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!
Why You'll Love this Recipe
The holidays aren't the holidays without Gluten-free Sugar Cookies! Making cut-out cookies can be a weekend-long extravaganza, making double & triple batches of dough and frosting. Spending hours decorating to your heart's content. It's a favored holiday tradition!
To be honest though, cut-outs aren't just for the holidays! Why not have these yummy cookies year round?! Make hearts for Valentine's Day, Shamrocks in March, cute flowers in springtime! You get the idea!
If you're 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. This recipe consistently gets raving 5-star reviews from friends, family, and readers! Many say that these gluten-free sugar cookies are just as good, if not better, than their gluten-filled counterpart! That's a win!
They are soft with great flavor, thanks to butter and a touch of brown sugar. They hold their shape perfectly when baking! Plus, they are pretty forgiving and can be made with many of the gluten-free blends currently on the market!
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:
- Brown sugar: not a typical ingredient in 'regular' sugar cookies, but in gluten-free sugar cookies brown sugar adds just the right amount of tenderness and moisture.
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.
Gather the dough into a ball and wrap in a plastic bag or plastic wrap. Then 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 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.
- 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. Too thick and they may get puffy.
- Dip a thin 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. 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.
- Use gel food coloring from Wilton, Americolor, or a craft store like Hobby Lobby. 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!
- Use a small star tip to dot stars all over the cookies. This is an easy way for kids to decorate!
- 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.
- Speaking of sprinkles, be sure to check that yours are gluten-free!
Best Frosting for Sugar Cookies
You can use any buttercream frosting, glaze, or royal icing recipe you like but I prefer the 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 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, King Arthur Measure for Measure, Cup4Cup Multipurpose, Namaste Perfect Blend, or 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.
- Whisk the dry ingredients together in a small bowl. Add to the creamed mixture and blend until well combined.
- Gather the dough into a ball, cover, and 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.
- Sprinkle flour on a piece of parchment. Place the dough on top and sprinkle a little more flour on top. Also, flour your rolling pin.
- 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.
- Can freeze for a month or longer.