Vegan & Paleo Iced Sugar Cookies

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These Almond Flour Sugar Cookies are pillowy-soft with a melt-in-your-mouth icing on top. With a hint of almond extract, I’m totally hooked!

paleo iced sugar cookies with sprinkles on top

Now that my son is old enough to be aware of cookies, I wanted to make a cookie that wouldn’t leave him bouncing off the walls. As a two-year-old, he does enough of that without any added sugar!

These cookies are my solution– they’re naturally sweetened with maple syrup and are made with almond meal for a protein-rich cookie that actually leaves you feeling full after you’ve had one or two. (Because if I’m being honest, I usually eat two at a time…)

cutting out shapes from sugar cookie dough with a cookie cutter

I love how soft they stay in the middle, but if you want a firmer cookie you can always bake them longer than suggested below.

Refrigerator Sugar Cookie Dough

I also tried rolling the dough up in parchment paper for a slice-and-bake cookie that you’d find in your grocer’s refrigerated section, and these work great that way, too!

sugar cookie dough being sliced and put on a cookie sheet

I love having some cookie dough on hand around this time of the year, so I hope it’s a convenient option for you, too.

Vegan Iced Sugar Cookies

For a vegan cookie, use this Coconut Sugar Icing instead of the Honey Buttercream mentioned below.

iced sugar cookies

vegan sugar cookies with icing and sprinkles
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4.92 from 24 votes

Almond Flour Sugar Cookies (Vegan & Paleo)

These Almond Flour Sugar Cookies are naturally gluten-free, and they taste even better than the traditional versions. Includes two frosting options!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword vegan sugar cookies
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 12
Calories 168kcal



  • 1 1/2 cups almond meal
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot or tapioca starch
  • 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
  • 5 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of sea salt

Honey Buttercream:

  • 1 tablespoon Nutiva red palm oil shortening
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (not melted)
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot or tapioca starch
  • 2 tablespoons (thick) raw honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract


  • Preheat the oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large mixing bowl stir together the almond meal and tapioca starch, then add in the rest of the ingredients. Stir well until a sticky, uniform dough is formed.
  • At this point, you can drop the dough by tablespoons onto the pan and flatten them with your fingers. (The dough is very sticky, so you might want to wet your hands with water to easily press the dough.) These cookies spread just a little bit, not a lot, so try to shape them into the size you want them to turn out.
  • Alternatively, you can freeze the dough for 30 minutes and then roll it out on parchment paper to create cookie-cutter shapes. Sprinkle the dough with extra arrowroot to help prevent sticking to your rolling pin, and dip the cookie cutters in arrowroot, too. Roll the dough into 1/4-inch thickness for cookies that are firm on the outside and soft in the middle. The thicker your dough, the softer the cookie will be in the center.
  • Bake the cookies at 350F for 12 to 14 minutes, until the edges are dry to the touch. The browner the edges get, the crispier the cookies will be, so I pull mine out before the edges brown at all. (But, I like mine pretty soft in the center.) You can play around with your baking time to get your desired texture, but keep in mind that these cookies will firm up even more as they cool. Allow the cookies to cool on the pan completely before frosting, at least 30 minutes.
  • To make the Honey Buttercream, combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl and squish them together with a spatula. This frosting will not harden like traditional sugar cookie icing, but it should spread easily and not melt at room temperature, thanks to the use of shortening and arrowroot. Spread the frosting on the cooled cookies, or use an icing bag with a decorating tip to pipe it around the edges. I also used a few naturally-dyed red sprinkles (this company uses beet juice for coloring!) to bring these festive cookies to a holiday party last night. They were a total hit!



If you want to make this dough ahead of time and store it in your fridge for a slice-and-bake cookie, I'd recommend making a double batch of this recipe. That amount makes a thicker roll, so the slices you cut off will already be the size of a normal cookie. (One big roll like that makes about 24 cookies.) Prepare the dough as directed above, but instead of baking it right away you'll plop the dough in the middle of a large piece of parchment paper and use your hands to shape it into a log about 12-inches long. Roll it up in the parchment paper and twist the edges to seal them. (If you're going to store this in the freezer, you could place the roll in a freezer bag to prevent freezer burn.) Chill for at least 8 hours before slicing, but this dough can keep for a week in the fridge like that, or at least 6 months in the freezer. To bake, slice the dough into 1/4-inch slices, and arrange them an inch apart on a lined baking sheet. Bake at 350F for 14 minutes. You'll notice that the sliced cookies don't spread much at all, so be sure to shape them with your hands if you want a different result. (You can also still do cookie cutter shapes with this dough if you prefer, too!)


