These almond flour cookies are low carb and naturally sweetened and taste like buttery shortbread, but without any butter at all. Make them with chocolate chips or your favorite mix-in.
We've made thick and chewy Paleo chocolate chip cookies before here on the blog. I remember working so, so hard to get the crisp edges and thick and chewy center that I love about the chocolate chip cookies I've been making for nearly half my life.
These almond flour cookies aren't really chocolate chip cookies. Sure, they have a few miniature chocolate chips thrown in, but they're more like buttery shortbread than chocolate chippers.
I describe below in the ingredients and substitutions section that you can make them with all blanched almond flour instead of a mix of almond flour and tapioca starch. But I think you're going to want to try them just like this.
To me, the perfect marriage of Paleo flours is a balance of blanched almond flour and tapioca starch, like in these cookies and in my bakery-style Almond Flour Muffins. Here, if you use too much tapioca starch, the cookies are unpleasantly dry.
Almond flour itself has lots of good, healthy fats which makes it possible for us to use only 2 tablespoons of additional fat in the recipe. If you remove too much of the almond flour, the cookies lose their delicate balance. The almond flour does also give the cookies a bit of a buttery taste, much like it does in my low carb almond flour tortillas.
The miniature chocolate chips add some sweetness to these delicate cookies. Bake them a bit longer, and they almost taste like I imagine those shortbread-style chocolate chip cookies by Alison Roman taste. Maybe add a bit more salt?
I don't know, those cookies just seem like brown sugar shortbread cookies with some chocolate chips. I'm all for a fun cookie fad, but that one just seems even a little too silly for me to pine for.
Oh, and since these cookies are pretty virtuous, as far as cookies go, I let my children eat them as an after-school snack. Okay, I've even let them grab a few for breakfast as they run out the door. They're packed with protein and good fats, and have way less sugar than any regular cookie.
Since I tried the recipe so many different ways, I had dozens upon dozens of them in the kitchen. They're not going to eat themselves!
Ingredients and substitutions
These almond flour cookies are already gluten-free, grain-free and dairy-free. I've tried a few substitutions, but honestly, they haven't worked out very well. Here are my best-educated guesses about how you can modify this recipe to suit any additional dietary needs:
Egg-free: Since there is only one egg in this recipe, I'd try a “chia egg,” which is just 1 tablespoon ground chia seeds + 1 tablespoon lukewarm water, mixed and allowed to gel.
Maple syrup: If you'd prefer to use another sugar, agave will work just as well as pure maple syrup. You do need a liquid sweetener, though. When I tried replacing the maple syrup with coconut palm sugar, the cookie dough was tough to handle, and the cookies were too dry.
My next step would be to grind 3 tablespoons of coconut sugar into a finer powder and then dissolve it in 3 tablespoons of hot water, and then use that in place of maple syrup. That should work much better.
Almond flour: These are almond flour cookies and especially since they're so lightly sweet, a large part of the flavor comes from the almond flour itself. If you can't have almond flour, you can try cashew flour. Almond meal is made from almonds that still have their skins on and isn't very finely ground. It won't work in this recipe.
Tapioca starch/flour: Adding some tapioca starch/flour to this recipe lightens the texture considerably and helps the cookies hold together really well. You can replace the tapioca starch/flour with more almond flour, but the cookies will be heavier. You could also try replacing the tapioca starch/flour with arrowroot.
Watch this 30-second how-to video of almond flour cookies
Just push play ▶ and then make your own!
Almond flour cookies
1 1/2 cups (180 g) blanched almond flour
1/2 cup (60 g) tapioca starch/flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons (28 g) virgin coconut oil or nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening, melted and cooled
1/4 cup (84 g) pure maple syrup
1 egg (50 g, weighed out of shell) at room temperature, beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 to 2 ounces miniature chocolate chips
Preheat your oven to 325°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside.
In a large bowl, place the almond flour, tapioca starch, baking soda and salt, and whisk to combine. Add the melted oil or shortening, syrup, egg and vanilla, and mix to combine. The cookie dough will be thick. Add the miniature chocolate chips, using as many or as few as you like, and mix until the chips are evenly distributed throughout the dough. Scoop the dough by the tablespoonful onto the prepared baking sheet in mounds about 1 1/2-inches apart from one another. With wet fingers, press each mound of dough into a disk about 1/4-inch thick.
Place the baking sheet in the center of the preheated oven and bake until set in the center and very lightly brown around the edges, about 10 minutes. For slightly crunchier cookies, bake for about 12 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet until firm, about 10 minutes.
