gluten-free butter cookies recipe

Butter Cookies

A simple butter cookie recipe made with heart healthy almond flour.

I love baking cookies. This easy gluten free cookie recipe is one that my friend Mary and I like to bake when we are together. She likes it because it’s full of high protein, healthy ingredients that are Paleo/primal friendly.

I met my friend Mary on the very first day of college. She is one of the smartest, funniest people I know. A savvy foodie, she and I spent some good times cooking and eating our way through New York City in our younger days.

Yesterday, she emailed me and asked for, “that cookie recipe with almond flour and butter.” Well, that would cover a couple dozen of my recipes. After a bit of email back and forth, we narrowed it down to one of the recipes I had concocted a few years ago, when I still lived in New York. Here it is, Mary, my recipe for Butter Cookies.

Butter Cookies
Serves: 24 cookies
  1. In a food processor, place almond flour and salt and pulse briefly
  2. Add butter, agave and vanilla and pulse until ingredients are well blended
  3. Separate dough into 2 balls and place each on a piece of parchment paper
  4. Cover each ball of dough with another piece of parchment paper and roll out to ⅛ inch thickness
  5. Place in freezer for 30 minutes
  6. Using a 2-inch round cookie cutter (or the top of a 2-inch wide jelly jar) cut out cookies *
  7. Bake at 350° for 5-7 minutes
  8. Cool and serve

* if butter cookie dough becomes too soft to work with, roll it out again between the 2 pieces of parchment paper and return to freezer for 10 minutes


  1. Andtea says

    I just made these using honey. I skipped the vanilla and added the zest of a lemon and a hint of fresh finely chopped rosemary. They are amazing. Thank you.

  2. Heather says

    This may be a silly question but can these cookies be frozen and would there need to be anything special done when thawing them? Thank you!

  3. Paulina says

    I just made these cookies. Because I’m on a candida diet, I used Stevia instead of another sweetener. I used the NOW brand ‘Better Stevia’ Extract Powder which comes in a small container with a teeny tiny spoon about an 1/8th of an inch across. Believe me, this sweetener extract is very strong and you don’t want to use too much or you will taste it. It doesn’t get proportionally sweeter like adding extra sugar, but rather leaves an aftertaste if you use too much (at least for my palate).

    I used a little less than one tiny spoonful of the very concentrated stevia powder and added one egg to make up for the loss of liquid. I increased the vanilla by an additional 1/2 tbsp. for some additional flavor and added a few hefty shakes of cinnamon. I mixed it all with a hand mixer. I used the dough immediately.

    The dough was the perfect consistency to hand mold into any shape. It was not sticky at all. But, I was lazy with most of the cookies and just dropped them from a spoon. I did shape one like a tiny popover and then folded it in half with cinnamon in the middle and pinched the edges together. It would have been great to stuff with any other delectable nut, chocolate chip, etc.

    Because I dropped them from a spoon and didn’t flatten them, they took a lot longer to cook. I kept extending my timer by five minutes and may have cooked them for 15-18 minutes total. They didn’t burn but just turned a nice golden brown on all of the edges and the bottom. It took awhile for the middle to cook to the consistency I desired.

    But, in the end, they turned out wonderfully! They taste like shortbread cookies. However, it was necessary to cook them until the edges were turning brown to get the texture firmer and the consistency of shortbread throughout the middle. Next time, I would flatten with a fork or even roll out (possible without refrigerating if you change the recipe as I did) and maybe still cook extra time. In fact, after I turned off the oven and it cooled just a bit, I put them back in for awhile to continue to get a bit more dry like shortbread – if that makes sense.

    Thanks Elana for another great recipe – which allowed for easy diet modifications! I generally don’t prefer the taste of Stevia so may try another candida-friendly sweetener next time but still like these. I really can’t taste the stevia; it just provided a slight sweetness boost. The sea salt is a great flavor in the final cookie. This is a great base to add any chip, nut, etc. on top or mixed in.

  4. Kellylynn says

    Ok, I did something wrong….I did exactly what the recipe said and after 5 min. in the oven at 350 the bottoms were burnt and the cookies not cooked all the way. What did I do wrong??

