Gluten Free Apple Pie Cookies | Thick & Chewy

Gluten Free Apple Pie Cookies | Thick & Chewy

These gluten free apple pie cookies are a simple drop cookie with all the taste of apple pie, plus a little extra sweetness from white chocolate chips.

These gluten free apple pie cookies are a simple drop cookie with all the taste of apple pie, plus a little extra sweetness from white chocolate chips.

I love a true apple pie (I think our gluten free Dutch apple pie might be the biggest hit of the season), and we’ve even made handheld gluten free apple pies. But I wanted an easy drop cookie that still had all the taste of apple pie, without any of the fuss. And here we are…

Like baking with pumpkin, baking with apples means loads of extra moisture. Extra moisture in cookies usually means something shaped like a cookie that actually tastes like a piece of cake.

Instead of adding applesauce to cookie dough, which tends to add moisture and a bit of structure, but no flavor, I used a peeled and grated apple. The result is these truly thick and chewy cookies that brown gently on the bottom and the edges. 

The cookies themselves aren’t loaded with tons and tons of sugar, and the whole batch only has 4 ounces of white chocolate chips. That may be why the simple glaze really adds a nice touch of extra sweetness.

These cookies also freeze incredibly well, and really do have all the aroma and flavor of apple pie. If there’s a person who doesn’t love fall, I’ve never met him!

These gluten free apple pie cookies are a simple drop cookie with all the taste of apple pie, plus a little extra sweetness from white chocolate chips.

How to make these cookies that taste like apple pie (for real)

These gluten free apple pie cookies are a simple drop cookie, which means that they’re simple to make in every way. They’re buttery, like an apple pie, and have that perfectly tart-and-sweet flavor. 

It’s a simple one-bowl recipe. Begin by whisking together the dry ingredients (gluten free flour, cornstarch, baking soda, salt, ground cinnamon) and granulated sugar. Add the grated apple and white chocolate chips, and toss to distribute them evenly throughout.

Finally, add the wet ingredients (melted butter, vanilla, egg) and mix to combine. The dough will be very thick, but soft. If your grated apple is very wet, consider gently squeezing some of the liquid out of it before weighing out 80 grams. That way, your dough will be easier to handle.

I chose to use ground cinnamon in place of a more complex, multi-ingredient apple pie spice, since my son seems to have developed an aversion to ground nutmeg. Nutmeg is an important part of apple pie spice. If you like all of the components of apple pie spice, by all means use that instead!

These gluten free apple pie cookies are a simple drop cookie with all the taste of apple pie, plus a little extra sweetness from white chocolate chips.

Which apples ? are best ?

As we discussed in our recipe for gluten free apple slab pie, I really don’t care for many of the newer hybrid apple varieties. Apples have become really big business, which I think is a great thing, but the hybrids are generally just too sweet for my taste.

I heard a whole discussion on the radio ? the other day about apple varieties and it finally all started to make sense to me! There are supermarket varieties where the creator goes all in and starts to ship their apples all over the country (and presumably the world ?).

Those grocery store varieties are really common types like Macintosh, Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Cortland, and Red Delicious (oh my gosh please no). There are also newer-to-me widespread varieties like Gala, Honey Crisp, Empire, and Jonagold. 

Then, there are super hybrids that are sold at farmer’s markets, and they won’t be familiar to anyone who doesn’t live in your area. Farmer’s markets, by definition, typically are required by local and state laws to sell only those foods that are grown within a couple hundred mile radius of the market. 

Many of the newer grocery store varieties are there because a more local grower decided to really invest in their distribution, which is a costly and risky venture. I’m glad they do it, though! I adore apples (in case you couldn’t tell) for eating, and for baking. 

The best apples for baking

For baking, you want an apple that will hold its shape when heat is applied to it. I actually find that most apples will do that, with the exception of a mealy apple like Red Delicious. They were created to look great from the outside, and travel well. 

Granny Smith are the apples that are typically recommended for baking, since they’re quite tart, hold up very well in baking, and are widely available for purchase. I love them for everything. 

For depth of flavor and texture in your baked goods, it’s great to use a variety. A surprising variety that is better for baking, at least if you’re using a mixture, is Golden Delicious. When they have a lot of blush color, they tend to be more ripe and softer, which means they’ll break down a bit faster, so keep that in mind.

My favorite apples are Empire, Macintosh, and Cortland. I love them for eating, for baking, and for cooking down into applesauce. The skin is just thick enough that a fresh apple will kind of *pop* when you bite into it, but not so thick that you feel like you’re fighting to get access to the flesh.

These gluten free apple pie cookies are a simple drop cookie with all the taste of apple pie, plus a little extra sweetness from white chocolate chips.

