Decorating Gluten-Free Christmas Cookies

gluten free roll-out sugar cookies
Gluten free roll-out sugar cookies photo by Christina Anton

Imagine your cookies as a blank canvas and unleash your inner artist! Color your icing in festive shades. Dip your cookies in melted dark or white chocolate. Garnish them with crushed peppermint candy. Dust them with brightly hued sprinkles and sanding sugars. These decorating tips, along with just a little creativity, will turn your cookies into showstoppers this Christmas.

icing bags
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Royal Icing

This simple gluten-free icing is perfect for decorating gluten-free cookies. Color it with a few drops of food dye. To avoid harmful bacteria, do not use raw unpasteurized egg whites in this recipe; use pasteurized egg whites instead. This recipe can be made with egg replacement; see instructions.

Each tablespoon contains 69 calories, 0g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 5mg sodium, 17g carbohydrate, 0g fiber, 17g sugars, 0g protein, 12 Est GL.

Our Cover Cookies: Egg-Wash Glaze

For vibrant hues, nothing beats a colored egg-wash glaze. This shiny “paint” is easy to apply and you’re guaranteed lovely results. Paint cookies before they’re baked. This recipe makes one color. For additional colors, use more egg yolks and water (1 yolk and 1 teaspoon water for each hue).

Gluten free roll-out sugar cookies
Gluten free roll-out sugar cookies photo by Christina Anton


1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon water
Food coloring
Cut-out cookies (unbaked, arranged on a cookie sheet)
Sprinkles or colored sugar, optional


1. Place yolk in a small cup or bowl.
2. Add water and stir until well combined.
3. Stir in a drop of food coloring. Add more to deepen color, as desired.
4. Using a clean soft-bristle brush (a watercolor brush is ideal), brush egg wash evenly over surface of cut-out cookies. Dust cookies with sprinkles or color sugar, if desired.
5. Bake cookies in preheated oven as recipe instructs.

Confectioners’ Icing


Use this easy topping as a drizzle or an icing, depending on how thin or thick you make it.


3 cups confectioners’ sugar
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2-3 tablespoons milk of choice
Food coloring


1. In a medium bowl, place confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and enough milk to achieve a smooth spreading consistency. Beat to combine. Add more milk to thin, more sugar to thicken.
2. Divide icing into 2 or more bowls.
3. Using food coloring to tint icing in desired hues.
4. Cut a small hole in the corner of 2 or more plastic bags (or frosting bags with tips). Fill each bag with a different colored icing and decorate cookies as desired.

Chocolate Dip

gluten free chocolate dipped chocolate chip cookies
Gluten free chocolate dipped chocolate chip cookies photo by Oksana Charla

Gently melt dark or white chocolate chips in a microwave in 15-second increments, stirring after each. (To smooth white chocolate, add drops of vegetable oil to melted chocolate, stirring to combine.) Dip 1/3 or ½ of each cookie in the melted chocolate. While chocolate is still wet, dust cookies with crushed candy canes, peppermints, sprinkles or colored sugar. Set cookies on a cooling rack to dry.

Rudolph Cookies

Turn your cookies into adorable reindeer faces like this one:

gluten free reindeer cookies
Gluten free reindeer cookies photo by Oksana Charla
  1. Draw antlers with melted chocolate chips using a toothpick.

2. Make eyes using 2 dabs of white icing, each topped with a drop of melted chocolate.

3. Make a red nose using a dab of white icing topped with a piece of red candy.

Food editor Beth Hillson is a chef and cooking instructor. She is founder of Gluten-Free Pantry, one of the first gluten-free companies in the United States, and author of Gluten-Free Makeovers and The Complete Guide to Living Well Gluten Free (Da Capo Lifelong).