Whipped Shortbread Cookies

Whipped Shortbread Cookies

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!

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 ingredients!

Shortbread Basics

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.

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 ingredients!

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!

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 ingredients!

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.

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 ingredients!

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!

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! #Christmascookies #glutenfree #bestcookies

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 12 to 18 cookies, depending upon size


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.


Comments are closed.

  • Janette Bell
    November 1, 2017 at 3:19 PM

    Can you use regular all purpose flour?
    Do I need that xanthan gum?
    Thank you; Janette

    • Nicole Hunn
      November 1, 2017 at 4:59 PM

      Hi, Janette, I’m afraid I don’t know. Gluten free recipes are balanced differently, so I really recommend you look for a conventional recipe somewhere else, if that’s what you need.

  • mary miron
    October 30, 2017 at 1:23 PM

    When I found your site I thought I fell into gluten-free heaven. Thank you. I know you must work hard at this and I can’t wait to try some of these recipes. I have to confess, I’m scared. I’ll try tomorrow. See what a coward I am. I found you the day before yesterday and I ordered your cookbook right away. Wow! what a terrific find.
    Thank you and if you hear little thank yous in the air around you that’s me. Mary M

  • Carole Arsenault
    October 30, 2017 at 10:40 AM

    Out of all the cookies out in the market shortbread ones are by far my favorite ones, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto Thyroiditis almost two years ago and have been trying to omit gluten out of my diet of late as I don’t ache in my joints and seem to have more energy when I do. Having said this I am going to try this recipe over the weekend and am wondering can I add some vanilla extract to these cookies? I live in Italy and they have vanilla in a powdered form pre measured into little portions like maybe half a teaspoon or less per packet. I also wanted to know because I live in Italy the cost of shipping pre mixed gluten free all purpose flour is too expensive for me I was wondering if you could share an all purpose gluten free flour mix here , I have rice flour, buckwheat flour, and almond flour in my pantry that I actually had to order on Amazon since the cost of having it sent here to Italy is astronomical! Thanks in advance.

    • Nicole Hunn
      October 30, 2017 at 12:06 PM

      Hi, Carole, please follow the link in the recipe ingredient text to my all purpose gluten free flour blend recipes. I’m afraid that I can’t create a custom blend for you using those flours. In a simple recipe like this, especially, the flour blend you use will make an enormous difference.

  • Wendy
    October 29, 2017 at 8:10 PM

    Oops! Try it putting the bowl in the sink when using a hand mixer. Keeps any splater confined.?

  • Wendy
    October 29, 2017 at 8:08 PM

    Try it ting the bowl in the sink when using a hand mixer. Keeps any plater co fined.?

  • rusticchick
    October 29, 2017 at 5:28 PM

    Hello Nicole!! I have been trying hard to adjust to my recent diagnosis of gluten allergy. I have tried to start baking and cooking on my own, without having to purchase the expensive pre-made boxed items. These shortbread cookies were first on my list for my Christmas cookies this year. I wanted to try them out ahead of time so i wasn’t finding myself struggling when things turn busy. I tried these this afternoon and they came together well, except they were very thick. i could not use a piping bag and barely got them thru my cookie press! So for anyone that asked about the cookie press, they did work, but barely. They seemed a little dry, (i didn’t use the suggested flour blend) and i am wondering if there is a quick trick you may suggest to help with that. They just seemed a little crumbly, i haven’t baked gluten free enough to know how to adjust without ruining the whole batch. Thank you for any help or suggestions you can pass along..

    • Nicole Hunn
      October 29, 2017 at 7:55 PM

      It’s your flour blend, then, I’m afraid. You can’t adjust the recipe at that point. It’s just out of balance. It’s super important to use a proper flour blend, and I’m afraid you just found that out the hard way!

  • Noa
    October 29, 2017 at 8:57 AM

    Try psyllium instead of gum
    Have to experiment with how much. But it’s good and healthy. Probably bought in a health store. But I don’t live in USA so don’t know for sure. Good luck

  • Sandi
    October 28, 2017 at 12:13 PM

    How do you store these? Would they freeze well? Making them today, waiting for butter to soften!

