Gluten Free Whipped Shortbread

Gluten Free Whipped Shortbread from The Baking Beauties


Over the 5 1/2 years of my gluten-free journey, I’ve been able to pretty much re-create all my old holiday favourites. Cranberry White Chocolate Cookies – Check. Cream Cookies – Check. Cinnamon Buns – Double Check. I don’t feel deprived at all, in fact, I’m feeling quite content. I know I can make everything that I enjoyed before going gluten-free, plus more (trust me, I wasn’t this much of a baker before going gluten-free). So I wasn’t really sure what to add to my holiday baking, or what new recipes I could share with you.

But, the plea from a reader for me to help her convert her Mother’s Whipped Shortbread recipe to gluten-free was good enough incentive to get me into the kitchen. Until now, I’ve never been a fan of shortbread. When put on a tray with all the cookies that are covered in chocolate, nuts, caramel, coloured sugar, or icing, they just didn’t appeal to me. That being said, I’ve never had Whipped Shortbread before. This gluten free Whipped Shortbread – Oh my – the texture and buttery flavour of these little cookies is anything but plain & boring. The cookies are very light, and literally melt in your mouth. Although they don’t have to be, they are pretty topped with a sliver of cherry, sprinkles, or coloured sugar, making them a contender on any cookie platter.


Gluten Free Whipped Shortbread
Serves: Yields 3 1/2 doz.
Although traditional Whipped Shortbread does not include any vanilla or almond extract, I found that it gave the cookies a really great flavour. If you're a purist, you can omit the flavourings.
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' (icing) sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional, but good)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional, but good)
  • 1 cup white rice flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch/flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • cherries, coloured sugar or sprinkles for decorating
  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Line your baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Place the butter and confectioners' sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Starting on slow speed, and slowly increasing, beat the butter & sugar until fully combined, scraping down the bowl in between. Add the extracts if using, and beat until blended.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients. Slowly add to the butter mixture while the mixer is on low speed. Once the flour has been worked in, slowly increase the speed to medium. Beat on medium speed for 5-6 minutes. This is crucial, as it adds the lightness to the dough, giving you a light, airy cookie.
  4. Scoop 3/4-inch balls of dough onto the cookie sheet, keeping 2-inches between cookies. I use my small cookie scoop for this, works perfectly.
  5. Use a fork, that has been floured with rice flour, to press the cookies down slightly. Place cherries, sprinkles, or coloured sugar on the top of the cookies, if using.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 23-25 minutes. You do not want the cookies to brown at all, just for the dough to set. Let cookies remain on cookie sheet for 2-3 minutes before removing to wire cooling rack.
  7. Store cooled cookies in an airtight container.


Looking for more Christmas Cookies?

40+ Gluten Free Cookies for Santa FREE E-book | The Baking Beauties

If you haven’t already done so, be sure to download your FREE copy of Gluten-Free Cookies for Santa,
a compilation of over 40 gluten-free cookie recipes from yours truly. Merry Christmas!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase using these links – your cost remains the same, but I earn a small percentage to help support this blog. Thank you!


64 Responses to Gluten Free Whipped Shortbread

  1. Kathryn Giesbrecht December 12, 2013 at 1:56 pm #

    was looking at your recipe, I don”t like cornstarch in my shortbread cookies, so the other day I took my regular recipe of shortbread, which is 1 cup butter, 2/3 cup br sugar & 2 cups flour. I replaced the flour with 1 cup sweet rice flour & 1 cup ground almonds, they turned out great

    • Jeanine Friesen December 12, 2013 at 2:50 pm #

      Sounds good, Kathryn!

    • RL December 24, 2014 at 7:43 am #

      Sounds so good…what is the rest of the recipe…cookies/ bars…refrigerate a roll and slice…cook at what temp. and for how long? Thanks!

  2. Mrs.T December 12, 2013 at 2:13 pm #

    I can’t wait to try this, Jeanine. Whipped Shortbread is one of my family’s favorite Christmas cookies. Our recipe actually calls for a cup of cornstarch in addition to quite a bit of all-purpose flour. I have been wondering how I might adapt my recipe to gluten free, and am so pleased that you have done the work for me. It’s like a Christmas gift! Thanks so very much!

    • Jeanine Friesen December 12, 2013 at 2:51 pm #

      You’re very welcome, Mrs. T! I know some recipes don’t call for the cornstarch, but quite a few do. I think that’s what keeps them so light & airy. Enjoy!

