parchment-lined baking sheet(s). They won’t spread too much, so they should all fit on one large baking sheet (but do use more as needed to avoid overcrowding).
  • Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges just begin to turn golden brown (a little cracking on top is normal). While the cookies bake, roll out any remaining dough and cut more cookies. Then repeat the baking process with remaining dough.
  • Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 10 minutes on the baking sheet. Enjoy with a glass of dairy-free milk or a warm cup of English breakfast tea. Keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Video

Notes

*Nutrition information is a rough estimate.
*If you don’t have cookie cutters, you can roll your dough into a log and slice it! Follow steps 1 through 4, then place a piece of parchment or wax paper on the counter and smoosh the dough together into a tall lump in the middle of the paper. Fold one side of the paper over your dough and begin pressing the ends in and rolling until you have a smooth, even log, about 8 inches long and 2 inches in diameter. Roll it up in the parchment and place in the freezer for 20 minutes. If you prefer square cookies, you can simply press the dough into an even rectangle instead of rolling. Remove the dough from the freezer and cut into 1/4-inch slices. When cutting, rotate your dough log every few slices to avoid getting one side too flat. Place your cookie slices on your prepared baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes.

Nutrition (1 of 20 servings)

Serving: 1 cookie Calories: 106 Carbohydrates: 12.5 g Protein: 1.5 g Fat: 5.7 g Saturated Fat: 2.8 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.8 g Monounsaturated Fat: 2 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 92 mg Potassium: 66 mg Fiber: 0.8 g Sugar: 2.8 g Vitamin A: 0 IU Vitamin C: 0 mg Calcium: 21.1 mg Iron: 0.3 mg

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    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Nikki! We haven’t tried it but we think it would work. You may want to generously grease or flour your embossed rolling pin first, though. Let us know how it goes!

  1. Dolly says

    I’ve made these three times since coming across this recipe just a couple weeks ago! Love how simple the recipe is; I already had all the ingredients. I always have America’s Test Kitchen gluten free flour blend mixed up, so I used that – 3/4 c weighs 96 g. Other than the flour blend, I followed the recipe exactly. I found my first batch to be a little salty (for me); I’ve since reduced the salt to 1/4 tsp – they’re perfect! Easy to make, not too sweet, great with an afternoon cuppa or even a little chocolate drizzle if you’re wanting something a tad sweeter.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoy the recipe with some modifications, Dolly! And that chocolate drizzle sounds SO delicious! Thank you for the lovely review! xo

  2. The Vegan Goddess says

    I made this tonight for movie night and it was delicious.

    I didn’t have refined coconut oil so the flavor of coconut was stronger but we didn’t mind that. I should try it with refined coconut oil.

    I dipped half of the cookies in melted quality Davis Chocolates chocolate chips that are sweetened with coconut sugar and don’t have unhealthy additives in them. While the cookies were wonderful plain with just the right texture and flavor, the chocolate brought them to another level.

    Thanks for another home run!

  3. Elle says

    I made a couple of substitutions before I read your note about using all purpose flour (and not using tapioca starch), so can’t really rate this recipe fairly since I altered it, but thought I’d share my experience with others as an FYI. I used all purpose flour and cornstarch, following the measurements as listed. I also added a teaspoon of vanilla on the recommendation of some others. The dough came together nicely and was easily rolled out and cut between sheets of waxed paper. The taste reminded me of packaged gluten-free cookies, which tastes to me a bit like protein powder, and the cookie was dry. It probably will be okay served with tea. I’d give this altered version maybe two-stars. I will definitely try this recipe using the ingredients as listed, because everyone else seems to have very positive results.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      So sorry this didn’t work out for you, Elle, but we truly appreciate you sharing your experience for others!

  4. kell says

    can you suggest an alternate to maple syrup…. i dont like the taste – i use xylitol as a sugar alternate but i dont know if the maple syrup also acts as a liquid here too

    xylitol and plant milk?
    any suggestions gratefully recieved.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Kell, the maple syrup does act as the liquid here and helps with binding, but xylitol and plant milk could work. Or we’d suggest trying agave or honey if not vegan?

