Dairy-Free Sugar Cookies

Dairy-Free Sugar Cookies

The Spruce / Cara Cormack

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 11 mins
Total: 21 mins
Servings: 24 servings
Yield: 24 cookies
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
134 Calories
8g Fat
14g Carbs
1g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 24
Amount per serving
Calories 134
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8g 10%
Saturated Fat 5g 25%
Cholesterol 28mg 9%
Sodium 109mg 5%
Total Carbohydrate 14g 5%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 11mg 1%
Iron 1mg 3%
Potassium 17mg 0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Sugar cookies can fall into two categories: firm cut-outs or soft drop cookies. These dairy-free cookies are the latter, with that quintessential chewy texture, but enjoyable to those with dairy allergies, a lactose intolerance, or those who keep kosher, since they're pareve.

To make these cookies, we've chosen vegan butter as a substitute. Unlike margarine, vegan butter is completely dairy-free and performs closer to dairy butter than oil, making these cookies just as tasty as the decadently soft sugar cookie so many people love. We even minimize spreading by swapping half of the granulated sugar for confectioners' sugar.

Serve your batch warm out of the oven or store them in a tightly sealed container where they will remain chewy and light for a midday snack later in the week.

"These were very good with a soft, cake-like texture. I like the idea of rolling them in sugar and adding a little almond extract. The cookies were quick and easy, and had good vanilla flavor. The cookies didn't spread as much as I expected. I left about 2 1/2 inches between the cookie dough mounds." —Diana Rattray

Dairy-free sugar cookies tester image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1 cup vegan butter, softened to room temperature

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

    Dairy-Free Sugar Cookies ingredients in bowls

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  2. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a separate medium bowl; set aside.

    Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large glass bowl

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  3. Beat the vegan butter and both sugars in the bowl of an electric stand mixer or with an electric hand mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

    Vegan butter and sugars in a bowl, and a hand mixer

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  4. Add the egg and vanilla to the butter mixture, then beat until well incorporated, about 30 seconds. If necessary, stop and scrape the sides down along the way so that all of the fat gets beaten well.

    Egg and vanilla add to the butter mixture in the bowl, and a hand mixer

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  5. Add 1/2 cup of the flour mixture to the batter, then beat just until there is no trace of the dry ingredients. Continue to add the flour mixture in 1/2-cup increments until all of the dry ingredients are incorporated. The dough will be sticky.

    Batter in a bowl, next to a hand mixer

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  6. Scoop about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the cookie dough using a small ice cream scoop, then place onto the prepared baking sheets. You should have about 12 cookies on each baking sheet.

    Batter scooped on a lined baking sheet

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  7. Bake until the edges and bottoms are barely beginning to turn golden brown, 10 to 11 minutes.

    Dairy-Free Sugar Cookies on a lined baking sheets

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  8. Let cool for 2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Enjoy!

    Dairy-Free Sugar Cookies

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

Tips

  • These cookies are soft and chewy due to the ratio of vegan butter, egg, and flour. The dough will seem slightly wet, which is fine—it's what gives them their texture.
  • You can use swap the granulated sugar for all confectioners' sugar if desired; however, we don't recommend using all granulated sugar as it will make the cookies spread more. This will produce a crisp and less delicate cookie.
  • If you don't have a small ice cream scoop, use a tablespoon to drop the cookies, then roll each ball of dough in between your hands. Though the dough is sticky, it will hold together well enough for this process.

Recipe Variations

  • Add 1/2 teaspoon almond extract for a hint of nuttiness.
  • Make these vegan by using a cup-for-cup vegan egg substitute.
  • Before baking, you can roll the cookie dough in decorative sugar, turbinado sugar, or cinnamon sugar for a sparkly glow and crunchy exterior.
  • You can add shortening in place of vegan butter if you prefer—this will allow the cookies to spread less because shortening has a higher melting point.
  • For funfetti cookies, fold about 1/4 cup of rainbow or holiday-themed sprinkles into the cookie dough.
  • Finish the cookies with royal icing or dairy-free frosting.

How to Store and Freeze

  • Once completely cooled, these cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature. They will remain fresh for several days.
  • To freeze the cookies, place in a tightly sealed container or a freezer bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. To thaw, remove from the freezer and thaw on the counter or in the fridge.

How do you keep sugar cookies from falling apart?

The batter for these cookies is sticky, but the cookies will hold together very well. Let the cookies cool for 2 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling. Allowing the cookies to completely cool before handling will help them hold their structure better.

Are cookies better with butter or oil?

Most cookies are made with butter rather than oil. Though oil can be whipped in theory (just like in mayonnaise or an aioli), it doesn't play the same role in cookies. We've chosen vegan butter rather than oil because it performs closer to butter than oil does.