This post is part one of this month’s Kids Can Cook section by the Hatfields. Katherine and her “mama,” Sarah, enjoy baking these dairy-free sugar cookies for special occasions.
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.
Kids Can Bake Tips
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.
Key Pantry Supplies: Classic Dairy-Free Sugar Cookies
EnerG egg replacer for the win! Used a heaping tablespoon and 4 T water instead of the two eggs. Used butter flavor Crisco too and they came out delicious!
Thank you for sharing your success and what you used Candace!
I made these cookies just now and my family loved them. The only thing I did differently was substitute sour cream for the milk, and brown sugar for white sugar. Along with an extra cap full of vanilla, and 1/2 teaspoon of syrup. They came out amazing!!
Hello! I decided to try this recipe with an egg replacement, and they turned out great! In a separate bowl, I combined 3 tablespoons of water, 3 tablespoons of either vegetable or canola oil, and 2 teaspoons of baking powder. Once all that is mixed, I poured it into the wet ingredients! Hope this helps the egg replacement idea!! They turned out great!!
Hi Meghan! I am so glad to hear this! Thank you very much for taking the time to share your egg replacement success. I know this information will be helpful for others.
I just have to say that this recipe is absolutely perfect! I was hoping to decorate cookies with my students, one who has a dairy allergy, and this was my first time making cookies with shortening. They couldn’t have turned out any better! 2 Tbs of almond milk was just enough to get the right consistency (and I threw in a 1/2 tsp of almond extract). I chilled the dough for about 1/2 hour before rolling out and was able to cut immaculate shapes that held up beautifully through the baking process! I think I’m just going to use this recipe for all of my cut-outs because these cookies are delicious! Thanks for sharing!
Thank you so much for your kind words, Rebecca! I’m very glad to hear the cookies worked out; they’re a favorite of ours. I love the almond extract idea! And, as a parent of an allergic child, I want to thank you so much for making something all your students could enjoy. <3
they look really good.
Thank you, Rilee! I hope you try them sometime.
I followed the recipe to a t, but the dough I ended up with was so sticky I couldn’t do anything with it except make blobs. I was very frustrated.
I’m sorry you were frustrated, Sarah. I changed the order of ingredients so the milk is added last. This way you can add as much or as little milk to reach the desired consistency of your cookies.
The ingredients list doesn’t say how much baking powder to use. Can you please clarify?
Whoops! Thanks for catching that, Jessica. It’s 1/4 teaspoon. I’ve added it to the list of ingredients.
This cookies is really simple and simple!
However, I would love to have some more color on this so it will look more attracting and tasty… hmm like some chocolate flour … What do you think? 🙂
We usually put frosting on the cookies; I just wanted to show what they look like plain. But I’m sure you could mix things in, too!
Made this recipe using coconut oil and unsweetened coconut milk. Great flavor.
That sounds great, Barbara! Thank you for the feedback!
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