Ingredients and substitutions

Dairy-free: There’s dairy in these cookies in the forms of butter, white chocolate chips, and milk for the glaze. If you need to be dairy-free, try replacing the butter with Melt brand vegan butter. It’s my favorite butter replacement for baking.

If you can’t find Melt brand, try using half (70 grams) Spectrum non hydrogenated vegetable shortening and half (70 grams) Earth Balance buttery sticks. That combination should come close to mimicking the moisture balance of butter.

I’m afraid I don’t know of any brand of white chocolate chips that’s dairy free. White chocolate is typically made with dairy milk as a base. In its place, try your favorite type of dairy-free chips, or maybe some chopped nuts.

The milk in the glaze can be replaced with any nondairy milk, or even with water. That one’s easy!

Egg-free: Since there’s only one egg in this recipe, you should be able to use an egg replacement. I recommend trying a “chia egg” (1 tablespoon ground white chia seeds + 1 tablespoon lukewarm water, mixed and allowed to gel). 

Corn-free: If you can’t have corn, just replace the cornstarch with arrowroot. If that’s not possible, try potato starch or even tapioca starch/flour.

Apple variety: I prefer a Macintosh, Cortland, Empire, or Granny Smith apple for this recipe. Please see the complete discussion of apple varieties best for baking above. 


These gluten free apple pie cookies are a simple drop cookie with all the taste of apple pie, plus a little extra sweetness from white chocolate chips.

These gluten free apple pie cookies are a simple drop cookie with all the taste of apple pie, plus a little extra sweetness from white chocolate chips.Gluten Free Apple Pie Cookies

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 14 cookies


For the cookies
1 1/2 cups (210 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

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar

1 medium-size firm, semi-tart apple, peeled and grated (80 g)

4 ounces white chocolate chips

10 tablespoons (140 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 egg (50 g, weighed out of shell) at room temperature, beaten

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the glaze
3/4 cup (86 g) confectioners’ sugar 

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 

1 tablespoon milk (any kind), plus more by the 1/4 teaspoonful if necessary


  • Preheat your oven to 325°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper and set aside.

  • In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, cornstarch, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and granulated sugar and whisk to combine well.  Add the grated apple, and mix to combine, working to separate the apple pieces from one another. Add the chocolate chips, and mix again to distribute the chips evenly throughout the mixture. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the butter, egg, and vanilla, and mix to combine completely. The dough will be thick but soft.

  • Divide the dough into 14 equal parts, each about 1 1/2 tablespoonsful. With wet hands and a light touch, roll each piece of dough into a ball then press into a disk about 1/2-inch thick, and place on the prepared baking sheet about 2-inches apart from one another. For slightly thicker cookies that spread less, place the baking sheet in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes to chill the cookie dough. Place the baking sheet in the center of the preheated oven and bake until the cookies are very lightly golden brown on the edges (about 12 minutes). Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on the baking sheet.

  • When the cookies are nearly cool, make the glaze. In a small bowl, place the confectioners’ sugar, ground cinnamon, and 1 tablespoon of milk. Mix well, until a thick paste forms. Add more milk by the 1/4-teaspoon, mixing to combine well, until the glaze falls off the spoon slowly, in a thick but pourable glaze. Add milk very slowly, as it is much easier to thin, than to thicken, the glaze. If you do thin the glaze too much, add more confectioners’ sugar a teaspoon at a time to thicken it. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled cookies and allow to set at room temperature.

  • Originally published on the blog in 2014. Photos mostly new, video new, recipe method updated slightly, some text new.


Comments are closed.

  • Dana
    October 29, 2019 at 1:54 PM

    My family went bonkers over these. I felt like I could not detect the apple but that could have been the particular apples I used. I found the Granny Smiths are just sour and don’t carry much apple taste. I used a combination along with honey crisp. Next bake I will be sure I find better apples! I added a little nutmeg too. The cookies were airy and light, like a snickerdoodle. My husband is not GF and has lamented the texture of the GF recipes but he loves these. Thanks, Nicole.

    • Nicole Hunn
      October 29, 2019 at 2:02 PM

      The apple taste isn’t overwhelming, Dana, but I think you’re right the particular apples you use (variety, and actual flavor, too) make a difference. Glad everyone loved them!

  • Carol OToole
    October 20, 2019 at 1:19 PM

    White chocolate are not a favorite. Can they be made without?

    • Nicole Hunn
      October 21, 2019 at 7:56 AM

      Feel free to substitute the white chocolate chips for another chip, whatever you like, Carol. As I explain in the dairy-free discussion, you can replace the white chocolate chips with your favorite chip or chopped nuts.

