Gluten Free Soft Sugar Cookies

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 options included.

Pudding makes these gluten free sugar cookies soft and full of sweet vanilla flavor.  Easy to make and there’s no need to refrigerate the dough! 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.



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 options included.

Everyone loves sugar cookies!

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. Now you can enjoy gluten free sugar cookies too – all the softness and flavor you remember, but without the gluten!

(If you’re looking for more Christmas cookies, check out this roundup of the Best Gluten Free Christmas Cookies!)

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!

There’s a secret Ingredient…

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!

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 options included.

This recipe is easy to make dairy free.

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. Using prepared pudding for the gluten free sugar cookie dough makes it easy to handle and cut out, and gives it a soft and smooth texture and extra vanilla flavor.

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. Vivian’s Live Again pudding 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.

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 options included.

Need an egg free version? Check out these gluten free vegan sugar cookies!

We have slightly adjusted the recipe to be made without eggs or dairy, but we’ve kept all the flavor and soft texture!

 

Want more recipes using Vivian’s Live Again Dairy Free Products?

Easy Gluten Free Gravy

Apple Cider Coffee Cake

 

Looking for frosting recipes?

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.

 

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Gluten Free Soft Sugar Cookies

Prep

Cook

Total

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!

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. Cream shortening and sugar together for 1 minute.
  2. Add egg and vanilla and mix until smooth.
  3. Add pudding and mix on medium until smooth.
  4. 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.
  5. You can wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 4 days at this point, or proceed to bake:
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Let cool on cookie sheet a few minutes before removing to a cooling rack. Frost with your favorite frosting and decorate as you like.

Notes

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!

 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 options included.

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31 Comments

  • Reply
    Emily @ Recipes to Nourish
    December 12, 2016 at 9:21 am

    These look so great! I love soft cookies like this, the texture looks perfect!

    • Reply
      thereislifeafterwheat@gmail.com
      December 13, 2016 at 10:48 am

      Thanks so much Emily, they’re my favorite too!

  • Reply
    Raia
    December 12, 2016 at 10:06 am

    Those look gorgeous! I never would have thought to put pudding in sugar cookies….

    • Reply
      thereislifeafterwheat@gmail.com
      December 13, 2016 at 10:49 am

      Thanks Raia, when I thought of the idea I was so excited to try it! And they didn’t disappoint!

  • Reply
    Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine
    December 12, 2016 at 10:08 am

    Christmas cooking baking isn’t complete without some sugar cookies!

    • Reply
      thereislifeafterwheat@gmail.com
      December 13, 2016 at 10:50 am

      I agree Rebecca! I love that these are free from gluten, and dairy, and there’s even a vegan option so everyone can enjoy!

  • Reply
    Sabrina | The Tomato Tart
    December 13, 2016 at 6:16 am

    How adorable are these. Look amazing and festive. Yum!!!

    • Reply
      thereislifeafterwheat@gmail.com
      December 13, 2016 at 10:50 am

      Thanks Sabrina! They’re so fun.

  • Reply
    Sharon @What The Fork
    December 13, 2016 at 3:40 pm

    Not only is this a delicious looking recipe, but I have to say I love all of the shapes in these photos!

    • Reply
      thereislifeafterwheat@gmail.com
      December 13, 2016 at 11:52 pm

      Thanks so much Sharon!

  • Reply
    Brianna Hobbs
    December 14, 2016 at 7:04 am

    I can’t wait to try adding pudding mix to my sugar cookies. Great idea! I just love Vivian’s Live Again products.

    • Reply
      thereislifeafterwheat@gmail.com
      December 15, 2016 at 9:10 pm

      We do too, Brianna! Enjoy!

  • Reply
    Mary
    December 9, 2017 at 2:46 am

    These look fantastic! It seems more xanthum gum is needed for the cookies. The one I use Bob’s Red Mill calls for 1/4 tsp per cup. Should I just follow those guidelines? Thanks!

    • Reply
      thereislifeafterwheat@gmail.com
      December 9, 2017 at 10:07 am

      Hi Mary! Great question. If you’re using a mix that doesn’t contain any xanthan gum (a homemade mix, GF Mama’s, etc.), then you’ll use the 1 tsp called for in the recipe which equals 1/4 tsp per cup of flour. If you’re using a mix that has xanthan gum blended in (Grandpa’s Kitchen, Cup4Cup, etc.) then you’ll simply omit the added xanthan gum. Does that answer your question? -Celeste

  • Reply
    Dana
    December 15, 2017 at 12:39 pm

    Can you omit the pudding?

    • Reply
      thereislifeafterwheat@gmail.com
      December 15, 2017 at 4:21 pm

      Hi Dana! This recipe was developed to include the pudding, I wouldn’t recommend omitting it. It is what gives these cookies their lovely soft texture 🙂 -Celeste

  • Reply
    zoe
    December 20, 2017 at 10:06 am

    I’m wondering how these are vegan when an egg is used? They do look good though!

    “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!”

  • Reply
    JLL
    November 6, 2018 at 1:08 pm

    Could regular flour be used (not needing GF, but need dairy free)?

    • Reply
      thereislifeafterwheat@gmail.com
      November 7, 2018 at 8:43 pm

      I haven’t tried it, but you could give it a shot. I would try reducing the flour by 1/4 cup to start and adding more if necessary. -Celeste

  • Reply
    Rozelyn DeSagun
    December 3, 2018 at 8:13 am

    I haven’t made sugar cookies since my kids were diagnosed with food allergies. That was 7 years ago! This looks really easy to make and will be fun with the kids involved. Just need to substitute the egg. Do you know if flax goo or a powdered egg replacement will work?

  • Reply
    Maria
    December 6, 2018 at 8:40 am

    These sound amazing!
    I have a question when u mean prepared pudding mix what does that mean? I make the pudding then add to the recipe or do I use just the powder?

    • Reply
      thereislifeafterwheat@gmail.com
      December 7, 2018 at 3:12 pm

      Mix up the pudding as directed on the package and add that in – not the powder. Enjoy! -Celeste

    • Reply
      Rita Marker
      December 12, 2018 at 4:29 pm

      thank you for asking this question

  • Reply
    Ashley
    December 7, 2018 at 6:58 pm

    Hi! These look amazing!
    Do you know if you can substitute butter for the shortening?
    Does it matter what type of dairy-free milk you use to make the pudding? Can you use regular milk if you don’t care about the dairy?

    I’m not worried about them being vegan or dairy-free, but I am trying to make it gluten-free!
    Thanks!

    • Reply
      thereislifeafterwheat@gmail.com
      December 8, 2018 at 10:19 pm

      Hi Ashley, you can use butter instead and any prepared vanilla pudding should work. -Celeste

  • Reply
    Cassidy @ Cassidys Craveable Creations
    December 19, 2018 at 7:24 pm

    These look so beautiful and perfect! I’ve never heard of adding vanilla pudding to sugar cookies – what a great idea!!!

    • Reply
      thereislifeafterwheat@gmail.com
      December 19, 2018 at 9:03 pm

      It is definitely a unique idea, thank you! -Celeste

  • Reply
    Ali
    February 15, 2019 at 12:03 am

    Wow, these look awesome! I’m new to the gluten free world, and am SO glad I found your site! I haven’t tried any of those flours listed. I have better batter, king Arthur, and pamela’s. Which one would you start with?

    • Reply
      thereislifeafterwheat@gmail.com
      February 16, 2019 at 4:19 pm

      Better Batter or Pamela’s should work great! Those are two of my favs 🙂 Happy baking! -Celeste

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