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The Best Vegan Christmas Cookies

These lovely decorated vegan Christmas cookies are here to bring in the holiday cheer! The whole family will love these festive vegan sugar cookies made with just a handful of easy to find ingredients. Use this dairy free, egg free vegan sugar cookie recipe with your favorite holiday cookie cutters, and decorate your creations with a simple vegan sugar icing for a festive touch.

Vegan Christmas cookie recipe

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There are a lot of vegan Christmas cookie varieties out there, but both kids and adults would agree that the decorated vegan cut out sugar cookies are the ones we look forward to the most during the holiday season.

Bring them to a holiday cookie exchange, and they’ll definitely disappear first. Ask your kid if they want to help cutting out Christmas cookie shapes with you, and they’ll drop whatever they’re doing for some Christmas baking fun.

Besides looking pretty, the perfect vegan sugar cookies need to be sturdy enough not to break easily. Nobody wants to find a bunch of broken cookie pieces in the cookie box they’ve been gifted.

At the same time, you don’t want the cookies (or the sugar icing) to be so hard that they’d bring to mind that old cliché about cookies with the texture of cardboard.

Finally, and probably most importantly, – you want your vegan cookies to taste good! It’s really nice when holiday cookies go beyond the generic sweetness and actually have a nice flavor.

This is why I believe that today’s recipe makes the BEST vegan sugar cookies you’ll ever try! They check off all of the above points and then some.

What I Love About These Vegan Christmas Sugar Cookies

My easy vegan sugar cookies:

  • Are made with simple ingredients you’ll find at any grocery store;
  • Keep their shape perfectly during baking without spreading out;
  • Taste deliciously buttery, with just the right amount of sweetness;
  • Have a nice, soft texture, yet hold well without breaking easily;
  • Are lots of fun to make both for adults and kids;
  • Make a perfect holiday treat to enjoy yourself or give to others;
  • Don’t go stale quickly – great for making ahead of time!

If you’ve never baked sugar cookies without dairy or eggs, you’ll be pleasantly surprised how well these dairy-free, eggless sugar cookies hold together, and how delicious they taste.

Vegan Christmas cookies for decorating

Want to to see more fun decorated vegan sugar cookies? Check out my recipes for vegan Halloween cookies and vegan Easter cookies!

Ingredients of Vegan Cut Out Sugar Cookies

(See ingredient amounts and the full recipe in the printable recipe card below.)

For the Cookies:

Vegan Butter. The must-have ingredient that ensures the lovely buttery flavor. I’ve successfully used the Olive Oil Plant Butter sticks by Country Crock as well as Melt butter sticks. Both are dairy free, nut free, and have a neutral flavor.

I know that a lot of dairy-free and vegan people use Earth Balance butter sticks, but I find that sometimes they have an off-putting flavor. (See ingredient substitutions below for more options.)

Don’t use spreadable butter: it has more liquid components and less fat than butter sticks, so it won’t yield the same results.

Vegan White Sugar. Did you know that not all white sugar is vegan? The conventional white sugar is often filtered with bone char, i.e. charred animal bones.

The solution: look for organic white sugarapparently the USDA requires all organic sugar to be produced without contact with animal products. It might be a bit off-white, but ultimately it won’t make a huge difference in cookie color.

Brands like Wholesome, Sugar In The Raw, Anthony’s, Kirkland Signature all make vegan-friendly organic white sugar.

As for vegan powdered sugar, look for it from brands like Wholesome or Judee’s.

Non-dairy Milk. Feel free to use your favorite plant-based milk. My go-to choices are oat or almond milk.

Pure Vanilla Extract. Make sure to use real vanilla – it’s more flavorful + guaranteed vegan.

Almond Extract. This is optional, but I highly recommend it as it adds a delicious aroma and enhances the flavor of cookies.

Skip if you need your cookies to be nut-free and/or if you’ll be using peppermint extract in the icing.

Unbleached All-purpose Flour. My go-to baking flour type. It’s not gluten free since it’s made from wheat. (For more options, see ingredient substitutions below.)

Cornstarch. While optional, I recommend using cornstarch here as it will make the cookies more soft. Besides, it binds to the liquids in the dough, which keeps the cookies from spreading.

Baking Powder. My go-to leavening ingredient whenever I don’t want my cookies to spread too much – or at all, as in this recipe. Here’s a fascinating article about the science of baking powder vs baking soda when baking cookies.

Salt. A pinch of salt “brightens” the sweet flavors of baked goods, so I always make sure to use it.

