Best Ever Vegan Sugar Cookies (Gluten-Free)
These are the absolute best vegan sugar cookies, and everyone will love them, vegan or not. It’s a really simple dough that’s entirely eggless and dairy-free, and the vegan royal icing is perfect for decorating classic Christmas cookies! This is truly the best vegan sugar cookie recipe around!
Your new favorite vegan Christmas cookies
If ever there was a cookie that represented Christmas to me, I truly think it would be these vegan sugar cookies. They taste just like the sugar cookie cut outs I grew up with as a kid, yet they’re entirely vegan, dairy free, egg free, and can be gluten free!
These easy sugar cookies are so incredibly simple and made with really straight forward ingredients: vegan butter, sugar, applesauce, flour, and baking powder. That’s really it!
It’s just like making classic sugar cookies, only entirely vegan. In fact, I would recommend you not tell everyone these gluten free sugar cookies are vegan until after they’ve taken a bite 😉
The texture is absolutely unbelievable: soft, chewy, and melt in your mouth, while still being dairy free and eggless. And the flavor? Just sweet enough, with a hint of vanilla (especially if you add in the vanilla bean seeds!). These are truly the perfect sugar cookies, vegan or not.
What I love most about this recipe is how simple and easy the actual sugar cookie dough is.
In fact, I think it’s easier than even the easiest classic sugar cookie recipe.
Can you replace an egg with applesauce in sugar cookies?
Yes, you can absolutely swap in applesauce for an egg when baking sugar cookies, and here’s how!
Let’s go over the key ingredients you need in making eggless and dairy free vegan sugar cookies:
- Vegan butter: you can use a nut-free vegan butter or coconut oil if desired. You can even make your own vegan butter!
- Granulated sugar: granulated sugar will give these sugar cookies more of a traditional look. Make sure that you’re using organic cane sugar, as this will be vegan (not all granulated sugars are vegan!). I sometimes use coconut sugar here, which is why there’s specs of caramel coloring throughout the cookies. Just keep this in mind!
- Applesauce: this will replace eggs in traditional sugar cookies. You can also use a flax egg (just ground flaxseed with water), but then you’ll see the specks of flaxseed in it. It’s up to you!
- All purpose flour: you can also use gluten free 1:1 baking flour if you need gluten free vegan sugar cookies.
- Baking powder: not baking soda. Baking powder will help give these sugar cookies a slightly puffy look and keep them from spreading.
How to make the best vegan sugar cookies from scratch (overview)
Here’s how to make this easy vegan sugar cookie dough:
- Cream together the vegan butter and sugar: this is very similar to making regular sugar cookies. You want the sugar to almost dissolve into the vegan butter. You’ll also add in the vanilla extract and almond extract here, as well as the applesauce.
- Sift in the flours and baking powder: then you’ll use a rubber spatula- a silicone spatula is key! – to fold together the dry ingredients. This will take about 3-4 minutes. The rubber spatula makes it much easier to incorporate the flours into the creamed vegan butter.
- Chill the dough: form the dough into a disk and chill for 30 minutes.
Then we’ll cut out the sugar cookies:
- Roll out the dough: lightly flour a clean surface and rolling pin and roll the dough to be 1/4″ thick.
- Cut out the sugar cookies: you can use any sugar cookie cutters here!
- Transfer the sugar cookies to a baking sheet: I recommend using a super thin spatula to do this.
- Chill the cookies while the oven preheats.
- Bake the cookies! You’re looking for a lightly golden color around the edges.
Once the cookies are completely cool, we’ll move onto decorating them.
Can I make these sugar cookies gluten free?
You can definitely make these cookies gluten free if you need to! To make these vegan sugar cookies completely gluten free, simply swap in gluten free 1:1 baking flour.
And if you need to make these Christmas cookies completely nut-free as well, feel free to omit the almond extract.
Vegan Royal Icing
This is my all time favorite part of the whole sugar cookie baking process: decorating the cookies.
But first, we need to make the vegan royal icing. This egg-free royal icing is super simple. All you need is:
- Aquafaba (or chickpea water)
- Powdered sugar
- Vegan food coloring
Next, you’ll simply add the aquafaba and powdered sugar to a bowl, and mix with a spoon or whip with a hand mixer until light and fluffy.
By using a hand mixer or an electric mixer, you’ll notice it really helps to prevent any clumps of powdered sugar and gives you a really smooth royal icing.
Finally, you’ll divide the royal icing into separate bowls if you’re using vegan food coloring. I recommend a gel vegan food coloring, such as the one that Whole Foods makes.
Remember that if you’re not using a bowl of royal icing right away, cover the bowl with a damp cloth to prevent it from hardening.
How to decorate sugar cookies
The biggest tip I have for decorating sugar cookies is don’t try to make them perfect.
We are not a professional bakery. We are humans trying to have some holiday fun and cheer. If you try to make them perfect, you’ll just not have fun decorating these, and it can be quite frustrating. And you’ll be surprised: when you’re not trying to make them perfect, these sugar cookies will actually come out looking really beautiful!
