Super Easy Vegan Sugar Cookies

Need a fool-proof vegan sugar cookie recipe? This one is a crowd-pleaser, ready in just 25 minutes, and perfect for sharing! Bake it for birthdays, holidays, celebrations, and beyond!
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Vegan Sugar Cookies With Icing | Super-Easy Holiday Recipe | WorldofVegan.com | #vegan #holiday #cookies #recipe #baking
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One of my absolute favorite holiday memories is making holiday cookies with my mom and my great aunt! We’d make simple sugar cookies with icing, and it was always so much fun to cut out the cookies and ice them with pretty colors.

I remember one of my first few years as a vegan, when the Christmas season came I really wanted to re-create that childhood favorite recipe. And…I did! I’ve been baking these vegan sugar cookies for years. I now make them every holiday season because they’re so simple, fun, and nostalgic! I hope you enjoy making them as much as I do.

While this recipe is great for anyone, it’s especially excellent if you want to bake vegan holiday treats with kids. They’ll absolutely adore using cookie cutters to create adorable little cookies, and they’ll love icing them too. I sure loved it as a kid!

And by the way, you can totally make these cookies at any time of the year. I like using stars, gingerbread men, and Christmas trees. And of course, you can use this recipe to make vegan Hanukkah cookies! Or cookies to fit your kiddos themed birthday party. Or New Year’s cookies. You get it. You can get creative with fun shapes and colors to make these cookies a big hit any time of the year.

I hope this recipe brings you as much joy and nostalgia it as it does for me. This is truly why I love sharing my recipes. Because for me, great vegan food is pure joy and bliss! Happy baking!

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Coconut Oil: Use refined coconut oil for a neutral flavor or unrefined for a subtle coconut undertone. Both work equally well in this recipe. Ensure it is in a semi-solid state for proper creaming with sugar. You want it to be scoopable, not soild and hard, nor too melted and liquid-y.
  • Cane Sugar: Opt for organic cane sugar for a less processed option. Don’t forget the extra tablespoon which adds a touch more sweetness and helps achieve a soft texture.
  • Plant-Based Milk: Choose an unsweetened plant-based milk like almond, soy, or oat. Having it at room temperature ensures it integrates smoothly with the other ingredients and doesn’t cause the coconut oil to solidify.
  • Vanilla Extract: Use pure vanilla extract for the best flavor.
  • All-Purpose Flour: Measure the flour accurately by spooning it into the measuring cup and leveling it off. Avoid compacting the flour to prevent a dense texture in the cookies.
  • Baking Powder and Baking Soda: Ensure these leavening agents are fresh for optimal rise. Baking powder adds lift, while baking soda contributes to the cookies’ browning and flavor.
  • Powdered Sugar: If making the icing too, the only extra ingredient you’ll need is powdered sugar. Sift the powdered sugar before preparing the icing to eliminate lumps.

How To Make Vegan Sugar Cookies

Step 1: Combine the coconut oil, cane sugar, plant-based milk, and vanilla extract in the bowl of a stand mixer or use an electric hand mixer. Cream the ingredients on medium/high speed until well-combined.

Step 2: Sift in the flour, baking powder, and baking soda, then beat until a dough forms

Crumbly vegan sugar cookie batter that is being mixed with an electric hand mixer.

Step 3: On a floured work surface, gently knead the dough into a ball. Roll it out with a rolling pin to about ¼ inch thickness, avoiding excessive thinness for a softer, crispy texture.

Step 4: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line baking trays with silicone mats or parchment paper. Use cookie cutters to shape cookies and place them on the prepared trays. Re-roll and cut any dough scraps. Bake on the center rack for 10-12 minutes until golden brown on the bottom.

Step 5: While the cookies bake, whisk together powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and water to make the icing. Add vegan food coloring if desired and set aside.

More powdered sugar added to the royal icing bowl.

Step 6: Once the cookies are done, transfer them to a wire rack to cool. Apply the icing once cooled, allowing it to dry completely before serving or storing.

