Chocolate Gluten Free Meltaway Cookies

Chocolate Gluten Free Meltaway Cookies

Chocolate gluten free meltaway cookies are light, buttery, and tender, with a rich chocolate flavor, and yup, they really do melt in your mouth. An easy drop cookie to add some color to your cookie plate.

Chocolate gluten free meltaway cookies on a small plate, being served.

Where do meltaway cookies fit in the cookie ? world ??

These are not super rich or gooey chocolate cookies like, say, our chocolate chocolate chip cookies (gooey) or our chocolate kiss cookies (super rich). They’re buttery but not shortbread, even though they crumble like shortbread.

These cookies have a chemical leavener (baking powder), unlike shortbread cookies, which are made essentially with butter, sugar, and flour. They’re not butter cookies, either, since instead of eggs or egg yolks for richness, these cookies are made with egg white alone.

They’re super tender and light, and they melt in your mouth. They’re meltaway cookies!

Ever since I made tender, buttery plain gluten free meltaway cookies (don’t forget the lemon version, too!), I’ve wondered if I could add some cocoa powder and rebalance the recipe around it to make chocolate gluten free meltaway cookies.

I’m often asked if a cookie or cake recipe can be made interchangeably as chocolate or blonde. It’s rarely that simple, though, since cocoa powder isn’t a flour. But a few false starts were all it took to rebalance the recipe perfectly. 

Chocolate gluten free meltaway cookies being shaped.

How to make these simple cookies

The dough for these chocolate meltaway cookies is made easily in a single bowl. Whisk an all purpose gluten free flour blend with cornstarch, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, and confectioners’ sugar. Be sure to read up on my favorite gluten free flour blends, as I can only promise results if you use one of those.

Use a large spoon to create a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Add the softened butter, egg white, and vanilla extract to the well, which allows these wet ingredients to come into contact with as much of the dry ingredients as possible when they’re first added.

Relatively dry cookie dough like this can seem difficult to combine by hand, and bakers are often tempted to add some water or another liquid to help the dough along. Resist the urge! It creates an unbalanced recipe.

Simply use the back of a large spoon to press the butter into the dry ingredients, and continue to mix until the dough is fully combined. Think of the task as moistening the dry ingredients with the butter by pressing them together. The butter will absorb the dry ingredients slowly but surely until a cohesive dough has formed.

Next, scoop the dough into portions, roll each between your palms into a round, and press down on each piece with the moistened tines of a dinner fork. For a slightly dressed up look, try dipping the moistened tines in coarse sugar before each impression.

There’s no need to chill the dough before baking. These chocolate cookies are already brown, so you can’t judge doneness in the oven by color.

Look for the cookie dough to become matte instead of glistening and to spring back when pressed gently in the center. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet, and store them in a sealed glass container to maintain that soft, tender, and slightly crumbly texture we love. 

Plated and served chocolate gluten free meltaway cookies.

Ingredients and substitutions

Dairy-free: The dairy in this recipe comes only from the butter. I think they would work if you replace the butter with half Melt Vegan butter (or Earth Balance buttery sticks) and half nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening.

Egg-free: In place of the egg white, you can try using aquafaba, which is the liquid from a can of chickpeas. Use unsalted chickpeas or at least low sodium. 

Corn-free: The cornstarch in this recipe can be replaced with either arrowroot or even potato starch. Make sure your confectioners’ sugar is corn-free, as it usually made with added cornstarch.

A full pile of chocolate gluten free meltaway cookies image from overhead.


Chocolate gluten free meltaway cookies being shaped and baked, in a generous pile of cookies.

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: About 30 cookies


1 1/4 cups (175 g) all purpose gluten free flour (I used Better Batter)

3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)

1/4 cup (36 g) cornstarch

1/4 cup (2o g) unsweetened cocoa powder (Dutch-processed preferred but not essential)

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

2/3 cup (77 g) confectioners’ sugar

12 tablespoons (168 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 egg white (25 g), at room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Coarse sugar for decoration (optional)


  • Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line large rimmed baking sheets with unbleached parchment paper and set them aside.