You can also spread a bit of homemade vegan frosting for an easy sugar cookie decoration that’s super fun and easy for kids as well.
Have fun with decorating these sugar cookies. I recommend watching a few fun YouTube videos on how to decorate the shape you’ve made to get some ideas. You can also look up cookie designs on Pinterest to get some ideas.
I have a few selected patterns in the free cookie baking guide I created for my mailing list, and you can get access to it here:
Sugar Cookie FAQ’s
You can definitely make these sugar cookies ahead of time. I recommend making them up to 2 days ahead of time if you’re bringing them to a cookie exchange or holiday party. This will give you enough time to decorate and have fun with the cookies!
Definitely. I do recommend it if you want that classic sugar cookie taste that is secretly vegan, but if you’re not a fan or can’t have it because of an allergy, simply omit.
Absolutely! If you don’t want to use vegan butter, you can use softened coconut oil. This is different than solid coconut oil or melted coconut oil.
I recommend placing the jar of coconut oil by a preheated oven to help soften it. You should be able to leave an indent with your finger into the coconut oil, much like softened vegan butter. You can also use nut-free vegan butter, like an oat-milk based vegan butter.
Again, you can absolutely make these vegan sugar cookies nut-free. Just make sure that you’re using a nut-free vegan butter or coconut oil, and omit the almond extract or replace it with vanilla extract.
You’re just going to absolutely love these easy vegan sugar cookies! The dough is just so simple, and everyone will have fun decorating them. They’re perfect for Christmas cookie boxes, cookie exchanges, and even as a treat for Santa!
These sugar cookies truly my favorite vegan Christmas cookies of all time.
If you make these cookies, let me know down below in the comments section, as well as giving it a rating so that others may find it.
Happy sugar cookie baking!
More vegan Christmas cookies:
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If you make this recipe, please be sure to leave a comment and a rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ below. This helps others to find the recipes! As always, I absolutely love to see your beautiful creations on Instagram and Pinterest, so be sure to tag me there as well!
How to make vegan sugar cookies video:Print
These are the absolute best vegan sugar cookies I’ve ever tasted. It’s a really simple dough and the vegan royal icing is perfect for decorating classic Christmas cookies!
- 3/4 cup vegan butter, room temperature
- 3/4 cup sugar or coconut sugar*
- 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce, room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp almond extract (optional, omit if nut-free)
- 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour or gluten free 1:1 baking flour*
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 batch vegan royal icing
- In a large bowl, cream together the vegan butter and sugar with a hand mixer or stand mixer. Cream together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Once the sugar is slightly dissolved into the vegan butter, add in the applesauce, vanilla extract and almond extract if desired. Mix again until incorporated.
- Sift in the flour, and baking powder, and use a rubber spatula to gently fold the flours into the creamed butter. This will take about 3-4 minutes to fully incorporate.
- Once the dough is made, form the dough into a flat disk and wrap with plastic wrap or parchment paper, and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. While the dough is chilling, prepare a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Once chilled, lightly flour a clean surface as well as a rolling pin. Place the dough onto the floured surface. If the dough is not at all soft (i.e. it’s hard to touch), allow the dough to soften for 10 minutes. Then roll the dough out to be about 1/4″ thick.
- Use your desired cookie cutters and cut the cookie shapes into the dough. Remove any scraps and use a thin spatula to transfer the sugar cookies to the baking sheet. Repeat for the remaining dough, then chill the cookie sheet in the freezer for while the oven preheats.
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Once the oven is fully preheated, place the cookie sheet into the oven and bake the cookies for 7 minutes or until the edges are just beginning to turn lightly golden.
- Remove from the oven and allow the cookies to fully cool before making the vegan royal icing.
- Make the royal icing according to the post instructions.
- Divide the royal icing into separate bowls if using vegan food coloring and add in the colors. Be sure to cover any bowl of icing that you’re not using with a damp paper towel. This prevents the royal icing from hardening. Mix the colors, and place the icing into a piping bag with tip. Decorate the cookies as desired.
- Allow the cookies to set for 15 minutes, then enjoy!
- Store the cookies in the freezer for up to 3 months.
* coconut sugar will give these cookies a slightly tanner color. If you want traditional looking sugar cookies, use a vegan-friendly granulated sugar, such as Woodstock Organics
* For completely Paleo vegan sugar cookies, please see these Paleo Vegan Sugar Cookies.
- Serving Size: 1 cookie no icing
- Calories: 82
- Sugar: 3.6 g
- Sodium: 3.1 mg
- Fat: 4 g
- Saturated Fat: 2.1 g
- Trans Fat:
- Carbohydrates: 7.6 g
- Fiber: 0.3 g
- Protein: 1.1 g
- Cholesterol: 8.7 mg
Keywords: vegan sugar cookies, easy sugar cookies, vegan gluten free sugar cookies, vegan Christmas cookies