Chewy Sugar Cookies {Gluten-free}

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Chewy Sugar Cookies {Gluten-free}

If you’ve been searching for a yummy sugar cookie that is chewy in the center and crisp at the edges, then today’s recipe is for you! These delicious “drop” cookies are rolled in sugar just before baking, leaving you with a perfectly sweet, buttery cookie that won’t last long in the cookie jar! One of the best parts about making these cookies: you don’t even need a mixer!  Just grab three bowls, a whisk, and a spatula and you are ready to mix!

The recipe for chewy sugar cookies is from America’s Test Kitchen. I’m a huge fan of America’s Test Kitchen. I DVR their programs (America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Country) from PBS, and watch them while I walk on the treadmill. I love how they spend many, many hours of research and many attempts to perfect a recipe. I usually have very little that I need to tweak in recipes I get from them. I really only adapted this for gluten-free by switching to a good gluten-free flour blend and adding xanthan gum.

I’ve made two batches of these cookies already this spring. One batch I made with Jules All-Purpose Flour (includes xanthan gum) and the other batch with Gluten Free Mama’s Coconut All-Purpose Flour Blend and xanthan gum. Both tasted great!

Plates of these delicious chewy sugar cookies have vanished very quickly around here, so I can’t tell you how many days they stay great for.  The longest we’ve had any left to consume was 2 days, and they were still perfect!

Chewy Sugar Cookies {Gluten-free}

5.0 from 11 reviews
Chewy Sugar Cookies {Gluten-free}
You don't even need a mixer to make these chewy sugar cookies with crisp edges!
Recipe from:
Recipe type: Cookies
Serves: 24 cookies
  • 2 1/4 cups (11 1/4oz.) good gluten-free all-purpose flour blend
  • 1 tsp. xanthan gum (omit if using Jules or another flour blend with xanthan)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 oz) sugar
  • 2 oz. cream cheese, cut into 8 pieces
  • 6 Tbsp. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted and still warm
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil or corn oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 Tbsp. milk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • additional 1/2 cup sugar for rolling
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line 2 large cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  2. Whisk flour, xanthan gum, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. Measure 1/2 cup sugar into a small bowl; set aside for rolling dough in later.
  4. Place 1 1/2 cups sugar and cream cheese in large bowl. Melt butter in microwave, then pour over sugar and cream cheese and whisk to combine. Whisk until there are no large lumps of cream cheese left. Whisk in the oil until well blended. Add the egg, milk, and vanilla; continue to whisk until smooth.
  5. Using a rubber spatula, stir in the flour mixture until a soft, homogeneous dough forms.
  6. At this point, I find it helpful to put the dough in the refrigerator for 15-30 minutes, so it isn't quite so soft to work with.
  7. Use a cookie scoop to scoop balls of dough that are approximately 2 Tablespoons in size .
  8. Roll the dough balls in the bowl of sugar.
  9. Place dough balls on lined cookie sheets, leaving adequate space between dough balls. I ended up with 12 cookie dough balls per sheet, and 2 sheets worth of dough balls, totaling 24 cookies.
  10. Using bottom of a drinking glass, flatten the dough balls until 2 inches in diameter. If you choose or forget this step, the cookies will stay domed, and will still be chewy, but softer.
  11. Sprinkle tops with additional sugar that is left over from the small dish of rolling sugar.
  12. Bake 1 tray at a time in a 350° oven for 11-13 minutes, or until the edges are set and just beginning to brown.
  13. Cool cookies on the cookie sheets for a few minutes, then gently transfer the cookies to a cooling rack. These really do taste best when they've had a chance to cool completely to room temperature so you can enjoy the crisp edges and chewy centers.
As always, be sure to double-check all of your ingredients to ensure they are gluten-free.


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  1. says

    No wonder you have to do the treadmill, Michelle, with all these yummy treats around! 😉 Thanks for sharing this recipe – it looks divine!

  2. says

    Can I start drooling yet? These look so good! I’m going to make them for my friend who has gluten allergies. Which gluten free baking mix do you recommend? I usually use Pamela’s, but if there is a better one out there that would be good to know. :)

  3. vanessa says

    The cookies came out amazing! I really enjoyed them, so did my family witch are non-celiacs. Thank you :)

  4. says

    Have you any idea how well these might roll out and cut? Looking to do some gf decorated sugar cookies and am in search of a recipe that will hold its shape well.

    • says

      Beth, I wouldn’t recommend these for rolling and cutting. They just aren’t that type. They are a delicate, crinkly, chewy sugar cookie. I’m still working on getting the perfect roll-out cookie for decorating. I’ll post when I get it just perfect!

      • beth says

        Thank you so much for your reply. I look forward to that recipe. If I should happen upon a good gf roll-out sugar recipe, I’ll be sure to share.

  5. Becky says

    Wow!! Just discovered this recipe because I wanted to make christmas-themed sugar cookies for my coeliac boyfriend and they turned out AMAZING!!
    Didn’t roll out the dough in sugar because I wanted to add icing in the end but rolling them in more gluten free flour worked just as fine!

    Brilliant job! Thanks so much for sharing this!

