Get those eggs and butter ready, because we're going to be making the very best gluten free cookies you've ever had!
(If you can't have eggs and butter, each recipe makes suggestions for how to replace them so never fear!)
What's special about these gluten free cookie recipes?
Whether your favorite type of cookie is crispy, chewy, thick, thin, chocolate, peanut butter, ginger, vanilla, chocolate, filled or plain, there's a favorite gluten free cookie recipe here for you.
What if you're just starting out, and you don't have any gluten free flour blends in your pantry? Try our flourless cookie recipes.
If you want to get fancy, try decorating our cut-out gluten free sugar cookies for each holiday season. Maybe you just want to look like you got fancy? Drop cookies rolled in gluten free rainbow nonpareils are for you.
If you want to see every single recipe for gluten free cookies here on the blog, there are hundreds waiting for you. If you want to learn about easy gluten free cookie baking, and see some highlights, read on!
Master the art of gluten free cookie baking
Scroll through the summaries of each of these 15 best gluten free cookie recipes. Look at the photos, and decide what looks best to you.
Below the cookie recipe photos and summaries, you'll find a sort of Gluten Free Cookie Baking Primer.
First, read the Helpful Baking Tips section to learn what's important for baking success in all cookie recipes. Then, Frequently Asked Questions and complete answers to give you complete confidence that you can make whatever you like.
Let's get to it!
Helpful tips for making the best gluten free cookies
Pick the right gluten free flour blend for your gluten free cookie recipe
Great gluten free cookies come from great gluten free cookie recipes. And the best gf cookie recipes are developed to be used with the proper gluten free flour blends.
The gluten free flour blend that you use will make all the difference. The wrong blend will be poorly balanced between protein, fiber, starch and even the texture of the grains.
That gritty texture that gives gluten free baked goods a bad name? It's poor quality, coarsely ground rice flour, and it's just not good enough!
Use room temperature ingredients for easy gf cookies
Most baking is done best with ingredients at room temperature, not cold from the refrigerator. This is especially true with fats from butter, vegan butter, even egg yolks.
All of my gluten free recipes will specify “room temperature” for the ingredients that are generally stored in the refrigerator, but must be at room temperature before you attempt to combine them with other ingredients.
If you try to combine room temperature butter with cold eggs, the eggs will solidify the softened butter, and your cookie dough will have pockets of fat. They'll probably melt in some spots in the oven, and be hard in others.
Measure your gluten free flour blend by weight, not volume
For reliable, consistent results, almost all ingredients should be measured by weight, not volume. Volume measurements are very prone to human error, no matter how experienced the baker.
Plus, volume measuring cups are not standardized, so my 1 cup measurement might be more or less than yours.
Chill your dough to firm up your thick gluten free cookies (most of the time)
To prevent immediate spread in the oven, most of my recipes call for chilling the shaped gluten free cookie dough before baking. Follow the instructions in the recipe, and you should be successful every time.
Grab an ice cream scoop for perfectly-portioned gluten free cookies
A spring-loaded ice cream scoop is ideal for creating balls of cookie dough in uniform sizes. It's also a great way to keep your hands clean when the cookie dough is on the sticky side!
I really like OXO brand of cookie scoops, since they have a reliable spring-loading mechanism. But any brand will do.
Make clean up easy; use parchment paper to line your baking pans
I don't like baking cookies on nonstick pans, since they're usually darker than simple aluminum baking sheets. They're also hard to clean well.
To ensure that your cookies don't stick to the baking surface, line your pans with parchment paper. You can use bleached white paper, or unbleached paper, which is light brown.
I also don't like baking on Silpats and other nonstick reusable baking mats, as they tend to run hot. That will speed up baking time, and can lead to burned cookies.
Cool your cookie sheet between batches of gf cookies
Baking cookies calls for rotating baking sheets in and out of the oven. After you've baked a batch of cookies on a baking sheet, let the cookies firm up before you transfer them to a wire rack.
And let the baking sheet cool completely before you put new raw cookies on it. Otherwise, you'll overbake the cookies.
Don't overbake your gluten free cookies
Speaking of overbaking, I'd always rather underbake than overbake cookies. You often won't be able to tell if a cookie is browned fully on the bottom, since cookies tend to be fragile when hot.