Vegan roll out sugar cookies Christmas

For the Sugar Icing:

Powdered Sugar. The base ingredient for my sugar icing. Like I said above, not all white sugar is vegan, so make sure to use vegan-friendly powdered sugar brands.

Non-dairy Milk. Use the same non-dairy milk as you did to make the cookies.

Vanilla Extract. Takes the flavor of the sugar icing from “meh” to “wow!”.

Almond OR Peppermint Extract. Both of these will enhance the icing flavor, but I don’t recommend using them together. The peppermint (not mint!) extract will add an extra touch of Christmas-y joy.

Vegan Gel Food Coloring. Gel food coloring adds color without adding extra liquid to the consistency of your icing. I love these vegan gel food colors by Ann Clark.

Additional Decorations – crushed candy canes, vegan sprinkles, icing sugar, etc. If you want to take your cookie decorating beyond just the icing, feel free to use any of these to your liking.

Ingredient Substitutions

Instead of vegan butter, feel free to use softened (not melted!) coconut oil.

If your coconut oil is too hard, let the jar sit in the sunlight or by the warm stove until it feels soft – think the consistency of a softened butter stick

If your coconut oil is melted, measure out the amount you need, and put it in the fridge for 10-20 min, or until it gets firmer.

Instead of white sugar, feel free to use raw cane sugar – it’s unrefined and unfiltered (no bone char was used), but it will darken the color of your cookies.

Want to keep them lighter? Beet sugar is another white sugar option that’s vegan.

Instead of all-purpose white flour, fell free to use whole wheat pastry flour to add more fiber.

Gluten free option: although I haven’t tested this recipe with gluten free flour, you may be ok using your favorite all-purpose gluten free flour (let me know if you try it!).

Vegan cut out Christmas cookies

Equipment Needed

Stand mixer with a whisk and a dough hook attachments OR a hand-held mixer

Silicone spatula

Large mixing bowl

Glass measuring cups + spoons

Plastic wrap

Dough rolling mat

Rolling pin

Holiday-themed cookie cutters – Christmas or Hanukkah

Insulated baking sheet

Parchment paper

Cookie cooling racks

Cookie Decorating:

Food-grade squeeze bottles

Glass measuring cups

Small glass bowls or ramekins, for mixing individual colors

Cookie Baking Tips and Tricks

How to Make Sure Your Vegan Cut Out Sugar Cookies Don’t Spread in the Oven:

1. When softening the butter, don’t let it get too soft. Vegan butter will soften quicker than its non-vegan equivalent.

As soon as it’s soft enough for you to make a dent when you press it with a finger, it’s good to go.

2. Use the correct proportion of flour to butter. If there isn’t enough vegan butter in the cookie dough, the flour won’t be able to hold the butter fat once it starts melting in the oven, so the cookies will start spreading.

If the dough is sticking to your hands as you’re mixing it, it doesn’t have enough flour. Sprinkle some additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it’s smooth and doesn’t stick to your hands anymore.

If the dough looks crumbly and doesn’t form into a ball easily, it has too much flour. Fix this: add non-dairy milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, then mix it in with a silicone spatula until there are no crumbs or loose flour left.

3. Chill the dough in the fridge for at least 2 hours. The colder the dough, the longer it will take for the butter to melt during baking.

By the time it does, the rest of the ingredients will have already baked long enough to let it compromise the cookie structure.

Pro tip: after you’ve cut out the cookies, pop them in the fridge for 10 minutes before putting them in the oven.

4. Use the right proportion of baking powder and flour. Too much baking powder, and the cookies will puff up and spread more than you’d like during baking. For this recipe I’m using the proportion of 3 cups of flour : 3/4 teaspoon baking powder.

Easy Christmas vegan sugar cookies with icing

How to Prevent Burnt Cookie Bottoms

The easiest trick for preventing your vegan Christmas sugar cookies from getting burnt bottoms is to bake them on insulated cookie sheets.

I’ve baked lots of side-by-side batches of cookies, and noticed that the ones baked on an insulated cookie sheet bake more evenly throughout, while cookies baked on a regular, single-layer baking tray start getting burnt on the bottom before the cookies are set.

The minor downside of insulated sheets is that it takes the cookies a bit longer to bake, but only by 1-2 minutes.

How to Make the Best Vegan Christmas Cookies

(This is an outline of the baking process. For an ingredients list and step-by-step instructions, see the printable recipe card below.)

In a bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, cream together softened vegan butter and sugar on medium-high speed until soft and fluffy (alternatively, use an electric hand mixer). Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Add non-dairy milk, vanilla and almond extracts (if using). Continue mixing until well incorporated.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt.

