This is my family’s GO-TO Gluten-Free Sugar Cookies recipe for soft, buttery cookies with a hint of almond extract that are easy to cut-out into shapes and then decorate for Christmas. You’ll learn all the tips and tricks for getting the cookies to hold their shape and not spread out while baking, as well as the best icing for decorating!

Sugar cookies are decorated with icing and sprinkles.

Cut-Out Sugar Cookies (Gluten-Free Recipe)

This is hands down the BEST sugar cookie recipe I have ever tasted… and no one will ever be able to tell that they’re gluten-free. (I know this for a fact because I make these every year at Christmas!)

Not only is the flavor wonderful, full of buttery goodness and hints of almond extract, but the texture is perfectly soft and the cookies don’t spread out while baking.

Making them absolutely perfect to decorate for Christmas or other holidays!

And it’s all thanks to using the right ingredients and a few simple tips: no leavening agents, cold cubed butter, metal cookie cutters, and a dusting of powdered sugar! (Don’t worry- I’ll go over all of these tricks with you below!)​

So if you’re ready to make the most impressive gluten-free sugar Christmas cookies ever, keep reading and find out all the tips and tricks!

Ingredients

The simple ingredients you need to make the best gluten-free sugar cookies include:

  • Flour. A gluten-free 1-to-1 blend is the best option for the chewiest, most flavorful cookies. Bob’s Red Mill is easy to find at the grocery store. You can also use regular, all-purpose flour for traditional sugar cookies if you don’t need a gluten-free option.
  • Sugar. Regular, white sugar is best. Do not replace with a sugar alternative such as coconut or even turbinado sugar.
  • Egg. These will give the cookies their lift. Make sure you get large eggs.
  • Salted Butter. This is where a large majority of the flavor comes from. You can try substituting with vegan “buttery sticks” or margarine if you are dairy-free. Avoid unsalted butter if at all possible.
  • Extracts. Both clear vanilla extract and almond extract are used to give this recipe a unique taste. DON’T skip the almond extract or you won’t get that classic flavor.
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How to Make Gluten-Free Sugar Cookies

Please see the recipe card for more detailed ingredient amounts.

Make the Cookie Dough (No Need to Chill!)

First, preheat the oven to 375°F.

Take your butter straight from the refrigerator. Cut it into cubes and load into a large mixing bowl or bowl of a stand mixer along with the sugar. (This is the secret to not having to chill the dough!)

Cream the butter and sugar with the paddle attachment on a stand or handheld electric mixer on medium speed for 1-2 minutes, or until the dough resembles coarse crumbs.

Add in the egg and extracts and continue to mix for 1-2 more minutes.

Little by little pour in the flour allowing it to fully combine after each addition. 

Once the flour is completely absorbed and the ball of dough sticks together, you are ready to roll. You don’t have to worry about chill time.

If needed, you can either refrigerate the gluten-free sugar cookie dough by covering it in plastic wrap at this stage for up to 3 days or freeze it for up to 2-3 months until ready to use.

An egg is added to the cookie dough.

Roll Out Cookie Dough

Sprinkle powdered sugar over a cutting board before you start rolling. By skipping flour and using powdered sugar you prevent sticking while adding even more flavor to your cookies!

Place half of the dough onto the surface and sprinkle with another 2-3 tablespoons of powdered sugar.

Roll out the cookie dough using a rolling pin until the dough is ¼- to ⅓-inch thick.

Cut into Shapes

Cut dough into shapes with metal cookie cutters. The metal ones make cleaner cuts than the plastic ones and are easier to use.

Use those cute cookie cutters to make these gluten-free gingerbread cookies next! You can use your favorite cookie cutters in any shape you want all year, as well.

Cookie cutters are placed on a rolled out cookie dough.

Bake in Oven

Place the shapes on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet about 1-inch apart. You can also use a silicone mat, if you’d prefer.

Bake the cookies on the prepared baking sheet in a preheated 375°F oven for 9-11 minutes, or until the crisp edges of the cookie begin to turn golden brown slightly. Cook on the longer side if they are thicker, and for less time if they are thinner.

Let the fluffy sugar cookie batch rest on a wire rack until they come to room temperature. To save on cleanup, spread some wax paper under the rack while these easy sugar cookies cool down.

A spatula lifts a cookie from a tray.

