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These are the best soft and chewy Gluten-Free Sugar Cookies for holiday baking. They’re easy to shape, bake and decorate with your favorite festive toppings.
It’s hard to imagine a holiday season without a piled-high dray of homemade cookies. From Frosted Sugar Cookie Bars to Snowball Cookies, I like to bring variety to my holiday dessert spread. Of course, there’s nothing more classic than soft and chewy sugar cookies decorated for the occasion.
This year, I’ll be filling up Santa’s plate with sugar cookies shaped and designed like his favorite things (Christmas trees, snowflakes, and reindeer to name a few). Royal icing makes decorating these adorable cut-out cookies a breeze. This simple frosting will give you smooth, clean lines and make a rainbow of colors to get the perfect festive look.
If you have little ones at home, they’ll love helping you make, shape, and decorate these soft and buttery cookies. In fact, these cookies are so sweet and delicious, no one will be able to tell they’re gluten-free. Have a wonderful holiday, and may it be full of sweet treats!
Despite what you may have heard, gluten free baking doesn’t require fancy or hard-to-find ingredients. In fact, this recipe use pantry staple ingredients that you may already have on hand, especially if you regularly make gluten-free treats. Here’s what you need:
- Gluten-free flour. Use all-purpose measure-for-measure flour like King Arthur brand.
- Tapioca flour. This is a great thickener that mimics gluten protein in baked goods.
- Xanthan gum. Another key gluten replacer in baked goods. You can find this easily onine and at well-stocked grocery stores.
- Butter. Use unsatled butter so you can conrol the flavor of your cookies.
- Egg yolk. Save the white for the royal icing.
- Vanilla extract. Look for pure vanilla for the best flavor (not imitation).
This is an easy and fun holiday baking recipe that’s great t do with kids! Follow these steps to make, chill, cut and bake your sugar cookies:
Make the dough: In a mixing bowl with an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla extract. Mix until smooth. Add the flour in two additions, mixing until just combined and there are no dry lumps.
Rest the dough: Let the dough rest for 5 minutes to absorb the liquid.
Shape the dough for cutting: Transfer the dough onto a piece of lightly floured wax paper. Shape it into a flat disc. Sprinkle the dough with more flour and roll the dough into a 1/4-inch thick rectangle. Cover the dough with a second piece of wax paper and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Prepare for baking: Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 375°F. Remove the dough from the fridge and use cookie cutters to shape your cookies. Re-roll the dough as necessary to make all of the cookies.
Bake: Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden and fully set in the center. Remove the cookies from the oven and rest on the ray until they’re completely cool.
Tips for Success
This is a very simple recipe, but there are always a few good tips to keep in mind. Here are my top tips for perfect sugar cookies:
- Use softened butter, which will whip well in the mixer. This helps your dough stay soft and pliable makes rue the butter is evenly incorproated so there are no clumps.
- The dough will be sticky when it’s done, that’s normal!
- Use only as much flour as is necessary to make sure the dough doesn’t stick to your work surface or to the wax paper.
- Let the cookies cool fully before decorating, otherwise the frosting may melt on the hot cookies.
- Don’t move the cookies unitl they’ve cooled fully on the pan. Otherwise, they may break.
There are dozens of festive ways to decorate these gluten free sugar cookies. Depending on the shapes you cut, you can make adorable Christmas trees, wreaths, gifts, snowmen, and so much more. I love decorating with simple Royal Icing, which dries nice and smooth and is easy to color with food coloring. You can also get a beautiful clean line with royal icing that always looks great on a holiday cookie plate.
If you’re looking for other cookie decorating ideas, try:
For crunch and texture, use colorful sprinkles, chocolate shavings, coconut chips, or mini chocolate chips.
If you have leftover cookies, store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.
Certainly. This is a great make-ahead recipe for the holidays when you have plenty of other cooking to do! You can freeze fully cooled cookies in an airtight container in the freezer for up to a month. When you want to serve the cookies, let them thaw on the counter for a few hours so they come to room temperature.
I don’t recommend keeping the cookies in a freezer bag, as they might break!
You can store unbaked sugar cookie dough in an airtight container or bag in the fridge for up to two months. When you want to bake, let the dough defrost in the fridge overnight. Then roll and shape it into cookies and bake as directed below.
You could also freeze unbaked, shaped cookies and bake them directly from frozen. You may need to add a minute or two to the baking time.
Shop the Recipe
- 2½ cups gluten-free flour
- 1 cup tapioca flour
- 2 teaspoons xanthan gum
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup soft butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 whole eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 Tablespoons vanilla extract
- In a large bowl, sift the gluten free flour tapioca flour, xanthan gum, and salt together. Set aside.
- Using a hand mixer, beat the butter with sugar on high speed until well incorporated, and light and fluffy.
- Lower the speed to medium, and add the eggs, one by one, then the yolk and vanilla extract. Mix well until incorporated.
- Add the flour in two portions. Mix until everything is well incorporated with no dry bits left.
- Let the dough rest for 5 minutes to absorb the moisture. It will be sticky at first, but will become more manageable after it rests.
- Scoop dough onto lightly dusted surface or waxed paper. Form a ball and flatten it.
- Sprinkle the dough with some extra flour and roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thick or a bit thinner if you prefer thinner cookies.
- Transfer the rolled out dough onto a baking sheet and cover with another piece of waxed paper. Place the dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Take the dough out of fridge, remove the top waxed paper and start with cutting out the shapes. They are very easy to cut out, but you can flour the cookie cutters to make it even easier. Place the cut out cookies on the parchment-lined baking sheets.
- Re-roll dough as needed, and cut out more cookies.
- Bake for about 12-15 minutes until just set and lightly golden. If you make them thinner or use small cookie cutters, check them after 10 minutes. Don’t let them get dark brown or burn. They will firm up more as they cool.
- Remove cookies from oven and let sit on the tray until completely cool.
- Decorate with icing, sprinkles, candies, etc.