Vegan Shortbread Cookies

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.

A stack of vegan shortbread cookies sits in a front of a bowl of sprinkles and a plate with more cookies.

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!

Key Ingredients

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.

Here are the ingredients you’ll need for this recipe, including substitution ideas:

  • 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.

Storage Tips

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.

A plate of vanilla cookies sits in front of a bowl of sprinkles.

Scottish Shortbread

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.

A hand holds a vegan shortbread cookie with a bite taken out. There are more cookies in the background.

Marly’s Tips

Make vegan lemon shortbread cookies by adding a teaspoon of freshly-grated lemon zest to the batter.

Shortbread Cookie Topping Ideas

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:

Looking down on a plate of shortbread cookies. There is a bowl of sprinkles next to it.

Vegan Christmas Treats

Yes, this is the best vegan shortbread cookies recipe! Now you’re ready for even more tasty vegan Christmas treats:

A hand holds a shortbread cookie with a bite taken out.

Vegan Shortbread Cookies

These easy vegan shortbread cookies are made without eggs or dairy (vegan), making them a perfect treat for everyone at your family table. It's a festive holiday treat that's delicious too!
5 from 5 votes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 27 minutes
Servings: 24 cookies
Calories: 110kcal


  • 1 cup vegan butter
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (see note)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Sprinkles for decoration


  • 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.
    Looking at a beater full of creamy vegan butter and sugar whipped together in a stand mixer.
  • Stop the mixer and then add vanilla, vinegar, and salt. Beat again until just combined.
    A hand holds a bowl of vanilla, pouring it into a mixing bowl with whipped butter.
  • 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.
    Flour is being added to a stand mixer bowl with whipped butter.
  • 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.
    A hand holds a fork, pressing down on a cookie dough ball on a baking sheet.
  • 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.

Recommended Equipment

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Adding vinegar to the dough adds complexity of flavor.
Calories: 110kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.04g | Sodium: 110mg | Potassium: 14mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 360IU | Calcium: 2mg | Iron: 0.5mg

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.

5 Responses to Vegan Shortbread Cookies

  1. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyErren Hart Reply

    5 stars
    Such a great recipe and your photos are beautiful!

  2. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyTracy Henry Reply

    How many cookies does this recipe make???

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Hi Tracy. It makes about 2 to 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

  3. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyDarris Reply

    5 stars
    I love shortbread and these sound amazing! Any suggestions for a vodka replacement or can I add rice milk or eliminate altogether?

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Hi Darris. I used vodka in the recipe to make the dough more manageable. I use a similar trick with pie crusts, because the vodka doesn’t add flavor to the crust, and it cooks out while baking. However, if you prefer not to use vodka, you can simply leave it out or replace it with water (or your suggestion of rice milk is a good one too) until you achieve a dough that is workable. Hope that helps!

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