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Light and Fluffy Gluten Free Sugar Cookies

This recipe is super yummy and I just forgot how much I loved these until we made a simple batch last night. It was easy, fast, and the dough did not require any refrigeration at all. I found a sugar cookie recipe years ago that I have been tweaking every so slightly over time. I wouldn’t say I am a pro baker, or anything close to that. Afterall, it is a science with balancing out all the ingredients, liquids etc. I probably wouldn’t begin to know the first things about creating a recipe from scratch to bake. However this original recipe I found was a good starting base and I have changed a few things to our liking.

Originally it called for Tapioca Flour, and to me it smells and tastes a little metallicy. I don’t know if our bag of flour has gone bad…but even in Chebe’s brand of pizza crusts that are made with 100% tapioca flour, take on this same taste and smell. So instead of Tapioca I used Potato Starch. I didnt have a scale to weigh the differences, but they both feel very similar in texture and weight so I decided to swap it. The recipe also calls for 1 cup of shortening.  Iv’e used butter and shortening before without a noticeable difference. I use organic spectrum shortening (if I ever have to, not something I like to use often), and it is organic pressed palm oil. No hydrogenated anything in it. So IF you have to cook with shortening, that is what I recommend. You can find it in the gluten free or health food section, and it is in a small tub.

I changed a few other things as well and it all comes out as a yummy fluffy cookie with a tad bit of chew to hold it together.

The frosting is a whole other story. I wont be posting a frosting recipe today because I don’t like the one we used. In fact I really enjoyed these cookies with no frosting because they were plenty sweet and delicious. When you do frost your cookies, make sure that they are cooled completely before doing so.

The reason I am on a sugar cookie kick is because my sweet mother in law emailed me the other day about her loft house gf sugar cookie find. After she sent me the recipe, I was surprised to see how different it was than mine. It involved sour cream, an all purpose flour blend and some other things. Now I am starting to wonder if I should start playing around with my recipe and tweaking it again. I definitely want to test hers out and see how the sour cream and other variables affect the cookie. The only thing that is bothersome about testing out gf recipes all the time is that the flours are so expensive and if something doesnt turn out, its a waste of money. I am putting the search for the perfect sugar cookie on my list of to do, but for now this one below is good enough for us!

Gluten Free Sugar Cookies
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Jessica Feely
Prep time: 25 mins
Cook time: 13 mins
Total time: 38 mins
Serves: 12-15
These yummy cookies are sure to please the gluten free crowd!
  • 1 cup super fine white rice flour (or sweet rice flour)
  • 1/2 cup potato starch (not potato flour)
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or 1/2 if you prefer a bit less salt)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup organic spectrum shortening (or substitute 1 cup soft room temp butter)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • extra potato starch for rolling out dough
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pull out 1-2 cookie sheets wrapped in foil or parchment.
  2. In small bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, xanthan gum, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In kitchen aid mixer bowl, cream sugar and shortening. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients a little at a time until combined. The dough will be soft.
  4. On a bread board sprinkled with potato starch, take half the dough with your hands and flatten it and roll it out to 1/4 inch thickness. Using plastic wrap over the dough while using a rolling pin will help with sticking.
  5. Cut cookies in desired shapes and place on cookie sheet.
  6. You can re-roll the scraps and make more cookies until the dough is gone.
  7. Bake for exactly 13 minutes.
  8. Remove the pan immediately from the oven and let cookies cool on pan, then remove to wire rack.
  9. Enjoy!
Watch the timer, these cookies can dry out very fast if accidentally left even a few minutes in too long!

Remember all ovens are different, so you may have to adjust the cooking time between 12-14 minutes. I found that in my old oven 12 minutes was perfect, but in our current oven 13 minutes is better.

Let me know how yours turn out and if you have any awesome frosting recipes!

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Show Hide 29 comments

Lyndsey - January 22, 2012 - 22:52

Thank you so much for posting the recipe…so excited to test these out…They look delicious!! Thank you again. =)

Becky - January 23, 2012 - 00:21

Yay! I’m totally trying these! Maybe even tonight!

Jenet - January 24, 2012 - 08:02

Thanks for the Yummy recipe. I think I’ll put my own “twist” to it and see how they turn out

Kate - January 24, 2012 - 16:15

O my goodness I am so excited to try these!! They look amazing :)

Jenny - January 25, 2012 - 01:42

Just found your blog! Just found out that I have a gluten sensitivity, great to find some yummy GF baking recipes!

Megan - April 7, 2012 - 05:52

I made these cookies tonight as a suprise for my husband (he is gf).. He LOVED them. I agree, they are amazing!! Thank you!!

Carmen - April 12, 2012 - 22:06

Thank you very much for sharing this recipe, I can’t wait to get the ingredients to try it. Just a couple questions:
1) where can I find xanthan gum?
2) are the cookies firm like a regular sugar cookie?

Thanks again.

zoie - April 25, 2012 - 03:56

In step 3, you forgot to say: add almond extract. It should be added along with the egg and vanilla. :)

zoie - April 25, 2012 - 05:38

Just finished baking these cookies. If I had to choose one word to describe them, it would be: perfect. They were soft, chewy, sweet, and quick. Thanks for the recipe!

