Hiya Friends! I’ve been hard at work perfecting these Vegan Sugar Cookies for you! They’re perfectly crisp with a soft interior, sweet (but not too sweet) with hints of vanilla and almond. And topped with a pipe-able vegan icing sugar so – that you can make pretty patterns!
Nothing celebrates the holiday better than making a ridiculous amount of cookies. Amirite? Every year, I put together a big cookie box of various festive cookies and deliver them to my neighbours and friends – it’s always so well received!
The secret to making melt in your mouth, delicious sugar cookies is using the right ratio of fat, sugar, and flour. Plus, you can’t go wrong with flavouring your sugar cookie dough with a touch of vanilla and almond extract. It really makes all the difference!
Sugar – For the best neutral tasting sugar cookie dough that is also light in colour, cane sugar is the best choice! I do not recommend substituting an alternative as this would change the dough consistency and potentially make the cookies dark! If you only have brown sugar in the pantry, try making another one of my desserts like my vegan pecan pie.
All-purpose flour – I have personally only tested these vegan sugar cookies with wheat all-purpose flour and cannot promise swapping for a gluten-free flour blend will work. If you’d like to give it a try, I’d recommend using a cup for cup gluten-free flour blend.
Arrowroot starch – Since these vegan sugar cookies are egg free, I used arrowroot starch to help bind the dough together and prevent it from spreading while baking. In the grocery store, you may see arrowroot starch sold as arrowroot flour. These are the same thing! You can also use cornstarch if you have it handy.
Start by placing the cold butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl and beating together on medium high using an electric hand mixer or stand mixer. It should take about 4 minutes to make the mixture light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides occasionally as needed.
Add the vanilla, almond extract, and almond milk and beat again until combined, about 1 minute.
In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, arrowroot starch, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix together on low speed, until just combined. Gradually add the remaining 1/2 cup of flour and continue to mix on low until just combined (about 2 minutes). Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
At this point, the sugar cookie dough should be slightly crumbly yet hold together when pressed between your fingers.
Turn the sugar cookie dough out onto a clean work surface and form the dough into a smooth ball with your hands. Flatten it into a disc, about 1-inch thick. Tightly wrap in plastic or an alternative reusable wrap and chill the dough in the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour, but preferably overnight.
After 1 hour or the next day, remove the cookie dough from the fridge and preheat the oven.
Liberally flour your work surface and the dough ball, then roll out the dough to be 1/4 inch thick. If the dough crumbles off the sides as you roll, press it firmly back into the dough and roll it out again.
Use cookie cutters to cut the sugar cookies into your desired shapes and transfer them to the parchment lined baking sheets. Continue re-rolling the dough out and cutting it into shapes until it is all used. Sprinkle on additional flour as needed to prevent sticking.
Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes on the middle oven rack, rotating halfway through for even browning. Allow the cookies to cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
Once cooled to room temperature, decorate your cookies with pipe-able vegan icing as desired. Enjoy!
Troubleshooting and Tips
Why did my sugar cookies spread?
Although spreading is a good thing for some cookies, sugar cookie dough is one you don’t want to spread in the oven, especially when you’re using cookie cutters. If your cookies spread, it is likely that the sugar cookie dough was too warm before going in the oven.
Chilling the dough overnight can help prevent this, but if you take a long time rolling the dough out and cutting it into shapes it can get become too warm and difficult to work with. To be safe, stick the dough back into the fridge to cool down again, or place the cookie sheets in the fridge for 15-20 minutes before baking to firm the dough back up!
Why are my sugar cookies hard?
These vegan sugar cookies should be slightly crisp on the exterior, but soft on the interior. If your cookies are crunchy, my guess is the bake time was too long. Or, it is possible you rolled the dough thinner than ¼ inch!
Sugar cookie icing tips!
For best results, I recommend using a piping bag with a small piping tip. If you do not have a reusable piping bag, fill a large plastic zip top with the icing and snip the corner off of one side.
The icing can be made up to 1 week in advance. Allow it to warm to room temperature for 5-10 minutes before using for easy decorating.
When decorating, remember to have fun with it! Get the kids involved and enjoy the process. (The decorating doesn’t need to be perfect!)
