These chewy gluten-free sugar cookies are free from gluten, grains, and refined sugar. Made from a blend of almond and tapioca flour, these gluten-free cutout sugar cookies are a wonderful addition to your holiday table. Have fun cutting them into shapes, serve them frosted with dairy-free icing if you want, and finish with sprinkles to match the season.
What an, ahem, memorable year it’s been.
Thanksgiving was small this year, but I’m proud to say I didn’t take a single photo of our Thanksgiving table, proving that we set our phones and computers aside, and enjoyed our time together. And now, with Thanksgiving over (and Chicago getting colder and grayer by the day), we’re more ready for the holidays and end-of-year celebrations than ever.
I’m not sure how we’ll spend the holidays this year — and I’m ok with that. Isn’t that what 2020 has taught us, after all? That anything can change in an instant, and sometimes all you can do is plan the 24-hours ahead of you?
Right now, my only definite holiday plans are spending time in the kitchen, and decorating these holiday cookies with my little my sous chef. If you’re looking for paleo Christmas cookie ideas, check out this 18-recipe holiday cookie round-up, featuring gingerbread, macaroons, thumbprint, and chocolate chip cookies (just to name a few). The only thing missing from the list is gluten-free sugar cookies – but not anymore.
How To Make the Best Gluten-Free Sugar Cookies
To make gluten-free sugar cookies, start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees. Grease a cookie sheet with coconut oil (or your fat of choice) or line with parchment paper, and set it aside.
Next, mix your dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Combine your almond flour, tapioca starch, maple sugar, coconut flour, and a fourth teaspoon salt, and set it aside. Next, combine your wet ingredients, including your egg whites and a fourth cup butter, ghee, or coconut oil. Set your hand mixer to low speed, and mix your wet and dry ingredients until well-combined.
Your cookie dough will be incredibly sticky, so dust a piece of parchment paper with a generous amount of tapioca flour. (You can also use gluten-free all purpose flour, rice flour, arrowroot, or another gluten-free flour blend). Roll the dough into a ball, then place at the center of the parchment paper. Finally, dust your rolling pin with flour, and gently roll out your dough to roughly 1/4 inch thick.
Use cookie cutters to cut your dough into shapes. This dough works great whether you’re celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Easter, Halloween, Valentine’s Day, or another season or holiday. Before placing your cookies in the oven, dust lightly with an egg wash made from egg whites and milk, then decorate with festive sprinkles. (Skip the egg wash and sprinkles if you plan to frost these instead!)
Bake your cookies for a total time of 12-15 minutes, being careful not to over-bake (otherwise they will become crispy and dry out). Allow your cookies to set and cool for 5-10 minutes on a cooling rack before serving, or cool completely to room temperature before frosting and serving.
Recipe FAQs: Tips for Gluten-Free and Paleo Sugar Cookie Success
Gluten-free baking can be a bit tricky — particularly for first-timers. Below, I share various tips, substitutions, and answers to frequent reader interactions to help set you up for success.
- Can I substitute the almond and tapioca flour mixture for all-purpose gluten-free flour? No. Gluten-free flours behave very differently from the grain free flours that this recipe was designed for. Therefore, you should never substitute one flour for another (unless the recipe notes explicitly say that you can do so).
- Can you substitute the maple sugar for something else? Yes. Use another granulated sugar, such as coconut sugar, or granulated monk fruit (to make it lower in carbohydrates or keto-friendly, although the end result will be drier and crumblier). Do not use a liquid sweetener, such as honey or maple syrup. I have not tested these with white (cane) sugar or brown sugar, so I can’t guarantee that those will work.
- Can this recipe be made vegan? Theoretically you could use flax eggs in place of the eggs, and coconut oil (or a vegan butter, like Earth Balance) in place of ghee, but I haven’t tried it.
- Can this recipe be made dairy-free? Yes. Simply use coconut oil instead of ghee, and choose a dairy-free milk, such as almond, coconut, or oat milk.
- Is there a gluten-free flour brand you recommend? Yes. Both King Arthur and Bob’s Red Mill are excellent choices, and can be found at most health food stores and on Amazon. However, please only use gluten free flour blends for rolling out the dough; do not substitute for any of the flours called for in the recipe.
- Do you have a frosting recipe you recommend? Yes. I recommend using my buttercream frosting recipe (simply remove the cocoa powder and milk, and add a dash of vanilla extract, leaving the vanilla extract, unsalted butter, and powdered sugar), if you choose to make your own. If you’re short on time, I recommend using Miss Jones Baking Co., which makes excellent dairy free cream cheese, butter cream, and other frostings.
- How long will these cookies keep? They’ll keep up to five days on the counter, or in the freezer up to three months.
Enjoy this Gluten-Free Sugar Cookie Recipe Any Time of Year
Whether you’re decorating Christmas cookies or simply enjoying a Saturday morning in the kitchen, your whole family will enjoy these yummy sugar cookies. Grain-free, refined-sugar free, and with a dairy-free option, this sugar cookie recipe is both gluten-free and paleo-friendly. Have fun decorating your cookies to correspond with your celebration, cutting your cookies into shapes and topping with icing and sprinkles.
- 1 1/2 cups blanched almond flour
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons tapioca flour (starch), plus more for rolling
- 2/3 cup maple sugar
- 1/4 cup coconut flour
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/4 cup + 2 teaspoons coconut oil or ghee, melted and slightly cooled
- 3 large egg whites, divided
- 1 tablespoon non-dairy milk of choice
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone nonstick pad and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the almond flour, tapioca starch, maple sugar, coconut flour, and salt, and set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk 2 of the eggs whites with the coconut oil (or ghee).
- Add the egg mixture to the dry (flours) mixture and mix until well combined. It will be too sticky to roll out yet.
- Generously flour a large cutting board or sheet of parchment with tapioca flour. Gently knead the dough until it looses its stickiness and sheen, and looks like traditional sugar cookie dough. Roll the dough into a ball.
- Using more tapioca, lightly flour your board and rolling pin, and roll out the dough to about 1/4" thick.
- Use your cutters to cut out shapes, and transfer them to the prepared baking sheet, leaving about 1" between cookies.
- Prepare the egg wash by whisking the remaining egg white with 1/2 tablespoon of your milk.
- Use a pastry brush to brush the egg wash over the cookies, and decorate the cookies with your sprinkles.
- Bake cookies for 12-15 minutes. The cookies will not get very golden brown, but watch for the tops to lose their sheen as the egg wash dries and sets. Do not overbake; these cookies dry out easily.
- Cool on the baking sheet for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
If you prefer, you can skip the egg wash and sprinkles, bake and cool the cookies completely, then decorate with frosting or royal icing.
Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days (longer and the cookies will get very soft), or in the freezer for up to three months.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 14 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 128Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 52mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 2gSugar: 7gProtein: 4g