Sugar Cookie Icing

Mix egg whites on medium speed for 1 minute. Add the butter (for the family icing), vanilla, and 1-cup of powdered sugar. Combine until the sugar is fully incorporated.

Add the remaining sugar incrementally and stir well each time. If the frosting is too thick, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of milk until the desired consistency is reached.

Finally, drop in your desired food coloring (gels work the best!) and stir until combined.

A handheld mixture stirs the icing ingredients.

Decorating Christmas Cookies

Use a piping bag fitted with a 3M piping tip to outline where you would like the family icing to fill. Then use a toothpick to spread it all over evenly.

You can also just spread it on with a butter knife or a spoon if the kiddos are helping you out!

Once it has set you can pipe designs with the royal icing.

Place white nonpareils on the wet icing with tweezers.

A hand pipes icing onto a cookie.

Shake on sprinkles and enjoy!

FAQs 

What is the difference between cut-out sugar cookies and drop sugar cookies? 

Cut-out sugar cookies are made by rolling out the dough and cutting it into shapes before baking. Drop sugar cookies are simply made by dropping the dough onto the cookie sheet, and are generally thicker.

What is the best way to roll out sugar cookies? 

Sprinkle powdered sugar on a wooden surface and use a rolling pin to press and roll the dough until it is flattened. You can use flour to roll them out, but it will dull the sweetness of the cookies or make them more brittle.

How thick should you roll out sugar cookie dough? 

To avoid burnt or undercooked cookies try to roll the dough so that it is ¼- to ⅓-inch thick. You can check the thickness of cookie dough by measuring with a ruler.

How do you get cut-out cookies to keep their shape? 

The trick to getting cut-out sugar cookies to hold their shape is to use relatively cold or chilled butter. You don’t want the cookie batter to be too warm before it goes into the oven. Also, avoid using leavening agents, such as baking powder and baking soda. These make the cookies inflate artificially; upon deflating they will spread out.

Recipe Tips

  • Forget the leaveners!! Baking soda and baking powder have a tendency to make cookies spread.
  • Keep it cold. Use cold butter and keep the dough chilled until you are ready to bake so the cookies hold their shape.
  • Sugar not flour. Dust powdered sugar on your rolling surface to prevent the dough from drying out and add even more flavor. 
  • Line the sheet. Bake the cookies on parchment paper to maintain shape, avoid sticking, and keep cleanup easy.
  • Smooth it out. Toothpicks work great for evenly spreading the icing. 
Sugar cookies are decorated with icing and sprinkles.

There’s never a bad time for cookies! And these cookies can all be made gluten-free, as well. So whip up a batch today.

PB lovers will go crazy for Peanut Butter Blossoms and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies.

The holidays get a lot sweeter with Cinnamon Roll Cookies, Taylor Swift Chai Cookies, and these Easy Gingerbread Cookies.

Or, stick with a classic like Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies or Pecan Sandies.

No-Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies and Almond Butter Oatmeal Cookies are surprisingly simple.

Tap stars to rate!

4.46 from 50 votes

Gluten-Free Sugar Cookies (Cut-Out Recipe)

This is my family’s FAVORITE and super EASY Cut-Out Sugar Cookies recipe that doesn’t spread while baking! The soft buttery dough is rolled out, cut with cookie cutters, baked in the oven, then coated with the best homemade icing.
Sugar cookies are decorated with icing and sprinkles.
Yield 20 cookies
Prep 30 minutes
Cook 10 minutes
Total 40 minutes
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Ingredients 

  • ½ cup butter cold, but not frozen, cubed*
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. almond extract
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 ¼ cups gluten-free 1-to-1 baking blend such as Bob's Red Mill

Family Icing Recipe:

  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 Tbsp. butter melted*
  • 3 cups powdered sugar sifted
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1-2 Tbsp. milk if needed
  • food coloring

Royal Icing Recipe:

  • 1 egg white
  • 2 cups powdered sugar sifted
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp milk optional