Calories: 168kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 39mg | Potassium: 3mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 1000IU | Calcium: 80mg | Iron: 2mg
Per Serving: Calories: 168, Fat: 11g, Carbohydrates: 14g, Fiber: 2g, Protein: 4g

Recipe Notes:

As always, if you experiment with any substitutions please leave a comment below letting us know how it worked for you.


Reader Feedback: How do you like your cookies– soft or crispy? 

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These look yummy! Do you use almond meal from blanched almonds?

    Megan Gilmore

    No, I used almond meal from ground whole almonds. Blanched almond flour might result in an oilier, shortbread-like cookie.


      What brand do you like to use? Thank you 🙂


These look and sound amazing! I can’t wait to try making these with my kids. Is there anything I can sub the arrowroot or tapioca starch for? I have all the other ingredients on hand and am hoping to bypass a trip to the store 😉

    Megan Gilmore

    If you have cornstarch at home, that might work, but I have’t tried it myself!

Kathleen Schell

Can I use the remnants of almonds that are leftover when I make almond milk?

    Megan Gilmore

    No, that will not give you the same result at all. Almond pulp leftover from almond milk has most of the fat removed and so it bakes very, very differently. I have a recipe for using almond pulp in my cookbook, as well as two on my blog– be sure to search for “almond pulp” in my recipe search bar to find them!

    Kathleen Schell

    Thanks Megan


These sound yummy! Where do you find the Nutiva red palm oil shortening?


This recipe and the gingerbread recipe have me thinking of actually making cookies! Paleo and all! I won’t get them done for Christmas but I will put them on the list for Valentine’s Day.


These look great! We can’t do many nuts in our house, but I’m thinking that frosting would be a nice (healthier) addition than the typical powdered sugar spread. Have a merry Christmas Megan!

Kezia @ Super Naturally Healthy

All about soft cookies! And good job with icing – I also find making a refined sugar free icing so insanely hard! With my gingerbread house this year I am just using sugar syrup and just not going to eat those bits. Any heath strong alternatives that would keep my house up anyone?

    Diane Slater

    I have a strong sensitivity to almonds. Is there anything I can use in the place of almond flour in cookie recipies?


I just mixed the cookie dough and it’s extremely dry! Is an ingredients missing from the recipe? It’s not sticky at all. I don’t know how to proceed and I surely don’t want to through out 1.5 cups of almond flour. Please advise ASAP!

    Megan Gilmore

    Did you use 5 tablespoons of maple syrup? (not teaspoons?) And melted coconut oil? I just double-checked and don’t see any ingredients missing from this recipe, so the dough shouldn’t be dry– though it does need to be stirred well. I’m not sure why it would be dry, but you can always add more melted oil or maple syrup to help it stick together; I’d do it a tablespoon at a time.


    Did you pack our almond flour? I have learned that generally speaking, almond flour is packed, but this recipe didn’t reference packing the flour or give wight in grams, so I did NOT pack my almond flour because I figured I could add the difference. Glad I didn’t. It turned out “just right”. in grams it is 170g almond flour, which is about 1 tbsp more than 1 cup of packed almond flour. Not sure if that helps anyone or not. Love the recipe option though! Thanks!!!


    The same thing happened to me. I ended up adding 2 extra tbsp of Water to stick the dough together, but they didn’t turn out great.

    I might try again with the tip about measuring in grams instead of cups.


On a dinner note, just made your wild rice and mushroom stuffing to accompany a roasted whole chicken this evening- it was absolutely to-die-for! I will be making this over & over again. ‘Stove Top’- eat your heart out!


These are the BEST cookies! Total hit with my daughter and my skeptical friends! Thank you, thank you!


Thanks for sharing. My cookies taste yummy! The icing is an ugly Coe because of the palm oil but I’m ok with that:) taste so good!


    Color funny color:)


What can you substitute almond flour with? I can’t have nuts. Thank you! Love your website! ❤️

Susan V.

