Vegan Shortbread Cookies are buttery, crisp and delicious with a cup of tea! Made with only 4 ingredients, they are perfect for the holiday season or any time of year.

stacks of vegan shortbread cookies with red towel

Shortbread cookies are a classic and simple cookie made with very few ingredients. I swapped the dairy butter for vegan butter, and used powdered sugar instead of granulated for a smoother texture.

Then all you need is flour and a little vanilla extract. So easy!

These Vegan Shortbread Cookies make a great base for other cookies that call for shortbread as well, and I have many ideas for the future! My favorite thing to do is mix some colorful sprinkles into the dough (my kids love it, too!).

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How to make Vegan Shortbread Cookies

*The exact amounts and instructions are listed in the recipe card at the bottom of the post, this is a visual overview.

First, preheat your oven to 325 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour and powdered sugar.

flour and powdered sugar in a bowl

Now add the softened vegan butter and vanilla to the bowl. Mix with a hand mixer until crumbly and soft.

vegan butter, flour and sugar in bowl

The dough will look crumbly like this, but if you grab it in your hands and squeeze it, it should hold its shape and be able to be formed into a ball of dough.

mixed crumbly cookie dough

Form it into a ball of dough with your hands, and place it on a piece of parchment paper on your countertop. You can also sprinkle the paper with a tiny dusting of flour to prevent sticking. I didn’t the first time, and it stuck a little bit, so the second time I did and it worked well.

ball of cookie dough on parchment paper

Using another piece of parchment paper, roll the dough about 1/3-1/2 inch thick. 

rolled vegan shortbread cookie dough with parchment paper

Cut into desired shapes. I used a very small round cutter, but you can use anything you desire. Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets, and continue to re-roll the dough until it is all used.

shortbread cookies being cut out

Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the bottoms are just slightly golden. The tops will look almost not done, but they continue cooking after you remove them, so don’t over bake them. The time will also depend on how large your cookies are.

cut out cookies before baking

Special Tips & Substitutions

  • Gluten free: I haven’t tested them with gluten free flour, but if you try it let me know! 
  • What brand of vegan butter? I used Earth Balance sticks, as they make for easier measuring and I can find them at my local store. Melt or Miyoko’s brand would likely work as well.
  • Is powdered sugar vegan? If you use organic powdered sugar, it should be vegan. If you are very concerned, you can always make your own from organic sugar by blending it in a high powered blender with some cornstarch ( 2 cups sugar + 2 tablespoons cornstarch). 
  • Additions: Try adding some colorful sprinkles to the dough before baking, or mini-chocolate chips. You could also frost them with the same icing as my Vegan Sugar Cookies.

stack of vegan shortbread cookies in a row

Want more Christmas cookies to try this season?

stacks of vegan shortbread cookies with red towel
4.80 stars (63 ratings)

Vegan Shortbread Cookies

Vegan Shortbread Cookies are buttery, crisp and delicious with a cup of tea! Made with only 4 ingredients, they are perfect for the holiday season or any time of year.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 42 cookies

Ingredients 
 

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, stir the flour and powdered sugar together. Now add the softened butter and vanilla and mix with a hand mixer on low-medium speed until blended well. The dough will look crumbly and soft but should smush together when squeezed in your hands.
  • Place a sheet of parchment paper on your countertop and sprinkle with a little flour, then form the dough into a ball and place in the middle of the parchment paper.
  • Use another piece of parchment paper for the top, sprinkling a little flour on top of the dough to prevent sticking, and roll the dough to about 1/3-1/2 of an inch thick. Cut into desired shapes (I used a small rounded cookie cutter) and place on the prepared baking sheets.
  • Continue re-rolling the dough until it is all used. Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes, until the bottom is just slightly golden. Let cool for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Store in an airtight container for 5-6 days.

