This dairy-free sugar cookie recipe is an adaptation of my friend and neighbor Renee’s recipe from her grandmother. Renee makes a double batch of these cookies every year for our annual neighborhood Christmas party, where they are always a big hit.
But these tender, delicately-flavored, classic dairy-free sugar cookies are so good they deserve to be served more than once a year. So Katherine and I whipped up a batch for her siblings’ winter birthday party.
This sugar cookie recipe is very simple. Children can help measure the ingredients and mix the dough. Although they might need some assistance with the hand mixer toward the end of mixing, as the dough becomes stiff.
Kids can also have fun rolling and cutting the dough, if using cookie cutters, or scooping the dough, if making round cookies. And of course they can have fun making the frosting and decorating the cookies!
Special Diet Notes: Classic Dairy-Free Sugar Cookies
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, nut-free, peanut-free, optionally soy-free, and vegetarian. We have not yet tested this recipe egg-free. But please do leave a comment if you have success with an egg replacer. Or you can enjoy this vegan sugar cookies recipe.
- ½ cup vegetable shortening, sustainable palm shortening, or dairy-free margarine (we have successfully used Smart Balance)
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt if using shortening, ¼ teaspoon salt if using dairy-free margarine
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 tablespoons plain or unsweetened dairy-free milk beverage, or as needed
- Preheat your oven to 350ºF and grease a large cookie sheet.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix the shortening or margarine and sugar with a hand mixer on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes.
- Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until combined, about 1 minute.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well until just combined.
- Slowly add the milk beverage until the dough reaches the desired consistency. The dough is very stiff, so the mixer might need to be set on high towards the end of mixing.
- The finished dough is stiff and slightly sticky. This will not affect drop cookies. If you are rolling and cutting the cookies, the flour you use to dust the rolling pin and rolling surface will help the cookies not stick. This is a soft sugar cookie recipe, not a crunchy one.
- Scoop the dough with a 1½-inch cookie scoop, and place the cookies about 2 inches apart on your prepared cookie sheet.
- For rounded cookies, leave the dough as is.
- For flatter circle cookies, gently press the tops of the cookies with the bottom of a greased drinking glass.
- Bake for 9 to 11 minutes, or until the tops look dry and the bottoms are lightly browned. The cookies will stay pale on the top.
- Flour a cutting board or other flat surface, and roll the dough out to roughly ¼-inch thickness with a floured rolling pin.
- Cut the dough using your favorite cookie cutters, and place the cookies about 2 inches apart on your prepared cookie sheet.
- Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until the tops look dry and the bottoms are lightly browned. The cookies will stay pale on the top.
- Let the cookies rest on the cookie sheet for 1 minute before carefully removing them to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Once completely cool, you can frost them, if desired.
- Store the cookies in an airtight container for up to 1 week.