These delicious vegan shortbread cookies are buttery soft treats topped with sprinkles for the perfect holiday cookie. These decadent cookies are easy to make and so tasty to eat! Add drizzles of vegan white chocolate to transform them into an elegant treat.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year — when you get to bake cookies and share them with others. Right? That’s what it’s all about! OK. I know we have snow and stockings hung by the mantel too, but you and me? We know the real deal. It’s all about the cookies. It’s always been all about the cookies.
I love a simple shortbread cookie, from the vegan snowball cookies to the ones you’re looking at today!
But these? They are oh-so-easy vegan shortbread cookies made with only seven simple ingredients (plus sprinkles). To make it even better, we’re not rolling out the dough with a rolling pin. It’s the best recipe!
You can find the full printable recipe, including ingredient quantities, below. But first, here are some explanations of ingredients and steps to help you make this recipe perfect every time.
- Lemon — We’ll use both the zest and the juice of the lemon.
- Oats — I used rolled oats for this recipe, but you can substitute instant oats.
- Chia — We’ll add some ground chia seeds to create a thicker texture. You can use whole chia seeds; I just prefer ground because it creates a smoother finished texture.
- Syrup — I used maple syrup, but you can substitute agave nectar.
- Milk — We’ll use almond milk for the best overnight oats! Substitute your favorite plant-based milk.
- Yogurt — I love adding some plant-based yogurt (plain, unsweetened) for an even more tangy flavor.
- Protein Powder — I add some vanilla protein powder for increased flavor and nutrients. If your protein powder is not sweetened, you may want to add an extra teaspoon or two of sweetener.
- Cornstarch — We’ll use cornstarch to thicken the lemon curd topping.
- Turmeric — A pinch of turmeric makes that lemon curd sunny yellow.
- Vegan Butter — I recommend Earth Balance buttery sticks, plant-based baking butter, or you can make dairy-free butter
- Sugar — To keep these cookies light and delicious, we’ll be using powdered sugar.
- Vanilla — I like adding vanilla extract to enhance the flavor.
- Salt — A little bit of salt in the batter enhances the flavor.
- Vinegar — I like adding a bit of apple cider vinegar to replicate the flavor of European butter, which has a slightly fermented flavor. In addition, vinegar interacts with the proteins in the flour to keep these cookies soft.
- Flour — I recommend using all-purpose flour. Make vegan gluten-free shortbread cookies by substituting baking-quality gluten-free flour.
- Cornstarch — Cornstarch is included in cake flour because it softens its harsh proteins. You’ll notice “soft” is the go-to word here. We want to deliver the best soft cookies!
- Sprinkles — This is optional, but it adds a fun decorative touch. See other topping ideas below.
Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the fridge for up to 10 days. The cookies can be frozen for up to 2 months.
Shortbread originated in Scotland and is often referred to as a Scottish biscuit. Maybe this explains my love for this delicate cookie since I am predominately of Scottish heritage.
Wanting to make a vegan Scottish shortbread cookie? You’re in luck because the recipe we use today is not that much different than the original recipe created back in the middle ages. Of course, this one uses vegan butter.
Make vegan lemon shortbread cookies by adding a teaspoon of freshly-grated lemon zest to the batter.
Take this vegan shortbread recipe to another level by adding some festive toppings. For example, you can dip shortbread cookies in chocolate, or you can add drizzles of vegan frosting. Here are some favorite cookie topping ideas:
- Vegan Lemon Frosting drizzled on top of these cookies is so delicious.
- Dip cookies in Vegan Royal Icing with different colors for the holidays.
- Drizzle melted Vegan Chocolate Chips on cookies for a dramatic flair.
- Make shortbread jam cookies by pressing your thumb in the dough and adding some chia jam in the center.
- Drizzle with Vegan Caramel and coarse sea salt.
- You can also use these cookies as the base for making Vegan Twix Bars.
- Make a surprise chocolate center by wrapping the dough around a vegan chocolate kiss before baking.
Vegan Christmas Treats
Yes, this is the best vegan shortbread cookies recipe! Now you’re ready for even more tasty vegan Christmas treats:
- Preheat oven to 325°F/165°C. Line 2 large cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, use a mixer to beat together the butter and sugar at medium-high speed until fluffy. This can take up to 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Stop the mixer and then add vanilla, vinegar, and salt. Beat again until just combined.
- Stir together flour and cornstarch in a separate bowl.
- Gradually add flour mixture while mixing on low speed. Continue until all the flour has been added and it is just combined. You should be left with a workable dough.
- Use a cookie scoop to portion out 1.5 inch balls (around a tablespoon in size). Make smooth balls by rolling each portion of cookie dough quickly between your two hands. Place on a prepared baking sheet, roughly 2 inches apart.
- Use a fork dipped in powdered sugar to gently flatten the top of each cookie dough ball. Add sprinkles if using.
- Place the pan in the oven and bake until edges are lightly golden, 11 to 12 minutes. Cool on pans for 5 minutes, then transfer to racks and cool completely.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the fridge for up to 10 days.
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The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
This post was originally published in 2014 and was updated to include new photos, new text, and an updated recipe in 2021.