Gluten-Free Almond Flour Shortbread Cookies: three ways to shine

Cookies during the holidays… is there anything more perfect?

Baking has always been a stress reliever for me. When I’m feeling overwhelmed with life, there’s nothing that calms me down more, or brings positive vibes back into my day, than whipping up a delicious gluten-free treat.

Whether it’s mixing up some gluten-free muffins, or watching a loaf of gluten-free bread rise, or throwing together a quick batch of cookies, anytime I bake I’m in my happy place. It’s that welcomed moment in time where I can just let go.

Truthfully, there’s probably no better time of year to bake than the holidays. You’re busy, you’re stressed, and baking is the last thing on you mind. In fact, some of you are probably thinking, “Bake? I don’t even have time to fix a proper dinner, let alone bake!” And I hear ya. Loud and clear.

But I like to remind myself that baking doesn’t have to be time intensive. There are plenty of recipes that take no time at all, but still give you that moment of peace – that bring that stress level down, even if just a little.

These gluten-free almond shortbread cookies are just that. The base recipe requires only 5 ingredients and less than 5 minutes to whip up. It’s easy-peasy. And while this is a great all-around, any-time-of-year cookie recipe, today I’m giving you three different flavor variations that are perfect for the holidays.

What I love about these cookies, aside from their crisp texture and buttery flavor, is they’re actually relatively healthy because they use almond flour which is higher in good-for-you fats, lower in carbohydrates, and has more vitamins and minerals than traditional grain-based flours. Incorporating almond flour into your mix provides increased nutritional benefits from the Since the holidays are full of indulgences, it can easy get sidetracked and over indulge, so having a cookie that is not only tasty and gluten-free, but also healthy, is a win-win in my book.

Plus, these cookies make great gifts! Make a few batches and give them away to your loved ones. I promise they’ll be a hit.

The three flavors we’re making today are cranberry orange, maple pecan, and chocolate pistachio. Each cookie starts with the same base, which then gets just a few tweaks. I’ll show you how to make the maple pecan cookies, then give directions for the other two below.

How to make almond flour shortbread cookies (gluten-free)To make this shortbread, you’ll start by adding the following to a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer (I found my stand mixer, fit with the paddle attachment, worked really well with this recipe):

1 cup almond flour
3 tablespoons softened butter
3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat the ingredients together on low speed until a dough forms. Add 1/3 cup chopped pecans and mix until just combined.

How to make almond flour shortbread cookies (gluten-free)Place a piece of plastic wrap on the counter. Transfer the dough to the plastic wrap and form it into a log shape. Fold the plastic wrap around the dough and shape again to form a roll about 7″ to 8″ long and 2″ in diameter. Place this in the fridge to chill for at least 60 minutes.

When the dough feels firm and chilled, remove it from the fridge and place it on a flat working surface. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Cranberry-Orange Almond Flour Shortbread CookiesUnwrap the cookie dough and slice it into 1/4” discs using a very sharp knife. Place the cookies on the baking sheet and bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until the cookies have started to brown. Remove them from the oven and let them cool for 10 minutes on the pan before transferring them to a rack to cool completely.

Almond Flour Shortbread Cookies in 3 varietiesAnd now for our other fun varieties!

Chocolate-Pistachio Almond Flour Shortbread CookiesFirst up is chocolate pistachio! You’ll want to follow the same instructions as above, but using the following ingredients instead of the ingredients above. Add to your mixer bowl:

3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons almond flour
2 tablespoons King Arthur Triple Cocoa Blend
3 tablespoons softened butter
3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1/8 teaspoon espresso powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

When the dough has formed, mix in 1/3 cup chopped pistachios. Wrap, roll, chill, slice, and bake the dough just as you did with the maple pecan cookies. Don’t forget to cool the cookies for 10 minutes on the pan before transferring them to a rack and cooling completely.