Store in a sealed glass container at room temperature for a few days or wrapped tightly and in the freezer for longer storage.
Adapted from this recipe for grain free cookies.
Thank you, Nicole, I have several of your books, and by following your instructions and correct ingredients, have had great success with baking. So glad to see this recipe for almond cookies, I tried to get my favorite almond cookie to work gluten free, just didn’t work. Will give this a try this week! Maybe y old recipe calls for rum flavored frosting, YUM.
Nicole Hunn says
That’s awesome, Roberta! Thank you so much for letting me know. And yes, modifying conventional recipes to make them gluten free isn’t as easy as the so-called “cup for cup” gluten free flour replacements would have you think. :)
Hi. Just wondering if the almond flour could be substituted with coconut flour. Thanks
Nicole Hunn says
Definitely not, Elaine! You can never replace anything with coconut flour, or replace coconut flour with anything else. It is entirely unique in its behavior and needs recipes developed specifically for it.
Suzie C. says
I made these recently, and used everything in the recipe exactly, except the shortening–I used Earth Balance. Oh, I did use 1/2 ts vanilla and 1/2 ts almond extract. I also love weighing my ingredients, so I appreciate the gram measurements-thank you for that!
However, my cookies turned out quite soft. I left them in a little longer, but they weren’t like a shortbread cookie. I’m wondering if the Earth Balance is the problem?
I do have non-hydrogenated shortening (also made by Earth Balance brand), so I’ll have to try that next time. Perhaps it will change that soft texture. They’re good, and we’re eating them, but they’re not like that ‘WOW’ factor for me. But, it’s a great alternative to recipes with even GF flours, so it’s much appreciated!
Nicole Hunn says
Yes, Suzie, as you assumed already if you make a substitution, the recipe likely won’t turn out as expected. Earth Balance has significantly more moisture than coconut oil. And I’m afraid the “wow” factor you’re looking for might be absent anyway, since these are a very simple cookie as I explain in the post.
Love your recipes have made several all have come out great
thank you so much!!
Linda K Kowatsch says
Is there a difference between almond flour and blanched around flour?
Nicole Hunn says
Yes, there is. Blanched almond flour is made from almonds that have had their skins removed. You need finely ground blanched almond flour for these cookies. Almond meal is more coarsely ground, and is made with almonds that haven’t been blanched (had their skins removed).
Lori pierson says
Nicole thank you for the great recipes. I have 2 of your cookbooks and am a subscriber for all your online recipes and you haven’t let me down on all the delicious stuff I’ve tried. I suffer from IBS so my diet can be militant. It’s nice to be able to have pancakes and mean read and crepes. I haven’t tried anything in the bread book yet but I will. I’m finding it a little involved as i live in canada and am not sure what to use in some of the recipes. Anyways, thank you very much
Nicole Hunn says
Hi, Lori, thank you for the kind words! If you would like some help sourcing ingredients in Canada, I recommend you join my Facebook Group, as there are definitely other readers who can help. Just be sure to answer the question I ask when you request to join the group, and you’ll be approved. I’d suggest doing a search through the posts already in there first, though. You might already find what you need!
What is the nutritional information?
Nicole Hunn says
I’m afraid I don’t provide nutritional information for my recipes. Please feel free to plug the ingredients into an online calculator. That’s all I would do anyway!
I love shortbread and am going to try these today with the chia egg. Also, I have coconut nectar which is fantastic, and will use that to replace maple syrup. I found it at a fresh market, and it has a wonderful flavor. Since I’ve just started a low sulfur diet?, I will add almonds or some kind of nut I’m allowed, and maybe a tiny bit of toffee chips.
Ken Gibson says
Made these today with slivered almonds instead of the chocolate chips (my wife is allergic to chocolate) and she gave them a 5 star rating.
I have all of your cookbooks and I am loving learning to bake gluten free.
Hi Nicole! Thanks for alll the great recipes! I made this today with a little bit of almond extract and the agave since I didn’t have any syrup. They were so good!
Both of my twin granddaughters have celiac. Just as I am beginning to feel totally comfortable cooking for them (thank you for your great recipes and cook books) one of them is now allergic to the protein in milk. Being new to the dairy free environment, I am surprised that you consider these to be dairy free when they contain chocolate chips. My bag of chocolate chips specifically states “contains milk.” Am I missing something?
Nicole Hunn says
Hi, Kathy, Some chocolate chips contain milk, and others don’t. Always read labels!