    • Nicole Hunn
      October 28, 2017 at 1:04 PM

      I’m afraid they don’t store that well covered for any length of time, Sandi. I’ve honestly just left them out, uncovered for a few days as my family made their way through my multiple batches from recipe testing. The texture seemed to hold.

  • Diane Foster
    October 27, 2017 at 10:35 PM

    Trader Joe’s confectioners sugar does not have corn. (must be sifted as there are a few small clumps.) As well as Safeway’s organic confectioners sugar, they use tapioca starch.

    • Nicole Hunn
      October 28, 2017 at 1:02 PM

      Ooooh good to know, Diane! Thanks for letting everyone know.

  • Donna
    October 25, 2017 at 4:11 PM

    WOW, You out did yourself yet again Nicole. I make these cookies all the time but I put some lemon
    extract in them. They are good but they never look this beautiful. I will try them this weekend.
    Thanks for all your hard work. I love your videos very much–Big help!!

    • Nicole Hunn
      October 25, 2017 at 5:09 PM

      Thank you for the kind words, Donna. I’m so glad the videos are helpful! I’ll try to keep doing them for new recipes. :)

  • Millie
    October 25, 2017 at 4:00 PM

    I made these with regular flour before I became Celiac and I just made the switch to GF flour and whipped them up the same after my diagnosis. No one knows the difference. They melt in your mouth. I use red candied cherries cut in 4 pieces instead of jam and just poke them in the center of the cookie. They are my favorite shortbread! Thank you for sharing them.

  • Marla Morris
    October 25, 2017 at 2:37 PM

    I recently bought a new cookie press. Have you tried it with that?

    • Nicole Hunn
      October 25, 2017 at 5:05 PM

      Hi, Marla, these really aren’t appropriate for the cookie press. That’s really for butter cookies, like the spritz/icebox butter cookies in my most recent cookbook. You need a stiffer cookie dough for that, and one that has more ingredients for stability like the egg in butter cookies.

  • GiGi
    October 25, 2017 at 1:55 PM

    Do you think sweet cream butter and omitting the addition of salt would work?

  • Linda Williams
    October 25, 2017 at 1:16 PM

    Could you make these cookies without a pastry bag but just doing a drop and a thumbprint?

    • Nicole Hunn
      October 25, 2017 at 5:06 PM

      Yes, Linda, I discuss that in the post!

  • Rachel Rosell
    October 25, 2017 at 12:33 PM

    Can I make the whipped shortbread cookies with non dairy margarine?

    • Nicole Hunn
      October 25, 2017 at 12:51 PM

      Please see the Ingredients and Substitutions section right above the recipe, Rachel.

  • Debbie Feely
    October 25, 2017 at 12:18 PM

    Hi, I can’t use xanthan gum or guar gum due to glutenesque reactions Glucomannan and psyillium don’t agree with me. Any ideas?

    • Nicole Hunn
      October 25, 2017 at 12:51 PM

      I’m afraid not, Debbie! If you don’t add any gum to these, they simply will just fall apart. Sorry!

  • Karron Adams
    October 25, 2017 at 12:15 PM

    I can’t wait to start making cookies again. Thank you working so hard to help us with Gluten allergies eat well again.

    • Nicole Hunn
      October 25, 2017 at 12:52 PM

      I can’t wait for you to start making cookies again, either, Karron! Thank so much for the kind words. It’s my pleasure. ??

  • Suzanne B
    October 25, 2017 at 11:49 AM

    These look great and your video does, too! I’ve made gf shortbread for years with cornstarch and rice flour, before I knew about being gf. Holiday baking in our house begins the first weekend of November. I have a feeling these will be made many times in the month! Thanks??

    • Nicole Hunn
      October 25, 2017 at 11:59 AM

      That’s interesting, Suzanne. Glad you like the recipe!

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