The cookies turned out delicious and amazing. So glad I made a double batch! The buttercream frosting on the other hand, not so good of an attempt! Make sure you get the red palm oil SHORTENING, not just red palm oil. I made the mistake of assuming what I bought was what I needed… big mistake. I saved the recipe by adding more coconut oil and tapioca starch and honey to the frosting (though it is very orange, would be great for Halloween!). I’m sure if I had gotten the shortening my cookies would be WAY better. Good thing they’re delicious with or without the frosting!


I HAVE NO WORDS!! I’ve tried so many vegan sugar cookie recipes for the past 2 years and all of them have been meh or disgusting.
This is the absolute FIRST recipe that came out to be a success. I’m literally still in shock right now (just got them out of the oven!!). They smell AMAZING, and they have the perfect chewy-crisp balance of texture.
Thank you so much for this recipe. It’s been a Christmas miracle 😀 😀 😀


Merry Christmas…❤️
Just read a previous comment questioning if you use almond meal from blanched almonds or ground whole almonds…I have been using the former and have had difficulty- many recipes resulted in an oily dough. Do you use ground whole almond meal for all recipes? Just wondering if you could make note of what kind to use…or if you use the same kind all across the board…?:)

    Megan Gilmore

    Some of my older recipes use blanched almond flour, but I usually call that “almond flour” and link to the brand I used in the ingredient list. When my recipes call for “almond meal” it means I used ground whole almonds, with the skins. I prefer the texture almond meal gives baked goods, so that is what I use most often now. Hope that helps!


Is it 1/4 of each arrowroot powder and tapioca. Or did you mean 1/4 of one or the other. Please check the recipe and clarify as it does say and.


Made these last week with a different frosting. These were the best paleo sugar cookies I’ve had.


Man, not going to lie…I was getting a little frustrated with the super-stickiness of the dough when cutting into shapes (even came right out of the fridge), but I added a tad more tapioca starch (so probably more like 1/3 C total) and they were fine after that. Maybe my liquid measurements were off. But OH, YOU ARE RIGHT–the outcome is so worth it! Perfect texture and delicious. Reminded me of mild french toast flavor…mmmmm. Thanks–this is a keeper!!


These are amazing and so quick to prepare! I’ve made them twice now, and they’ll be our go-to cookie recipe for sure! (I’ve only made the cookie part, not the frosting)

The first time, I made these as written and used almond meal. My husband and I loved them, but my 3 year old didn’t like them. So the second time I used blanched almond flour and half the amount of almond extract. They’re a huge hit!


What can be using instead of red palm shortening for the frosting?

Cristal Porter

Just YES. Made with blanched almonds flote. No issues and delicious. So appreciative!


What brand of sprinkles uses beet juice? I’m so exited!

    Megan Gilmore

    They’re made by India Tree brand:


      The india tree brand red holiday sprinkles now use beet extract AND red40. Bummer

Kyle Ritter

Great recipe! We loved the flavor from the almond extract.


It’s really hard to find a simple and delicious egg-free AND paleo-friendly cookie recipe so I was ecstatic when these turned out so well. I swapped the almond meal for cashew meal (I threw raw cashews from Trader Joes in my food processor and blended til fine) and I used vanilla ghee instead of coconut oil. I didn’t try any fancy shapes- I just plopped the dough onto my baking sheet and flattened them with two fingers swiped in tapioca starch to keep them from sticking. They did spread pretty significantly, so that could be due to the cashew meal. I’ll definitely keep coming back to this recipe– thank you for sharing it with us! 🙂 *Note: I didn’t try the frosting recipe.


These cookies are insanely delicious! I made them at Christmas, where they were loved by all and I plan on making them today for Valentine’s Day! I might try a bit of raspberry powder in the icing to make it pink. Thanks for this delicious recipe!


Oops – I thought palm shortening was just that – I used red palm oil. Bright orange frosting (and the oil tasted slightly bitter in my opinion). Mighty try this again with regular shortening, but going to cut the starch – I can really taste it. Might just go for whipped honey and a touch of oil and see where that goes.

Michelle Leduc Catlin

Can these cookies be frozen once they are made? How about the gingerbreads? Can they be frozen? Thanks for all your wonderful recipes!