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Mix the Wet Ingredients: In the bowl of an electric mixer combine cubed butter and sugar. Mix on medium for 1-2 minutes, or until butter and sugar are just combined. Add egg, vanilla extract, almond extract, and salt. Continue mixing for 1-2 more minutes.
    ½ cup butter, 1 cup granulated sugar, 1 large egg, 1 tsp. vanilla extract, ½ tsp. almond extract, ½ tsp. salt
  • Add in Flour: Slowly add the flour to the butter sugar mixture. Continue mixing on medium until dough starts to form a ball.
    2 ¼ cups gluten-free 1-to-1 baking blend
  • Cut Dough into Shapes: Place dough onto a lightly powdered sugar-coated surface. Use a rolling pin to roll dough to ¼- to ⅓-inch thickness. Cut dough into desired shapes using cookie cutters. (The metal ones work the best!) Place cookies on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet at least ½-inch apart.
  • Cook in the Oven: Bake cookies for 9-11 minutes or until edges just begin to brown on the edges. Let cookies cool completely before frosting.

For the Family Icing:

  • Mix Whites, Butter, Sugar: In a medium-sized bowl place, mix egg whites over medium speed for 1 minute. Add butter, vanilla and 1 cup powdered sugar. Mix until sugar is incorporated.
    2 egg whites, 2 Tbsp. butter, ½ tsp. vanilla extract, 3 cups powdered sugar
  • Thicken Icing and Add Coloring: Add remaining sugar incrementally and mix well between each addition. If frosting is too thick, add 1-2 tbsp milk until desired consistency is reached. Add food coloring as desired.
    1-2 Tbsp. milk, food coloring
  • Decorate Cookies: Frost cookies while the icing is still wet, using a toothpick to spread it delicately across the cookies.

For the Royal Icing: (optional)

  • Beat Egg Whites: Place egg white in a medium bowl. Beat with a hand-held electric mixer for 1-2 minutes or until it becomes frothy. Add vanilla and mix for another minute.
    1 egg white, ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • Mix in Sugar: Add powdered sugar and mix over medium-low speed for 4-5 minutes. If icing is too thick, add milk as needed to reach an easy piping consistency.
    2 cups powdered sugar, 1 tbsp milk
  • Pipe Designs: Place royal icing in a piping bag fitted with a 3M piping tip or another round tip. Pipe designs on cookies and enjoy!
Last step! If you make this, please leave a review letting us know how it was!

Tap stars to rate!

4.46 from 50 votes

Video

Notes

  • You can also use 1 1/2 cups sweet white rice flour, 3/4 cup tapioca starch, and 1 teaspoon of xanthan gum instead of the gluten-free flour blend.
  • Food coloring gel works best when getting really vibrant colors in your icing.
  • Use tweezers when placing small nonpareils onto the cookies.
  • These sprinkles and these white nonpareils were used to decorate the cookies you see pictured.
  • You can also use vegan “buttery” sticks or margarine if dairy-free.

Meal Prep and Storage

  • To Prep-Ahead: The cookie dough can be made in advance and refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator before rolling out.
  • To Store: Baked sugar cookies taste best when kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3-4 days.
  • To Freeze: Seal in a freezer-safe airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. 

Nutrition

Calories: 235kcal, Carbohydrates: 43g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 24mg, Sodium: 125mg, Potassium: 19mg, Sugar: 29g, Vitamin A: 190IU, Calcium: 6mg, Iron: 0.1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Made this recipe?Leave a comment below!

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I made these cookies using the gluten free all purpose flour from Trader Joe’s and they are by far the best sugar cut out cookies we’ve ever made & eaten! The family recipe frosting was perfect also! Thank you for sharing!!

  2. 5 stars
    I just made these for my daughter’s youth group to decorate. Everything about them was fabulous! They were easy to make, easy to roll and re-roll, easy to cut out and move, easy to bake, and easy to eat. I would make sure to leave them on the pan for a few minutes to solidify before moving them to a cooking rack. I will definitely be making these again!

    1. Hi Katherine!! I am so happy you and the youth group enjoyed them! They are definitely a blast to decorate 🙂 Thanks so much for your kind comment!

  3. 5 stars
    Thank you for this recipe!!! Took a gamble and made a triple-batch on Sunday, and they are delicious! (I think you could eat them plain, but I made your family icing recipe for them—so good!) I used the 2 1/4 c King Arthur gf flour blend (no xanthan gum) + same amount xanthan gum original recipe calls for. I rolled mine a little thinner and baked a little less ~8 min. LOVE that you can use butter straight out of frig and don’t have to chill the dough…and it doesn’t get stuck all over your hands (this was especially great for my 2 year old son who enjoyed helping cut out the cookies and re-ball up the dough!) I’ve tried several other gf roll-out sugar cookie recipes, and this is by far the best! (My mom and husband who are not gf loved them, too.)

