These Gluten Free Shortbread Cookies may not be the most traditional in terms of ingredients, but they REALLY pass for the real thing!
This isn’t a new recipe for me - the original recipe appeared in my first gluten-free cookbook - Beyond Flour - back in 2014!
No significant changes since that publication, mind you. This time around, I made smaller cookies, and more of them.
The book was for 15 3" cookies, and now I did it up as 30 2" cookies. You can go either way you like - or bigger / smaller! - just keep an eye on them when they’re baking!
Anyway, this gluten free shortbread recipe produces buttery shortbread cookies - a very accurate gluten-free version of classic shortbread cookies.
These have been super popular with friends around the holiday season over the past decade or so.
SO many people have such fond memories of rich, buttery shortbread cookies over the holidays, I wasn’t surprised when the requests for easy gluten free shortbread cookies recipe rolled in, as I was planning Beyond Flour.
Not the time of year to see these as Christmas cookies?
The flaky texture and subtle sweetness of these cookies go fantastic with a cup of coffee any day of the year!
Anyway, let’s get to it...
Like all of my gluten free baking recipes, this recipe makes the use of individual gluten-free flour elements - flours, starches, xanthan gum - rather than using a premade gluten free flour blend.
I just find that any mix advertised as an all purpose flour ... does a mediocre job at pretty much everything. They’ll taste ok, and have an ok texture, but that’s about it.
When you use individual flours, you can create a recipe from the ground up, using the flavors and textures of each flour - in specific proportions - to get exactly what you want.
... and when it comes to gluten free cookie recipes, this can mean coming up with a cookie that tastes even BETTER than the regular flour version.
Regular all-purpose wheat flour doesn’t have a lot of flavour on its own, while many of the gluten-free flours do.
Combine them with your other ingredients, and you can achieve a great depth of flavour - specific to the type of finished product you’re aiming for.
Anyway, while there are a few more ingredients than in a traditional shortbread cookies recipe, this is still a relatively simple recipe.
Gluten Free Baking Flour Mix
In addition to the gluten-free baking flour mix ingredients, there are a few simple ingredients that you likely have on hand:
Unsalted butter, softened
Brown sugar - packed
* While milk is not a traditional ingredient in shortbread, I use it to soften the flours for a better final texture in this recipe - the best gluten-free shortbread cookies!
In addition to the actual ingredients, you’ll need a rolling pin for this recipe.
I recommend using a Rolling pin with adjustable thickness guides.
I love mine - makes it so much easier to get my dough rolled to an even thickness, and the silicone mat is nice for rolling out on - I use a LOT less starch with this set, which makes for better cookies!
How to Make Gluten-Free Shortbread Cookies
Full recipe is in the recipe card at the end of this post, this is the pictorial walk-through, with additional tips included.
Make the Shortbread Cookie Dough
In a small bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients, set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, mix butter and brown sugar together just until combined - do not cream it or over beat it.*
Add milk and vanilla to the butter and sugar, gently mix until just combined.
* Shortbread cookies are supposed to be dense cookies, and creaming butter and sugar introduces a lot of air to the dough - it helps give other cookies some “lift”.
This is shortbread, though, so you’re not looking for lift or fluffiness.
That said, you can make this dough in the bowl of a stand mixer - fitted with a paddle attachment - or using an electric hand mixer, you’ll just want to go easy with it. Low or medium speed, for as short a time as you can!
And really... even if you do overdo it and end up with a bit of lift, they’ll still taste fantastic, they just won’t have the normal texture of shortbread.
Add dry ingredients mix to butter and sugar, mix until combined, then knead lightly until smooth
Wrap dough in plastic wrap, chill for 1 hour.
This is an important step - you want to give the flours a chance to absorb the moisture from the milk. This will give you the best final texture, with none of the graininess that gluten free cookies tend to be known for!
Make the Shortbread Cookies
Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C), line baking sheets with parchment paper - NOT wax paper.
Generously sprinkle clean work surface with corn starch, roll dough to ½" thick.
Cut into traditional rectangles, or use cookie cutters to cut out whatever shapes you’d like. As you finish cutting one round of rolled dough, gather the remaining cuttings, gently knead together, and roll again for the next round.
As you cut them, place the cookies 2" apart on a prepared cookie sheet. Prick the tops of each cookie with a fork, if you would like.
Bake for about 15 minutes, or until lightly golden brown.
Allow cookies to cool on cookie sheets for at least 5 minutes before moving, cool completely to room temperature before serving.
Cookies will stay fresh in an airtight container for a week.
Chocolate Dipped Variation
While these gluten free shortbread cookies are fantastic on their own, they’re also great when dressed up with a bit of chocolate.
For gluten free shortbread cookies dipped in chocolate, gently melt some chocolate - dark chocolate is particularly nice.
I’ll usually do this in a microwave safe bowl, microwaving it for 30-45 seconds at a time, stirring well between each burst, until it’s melted.
If you prefer, you can do it in a double boiler.
Lay out some parchment paper, and dip sections of your gluten-free shortbread into the melted chocolate.
Once dipped, place on the parchment paper and allow the chocolate to fully set. Once set, store in an airtight container.
More Gluten-Free Cookies!
Looking for even more fantastic gluten free cookie recipes that *everyone* will love? Look no further!
Gluten-Free Candy Cane Cookies
Gluten-Free Carrot Cake Cookies
Gluten-Free Chewy Banana Oatmeal Cookies
Gluten-Free Chewy Chocolate Cookies
Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
Gluten-Free Fig Newtons
Gluten-Free Fruitcake Cookies
Gluten-Free Gingerbread Cookies
Gluten-Free Graham Crackers
Gluten-Free Imperial Cookies
Gluten-Free Oatmeal Butterscotch Cardamom Cookies
Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies
Gluten-Free Pecan Pie Cookies
Gluten Free Sandwich Cookies
Gluten-Free Red Velvet Cookies
Gluten Free Snickerdoodles
Gluten-Free Unicorn Poop Cookies
... and there’s even more - be sure to check out our Gluten-Free Cookies and Bars recipe section!
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Gluten Free Shortbread Cookies
- Parchment Paper
- Mix butter and brown sugar together just until combined - do not cream it or over beat it. Add milk and vanilla, gently mix until combined.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients.
- Add dry mix to butter and sugar, mix until combined, then knead lightly until smooth.
- Wrap dough in plastic film, chill for 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C), line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Generously sprinkle clean work surface with corn starch, roll dough to ½" thick.
- Cut into traditional rectangles, or use cookie cutters to cut out whatever shapes you’d like.
- Place cookies 2" apart on prepared baking sheets.
- Bake for about 15 minutes, or until lightly golden.
- Allow cookies to cool on cookie sheets for at least 5 minutes before moving, cool completely before serving.