  • Gina B.
    October 19, 2019 at 11:07 PM

    I’m wondering about your comment that you don’t know of any brands of white chocolate chips that are gluten free. Did you by any chance mean dairy free? I was thinking that some brands of white chocolate chips were safe and would like to use them in this recipe. Thank you for your great recipes!

    • Nicole Hunn
      October 21, 2019 at 7:55 AM

      Yes yes I misspoke, Gina! So sorry about that. Most are indeed gluten free, but I don’t know of any that are dairy free. It’s fixed now!

  • Laurie Marshall
    October 18, 2019 at 9:38 AM

    O!! Nicole!
    Such yumminess!! Just made these & my grandson wants to finish ALL of them…he won’t, tho, cuz real GF friends will also delight in them!
    ? your contributions to the gf community! They bring great happiness that begs to be shared!

    • Nicole Hunn
      October 18, 2019 at 10:09 AM

      Aw, Laurie, that is so so kind of you to say, and I’m so thrilled that you made your grandson so happy. Nothing beats that! ?

  • Sandy
    October 17, 2019 at 3:49 PM


    I am just finishing making the glaze and wonder why your glaze in the picture looks white and mine looks brown like the cinnamon. followed the recipe exactly . i cannot wait to taste the cookies. just wondering on the color though.

    Thanks for sharing all the good stuff.

    • Nicole Hunn
      October 17, 2019 at 4:04 PM

      My glaze is a light brown, Sandy. Feel free to omit the cinnamon or just use less of it if you like!

  • Priya
    October 17, 2019 at 8:49 AM

    Hi Nicole

    Your website has been an absolute godsend! Thank you for all that you do!

    Please advise if these would be frozen before or after baking, and what the reheating process would be? Thank you so much

    • Nicole Hunn
      October 17, 2019 at 1:24 PM

      Hi, Priya, thank you so much for the kind words! I’m so glad to have been helpful.
      You can freeze the portioned, shaped dough before baking, and then defrost at room temperature before baking as directed. I actually prefer to freeze them after baking, and then just deforest at room temperature or in the refrigerator. The glaze will likely get damaged if the cookies are handled a lot, so it’s best to glaze when you’re nearly ready to serve them.

  • Heather
    October 16, 2019 at 1:24 PM

    I just made these and they came out so good. I also don’t care for nutmeg, so just used cinnamon. I had one apple and wasn’t sure what to do with it; then SURPRISE! Your recipe appeared in my email inbox this morning. Perfect timing Nicole. **Yes, I could eat just the apple, but why eat it when you can eat an apple COOKIE instead LOL Thank you for another terrific GF recipe.

    • Nicole Hunn
      October 16, 2019 at 6:17 PM

      I’m so glad, Heather! If that was your last apple, you clearly made the right choice. It will go much farther in a dozen+ cookies than just being eaten! ?

  • Jess E
    September 20, 2014 at 5:32 PM

    Made these today and they worked perfectly. Drop cookies are my absolute favorite thing to bake and an Apple cookie that’s not a mini cake..gluten-ful folks should be jealous!

    • September 22, 2014 at 9:21 AM

      That’s exactly what these cookies are meant to be, Jess. So glad they worked in all the right ways for you!

  • Anneke
    September 18, 2014 at 5:56 PM

    Just made these, so delicious! As usual, recipe worked perfectly, even for a weak drop cookie baker like me! I will say, though, that I am getting better with each batch. At least I am now pretty sure that the first round of a new recipe won’t be a fail, so I must be improving!

  • Pamela F
    September 17, 2014 at 11:34 AM

    I’ve been going to my husband’s cousins apple orchard every two weeks for the past two months to get apples. After peeling, coring, and slicing apples to freeze for winter apple pies and crisps, and making 24 qts of chunky applesauce last weekend, this is the kind of apple recipe I need! Think I will make these today or tomorrow with some of the apples I still have left. I’m so fortunate to live in Washington, where apples of all varieties are available. (This cousin has 900 trees and over 250 varieties, lucky me!)

  • Mare Masterson
    September 17, 2014 at 11:32 AM

    Oh my. I just went to Apple Annies Orchard on Saturday. I was going to do pie, but now it is cookies!

  • Jennifer S.
    September 17, 2014 at 10:36 AM

    Yum! these look great especially since we are going to make an orchard trip soon. I’m crossing my fingers for no bad apples!
    Since you brought it up, you know what I’ve been hankering for since I made the oreo cakesters? Pumpkin whoopee pies… oh my!

  • September 17, 2014 at 9:57 AM

    These are gonna make my house smell amazing! Even better I have all the ingredients ;)

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