Drop-style Sugar Cookies filled with colorful sprinkles are a popular cookie recipe made with a gluten free flour blend and have been perfected over time. The delicious result is a chewy sugar cookie with crisp edges and a soft center and sprinkles in every bite. The cookie dough can be made in under 15 minutes but should be chilled for a few hours to create the right texture to resemble bakery-style cookies.
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Perfect Gluten Free Sprinkle Sugar Cookies
There are two types of classic sugar cookies that cookie eaters can’t get enough of – Cut Out Sugar Cookies and Drop Sugar Cookies.
This gluten free sprinkle sugar cookie recipe falls into the drop style cookie category which means they’re formed with a cookie scoop or dropped by the spoonful instead of rolling out and cutting the dough with cookie cutters.
After many, many rounds of recipe testing to get the right flavor and texture, I’ve finally found what it takes to make perfect gluten free drop sugar cookies with sprinkles. These cookies have the right combination of sweetness from granulated sugar and brown sugar paired with the distinct flavor of imitation vanilla (yes, you read that right).
In addition to nailing the flavor that mimics bakery-style cookies, the texture is spot on with chewy/crisp edges and a soft, gooey center. Paired with crunchy sprinkles, these cookies are a textural dream that can only be achieved with the right combination of ingredients and proper chilling time.
I can’t wait for you to sink your teeth into these cookies!
Why Chilling Cookie Dough is Important
Most people want to make a batch of cookie dough and bake it straight away. While you can technically do that, you’ll wind up with mediocre cookies that are often disappointing. But for the best cookie experience, this and many of my other gluten free cookie recipes call for a minimum of 2-6 hours of chill time
Chilling the cookie dough does three things:
- Develops the flavor. As the dough sits, the flavors meld and concentrate which really brings out the sweetness from the sugar and notes of vanilla.
- Allows the flour to absorb the fat and liquid. This is especially important when baking gluten free cookies. Gluten free flour takes longer to absorb liquid and fat/butter. By letting the dough sit for an extended amount of time, the flour (especially the rice flour) has a chance to absorb the liquid making the texture of the cookie less gritty.
- Reduces spread. If you’ve ever baked a batch of cookies and they just spread all over the pan creating one giant cookie, chances are the dough was too warm and the butter caused the dough to melt and spread before the flour and leaveners had a chance to set the dough into a proper cookie shape.
I recommend you make the cookie dough in the morning and bake at night or make the cookie dough in the evening and bake the next day.
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Key Ingredients and Baking Tools You’ll Need
- Gluten-Free Flour – I use a combination of my Nightshade-Free Gluten Free Flour plus a little bit of Sorghum Flour. My homemade flour blend is excellent in cookies and the sorghum flour adds a little depth of flavor making them taste more like cookies made with regular wheat flour.
- Sugar – I use a combination of granulated sugar and brown sugar for these cookies. They’re fairly sweet but perfect for a sugar cookie. If you prefer to have a less sweet cookie, you can cut the granulated sugar back to 3/4 cup.
- Shortening – Butter gives the cookies flavor but shortening helps with stability. An all-butter cookie will taste great but spread more creating a thinner cookie. Adding a bit of shortening prevents the cookie from spreading out completely flat while maintaining the buttery taste. My preferred shortening is Nutiva Organic Shortening.
- Vanilla Extract – I almost always use pure vanilla extract in my baking recipes. But to get that unique bakery-style sugar cookie flavor, you’ll need to use Clear Vanilla (imitation vanilla).
- Sprinkles – be sure to check your labels for gluten free sprinkles. I use gluten free Christmas sprinkles at Christmas for festive cookies and rainbow sprinkles the rest of the year for a Funfetti look. You can also dye sprinkles any color you want or need when starting with white sprinkles.
- Cookie Scoop – I use a medium-sized OXO scoop for these cookies. Cookie scoops are essential for portioning out dough for equal-sized cookies. Using a larger or smaller scoop will affect the baking time.
- Half Sheet Pans – my favorite pans to bake with are rimmed half sheet pans. They’re also the perfect size for silicone baking mats.
