Gluten-Free Shortbread Recipe

Shortbread recipe - Dr. Axe

Shortbread cookies are some of the most common ones around. They’re simple to make, make a great blank canvas for frosting and kids love ’em. But traditional shortbread recipes are a no-no if you’re avoiding gluten — until now. This gluten-free shortbread recipe means you can enjoy this cookie treat without repercussions.

What Is Shortbread?

Shortbread’s name is deceiving. It’s not a bread at all, but instead a cookie made from white sugar, butter and flour. It originated in Scotland, where shortbread was originally made from dough that was left over from bread making.

As you can imagine, a cookie made from sugar, butter and flour isn’t the healthiest for you. Even though store-bought varieties like Walker’s shortbread actually stick to just four ingredients (they add salt), white sugar and white flour are two of the worst ingredients you can eat. White flour has no nutritional value and high and all that added sugar is sure to send your blood sugar levels rising, then crashing.

How to Make Gluten-Free Shortbread

Gluten-free shortbread recipe - Dr. Axe

This gluten-free shortbread recipe is a much better alternative to what you can buy in stores. For starters, we stick to a Paleo flour blend, so if you can’t eat gluten, you can still enjoy these shortbread cookies. I also use maple sugar, which is made from maple tree sap, to keep this shortbread refined sugar-free.

Adding vanilla adds flavor while the coconut milk means the dough is nice and easy to work with. After making this gluten-free shortbread recipe, you’ll never buy these cookies at the store again!

Start by mixing the flour and baking powder, then set it aside.

In a separate bowl, combine the butter and sugar.

Mix the two together with a hand mixer until the butter and sugar are nice and fluffy. Then add in the coconut milk, vanilla extract and egg, mixing the ingredients until they’re well combined.

Slowly add the flour mixture, taking care to mix the ingredients evenly. Then for the dough into the ball and stick it in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.

While the dough chills, preheat the oven to 350 F. When the 20 minutes are up, shape the dough into little circles, keeping them about 1½ inches in diameter and about ⅛–¼ inch thick.

Bake the gluten-free shortbread cookies for 10–12 minutes and enjoy!

Total Time

Prep: 5 minutes; Total: 35 minutes


Makes 24-28 cookies

Diet Type



  • 3 cups gluten-free Paleo flour blend
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup maple sugar
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoon full-fat coconut milk or almond milk


  1. Mix flour and baking powder and set aside.
  2. Mix butter and sugar with a hand mixer, in a separate bowl, until fluffy.
  3. Add in almond milk, egg, vanilla extract, mixing until well-combined.
  4. Slowly add in flour mixture, mixing evenly.
  5. Form dough into a ball and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  7. Shape dough into circles about 1½ inches in diameter and about ⅛-¼ inch thick.
  8. Bake for 10–12 minutes.

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  1. Kelly on

    This recipe looks good. However, I don’t know what is included in the Paleo flour blend. Do you have a recipe for that or can I go to the store and buy a Paleo flour blend?

    • Dr. Josh Axe on

      Here are the egg substitutions I recommend: one egg = ½ mashed banana, ¼ cup applesauce, 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed meal + 3 tablespoons water; 1 tablespoon chia + 3 tablespoons water (allow both to sit for 10-15 minutes to thicken). For the butter, ¾ cup avocado should work! I hope this helps.

  2. Jerome Barry on

    Here’s a list of Paleo-friendly gluten-free flours:

    Tapioca flour.
    Arrowroot flour.
    Coconut flour.
    Plantain flour.
    Sweet Potato flour.
    Almond flour and all nut flours.
    Pumpkin flour and all winter squash flours.
    Cabbage flour and all vegetable flours.
    And also Cricket flour.

  3. Joyce Kay Michelson on

    love this recipe. Stevia instead of maple sugar (hard to get)? Can I use this recipe as a crust in a pie tin or for bars?

  4. TL on

    I don’t care for most gluten free flour blends, including Bob’s Red Mill, because they use rice flour. Ever since I discovered that organic foods aren’t tested for heavy metals & rice from China has heavy metals, I try to avoid rice flour. Here’s a blend that I recently found that works well. However, some recipes might need an addtion egg due to the coconut flour.

    1-1⁄2 cup almond flour; 1 cup arrowroot flour; 1 cup coconut flour; 1⁄2 cup tapioca flour


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