Vegan Sugar Cookie Recipe | WorldofVegan.com
  • Measure out the flour properly. Don’t scoop out the flour with the cup, instead, use a spoon to add the flour to the cup, then level it off with the back of a knife. This way it’s not packed into the cup, causing the dough to be too dry and crumbly.
  • I highly recommend using a stand mixer if you have one, but if not (they’re pricey, I know!) a hand mixer will work. If you don’t have either you can try to mix the ingredients by hand, but the texture just won’t be the same. An electric mixer is necessary to cream the coconut oil and cane sugar together, as well as incorporate the dry ingredients in order to form a nice dough.
  • Make sure to use room temperature almond milk in this recipe. You don’t have to remember to leave the almond milk out hours before. You can just gently heat the milk in a small sauce pot until it is at room temperature (but don’t let it get too warm). If you use cold almond milk from the fridge it will change the consistency of the coconut oil, and therefore also the dough. Since coconut oil turns very solid when it’s cold, the ingredients work much better when all of the ingredients are at room temperature. Then the dough will be much smoother and easier to roll out.

Icing Your Cookies Like a Pro

When it comes to icing your cookies, you have a few options. The first is to apply the icing using a silicone basting/pastry brush. If you don’t have one of these, you can dip the tops of the cookies into a shallow dish with the icing to coat them. It may get a bit messy (but hey, the kids might love that!).

If you want to get fancy, you can pipe the icing onto your cookies like the pros. This takes a little more time and finesse, but it can be really fun and rewarding when you have beautiful cookies to show for it! The concept is this:

  1. You’ll need two types of icing, one thick icing that you’ll pipe onto the cookie with a frosting bag and a size 2 piping tip to form the design and border.
  2. Then, you’ll need to thin out the remaining icing ever-so-slightly by adding a teensy bit of water to create a “fill icing” or “flood icing.” You can dollop this flood icing onto the cookie and it will spread out to fill in the cookie design. The thicker icing outline you piped on first will hold that fill icing in place until it dries. The icing recipe below makes a thicker icing that you can pipe or spread onto the cookie.
  3. To make the fill icing, you’ll just add a teensy bit of water until you reach the right consistency. Be careful though—you can always add more water but you can’t go back, and if you make the icing too wet it won’t harden on the cookie. Professionals sometimes use spray bottles so they can add the littlest bit of water until they get a perfect consistency. 

If this is all sounding a little confusing or overwhelming, watch this sugar cookie icing tutorial video to learn the basics of sugar cookie decorating (and get some awesome design inspiration). 

How To Add Vegan Food Coloring To Your Icing

I love the super simple icing that goes on these vegan sugar cookies. You can leave it white and decorate it with your favorite vegan sprinkles, or you can add some color to make the icing pop.

Many mainstream food coloring products are not natural, healthy, or vegan. To ensure you’re using vegan-friendly options, check out this full list of vegan food coloring brands.

You can also get creative and make your own food coloring! I love to use natural ingredients that are highly pigmented to add rich and beautiful all natural coloring to baked goods. With most of these, you only need a really small quantity to make vibrant hues. Here are some great ideas for colors:

  • Green: Spirulina or barley grass juice powder
  • Red or Pink: Pitaya (dragonfruit) powder or beet powder
  • Yellow or Orange: Turmeric (note that turmeric typically creates a mostly yellow hue, and using too much to achieve orange will likely affect the flavor of the recipe you’re making)
  • Blue: Blue Majik or butterfly pea powder (also known as blue matcha)
  • Purple: Blueberry powder

This is just the tip of the iceberg—there are countless real-food ingredients that you can use for coloring. I suggest experimenting to find the colors you love the most. Consider giving our Vegan Royal Icing recipe a try. It’s perfect for topping any and all types of cookies!

Vegan Sugar Cookies | Easy Holiday Recipe
What can I use instead of coconut oil?

Softened vegan butter makes a great substitute.

Can I make these sugar cookies gluten-free?

While we haven’t tested these sugar cookies with a gluten-free flour, typically an all-purpose gluten-free flour can work.

Can these cookies be made in advance?

Yes! There’s a few ways you can make these cookies in advance. Once you’ve cut out the cookie shapes, you can arrange them on a lined tray and refrigerate them for a few hours or overnight.
You can also store baked cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week or a refrigerator for slightly longer. These cookies can also be frozen, with or without icing! Thaw at room temperature before enjoying.

Storage Tips

Once the vegan sugar cookies are baked and iced, store them in an airtight container at room temperature. They should remain fresh for up to a week. If you need to stack the cookies in the storage container, place a sheet of parchment paper between layers to prevent them from sticking together or damaging the icing.

Refrigeration: While vegan sugar cookies typically store well at room temperature, if you’re keeping them for an extended period or in warm conditions, you can refrigerate them.