These vegan sugar cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month. Note that the cookie icing will take about 1 day to harden completely, so be careful stacking the cookies. They may smear if not hardened before storing. If freezing, baked sugar cookies will freeze best without icing.
If desired, you may also freeze this vegan sugar cookie dough before baking. Follow recipe steps 1 through 5, then tightly wrap the sugar cookie dough in plastic wrap. Place the sugar cookie dough in a freezer safe bag or airtight container and freeze for up to 1 month. When ready to bake, place the cookie dough into the fridge until soft enough to roll out and resume recipe steps.
If you’re planning your holiday feast coming up, you may also love my Vegan Christmas Dinner Menu. It will take all the guesswork out of your holiday menu and planning and is the best 7 recipe plan the whole family will love.
(And, be sure to come back for my Vegan Christmas Cookie Round-Up, coming to you very soon – so that you can gift the perfect homemade present).
I hope you love this vegan sugar cookie recipe as much as we do! If you do make this recipe, please let me know in the comments below what you think! I truly love hearing from you, and I’m always here to answer any questions you might have.
And of course, tag me on Instagram with your pictures using the hashtag #twospoons. Nothing makes me happier than to see your recreations.
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In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer, beat the vegan butter on medium high and sugar until fluffy and light, 4 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to ensure it's well combined.
Add the vanilla, almond extract and almond milk. Beat on high until fully combined, about 1 minute. Again, scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.
In a separate small mixing bowl, whisk together 1 cup of flour, the arrowroot starch, baking powder, the baking soda and the salt until well combined.
Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix together on low speed, until just combined. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of flour gradually and mix on low until just combined (about 2 minutes), scrape down the sides as needed. (The dough should start to come together but not be wet. The thick dough should be slightly crumbly in the mixing bowl, but stop adding flour if the dough starts to look dry, add a little more if the dough seems too wet – I found 1 1/2 cups total flour to be the perfect amount. See notes below for more information about cookie dough).
Turn the cookie mixture onto work surface and form a dough ball with your hands. Once it's all together, flatten it into a disc, about 1-inch thick. Cover in plastic or reusable wrap and cool in the fridge for 1 hour or preferably overnight.
Take the dough out and leave it on the counter to thaw for 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350F/180C and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Liberally flour work surface and the dough ball. Roll out the dough to be 1/4 inch thick. (If the dough crumbles off the sides as you roll, press it firmly into the dough and roll again. See notes below for more tips about this cookie dough). Cut into desired shapes using a cookie cutter and place them on the prepared baking sheets. Continue re-rolling the dough until it is all used. (Remember to keep it floured as it warms up so it doesn't stick to the rolling pin.)
Bake in the middle rack of the oven, rotating halfway through, until lightly browned on edges and bottom, 8-10 minutes. Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack to completely cool and harden before icing.
Vegan Icing Sugar
With a handheld or stand mixer, beat the vegan butter and sugar until fluffy and light, about 4 minutes. Add the almond milk gradually while mixing until you reach the desired texture. Spoon into a piping bag and decorate as desired.
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Notes about cookie dough:Different vegan butters can result in needing more or less flour. For this recipe, I prefer a brand like Earth Balance as it makes a more flexible cookie dough. I found that 1.5 cups all-purpose flour was the perfect amount. You might need a little more or a little less. The dough should form a ball easily, and not feel too wet. If dough is too wet, sprinkle with more flour. (Wet dough won’t hold its cookie cutter shape).If dough is too dry, lightly wet hands, flick the dough with water and try bringing it together. This cookie dough allows for multiple rolls, but be sure to flour your work surface and rolling pin to stop it from sticking. At any point, you can place the dough back into the fridge to chill out, if things are getting too warm. Notes about icing:The icing will set into the cookies overnight. Leave to set at room temperate, or place in the fridge for quicker setting. Icing can be made up to a week in advance, let thaw for 5-10 minutes before pipping if too stiff. Storing and freezing:Sugar cookies will keep for up to 5 days. Store at room temperature in an air-tight container. Sugar cookies can also be frozen. Store in the freezer in an air-tight container for one month, let thaw and add then decorate.