A better way to tell if your cookies are done baking is to see if they're glistening in the center, like they're still wet. Once the center of the cookie has the same flat, matte look as the rest of the cookie, they're done.
Don't grab your hot cookies right off the pan
When your cookies have just finished baking, they're almost always fragile. Remove them from the oven, and place them on a heat-safe, cool surface.
They'll continue to bake a bit as they cool (another reason not to overbake your cookies). If they're crisp cookies, they'll only fully crisp once they're cool.
If they're soft cookies, they'll fall apart completely if you try to move them right away. A short 5 to 10 minutes on the baking pan, and you should be safe to lift them with a spatula and place them on a wire rack.
Substitute “chia eggs” for each egg to make egg-free gluten free cookies
If a cookie recipe has, at most, 2 eggs, you should be able to make it using a “chia egg” for each. It's the easiest substitute to make that still has a high chance of success.
To make 1 chia egg, place 1 tablespoon ground white chia seeds in a small bowl. Add 1 tablespoon lukewarm water, mix, and allow the mixture to sit until it becomes gel-like.
Substitute vegan butter for dairy free gluten free cookies
Dairy free baking substitutes have come such a long way in recent years. My favorite butter substitute is vegan butter from Miyoko's Kitchen brand or Melt brand. They're coconut-based.
If you can't have coconut, or you can't find those brands of vegan butter, try Spectrum brand nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening. It has no moisture, so you may need to add a drop or two of water to achieve the proper raw cookie dough consistency.
Be careful about using Earth Balance buttery sticks in cookie recipes. They have tons of moisture, and tend to make cookies spread a ton.
FAQs about baking gluten free cookies
No! If you have a proper recipe for gluten free cookies, like the ones here on Gluten Free on a Shoestring, they should spread, brown, crisp, and bake just as you would expect from a conventional cookie of its kind.
If your cookies spread more than the recipe had you expect, or simply more than you would like, it's probably because of the wrong moisture balance, or the wrong raw cookie dough temperature.
Make sure you're following the recipe closely, measuring your ingredients by weight instead of volume, keeping the ingredients at room temperature so they combine properly, and the cookie dough cold before baking, if directed by the recipe.
You can use a handheld or stand mixer to make cookie dough, but I rarely do. The main reason to mix by machine is to cream butter and sugar together at the start.
You only cream butter and sugar together if you're trying to add air, which helps baked goods rise in the oven. Cookie dough, unlike muffin or cake batter, is meant to be dense, not light and fluffy.
If the recipe calls for chilling your cookie dough before you bake it, you can refrigerate the dough, wrapped tightly, for a few days before baking with it.
Gluten free cookies typically stay fresh after baking for 3 to 5 days. Soft and chewy cookies should be stored in a single layer, and covered to stay fresh.
Crispy cookies should always be stored in a glass container with a lid at room temperature. Plastic containers will hold moisture, that the cookies will absorb and lose their crisp texture.
You can use almond flour to make gluten free cookies only in recipes that are developed to be made with almond flour, like these almond flour sugar cookies. It isn't an “all purpose gluten free flour blend,” and can't be used in place of one.
Most gluten free cookie recipes require the addition of at least some xanthan gum, to help them hold together. Xanthan gum also helps cookies stay fresh longer.
If you can't have xanthan gum, which is the binder that performs best in baking, you can try using guar gum. Guar gum performs best in cold recipes, though.
I've also experimented a bit with using konjac powder in place of xanthan gum. Have a look at our recipe for gluten free biscuits without xanthan gum.
Drop cookies are always the quickest and easiest recipes. Of the 15 gluten free cookie recipes highlighted here on this page, I recommend beginning with the recipe for flourless peanut butter cookies (no special ingredients at all) or thick and chewy gluten free chocolate chip cookies (for the simplest drop cookies).
Even though I know it's a matter of taste, I think that the best cookie ever made in the world, the one I'll never refuse when it's offered to me is our soft and chewy gluten free chocolate chip cookies.
They're not even on this list, since the thick and chewy ones are more popular. But they're my personal perfect cookie. No crumbs, thin and chewy all the way through—and you don't even have to chill the dough before you bake it. *chefskiss*