Easy Vegan Shortbread Cookies (Gluten Free)

Easy Vegan Shortbread Cookies (Gluten Free)


I’m not typically one for choosing the ‘plain’ version of anything. Shortbread is an exception to that rule! Shortbread is perfect just as it is, so I wanted to create a vegan shortbread cookie inspired by the classic recipe. It’s crispy, just a bit crumbly, buttery…and most importantly…not too sweet!

I am more of a cook than a baker. And when it comes to gluten free and vegan baking, sometimes a simple recipe can really test my mettle. These vegan shortbread cookies took me four attempts to get right, although to be honest, the first three times I was kind of sick and super distracted by my four year old so I probably got in my own way, ha! Nonetheless, I went to the mat for this one – it was all about getting the flour blend right. I really wanted one that brought me back to that old shortbread cookie recipe that was on the back of the Canada Cornstarch box.

These shortbread cookies are super simple to make, require no extra steps, just mix and bake!

What you’ll need to make these vegan shortbread cookies

This recipe is super simple…but I’ve used a blend of three flours for the best texture!

  • Vegan Butter: Not all vegan butters are the same…some are just gross margarine. I look for ones that have high quality oils and are non-hydrogenated. My two faves are Miyoko’s Creamery, which is cashew-based and quite a treat – and Melt Organic Buttery Sticks which does a good job of minimizing omega 6 fatty acids and is more affordable for everyday use. I’ve used Melt for this recipe.
  • Sugar: This is not a low FODMAP, anti-inflammatory or otherwise ‘health-ified’ recipe. I’ve used a decent amount of real sugar here, choosing icing sugar for a more melting texture.
  • Arrowroot starch: I’ve chosen arrowroot starch for it’s fine texture, which reminds me of the classic cornstarch shortbread I used to make as a kid.
  • Almond meal: almond meal has such a wonderful, soft crumb and a naturally sweet taste. If you love baking with almond flour, you should try my amazing high-protein almond flour scones.
  • Brown rice flour: this is essential for giving the cookie its snappy, crisp texture. Don’t substitute white rice flour as it doesn’t have the same texture.

Life is short, eat a damn cookie.

This is perhaps the first non-anti-inflammatory recipe on the site. But let’s be honest, sometimes, you just want a real deal cookie. And when you take care of yourself – eat your veggies, move your body – you can enjoy one and still feel really good.

These cookies are perfect with a cup of tea in the afternoon, to serve after dinner instead of a heavier dessert, or if you want to make a crowd-pleasing cookie for holiday cookie exchanges.


Vegan Shortbread Cookies (Gluten Free)

These vegan, gluten free shortbread cookies are inspired by the classic recipe. Rice flour gives them the crispness you expect while almond flour and arrowroot keep them nice and light. Perfect gifting, or enjoying with a nice cup of tea or cocoa!

Prep Time15 mins

Cook Time19 mins

Total Time35 mins

Course: Baked Good, Dessert

Cuisine: American

Keyword: baking, cookies, shortbread

Dietary Preference: dairy free, Gluten-Free, vegan, vegetarian

Servings: 36 cookies


  • 1 cup good quality vegan butter I used Melt Organic
  • 1 ¼ cup icing sugar
  • 1 ½ cups brown rice flour
  • 1 ¼ cup almond meal
  • ¾ cup arrowroot starch
  • ¼ teaspoon salt


  • Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit (175° Celsius) and prepare two baking sheets with parchment.

  • In a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar until it’s fluffy. Next, add the salt, rice flour, almond meal and arrowroot starch and mix at low speed until a dough forms.

  • If it’s warm in your kitchen and dough is looking too soft to roll, stick it in the fridge for 30 minutes. Otherwise, scoop out 1 tablespoon (15ml) of dough and roll into a ball. Gently press ball into a 1 cm (⅓ inch) thick round, about 4.5 cm (3 ¾ inch).

  • Continue with the rest of the dough, spacing cookies 1 inch apart on cookie sheet.

  • Bake for 18-20 minutes, until the bottoms turn golden brown. If baking both sheets at once, be sure to rotate sheets from top to bottom halfway through for more even cooking. Remove cookie sheet to a cooling rack for five minutes, then remove cookies to rack and let fully cool.

  • Keep cookies in a sealed container at room temperature for up to three days, or store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to two weeks.


I know I made a big stink about enjoying these plain…but I also made a batch with 1/2 cup dried tart cherries and 2 tbsp (30ml) of cacao nibs and they were wonderful. 
A couple of tips if you add in, make sure the pieces are small, and knead the mix ins into the dough so they are evenly distributed so they don’t break up the structure of the cookies too much!


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