By Wendy Stoltz / Last Modified On January 15, 2023
This gluten-free shortbread cookies recipe will help you make one of the simplest types of cookies. You'll only need 5 ingredients, one cookie cutter, and a little bit of time to make a delicious batch of vanilla-flavored gluten-free shortbread cookies to share. They're perfect for the holidays and are great for cookie exchanges.
If you like these gluten-free shortbread recipe cookies, you have to try gluten-free sugar cookies, gluten-free gingerbread cookies, gluten-free lemon cookies, gluten-free peanut butter chocolate chip cookies and gluten-free monster cookies too. These cookies are an excellent addition to this strawberry shortcake ice cream.
GLUTEN-FREE SHORTBREAD COOKIES RECIPE
Gluten-free shortbread cookies are a sturdy, crispy, cut-out cookie made with only 5 simple to find ingredients. Enjoy these easy gluten-free shortbread cookies with a cup of coffee or tea and you'll be well on your way to bliss.
I couldn't wait to share this super simple gluten-free shortbread cookie recipe with you. Scroll down for some tips and troubleshooting, and enjoy making them for family and friends.
I've also included a few variations if you want to experiment.
WHY YOU’RE GOING TO LOVE THESE GLUTEN-FREE SHORTBREAD COOKIES
Great holiday cookie platter - Gluten-free shortbread cookies make a beautiful addition to a cookie platter for the holidays or any time of year.
Make the perfect snack - I love having two or three of these with a fresh, hot cup of coffee in the afternoon as a little pick me up. They are perfect for snacking, and kids love these shortbread cookies too.
Simple cookie to make - You only need 5 ingredients, a cookie cutter and a bit of time and you'll have these done in no time!
INGREDIENTS IN GLUTEN-FREE SHORTBREAD COOKIES
Unsalted Butter - I always prefer unsalted butter when baking, as different brands of butter have different amounts of salt in them.
Granulated Sugar - This is the sweetener for our cookies and makes them crunchy. Some have used powdered sugar. I have not tried it, but the texture is sandier, whereas these are grainier.
Vanilla Extract - I recommend getting the best pure vanilla extract that you can reasonably afford. The flavor of vanilla really shines in this recipe.
Salt - Since we're using unsalted butter, this is the perfect amount of salt to balance the sweetness of the cookies.
Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Blend - I used Bob's Red Mill 1-1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour.
EQUIPMENT NEEDED FOR THESE GLUTEN-FREE SHORTBREAD COOKIES
Cookie cutter - I've used a 1.5-inch scalloped round cutter and made 24 cookies. Here's a nice cookie cutter set with assorted sizes.
Cooling rack - I like this cooling rack but there are many options in terms of size, shape, and color.
If you have any questions about how to make gluten-free shortbread cookies, please leave a comment below and I will get back to you.
HOW TO MAKE BUTTERY GLUTEN-FREE SHORTBREAD COOKIES
- Cream together butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Be sure not to overmix as you don't want to incorporate too much air into the mixture. TIP: You can try powdered sugar for a sandier texture. I have not tried it. Powdered sugar is also called confectioners' sugar.
- Add vanilla extract to the butter mixture and stir until combined.
- Sift together salt and gluten-free flour blend.
- Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture until combined.
- Roll the gluten-free dough out between two pieces of parchment paper and cut out circles with your cookie cutters.
- Place the cutouts onto a prepared baking sheet and poke three rows of holes into the cookies with a fork.
- Freeze the cutouts on the pan as directed in the recipe below.
- Bake the chilled cookies in the oven as directed until the edges of the buttery shortbread cookies are slightly brown and the tops are no longer shiny.
- Cool the buttery shortbread cookies in the pan before moving to a cooling rack. Cool the baked cookies completely before serving.
These numbered steps match the numbered photos above and are for illustration purposes. For the complete list of ingredients and instructions in these gluten-free shortbread cookies, please see the recipe below.
TIPS FOR MAKING THIS BUTTERY GLUTEN-FREE SHORTBREAD RECIPE
Measure flour correctly - When measuring your gluten-free flour, you must spoon the flour into the measuring cup. Do not dip the measuring cup into the flour. Measuring the flour using a spoon will make your flour measurement correct. Too much flour will make these gluten-free shortbread cookies too dense and floury tasting.
