Decorated Gluten-Free Sugar Cookie Recipe

gluten-free sugar cookiesDecorated gluten-free sugar cookies are fast and easy to make using a food processor to mix the cookie dough. You can use either amaranth flour or a combination of rice flours to prepare this recipe, both work well.The icing recipe was adapted from a recipe by Stephanie Gallagher, Guide to Cooking for Kids, Sugar Cookie Icing Recipe.


  • 1 1/2 cups gluten-free all purpose baking flour (use your favorite recipe or product) I used the Living Without All Purpose Gluten-Free Flour blend recipe with good results)
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour OR potato starch
  • 1 cup gluten-free powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon guar gum OR xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup cold butter, cut in small pieces (2 sticks)
  • 1 egg
  • 1+ tablespoons milk OR canned coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract OR lemon extract (if you like lemony sugar cookies)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon peel
  • Icing Recipe:
  • 4 cups gluten-free powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk OR canned coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon honey OR corn syrup
  • Food coloring (optional)


Preheat oven to 350°F / 176° C
Line baking sheets with parchment paper, silpat mats or lightly grease with vegetable shortening

  1. Put all dry cookie ingredients in a food processor and pulse about 3 times to thoroughly blend. If you aren’t using a food processor place the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and whisk until thoroughly combined.
  2. Add pieces of butter and pulse about 10 times. If using an electric mixing beat on high for about 1 minute.
  3. Add egg, 1 tablespoon of milk, lemon extract and peel and pulse about 5 times. The mixture should form a sticky, stiff dough. If the dough is too dry, gradually drizzle in more milk – slowly. You don’t want the dough too sticky or it will be harder to roll out.
  4. Wrap the dough in waxed paper and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight before rolling and cutting out cookies.
  5. Lightly flour a large sheet of waxed paper with sweet rice flour and roll the dough to about 1/8-inch thickness. Try to roll the dough evenly so cookies will bake evenly.
  6. Use your favorite cookie cutters and dip in rice flour for easier cutting.
  7. If the dough softens too much while cutting the cookies, place the dough on the waxed paper on a baking sheet and freeze it for several minutes and then continue.
  8. Bake in a preheated oven for about 12 minutes or just until the edges of the cookies turn golden brown.
  9. While cookies are baking prepare sugar cookie icing by whisking all icing ingredients until smooth. The goal is to add just enough milk for a spreadable consistency. Add milk gradually. If the icing gets too thin, add more powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon at a time. To decorate with different colors, divide the icing between bowls and add a few drops of food coloring, one at a time until you get the color you want. Stir until smooth.
  10. Cool cookies completely before decorating with prepared icing.
  11. Store in an air-tight container or wrap tightly and freeze for a make-ahead holiday convenience.

Yield: About 4 dozen 2-inch cookies / more or less depending on the size of the cookie cutters you use.

Reminder: Always make sure your work surfaces, utensils, pans and tools are free of gluten. Always read product labels. Manufacturers can change product formulations without notice. When in doubt, do not buy or use a product before contacting the manufacturer for verification that the product is free of gluten.

Author Information: Teri Gruss, MS Guide to Gluten-Free Cooking
Teri was diagnosed with gluten intolerance after decades of symptoms that culminated in malabsorption syndrome. Teri has written numerous health and nutrition articles for the popular website and was a founding member and moderator of, a nutrition forum for healthcare professionals and students. She is a member of the American Dietetic Association and supports the non-profit organization Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG) of North America as a member.
Email Teri Gruss, MS here.


About Teri Gruss, MS

Teri Gruss, MS

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