  5. Angie Raimondi says

    Hi Elana! This was the first recipe I tried baking with almond flour. I think the brand I used was too course, as the cookies crumbled immediately. Nonetheless, they were delicious. I saw that you use Honeyville flour. Where can I buy this? Do they have it in Costco? Are there other similar brands avalable?

    Thank you!

  6. Joy Morris says

    Oh, how I have missed butter/shortbread cookies! But, now thanks to Elana, I can have them again! These were simply divine! Thank you Elana!

  7. Carol says

    Amazing! You posted this recipe in 2007, and it’s 2014 now, still working after 7 years. Thank you! I honestly can’t understand why these cookies WORKED SO WELL. I used every ingredient to the letter, but am astounded there are no eggs or baking soda or any other rising agent, yet they turned out beautiful: just a slight rise, browned perfectly, retained shape, taste utterly delicious. What a triumph!

  8. Marcus Riedner says

    I just tried this and it was a cookie fail. It spread into a big sheet of buttery almond crumble. The only difference between ingredients was brand of almond flour – I used Red Mills blanched almonds flour because it is the brand available in my area. A real shame. Any thoughts?

  9. Dan says

    I really want to try this recipe but Agave nectar is no better than high-fructose corn syrup, is their an alternative that will work just as good?
    Does this taste anything like those famous danish dansk butter cookies sold in supermarkets in a blue round tin? If they do your my savior!

  10. chrissy says

    yum…dough in the freezer. I used honey instead of agave and added about 3/4c pecans. I’ll be rolling into balls and flattening instead of rolling and using a cookie cutter. The dough looks perfect.

  11. Glyn says

    Elana these are delicious, and so simple to make! I substituted out the agave nectar for 2 tbsp maple syrup, 2 tbsp xylitol and 2 tbsp erythritol. They taste great and have a lovely, chewy texture with a slight crisp on the edges. I will definitely use this recipe to make my next paleo pumpkin pie crust – I think it will work perfectly!

  12. mary says

    Do you think this recipe would work for making raspberry tea cookies? They are my favorite for the holidays, but I need a recipe that does not have wheat flour.

  13. Palis says

    Do you ever put the nutritional info on for your recipes? I was just looking at the butter cookies and a few others….. Thanks… Palis

  14. Sean says

    Just made these subbing honey equally for agave and using my own homemade almond flour (saving my super fine flour for other things) and they turned out great! Thanks!

  15. says

    Just recently started the paleo diet and made this recipe the other day. Delicious, thanks for sharing! First attempt at using almond flour and LOVE it. I dropped the dough from a teaspoon and mashed them with a fork like a PB cookie cause I was in a hurry. Turned out perfectly.

  16. Janelle says

    I love these cookies. I’ve also found that you can roll them up in parchment or plastic wrap into a “log” shape then freeze or refridgerate and simply slice into rounds when they are cold enough. This way you dont lose any dough. I also press an almond on top for garnish before baking.

  17. Ally says

    Adjusted this to create a snickerdoodle recipe (combined with the recipe in the cookbook), and they are amazing. Holy yum!

  18. Susan says

    I made these today although I copied the recipe wrong and used 1/2 cup of sweetener (coconut palm sugar) instead of the 1/4 cup . I also added 3/4 cup of shredded coconut and they were fantastic.

    Then, after staring at these cookie recipes for the last week or so now, I realize that Elana has almost a basic cookie recipe which many of the recipes are based on and so from this I now have mine: 10 oz almond flour, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 cup (4 oz) butter, 1/2 cup (2.8 oz) coconut palm sugar, 2 TBSP water, 1 TBSP vanilla (butter, sugar, water and vanilla melted in a pot).

    I use a medium size cookie scoop, but still roll the balls in my hands and flatten to about 1/4″. After I started weighing my flour, I have not had any issues at all with dough consistency and my cookies have all been coming out really great. I’m so excited!

    So, from the basic recipe, I added in the shredded coconut and they turned out really great! Or, just add in 3/4 cup of chocolate chips and you’ve got Elana’s basic chocolate chip recipe. My next experiment will be to use this basic recipe and add in spices to make a spice cookie. I’ve been really happy with all the cookies that I have made so far and now I have several go-to recipes. Now, if I can just stop eating them!!!