Cookie cutter - The number of gluten-free shortbread cookies that this recipe makes is dependent on the size of your cookie cutter. I used a 1.5 inch scalloped round cutter and made 24 cookies.
Baking time - The baking time will depend on the thickness of your cookies. The baking time in the recipe card is based on cookies that are about ⅓ inch thick. If you decide to roll your dough out thinner than that, start checking the gluten-free shortbread cookies for doneness at the 9 minute mark.
Use parchment paper - To make rolling out the shortbread dough super easy and less messy, roll the dough out in between two pieces of parchment paper. Doing it this way means that you won't have to add any additional flour to the dough, and you won't need to clean up the counter.
Chill the shortbread dough - It is very important that you chill the dough for these gluten-free shortbread cookies before baking them in the oven. If you try to skip this step, the cookies will spread and will not hold their shape. I like to freeze my cutouts for 20-30 minutes before baking.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN COOKIES AND SHORTBREAD?
Shortbread cookies are a special type of baked good. They are named Shortbread because they do not contain any eggs and have a short list of ingredients.
Shortbread has a higher ratio of butter to flour than most other cookie recipes. This makes them particularly dense and delightfully crumbly when eaten.
HOW TO STORE GLUTEN-FREE SHORTBREAD COOKIES?
These gluten-free shortbread cookies will stay fresh and delicious for at least a week if kept in an airtight container.
WHAT TYPE OF GLUTEN-FREE FLOUR MAKES THE BEST COOKIES?
I have found that my baked goods come out how I like them with Bob's Red Mill 1-1 Gluten Free Baking Flour, which includes a small amount of xanthan gum which is helpful in gluten-free baking.
This blend has a lighter flavor than other blends I've tried as well, making it perfect for a delicately flavored cookie recipe like this gluten-free shortbread cookies recipe. Almond flour tends to make cookies spread more, so I don't usually recommend using it in this recipe.
WHAT'S THE BEST FLOUR FOR THIS GLUTEN-FREE SHORTBREAD RECIPE?
I like to bake this shortbread recipe with Bob's Red Mill 1-1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour. This is the one in the light blue bag.
WHY IS MY GLUTEN-FREE SHORTBREAD COOKIES SO CRUMBLY?
Check that the gf flour you used had xanthan gum in it, if not add it to the recipe. Xanthan gum acts as a binder in this cookie recipe. The second reason could be that you've overmixed the dough.
ARE SHORTBREAD COOKIES GLUTEN-FREE?
So traditionally not, but with this gf shortbread cookie recipe I used gf flour and other gluten-free products to make them.
DO I NEED TO POKE HOLES IN MY SHORTBREAD COOKIES?
I like to poke three rows of holes into the cookies with a fork. It allows the steam to be released during the baking process. Some have found it comes out perfectly without doing this, but I like the pattern too!
CAN I MAKE GLUTEN-FREE SHORTBREAD DOUGH IN ADVANCE?
Yes, make the dough ahead of time and then use it the next day to make the cookies. I would not keep the dough in the refrigerator for longer than a day as the consistency changes.
CAN I FREEZE THESE GF SHORTBREAD COOKIES?
Yes, you most definitely can freeze these gluten-free cookies. Bake them, allow them to cool and then place them in an airtight container. Freeze them for up to 3 months. Defrost them when you are ready to enjoy them.
HOW CAN I MAKE THIS A DAIRY-FREE SHORTBREAD COOKIE RECIPE?
You'll need to substitute the butter for vegan butter.
WHAT CAN I ADD TO THIS GLUTEN-FREE SHORTBREAD RECIPE?
Here are 4 variations you can experiment with using my basic gluten-free shortbread recipe:
Mocha shortbread cookies - Add cocoa powder and instant espresso powder to this cookie recipe. I like to add a melted chocolate drizzle to the top of the cookies.
Berry chip shortbread cookies - Add in some dried berries and mini chocolate chips to the dry dough mix.
Toffee caramel shortbread cookies - Add in toffee bits to the dough. Dip the baked cookie in melted chocolate and drizzle them with caramel.
Glazed lemon shortbread cookies - Add lemon juice and lemon zest to the dough, and then once baked, lemon glaze on top of the cookies.
