This gluten-free sugar cookie recipe is sponsored by Bob’s Red Mill and contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosures for details.
I keep getting emails and requests for a gluten-free sugar cookie recipe, so I decided this year was the year I would create one… actually, this is the year I would PERFECT one and I’m not kidding!
There are a ton of gluten-free sugar cookie recipes on the Internet, and I’ve tried a lot of them.
None of them really wowed me. They were too crunchy and grainy. Some recipes even failed miserably because the cookies spread and didn’t keep their shape.
Having no luck on the Internet, I tried to create a recipe of my own using a variety of gluten-free flours. While some turned out okay, none stacked up to the batch I created with my trusty Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten-Free Flour Blend. This gluten-free flour blend seriously works like a charm each and every time I use it.
The Inspiration Behind My Gluten-Free Sugar Cookies
The inspiration for this no-spread gluten-free sugar cookie recipe came from the book, Ratio by Michael Ruhlman. Ruhlman is a baker who has decoded the secrets to baking to specific ratios or combinations of fat, flour and sugar. For a general basic cookie (not sugar cookie) recipe, the ratio is one part sugar, two parts fat and three parts flour. All ratios are measured in weight (vs. volume).
I decided to put Ruhlman’s cookie ratio to the test. However, upon further examination of Ruhlman’s recipe, the ratio of fat, sugar and flour are a bit different for a sugar cookie vs. a basic cookie. Hmmm. Ruhlman says the reason for this is that a sugar cookie is no ordinary cookie.
Ruhlman’s sugar cookie ratio instead calls for equal parts sugar and fat (so 8 ounces of butter and 8 ounces of sugar) along with an egg and 1.5 parts flour (or 50 percent more flour). It gets a little confusing to a novice baker like me, but Ruhlman explains all the science in his book and I’m willing to just go with it!
With this knowledge, I decided to create my own gluten-free sugar cookie recipe using the Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten-Free Flour Blend and the ratios set forth by Ruhlman. I have found that Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten-Free Flour Blend can be used in most recipes as a cup for cup substitute for wheat flour. Bob’s makes gluten-free baking so easy to do and you can convert just about any recipe that calls for wheat flour into a gluten-free masterpiece!
After playing with the ratios a bit, and a bunch of trial and error, I came up with this absolutely perfect gluten-free sugar cookie recipe, one that I use year round and especially over the winter holidays as I can cut these cookies into any shape and the shape will hold!
I have a few tips to ensuring you get a seriously perfect no-spread, soft-baked sugar cookie each and every time.
First, do not add any baking powder or baking soda. This will leaven the cookies too much and they won’t hold their beautiful shapes. The cookies won’t taste any different without the baking powder or soda – and you won’t miss it at all in these cookies – trust me!
Second, you must keep the dough cold at all times. I decided to refrigerate the dough for at least two hours after making it, and then I refrigerated it again after I cut them into shape (I just put the baking sheet with the cut out cookies on them in my fridge). Proper refrigeration ensures the gluten-free sugar cookies won’t spread. DO NOT SKIP REFRIGERATION AT ANY STEP IF YOU WANT THESE COOKIES TO HOLD THEIR SHAPE!
Third, I found the secret to making a perfect cut-out, no-spread gluten-free sugar cookie is to not add additional flour to the recipe than what is called for. This means measuring your cookies by weight, as possible, especially if you use different flour blends that weigh differently. I provide the estimated volume measurement in the recipe just in case you don’t have one of these awesome kitchen scales readily available (but you should get one for next time).
On top of that, when you roll out the cookies, don’t flour the surface with more flour. When you do this, it adds more flour to your cookies and it will make them taste and bake up differently. To get the perfect cookie, use powdered sugar vs. flour to lightly dust your rolling surface. It won’t add that extra flour that might change the taste and texture of your gluten-free sugar cookies.
How Do the Gluten-Free Sugar Cookies Taste?
Now about the taste…. I promise you, these gluten-free sugar cookies are the real deal. You won’t be disappointed.
You’ll find that they are soft yet still have a slight crunch to them too. (If you slightly undercook them they will be super soft and doughy – so good!!)
And once you add the royal icing or buttercream frosting, these gluten-free sugar cookies taste even BETTER. I’m not kidding… if you let the frosted cookies sit for an hour, or even overnight, the taste intensifies. This is because some of the moisture from the frosting seeps into the gluten-free sugar cookies, making them a little sweeter and softer. My mouth is watering thinking about eating these delicious beauties!
Please note that I used food dye from India Tree – the dyes are vegetable colorants vs. artificial dyes. No one needs artificial dyes in their diet… NO ONE! The dyes are tasteless, which is a good thing. I read on the Internet that people could taste the colors – but I found them to be completely and utterly tasteless and allow the sugar cookies to shine.
The food dye set comes with a red/pink, blue and yellow bottle of dye. I mixed the yellow and blue to get the green, and you can create other colors by mixing the colors together correctly. The red dye is quite pink and I couldn’t figure out how to make it more red (I’m sure the Internet has the answer somewhere). Oh well.
I had a lot of fun making these cookies and it was so easy to do with Bob’s Red Mill’s 1-to-1 Gluten-Free Flour Blend. I know I crush on this flour all the time, but I do it with good reason. Bob’s has yet to let me down! I have a feeling this flour will soon become your go-to gluten-free flour blend, too.
PS: Looking for additional gluten-free cookie ideas? Some of my friends have come up with delicious creations that I want to share here, too. Try these gluten-free peppermint snickerdoodles from My Gluten-Free Miami, fun and unique Elvis cookies from Eat Your Way Clean, spiced paleo sweet potato cookies from Raia’s Recipes, and another take on making the perfect sugar cookie from Tea Cups and Things. These recipes are totally gluten-free – pass it on! #PassItOnGF
PPS: I made these no-spread gluten-free sugar cookies for Halloween too – yum!
Gluten-Free Sugar Cookie Recipe
- 12.5 ounces Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten-Free Flour Blend (~2.5 cups)
- 2 sticks salted butter, room temp. 2 sticks
- 1 cup sugar (8 oz)
- 1 large egg
- 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
- Powdered sugar (for flouring surface)
- 2 large egg whites
- 2 Tbsp. butter, melted
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1-2 tsp. milk (only if needed)
- Food coloring (India Tree makes artificial dye-free food dye)
- Cream together butter and sugar for 1 minute.
- Add egg and vanilla until well combined, and then add flour. Mix well until all flour is incorporated.
- Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Lightly flour a clean surface with powdered sugar.
- Roll dough until about 1/2 in. thick.
- Use your cookie cutters to cut desired shapes and place cookies on cookie sheet.
- Place cookie sheet in fridge for 1 hour or longer to set. This is essential to prevent the cookies from spreading.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Add cookies and bake for 13-15 minutes or until the bottom of the cookie is slightly brown.
- Remove from oven, cool for 5 minutes on baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack.
- Allow cookies to fully cool before icing.
- Mix egg whites in a standing mixer over medium speed for 1 min.
- Add butter, vanilla and powdered sugar until all ingredients are well incorporated. If frosting is runny, add a little bit of milk at a time, if mixture is too stiff, add more powdered sugar.
- Add dye to frosting as desired and spread on cooled cookies.
Makes about 20 cookies depending on how large you make them (snowmen are larger, so you may make less than if you made small cut-out stars, for example). Serving size is about one cookie.