This easy recipe for Gluten-Free Sugar Cookies will be your go-to for thick, chewy cut-out sugar cookies for holidays and special occasions. Top them with colorful buttercream frosting or glossy royal icing for a bakery-style cookie at home!

Overhead view of decorated gluten-free cut out sugar cookies

If you thought that being on a gluten-free diet meant saying good-bye to soft and chewy cut-out sugar cookies, this easy gluten-free sugar cookie recipe is here to save the day. It has that signature sweet sugar cookie flavor, the irresistible soft texture, and they’re the perfect blank canvas for cutting into shapes and topping with colorful icing.

There’s no need to buy any fancy flours or hard-to-find gums or starches, either. Just pick up a bag of gluten-free all-purpose flour at any grocery store, along with all the standard sugar cookie ingredients, and you’re good to go! My favorite gluten free all-purpose flour is King Arthur’s Gluten Free Measure for Measure Flour.

For more classic gluten-free recipes, try my Gluten Free Blueberry Muffins, Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies, and Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes too!

Side-by-side photos of Halloween and Easter gluten-free sugar cookies

What You’ll Need

Scroll down to the recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.

Cookies:

  • Gluten-free all-purpose flour – Do not use a single gluten-free flour like almond flour or coconut flour for this recipe; it won’t work!
  • Baking powder
  • Salt
  • Unsalted butter – Let this soften to room temperature.
  • Granulated sugar
  • Egg – The egg should be at room temperature, too.
  • Vanilla extract
  • Almond extract – If you don’t have vanilla extract (or have a nut allergy), you can use more vanilla extract instead, but almond extract is key to that traditional sugar cookie flavor.

Buttercream Frosting:

  • Unsalted butter – This butter should also be softened so it can be whipped into a creamy frosting.
  • Powdered sugar
  • Vanilla extract
  • Almond extract
  • Milk – Heavy cream is fine, too.
  • Gel food coloring – Gel food coloring will help you achieve vivid hues without introducing a lot of extra liquid into the frosting.

Royal Icing:

  • Powdered sugar – Sift this to keep lumps out of the icing.
  • Milk or warm water
  • Corn syrup – Use light corn syrup for this recipe.
  • Vanilla or almond extract
  • Gel food coloring

What Gluten-Free Flour Is Best for Cookies?

I recommend King Arthur’s Gluten-Free Measure-for-Measure Flour, which is what I use in all of my baking. It mixes, bakes, and tastes just like traditional all-purpose flour, so there are no surprises!

How to Make Gluten-Free Sugar Cookies

Once you make the cookies, choose one of the icing options to top them—don’t make both unless you double the cookie recipe! 

Make the Cookies:

Mix the dry ingredients. In a large bowl, whisk together the gluten-free flour, baking powder, and salt. 

Mix the wet ingredients. In another mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to cream the butter and sugar for 90 seconds. Add the egg and extracts, then beat for 1 minute more. 

Side-by-side photos showing gluten-free cookie dough before and after kneading

Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Add the flour in three portions, mixing just until it’s incorporated. The dough will be crumbly, but that’s okay; use your hands to knead it together for 20 to 30 seconds.

Chill. Divide the dough into two portions and pat them into discs. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour, or up to two days.

Roll out the dough. Preheat your oven to 350ºF and take one disc of dough out of the refrigerator. On a silicone baking mat or lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4-inch thick.

Side-by-side photos showing process of cutting sugar cookie dough

Cut out the cookies. Cut the cookies with cookie cutters, then pull away the scraps and use a spatula to transfer the cut cookies to a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat. (You can pat together the scraps and roll them out to cut again, but if they feel warm, you should refrigerate them first or the cookies you cut from it will spread.)

Bake. Bake the cookies for 9 to 10 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through the cooking time if your oven tends to cook unevenly. The cookies will still be pale when they’re done baking, but keep in mind that they’ll continue to bake from the residual heat on the baking sheet. 

Gluten-free sugar cookies on silpat-lined baking sheet

Cool. Let the cookies cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer them to a wire cooling rack. They should be completely cool before you frost them.

Repeat. Repeat the process with the remaining dough, using either a second baking sheet or letting the first baking sheet cool.

To Make Buttercream Frosting:

Beat the butter. Place the softened butter in a mixing bowl and use an electric mixer to beat it for 90 seconds, or until it’s fluffy.

Add the remaining ingredients. Slowly beat in 2 cups of powdered sugar, then the extracts. Taste and add more powdered sugar a cup at a time. If the frosting is too thick, add a tablespoon of milk or heavy cream.

Color the frosting. Decide how many colors you want and divide the frosting into bowls accordingly. Color each bowl of frosting with a small amount of gel food coloring.

Decorate the sugar cookies. Scoop the frosting into piping bags fitted with small round tips or spread the frosting onto the cookies. Add sprinkles immediately after frosting so they stick, then let the frosting harden for several hours or overnight.

To Make Royal Icing:

Mix the icing. Combine all of the icing ingredients except the gel coloring in a mixing bowl and mix with a spatula or mixer until the icing is smooth, adding milk or water a teaspoon at a time if it’s too thick. 

Color the icing. Divide the icing into bowls and color each with gel food coloring. Transfer the icing to piping bags or squeeze bottles and decorate the cookies.

Gluten-free sugar cookies decorated for Christmas

How to Make No-Chill Cut-Out Gluten-Free Sugar Cookies

If you’re short on time and can’t wait for the gluten-free sugar cookie dough to chill, you can use this no-chill method. 

