Damn Good Vegan Shortbread Cookies
Who doesn’t love a shortbread cookie?? I’ve updated my vegan shortbread cookies to make them even more loveable: think one bowl, a rolled cookie with a perfect tendercrisp texture AND a soft drop cookie option. Gluten free and made with nutrient dense almond meal, this is an easy shortbread cookie recipe that’s damn good, if I do say so myself!
How to make shortbread cookies
These vegan, gluten free shortbread cookies are inspired by the classic recipe, which is typically just a few simple ingredients:
This easy shortbread cookie recipe has just five ingredients so I could blend the flours for the best texture. Almond meal gives them a tender and light crumb while just a bit of rice flour gives them the sandy crispness you expect.
These vegan shortbread cookies are the perfect low effort holiday cookie: just beat the butter, salt and maple syrup together and mix in the flour. Sit with a cup of tea while they chill and then scoop or cut with your favourite cookie cutters!
I’m not typically one for choosing the ‘plain’ version of anything, especially in a cookie. Shortbread is an exception to that rule! Shortbread is kind of perfect just as it is, so I didn’t want to fuss with it. These cookies are crisp but not crumbly, buttery, and most importantly, not too sweet!
What you’ll need to make these vegan shortbread cookies
I’m not gonna lie: I am more of a cook than a baker. And gluten free, vegan baking is its own challenge! I really went to the mat for this one so you can have a foolproof, zero compromise treat. The only thing you need to worry about is getting the right vegan butter.
- Vegan Butter: Not all vegan butters are the same…some are just gross margarine. I look for ones that have high quality oils and are non-hydrogenated. My two faves are Miyoko’s Creamery, which is cashew-based and quite a treat (it’s a bit pricey) and Melt Organic Buttery Sticks. I’ve used Melt for this recipe because it does a good job of minimizing omega 6 fatty acids and is more affordable for everyday use.
- Sugar: As per usual, I’ve chosen pure maple syrup because it offers a sweeter experience than sugar…but you won’t taste it! You cannot substitute sugar for this recipe as it will change the moisture content.
- Almond meal: almond meal has such a wonderful, soft crumb and a naturally sweet taste. If you love baking with almond flour, you should try my amazing high-protein almond flour scones.
- Brown rice flour: this is essential for giving the cookie its snappy, crisp texture. You cannot substitute white rice flour as it doesn’t have the same texture as brown rice.
Life is short, eat a damn cookie.
Yes, I’m all about anti-inflammatory nutrition. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a cookie every now and then! Treats are treats. Eat your kale, eat your cookies…it all fits in a healthy life.
These cookies are perfect with a cup of tea in the afternoon, to serve after a big dinner instead of a heavier dessert, or if you want to make a crowd-pleasing cookie for holiday cookie exchanges.
Damn Good Vegan Shortbread Cookies
- 2½ cups almond meal
- ½ cup brown rice flour
- ⅔ cup good quality vegan butter
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Handheld mixer
- Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit (175° Celsius) and prepare a large baking sheet with parchment.
- In a medium bowl, beat butter, maple syrup and salt with a handheld mixer or a wooden spoon until fluffy. Next, add the rice flour and almond meal and mix at low speed (or with a fork) until a loose dough forms. Then, get in there with your hands to form into a ball.
- Toss the dough in the fridge for 60 minutes to chill while you chill.
- Once chilled, you can either scoop or roll the dough. Want soft, puffy cookies? Scoop out 1 tablespoon (15ml) of dough and roll into a ball. Gently press ball into a 1 cm (⅓ inch) thick round.
- Looking for a classic, crisp shortbread? Roll between two layers of parchment to 1/4-1/3 inch thick. You might need a little rice flour on the parchment to prevent sticking. Cut with your favourite cutters and carefully lift onto the baking sheet.
- Bake for 11-14 minutes, until the bottoms turn golden brown. The rolled cookies will cook faster than the drop cookies. Remove cookie sheet to a cooling rack and let fully cool before handling as they firm up when cool.
- Keep cookies in a sealed container at room temperature for up to three days, or store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to a month.
16 Comments on “Damn Good Vegan Shortbread Cookies”
Any chance I could substitute the almond and rice flour for another GF flour? My grandchildren can’t have either one nor wheat flour. I use sorghum a lot and have just tried cassava flour.
I have only tested this recipe with the almond flour/rice flour mix so I can’t guarantee it. All of the GF flours are very different in their texture, binding and water absorption capacity. You could try a sorghum/millet mix or a GF all purpose but I have no idea whether it will work. Apologies! But Vegan/Gluten Free baking is very picky. Gluten and eggs are really good binders and without them, substitutions become a lot more complicated.
Could I use real butter since I am not strictly vegan??
I haven’t tested but honestly I couldn’t see why not! There isn’t a ton of texture difference and it’s still 100% fat. Hope you love the cookies 🙂
Can I use coconut oil instead of butter?
Hi! You absolutely can – it will lose a bit of the buttery shortbread flavour but it will still be a nice cookie 🙂
Amazing!!! Most gluten free cookies have the worst texture, these are incredible! They stay together so nice, and have the best texture and flavour. Easy to customize (cherry, chocolate dipped ect). I also did a batch with walnut flour instead of almond for someone with allergies, and they also were really good.
Thank you so much Amanda! I am so glad you like them. You’re right, gluten free baking is really tough (add vegan to that and, well….). I literally do a happy dance when recipes turn out like this. I am so happy to hear that walnut flour worked too! My hubs can’t have almonds and he just looked longingly at this cookies and then glaringly at me, ha! Now I can make him some.
For the butter, you recommend Miyoko’s Creamery Vegan Butter? Would Coconut Oil or Coconut Butter work?
Miyoko’s is fantastic! Definitely not coconut butter (manna) but coconut oil would work too…you just lose the buttery flavour. I used Melt Organic when I made these and it worked great.
Thanks DESIREE! I’m about to make them…since we’re in full lockdown mode here on the east side of Canada, why not make Christmas cookies everyday. Do you have anymore recipes?
In regards to the Miyoko’s butter, I notice it has Sunflower Oil in it. I don’t eat a lot of it as it’s anti-inflammatory. Since it’s cold pressed is it okay to eat in moderation?
Thanks for responding to all your notifications.
Truly appreciate it.
Merry Christmas Danna!
I don’t worry about small amounts of these oils…we need a bit of omega 6 in our life and yes, cold-pressed will have excellent nutrient retention. I love Miyoko’s. If you haven’t tried them already, look for the gingerbread cookies on my site – search ‘gingerbread’ – they are really delicious and simple too!
Fabulous! I tried the recipe subbing out the BR flour for all purpose GF flour, and I only had butter on hand. Well let’s just say even my picky liked it. Great job!
That’s high praise!! Also, so good to hear that they were nice with a GF flour too. Not everyone has rice flour on hand. Thank you!
Since December is crazy busy for small business owners and all for that matter, I’m doing a little baking in January. With the lockdown, it’s another good reason to do so. For the butter ingredient, can one use Ghee? Thanks1
I haven’t tried it of course, but it should work. What I might suspect is that you’ll need to chill it a bit longer so that the dough is firm. If you do attempt it, please reply back so others can know how it works!