MORE GLUTEN-FREE COOKIES
Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies - The best gluten-free chocolate chip cookies! With crunchy edges and a chewy center, no one will be able to tell that these chocolate chip cookies are gluten-free. I've included in the process photos and tips, so you are set up for success when making this gluten-free chocolate chip cookie recipe. You can use my flour blend or a flour mix for these cookies.
Gluten-Free Oatmeal Cookies - You can add raisins or chocolate chips to this gluten-free cookie recipe, or both! Crunchy, chewy, and oh-so delicious, these Gluten-Free Oatmeal Cookies will disappear in no time. This recipe is simple to make and doesn't use any expensive ingredients or labor intensive steps. You'll love how easy this gluten-free oatmeal cookie recipe is.
Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Cookies - We like to add chocolate chips to this classic gluten-free cookie recipe, but you don't have to. Soft, chewy, Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Cookies make the perfect pick-me-up cookie, or snack. These easy peanut butter cookies are loaded with healthy fats and protein and are quite scrumptious.
Chocolate Sunbutter Cookies - These cookies are one of our favorite allergy friendly cookies. Chocolate Sunbutter Cookies are ultra-soft, brownie-like, and extra fudgy. These sunbutter cookies are the perfect cookies, right? You're going to love how easy this recipe pulls together.
Gluten-Free Chocolate Cookies - This gluten-free cookie is a reader favorite, which is why we're including it in this post about gluten-free cookie recipes. Rich and fudge-like, these gluten-free chocolate cookies are incredibly easy to make and bake in no time. You're going to want to add this gluten-free cookie recipe to your to-make list.
Gluten-Free Lady Fingers - We love making ladyfingers. They are fun to make, and kids love them too. Ready for dunking into your coffee or creating a homemade tiramisu, Gluten-free ladyfingers are a simple to make cookie that you'll want to make often. These ladyfingers are as good as, if not better than, anything you can buy in the store. They are fresh, airy, and the perfect texture for dunking and soaking up flavors.
Gluten-Free Snowball Cookies - Learn to make buttery, crunchy gluten-free snowball cookies in a few simple steps. These gluten-free snowballs, also known as gluten-free Mexican wedding cookies, are easy to make and they are perfectly sweet.
Gluten-Free Gingerbread Cookies - Easy, cut-out Gluten-Free Gingerbread Cookies! This gluten-free gingerbread cookie recipe delivers the perfect texture and gingerbread flavors.
Gluten-Free Gingersnaps - Perfectly spicy, and not too sweet, these Gluten-Free Ginger Snaps can be enjoyed for dessert or an afternoon tea. They are naturally dairy-free, bursting with flavor and are perfectly crunchy which makes them the perfect gluten-free ginger cookies for dunking.
Gluten-Free Shortbread Cookies
Gluten-free shortbread cookies are a sturdy, crispy, cut-out cookie made with only 5 simple to find ingredients.
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour blend (I used Bob's Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour)
- Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Set them aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and granulated sugar. Be sure not to overmix as you do not want to incorporate too much air into the mixture.
- Add vanilla extract to the butter mixture and stir until combined.
- Sift together salt and gluten-free flour blend and gradually add to the butter mixture until combined.
- Turn the dough out onto a sheet of parchment paper. Place another sheet of parchment paper on top of the dough. Then roll it out to ⅓ inch thickness.
- Take the top sheet off and cut out circles with a cookie cutter 1.5 inch in diameter. Pierce each cookie with a fork to create small holes in the center.
- Place the cut-outs onto the prepared baking sheets and freeze for 20-30 minutes, until firm. You can also let it chill in the refrigerator for an hour or more instead.
- While the dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 350F.
- When the dough is ready, place the shortbread in the oven and bake for 13-15 minutes, until the edges are slightly brown, and the top of the cookies are no longer shiny.
- Let the cookies cool in the pan for 10 minutes before moving to a wire rack to finish cooling. Cookies will be fragile until cooled.
- This recipe makes 24 cookies if cut using a 1.5 inch round cutter and rolled to ⅓ inch thick.
- Thinner cookies will require less baking time. Check cookies starting at 9 minutes.
- Measure flour by spooning it into the measuring cup, not by scooping.
- Do not skip the chilling step. It is important to chill the dough so that the cookies hold their shape.
