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.
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.
- 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
- Preheat your oven to 350°F.
- In a mixing bowl, beat or whisk the buttery sticks, 1 cup sugar, and vanilla until combine.
- 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.
- Flatten the dough slightly, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Roll the dough out to ½-inch thickness, and cut into 3x1-inch rectangles, or with cookie cutters.
- Place the cookies on an ungreased baking sheet or one lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle the tops with sugar, if desired.
- Bake the cookies for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the edges begin to brown.
- Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week, or freeze to enjoy later.