Gluten Free Cutout Sugar Cookies

These gluten free cutout sugar cookies are so soft and tender, no one will believe they’re gluten free! They’re so easy to make with minimal ingredients that you’ll be making them every Christmas.

gluten free cutout sugar cookies in red, blue, green, and yellow colors

One of my fondest memories growing up was at Christmastime when we would make cutout sugar cookies.  Rolling out and decorating the cookies was one of my favorite holiday traditions.  I remember pulling out my mom’s beat up old Betty Crocker cookbook with the pages falling out of the binder and flipping to Mary’s Sugar Cookies.  Funny how I can remember the name of those cookies, but can’t remember what I had for lunch yesterday!  Those good memories seem to really etch themselves into our brains where they stay for a lifetime.

My sisters and I would always gather around the table with our little bowls filled with a simple almond glaze that we’d tint several different colors.  Using the back of a spoon, we’d spread the glaze all over the cookies and then use toothpicks to dot eyes on Santa or a red nose on Rudolph.  That was way before the days of decorating bags, or at least readily available decorating bags!

Ingredients Needed for These Cookies

  • Kim’s gluten free flour blend–you can try a store bought blend if you don’t want to make your own, such as Cup4Cup.
  • Butter–butter is always better. Try to use real butter in these cookies because you’ll see a difference in both flavor and texture.
  • Cream cheese–cream cheese is what makes these cookies soft and tender, even though they’re still able to hold their shape and don’t spread.
  • Egg yolks–give the cookies a rich flavor, as well as adds to the tenderness.
  • Vanilla extract
  • Salt

These gluten free cookies are almost better than the cookies I remember making that weren’t gluten free!

decorated cutout cookies on white background

Tips for Making the Best Gluten Free Cutout Sugar Cookies

A couple of things will help make these the best cutout cookies you’ve ever had:

  • Make sure to chill the dough well before rolling it out.  This helps the cookies retain their shape when baked.  A minimum of two hours is best.
  • Thicker is better when rolling out these cookies, so when they bake they don’t get too crisp at the corners.  I shoot for anywhere between 3/8 to 1/2-inch thick.
  • Don’t over bake, which will again lead to crispy edges instead of soft, tender cookies that are melt in your mouth.
  • Experiment with different flavorings.  I’ve always been an almond lover, so adding about 1/2 to 1 tsp almond extract makes these cookies exceptional.  Or try cinnamon, cardamom, or even a chai spice blend!  Chai would be so good!!
  • I personally prefer royal icing on these cookies, which is something of a wonder to me as I’m not usually that fond of it.  Feel free to use whatever icing you’d like, though.  Buttercream would taste great, but it doesn’t dry hard so be aware of that.
  • Most importantly–have fun and create new memories!!!

How to Decorate the Cookies

There are many ways to decorate sugar cookies and not a one of them is wrong. Going the super easy route, before baking the cookies sprinkle them with colored sugar and/or nonpareils and sprinkles. Or bake them and spread them with a thin glaze made of a few cups of powdered sugar mixed with a little water or milk (1 to 2 tbsp) and some vanilla or almond extract. Add sprinkles as desired.

You could also spread them with a buttercream, such as this one here. They won’t dry hard, but will be more like a Lofthouse style cookie (yum!). Or you can use my favorite for these cookies, royal icing (the recipe is below). It’s a little more effort (filling pastry bags with several different colors and consistencies), but it offers so many options for decorating and it dries to a hard finish. Contrary to what I used to think, royal icing tastes wonderful on these cookies and actually contrasts perfectly with the tender texture.

blue and white cutout sugar cookie snowflake with bite taken

This sugar cookie dough is a BREEZE to work with!  It doesn’t stick much, is very easy to roll out, and makes the most tender cookies you will ever have! Seriously.  I think they’ll become your new favorite cookie and maybe making them will even become a new Christmas tradition that your family will love doing!

What are your favorite holiday traditions?

gluten free cutout sugar cookies in red, blue, green, and yellow colors

Gluten Free Cutout Sugar Cookies

Start a tradition with your family making the absolute best gluten free cutout sugar cookies each year!  These cookies are so tender, tasty, and addictive, no one will ever know they’re gluten free, and they’re sure to become your favorite 🙂
Print Recipe
CourseDessert
CuisineAmerican
Keywordcutout cookies, Gluten Free, sugar cookies
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time12 minutes
Chilling time2 hours
Total Time2 hours 42 minutes
Servings4 dozen
AuthorKim

Ingredients

COOKIES:

  • 2 cups (453 g) butter, softened
  • 8 oz package cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups (400 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 3/4 cups (665 g) Kim's gluten free flour blend (or your favorite flour blend with xanthan gum)
  • 1/4 tsp salt

ROYAL ICING:

  • 3 tbsp meringue powder
  • 4 cups (440 g) powdered sugar
  • 5 tbsp warm water, plus more as needed for thinning
  • gel or paste food coloring as desired

Instructions

FOR THE COOKIES:

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and cream cheese while slowly adding the sugar until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.    
  • Add the egg yolks and vanilla and mix well.
  • Slowly add the flour and salt and mix until combined.  
  • Separate the dough into two disks on sheets of plastic wrap.  Wrap tightly and chill for about 2 hours or up to 12.  
  • Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  • Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • On lightly floured surface, roll dough to about 3/8 to 1/2-inch thickness.
  • Using cookie cutters, cut into shapes and place on baking sheet about 2 inches apart.  
  • Bake for about 12-14 minutes or until set but not browned, or very slightly browned on bottom edges only.  
  • Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for 5 minutes before removing and placing on a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely before frosting or decorating.  

