Pudding makes these gluten- and dairy-free cookies soft and full of sweet vanilla flavor. These gluten free sugar cookies are easy to make and there’s need to refrigerate the dough! Egg-free/Vegan option included.
This post was sponsored by Vivian’s Live Again. As always, I only work with brands I love and use in my own kitchen. Thank you for supporting Life After Wheat and brands I partner with! This post may also contain affiliate links, please see my full disclosure.
Gluten free sugar cookies are a staple in any kitchen. I think we all have memories of rolling out the dough, cutting it out with the current holiday’s shaped cookie cutters, and anxiously waiting for them to come out of the oven so they could be frosted and decorated with way too many sprinkles.
(If you’re looking for more Christmas cookies, check out this roundup of the Best Gluten Free Christmas Cookies!)
Gluten free sugar cookies are the perfect treat because they’re always in season! They’re suited for any holiday but are also welcome anytime for a fun treat. Over the years I’ve been tweaking recipes to find the perfect gluten free rendition of a sugar cookie, and while there have been some good versions, I wasn’t happy enough with any of them to continue making them or post them here on the blog. That all changed when the idea came to me to use pudding in the sugar cookie dough!
I absolutely love sugar cookies that are thick, soft pillows of vanilla flavor – cookies that just melt in your mouth. One of the main roadblocks in gluten free sugar cookie baking is the tendency for the flours used to give a grainy and/or crumbly texture. The solution? Pudding! And for all my dairy free readers (I know there are many of you!) you’ll be excited to hear that the pudding I use in this recipe is also dairy free. The first time I tried Vivian’s Live Again pudding (my fav is the chocolate!), I knew I needed to use it in recipes. It’s a perfect sub for regular milk-based pudding because it’s smooth and creamy and sets up perfectly in any dairy free milk.
I played with this gluten free sugar cookie recipe a little and developed a Vegan/Egg-Free recipe as well. You can find the Vegan version HERE.
Vivian’s Live Again makes a variety of products that are gluten and dairy free. We love the chocolate pudding, along with everything else! You can see the other recipes I’ve created with these products here and here.
Need some (gluten- and dairy- free) frosting inspiration?
I used this Easy Gluten Free Cookie Icing GF Jules to decorate our cookies. You could also use this Easy Homemade American Buttercream from Flippin’ Delicious (use dairy free option on recipe if needed), or this Healthier Vanilla Buttercream (lower sugar) from Veggie Balance.
Gluten Free Soft Sugar Cookies
Pudding makes these Vegan, Gluten Free, and Dairy Free cookies soft and full of sweet vanilla flavor. These gluten free sugar cookies are easy to make and there's need to refrigerate the dough!
- 3/4 cup gluten free shortening (I used Spectrum)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/2 T vanilla
- 1 cup prepared Vanilla Pudding (I used Vivian's Live Again dairy free)
- 4 cups high quality gluten free flour (I used Thrive, would also recommend Gluten Free Mama's, Grandpa's Kitchen, or Cup4Cup (not dairy free))
- 1 tsp xanthan gum, IF flour mix doesn't contain xanthan
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Cream shortening and sugar together for 1 minute.
- Add egg and vanilla and mix until smooth.
- Add pudding and mix on medium until smooth.
- Add remaining ingredients and mix for 1 minute. Dough should be just slightly sticky. If it's too thick/crumbly, add additional pudding or dairy free milk 1 Tablespoon at a time until you have the right consistency.
- You can wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 4 days at this point, or proceed to bake:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
- Roll dough out to desired thickness (I did about 1/4") on a surface that is lightly dusted with gluten free flour (again, I used Thrive) and cut into desired shapes.
- Arrange cookies on cookie sheet lined with Silpat or parchment paper 1-2 inches apart and bake 8-10 minutes until they appear set and the bottom edges are just barely (just barely!) starting to turn a golden brown.
- Let cool on cookie sheet a few minutes before removing to a cooling rack. Frost with your favorite frosting and decorate as you like.
See post for suggested frosting recipes and a vegan/ egg free version.
For best results, use a high quality gluten free flour I suggested, or one that you've tested with cookies before. The flour you use can greatly impact the texture of gluten free baked goods!