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
4.78 stars (45 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 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 30 mins
Servings: 42 cookies



  • 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.


  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


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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  1. These are surprisingly delicious considering how simple they are! They’re especially great paired with a cup of hot tea 🙂

  2. I made this recipe with King Arthur brand Gluten Free 1:1 flour substitute. I also used Earth Balance sticks and the recommended powdered sugar. I left them in the 325 degree oven for twice the time indicated or about 25 – 30 minutes. They are PERFECT! They are super crisp and taste like wafers of crisp, sweet butter! Next time I make them, I will add finely chopped pecans and make them a little thicker than the suggested 1/3-1/2″ thickness.

    1. I’m so happy you loved the cookies, Anne! Thank you for sharing the changes you made and for your wonderful feedback!

  3. I really wonder about this amount of vegan butter to flour ratio. My cookies flatten out so much in the oven, do you know what this could cause? 
    Thanks so much. 

    1. This could be because the butter you’re using is too soft or warm. You could add a little more flour/sugar if the dough is too sticky or hard to work with.

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