These gluten free whipped shortbread cookies are light as air and melt in your mouth. They're the best shortbread cookies in the world—and made with only 4 basic ingredients!
I've been making standard gluten free shortbread cookies for many years. I even thought I was fancy because I showed you how to make them into 5 different varieties using the same basic 3-ingredient dry mix. After making these whipped shortbread cookies, all I can say is … hahahahahaha ?
First off, let's make clear that these are not butter cookies. They may look like spritz butter cookies (I have a recipe for spritz cookies in Gluten Free on a Shoestring the cookbook that is *mwah* perfection), but butter cookies have egg yolks, unlike these cookies.
Shortbread cookies are the simplest cookies around, as they're made with flour, sugar, and butter. That's it. No eggs, no milk, no water. But as is often the case, it's the simplest recipes that can be the most frustrating to make properly.
You must have the ingredients in the right form, and the right proportions, or they won't bake right, taste right or even hold together right. But don't worry! I've got it all settled right here.
It takes a machine
“Regular” shortbread cookies are so lovely, and they come together with just a bowl and a spoon. Whipped shortbread is a bit different, as you simply must whip the cookie dough with some sort of machine.
I much prefer a stand mixer, as I find it difficult to use a handheld mixer to whip something relatively thick like this and not have it fly all over the place. If you're using a handheld mixer, just be sure to use a very large bowl, and get comfortable standing in one spot for a while to whip the dough.
If you're making smaller cookies, use a smaller open star piping tip like this one (aff link). If you're making larger cookies, use a larger open piping tip like this one (aff link). You can of course just bake them in little mounds created with two spoons or a small ice cream scoop.
But they're still super simple cookies, and these are the kind that absolutely melts in your mouth when you eat them. Seriously, you don't have to chew. I'm not even sure you can chew them!
Watch this 1 minute video of me making whipped shortbread cookies.
Just press ▶️ play to watch. Then try your hand at this simple recipe. The secret is in the right ingredients, of course, but also the whipppppppping! You will be richly rewarded, though.
Ingredients and Substitutions
As always, unless I specifically state otherwise, I haven't tested these cookies with any substitutions. These are just my best-educated guesses, in an effort to make it possible for everyone to bake along, regardless of any other dietary restrictions.
Dairy-Free: I haven't tried it, but I bet these cookies would work just fine with butter-flavored Spectrum non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening in place of the butter.
Corn-Free: I recommend trying potato starch as a substitute for cornstarch in the recipe. Since most confectioners' sugar is made using cornstarch, you'll also have to source a corn-free version of that ingredient. I know they're out there!
Flour Notes: If you use a gluten free flour blend that is already high in starch, like Cup4Cup, replace the cornstarch gram for gram with more Cup4Cup.
Top the cookies with a bit of jam (my favorite), or the more traditional maraschino cherry halves. You can even top them with a chocolate disc. The possibilities are endless!
Whipped Shortbread Cookies
16 tablespoons (224 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (72 g) cornstarch
3/4 cup (86 g) confectioners’ sugar
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)
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
Seedless, smooth jam, for the centers
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper and set it aside. Fit a large piping bag or large zip-top plastic bag with an open star piping tip and set it aside as well.
In a large bowl with a handheld mixer or stand mixer with the paddle attachment, place the butter and whip until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Add the cornstarch, confectioners’ sugar, and then the flour, xanthan gum and salt, beating until well-combined after each addition. After adding the final ingredient, turn the mixer speed up to high and continue to beat for another 5 minutes uninterrupted. After adding the flour, the mixture will first seem a bit crumbly and then will turn into a lovely whipped mixture that looks a bit like frosting.
Transfer the cookie into the piping or plastic bag fitted with the open star tip, and pipe shapes about 1 1/2-inches in diameter onto the prepared baking sheet, about 1 inch apart. With a wet pointer finger, create a divot in the center of each cookie. Fill the center with a small dollop of jam. Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes or the freezer for about 3 minutes, until the cookies are firm.
Place the baking sheet in the center of the preheated oven and bake until the edges of the cookies are just beginning to brown, at least 13 minutes for small cookies. Allow the cookies to cool completely on the baking sheet.