  6. Cris says

    “These are amazing, Mom!” That’s all the confirmation we need sometimes! The first tray of 20 cookies was almost gone before the second tray came out of the oven. I’m envisioning holiday trays filled with these cookies, thinly glazed with lemon, dark & white chocolate, vanilla, etc., then topped with toffee chips, crushed candy canes, toasted chopped hazelnuts, etc., etc……… This cookie could be the basis for an awesome assemblage of holiday cookies! BTW, I use about 1:1 ratio of Pamela’s Pancake/Baking Mix and Pamela’s Bread Mix, no additional leavening or xanthan.

    • says

      You have me drooling with your description of using these for your holiday trays with those glazes! Mmmm!
      Thanks so much for your comment and including your tip about the flour/mix mixture you are using successfully. That really helps others that are wanting to try these.
      Hope you have a delicious holiday season!

  7. says

    America’s Test Kitchen is my life! But I get sad when I can’t make things on there because of food intolerances. So this post made my day! Can’t wait to try this recipe. I’m new to all this gluten free business so I am on the lookout for yummy recipes. :)

    • says

      I hope you’ll have a chance to make these soon! Did you see that America’s Test Kitchen is coming out with a gluten-free cookbook in early 2014? I can’t wait!
      Try not to get overwhelmed with all these gluten-free adjustments. Feel free to email me if you need any tips or suggestions. Trust me, it does get easier as time goes on. ~Michelle

  8. renee says

    I just made this recipe gluten free yesterday and my dough was way to sticky! I was thinking it was because I didn’t have xanthan gum like you added or I needed more flour?! Any suggestions! I love ATK and was so excited for this recipe except my cookies ended up too big (my fault) and the bottom was more brown then I wanted. I will definitely make these again tonight with your adjustments! thanks so much!

    • says

      Yes, you definitly need to use xanthan gum or guar gum in these cookies (and really most all cookies, brownies, cakes, breads, etc.) So when you make them again, make sure you use that, and also make sure to chill the dough like I recommend in the instructions. That will make the dough easier to roll.
      Also make sure you are baking them on parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, as those both help prevent that browning on the bottom.
      Good luck to you in all your baking! Let me know if you have any other questions.

    • says

      I haven’t tried subbing the cream cheese with anything else, but I looked around online and several sites recommended these as good substitutes for cream cheese: 1 cup pureed cottage cheese OR 1 cup plain yogurt, strained overnight in a cheesecloth

      So your greek yogurt might just work. Strain off any liquid and give it a try. Please come back and let me know how it works!

  9. says

    My daughter’s classmate is having a cookie decorating party and I alllllmost RSVP-ed no, because where was I going to find a delicious GF sugar cookie recipe? Here! Thank you so much. We followed the recipe exactly (with the exception of subbing coconut oil) and they are perfect.

    • says

      I’m so glad that these worked well for you. I bet your daughter was thrilled to be able to go to the party and have her own cookie to decorate!! This comment makes me so happy! Thanks for letting me know that the coconut oil worked well in this recipe as well! Happy Baking!

  10. Raven says

    I made these the other day; I had half the batter left over and made the rest two days later and they still baked amazing. They taste great! so much better than any sugar cookie recipe I’ve had that had gluten I was very surprised. Thanks for the recipe it is honestly amazing!

  11. Diana says

    Has anyone substituted honey or maple syrup for the sugar?
    If so, did they turn out? What was the ratio you used?
    Thank you

  12. Rachel B. says

    WHY OH WHY OH WHY, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS SLIM AND FIT, WOULD YOU POST A RECIPE LIKE THIS??????? They are wonderful. Hands down the best gf cookie I’ve ever had. Thank you very much for the recipe!

  13. Lynne says

    Hi Michelle!
    Since going gluten-free (2 years now) I have tried all kinds of baking–usually having less than successful results. Just want to let you know that this is the BEST gluten free recipe I have ever encountered!! My daughter (also gluten free) ate two fresh from the oven and still warm and she normally will only nibble at my baked treats. I used my own flour mix AND divided the dough in half and added one and a half squares of unsweetened melted chocolate to one part. Then I scooped some of each doughs to make sort of “marble” cookies, although you could also easily make these into “black and whites”.
    No one could possible know that this amazing recipe is gluten free! Thank you so much!

    • says

      Thanks so much for your comment! I’m so glad to hear that these were a success and you and your daughter both loved them! We really like these too! I love your idea to use the dough to make marble cookies and “black and whites”! Happy Baking Lynne! ~Michelle

  14. Jaime says

    Does it make a difference what kind of milk (skim, whole, etc?) you use in this recipe? Thank you! I’m excited to try making these!

  15. Marilyn says

    Wonderful recipe! I whipped these up yesterday and they were gone before bedtime. We are dairy free so I thought i would share my substitutions in case anyone else may need them. I did a 1:1 substitution of the cream cheese for tofutti, and I replaced 50% of the butter with ghee, and added water for the other 50%. I also left the dough in the fridge for an hour to firm up the ghee. Simply the perfect cookie.

  16. Paige says

    I made these tonight but they all ran together and became a huge, thin slab of cookie. The only thing I did different was I substituted the xanthan gum for ground flax seed and water and used an Exo pan. :(

    • Tobey says

      My 11 yr old made these under the direction of my mom. They were perfect! She even frosted them! Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful recipe. We will make these again.

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