Freezing (Unbaked Dough): If you’ve prepared extra dough or want to save some for later, you can freeze it. Wrap the cookie dough tightly in plastic wrap or place it in a freezer bag. Thaw the dough in the refrigerator before rolling and cutting.

Freezing (Baked Cookies): If you’ve baked more cookies than needed, you can freeze the baked and iced cookies. Place them in a single layer on a tray until frozen, then transfer them to an airtight container with layers separated by parchment paper. Thaw at room temperature when ready to enjoy.

Vegan Sugar Cookies

Author: World of Vegan
5 from 8 votes
Celebrate the holidays (or any time of year) with these easy vegan sugar cookies. This recipe makes a small batch of vegan sugar cookies—if you want a big batch of more dough to play with (especially if you’re using large cookie cutters), double the batch!
Vegan Sugar Cookies | Easy Holiday Recipe
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 35 cookies (depending on cookie cutter size)

Equipment

  • Handheld Mixer or Stand Mixer

Ingredients

  • cup coconut oil, soft and scoopable (not solid or melted)
  • ½ cup cane sugar, + 1 tablespoon
  • ¼ cup plant-based milk, unsweetened at room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ⅓ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda

Icing

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon water, + 1 teaspoon, add more water as needed to get your desired consistency

Instructions

  • Add the coconut oil, cane sugar, milk, and vanilla extract to the bowl of a stand mixer (or mix with an electric hand mixer). Cream the ingredients together on medium/high speed for a few minutes until it’s well-combined.
  • Sift the flour, baking powder, and baking soda into the mixer and beat until it forms a dough.
  • Gently dust a clean work surface with flour. Transfer the dough to your work surface and knead it into a ball. Use a rolling pin to gently roll the dough out until it is around ¼ inch thick. Try not to roll the dough too thin because then the cookies will be more crunchy rather than soft and crispy.
  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking trays with silicone mats or parchment paper.
  • Use cookie cutters to cut cookies out and place them on the baking tray. Form any dough scraps into a ball and re-roll and cut more cookies, until all of the dough is gone.
  • Bake the cookies on the center rack of your oven for around 10-12 minutes, or until they’re golden brown on the bottom.
  • In the meantime, make the icing by whisking together the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and water until smooth. Feel free to add vegan food coloring if desired. Set aside.
  • When the cookies are finished, transfer them to a wire rack to cool. Once they’re cooled, apply the icing onto the cookies. Allow the icing to dry completely before serving or storing. 

Notes

This recipe for vegan sugar cookies makes somewhere around 35 to 45 cookies depending on the size of the cookie cutters you use. I used pretty small cookie cutters along with a few large ones and it made 50 cookies.
Storage:
After baking and icing the vegan sugar cookies, store them in an airtight container at room temperature, maintaining their freshness for up to a week. When stacking cookies in the container, insert a sheet of parchment paper between layers to prevent sticking or any potential damage to the icing.
For extended storage or in warmer conditions, refrigerating the cookies is an option, although they typically fare well at room temperature.

Nutrition

Calories: 46kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 19mg | Potassium: 5mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 0.1IU | Calcium: 8mg | Iron: 0.2mg
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword christmas cookies, holiday cookies, sugar cookies, vegan cookies, vegan sugar cookies
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Recipe Rating




8 comments
  1. 5 stars
    Cookies look super delicious! And festive

  2. 5 stars
    These cookies are incredible. I’ve baked them so many times and they always come out perfect!

  3. 5 stars
    I’m a sucker for sugar cookies! Can’t wait to whip these up!

  4. 5 stars
    Wow, these are beautiful and look sooo tasty! I need to add a hand mixer to my list of appliances!

  5. 5 stars
    Incredibly pretty and delicious! Although my design didn’t come out quite as beautiful as the one in the picture, I LOVED these cookies. My family (especially my kids) also loved them…and they were gone before the day was out! The texture is oh-so-amazing and the perfect amount of vanilla sweetness. The next time I need a birthday gift idea, I’m totally making these cookies to add to the package. Especially because you can create whichever color you like! Love!

  6. 5 stars
    Love making these sugar cookies! I like that they’re not too sweet and they hold together really well. I usually double the batch so I have plenty of dough for the bigger cookie-cutter shapes 🙂

  7. 5 stars
    Mmm… who doesn’t love sugar cookies?! These are delicious, sweet and crunchy. They freeze beautifully so you can make a large batch and have them whenever you get a craving for a delicious yet simple cookie. The ways to decorate are endless and fun to do with little ones.

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