Change the mixer attachment to a dough hook, and add half of the flour mixture into the wet ingredients. Mix on low speed until mostly incorporated.

Add the rest of the flour and continue mixing until a dough ball forms around the hook, and no loose flour is left. (You can also do this with a wooden spoon instead of a mixer.)

The dough is done when it looks soft and smooth, and doesn’t feel sticky to the touch. If the dough looks sticky OR dry and crumbly, see troubleshooting tips in the post here.

Divide the dough into two equal size balls, and flatten them into discs. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Once the time is up, remove the plastic wrap, and roll out the dough on a lightly floured clean work surface to about 1/3 inch thickness.

Cut out the cookies using your favorite holiday cookie cutters. Arrange them on two insulated baking sheets, each lined with a piece of parchment paper, leaving at least 1 inch in between each cookie.

Refrigerate the cookies while the oven is preheating to 350°F (about 10 minutes).

Place the oven rack in the middle of the oven, and bake the cookies in two batches for 11-12 minutes, one baking sheet at a time.

Don’t overbake – the cookies are done when they still look pale and feel soft to the touch. They’ll firm up as they cool.

Repeat this step to bake the second batch of the cookies.

Cool the cookies on a wire rack until they reach room temperature.

Feel free to eat them as is, or decorate with sugar icing, sprinkles, crushed candy canes, etc. to your liking.

How to Decorate Christmas Cookies with Sugar Icing

Combine non-dairy milk, vanilla, almond/peppermint extracts in a measuring cup. Add powdered sugar to a separate bowl. DO NOT COMBINE ALL OF THE SUGAR WITH THE WET INGREDIENTS AT ONCE!

To make each individual icing color, you need to work in batches. Use separate small bowls (I used ramekins) to make each color, starting with the most dominant one (white in the case of my vegan holiday cookies).

Don’t make more than one color at a time, or the icing will dry up.

Start by making the white color icing. Combine 1-2 tablespoons powdered sugar and a a few drops of the liquid ingredient mix in a small bowl. If you need the white icing to have an extra bright color, add some white food coloring.

Keep adding more sugar/liquid mix until the icing is rather thick, not runny. You’ll use this thick icing to outline the edges of the cookie designs first.

Once you’re done the outlining, add a bit more liquid mix to make the icing runny. Use it to “color in” the cookies that need it. (Example: the white base of the snowflake cookies).

If you’re adding crushed candy canes or vegan sprinkles, drop them into the icing while it’s still wet.

Continue the same way with the rest of the colors/decorations.

If adding additional decorative accents with the icing (example: the colorful “ornaments” on the Christmas trees), wait until the base layer of icing is dry.

Let the icing dry completely (2 hours or longer) before stacking the cookies or packing them into bags.

If stacking the cookies in boxes or cookie jars: use parchment or wax paper to separate each layer (this will avoid messing up the design).

For troubleshooting tips when decorating vegan holiday cookies with sugar icing, see my post with my vegan Halloween cookie recipe.

Vegan Christmas sugar cookies no spread

How to Store Vegan Sugar Cookies

Store decorated vegan sugar cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for 7-10 days. Make sure to use parchment or wax paper between the layers of cookies to prevent their design from getting smudged.

Freezing baked sugar cookies: DO NOT DECORATE THE COOKIES FIRST. Wait till they cool off completely, then flash freeze them on a baking sheet until cold and hard.

Wrap the cookies individually in plastic wrap. Place them in an airtight freezer bag, and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. If you plan to defrost the cookies in less than 3-4 weeks, you can skip wrapping them in plastic wrap first.

Thawing frozen vegan sugar cookies: Place them in the fridge to thaw overnight, then put them on the kitchen counter to bring to room temperature.

Decorating defrosted sugar cookies: wait until the cookies are fully defrosted before decorating them with icing. Follow the steps outlined in the recipe to decorate the cookies.

More Vegan Cookie Recipes from the Blog:

Vegan Oatmeal Raisin Cookies with Aquafaba

Vegan Peanut Butter and Pumpkin Cookies (oil-free)

Vegan Banana Snickerdoodle Cookies (oil-free)

Yield: 2 dozen

The BEST Vegan Christmas Cookies

Cut out vegan Christmas cookies with icing

These delicious vegan Christmas cookies are here to take your holiday cheer to the next level! These simple cut out vegan sugar cookies won't spread during baking in the oven. Perfect for decorating with a simple sugar icing to create your favorite holiday designs. Vegan, egg free, dairy free, with a nut free option.