Hi Megan, is there any way to do icing without starches ? Thank you


Hello! We are not vegan so I don’t want to spend the money on the palm shortening. Can you recommend a substitution that doesn’t include vegetable shortening? Thank you! 😊


These were delicious! My 2 year old and I made these last night and the whole family (teens included) devoured them. We froze and used cookie cutters, dough became sticky quickly. The best cookies were the ones we just balled up and slightly pressed down. Crispy on outside and soft on inside, yum! My new go-to cookie recipe. I added about 1/8 cup coconut sugar.


These cookies are divine. The remind me of these cookies I ate when I was in Florence that I have been searching for everywhere. This is the closest I’ve found!


Baking for 9 minutes is perfect!

Rachel Beaudry

I am obsessed with this recipe. I have never been a sugar cookie lover, but now I am. I make these at least once a month now, for the past year! My husband has not self control when they are around.


These are amazing! My only comment would be that the batch should be WAAAAY bigger as we often are not left with too many cookies as the batter alone gets eaten quite rapidly by my three year old (ok and by myself ;])

Samantha Roppolo

How would this recipe translate to a cookie cake? Would I be able to roll out the batter into a large circle a bake it at the same temp and time?

    Megan Gilmore

    I’ve never tried it as a cookie cake, but that sounds delicious! Since a cookie cake is thicker, it might require a longer baking time. The skillet cookie in my second cookbook bakes for 20 minutes in a 10-inch skillet or 9-inch square pan.


These look amazing! However my husband HATES almond flour, can I sub coconut flour? and use a lot less. Lol.

We are in love with your choco. chip coconut flour cookies!

    Megan Gilmore

    I would probably start with the coconut flour cookie recipe as the base– I’m not sure how to modify recipes that start with almond flour, since they’re so different!


What is the difference between almond meal and almond flour? Has anyone used almond flour in this recipe?

Robin meek

I saw this today and despite my healthy diet I have been craving something sweet. I had to make a double batch into a log as you suggested. I didn’t make the frosting, but the plain cookies hit the spot! I have loved using almond paste in desserts but it’s full of sugar. These taste like almond paste to me without all the bad stuff. Great cookie! This is a keeper!


According to my 35 year old daughter, these are the best GF cookies I have made.
She has not been impressed with GF baking results. This recipe is a winner!

    Megan Gilmore

    I’m so happy to hear that! These are my favorite, so I’m glad your family is enjoying them, too.


I’m so happy came across this recipe. I was having a hard time finding a sugar cookie recipe without eggs and decided to give these a try. They turned it so good! One of my new Fabio for sure!


Just made these for Valentine’s Day and they turned out amazing! Very almondy and perfectly gooey inside. Really reminded me of authentic Italian almond cookies but GF. Thank you! I’m definitely saving this recipe! P.S. Loved the icing too, used couple drops of beet water for blush pink color.


Thank you for this wonder recipe. I used almond flour and they were super awesome according to my 6 year old niece. My two nieces used little hearts and starts and cookies came out delicious. I will be making this regularly, very little sugar and easy to make.
Thank you very much.


These are perfect! Thank you for posting this recipe, and for being one of the most trustworthy food bloggers around!


I use convected oven and they were crispy after 8 minutes.


I am going to try this.


Delicious! My go to holiday cookie!

Yazmin Avinante

Amazing! Just be sure to triple the recipe if you plan on giving them away! They dont have the traditional sugar cookie texture to me but i think they taste better! They are chewy, slightly sweet, and moist! So delightful to make and eat!! Btw, some comments on here complained about the dough being to sticky, so what i did is just refrigerate over night in Saran wrap and roll it out while it was still in the saran wrap so it wouldn’t stick! Thank you for the recipe! Making another batch right now! Oh also, you dont have to have almond extract! Vanilla was good enough!


This is our new family staple for cut out cookies. Christmas and my daughters 2nd birthday have benefitted from it. Thank you so much for your reliable recipes.


One of my favorite recipes to make with my 4 year old and I feel zero guilt watching her eat them!


Love this receipe ❤️! So simple and tasty. I made a half batch just to make sure we all liked them, and they were a hit! We didn’t make the frosting but decided to use just the powdered sugar and vegan butter frosting we normally use. We don’t like things all that sweet so I even left some without any frosting. Everyone in the house loved them. I cooked mine the full time and they came out krispy and a touch drier but still So delicious! Next time I’m going to cook them a little less and see how it goes. I used the tapioca starch.

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