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Rodelle Organics Baker's Extract 16oz
Wilton Excelle Elite 3-Tier Cooling Rack for Cookies, Cake and More, Black
Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour, 22-ounce (Pack of 4)
HULISEN Biscuit Cutter Set (5 Pieces/Set), Stainless Steel Round Biscuit Cutters with Handle, Wave Cookies Cutter with Fluted Edge, Professional Baking Dough Tools, Gift Package (Wave)
Serving Size:3 cookies
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 103Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 50mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 0gSugar: 4gProtein: 1g
This nutrition info is based on the exact ingredients and brands that I used a the time. It may not be 100% accurate. Please check your ingredients nutrition labels.
Such a simple recipe, I couldn't believe that those ingredients would make such a delicious cookie, but they sure did!! Perfect.
These cookies are so good! I used Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 baking floor and PC brand plant based butter alternative (available in Canada). I also rolled the dough into logs, refrigerated for 8 hrs and sliced them instead of rolling them out.
Thanks for sharing how you made it Linda. Glad you liked them.
I made these amazing cookies and could not stop eating them. Too bad butter is a dairy product. Next time I will use a vegan dairy product, but I will give most of the cookies away so I won’t eat them all. I also made the banana muffins! They are so much like regular muffins. Delicious!
I am so glad you like them. Thank you for letting me know.
I plan to make this this week, but cannot tolerate rice, so I will be using Bob's RM GF APF flour instead. I'll try to leave a note as to how they turned out.
Thanks for the recipe!
Hello! These shortbread cookies look amazing. I miss shortbread. Quick question, can these be made dairy-free? If yes, which brand would you recommend? I understand they aren't all the same.
I haven't tried making these dairy free but when I do I will most likely use earth balance buttery spread. If you try it, will you stop back by and let me know how they turned out?
Delicious. I appreciate that your recipe doesn’t require a lot of sugar. Even though, I only used one and one half tablespoons of sugar and added chopped raisins. Loved it.
I am so glad you like them. Thank you for sharing what you used.
Hi, just wondering if I could use one of your home made GF flours instead of purchasing flour? I’ve had great success baking with your flour blend.
You can use my flour blend but you'll need to add 2 teaspoons of xanthan due to the high butter content. Let them cool completely before moving them.
These are the best GF shortbread cookies I have ever made. They don't taste like the more traditional ones I make as they taste more like wonderful sugar cookies. However, every time I made a batch they are eaten quickly and even by people who are not gluten free
We're so glad that everyone loves them! Thank you for the comment.
I made them and they melted into one huge cookie.
Hi Alice. A few suggestions to make sure that doesn't happen next time: 1. Be sure to measure your flour correctly. Sometimes not enough flour will cause shortbread to spread. 2. Chill the cut out cookies in the freezer before baking them. The butter in the dough needs to be solid when you put these in the oven. I hope you try the recipe again!
Hi Chrystal, to your point of measuring the flour, do you know how much of each ingredient you use by weight (grams)? Volume measurements for dry ingredients are notoriously inconsistent & difficult to replicate.
Thanks for your time.
Hi Greg, we do not yet have weights for all of our recipes, and I agree, there can be inconsistencies. That's why I give instructions for measuring, so that we can all at least try to measure in the same way 🙂
It is very disheartening when you put time and effort into making something and it falls flat. My attempt was only slightly better than Alice's but I did follow everything in detail as explained. I am not a baker and only invest in making cookies and treats for the holidays. Non-the-less, it is frustrating when things fail. So, before giving up, I offer the following questions:
1) I used Robin Hood gluten free flour with xanthan gum. Would additional xanthan gum help?
2) Would freezing longer help?
3) Would making thicker cookies help?
4) Would baking at lower temperature help?
Any comments would be appreciated.
I am sorry you are having trouble with this. Can you let me know what the cookies looked like so I can offer advice? I think it will be better to troubleshoot that way.
Would this recipe work if I added a hint of almond extract to it?
Hi Rachel, it should work.
I followed the recipe exactly and all cookies melted in the oven feeling frustrated as I used up all the ingredients and have my 4 year old son wishing to devorate christmas cookies.
A few suggestions to make sure that doesn't happen next time: 1. Be sure to measure your flour correctly. Sometimes not enough flour will cause shortbread to spread. 2. Chill the cut out cookies in the freezer before baking them. The butter in the dough needs to be solid when you put these in the oven. I hope you try the recipe again!