Instead of using softened butter, use cold butter. Then, work fast. As long as you mix, roll, and cut the dough quickly, it will still be cold enough to maintain its shape when baking right away. I do recommend that you chill the dough in the fridge between baking the batches, though—either in a disc or cut into shapes. 

Should Sugar Cookies Be Soft or Crispy?

I think the perfect sugar cookie is somewhere in between, and that’s what this gluten-free sugar cookie recipe will give you if you make it as written. You can roll the dough out slightly thicker for softer cookies, or either roll it out thinner or bake the cookies longer if you prefer them crispy.

Round gluten-free sugar cookies with aqua frosting and sprinkles

Tips for Success

I recommend visiting my cut-out sugar cookie post for lots of pointers on cutting, decorating, and storing these gluten-free sugar cookies. Here are some of my most important tips:

  • Measure the flour properly. Don’t scoop it into the measuring cup or you’ll end up with dry, crumbly cookies. Instead, spoon the flour into the cup and use a butter knife to sweep off any excess.
  • Keep the dough cold. This is how you’ll get your cookies to hold their shape when they bake.
  • Let the icing or frosting harden. If you pack up your cookies before these set, your cookies will be ruined. I usually place my cookies on baking sheets and cover them with lids or tent them with foil. 

How to Store

Once the frosting is set, store your gluten-free sugar cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for about three days. 

Can This Recipe Be Frozen?

You can freeze the unbaked cookie dough or the baked, unfrosted gluten-free sugar cookies for up to 3 months. Let the dough thaw in the refrigerator before you use it, or if you freeze the baked cookies, let them thaw at room temperature before decorating.

Overhead view of gluten-free sugar cookies in heart shapes
Overhead view of decorated gluten-free sugar cookies

Gluten Free Sugar Cookies (Gluten Free Cut Out Sugar Cookies)

5 from 1 rating
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Chilling Time: 2 hrs
Total Time: 2 hrs 25 mins
Yield: 24 cookies
This easy recipe for Gluten-Free Sugar Cookies will be your go-to for thick, chewy cut-out sugar cookies for holidays and special occasions.

Ingredients

Cookies

  • 2 ½ cups gluten free all purpose flour, I recommend King Arthur’s Gluten Free Measure for Measure Flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened, 1/2 cup
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp almond extract

Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 ½ cups unsalted butter, softened (equal to 3 sticks)
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tbsp milk, or heavy cream works great too
  • Gel food coloring

Or Royal Icing

  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 tbsp milk or warm water
  • 1 tbsp corn syrup
  • ½ tsp vanilla or almond extract
  • Gel food coloring

Instructions
 

Cookies

  • In a large bowl, combine the gluten free flour, baking powder and salt. Mix with a spoon or fork. Set aside.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine the room temperature butter and sugar, beat with an electric mixer for 90 seconds. Add in the egg, vanilla & almond extracts and beat for 1 minute. Add the flour in thirds, mixing just until the flour is incorporated. The dough will initially look crumbly almost sandy. But continue to mix until the mixture is thick and sticks together. Use your hands to gently knead the dough together at the very end of the mixing process – knead for only 20-30 seconds.
  • Divide the dough into 2 flat discs, cover each with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour to chill. The dough can be left in the fridge to chill for up to 2 days.
  • After chilling, remove one disc and preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  • On a very lightly floured surface (and I mean minimal) use a rolling pin to roll the dough to 1/4 inch thick. Frequently I will roll my dough on a silicone baking mat to eliminate the need to use flour. Use cookie cutters to cut out your desired shapes. Remove the dough scraps and use a spatula to transfer the shapes to a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat. Bake for 9-10 minutes. If your oven has a hot spot, rotate the cookie sheet half way through. The cookies will be pale in color – but will continue baking slightly once removed from the oven. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for at least 10 minutes. Then move to a cooling rack. Repeat the process with the remaining dough. If your dough is out of the fridge for too long, wrap it and chill it in the fridge for 15 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool completely before frosting them.

Buttercream Frosting

  • Place the softened butter in a mixing bowl, beat using an electric mixer for 90 seconds.
  • Gradually add the powdered sugar, I usually do 2 cups at a time, and add the vanilla and almond extracts, beat again. Taste the frosting to see if you want it sweeter. I liked the way mine turned out with 4 cups of powdered sugar. If the frosting is too thick add 1 tbsp of milk or heavy cream, beat until creamy.
  • Decide how many colors you want and divide the frosting into bowls accordingly. Add a small amount of gel food coloring to each bowl, using a spoon or spatula to mix until the color is even.
  • Use piping bags fit with small round tips to pipe the frosting on or use spreaders to spread on the frosting. Add sprinkles if desired. Allow the frosting to harden for several hours or overnight. I usually place my cookies on baking sheets and cover with lids or tent with tin foil.

Royal Icing

  • In a medium to small sized mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients (minus the gel food coloring) and mix with a spatula or mixer until smooth. Add more milk or water, 1 tsp at a time, if the frosting is too thick. Divide into bowls and add gel food coloring. Transfer to piping bags or squeeze bottles to easily decorate the cookies.

Notes

How to make no chill cut out sugar cookies:
You will need to use COLD butter instead of softened butter. Using cold butter and working fast, the dough will still be cold enough to maintain its shape when baking right away. I do recommend that you chill the dough in the fridge between baking the batches – either in a disc or pre-cut shapes.
Cuisine: American
Course: Dessert
Author: Beth
Calories: 301kcal, Carbohydrates: 48g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Trans Fat: 0.5g, Cholesterol: 38mg, Sodium: 48mg, Potassium: 11mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 39g, Vitamin A: 369IU, Calcium: 25mg, Iron: 1mg
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