Baked vegan shortbread cookies

Best Vegan Shortbread Cookies

A delicious recipe for traditional dry shortbread cookies, vegan and dairy-free, with only 4 ingredients.

Read more: Best Vegan Shortbread Cookies

This is the fourth of our four vegan cookie baking recipes – just in time for the holiday season. This is my father-in-law’s famous recipe for traditional shortbread cookies, just altered a little bit to make it suitable for the family vegans.


It is a dry dry dry recipe (did I say dry?) with only 4 ingredients. Variations occur in traditional shortbread recipes regarding – salted vs unsalted butter, whether vanilla is added, the type of flour used and the type of sugar used. We have changed things up just a little bit – but kept the flavour and texture “original”.

Vegan “Butter”

This recipe is vegan – so we substituted Vegan Becel Margarine for butter. The margarine is salty, so there is no need to add salt to this vegan version of the recipe. If you use another brand that you prefer, and find it to be more of an “unsalted butter” – then you may want to add a pinch of salt.

More recently, we used Becel Vegan Butter sticks (2 = 1 cup). We found that this “butter worked well, but we added another tablespoon of the butter to help the batter stick together!

The Flour

This is a dry, dry, dry cookie – as my father-in-law would say. He used all purpose flour – with rice flour added as his secret ingredient. As a result, the dough is very dry – and so it is kneaded and kneaded to press it into shape!

flour in a jar
Flour – Photo by Kaboompics .com on

The Sugar

The recipe originally called for 1/2 cup of fruit sugar. Fruit sugar is a fine sugar, which dissolves instantly (sometimes available in stores as Redpath brand). It is increasingly difficult to find in local stores, so I have altered the recipe to 2/3 cup granulated white sugar – and it tastes just right with this substitute! This cookie is just the right level of sweetness – buttery but not to sweet.

Baking Shortbread

Shortbread is generally cooked slowly and at a lower temperature than other cookies, and the dough is generally unleavened (no egg, baking powder or soda). These cookies bake for an hour – so wait ’til you have time on your hands!

Vegan Shortbread Ingredients

1 cup Vegan Butter or Margarine

2 cups all purpose flour

1 cup rice flour

2/3 cups granulated white sugar

Vegan Shortbread Method

Preheat oven to 260 degrees F.

Mix “butter” with sugar, rice flour and first cup of flour. Mix gradually, and slowly add the rest of the flour. This will form a dry powder crumbly batter.

Crumbly shortbread dough after hand mixing
Crumbly shortbread dough after hand mixing

Knead the batter continually over a bowl. The batter will gradually become more sticky and shiny. This could take 10 to 20 minutes of kneading. Roll into a round ball and place on parchment lined baking sheet – flattening with a knife or rolling pin. Push any cracks in the dough that develop back together and smooth the surface.

Flatten shortbread dough
Flatten shortbread dough

Flatten the dough into an oval or circle about 1/3 inch thick. Push fork tines around the edges to decorate the sides.

Lightly prick holes all over the surface of the dough with a fork.

Lightly poke holes in dough with a fork and decorate edges
Lightly poke holes in dough with a fork and decorate edges

An alternate method is to roll into a ball within parchment paper. This reduces any “kneading anxiety” and the mess. I flatten the dough out in between parchment paper sheets and then place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. This method works and is much faster – but the cookies will be much crumblier and not as pretty!

Bake in preheated (260 degrees F in my oven) 250 to 275 degree F oven for one hour until very lightly browned.

Bake shortbread dough at 260 degrees F until lightly browned - about 1 hour
Bake shortbread dough at 260 degrees F until lightly browned – about 1 hour

Slice into smaller pieces while still hot.

Slice shortbread into smaller pieces while still warm
Slice shortbread into smaller pieces while still warm

Baked sliced shortbread cookies
Baked sliced shortbread cookies

My father in law (and now my husband) crumbled the butter and flour together and kneaded and kneaded. This recipe creates a rougher, crumbly dough to work with. His shortbread ended up being very smooth at the end, because he worked it so well by hand. If you want to process in a food processor or blender, go ahead!

Baked vegan shortbread cookies
Baked vegan shortbread cookies

Below is a printable recipe card from RecipesGenerator. Please give it a try!

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