Classic Dairy-Free Shortbread Cookies that Just Happen to be Vegan


For years, I’ve been wanting to see how dairy-free butter alternatives compare in baking. And I finally got around to it. For the test, I chose the most butter-reliant recipe I could think of. I made dairy-free shortbread cookies. You can read how several plant-based butters compared to one another and to dairy butter in my Dairy-Free Butter Comparison post. But the recipe I used for testing is below!

This basic dairy-free shortbread is adapted from Ina Garten’s recipe. Since so few ingredients are used, your end result (spread, texture, and taste) will depend almost entirely on the dairy-free butter you use. This is a classic, time-tested formula with very few variables.

Classic Dairy-Free Shortbread Cookies Recipe with the Perfect Buttery Finish. Also happen to be vegan, nut-free, and optionally soy-free.

Special Diet Notes: Shortbread Cookies

By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, nut-free, peanut-free, optionally soy-free, vegan, and vegetarian.

Classic Dairy-Free Shortbread Cookies
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This recipe is adapted from Ina Garten's shortbread cookie recipe. Please note that the Prep time is hands-on time only. Allow 30 minutes for the dough to chill.
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Scottish
Serves: about 2 dozen cookies
  • 1 ½ cups dairy-free buttery sticks (see Butter Note below), brought to room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 1¼ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3½ cups all-purpose flour
  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  2. In a mixing bowl, beat or whisk the buttery sticks, 1 cup sugar, and vanilla until combine.
  3. Sift in the flour. Mix or stir until combined. The dough will be crumbly. Work it with your hands to bring it together into a ball.
  4. Flatten the dough slightly, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  5. Roll the dough out to ½-inch thickness, and cut into 3x1-inch rectangles, or with cookie cutters.
  6. Place the cookies on an ungreased baking sheet or one lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle the tops with sugar, if desired.
  7. Bake the cookies for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the edges begin to brown.
  8. Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week, or freeze to enjoy later.
Butter Note: I like Country Crock Buttery Sticks best for this recipe. Earth Balance Buttery Sticks are another good option. I use salted buttery sticks. If using unsalted, add ¼ teaspoon salt to the recipe. See my Butter Comparison Post to see how several different dairy-free butters compared in this recipe.

More Dairy-Free & Vegan Holiday Cookie Recipes

Sweet Potato Cookies with Maple, Cinnamon, and Brown Sugar

Vegan Sweet Potato Cookies Recipe adapted from the Maple Spice Pumpkin Cookies Recipe in Go Dairy Free, The Guide and Cookbook

Snowball Cookies

Vegan Snowball Cookies Recipe - dairy-free, egg-free, kids can cook treats (also known as Russian tea cakes)

Glazed Lemon Cookies

Glazed Lemon Cookies Recipe - dairy-free, delicious, family-friendly cookies for the holidays and beyond.

About Author

Alisa is the founder of, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.


  1. I just found out I’m allergic to milk by products. I’m allergic to nuts. I’m celiac disease for a year now. I’ve always been a happy person and I still am but this is starting to bother me where I find myself sad and crying because I miss my boiled eggs (2 M-F for my 1st 15 minute break) then I would have Greek yogurt with a slice of pulled cheese. I can’t eat walnuts, almonds, coconuts or milks. I’m drinking oat milk and plant based milk. I’m not allergic to sheep’s milk. I bought goats butter and hoping the inflammation doesn’t get worse. I’m going to NC next month (4 weeks) and staying with family. I have already sent her a list on everything I can’t eat and also what I can eat. Had a blood test done and received tests 2 weeks ago. I’m at a lost. My son bought me Audrey Roberts book The everything gluten free and dairy free cookbook. I want a recipe for bread. Gluten free dairy free and nut free. I can’t have my famous potato salad anymore. Nothing with eggs. No Mayo, mustard, miracle whip. No soy. Can you help me with a bread? I was using almond and coconut flour but I can’t anymore.

    • Hi Terry, I’m a little confused. You state no gluten, no dairy, and no nuts. Is there a reason you are avoiding eggs too? Have you been tested for an egg allergy specifically, since eggs and milk / dairy are not related foods? We do have plenty of bread recipes on this site that are gluten-free and nut-free (everything is dairy-free), and some that are vegan and egg-free too. Just use the search at top to search for “gluten free bread.” Some will contain nuts (like almond flour) but many do not.

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