  19. Rebecca says

    I just received my first bag of Honeyville almond flour today and decided to try this recipe first. (Before now, I’ve been using blanched almond meal from my local farmer’s market.) These cookies are the best butter cookies I’ve ever had. I did not do the flattening-freezing step. I wrapped a whole batch of the dough in a sheet of plastic wrap and let it sit in the freezer while the oven heated up. Then I scooped out small spoon (like the smaller spoon in a place-setting) sized scoops onto a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. I then baked them at 350 for 11 mins and they were these little mounds of deliciousness. My toddler has been scaling the kitchen counters to grab them, even as I type this. AMAZING!!!!!!

  20. says

    love this website just discovered it 2 weeks ago. i’m visiting my mom so had to change things. changed the name to almond butter cookies. used almond extract and maple syrup had to use a hand held mixer forget the frig thing just plop them by the spoonfull flatten with finger and sprinkle slivered almonds on top. i also cook these about 12 to 15 min. so they are nice and brown. i did bring my silpat sheet to put in the cookie pan. i also made sure my butter was good and soft

  21. says

    I have both your books and am really enjoying making the recipes. One of the things I loved to make pre-gluten-free discovery was cut-out butter cookies to decorate. I have a basket and cookie sticks ready to go. I’m making these in flower shapes to stand up in a basket like flowers for a friend. Can’t wait to try them!

  22. celia says

    thank you for the butter cookie recipe. I can’t eat butter or agave, but I substituted coconut oil for the butter and glycerine (I do have a very nice glycerine that is palm-sourced that is not hot or bitter). I also can’t have the vanilla extract at this time, so I put some spices in (ginger, nutmeg, cardamon, ceylon cinnamon and cassia)–

    and I substituted one/fourth cup of the nut flour with cocoa. Also I used a variety of nut flours, and the texture was very nice. I find that adding nuts works well, too (chopped nuts).

    Without your basic recipe I could never have done this, as I am not able to use chocolate chips; cookies are quite limited.

    Thank you.

  23. Esther Anders says

    I tried these, they were really good. I did over cook some of them a little. Being pregnant I like my sweets just a little sweeter, so I put some jam in between two, and made it into a jam sandwich. Yummy. I might try these as a jelly filled cookie next time.
    I just have 3 1/2 or so months to go, and eating more gluten free desserts (and dinners) have kept me at my lowest pregnancy gain so far, about 10 lbs. @ 25 weeks. This is #4, and normally I’ve gained way more then I have (about double) but by eating your brownies, cookies, and lemon bars…ect I’ve kept it way down. We got your cookbook and love that too. My husband loves the Chicken Pot Pie. I don’t eat allot of veggies, so for me it’s a great way of getting more in my diet. This little boy (as well as all the other babies I’ve had) would rather have a Boston cream doughnut then a salad. So I was so happy to have your recipes in my arsenal, it’s helped me so much over these last few months, and well year and 1/2, since we found your site. I wish I had more creativity with Gluten Free baking, maybe someday. Thank you for all your wonderful recipes. And this is a great recipe and super easy! Thank you again.

  24. Heather says

    We made these tonight, and they’re quite yummy! We don’t do sugar/agave, so I substituted 1/2 cup erythritol plus a couple of tiny scoops of KAL brand stevia, plus a splash of milk to make up for not using liquid sweetener. I creamed the erythritol with the butter with a hand mixer, and used almond extract instead of vanilla. I also added about 3/4 tsp. of xanthan gum, as I’ve heard it improves the texture of baked goods sweetened with erythritol. Finally, I just grabbed small balls of dough and flattened them, because we were all too impatient to wait for them to chill! My kids gobbled these up with glasses of local raw milk and said they loved them. I might try them with some lemon zest and extract next time. A definite success!

    • Amberley says

      I’m so glad to hear that this recipe works with the erythritol stevia combo :) I’m not supposed to have sugar or agave (which is sugar) either. However, I had some leftover agave and I was out of erythritol so I made the recipe as is. It was fantastic! I’d love to make it with erythritol next time; I was just worried about it being crumbly without egg or anything to hold it together

  25. Melissa says

    Hi! I am looking for an alternative to the traditional “fruit pizza” for a brunch next weekend. Do you think this cookie could be used as the “crust” (traditional recipes use a sugar cookie base)? I was thinking of topping it with a cream cheese frosting, natural jam and of course fruit.