Prep Time 13 minutes
Dough Refrigerating Time 2 hours
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 25 minutes

Ingredients

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1 cup vegan butter* (2 sticks), softened
  • 1 cup vegan white cane sugar
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk (I use oat milk)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract (optional; avoid almond extract for nut-free cookies / if using peppermint in the icing)

Dry Ingredients:

  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Sugar Icing:

  • 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1-2 Tbsp non-dairy milk**, plus more if needed
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp almond OR peppermint extract (optional**)
  • Vegan gel food coloring
  • Crushed candy canes, vegan sprinkles, etc. (optional)

Instructions

MAKING THE COOKIES

  1. In a bowl of a stand mixer with a wire whisk attachment, cream together softened vegan butter and sugar until soft and fluffy (alternatively, use a hand-held electric mixer). Scrape down the sides as needed.
  2. Add 1/4 cup non-dairy milk, vanilla and almond extracts (if using), mix to incorporate.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Change the mixer attachment to a dough hook, and add half of the flour mixture into the wet ingredients. Mix on low speed. Add the rest of the flour and continue mixing until a dough ball forms around the hook, and no loose flour is left. (You can also do this with a wooden spoon instead of a mixer.) The dough is done when it looks soft and smooth, and doesn't feel sticky to the touch. (See dough texture troubleshooting tips in the post above.)
  5. Divide the dough into two equal size balls, and flatten them into discs. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  6. Once the time is up, remove the plastic wrap, and roll out the dough on a lightly floured clean work surface to about 1/3 inch thickness.
  7. Cut out the cookies using your favorite holiday cookie cutters. Arrange them on two insulated baking sheets, each lined with a piece of parchment paper, leaving at least 1 inch in between.
  8. Refrigerate the cookies while the oven is preheating to 350°F.
  9. Bake the cookies for 11-12 minutes, one baking sheet at a time. Don't overbake - the cookies are done when they still look pale and feel soft to the touch. They'll firm up as they cool. Repeat this step to bake the second batch of the cookies.
  10. Cool the cookies on a cooling rack until they reach room temperature. Feel free to eat them as is, or decorate with sugar icing, sprinkles, crushed candy canes, etc. to your liking.

DECORATING THE COOKIES

  1. Combine non-dairy milk, vanilla, almond/peppermint extracts in a measuring cup. Add powdered sugar to a separate bowl. DO NOT COMBINE ALL OF THE SUGAR WITH THE WET INGREDIENTS AT ONCE!
  2. To make each individual icing color, you need to work in batches. Use separate small bowls (I use ramekins) to make each color, starting with the most dominant one (white in my case). Don't make more than one color at a time, or the icing will dry up.
  3. Start by making the white color icing. Combine 1-2 tablespoons powdered sugar and a a few drops of the liquid ingredient mix in a small bowl. If you need the white icing to have an extra bright color, add some white food coloring. Keep adding more sugar/liquid mix until the icing is rather thick, not runny. You'll use this thick icing to outline the edges of the cookie designs first.
  4. Once you're done the outlining, add a bit more liquid mix to make the icing runny. Use it to "color in" the cookies that need it. (Example: the white base of the snowflake cookies).
  5. If you're adding crushed candy canes or vegan sprinkles, drop them into the icing while it's still wet.
  6. Continue the same way with the rest of the colors/decorations.
  7. If adding additional decorative accents with the icing (example: the colorful "ornaments" on the Christmas trees), wait until the base layer of icing is dry.
  8. Let the icing dry completely (2 hours or longer) before stacking the cookies or packing them into bags.

Notes

*I used Country Crock Plant Butter Sticks with Olive Oil. More butter stick options: Earth Balance, Melt, Miyoko's (not nut-free). Don't use spreadable butter: it has more liquid ingredients and less fat than butter sticks, so it won't yield the same results.

**For regular sugar cookie flavor, use milk + vanilla + almond extract. For peppermint flavor, use milk + vanilla + peppermint extract.

Recommended Products

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

24

Serving Size:

1 cookie

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 196Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 2gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 0mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 0gSugar: 13gProtein: 2g

Please note that the provided nutritional information data is approximate.

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I hope you enjoy my vegan Christmas cookies recipe as much as we do in our family!

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author avatar
Alina Zavatsky - Vegan Runner Eats
Alina first made a switch to a vegan diet in 2013 to optimize her athletic performance as a marathon runner. Eventually she embraced veganism as a way to be kinder to fellow living beings and the environment. Alina hopes that this blog helps its readers on their path to becoming vegan and making this world a better place.

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