Learn how to make the best soft and tender, vegan sugar cookies with crispy edges for your Christmas holidays using this quick and easy shortbread cookie recipe. The shortbread pastry is not only perfect for Christmas cookies, but for all kinds of cookies as well as pie, tart and cheesecake crusts!
The Best Vegan Sugar Cookie Recipe
Who else loved baking cookies with grandma as a kid? I always enjoyed kneading dough, cutting out cookies, baking them and then decorating them beautifully. No matter if it was with grandma, mom or with friends – especially at Christmas time it was always a highlight!
But I still enjoy it, so today I’m sharing this basic vegan shortbread pastry recipe that you can use to make super delicious, tender and colorful homemade cookies in no time for any occasion like Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Halloween or birthday parties!
1-2-3 Shortbread recipe
Shortbread pastry, also known as pie dough, usually consists of only 3 ingredients: Flour, sugar, and butter. Some recipes use eggs, however, usually pie dough doesn’t require any eggs at all. Therefore, you can easily make it vegan by simply replacing the dairy butter with vegan butter or margarine.
Which flour for cookies?
All-purpose, light wheat flour or light spelt flour are best for soft and tender vegan sugar cookies. The finer the flour, the finer and more tender the cookies will be. You could also use a mixture of light and coarser flour. However, if you use only whole wheat flour, the cookies will not be as soft and tender, of course.
To bake gluten-free cookies, you can opt for gluten-free 1 to 1 baking flour.
If you like, you could also replace some of the flour with ground almonds or hazelnuts as in my recipe for vegan linzer cookies. Just try whatever you feel like!
What kind of sugar for cookies?
I recommend using very fine-grained sugar or powdered sugar so you don’t have coarse crystals in the dough. Principally, you can use any sugar such as raw cane sugar, white or brown sugar or coconut blossom sugar. However, also keep in mind that the cookies will look browner if you use a dark sugar variety.
Vegan butter or margarine?
Since vegan butter has a higher fat content of 80%, it is not as soft as margarine when chilled. So if you use vegan butter, the dough is less sticky and soft and does not melt quickly in the oven. However, basically both options will work.
Refining cookie dough
Depending on your preference and taste, you can refine the cookie dough with other spices and flavors. For example, I like to add a pinch of salt and some vanilla, but you could also opt for cinnamon, speculoos spice, pumpkin spice, or lemon or orange zest. There are so many ways you can add flavor to your sugar cookies!
Tips for working with shortbread pastry
- Knead briefly: Don’t overwork the shortbread pastry, or it will be tough and too warm.
- Cool: Always keep the shortcrust pastry cool so that it doesn’t get sticky when you roll it out and cut out cookies. It also ensures that the vegan cookies do not melt during baking.
How to make Vegan Sugar Cookies
As always, I recommend checking out this step-by-step instruction and the recipe video first. Then you can find the full recipe with exact measurements in the recipe card below!
Step 1: Make the shortcrust pastry
First, sift the flour, powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt into a large bowl. Next, add the vegan butter in pieces and knead everything into a dough with your hands (or in a food processor). Then shape the dough into a flat ball, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 1 hour.
Step 2: Roll out the dough and cut out cookies
Dust a work surface and rolling pin with flour. Take the dough out of the refrigerator and roll it out to be about 0.6 cm. Cut out cookies with your favorite cookie cutters and place them on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Collect remaining dough, roll out again and cut out more cookies until all the dough is used up.
Tip: It’s best to roll out the dough in portions and leave the rest in the refrigerator until needed so it doesn’t get too warm and soft.
Step 3: Bake the cookies
Bake the sugar cookies at 392 °F (200 °C) for about 8-10 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned and crispy. Then let cool completely and decorate as desired.
Decorating cookies – tips and ideas!
I decorated my festive Christmas cookies with a simple icing (see recipe for cinnamon stars) and sprinkles. For a different color, you can just stir some natural food coloring or superfood powder into the icing. Or you can use a colored fruit juice instead of lemon juice like in my recipes for vegan donuts, madeleines, or blood orange bundt cake. You can also dip the cookies in vegan chocolate or paint them pretty with sugar fonts and decorate with nonpareils if you wish – Be creative!
How to store vegan cookies
These vegan sugar cookies can be easily baked in advance, as they can be kept for a very long time and even become more crunchy after a few days. Kept in a sealed cookie tin and stored at room temperature, they will keep for up to 4 weeks. If you coat the shortbread cookies with icing or vegan chocolate, you can also place a piece of parchment paper between each cookie to keep them from sticking together.
Undecorated shortbread cookies can also be frozen for 3 months. Just make sure to let them cool completely before placing them in freezer bags. When you want to eat some, simply thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then reheat briefly at 355 °F (180 °C) for 5 minutes.
The shortbread pastry can also be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator or frozen for future use. Simply form it into a flat ball, then wrap it in cling film and finally place it in a freezer bag. This way it will keep in the fridge for about 1 week and in the freezer for 3 months.
This simple recipe for vegan sugar cookies is:
- Without dairy butter
- Can be made gluten-free
- Quick and easy
- Soft, tender and crispy
- Super delicious!
- Better than from the bakery
- Perfect for Christmas holidays or any other occasion!
More easy vegan cookie recipes to try
- Vanilla Crescent Cookies
- Vegan Linzer Cookies
- Gingerbread Cookies
- Pecan Pie Bars
- Oatmeal Cookies
- Apple Hand Pies
- Vegan Almond Horns
- Vegan Nut Bars
- Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
- Peanut Butter Chickpea Cookie Dough Pretzel Bites
If you try this vegan sugar cookie recipe, feel free to leave me a comment and a star rating! And if you share a photo of your Christmas cookies on Instagram, please tag me @biancazapatka and use the hashtag #biancazapatka because I love seeing your creations! Happy baking! 🙂
Vegan Sugar CookiesAuthor:
You do not have a fitting cake pan at hand right now? Try my Cake Pan Conversion Calculator!
*Note: Check out the recipe video + step-by-step pictures as well as tips in the post above!
- Sift the flour, powdered sugar, vanilla and salt into a large bowl. Add the diced vegan butter and knead everything into a dough with your hands (or in a food processor).
- Then form the dough into a flat ball, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for about 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 392 °F (200 °C) and line 2-3 large baking trays with parchment paper.
- Dust a work surface and a rolling pin with flour. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll out to a thickness of about 0.6 cm (*see notes). Cut out cookies with your favorite cookie cutters and place them on the prepared baking sheets.
- Pick up the remaining dough, roll it out again and cut out more cookies. Continue in this way until all the dough is used up.
- Bake the cookies for about 8-10 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned and crisp. Then let cool completely and decorate as desired (*see notes).
- Dough: It is best to roll out the dough in batches and leave the rest in the refrigerator until needed to prevent it from becoming warm and soft.
- Decoration: I opted for a simple icing (see recipe for cinnamon stars) and sprinkles. For a different color, you can stir some natural food coloring or superfood powder into the icing. Or you can use a colored fruit juice instead of lemon juice like in my recipes for vegan donuts, madeleines, or blood orange bundt cake.
- More information about the recipe, including notes on ingredients and tips for storing and freezing, are mentioned in the blog post above!
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