  26. says

    Hi Herbwifemama,

    Sorry to hear that these were a spectacular failure and happy to help with troubleshooting. First off, what type of almond flour were you using?


      • says

        Oh dear, that would explain why the recipe did not turn out.

        Unfortunately this (and my other recipes) do not work without the recommended types and brands of ingredients. Have you visited my faq’s? That will help in terms of making another batch and having a successful outcome.

        And for more information on recommended brands you may also want to visit my ingredients page as well

        Happy baking and please let us know how it goes :-)

        • K says

          Just wanted to add that I always make your recipes with almond flour I make by grinding raw almonds in my food processor and then coffee grinder. As far as I can tell they have always come put wonderfully and I get rave reviews when I share them with friends. So it may not necessarily be an almond flour issue.

  27. says

    I tried making these today, and they were a spectacular failure. The only substitution I made was honey for agave. They just crumbled when I tried to take them off the cookie sheet. I have a gooey baked almond meal and honey-butter pile on a plate now. This also happened with another recipe of yours- which I saved by adding wheat flour in. Any ideas on what happened and what I can do to fix it?

    • coconutlimenutritionk says

      Hi – it’s because you didn’t let them cool on the tray. They will most definitely fall apart if you try to move them while they’re still hot, but if you let them cool on the tray they’ll be wonderfully solid and perfect. They are still fragile though so handle with care – remember they don’t have GLUEten in it so will require a little more tender care.

  28. Cheri says

    Hi, first time to visit this site, I’m looking for a gluten free, sugar free shortbread recipe to replace my traditional one. I like making halloween cookies in fun shapes to decorate and haven’t found a great tasting recipe yet. also an alternative decorators icing would be great!
    My doc told me to switch to stevia but I’ve had a hard time getting my recipes to come out yummy, either too sweet or not sweet enough or some other stange result. I need help :(

  29. Amy says

    I made these today. The only thing I did differently was I formed them into a log and sliced them (as another commenter suggested.) They turned out really yummy. I would definitely make these again. Thanks Elana!

  30. Heidie Godfrey says

    I made these wonderful cookies.. but just dropped them on a cookie sheet and pressed my thumb in the middle and used all fruit blackberry jam in the “thumb print” YUM YUM YUM

  31. Carol Hahn says

    This recipe is wonderful and I added 5 Medjool pitted dates to the mix and it was enjoyed by all. Also I formed the dough into 2 long rolls in wax paper and placed in freezer for about 40 to 60 minutes. Slice and bake in 1/4″ slices, of course, using parchment paper for easy removal and cleanup. This was much easier and no excess mess. My cookies were about 2″ in diameter. YUM!

  32. Amber says


    I am in desperate need for a GF/CF biscuit for a 6 year old little girl. My daughter was just diagnosed with major food allergies, and she is craving biscuits. I made the biscuits from your book. They were awesome, but she is used to a “white” biscuit. Do you have any recipes for biscuits using coconut flour that looks a little more like a traditional biscuit?

    Thank you so much,

    • Mary says

      There is a recipe for a coconut flour biscuit in Bruce Fife’s book “Cooking with Coconut Flour.” Can make it plain, or with bacon, or cheese. It’s a pretty good substitute for a wheat biscuit, and it is white.

  33. Gina says

    Hi Elana, I was excited to come across your site and have tried your delicious lemon poppy seed muffins. The only thing is, I am on the candida diet which is super strict, so I am only allowed Stevia for a sweetener… I found the conversion information when searching on your site, but even using that measurement, my butter cookies crumbled when I tried to take them out of the pan. They were delicious, I just wish they would stay in cookie form! :) Any suggestions? (I was using the liquid extract, not the powder form of Stevia). I’m trying to figure out the consistency of the agave nectar and level of sweetness compared to Stevia.

    By the way, I adore you for your healthy, functional, simple and delicious recipes- keep up the admirable work!

  34. Maeve says

    I made this last night, with a number of substitutions.

