Vegan Almond Shortbread Cookies

Vegan Shortbread Cookies // Love & Lemons

One of my most cherished childhood memories is baking Christmas cookies with my mom. She would pull over two kitchen chairs for my sister and I to stand on so we could reach the countertop and get our hands in the flour. We’d watch her line up all of the ingredients, preheat the oven, prepare the cookie sheets.

She’d flip to the back of the recipe rolodex and pull out three cards that were stained with butter splotches and a dusting of flour. It was holiday tradition that we would start with spritz cookies, a butter/sugar cookie that was made special with the magical ingredient, almond extract. Once the butter was creamed and the sugar added, my mom would open up the tiny brown bottle of almond extract, and say “it smells like Christmas now.”

Vegan Shortbread Cookies // Love & Lemons

Last weekend, I finally got around to some christmas baking. This isn’t one of our traditional family recipes, but lets just say it was “inspired by” my memory and the “Christmas” smell of almond extract.

I’m kind of in love with these cookies because of the minimal amount of ingredients. And as far as baking goes, they’re pretty foolproof. I subbed in as many “healthier” ingredients as I could but they’re still a pretty sweet and buttery indulgence.

Pass down your own recipe memories by giving the gift of handwritten recipes… (because your own writing says love better than a recipe in an email).

Order your recipe cards by Wednesday for pre-Christmas delivery. Click here.


adapted from

1 cup butter, room temp (I use vegan Earth Balance, next time I will try coconut oil)
1 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup powdered sugar or granulated sugar *
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup millet flour (or all-purpose is fine too)
only if your butter is unsalted, add 1/2 teaspoon salt
optional toppings – pistachios, pine nuts, dried fruit, etc

(*I found powdered sugar made the dough easier to roll out for the cut-out cookies. I used organic granulated sugar, which is more coarse, for the squares).

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Sift all dry ingredients together.

In a medium bowl, using a wooden spoon, mix butter and almond extract together (as best you can).

Add dry ingredients and mix everything together. Use your hands if necessary to incorporate the butter and get the dough to come together. Your dough will be pretty crumbly. Stop when it has just come together, don’t overmix. Form it into a ball.

For cutout cookies: roll onto a nonstick baking sheet (I rolled pine nuts into the top of my dough), until your dough is about 1/4 inch thick. (If the dough is sticky and you’re having a hard time, put it in the fridge for a little bit so the butter in the dough stiffens up). Bake for about 20 minutes, until the dough starts to turn golden brown. Remove, let cool almost completely before you cut out your shapes.
note: you’ll have a lot of “scraps” with this method and will yield less finished cookies.

For square shortbread: Press dough into an edged baking pan along with any toppings you like. I made a half recipe and used a 5×7 pan, my cookies were a about 1/2 inch thick. Since they were on the thick side, I baked these for about 30-35 minutes, until they started turning golden brown on top. The time will vary depending on the thickness, so just watch them. Once they’re done, let cool and then slice.

If you make this, let us see! Tag your photo with #loveandlemons on Instagram.


  1. Sarah from on said:

    Wow, these look like the homey, and yet somehow perfectly magical Chrismases of my childhood. I can smell the almond extract from here.

  2. Ashley from on said:

    I’m dying over the thickness of these cookies! I may have to experiment and see if I can make a GF version. Shortbread cookies are an all time favorite of mine.

    • jeanine from on said:

      let me know if you figure out a gluten free version! I was going to try to sub out the all-purpose next time…

      • Tanya Dunn on said:

        I am going to make them with millet and chickpea flour!

  3. Winnie from on said:

    J: these are gorgeous! I am out of butter (horrors!) so I will try them with coconut oil 🙂

    • jeanine from on said:

      thanks Winnie! Ha, I was out of coconut oil that day (which almost never happens).

      • Lara on said:

        Hi! Your space is beautiful! I love it since the first moment it opens on my browser 😀
        I have a question, ¿how can I make these with coconut oil? since I do not have access to vegan butter in my area.

        Thanks in advance!

    • Natalie on said:

      Did the coconut oil work well?

      • Hi Natalie, it didn’t work for me as a 1:1 exchange in this recipe.

  4. Kristen from on said:

    Baking cookies and treats with my Mom is one of my most cherished Christmastime memories also. Great post. And I love all the vegan recipes you publish.

  5. Kathryn from on said:

    In a world of fancy cookies, it’s very hard to beat a simple square of shortbread especially when it’s as beautiful as these are. With regards to the comments about about gluten free flours, I make shortbread with a mixture of rice flour and cornstarch which seems to give quite a nice texture and taste.

  6. Tori on said:

    This is so sweet! I have memories just like that with my mother and sister. This would be a great gift to have to sit down with her and transcribe those butter-stained cards!

  7. My grandmother was famous for her shortbread. Your vegan version looks fantastic. I’ve been wondering if coconut oil is a good substitute for butter in shortbread, and I’m procrastinating from work right now, so maybe I will give it a try this afternoon!

  8. Courtney Jones from on said:

    Baking with my mom and my sister is my favourite Christmas tradition. We always make shortbread, mexican wedding cakes and gingerbread. Mom also makes a delicious caramel corn every year that i devour in record time. These cookies look fantastic. Love the addition of pine nuts!

    Wishing you a very merry Christmas!

  9. Milton James from on said:

    Absolutely beautiful photography. These recipes look truly declious.

    To be just, though: almonds are not vegan.

  10. Cynthia on said:

    Delicious cookies! I tried it with coconut oil…only recommendation is to make sure that the oil isn’t too solid. Melting it just a tad helped the dough come together!

    • Leslie on said:

      Were you able to substitute 1:1. Coconut oil for vegan butter?

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  18. Aimee on said:

    I’ve used your recipe twice now, with great results. I use half coconut oil and half Earth Balance. The recipe has even made it into my handwritten recipe card collection. 🙂 Thanks!

  19. cindy on said:

    powdered sugar is icing sugar ?

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