Shortbread cookies are a family favourite, especially during the holiday season. This dairy free version is just as scrumptious as the original!
It’s the season for shortbread cookies! Yes, I’m aware these may not be healthy per se…But you only live once, and there is no better excuse than the approaching holidays to indulge in these delicious, scrumptious, shortbread cookies. Am I right? 🙂
Trust me, you need this easy Christmas cookie recipe in your life!
Plus my almost toddler very eagerly helped with this recipe. Oh the excitement of sprinkles! His eyes were practically twinkling as he sprinkled each cookie with candies.
How to make dairy free shortbread cookies
AKA how to make vegan shortbread cookies. I sub vegan margarine instead of butter. Traditional shortbread cookies contain the holy grail of butter, sugar and flour. I wasn’t 100% sure that the margarine would work. But it does! And beautifully! The dough is a little softer, which is why I stick it in the freezer before cutting out my cookies. This helps a lot! But the flavour is spot on!
I beat the margarine in a large bowl with my hand mixer until fluffy, as shown below.
Then add the sugar and vanilla and beat until incorporated. For the flour, do not add all at once. Instead, add about half at a time and mix well using your hand mixer. The dough will be a little lumpy, but just use your hands to form a flattened disk shape at the bottom of your bowl. Stick in the freezer for 15 minutes before trying to roll it out.
Grease your hands or rolling pin with more margarine. This will help prevent sticking, and will give you a smoother dough, and smoother cookies. Don’t worry about the dough being perfectly smooth, especially if you are glazing them. The glaze and sprinkles will cover any imperfections.
If you’re rolling pin is still sticking to your dough, add a sheet of parchment paper over top and roll it that way.
Use extreme care when transferring your shortbread cookies to your baking sheet. Remember the dough is quite soft, and breaks easily.
I use a large fork to scrape under the cookie first, and make sure there are no pieces stuck to the parchment paper. Then slowly lift and transfer.
IF your cookie breaks, don’t worry! You can gently press the piece back together with greased fingers. If it’s not salvageable, just add it to your discard pile for re-rolling for the next round.
Another tip to make this easy Christmas cookie recipe even simpler
…use cookie cutters that have less detail for less vulnerability. For example, my snowflakes were harder to cut out than the snowmen and stockings.
Or just keep it really simple, and cut out circles. I chose to make different special shapes in the interest of keeping my toddler entertained. Again, the choice is yours, and either way, the taste is INCREDIBLE.
Once your cookies are baked, let them cool completely before glazing. If the cookies are too hot, the glaze will drip and run and the candies will melt. I let mine cool on wire rack for about 30 minutes and they were ready to glaze!
While you’re waiting for your cookies to cool, you may prepare your glaze. Just mix the icing sugar and water together in a small bowl and add the drop of food colouring.
I use blue to make these “wintery” looking, but you may use any colour you wish. Or you can skip the colour completely and leave the glaze white. As you glaze each one, make sure to add the candy sprinkles immediately before the glaze starts to set, otherwise they will not stick.
And there you have it!
Absolutely scrumptious, dairy free shortbread cookies!
Perfectly appropriate for a plant based Christmas, or anyone with a dairy allergy. Or, I mean, just make these any time of year? I won’t judge you! These also make great little gifts. Just tie a ribbon around a stack of them, and how cute is that??
How long do vegan shortbread cookies keep?
The cookies keep at room temperature for 3-4 days in an airtight container, or you may refrigerate them for 1 week.
Since these vegan shortbread cookies freeze very well, consider a double batch! To freeze them, separate each layer of cookies with parchment paper in an airtight container to prevent them from sticking to one another.
Did you enjoy these dairy free cookies? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
Want more easy Christmas cookie recipes?
Try my refined sugar free Brownie Peppermint Cookies or Pecan Butter Cookies. If you’re more of a cake person, this Vegan Cranberry Orange Bread w/ Sweet Orange Glaze has some raving reviews!
- Cookie Cutters
- Hand Mixer
- 1 cup vegan margarine or vegan butter
- 1/2 cup icing sugar
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup icing sugar
- 2-3 tbsp water
- 1 drop blue food colouring make sure to use a vegan brand if preferred, or keep the glaze white
- candy sprinkles of choice make sure to use a vegan brand if preferred
- In a large bowl, beat the margarine with a hand mixer for at least 2 minutes, until fluffy. Then add the sugar and vanilla and mix until incorporated.
- Slowly add the flour about half at a time and mix until combined. You will have a crumbly dough mixture. Using your hands, form the dough into a flattened ball at the bottom of your bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and put in the freezer for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, line a large baking tray with parchment paper and preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
- Place a sheet of parchment paper on your counter top and the cold dough over top. Flatten and stretch with greased hands or a greased rolling pin to approx 1/4" thick. Then using cookie cutters of your choice, make your cookies. Carefully transfer cookies to your baking sheet. Then re-roll the leftover dough, flatten again, and continue making cookies with your cookie cutters. Repeat until all the dough is consumed.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until edges are slightly golden. Remove from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack. Let cool completely before glazing.
- Combine the icing sugar with 2 tbsp of water in a small bowl and mix well until a glaze is formed, adding another tablespoon if a thinner glaze is desired. Then add food colouring, if using and mix well.
- Using a silicone brush, glaze each cookie and sprinkle with your candy of choice. Sprinkle your candies immediately after glazing while still wet so they stick well.