    I halved the recipe, used almonds I’d ground up at home instead of store-bought almond flour, substituted the agave with half brown rice syrup and half apple syrup (reduced fresh apple juice), and substituted the butter with half grapeseed oil and half toasted hazelnut oil.

    I baked them at 350 for about 8-9 minutes.

    They were a little greasy for me, and a little sweet (I don’t eat refined sugars anymore, the sweetest things I get these days are apples). I figure the extra greasiness is due to the oils instead of butter. Next time, I may add in some glutinous rice flour or something to make them slightly tea-biscuit-y-er. I suspect oat flour could also be a very nice accompaniment.

    They did smell utterly fantastic when baking up. It’s been a long time since I’ve had cookies I could actually eat. :)

  35. Robert says

    Very good recipe. I substituted an equal amount of honey for agave syrup — perhaps I should have adjusted the amount up, since I hear agave syrup is sweeter than honey. The first thing I noticed was that it took ~15 minutes to bake instead of 5-7. This may be a result of my oven being untrustworthy, although it seems to be fairly modern. It also was less sweet than I would have liked, but was incredible with a little dollop of raspberry jam or honey on top.

  36. says


    I love your site and your recipes!
    I am gluten intolerant. I have not had the Celiac test yet as my doctor only recommended that I follow a gluten free diet at this point.

    I attempted to make these cookies but they came out very bitter, I am not exactly sure what I did wrong.
    Do you think it is possible
    that I did not add enough Vanilla???
    If that is the case would they be bitter?

    What kind of butter do you use?

    I am excited to try more of your recipes.


    • Layne says

      Mine were bitter too! I am a great baker and have never had a bitter result. I have made the CC cookies and they were great. I can only assume that it is my butter. I used maple syrup for sweetener.
      Won’t make these again

      • jessica says

        i’ve made these a dozen times (followed the directions, used the exact ingredients) and they always come out tasting great…

        i would try making them again, without substituting ingredients, also making sure your ingredients are fresh (ie. salted butter)

      • Jessica says

        Mine turned out bitter too. Just bought the Honeyville almond flour 1 1/2 weeks ago and it’s been stored in the fridge…fresh butter, etc. Still bitter.

    • says

      I would also suggest that you make sure your almond flour is fresh. I always keep nuts and nut flour in the freezer as they can go rancid. I suspect this might not be as much of a problem with the blanched almond flour, but I would keep it in the freezer just the same. The butter could be the culprit too.

  37. says

    Carey -Great improvisation with this recipe. Next time if you want to roll out the dough just chill it a bit longer and dust your rolling surface with almond flour to prevent sticking. Thanks for your comment.

  38. Carey says

    This is my second fave recipe thus far..the first being the chocolate orange truffles. I tried rolling them out but it didn’t go too well. So, I balled them up and smushed them by hand. This was more fun.

  39. Stefani says

    Elana, I have a few new recipes that call for bulgur wheat. What do you think would be a good gluten free substitution for that?

  40. Mary says

    Instead of the butter cookie recipe, I decided to make the Pecan Shortbread cookies, because I got some fresh pecans from my neighbors’ trees.

    I placed small spoons full (about eight) on a cookie sheet, and pressed them down with a fork. They were delicious!

    Then I took the rest of the dough and rolled it out thin on a cookie sheet without sides, and cut it into squares with my pizza cutter. They were delicious.

    Also thought what a wonderful pie crust it would make for a sugar-free cream pie!

    I think the moral of the story is that this recipe is so perfect and tasty that you could do all sorts of things and it will always taste delicious!


  41. says


    I haven’t done that myself, though would think it’s not such a big adjustment that it’s worth a try.

    Let me know how it goes if ya do it.


  42. Mary says

    Elana, Love your recipes, your website, pictures, etc! SO glad I found it!

    Question: I’ve made your pecan shortbread cookies and they’re wonderful. Now I want to try the Butter Cookies for Mary. However, my question is this–rather than roll the dough out, do you think it would work to just put a spoonful on a cookie sheet and press down with a fork or glass?


  43. says


    You could try experimenting and reformulating the recipe without butter perhaps using grapeseed oil, that is a very good butter substitute.


  44. says

    hi elana, I love the simplicity of this recipe. I’d like to make but without the butter. any reccommendations?


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