Soft, sweet, & cake-y, these gluten free & vegan soft sugar cookies are amazing! Lofthouse copycat recipe. Top 8 allergy free.
But not today! This recipe was inspired by those cookies, but frankly, I think my recipe turned out even better. No weird ingredients, nothing people are allergic to, and still topped with frosting and sprinkles. Yes please!
Gluten Free + Vegan Sugar Cookie Dough
The dough for these cookies is a little strange in that the final result is a more cake-like cookie. Soft, not crispy or crumbly, but still sturdy enough to hold onto frosting and sprinkles.
My first round of making these turned into tiny cakes more than cookies. Not that I’m complaining!
The secret to this kind of dough is getting the right combination of aeration into the dough in the (non-dairy) butter along with not too much sugar or moisture (so it doesn’t melt in the oven) while still giving it enough so it doesn’t crumble.
I started with a really good gluten free flour blend: Better Batter. This one is my favorite for making cookies since it has the best blend of flours and starches and gums to hold onto that moisture. This helps to keep the cookie from drying out. Gluten free baking lends itself well to these kinds of cookies where we want a chewy and cake like texture.
Next you need the sugar for the sugar cookie. White granulated sugar is my preferred choice for this cookie; I haven’t tried it with any other kind. This sugar brings a sweetness and tenderness to the dough that we need.
For a binding egg replacement, we use aquafaba, just a quarter of a cup. This gets whipped up to help bring some lightness to the dough. If you are not allergic to eggs, one chicken egg works just as well.
The other essential ingredient for this recipe is the sour cream or yogurt. It doesn’t matter what kind you use be it dairy, cashew, almond, or soy based. Whatever you have on hand works great. The sour cream and yogurt bring a bit of fat, moisture, and tang to the dough that you need to keep things from getting overly sweet. If using yogurt, make sure it is vanilla flavored or plain flavored.
This recipe works best in a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer. I don’t recommend doing this recipe by hand unless you want a really good arm workout for the day!
Shaping Sugar Cookies
Begin by dividing your dough in half, and then into 12 evenly sized scoops. Roll the dough between your hands and place onto a parchment lined baking sheet. To give these cookies their shape, we need to flatten them. Using the back of a glass or measuring cup, gently press until you reach about 1 cm thickness. You can dip the back of the measuring cup in water between pressing to ensure nothing sticks.
Baking Sugar Cookies
As these are gluten free sugar cookies, we want to bake these low and slow to make sure we don’t zap all the moisture out of the cookies before it bakes. Set your oven to 325F and let them bake for between 17-20 minutes. Remember these are thicker cookies and we want them to remain nice and soft when baked! Let them cool completely before frosting.
Frosting Sugar Cookies
The frosting for these lofthouse copycat cookies is slightly different from other frosting recipes for sugar cookies. It isn’t a royal icing that gets hard. These cookies use a buttercream frosting that stays soft.
Frosting these cookies is important because not only does it give it that real lofthouse copycat look, it also helps to prevent the cookie from drying out.
Sprinkles don’t have a function, but who says no to a sprinkle?!
Want to make your own sprinkles? I have a homemade dye-free sprinkle recipe here! Way easier than you think, I promise. Vegan, gluten free, top 8 free, and made with plant based dyes.
For these cookies I used the plant based food coloring kit from Whole Foods to make both the sprinkles and the soft pink. You can switch your colors up for each season and holiday.
Did you make this recipe?
Gluten Free + Vegan Soft Sugar Cookies
- 1/2 cup butter (non-dairy or dairy)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg OR 1/4 cup whipped aquafaba
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 cups gluten free flour blend (make sure it has xanthan gum)
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tbsp milk (non-dairy) optional! Use if dough is too dry depending on mixture
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup sour cream OR plain/vanilla yogurt use soy, almond, or cashew based
- 1/2 cup butter (same as in cookie)
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- food coloring
- Preheat your oven to 325°F / 160°C. Prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine your gluten free flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix to combine and set aside.
- In a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer, combine the butter with the sour cream OR yogurt. Whip until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and vanilla, again mixing until light and fluffy.
- Slowly incorporate your egg or aquafaba.
- Now begin to add the flour mixture into your wet mixture. Do this in two additions, making sure to incorporate well each time. If the dough is crumbly after it is combined, add 1 tablespoon of milk to make smooth.
- The dough should be smooth and supple with no crumbs but not so sticky that you can't touch it. It should be slightly tacky.
- Divide the dough into 24 equal sizes. Roll each dough portion between your hands and place 12 on each cookie sheet, making sure to evenly space them.
- Using the back of a measuring cup or other flat surface, gently press the dough ball into a flattened disc.
- Bake for 17-20 minutes. Remove from the oven when there is slight cracking on the top of the cookie. Let cool completely before frosting.
- In a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer, or a stand mixer, whip your butter until very light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the sugar, vanilla, and sprinkle of salt. Starting slowly, mix on high for another 4-5 minutes, or until the frosting is light and has doubled in volume.
- Divide into bowls and add desired food coloring, if using.
- Spread on cookies. Sprinkle with sprinkles right away before the frosting sets.