cookies dessert gluten-free

Gluten-Free Shortbread Cookies

December 18, 2013

Gluten-Free Shortbread Cookies that the whole family can enjoy including those with gluten allergies and intolerances. The ultimate Christmas cookie without the gluten.

Remember when I promised to diversify my recipes? Well you’ll have to forgive me. The next few weeks will be all about cookies and breakfast. We’re going to disregard any prior statements until after the New Year. Why? Because tis the season for all things baked and sweet…and because I said so.

gluten-free shortbread cookiesHere’s the deal with this recipe. I tried to lower the sugar and made them gluten-free, but by no stretch of the imagination are these healthy. There exists no comparable substitute for butter so don’t even bother trying! In my opinion Christmas is not complete without shortbread and for people who can’t eat or are avoiding gluten, there is absolutely no reason they shouldn’t be able to enjoy some too.

gluten-free shortbread cookies 1I think it’s important for us to not get too worked up about our eating habits during the holidays. Try to get in your fruits and veggies and watch your portions, but don’t beat yourself up over eating a few too many cookies. Christmas only happens once a year so eat real shortbread. You won’t be throwing all of your health goals out the window in one night! Wake up the next day and go for a walk, enjoy the company of friends and family or just laugh a lot. Laughing is the best workout after all πŸ™‚


Gluten-Free Shortbread Cookies

  • Prep Time: 40 mins
  • Cook Time: 12 mins
  • Total Time: 52 mins
  • Yield: 2 dozen 1x


  • 1 1/4 cup icing/powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup + 3 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (or any milk)
  • 2 1/3 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch (or any starch will work)
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp sprinkles (optional)


  1. Using an electric mixer combine butter and icing sugar until soft.
  2. Add in vanilla and beat for another minute.
  3. On medium speed add in each egg individually. Make sure first egg has been mixed in before adding second. Then add in milk.
  4. In a separate bowl combine brown rice flour, xanthan gum, cornstarch and salt.
  5. Slowly incorporate flour mix into butter-egg mixture.
  6. Beat until just combined. Stir in sprinkles if desired.
  7. Roll dough into a log that is about 2 inches thick. I find it easier to roll it into two separate logs.
  8. Wrap log in saran wrap and place in freezer for 30 mins.
  9. Dough can be kept frozen for months.
  10. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  11. Remove dough from freezer and with a sharp knife slice into 24 cookies.
  12. Place 12 on a cookie sheet and bake in the middle rack for 12-14 mins.
  13. Keep remaining dough in fridge while cookies are baking.
  14. Let cool on tray for 5 mins before removing and letting cool completely on a wire rack.
  15. Will keep for 1 week in an airtight container.

What’s your favourite Christmas cookie? Do you indulge during the holidays?


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  • Reply
    November 13, 2014 at 7:38 pm

    Can you use coconut flour instead of rice flour

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      November 14, 2014 at 9:23 am

      Unfortunately no. Coconut flour throws off the dry to wet ratio so I don’t think it will work out! One day I’ll master a grain-free shortbread cookie πŸ˜‰

  • Reply
    Amanda @ Diary of a Semi-Health Nut
    October 26, 2014 at 7:22 pm

    Holy yum lady! No wonder these went Pinterest viral in October…I want these right now!!!

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      October 28, 2014 at 11:29 pm

      hehe thanks, lady! So weird when that happens, but I’m certainly not complaining!

  • Reply
    February 6, 2014 at 7:20 pm

    I am wondering how these would hold up in the mail. Does anyone know? Thanks

    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      February 7, 2014 at 12:55 pm

      Hi Mary. I’ve never actually tried mailing these cookies but I haven’t had much luck mailing any cookies in the past! these are delicate so if you can find a way to keep them secure they might make it.

  • Reply
    Heather @ Kiss My Broccoli
    December 28, 2013 at 11:52 am

    Omg girl, these look GORGEOUS!! Seriously, I am in LOVE with your pictures! I’m usually a soft and chewy cookie kind of gal, but NOTHING beats a good shortbread cookie and a cup of coffee! Almond shortbread is my absolute favorite!

  • Reply
    Allison @ Clean Wellness
    December 22, 2013 at 7:16 am

    Wow! These look totally authentic. I love the idea of adding sprinkles to the dough. My favourite cookie is actually a shortbread cookie. I’m definitely going to try this recipe out. Happy holidays!

  • Reply
    December 21, 2013 at 5:56 pm

    Just made these and I haven’t cooked them yet, but I found the dough extremely wet. Its almost like cake batter. I am currently chilling it in the fridge and hoping it will firm up enough that it can be rolled. fingers crossed!

    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      December 21, 2013 at 9:03 pm

      That’s very strange. Will definitely firm up in the fridge but it should be crumbly when you roll it into a log. Add more flour if it’s as thin as cake batter. These things can be so temperamental depending on climate, ingredient temperature, size of eggs etc… Let me know if you need any more advice and I hope they turn out!

  • Reply
    December 19, 2013 at 10:03 pm

    These look so good… I’m a sucker for anything with sprinkles, especially if they are seasonally colored.

    My fave Christmas cookie is chocolate chip… am I boring?

    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      December 20, 2013 at 3:34 pm

      Not boring, I prefer classic πŸ˜‰ One day we will meet at Vesuvio bakery in NYC and I will give you a mouthgasm with the best CCC in the entire world. Begin preparations!

  • Reply
    December 19, 2013 at 2:21 am

    Whether it’s Christmas day or March 17 (just a random date), I’ll have a damn cookie. Why should indulging in goodness only be acceptable over the holidays? =)

    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      December 20, 2013 at 3:33 pm

      March 17th is St Pattie’s day and my Mom’s bday so you better bet I’ll eat the damn cookie!

  • Reply
    Danielle @ Green is the New Black
    December 18, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    I so agree about letting some things go for the holiday season. It’s all about moderation and balance! Too much good food to pass it all up!

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    December 18, 2013 at 8:54 pm

    I love shortbread cookies but I’d have to say my favorite is snickerdoodles!! They are soooo super delicious. I do indulge in the holidays…I had a slice of chocolate peppermint loaf as I sat down to do blog stuff just down and started to feel a little guilty but your post came just in time as a nice reminder to loosen the reigns just a little bit. Thanks Davida!! πŸ™‚

    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      December 20, 2013 at 3:32 pm

      No guilt! Tis the season and there’s always tomorrow πŸ™‚ What fun would life be if we didn’t let loose every now and then?!?!

  • Reply
    Sarah Pie
    December 18, 2013 at 8:24 pm

    Real shortbread for the win! BF and I are making our traditional sugar cookies this weekend… real butter and sugar and all (and I’ll probably eat half the batch by myself). Like you said the holidays are for celebrating and the includes REAL good REAL treats πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Katie @ Daily Cup of Kate
    December 18, 2013 at 7:59 pm

    I am loving all of these Christmas cookie recipes!!

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