  5. Alexa says

    Totally delicious. I used cornflour instead of tapioca flour, added a capful of vanilla essence and they turned out perfectly, with a lovely flavour. I wasn’t quite sure about the ‘baking soda’? I think this is what we call ‘bicarbonate of soda’ here in the UK, but we usually add some acid (eg lemon juice) to activate it ad make it rise. Otherwise we would use ‘baking powder’ which already contains an acid in it. So I wasn’t quite sure which one the recipe needs?

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Alexa! You’re spot on, baking soda is the same as bicarbonate of soda in the UK, and that’s what we recommend using for this recipe. There are many different things that act as “acids” to activate baking soda, and in this particular recipe the “acid” is maple syrup! So glad you enjoyed the cookies! xo

  6. Jessica says

    I made one batch of these following the recipe except subbing cornstarch for tapioca flour, rolled them out, they were amazing! So I followed up with a double run (oh, the folly!) where I subbed rice flour for tapioca, and rolled the dough into logs at midnight and stored in fridge 24 hours (this is different than the recipe says! I was just too tired to bake!) before I sliced and baked. Not the same animal at all! They were dense and not short, likely could have used more cooking time, and I ended up tossing them. I’m not sure what alchemy occurred, but my first batch I rolled and cut with the mouth of a juice glass were the bomb! I’ll double the recipe and roll it all next time. A+

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thank you for sharing your experience, Jessica! Glad to hear the first batch turned out well =)

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Paulette, perhaps a gluten free flour blend, a lesser amount of coconut flour, or a seed flour would work here? But we haven’t tried those and can’t guarantee results. Let us know if you do some experimenting!

      • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

        Hi Prajakta, coconut flour is more drying than almond flour, so if you try it, we’d suggest starting with a lot less (probably 1/4 the amount?). We haven’t tried it though so can’t guarantee results. Let us know if you give it a try!

  7. Sharon says

    I made these shortbread. I have been looking for a GF vegan recipe for several years and none measure up. Usually the flour type is too strong and overpowers the taste.

    I used almond meal as where I live almond flour is $25-30 for 500g so makes for expensive cookies. I thought I had tapioca starch, but didn’t, so I substituted arrowroot flour.

    I can say these cookies are VERY dangerously yummy and moreish! They are not too sweet and have a lovely taste and texture. My Christmas staple has returned! Many, many thanks for all your wonderful recipes. :) <3

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Aw, we’re so glad you enjoyed these, Sharon!! Thank you so much for the lovely review! xo

  8. Teresa says

    I made these and they could not have been easier to make. I am wondering though if they can be made with butter. Although they tasted good, I found the flavor of the coconut oil was very strong -a bit overpowering. If so, would half a stick of unsalted butter (room temperature) 1/4 cup be the amount to be used? I understand that would not make them vegan but for a once in a while treat I can live with it. Otherwise would you suggest any other type of oil. TIA.

  9. Lisa Baum says

    I love your recipes but recently I found out that I have an intolerance for almonds. And I have read that cooking almonds makes them unhealthy. Most of your desserts contain almond flour or meal. Good or tried substitutions for almonds would be awesome.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Lisa, cashew flour is the best sub for almond flour in most recipes. Nut flours add such a nice crumb texture to baking which is why we frequently use them. But we will try to keep nut allergies in mind more! If you want to experiment with other options, you might find our guide to GF flours helpful. Hope that helps!

  10. Jennifer k says

    Hello! I made these and they were lovely! I was looking for a VGF shortbread recipe as trader joes was selling cookies with ube or purple sweet potato. I used your recipe plus 1 packet (1/4 cup) seed potato powder and also added ginger. They are delicious! thank you so much!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Ooo, yum! Thanks for the kind review and for sharing your modifications, Jennifer! xo

  11. Nechama says

    I found that shortbread type cookies need some powdered sugar. However I don’t use white sugar, but I would grind to powder some maple sugar and then add it in. Not sure how much and whether to reduce the gf flour in the same amount. Does the maple SYRUP achieve the same result?? What is your suggestion please?