Notes

  1. I used a very small cookie cutter and got about 42 cookies. If you use a large cookie cutter, you will get less cookies. 
  2. I used Earth Balance brand of vegan butter. I'm sure it would work with another brand as well, but I haven't tested it.
  3. For fun, consider adding sprinkles to the dough. Mini-chocolate chips would be fun, too. Or consider frosting them with the same icing as my Vegan Sugar Cookies

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 75kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 44mg | Potassium: 10mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 257IU | Calcium: 1mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, French
Author: Nora Taylor
Did you make this recipe?Mention @nora_cooks_vegan_ or tag #noracooks!

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Comments

  1. Thank you for this recipe! Just made these and I love that you don’t have to chill them prior to baking which makes things A LOT easier. I left the plant butter for about an hour prior to making the dough and it was perfect. I have pretty warm hands but it didn’t seem to make the cookies spread when baked. I did chill the portion that I couldn’t get to right away (about 15 minutes) and it made it even easier to roll out and cut. Out of curiosity, would this recipe be doable with vegetable shortening?

    1. I’m so happy you enjoyed the cookie recipe, thank you. I’ve never tried using shortening. It might work, but I would think that buttery flavor would really be missed.

  2. I haven’t baked these cookies yet, however they look delish. My question is: after baking them could you crumble them all up and add additional vegan butter and sugar to make a crust to bake for 5-10 minutes and when cool add a vegan cheesecake mousse au citron filling? Thank you kindly for your response… 😉😉

  3. These were so good! I made some plain, some topped with a few chocolate chips, some with a dollop of lotus butter and some with both.

  4. Thank you for sharing this! I haven’t found a safe vegan butter for my friends. Can one replace the butter with coconut yoghurt, or will in not be shortbread cookies anymore?!
    Thank you,
    Corrie

    1. Sorry, yogurt won’t work in place of vegan butter for cookies. They will not be the same at all. I don’t know of any replacement here, maybe coconut oil, but I don’t think it will work very well either.

  5. Aloha Nora, thank you for this delicious recipe. I have made these several times and have experimented with different sizes and thickness. Each time the cookie tastes good, but is crumbly and fragile. I have used Red Mill 1 to 1 GF. Am I doing something wrong? I would love to give them for gifts but I’m not confident they will hold up well.

    1. I do find Bob’s Red Mill flour to be crumbly and gritty, personally. I would try a different brand of flour. I really like Better Batter for baking, though I have to order it online.

  6. Hi! Can this dough be rolled into balls and flattened with a cookie stamp instead of the roll and cut-out method? I’m excited to make shortbread cookies for Valentine’s Day after baking sugar cookies for Halloween and Christmas. Thank you!

  7. I’d like to add beet powder to this recipe in order to make Valentine’s heart cookies Has anyone else used beet powder

  8. These are delicious and so easy. I am a lazy baker so I just rolled the dough into a bowl, then pinched off pieces of dough, rolled them into balls, and flattened with the palm of my hand. Not pretty but they’re just for me and they taste great. Thank you!

    1. It should work pretty well with a gluten free flour mix, but I haven’t tried it personally. I generally like Better Batter brand or King Arthur 1:1 flour for baking.

  9. I recently bought some jasmine flavoring essence – do you think I could sub that for the vanilla in this recipe! Also, every recipe of yours always turns out amazing! Thanks for all you do!

    1. I’ve never tried jasmine flavor, however, it should work. You could completely substitute the flavors, or put some of each flavor! Happy cooking!

  10. This first time I made this the batter was very wet. I just chilled the dough in a log and cut slices once it was firm and the cookies were phenomenal. The second time, I left out a 1/4 cup of vegan butter and got the much more crumbly short texture and those cookies turned out phenomenal as well! This is really a full proof recipe, thanks for sharing it!

  11. Just baked up a batch of these for Christmas. WOW!!! When I was a kid a local bakery made “Butter Cookies” and I scarfed those things down by the handful. I miss them so much and these remind me of them! Buttery, crispy! Yum!!! My granddaughter is going to be so excited when she arrives in time to help me decorate some of these.

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