  • In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, cornstarch, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, and confectioners’ sugar, and whisk to combine well. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the butter, egg white, and vanilla. Use the back of a large spoon to press the butter into the dry ingredients, and mix until fully combined. The dough will be thick and smooth.

  • Scoop the dough by the heaping tablespoon (an overfull #70 ice cream scoop is useful, but two spoons work just fine) onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving about 1 1/2-inches between pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a round between the palms of your hands and replace on the baking sheet. With the moistened tines of a fork, press down on the top of each piece of dough until the tines leave an impression about 1/4-inch deep. For a sparkly appearance, dip the moistened fork in coarse sugar before pressing into each piece of cookie dough.

  • Place the baking sheets, one at a time, in the center of the preheated oven and bake until the cookies no longer glisten and are appear firm when pressed lightly in the center. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on the baking sheet before serving. These cookies freeze very well.


Comments are closed.

  • Caroline
    December 31, 2019 at 2:27 AM

    I’m allergic to corn. So no corn starch foe me. Any substitutes?

    • Nicole Hunn
      December 31, 2019 at 8:01 AM

      Please see the ingredients and substitutions section of the post, Caroline.

  • Becky
    December 23, 2019 at 4:58 PM

    if using the aquafaba in place of the egg white how much would you use? I think my son would loves these and he is not able to do eggs.

    • Nicole Hunn
      December 23, 2019 at 5:11 PM

      Hi, Becky, I would imagine you’d measure by weight. So 25 grams of aquafaba. I have to be honest: I’ve had some good luck, and some bad luck using aquafaba in baking. I just can’t predict the result, but it is definitely worth a try!

  • Gayle
    December 23, 2019 at 11:52 AM

    Hi Nicole,
    Can you clarify the comment about if using Cup4Cup flour skip the cornstarch? I don’t know the drill. Thanks for all your great work! BTW I’m using King Arthur Measure for Measure flour.

    • Nicole Hunn
      December 23, 2019 at 1:22 PM

      Hi, Gayle, Cup4Cup is a very high starch blend. Alexis was referring to my usual instruction for a recipe that calls for an all purpose gluten free flour and some cornstarch. If you’re using Cup4Cup as your all purpose gluten free flour in that instance, add the amount of cornstarch called for in the recipe (by weight) to the weight of the all purpose gluten free flour called for in the recipe, and use all Cup4Cup. So here that would mean 175 g + 36 g = 211 g Cup4Cup. I’m afraid I can’t recommend using the King Arthur blend for my recipes. You can see my flour page here (and it’s linked in every recipe that calls for an all purpose gluten free flour).

  • Sher
    December 22, 2019 at 2:58 PM

    Nicole, can I melt lactose free chocolate and replace the powder with that? On vacation and don’t have powdered chocolate but have left over chips from making your choc chip cookie recipe and thought maybe I can get away with melted chocolate…not sure on amount to use though.

    • Nicole Hunn
      December 22, 2019 at 3:56 PM

      I’m afraid not, Sher! Chocolate and cocoa powder are definitely not interchangeable. So sorry!

  • Sherry
    December 22, 2019 at 2:08 PM

    Would it ruin the cookies to use a whole egg?

    • Nicole Hunn
      December 22, 2019 at 3:55 PM

      Please just use the egg white, Sherry. Thanks!

  • Alexis S
    December 22, 2019 at 10:18 AM

    If I use Cup4Cup, should I use 1 1/2 cups and skip the cornstarch?

    • Nicole Hunn
      December 22, 2019 at 3:55 PM

      Hi, Alexis! I hope you’re well! And yes, you know the drill. ?

