These delicious gluten-free sugar cookies are tender yet crisp and frosted with soft buttercream icing. They rival the 'regular' versions! This popular recipe has been tested and works well with several gluten-free flour blends. Keep reading for all my tips and tricks for successful gluten-free cut-outs!
The holidays aren't the holidays without Gluten-free Sugar Cookies! Making cut-out cookies is a weekend-long extravaganza, making double & triple batches of dough and frosting and spending hours decorating to our heart's content. It's one of our favorite holiday traditions! To be honest though, cut-outs aren't just for the holidays! Why not have these yummy cookies year round?!
*Original post date 12/8/18, post updated and new pictures 9/7/19, recipe is the same.
If I'm spending the time and effort to make cut-out cookies, especially with expensive gluten-free ingredients, they had better be good! There is no room for mediocre in this situation. My non-GF husband gives this recipe a raving 5-star review and says that these gluten-free sugar cookies are just as good, if not better than their gluten-filled counterpart!
The great thing about sugar cookies is you probably have everything you need to make them already on hand!
- 1:1 Gluten-free flour blend:
- I've successfully made these cookies with Pamela's Artisan Blend All-purpose Flour, Namaste Perfect Blend, Bob's 1 to 1 baking flour, and Cup4Cup Multipurpose Flour (blue bag).
- All gluten-free flours behave slightly differently so if your dough is a little less firm or stickier, refer to my tips below for rolling out the cookies to overcome a dough that's a tad tricky to work with.
- White sugar
- Brown sugar: not a typical ingredient in 'regular' sugar cookies, but in gluten-free sugar cookies adds just the right amount of tenderness and moisture.
- Baking powder
Making the Dough
The process is just like any other sugar cookie recipe.
Start by mixing the wet ingredients.
- Cream the butter and sugars together.
- Then mix in the egg, vanilla, and milk.
Then Mix in the Dry Ingredients:
- Whisk together the dry ingredients.
- Dump the dry ingredients into the wet mixture.
- Blend until very well combined.
The mixture should make a stiff dough. Gather the dough into a ball and wrap in a plastic bag or plastic wrap. The next step... wrap and chill the dough for at least 2 hours or overnight.
I know no one likes to chill dough but you really should for this recipe. Here's why:
- Chilled dough is less sticky and easier to roll out.
- Chilling helps the cookies hold their shape better while baking, especially if the perfect cut-out shape is important to you!
Tips for Rolling Out the Cookies
- Let the dough chill until cold and then let the dough warm up on the counter for up to 15 minutes before rolling.
- Roll out on parchment sprinkled with gluten-free flour so that the dough doesn't stick.
- Roll the dough to about ¼-inch thickness. If you get them too thin, they will be hard to handle without cracking.
- Dip a thin metal spatula that is large enough to hold the whole cookie in GF flour to help move the cookies from the rolling surface to the cookie sheet.
- If you're still having trouble moving the shapes to the cookie sheets:
- Try re-chilling the dough. OR
- Roll the dough out on a piece of parchment the size of your cookie sheet.
- Place the dough-lined parchment on the baking sheet.
- Cut shapes 2 inches apart.
- Remove the scraps around the shapes, leaving the shapes intact on the cookie sheet, and then bake!
- Gather scraps and re-roll the dough so you don't waste any!
- Opt for smaller shapes. The larger the cut-out, the more fragile the cookie will be when decorating.
- Don't over bake. I like a softer sugar cookie. The cookies bake at 350 for about 10-12 minutes depending on how crisp you like them. For softer cookies, pull the cookies out just as they start to brown. Let them go a couple of minutes longer for crisper cookies.
- Let the cookies cool directly on the cookie sheet before transferring to a wire rack. This is an important tip! If you try to remove them from the cookie sheet too soon, they will break easily. Allowing them to cool on the pan gives them time to set.
- A combination of butter and shortening is best for frosting that sets but is still soft. If you don't like to use shortening, you can use all butter.
- Make sure your buttercream isn't too stiff. You want an easily spreadable/pipe-able consistency. Add more cream or milk if the frosting is hard to work with.
- I prefer gel food coloring. The colors are more vibrant and will not water down your frosting.
- Frost over a cookie sheet to catch crumbs & sprinkles for easy clean-up... especially great when kids are helping!
- Frost larger shapes flat on the table or cookie sheet, not in your hand, to prevent them from cracking.
- Add sprinkles immediately after you apply the frosting so they will stick.
Best Frosting for Sugar Cookies
Speaking of frosting, what should you use? You can use any frosting or icing recipe you like but I prefer a classic Wilton buttercream recipe for sugar cookies. It is soft to the bite but also firms up nicely for storage.
- Store these cookies in an airtight container for up to 3 days, BUT in my opinion, they are best eaten sooner rather than later.
- If you make the sugar cookies more than a day ahead of when you need them, pop them in the freezer until the day of so they are nice and fresh!
- The cookies can be frozen for at least one month!
- You can freeze them after you bake the cutouts, unfrosted or frosted!
- When ready, take them out of the freezer to thaw at room temperature. They taste just as fresh as the day they were baked.
More Gluten-free Cookies
- If you need more cookie inspiration, you can check out all of my cookie recipes!
- Flourless Peanut Butter Blossoms are a twist on a classic. I've got a gluten-free version of the original, too.
- How do you like your thumbprints? With Buttercream or Jam?
Gluten-Free Sugar Cookies
- ½ cup butter, softened
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 egg
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 1 ½ Tablespoon milk
- 1 ¾ cup gluten-free flour blend, I used Pamela's All-purpose Blend
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup butter, softened
- ½ cup shortening
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 1 to 4 Tablespoons milk
- 4 cups powdered sugar, about 1 lb.
- gel food coloring, if desired
Make the Cookie Dough
- Whisk together the gluten-free flour, baking powder, & salt. Set aside.
- In a mixer bowl, cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. About 1-2 minutes.
- Add in the egg, vanilla, and milk. Mix until well combined.
- Dump in the dry ingredients. Mix again until well combined.
- Gather the dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap or a plastic bag. Chill the dough in the refrigerator 2 hrs or overnight.
Bake the Cookies
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow to set at room temperature up to 15 minutes.
- Sprinkle flour on your rolling surface and the rolling pin. Lay the dough out and sprinkle a little flour on top.
- Roll the dough out to about ¼-inch thicknes (erring on the side of thicker than too thin), adding more flour as needed to prevent sticking.
- Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes and place them on the baking sheets, leaving a 2-inch space between cookies.
- Gather remaining dough scraps and re-roll. Continue to re-roll and cut out shapes until all the dough has been used. Bake in batches as cookie sheets fill up.
- Bake the cookies at 350°F 10-12 minutes. For crisper cookies, allow the cookies to get lightly browned. For not so crisp cookies, pull them from the oven before they brown.
- Cool completely before frosting.
- Cream together the softened butter and shortening in mixer bowl.
- Add in the powdered sugar and vanilla and mix until combined.
- Add milk, 1 Tablespoon at a time, mixing well after each addition. Keep adding milk until a fluffy, smooth, & spreadable consistency is reached.
- Divide frosting and use gel food coloring to tint, if desired.
- Frost cooled cookies.
- Cookies are best eaten fresh.
- Keep in airtight container up to three days.
- Freeze cookies, tightly wrapped, if desired.
- Cookies can be frozen before or after frosting.
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