Cranberry-Orange Almond Flour Shortbread CookiesAnd for our cranberry orange cookies, you’ll do the same. Just combine the following using your mixer:

1 cup almond flour
3 tablespoons softened butter
3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Once your dough comes together, add 1/2 teaspoon orange zest (grated orange rind) and 1/4 cup dried cranberries. Again, wrap, roll, chill, and slice, then bake at 350°F for 12 to 14 minutes. Then cool your cookies just as you did above – on the pan for 10 minutes, then transferred to a rack to finish cooling.

Almond Flour Shortbread Cookies in 3 varietiesAnd as I mentioned above, these cookies make fabulous gifts! I made extras and gave them to my friends – everyone loved them!

Cranberry-Orange Almond Flour Shortbread CookiesWishing you a healthy, happy, and gluten-free cookie-filled holiday season. Happy baking!

We’d love for you to bake, review, and enjoy our recipe for Almond Flour Shortbreads.

Or you can print the recipe here!

Alyssa Rimmer
About

Alyssa grew up in Vermont, attended the University of Vermont and now lives in New York City, where she bakes and writes recipes for her blog Simply Quinoa. She's been living gluten-free for over four years. Alyssa also authors her own food blog and enjoys ...

comments

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Coconut flour will act quite differently than almond flour in this recipe. It does not have the same fat content, so will not provide as much moistness and tenderness. And coconut flour absorbs 4X its weight in water, so other adjustments would need to be made. Barb@KAF

  1. Erin in PA

    This sounds delightful! I just spent the weekend making cookies in between laundry, errands, and some holiday gatherings. I like to make cookies that I can mix ahead and bake off later. I also unearthed 2 partially used bags of almond flour in my freezer so I have everything that I need -yum! Thanks for the great recipes, steps, and variations! Merry Christmas to King Arthur Flour! 🙂

    Reply
    1. Alyssa Rimmer, post author

      And Merry Christmas to you as well, Erin! I’m excited for you to try these cookies – I think you’re going to really like them! Stop back over and let us know which variation you try 🙂 Alyssa

    1. Alyssa Rimmer, post author

      I do think they would ship well, Shannon! I didn’t find that mine were fragile at all. I packed them up and brought them to the office with me. Hope you enjoy! Alyssa

  2. Teresa Scott

    Guys, the recipes explained in the blog post are not the same as the one listed to print. I had to copy and paste each sentence of Alyssa’s post in order to get the 3 recipes. Please do better!

    Reply
    1. Alyssa Rimmer, post author

      Hi Teresa, Sorry that you had some trouble with the printed recipe. The recipe that was linked for the printed version was the base of each of these three cookies – I simply added in some different ingredients to demonstrate how versatile this one cookie dough could be. I also encourage you to make these cookies your own – doing as I did, with the linked recipe as your base and adding in ingredients that work for you. Hope you try the cookies and come back to let us know what you think. Thanks! Alyssa

    2. Elke

      Teresa is right, the recipe in the to print link has the same ingredients BUT it calls for scooping balls of dough straight onto baking tray and cross hatching them and has a pic of centre filled biscuits, whereas the recipe here with the pics says form a log and chill for an hour then slice the biscuits off the log.

    3. PJ Hamel

      Elke, either way is fine; we welcome all kinds of diverse methods of reaching similar delicious ends! 🙂 PJH

    1. Alyssa Rimmer, post author

      Hi there! I think that coconut oil could be used, but with varying results. I haven’t tested the recipe using coconut oil, but I would assume that they might not hold their shape as well. You’ll want to go with softened coconut oil instead of melted as well. Let us know if you try them! Thanks, Alyssa

  3. Jinny Ferrari

    If coconut oil does not work well in this recipe, maybe give palm shortening a try. I use coconut oil all the time to replace melted butter, but if the recipe calls for softened butter I found the consistency is definitely different with coconut oil. I’ve never used palm shortening, but I’m dairy free and just ordered some from Amazon to try instead of butter. It’s worth a shot when it comes to living with or without shortbread cookies – healthy ones!