Carmen - May 29, 2012 - 04:29

Finally got myself some xanthum gum, and made 2 batches of these cookies. They turned out just like the title said so – light and fluffy. It’s heavenly yummy…Thank you so much for posting this recipe.

Dani - June 13, 2012 - 05:54

Tried these for a friend. Oh my goodness, they were amazing. I can eat gluten but couldn’t stop eating these.

Christina - July 13, 2012 - 06:39

Made this recipe today and then made a Grand Marnier icing to put on top… YUM! My roommate if GF.. hopefully there will be some left when he gets home from work 😉 Thanks for the fantastic recipe!

Courteney - November 10, 2012 - 23:12

I made these a week ago, and they tasted absolutely amazing! And, they’re reasonably easy to make!

Sharon - November 21, 2012 - 15:54

This is really awesome and spreads great on cookies. I make approx 40 doz @ Christmas time for gifts and always use this. This year I will be making some GF also for our Christmas party. Your recipe sounds great. Cannot wait to try. Thanks.
Sugar Cookie Glaze
2-1/4 c. confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 T. light corn syrup
1-1/2 -2T. milk
Food coloring (optional)
1. In a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, corn syrup, and 1 1/2 tablespoons of the milk until smooth.
2. Add food coloring, if desired.
3. Spread one cookie with glaze, using a table knife or offset spatula. If it doesn’t smooth out after 1 minute, dribble in additional milk, 1/2 teaspoon at a time, until the glaze reaches the right consistency.
Hands-on time: 15 mins. to 20 mins. Baking time: Total time: Yield: 2/3 cup
Tips from our bakers
◦Be sure you measure accurately here. Too little milk, and the glaze won’t spread nicely. Too much milk, and it will be thin, spotty and develop splotches overnight.
◦Once the glaze has hardened, you can color on it with foodsafe markers, or you can pipe another color over the top with Royal Icing. You can sprinkle sugar on top of the wet royal icing for a sparkly effect.

Mary - November 21, 2012 - 22:03

These turned out ok, but very bitter. Too much baking powder for this recipe. I was disappointed.

admin - November 21, 2012 - 22:09

Sorry to hear about that! Feel free to add your modification in the comments :) I will say that it sounds odd since my family has made these dozens of times and shared them with friends and they’ve never once tasted bitter. I am making them again for thanksgiving tomorrow, I’ll see if I notice anything off about it. Thanks for stopping by!

admin - November 21, 2012 - 22:10

Thank you, they really are our favorite GF cookie! Glad they turned out great for you :)

admin - November 21, 2012 - 22:13

Here is a good link on how to get rid of the taste if you are experiencing it in any of your foods:

admin - November 21, 2012 - 22:15

Here is a popular recipe for GF sugar cookies, but it has an even higher baking powder to flour ratio in it than mine does. Maybe check the container or date on the BP. Here is the link, give it a try and maybe you’ll love it :)

[…] I came across what looks like, sounds like, and has reviews like a phenomenal recipe for gluten-free sugar cookies.  I am looking forward to trying these […]

Whitney - December 4, 2012 - 04:39

I came across this recipe by searching for gluten free sugar cookie recipes and decided to try it. These are AMAZING! I made them and then let them sit on my counter for a couple of days and they were still amazing! Thanks so much for this recipe!

FISH - December 23, 2012 - 08:25

These were fantastic! I subbed guar gum for xathan gum and tapioca starch for potato since I had these on hand. They cookies expanded a bit but it’s probably b/c of my substitutions. Thank you!

Janice - February 14, 2013 - 07:30

These were perfect. I’ve made them several times, and I love that you don’t have to refrigerate them over and over again trying to get them to cooperate as you roll them out. I used 50% rice flour, 25% sweet rice flour, and 25% sorghum flour, and I used half butter and half shortening just for fun. Even gluteny people absolutely loved them. :)

Steph - May 1, 2013 - 00:54

These cookies are great!!! People do not even realize they are gluten free. I found that if I refrigerate the dough for a couple of hours prior to baking I end up with even fluffier cookies. Just add a tad water if the refrigerated dough is too fluffy. Thanks for this recipe, we have a lot of family fun making (and eating) these cookies.

lisa - June 18, 2013 - 02:02

Instead of the different types of flours…can you use on of the all-purpose gluten free flours? Like Cup4cup?

Thank you…looks yummy!

melissa - November 24, 2013 - 21:50

Anyone tried these with regular butter? Im going to try to make them the way it says to with the shortening just curious if it’s been tried with regular butter?

Susan - December 7, 2014 - 19:08

I substituted coconut flour for the corn starch, baking truvia for the sugar, added an egg and 2T of milk….and they were delicious!! The coconut flour gives GF sugar cookies a unique flavor….perfect without the frosting.

DinaS - April 7, 2016 - 04:33

Have you tried cake/cookies with potato starch base like in passover desserts? I agree about the cost of specialty ingredients, but other than $2/lb potato starch, most other ingredients should be “normal.”

Some ideas:

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