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

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 ...


    1. The Baker's Hotline

      You bet, Molly! That’s a great way to get ahead of holiday baking. You can slice the dough and bake straight from frozen, adding 2-3 additional minutes to the baking time to account for the cold dough. Happy GF baking! Kye@KAF

  1. 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.

    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

  2. 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!!

  3. Jane

    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.

    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

  4. 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.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      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

  5. 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!

  6. 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?

    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

  7. 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.

    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

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