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Nechama, we find the maple adds a nice sweetness here and also helps with binding. Let us know if you try it!

  12. Daryna says

    Question – if I do this recipe with regular flour instead of the gluten free blend, do I still use tapioca flour and if so how much? Thank you!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Daryna! We haven’t tried this with regular flour but we think it might work if you just use all flour and no tapioca. Let us know how it goes if you give it a try! xo

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Kathryn! Almond meal is typically made from raw (unpeeled) almonds, almond flour is made from blanched (peeled) almonds. Compared to almond meal, almond flour has a finer texture and lighter color and almond meal is darker and denser. xo

      • Kathryn says

        Thank you! That’s clear now :) I was thinking almond meal might be what’s left over when we make almond milk..

        It’s a shame there aren’t more ways to use that!! I have tons of leftover almond and cashew ‘meal’ when I make my milks. I just don’t know what to do with it 🤷🏻‍♀️

          • Kathryn says

            How amazing are you!! Thank you!! I’ve bookmarked those recipes :))
            I’m wondering if I could use cashew pulp in place of almond when I make cashew milk instead of almond?
            Can’t wait to try these, I always feel bad when throwing my cashew or almond pulp in the compost.. xxx

  13. Stacey LoSacco says

    On the plus side, these were very easy to make! My hubby said they taste more like a biscuit than a cookie. I think next time I will add some vanilla and maybe something else to make them a bit sweeter. They also tasted salty to me, so either I didn’t measure correctly or next time I will add less salt. Thank you for this recipe!

  14. bailey says

    I saw these and just had to make this on this rainy sunday in PA, however i only had all purpose flour and oats. So i made some oat flour and use all the other ingredients and they turned out buttery, soft and delicious! they are perfect with tea.

  15. Gail says

    I don’t care for almond flour. Is it possible to substitute all purpose flour for all of the flour?

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Gail! We haven’t tried it but it could work. Let us know how it goes if you give it a try!

  16. Kate says

    Made these as soon as I got the email notification with the recipe :)

    I subbed 1/8 cup Aquafaba + 1/8 cup Miyokos vegan butter for the 1/4 cup coconut oil. I used a food processor and then used a small cookie/ice cream scooper to measure out 15 cookies. With moistened finger tips I pressed down the cookies.

    They turned out amazing!! They aren’t crisp because I made mine a bit different— mine turned out light/fluffy/pillowy/slightly chewy but PERFECT. The taste is incredible. Thank you!!! My boyfriend LOVED them- he said they are “little pillows of heaven, similar to a sugar cookie but lighter” haha.

    Will 100% be making these again.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Woohoo! Love to hear this, Kate! Thanks for the lovely review and for sharing your modifications. xo

  17. Mayen Ruiz says

    Another great sounding recipe! What can I sub for the almond flour? I am allergic to that and the cashew suggestion. I’m also allergic to oat so that’s not an option for me. And instead of coconut oil can I use vegan butter? Thank you!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Mayen! We haven’t tried this with vegan butter but it might work! As for the flour substitute, perhaps a gluten free flour blend or coconut flour could work here, though we haven’t tried it and it might not work. Let us know how it goes if you try any modifications! xo

    • Kate says

      It should work with vegan butter 🧈 we did aquafaba and vegan butter to sub for the coconut oil and I’m sure they would have had the same texture if we cut them as she did. The flavor was soooo good

  18. Milan Lawrence says

    What can you use in place of tapioca starch? I only have arrowroot starch and cornstarch. Thanks!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Milan! We haven’t tried it but we think arrowroot would work, or a mix of both. Let us know how it goes! xo

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Annie! We haven’t tried this with traditional flour but it should work. Perhaps start with less as it might be more absorbent than gluten free flours. xo