This vegan shortbread is rich and buttery cookies made with just 3 simple ingredients! No fancy mixers needed, they are perfect holiday cookies!
I always knew whenever the holiday season began, thanks to a box of Walker’s shortbread. Like clockwork, every October, my father would come home from work with a shiny red package of the famous butter cookies. I think it was a tradition that stemmed from his childhood that he continued to this very day.
A few years ago, I made my own tradition by making shortbread cookies at the start of the festive season. They have to be one of the most foolproof cookie recipes ever and made with just 3 simple ingredients.
The texture of these cookies is exactly what you want in any good shortbread- Thick and rich, that melts and crumbles in your mouth. The flavor is pleasantly sweet and buttery, without being overpowering.
The first time I made a batch of these for my father, he could not believe that they were made without traditional butter- He thought they tasted just like Walker’s shortbread, if not better!
Ingredients to make vegan shortbread cookies
Traditional shortbread should have just three ingredients- butter, sugar, and flour. However, to keep these vegan and to make them have the most perfect texture, I used different versions of these basic staples. Here are what you’ll need to make vegan shortbread-
- Vegan butter– Be sure to use a plant based butter from a block, not from a spread. You want the butter to be soft, but not melted.
- Powdered sugar– Also known as confectioners’ sugar, using powdered sugar gives the cookies a lighter and smooth texture.
- All purpose flour– Either plain flour or gluten free flour. If you use the latter, be sure that the flour contains xanthan gum, otherwise, the cookies will be gummy.
How do you make vegan shortbread?
In a large mixing bowl, mix together your softened butter and powdered sugar, until combined. Gently fold in your flour, until combined. Finally, using your hands, form the dough into a smooth ball, kneading if required.
Now, form 12-16 balls of dough and place them on a lined baking sheet. Press down on each ball into a cookie shape and if desired, use a cookie press for some fun pattern. Bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes, until they begin to go golden around the sides.
Can I bake these as Scottish shortbread?
Scottish shortbread refers to the shortbread being made as ‘fingers’ or in a rectangular shape instead of cookies. I grew up eating Walker’s shortbread, which comes as fingerstyle cookies.
Transfer the shortbread dough into an 8 x 8-inch square pan. Gently use a knife to slice lengthways once, and 6 times the other side (to have 12 fingers).
Bake the shortbread for an extra 10 minutes, or until they begin to go golden around the sides.
Is this shortbread gluten free?
Yes, if you use gluten free baking flour, these cookies are suitable for celiacs.
I used Bob’s Red Mill Baking flour which has added xanthan gum. Do not use a gluten free flour that omits it, otherwise your cookies will be gummy.
Tips to make the best vegan shortbread cookies
- If you don’t have powdered sugar or superfine sugar, you can quickly make your own. Add white sugar to a blender and blend it very well, until a powdery texture remains.
- Avoid using vegan margarine, as the shortbread will become grainy and have an odd aftertaste.
- Do not overbake the shortbread. The cookies continue to cook as they are cooling down. Once they are beginning to go golden around the edges, they are done.
- Customize this shortbread with other flavors, like lavender, lemon, and chocolate chip.
How to store and freeze shortbread
- To store: Shortbread cookies can be stored at room temperature, in a sealable container or ziplock bag. They will remain fresh for up to 2 weeks.
- To freeze: Place cookies in a ziplock bag and store in the freezer for up to 6 months.
More vegan cookies to try
- Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Cranberry Pistachio Cookies
- Peanut Butter Cookies
Vegan Shortbread Cookies
- 1/2 cup vegan butter softened
- 6 tbsp powdered sugar
- 1 cup all purpose flour gluten free, if needed
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together your softened butter with powdered sugar, until completely combined. Then, gently fold in the flour and mix very well, until a thick dough remains. Push the dough together to form a smooth ball.
- Using your hands, form 12 balls of dough and place on the lined sheet. Press down on each one into a cookie shape, and if desired, use a cookie stamp to form a pattern.
- Bake the cookies for 15-17 minutes, or until the edges begin to go golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow cookies to cool on the sheet completely.