simple gluten-free vegan shortbread cookies recipe

Who doesn’t like a good shortbread cookie..? These sweet, buttery little shortbread finger cookies are are so simple to make, come together in a snap, and are a true holiday must.

I came up with this gluten-free vegan shortbread version some years back due to a blog reader request. When I asked what holiday recipe people would like to see on the blog next, Vera said:

I think my holiday fav is definitely shortbread – I’m a huge sucker for it and miss it terribly now that I am staying away from dairy/gluten! :)

I liked the idea a lot — mostly because I have a weak spot for a good shortbread cookie myself, and also because behind the scenes I was already playing around with a simple recipe that would fit the bill. The result are these pudgy little shortbread fingers you see here, and they are utterly delicious.

Since then, this recipe unexpectedly has become one of the most popular recipes on the blog, and it’s one that gets visited by thousands of people on a regular basis — “unexpectedly” because I didn’t realize so many people were hankering for a good shortbread alternative. Good thing Vera asked :)

shortbread cookies -- a gluten-free, vegan, and refined sugar-free recipe

My favorite thing about these shortbread cookies is that it’s really just a three(ish) ingredient recipe that uses a gluten-free flour mix, a non-dairy butter, and any liquid sweetener (so it’s refined sugar-free too). The fact this shortbread can be made with maple syrup is my favorite part. You also don’t need to chill this dough and so the cookies can be made all in one go and you can have your shortbread fix in no time.

Oh, and last but not least, since I get asked this that a lot: yes, this recipe can be made with coconut oil (although the buttery flavor is extra special to me)(also, if using coconut oil, all ingredients need to be at room temperature — cold items will make the dough unworkable), yes it can apparently be made with Bob’s Red Mill all purpose gluten-free flour (and likely with most good gluten-free flour blends, but Pamela’s mix to me is extra special because it makes the cookies melt in your mouth like nothing else does — that’s what the alternative diy gluten-free mix I put in the recipe mimics the closest), and yes, according to some of my readers it can apparently be made with regular wheat flour too.

For other alternatives, see the comments section where readers have been sharing their experiences with substitutions and what worked for them.

Otherwise, enjoy the cookies! :)

vegan gluten-free shortbread

simple gluten-free vegan shortbread cookies recipe

Gluten-Free Vegan Shortbread Cookies

4.5 from 33 reviews
  • Author: Audrey @ Unconventional Baker

  • Prep Time:
    20 minutes

  • Cook Time:
    15 minutes

  • Total Time:
    35 minutes
  • Yield: 17-18 cookies
  • Category: Cookies

  • Method:
  • Cuisine: Dessert
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These gluten-free vegan shortbread cookies make for sweet, buttery little finger cookies that come together in a snap and are a holiday must. This recipe is also refined sugar-free and nut-free.


  • ½ cup non-dairy butter, at room temperature {I used 1 Earth Balance stick} OR coconut oil, softened
  • ⅓ cup maple syrup
  • 2 ¼ cups gluten-free flour blend {I recommend Pamela’s Artisan Flour Blend} {or make your own by combining: 1 cup brown rice flour, ¾ cup tapioca starch, ½ cup sweet rice flour, ½ tsp guar gum}
  • ¼ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • dash of salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Prepare a rolling area with two additional sheets of parchment paper for that, and have a pizza cutter or dough cutter and a fork handy.
  2. Place butter in a large mixing bowl and whip it with a mixer until it’s creamy. Add sweetener, salt, and vanilla and mix once again to combine. Add in flour and use a wooden spoon to mix. Then get in there with your hands and mix everything together by working the dough until you can shape it into a ball {note: as depending on the flour mix you use there may be a slight variance, know that the consistency of the dough should not be sticky but should press together when pinched — be sure to knead it really well first for some time — if it’s a little sticky, add a little more flour (try 1-2 tbsp); if it’s a little dry add a little more sweetener (try 1 tbsp)}. Shape the dough into a ball and then flatten into a disk.
  3. Roll out the dough between two sheets of parchment paper to ½” thickness. Use a pizza or dough cutter to cut the dough into 1″ x 3″ rectangles {cut into vertical 1″ strips, and then cut horizontally to create the rectangles}. Carefully transfer to a prepared cookie sheet, spacing them ½” apart {they won’t spread as they bake}. Gather up any dough scraps and repeat until all dough is used up. Use a fork to carefully pierce some holes in each cookie {to prevent bubbling and excessive cracking}.
  4. Bake in a pre-heated oven for approximately 14-15 minutes, until the edges begin to become a little golden. Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack. {Note: cookies will harden a little within minutes of cooling, so don’t overbake}. Allow the cookies to cool for 10 minutes and enjoy!


Store cookies in an airtight container.

Double recipe for a larger batch if you’d like, but I recommend to then initially divide the dough into two balls before rolling out for easier handling.

I used these in a few recipes calling for shortbread cookies, like homemade twix bars, etc. and they worked really well. Just thought I’d put that option out there ;)

Happy Baking!

xo Audrey


Disclaimer: This post contains an affiliate link for a gluten free flour blend.