Vegan Sugar Cookies
These vegan sugar cookies are perfect for cutting into shapes and decorating with colourful icing! They’re buttery and crisp on the edges, just like the original, but made without dairy and eggs.
Sugar cookies are a year-round treat, but if you’re like most people, you probably associate them with Christmas—no other cookie is so well-suited for cutting into Christmas trees, wreaths, and snowman shapes, or for decorating with colourful icing! If you’re on a plant-based diet, there’s no reason sugar cookies have to be off-limits; vegan sugar cookies have everything you love about the original, minus the eggs, butter, and milk!
Yep, you can even nail that buttery sugar cookie flavour by using a high-quality vegan butter. These cookies are sweet, crispy, and have the perfect texture for cut-outs. I decorated my sugar cookies for the holidays, but you can also cut them into rounds using the rim of a glass or cup and add a simple colourful glaze, or use cookie cutters to make shapes for any holiday, occasion, or interest.
Notes on Ingredients
Please note that this is important information on the ingredients and instructions and the FULL recipe with amounts and details can be found DOWN BELOW (scroll to it) in the recipe card.
For the sugar cookies:
- Vegan butter – Here’s how to make your own vegan butter if you’re not able to find it at the grocery store. If using storebought (like I usually do) I recommend Earth Balance Sticks for this or Miyokos butter.
- Organic white granulated sugar
- Vanilla extract – The vanilla flavour really shines through in sugar cookies, so choose a high-quality extract.
- Vegan milk – Use an unflavoured variety; soy, oat, almond, or anything else you like or have on hand is fine.
- All-purpose flour
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Sea salt
For the sugar cookie icing:
- Powdered sugar – Also known as confectioners’ sugar. Make sure you sift it first so you don’t have lumps in your icing!
- Vegan milk
- Lemon juice – This brightens up the flavour and adds a hint of tanginess, reminiscent of cream cheese frosting.
How to Make Vegan Sugar Cookies
If you don’t have a large block of time to make and frost the cookies, you can bake the cookies a day or two in advance and frost them later.
Prepare. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat and dust it with flour.
Mix the wet ingredients. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar for about 3 minutes on medium-low speed until the mixture is fluffy and creamy. Beat in the vanilla extract and milk for about 30 seconds.
Mix the dry ingredients. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt into a small bowl and whisk to combine.
Combine wet and dry ingredients. Add the flour mixture to the bowl of your stand mixer, with the wet ingredients. Beat slowly, then increase the speed to fully incorporate the flour; this should take about 2 minutes at most. The dough will be slightly sticky to the touch. Roll the dough into a ball.
Roll out the dough. Turn out the dough onto the prepared baking sheet and used a floured rolling pin to roll out the dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Dust the top of the dough with additional flour, then place another piece of parchment paper over it.
Chill the dough. Place the baking sheet with the rolled out dough in the refrigerator for at least an hour, or up to overnight.
Cut the cookies. Start preheating your oven to 350ºF. Peel the parchment paper from the top of the cookie dough and use cookie cutters to cut it into shapes. Collect the scraps, roll them out again, cut, and repeat until you have no more dough left. Leave the cut cookies on the parchment-lined baking sheet, arranging them so there’s at least an inch of space between them.
Bake and cool. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake the cookies for about 10 minutes. Cool on the sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.
Make the icing. Combine the powdered sugar, vegan milk, and lemon juice in a small bowl; stir until the mixture is smooth.
Decorate. Colour the icing, if desired, and use it to decorate your cookies however you like!
Tips for Success
Here are my best tips for making perfect sugar cookies!
- Keeping cookies from spreading. If you don’t want thin, misshapen cookies, it’s all about the butter. First, don’t over-beat the butter and sugar when you’re creaming them together. Too much air in the butter will cause the cookies to spread. The dough—and thus the butter inside of it—needs to be chilled before it goes in the oven. Without this step, the butter will melt immediately, deflating your cookies. If the dough warms up when you’re cutting the cookies, you can refrigerate it for another 15 minutes.
- Preventing the dough from sticking. If you need to, you can sprinkle additional flour on top of the dough before rolling it out.
- Getting the right consistency for the icing. You can add the lemon juice a drop at a time and adjust its thickness by adding more powdered sugar or thinning with additional milk or lemon juice. If you’re adding liquid food colouring, I suggest starting with a thicker icing and adding a little less milk and lemon juice.
How to Store
Vegan sugar cookies can be stored just like traditional sugar cookies—in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 to 4 days. To keep the icing perfect, you can place parchment paper between the layers.
Can I Freeze This Recipe?
You can freeze the sugar cookie dough so you have it on hand whenever you’re ready to bake, or you can freeze the baked and frosted cookies in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 3 months.
Enjoy friends! If you make this vegan sugar cookie recipe, please snap a photo and tag #jessicainthekitchen on Instagram! We’d also love it if you would leave a comment below, and give the recipe a rating! Thanks so much!
Vegan Sugar Cookies
- ½ cup vegan butter, 112g, room temperature
- ½ cup organic white granulated sugar, 100g
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons vegan milk
- 1 ½ cups flour of choice regular all-purpose flour, 180g
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- For the Sugar Cooking Icing:
- 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 tablespoon vegan milk
- 1 teaspoon lemon Juice, fresh or processed
- In a bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar for about 3 minutes on medium low speed until creamy and incorporated. You don’t want to over beat and incorporate too much air which can cause the cookies to spread.
- Add in the vanilla extract and vegan milk and blend for another 30 seconds until incorporated.
- In a small separate bowl, sift together your flour, baking powder, baking soda and sea salt until thoroughly combined.
- Add in your flour mixture into the wet mix. Start slowly then slightly increase speed to mix in the flour thoroughly into the dough, about 2 minutes max on medium low speed to thoroughly incorporate. Dough should be slightly sticky to the touch.
- Roll/mold your dough together into a ball.
- On a baking sheet, on a piece of floured parchment paper or a flour silicone mat, place the dough. Feel free to dust with a little bit of extra sifted flour on top. Using a floured rolling pin, roll out the dough to about ¼ inch thickness and no thinner than that. This helps so much when cutting out the chilled dough so you don’t over warm it trying to shape it properly. Dust with a little bit more flour, then cover the top with another layer of parchment paper.
- Place the rolled out dough on the baking sheet in your fridge for at least 1 hour. You can also chill overnight if needed.
- Remove the top layer of parchment paper. Cut out shapes with your cookie cutters. Re-roll the scraps and repeat the process to use up all of the dough. You want to ensure your dough stays cold during the process, otherwise refrigerate for another 15 minutes again.
- Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F.
- Bake for 10 minutes (the cookies will continue to cook as they cool – you don’t want to overbake them as they brown quickly if overbaked). Bake cookies of the same size together to prevent under or over baking.
- Allow the cookies to cool for about 5 minutes on the baking sheet, then move to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Once *completely cooled*, decorate as desired.
- To make the sugar cooking icing:
- Mix together the powdered sugar, vegan milk and lemon juice until fully combined (about a drop at a time). Feel free to thicken if desired with more powdered sugar or thin out with more milk or lemon juice depending on which flavor you prefer.
- My top tip would be to outline your cookies first with a slightly thicker icing, then you can add a bit more milk for the inside to fill in the outline.
- If you are using food coloring, definitely add a little less milk since liquid food colours can make the frosting more runny. If you’re using a gel food colouring you can usually leave your milk quantity as the same.
- Use this icing recipe to decorate your cookies.
Disclaimer: Although jessicainthekitchen.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. Jessicainthekitchen.com will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.