- Baking Mats or Parchment Paper – my preference is for silicone baking mats. The cookies bake evenly, brown less on the bottom, and you won’t have to worry about cookies sticking to the pan. While testing, I also found that the cookies baked on parchment paper spread more and yielded a thinner cookie.
How to Make Chewy Gluten Free Sugar Cookies with Sprinkles
These sugar cookies are truly easy to make and only require a few steps:
- Cream the butter and sugars, then mix in the egg and vanilla.
- Mix in the dry ingredients.
- Fold in the sprinkles
- Form into cookie dough balls and chill.
- Bake, cool, and enjoy!
Storage and Freezing Instructions
Storing Baked Cookies: These cookies can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Freezing Baked Cookies: Baked cookies can be frozen up to 3 months in a freezer bag. For best results, squeeze as much air out of the bag as you can before sealing.
Freezing Cookie Dough: If you plan on freezing the cookie dough before baking, scoop the dough and refrigerate the dough for the recommended time before freezing. It’s necessary to chill the dough before freezing or you’ll miss out on the 3 important benefits of chilled dough (listed above).
For optimal flavor, frozen cookie dough is best used within 2-3 months.
Tips for Baking Gluten Free Cookies
- If baking in batches, make sure you let the pan cool completely before using it again. A warm pan will make the cookies spread more.
- Let the cookies cool on the pan. Gluten free cookies are very delicate when they come out of the oven and need at least 5 minutes to cool on the pan before moving to help them set up properly.
- Use a spoon or cup/bowl larger than the cookie to help reshape it into a perfect circle as soon as it comes out of the oven. When the cookie is hot out of the oven, you can re-shape it without breaking it.
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Gluten Free Sprinkle Sugar Cookies
- 2 cups (280 g) Gluten Free Baking Flour see notes
- ¼ cup (30g) Sorghum Flour
- ¾ teaspoon (3g) Xanthan Gum
- ½ teaspoon (3g) Baking Soda
- ¼ teaspoon Baking Powder
- ½ teaspoon (4g) Fine Sea Salt
- ½ cup (113g) Unsalted Butter, softened to room temperature
- ¼ cup (45g) Palm Shortening
- 1 cup (200g) Granulated Sugar
- ½ cup (100g) Light Brown Sugar, packed
- 1 large Egg, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons (10 ml) Clear Vanilla
- ½ cup (85g) Gluten Free Sprinkles
- Line a half sheet pan with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper and set it aside.
- Add the gluten free flour blend, sorghum flour, xanthan gum, baking soda, baking powder, and salt to a medium-sized bowl. Whisk to combine.
- Add the softened butter, shortening, granulated sugar, and light brown sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream the butter and sugar together until it's smooth and light in color, about 2 minutes on medium speed.
- Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the bowl and add the egg and vanilla to the butter/sugar mixture. Beat until well combined.
- Add the dry ingredients and mix on medium-low speed until fully incorporated. Then add the sprinkles to the dough and use a spatula to fold the sprinkles into the cookie dough.
- Use a medium cookie scoop to scoop the dough and place each ball of dough on the prepared baking sheet. Once all the cookie dough is scooped, roll each piece of dough into a ball then form into a cylindar (similar to a tater tot) or disk (similar to a hockey puck). Cover the dough with a piece of plastic wrap and refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight.
- Once the dough has chilled, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and line 2 additional half sheet pans with silicone mats.
- Bake the cookies in batches, 8 to a pan to leave enough room for spreading, on the center rack for 9 minutes.
- When the cookies are done, use a spoon to quickly push them back into a circle (optional) and cool the cookies on the pan for 10 mintues before transfering to a wire rack.
- I use my Nightshade Free Gluten Free Flour Blend in this recipe. It’s excellent in cookie recipes. If you use a different flour blend, you may have slightly different results in the texture and final look of the cookie. You can omit the xanthan gum if the flour blend you use contains it.
- Nutrition information is approximate. Be sure to check your labels for gluten free ingredients and use your own nutrition calculator for the most accurate results.
- The dough should be chilled for a minimum of 6 hours but overnight is best.
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Nutrition Facts are estimated and aren’t always accurate. Please consult a doctor or nutritionist if you have special dietary needs.