    Is there a way I can post a photo?

    1. Hi Chrissy!! I am so excited that they turned out so well!! There is not a way to post a photo on the site, but if you have Instagram you can always tag one with @evolvingtable I would love to see your beautiful creations 🙂

  4. Ok, omg is all i can say. Best gluten free sugar cookies I have ever made. Dough was so easy to roll and cut, no fuss, quick and easy. The icing as well worked great. These will now be my holiday tradition. Funny thing, I have some picky family member, didn’t mention they were gf, they ate them anyway.
    Thank you!,

  5. This recipe worked out great for me–the dough was easy to roll and the cookies tasted great. However, unlike other gluten-free baked goods I’ve experienced, these actually seemed to improve with age; on the first day or two, they had that really gritty mouth feel that is so common in gf baking. I used Bob’s Red Mill white rice flour and not a blend. I have heard that if you let the dough rest before baking, that improves the flour’s ability to absorb the liquids and will reduce that gritty feel. Do you let your dough rest? And if so, should it rest in the fridge or freezer to remain cold, or just on the counter? I wasn’t sure how important the temperature is for the dough. I’m ready to try this again!

    1. Hi Tiffany! Using only the white rice flour can definitely give the cookies a much grittier taste. I would try either using Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 GF blend or using the quoted amount of tapioca starch. The starch helps to lighten the cookies up! I normally do not let my dough rest with these, but if you do… I would refrigerate them and then let them sit at room temperature about 10 minutes before baking. Hope this helps!

  6. 5 stars
    Regarding the sugar cookies that don’t spread, I had perfectly good luck with them. The dough was easy to handle and roll, they baked well and tasted great. I needed a GF DF recipe to bring to a cookie decorating party and these were them! I used 1-1/4 cup Bob’s 1-1 flour blend when I made them. I have since shared your recipe with others who, like me, had found GF cookies to spread and be very sticky to work with. I used Earth Balance Stick Margarine for the fat. Thank you for an excellent cookie! I frosted them with a simple buttercream recipe much like yours but without the egg whites. Next time may try decorating with the royal frosting. They almost reminded me of a cross between sugar cookies and shortbread cookies, which is not a complaint! I, too, worried about the lack of baking powder, but they rose just fine.

    1. I am so happy they turned out well for you, Paula! Bob’s 1-to-1 is my go-to flour blend, too. I think royal frosting will work great, too! Thanks so much for your comment!

  7. 1 star
    I made a batch of these cookies today. The dough mixed up beautifully. It rolled out and cut perfectly. The shapes held sharp clean lines. But unfortunately the cookies taste horrible. All you can taste is starch.

    I normally bake using metric weight, but given the recipe is written in volume, I used the standard spoon and level method to measure the ingredients.

    I used Bob’s Red Mill white rice flour, tapioca starch, and xanthan gum. All were purchased this week in preparation for my Christmas baking. I used them in a gluten free chiffion cake as well. My cake tastes delicious, so I know the flours and gum are not rancid. THe butter was fresh, I just purchased it yesterday.

    I’ve been baking for years; trained both in the US and abroad, so it’s not a matter of inexperience.
    The taste of this cookie was so bad I could not eat a whole cookie. I threw the entire batch in the trash.

    1. Hi Cate! I am so sorry to hear you did not like the taste of the cookies. Thank you very much for your honest feedback. It sounds like you followed the directions perfectly! I will admit, they are not super sweet cookies and depend on a bit of icing for that extra sweetness, but they also should not taste starchy? The only thing I can think of is whether flour was used to roll out the cookies or powdered sugar? Since these cookies already err on the side of not super sweet, I tend to use powdered sugar to roll them out. Once again, I am sorry they did not turn out well for you.

