We’ve got Christmas music playing, decorations up and we’re making sugar cookies — by the dozens (and dozens!). We tested box after box of gluten-free sugar cookie mixes to find the best mix for you to put the ho-ho-ho back in the holidays!
Is there anything that says “holiday” more than sugar cookies? We love the versatility of some of these mixes—some can be easily rolled and cut out into festive shapes and others make simple drop cookies that can be decorated with fun frostings and sprinkles. Check our chart below to find the mix that meets your needs.
While packaged mixes certainly are convenient, if you prefer to make your gluten-free sugar cookies from scratch, see our homemade recipes:
Gluten-Free Sugar Cookies: What We Found
We tested over a dozen gluten-free sugar cookie mixes to find the best. What we found was this:
Taste. Almost all of the cookie mixes we tested tasted quite good. However, they certainly didn’t all taste the same. Most had a buttery taste or notes of vanilla, while others (such as Premium Gold Debbie Kay’s Kitchen) mixed in flavors such as cinnamon and nutmeg.
Price. As with most products, price varied greatly, with some mixes costing over twice as much as others. Although some pricey mixes ranked high on our testing, some lesser priced brands faired just as well. See our chart listings on pages 68–70 for price information.
Ease of Use & Shape. Two key criteria were how easy the mixes were to roll out for cut-out cookies and how well they held their shape when baked. No one wants to have their cut-out Santa Claus cookies look like formless blobs when taken out of the oven.
GF Sugar Cookie Survey
We asked you about your favorite gluten-free sugar cookie mix. Here’s what you told us.
The top 3 things you look for in a sugar cookie mix are:
#2: Gluten-free certification
#3: Type of cookie (50% want best roll-out cookie; 50% want best drop cookie.)
Readers’ favorite mixes:
We asked you, our readers, what you look for in a sugar cookie mix. Not surprisingly, taste is the number one factor. A light buttery taste and vanilla flavor are always a hit.
The next most desired trait is gluten-free certification. Almost all of the cookies on our list are certified gluten-free. And most of those that are not certified are made in a gluten-free facility. Check our chart below for certification details.
Most readers purchase mixes from their local grocery store, but online retailers like Amazon, Vitacost, Thrive Market and Gluten Free Mall give you access to brands that aren’t typically distributed in national retailers. While the Betty Crocker mix is the easiest to find in local grocery stores, some specialty mixes, such as the gluten-free, rice-free, corn-free XO Baking Co. mix, might need to be ordered online.
Editors’ Favorites: Best of the Best Gluten-Free Sugar Cookies
OVERALL BEST SUGAR COOKIES
Of course taste matters most! For best overall designation, we looked for sugar cookies with that traditional taste—slightly buttery with a hint of vanilla and not cloyingly sweet. Since our readers are split on if they prefer drop cookies or roll-out cookies, our overall favorites are cookies that do double duty—great as a drop cookie and they also roll out well for cut-out cookies.
Listed in alphabetical order.
This mix ticks all our boxes and is—hands-down—the easiest dough to work with for cut-outs. It tastes exactly how we think sugar cookies should taste. It’s also vegan, free from top allergens and made by one of GF&M’s editors.
The use of almond flour in this mix makes the cookies sweet, with just a tiny hint of nuttiness. Thank Mama for a good puffy cookie that keeps its structure for delicate cut-outs.
Contains tree nuts.
This is an overall superior mix in both cookie taste and structure, which isn’t surprising because we’re impressed with King Arthur’s entire line of gluten-free mixes. The mix is great for cut-outs that keep even the most difficult shapes, and it’s free from top allergens.
After chilling, the dough is easy to roll out. Both the drop cookies and the cut-out cookies look beautiful and have a delicate hint of buttery vanilla flavor without being overly sweet.
BEST CUT-OUT COOKIES
It can be hard to find a mix that makes cookies that are easy to roll and cut out. Some dough just can’t stand up to the task. It’s too tacky to roll or it sticks to the cookie cutters. Or when the cookies bake, they lose their shape, especially when using dairy and egg replacers. No worries! Our favorite cut-out cookies roll out well and keep their shape beautifully. Plus, since we usually add frosting to cut-out cookies, these are sweet but not overly so.
Listed in alphabetical order.
We’d show you how our cut-outs ended up, but we ate them all! These tasty white-as-snow cookies make the perfect cut-outs that work well for decorating.
We love the mild sweetness of this mix. Gluten Free Prairie is known for its purity protocol oats, so it’s no surprise that this mix is made with oat flour. The mix does not contain any gums, yet it still holds up to cookie cutters—success!
King Arthur Flour
In addition to the great taste, we love how these cookies hold up to even the most difficult cut-outs, like snowflakes. This is a tasty, trustworthy mix!
This unique rice-free mix is made with cassava and coconut flour. While the texture is surprising and one of the most distinct we sampled, the cut-outs are easy to work with and the cookies hold their shape quite well.
BEST DROP COOKIES
Sugar cookies, especially in drop form, can be delicious without any toppings. Our favorite drop cookies are tops in taste, plus they look good without the aid of frosting. (If you’re a frosting fiend, don’t fret; round cookies can be topped with frosting and sprinkles.) Additionally, our favorite drop cookies have a tender texture and a bit more loft. While these cookies may not be the best for cut-outs, they rock as drop.
Listed in alphabetical order.
While the cut-outs end up puffy, this mix is a solid contender for drop cookies with a classic sugar cookie taste. This mix is the most readily available and sells at a good price point.
This soft cookie has a little height—tasty enough to eat alone without any frosting. The cookies don’t keep their shape as cut-outs, but this mix works great for drop cookies.
This mix makes soft, fluffy, photo-worthy drop cookies. It includes a handy sugar packet so you can roll the cookies in sugar for extra shine and sweetness.
Sugar Cookie Bake Timing Tips
For planning purposes, be aware that some mixes require that you chill the cookie dough for a few hours before rolling it out. It’s important to do this so the dough isn’t too sticky and the cookies don’t spread too much in the oven and lose their definition.
Try mixes in advance to work out any kinks so you don’t end up disappointed and frustrated when you’re under the gun and guests are at the door. Using dairy or egg substitutions can affect how a cookie turns out, so we recommend testing mixes using allergy-free substitutions before big events. Working in advance gives you another advantage, too. You can freeze sugar cookies and then thaw and serve them for the holidays.
Packaged Sugar Cookies
Sometimes you have a last-minute holiday party and you need safe gluten-free cookies. Cut your prep time by purchasing packaged sugar cookies and decorating them yourself. Look for these cookies in grocery stores and online.
Time to Decorate!
Whether you love to decorate cookies or consider it a chore that eats into your valuable Christmas shopping time, you’ll be well served to know what cookie embellishments are safe for you.
The companies listed below have gluten-free products to help take your cookies to the next level. Check company websites to view allergen statements and to find out if the product is made on shared equipment with any allergens that you need to avoid.
For gluten-free and allergy-friendly ingredients, check out these companies.
Managing editor Erica Dermer is author of Celiac and the Beast: A Love Story Between A Gluten-Free Girl, Her Genes and a Broken Digestive Tract.