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Healthy Shortbread Cookies Recipe (Gluten-Free) Elizabeth Rider

Easy Healthy Shortbread Cookies (Gluten-Free)

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  • Author: Elizabeth Rider
  • Prep Time: 45 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 55 mins
  • Yield: 12 1x


Units Scale
  • 2 cups almond flour (not almond meal)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt (such as Real Salt)
  • 2 teaspoons high-quality vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup (or honey)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (or avocado oil, or coconut oil)
  • Optional: 3 ounces vegan dark chocolate (1 bar or about 1/3 cup chips), for dipping or drizzling


  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  2. Combine the first three dry ingredients and gently mix with a fork, being careful not to pack the almond flour. Make a well in the bottom of the bowl. Add the vanilla, maple (or honey), and oil, then mix all ingredients until dough ball forms.
  3. Chill the dough in the freezer for 30 minutes. Or, in the refrigerator overnight. Chilled dough rolls out better.
  4. Cut two pieces of parchment paper (not wax paper) the size of your cookie sheet. Place the chilled dough ball in between the parchment paper pieces and roll out to ¼ inch thick. If the dough gets too sticky while rolling out, put it back in the freezer for 10-15 minutes (if you work quickly this usually doesn’t happen).
  5. Remove the top layer of parchment paper. Use a cookie cutter to cut out as many cookies as possible, leaving at least ¼ inch in between the cookies. Remove excess dough around the shapes without moving the cookies (you’ll bake them right on the parchment paper where they are.)
  6. Gently slide the parchment paper with the cut-out cookies onto a baking sheet.
  7. You can take the excess dough and roll it into two-inch balls, then press them down with your fingers for rustic-looking cookies—bake them separately after your cut outs are baked. Or, roll it out again for more cut outs.
  8. Bake 6-9 minutes until very light golden brown on the edges. Remove from oven, then slide the parchment paper with the cookies onto the counter and let cool for 10-30 minutes to set. Don’t let them cool on the baking sheet as they may get too brown on the bottom.
  9. Enjoy plain, dipped in chocolate, or drizzled with chocolate. You can also frost them with my vegan vanilla buttercream frosting (on the blog) for more of a sugar cookie taste.
  10. These cookies keep at room temp for up to three days, or in the refrigerator up to a week. Plain cookies also freeze well up to three months.
  11. How to dip in chocolate: If dipping in chocolate, wait until the cookies have cooled to room temp before dipping. Melt the vegan dark chocolate in a double-boiler (tempered glass bowl over a pot of hot boiling water), then dip each cookie in the chocolate. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate until the chocolate hardens (about 30 minutes).


— This recipe makes about 12 two-inch cookies or 24 one-inch cookies

— Almond flour: This recipe uses almond flour instead of traditional wheat flour, which makes them gluten-free, grain-free, and higher in protein. But, since there isn’t any wheat flour to help roll them out, the dough is sticky. Be patient and keep the dough chilled.

— Rolling out the dough: Roll it out between two sheets of parchment paper, then remove the top sheet and cut out your cookies. Leave them on that bottom layer of parchment paper (don’t try to transfer them) by sliding the ready-to-bake cookies onto a cookies sheet.

— Roll them out to about 1/4-inch thick. Too thin and they will get too brown quickly.

— The right oven temperature: Bake at 350ºF. I suggest getting an inexpensive internal oven thermometer that hangs on the inside of your oven to ensure accuracy.

— Binding the dough: Since there aren’t any eggs or other binders in this recipe, we rely on the maple or honey (liquids) to bind them. You could try it with coconut nectar as well, but you can’t replace the liquid sweetener with a dry sweetener.

— Extra virgin olive oil: The tablespoon of oil also helps bind the cookies and prevents them from sticking to the parchment paper. I use a delicate tasting extra virgin olive oil because that’s what I have on hand and you can’t even taste it, but you could use organic grapeseed oil (neutral tasting) or even coconut oil. The coconut oil will give them a coconutty flavor. Avocado oil is a strong flavor so not recommended. Vegetable, canola, or other low-quality oils are not recommended because they are not healthy.

— Get creative! I cut these into hearts and dipped them in melted vegan dark chocolate chips for Valentine’s Day, but you can use any shape for any occasion.