    Reply
    1. Alyssa Rimmer, post author

      Thank you so much for sharing, Jinny! I too have used palm shortening in place of butter and it works well. The flavor will differ slightly, but the texture will be there. You can also use the soy-free vegan butter sticks from Earth Balance which will give you the butter flavor without the dairy 🙂 Thanks for the comment! Alyssa

  4. Deb Storlie

    I have been looking for a recipe like this, but I am allergic to almonds, is there another flour and can be used?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Another nut flour would work if you can have them. I believe hazelnut flour was brought up before, certainly worth a try! Jon@KAF

  5. Murray Murray

    Can the confectioner’s sugar be replaced with Baker’s sugar? Then this recipe can be used for Passover (using Passover vanilla extract).

    Reply
    1. Alyssa Rimmer, post author

      I think you could, but you might have to adjust the amounts slightly. Do you have access to a high-powered blender or spice grinder? You can grind the sugar in that and turn it into more of a powder. I say give it a try! Enjoy – Alyssa

  6. Colleen Arrigo

    Just an FYI–the KAF espresso powder used in the chocolate shortbread recipe is not certified gluten-free–the label clearly indicates it is produced in a facility where wheat is processed. While the recipe might not be a problem for those who are only sensitive to gluten, someone who is celiac could have a serious reaction.

    Reply
    1. Alyssa Rimmer, post author

      Thank you very much for noting that, Colleen. And yes, you are right. Not all of our products are made in a certified gluten-free facility, so for those that have Celiac disease or a sever intolerance to gluten, I highly recommend you read ALL labels before adding them to your baking. – Alyssa

  7. Hillary Price

    These recipes looks great! I was just thinking about which Christmas treats I was going to make this year so thanks for the ideas. In the Chocolate Pistachio how much nuts would you recommend I add. Maybe a 1/4 cup?

    Reply
    1. Alyssa Rimmer, post author

      I used 1/3 of a cup, but really I think it’s up to you 🙂 This base is very forgiving, which means you can pretty much add whatever you’d like! Would love to know how they turn out for you, Hillary. Thanks, Alyssa

  8. Heidi

    How many does the base recipe make?

    And do you have a carb and sugar count on these?
    I’m diabetic and wondering what the numbers are.

    Thank you!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      The base recipe makes about 15 cookies. Unfortunately, we don’t have the nutritional information for this recipe but we hope to have them in the near future. Jon@KAF

  9. Kirsten

    Mine turned out delicious – thank you for the recipe! Made the dough this weekend, and now taking them in to work for a cookie exchange today.

    Reply
  10. Joyce Bethune

    I have not tried the above cookies, yet, but whenever I use only almond flour, everything crumbles and is very fragile! But I have never chilled the dough before. Is it the chilling that makes a difference? I also live at a high altitude-would that change the consistency?

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel

      Joyce, I don’t believe either chilling or changes in altitude would have any effect on whether or not your almond flour cookies crumble. Perhaps it was the recipe you used? Or the almond flour? This recipe works well with the almond flour we sell, though I don’t see why it wouldn’t work well with other almond flours as well, so long as they’re of a similar grind. I hope you give the recipe a try – it’s really yummy! PJH

  11. Stephanie B

    This is a lovely recipe! I was looking for a basic gluten free shortbread cookie so I could make home made Twix bars for Christmas. I have the plain dough chilling right now. I made the caramel already and I’m really getting impatient for the taste of these candy bars since I went gluten free 6 years ago! Thank you and happy Christmas!

    Reply
  12. Vicki Meier

    Do you have more recipes with just almond flour or any without starch in it? I also am a gluten free user! Thanks! vm

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      If you search our recipes under “almond flour” you can find the recipes that call for this ingredient. You might enjoy this cookie recipe: Barb@KAF

  13. Michele

    Hi – the recipe looks fantastic! I was just wondering if you could substitute coconut sugar for the confectioners sugar?

