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
4.76 stars (54 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



  • 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. I am wondering if you think adding some shredded carrots might work in these, so long as the consistency is maintained? I would also add maple syrup to taste to balance it out (I am really more of a cook and this impacts my baking too).

    But I thought carrot and maple would be a nice addition to give balance since I’m planning to ice them with my speculoos vegan buttercream.

    1. I’m not sure; the carrots will add some moisture which will likely make the cookies spread in the oven, as well as maple syrup. They won’t so much be shortbread cookies anymore, but it might work okay.

    1. Was too much flour added to the batter? It helps to properly measure the flour by spooning it into the measuring cup, then leveling off the top with a knife. Hope this helps!

  2. I made these with Vegan butter and all the listed products and my batter was so wet, I had to use mountains more flour cause I couldn’t even get them to stick together to get it out of the bowl.

    Could you help with what might of happened?

    1. I’m guessing your butter was super soft or maybe even melted if the batter was wet. You want the vegan butter to be softened but not at all liquidy. If it’s too soft and melting then your batter will certainly be wet.

  3. I just tried making these and the dough won’t stick together :/ Is it because the only flour I had at home was bread flour? I didn’t think that would make such a difference. What should I do to get the dough to stick? I was going to add 1/4 cup more earth balance….
    The dough tastes so yummy, I want them to work out! Thanks:)

    1. The bread flour could be the problem here. At this point, I might just add a tablespoon or two or plant milk until the dough comes together. The other thing to try is make sure that when you start, your vegan butter is softened and not too hard. You also don’t want it melty at all, just soft. That makes a big difference with cookies like these that are mostly butter, sugar and flour. Hope that helps!

  4. I’ve made these cookies several times now and I love them! They are easy to make, not too sweet, and a great texture. For Valentine’s Day, I dipped the cookies in melted chocolate, added pink sprinkles, and set them in the fridge – worked great!

  5. If I want to make chocolate shortbread, would I replace some of the flour with cocoa powder or add it on top of the called for flour?

    1. I have never tried it, however, I think it would work! I would replace 1/2 cup of flour with cocoa powder and see how that goes.

      1. Hi,
        I need to make a large amount of these cookies for a get together and I was wonder how long can I freeze them for and how long would it take to defrost them before I use them?

        1. Hi Serina. These cookies freeze well, and should last about 5-6 months in the freezer. To defrost, remove them from their plastic wrappings and place them on a plate on the kitchen counter. I suggest letting them sit out overnight to defrost. Enjoy!

  6. Just made these and they were absolutely delicious and simple to make! I drizzled them with some melted dark chocolate afterwards and they turned out super yummy. Thinking about making some heart shaped ones for my loved ones for Valentine’s Day. Thank you for the great recipe.

    1. You are welcome, Amira! I love the idea of heart shaped cookies! I’m glad the cookies turned out delicious for you! Thanks for your terrific feedback!

  7. It’s been a long since I made short bread cookies after going vegetarian 6 months ago this recipe full filled my expectations thank you so much they tasted so good I don’t know how long they will last with me.

    1. Thanks Gary. I am thrilled that you love the shortbread cookies and they met your expectations! Thank you for sharing your fabulous feedback!

  8. I haven’t made shortbread cookies since I was a kid with my grandmother!
    Once I tasted these it really took me back.
    My dough was pretty cracky.. is that normal? Any tips??

    1. That’s wonderful! If the dough was cracking a lot, it sounds like the dough was just a touch dry or your butter was a little too cold when you started. That’s okay, you can add a tablespoon or two of non-dairy milk. Just don’t add too much or the cookies will spread in the oven. Hope that helps!

  9. Excellent recipe! I used Melt brand vegan butter and they came together and baked very nicely:) My 16 year old son developed a sudden allergy/intolerance to lactose and eggs, so baking vegan is very new to me. I’ve found Nora Cooks recipes to be the best, my number 1 go to!

    1. Hi Dezeray. I appreciate your encouraging words, and am thrilled my recipes allow your son to eat delicious baked goods! Thank you for your fabulous feedback! I’m delighted that you trust my recipes! Happy cooking!

  10. I would like to substitute coconut cream for the vegan butter. Do you think this will work, if so would the substitution be one to one?

      1. I have a wedding coming up. I do not think that I will be able to bake 80 cookies a week before the wedding, do you think I can sealed them and have them in a tide container for 13 days? I need to iced them therefore not sure if the freezing method would work

        1. Hi Fabiola. These cookies freeze well after they’ve been baked, and should last about 5-6 months in the freezer. I recommend freezing them to maintain freshness. To defrost, remove them from their plastic wrappings and place them on a plate on the kitchen counter. I suggest letting them sit out overnight to defrost. Best wishes for a great wedding! Enjoy!

  11. I love this recipe. It’s my go-to for shortbread cookies — doesn’t matter if I’m giving them to vegans or not. They’re so good and everyone is always surprised it’s a vegan bake.

    Seriously, this is the best recipe out there. I’ve tried a lot, including the New York Times shortbread recipe, and these beat them all by miles.

    1. For sure! Just wrap the ball of dough in plastic (or roll it into a log for an easy slice-and-bake method) and refrigerate.

  12. Would it be possible to substitute the Whole Earth Monk Fruit Blend for the powdered sugar? Has anyone tried that?

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

  14. 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!

  15. 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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