FOR THE ROYAL ICING:

  • Beat all ingredients together using a heavy duty stand mixer for about 7-10 minutes at low speed, or 10-12 minutes at high speed with a hand-held mixer.  
  • Add 1 tsp water at a time to thin to desired consistency.  For outlining, consistency should be thicker.  For flooding cookies, consistency should be a little bit thinner to allow it to flow smoothly.  
  • Separate into small bowls and color as desired. Spread on cookies, or fill piping bags and decorate as desired.

Notes

* To freeze cookies, bake and cool completely.  Do not decorate with royal icing.  Buttercream can be frozen, however.  Carefully place in airtight container that is freezer safe, or in a large ziptop bag, removing as much air as possible.  Freeze for 2-3 months.  To thaw, keep wrapped to avoid drying out and thaw on counter.  
**Dough can also be frozen, well wrapped, for 2-3 months.  Thaw in refrigerator overnight and roll out as per instructions.  

Adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe White Velvet Sugar Cookies

These cookies were originally posted in December 2018 and have been updated with new pictures and more tips and tricks.



27 thoughts on “Gluten Free Cutout Sugar Cookies”

  • I am looking forward to trying your flour blends! Do you just use a whisk to mix them together, or should I put them in my blender or food processor? I plan to make the cut out cookies this weekend. And I really can’t wait to try the deep dish pizza!

    • Hi, Donna! Yep, I just use a whisk. After I whisk them, I put the top on my container and shake it vigorously, too.

      You’re gonna LOVE the cookies AND the pan pizza!! The cookies are a family favorite. My husband, who isn’t gluten free, says the pan pizza is the best pizza he’s ever had! And he’s from Pennsylvania where there are TONS of great pizza places.

  • These are the best Christmas cookies ever! I’m one of the sisters who made cookies with Kim and I see none of my terrible decorated cookies made the cut! Haha! I’m not gluten intolerant and I LOVE these

    • Haha!! I think the candy cane was yours. But I’m not sure if any of them are mine either. Probably Sissy’s and Pam’s. They’re the artists in the family 🤣

    • Hi, Tami! I’m sure you could probably use a dairy free cream cheese, like Daiya or Tofutti brand, and then use a dairy free butter alternative, like Earth Balance.

      Good luck and Merry Christmas to you!!

  • These cookies are amazing! The dough holds together while while rolling out, cutting and baking, and they crisp up nicely while still having a chewy center. Your site is my new favorite go-to for all gluten free recipes!

    • Thanks so much, Cara!! I’m so glad you liked them. They are my family’s favorite cookies 🙂

      Thanks for following along with my gluten free baking endeavors!

        • What flour blend did you use? Or did you allow the dough to chill for at least 2 hours? These cookies are famous for keeping their shape, so I’m baffled. Did you use real butter and not a butter substitute?

  • I am using Bob’s 1-to-1 flour and measured it out by weight to match the recipe. But my dough (prior to going into the fridge) seems realllllly sticky. Is that how it should be?

  • Hi Kim!
    I was wondering which brand of meringue powder you use? I have looked at King Arthur and Wilton’s in the past, but both have a “May contain wheat” disclaimer. 🙁
    Thank you!

  • Thank you so much for this recipe! I have celiacs, and have not had real frosted sugar cookies for nearly a decade. This made my day and I cannot wait to share my cookies!

  • so excited to try this after having such success with your cinnamon rolls! i have left over bread flour blend from that recipe, and i’m wondering if i can use that blend of yours for this recipe or if you intended for your other blend to be used here?

  • Howdy! I plan to make these cookies in a few days, hubs looooves sugar cookies that are iced. I had a question, how 1 to 1 is your ap flour? I’d like to make a few of our favorite Christmas bars but am uncertain as to the flour usage.

    • It’s pretty spot on. Sometimes for cakes, however, I bump up the liquid in the recipe (milk, water, etc) by 1/4 cup because gluten free flours tend to soak up more liquid and then the cakes are drier than I want them to be. I think for bars it would be perfect as a 1:1 sub 🙂

  • Wow!!! I’m not a fan of sugar cookies, but these were terrific! They are soft not overly sweet, yummy! This is the first sugar cookie I’ve made that I’ve managed to roll out and get onto the cookie sheet. An amazing cookie, thanks!

    Thank you for the feedback on the AP flour 1 to 1. Since I found your site, my happiness on having tasty bread and buns is boundless. I was so tired of eating bread that had the consistency of a damp sponge, coupled with being flavorless.

    • Awe, that’s so awesome, Gillie! So glad you liked the cookies! They are a family favorite.

      I hear you about flavorless, crappy breads and buns. That’s why I developed my own flour blends and blog.

      Merry Christmas 🎄🎅

  • Love these cookies—made them last month. Wanted to make them again but only a half recipe. Realized too late that the measured weights do not adjust when I adjust the number of servings, only the cups amounts adjust up and down when servings amount is changed.

    It would be super helpful to those who weigh ingredients if the amounts could be automatically adjusted too, because I just made a batter with 400g of sugar for 2 dozen cookies!

    Thanks if you can.

    • I am so sorry, Cassie! I know that is a problem with my recipe card maker and I’m working on it with the company who makes the plugin to try to get it fixed. Bear with me as I hopefully get this corrected very soon.

  • I made these again, exactly to your recipe, only this time I didn’t ice them but sprinkled them with raw can turbinado sugar and a grating of fresh nutmeg. Oh my! A perfect summer cookie.

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