    Reply
    1. Alyssa Rimmer, post author

      Hi Michele – thanks for stopping by! You could certainly make that substitute, but you’ll want to make sure that grind it up so that it’s more like a powder. You can do this in either a high-powered blender or a spice grinder. Then I think it should be the same amounts. Also, they probably won’t be as sweet because of the coconut sugar. Let me know how they turn out! – Alyssa

  14. Sarah

    These are super! I have adjusted the recipe slightly to suit my diet and they are great. For anyone who is interested, instead of sugar I used 1 tbsp of Stevia, I switched the butter with PURE Soya spread, left out the Vanilla Extract and used raw honey instead of maple syrup. I tried the chocolate ones and subbed the Cocoa for Carob – delicious! I have to hide them from my husband who can eat sugar, dairy etc I have a batch sat next to me cooling right now. Thank you for a fantastic recipe!

    Reply
  15. Joan

    I just found this recipe and made the maple pecan. So fast to mix the dough together, I cou believe it!! I used coconut Palm sugar that I put in the food processor for the powdered sugar. They are probably aren’t quite as “tender” as regular shortbread, but they were amazing. I could not stop eating them. I think I ate 7 !!!!

    Reply
  16. Doreen

    Hi Alyssa- I just made the chocolate cookies. I used finely ground hazelnut flavored coffee, brown sugar and walnuts as subs. Cookies came out grainy, but they taste good. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

    Reply
  17. Janet

    Hi Alyssa! I was wondering about doing half coconut flour and half almond as I have an abundance of coconut flour. I noted your comment about coconut flour not being fatty enough on its own. What would you suggest I do if I use half and half? Should I add more butter?

    Thanks!

    Janet Ferraro

    Reply
    1. Alyssa Rimmer, post author

      Hi Janet – to be honest, I’m really not sure how coconut flour would work with these cookies. Coconut flour has completely different properties and relies on farm more liquid and binders than almond flour. To get the results you’re looking, really my best suggestion is to find a coconut flour based recipe. How about this one? http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/gluten-free-coconut-flour-shortbread-cookies-recipe They are delicious! Hope that helps and let us know if you end up making them 🙂 – Alyssa

  18. namers

    Thank you!! I had no food in the house and wasn’t able to get out. I Googled all the ingredients I had and viola! I used coconut oil and made the basic ones. So easy, so yummy and so healthy. Looking forward to the other variations. Gotta go, only 1 cookie left!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      You were so resourceful pulling this recipe together. Sounds like it may be your “go to” recipe! Elisabeth@KAF

  19. Louann

    I made the shortbread thumbprint cookies using coconut sugar blended into powdered sugar, half vanilla, half almond flavoring. I have made them several times using fruit sweetened strawberry jam.
    I bake them for 15 min they turn out perfect. These are the best.

    Reply
  20. DeMarie Rossi

    Thank you so much – I have just started making my own Almond Milk and after I stain the almond milk I end up with Almond flour so I now get 2 different items with one cup of almonds – the dough is in the freezer right now I can’t wait to bake and serve to our out of town guests!

    Reply
  21. Jody Nelson

    Can this recipe be safely doubled or tripled…maybe even quadrupled? Thinking of holiday gifts
    They look yummy, can’t wait to try them?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Double or triple would be just fine- when you start going larger, you’ll need to weigh all the ingredients. Check that your mixer- or your arm- can handle the increased size of the batch. Happy baking! Laurie@KAF

  22. Sandra Lira

    These look wonderful. I’ve been looking for a gluten free shortbread recipe for stoneware cookie molds. Do you think this might hold together when molding them? Thanks!

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins

      They should hold together fairly well, Sandra. Be sure to prep the pan well so that they don’t stick. ~ MJ

  23. Meghan

    Could you put chopped fresh cranberries in the shortbread, or do you think it would be too sour? I was thinking of making cranberry shortbread cookies half-dipped in dark chocolate.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Meghan, I think that sounds like a totally tasty idea! Let us know how they turn out. Bryanna@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Melina, we haven’t used cashew flour in this recipe, but nut flours tend to be similar in consistency, so give it a go and let us know how it works! Bryanna@KAF

  24. Candace

    I cant have any sugar so I used Date syrup as a sub. They are in the oven now.I also used coconut oil because I am avoiding dairy. I just warmed some blueberries and just wanted a crust like something to go with them.