  • Rebecca Maestas
    December 22, 2019 at 9:53 AM

    Hi Nicole! I’m wondering about adding peanut butter to this? Maybe PB powder? Thoughts?
    I also wanted to thank you for you passion and dedication to excellence in the GF realm! You are doing all the work and trial baking so we can be successful in our cooking./baking. Thank you for that. When I discovered you several years ago, you revolutionized my world. In the last year I have been eating more low carb and keto-ish. Low and behold, you have brought in some of those also! Thank you for your courses, cookbooks, and new recipes always coming our way!

    • Nicole Hunn
      December 22, 2019 at 3:55 PM

      I’m afraid you really can’t just add peanut butter to the recipe, Rebecca. I have plenty of peanut butter cookies on the blog, though. Just use the search function.
      Thank you so, so much for the kind words. That means so much to me, and I’m glad my experimenting a bit in keto-ish (I like that) has been useful to you. I’m planning a bit more of that for January, so stay tuned!

  • Susan Friar
    December 22, 2019 at 8:45 AM

    Is there a substitute for onfectioners Sugar ? I prefer to avoid quite so much sugar

    • Nicole Hunn
      December 22, 2019 at 9:01 AM

      I’m afraid I really don’t recommend that, Susan. And in fact these are very low in sugar compared to most cookie recipes!

  • Anita
    December 19, 2019 at 5:11 PM

    Recipe calls for Dutch process cocoa powder. I recently read online that if you don’t have Dutch process cocoa, you can use equal amount of natural cocoa but add 1/8 tsp of baking soda for every 3 T of the cocoa powder called for in the recipe. Do you think that would be ok to do with this recipe? Dutch process is hard to find in the grocery store.

    • Nicole Hunn
      December 19, 2019 at 5:36 PM

      Hi, Anita, I actually state in the recipe itself that Dutch-processed cocoa powder is not essential here, and there is already baking powder in the recipe so it works just fine. (Baking powder contains baking soda.)

  • Janet T.
    December 19, 2019 at 3:33 PM

    My husband’s favorite cookie is a chocolate thumbprint type recipe with a cherry in the center. Do you think this recipe would tolerate a candied cherry pressed into the center of it? He’d be so pleased.

    • Nicole Hunn
      December 19, 2019 at 4:27 PM

      Hi, Janet, I’d recommend my chocolate thumbprint cookies for that instead:
      You can always use the search function to find most things (except of course for the recipes I’m working on still?).

  • Sophia
    December 19, 2019 at 4:36 AM

    I’m looking at how lovely these cookies are and how well they kept the fork tine impressions and I’m thinking I might have found a good recipe to try with my cookie stamps … :D

    • Nicole Hunn
      December 19, 2019 at 2:00 PM

      Great idea, Sophia!

  • Elle
    December 19, 2019 at 4:35 AM

    Do you freeze before or after baking? Can you bake from frozen if preformed, or defrost the dough and shape? If frozen baked, do you just allow to defrost or can you warm them in an oven?
    I freeze large amounts of your best choc chip cookie dough in small batches so we can bake from the freezer and eat warm, but would love to have other stored cookies available!

    • Nicole Hunn
      December 19, 2019 at 2:03 PM

      Hi, Elle, I haven’t frozen the raw dough, but I have frozen the cookies after baking and it works great. I’ve only defrosted at room temperature, and would never recommend warming them in the oven as it would dry them out. The microwave for a few seconds might work. If you decide to try freezing the raw, shaped dough (I would not freeze the unshaped dough), freeze it in a single layer on a baking sheet, then allow it to come to room temperature before baking.

  • Chris
    December 18, 2019 at 10:11 PM

    Am getting ready to make these but wanted to confirm the amount of butter as it seems a lot. 12 tablespoons : is that two (2) sticks of butter ? Thank you !

    • Nicole Hunn
      December 19, 2019 at 2:01 PM

      There is no error in the recipe, Chris. 12 tablespoons is 1 1/2 sticks of butter, as one stick is 8 tablespoons.

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