      1. Yes, I too use powdered sugar to roll out cookie doughs as I do not like to add additional flour to a finished dough. The sweetness level was actually perfect for my taste. It was the strong starch taste of the tapioca that I found overwhelming. Since I need a gluten free cut out cookie for a cookie decorating party in a week, I decided to play with the recipe. I created a blend that includes brown rice and sorghum. Then substituted some of the butter for cream cheese to improve the mouthfeel. It’s better…but still not where I would like it, so I’ll do a couple more revisions. The ratios overall are good. Getting gluten free to hold together is definitely a challenge; your ratios create a very good pliable dough. So that’s an excellent starting point for any baker:)

        1. Nice! I would love to hear your final recipe after your revisions. And yes, baking gluten-free is definitely a challenge! Happy Baking!

        2. Would also advise against using Ener-G brand tapioca flour. The two times I tried it the baked item had an astringent aroma and strange taste. My family didn’t mind it, but I hated it. Have not had the same awful taste with other brands.

          1. Yes, Tabitha! You are totally right. I use Bob’s Red Mill’s tapioca flour religiously since I know how the finished product will turn out. Sorry it had such a strange flavor. Thanks for the heads up, though!

  8. I live in a dry climate and they came out dry and crunchy, not soft like everyone says they are. Can you give me some ideas to get them soft? Maybe I missed a step that is critical. They still look pretty though.

    1. Hi Missy! I’m sorry they turned out dry and crunchy. Do you happen to live in a higher altitude? Sometimes simply adjusting the baking time (a couple minutes less) could help you out next time!

    2. 5 stars
      I too, live in a dry climate and after reading the comment about the taste of the cookies I chose to use America’s Test Kitchen AP flour blend and the batter was too dry to roll out. I put it, bowl and all, in the fridge for about 30 minutes to think about my options, took it out and put it back on the mixer and started it on low. It turned to sand-like so I added milk in by the tablespoon. I ended up adding 3 Tbsp of milk but probably could have stopped at 2. The dough was smooth and silky, not sticky, and rolled like a wheat flour. I did use powdered sugar to roll it out a London suggested, and a spatula to lift the raw cookies off the rolling surface. There wasn’t any breaking, sticking, spreading, or anything! They baked up absolutely beautifully and tasted wonderful. I LOVE this recipe! Every year I just dread making cutout cookies but not anymore! Thanks, London!

      1. Thank you so much for letting me know about the slight changes you made, BobbieLee! Living in different climates definitely affects the finished product and it’s great to know what works! I am so happy they turned out so great. Thank you so much for your sweet comment!!

  9. What do you think of using flax meal and water in the place of the egg? I don’t know if that gives any lift to make up for the lack of baking powder.

    1. Hi Marlaina! I have not personally tried to replace the eggs with flax meal eggs and am not sure how the cookies will turn out if you do substitute them. If you try it out, please let me know!

      1. I tried it but I got scared and added some baking powder at the last minute worried that they would be really dense or something. They turned out tasty but not the traditional sugar cookie texture. They were almost crispy on the top (I think because they rose a bit then fell) and chewy inside. I also used potato instead of rice flour so that might have made a difference too. I’m afraid I messed with too many variables to give a good answer about the flax eggs but I like the cookies! Thanks for the recipe!

        1. Thanks for letting me know! I think the baking powder might have contributed to the rising/falling of the cookies. I’ll have to try out the flax eggs sometime and see how it goes!

  10. Hi there – can you sub cornstarch for the tapioca starch? I’m not sure I can find it here. Thanks!

    1. Hi Emily! The cornstarch has a different texture and will taste a bit different. If you have access to a 1-to-1 gluten free flour blend I would use that in place of the tapioca starch, white rice flour, and xanthan gum!

        1. My favorite all-purpose flour is Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1… Simply substitute 2 1/4 cups of it for the white rice flour, tapioca starch and xanthan gum. 🙂

          1. Do you get the same results by using Bobs flour, or is the better result with the flour mix given above? Are the finished cookies sturdy or are they delicate? I️ did look at the video but couldn’t tell. Thank you so much!

          2. Yes! I LOVE Bob’s Redmill 1-to-1 flour blend. It is a great substitute for the white rice flour, tapioca starch, and xanthan gum. The cookies are firm enough to hold their shape but soft and buttery when you bite into them.

      1. I’m not sure what I did wrong here, but my dough was crumbling and hard to roll out. The cookies a lumpy and hard…not sure what happened! I followed the recipe to a tee 😞

        1. Oh no! So sorry about that, Mary. What type of flour did you use? And maybe try softening the butter just a SMIDGE next time to help the dough hold together a bit better.