    Reply
  25. Sulagna

    I followed the recipe and everything looked really great right upto the point i popped the cookies into the oven and then inside the oven the cookies all melted into each other and came out as one hard pancake/giant cookie 🙁
    What am i doing wrong?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We would love to help troubleshoot this one. There are so few ingredients here. Any sort of change can have a big impact. Did you grease the cookie sheet or use parchment? Was your oven preheated to the correct temperature? Please call out hotline so we talk ingredients and technique! Elisabeth@KAF

  26. Mandy

    I was looking for a simple almond cookie recipe I could add nuts to and this one was perfect! I added 1/2 cup raw mixed nuts to the batter and left the dough in the fridge for 1 hour. They turned out to be just what I was looking for. Thank you!

    Reply
  27. Terry Michel

    Hi Alyssa, this looks perfect for my pflaumenkuchen which uses a shortbread crust. The shortbread makes a crust that has to support a layer of plums and works best if it doesn’t bake to a full crisp. Can you see this working in this situation? Baking to the right consistency and holding together? I’d sure like to get it right the first time.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Terry,
      This shortbread recipe will give you a lovely textured crust for a pflaumenkuchen — slightly crumbly but overall it has a melt-in-your mouth effect. The toasty, nutty flavor of the almond flour will complement the taste of the plums perfectly! You might want to bake the shortbread crust alone until it turns slightly golden so that it holds up under the plums. Let us know how it turns out. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  28. Jane

    Hi,
    I decided to make the chocolate ones, but despite mixing a long time, a dough didn’t form. I went back and compared the recipes and found that the first recipe includes 2 T of maple syrup; a similar fluid substitute does not appear in the ingredients list in the other variation recipes. I added 2T of amaretto to mine and the mixture came together OK. The recipe has been up for 2 years and no other comment mentions this. I used regular cocoa; is the KA triple blend a liquid? But then, what about the cranberry ones? Maybe orange juice would do it.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Jane, the base recipe for these Gluten-Free Almond Flour Shortbread Cookies doesn’t include the maple syrup but rather is a simple combination of almond flour, butter, sugar, salt, and vanilla. The maple syrup adds a delicious flavor element, but it shouldn’t be necessary to make the dough come together. It helps to soften your butter in the microwave so that it acts more like a liquid and helps bind the ingredients together. Also be sure you’re lightly measuring your ingredients rather than compacting them into the cups — this can create a dry dough that fails to come together. You can always add additional liquid as needed until you achieve a beautiful dough. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  29. irina dalah

    thanks for sharing alyssa!
    I’m vegetarian for the last 30 years, vegan for the last 3 and gluten free for the last 4…
    lately I have started eating according to the d’adamo diet and there are very few things I’m left with. Almonds and butter are between them and I’m so happy with your recipe!!
    I love coffee taste and got fed up with all the chocolate chip recipes which seems is all there is out there for gf vegans! your variations lighted up my imagination, so I tried 2 of my own. oh, and i used honey instead of sugar (4 tbs instead):
    coffee and rum – based on chocolate and pistachio: added 1 tbs Mayer’s rum, left the pistachio completely out and doubled the coffee amount. Also, I added 2 tbs organic whole rice flour (because of the added moisture of the honey).
    lemon and lime – based on orange and cranberry: used a whole teaspoon of zest, half lemon and half lime. used candied lime peal (I make it myself with blue agave syrup) instead of cranberry and added the 2 tbs of rice flour.
    next week I’ll try spices (cinnamon and cloves) and almond butter instead of regular one – just in case someone wants gf and dairy free 😉
    again! thanks for sharing!!

    Reply
  30. Sharon Lovitt

    I made these cookies and they weren’t as dry as I think they should have been. I baked them for the correct amount of time. They were crumbly. I ate them all, crumbly or not they were deliscious but wonder what I did wrong. I am new to gluten free and having a hard time adjusting my baking.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We’d be happy to talk it over with you Sharon and encourage you to give our free and friendly Baker’s Hotline a call at 855-371-BAKE. We’re here seven days a week and always happy to chat! Mollie@KAF

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