  3. Janet December 12, 2013 at 3:00 pm #

    These look just delightful :) Shortbread are one of my favorites! I am going to try these with Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose flour and see how they come out. My fingers are crossed.

    • Jeanine Friesen December 12, 2013 at 3:06 pm #

      Thanks, Janet! However, I wouldn’t suggest the Bob’s all purpose flour. If it’s the same one I have (do they have more than 1?), it’s a heavy, bean based flour. I don’t think that would be the best for these. You’re welcome to try though, and if you do, let me know. I just think a lighter flour, without the bean flour, would work better.

  4. Dyanne Spease December 12, 2013 at 5:02 pm #

    What blending attachment do you use to “beat” the dough? The wire whisk attachment? Or hook?

    • Jeanine Friesen December 12, 2013 at 7:30 pm #

      No, I use the paddle attachment in my kitchen aid.

  5. Heather December 12, 2013 at 9:06 pm #

    I substituted arrowroot for the cornstarch. These were delicious and lighter than air! Thanks!

    • Jeanine Friesen December 16, 2013 at 9:05 am #

      Wonderful! Thanks for letting us know that it worked well for you, Heather!

  6. Lorna December 12, 2013 at 10:08 pm #

    These sound delicious!
    Since I have a corn allergy, I appreciate hearing the corn starch can be substituted with arrowroot flour. I am wondering if there is a substitute for the butter, yes a dairy allergy. Also, I can’t do any margarine with intolerance to canola, sunflower, safflower oils and soy. I am wondering if another oil, like coconut, can work in place of the butter. The confectioner’s sugar, which is based in corn, can it be replaced with tapioca sugar? I know probably not at all possibly, taste will not be the same, but worth trying. Thanks for any words of wisdom you might share.

    • Kathy December 15, 2013 at 4:29 pm #

      Hi Lorna
      I just made these – without icing sugar or cornstarch. Like someone already said I used used arrowroot in lieu of the cornstarch. To make an icing sugar substitute I blended 1/2 cup white sugar til fine (thus making fruit sugar) and added 1 tbsp arrowroot. They turned about beautifully!
      Finally I can enjoy shortbread again!!

      PS Thanks loads Jeanine! You have added much pleasure to many lives!!

      • Jeanine Friesen December 16, 2013 at 9:06 am #

        Thanks so much for sharing what worked for you, Kathy! I appreciate it! :)

    • Millie Barnes November 25, 2014 at 10:47 am #

      If you make ghee from the butter there is no more milk solids to cause an allergic reaction. What is left is just butterfat.

  7. Jools December 13, 2013 at 6:57 am #

    Thanks Jeanine for the super handy copy for Christmas Cookies, and all for free! Like another commenter mentioned before: it really is like a Christmas gift!
    I really enjoyed following you on this blog and baking along with you last year and I do hope you’ll continue all this for many, many more years to come. After all, you are a glutenfree guru to me!
    I do hope you and your family will have a very happy and tasty Christmas and the best wishes for 2014 from the other (Dutch) side of the pond!

    • Jeanine Friesen December 16, 2013 at 9:08 am #

      Jools, it has been my pleasure! It’s so neat to know that others from around the world are enjoying the recipes, and I still smile when I think of your family saying “that Canadian”. :) I hope you & your family have a wonderful, blessed Christmas as well!

      • Jools December 17, 2013 at 7:39 am #

        Hahaha, well I have to confess it has become a bit of a running gag in my family. After I bake something new they say ‘probably Canadian?’

  8. Dyanne Spease December 13, 2013 at 8:44 am #

    Thank you!

  9. Elaine December 15, 2013 at 12:14 pm #

    I was all set to make the whipped shortbread I made last Christmas (a conversion from a wheat flour recipe), when I saw this one on FB. Made yours instead – FANTASTIC!!!!

    • Jeanine Friesen December 16, 2013 at 9:09 am #

      Wow – thanks, Elaine! :) Glad that they were a hit!

  10. emily December 15, 2013 at 10:22 pm #

    I’m bummed about how my cookies turned out. I followed the recipe exactly as stated but none of them set. I even did all 3 batches for slightly different times to see if that was the issue but it didn’t make them any different. Any suggestions?

    • Jeanine Friesen December 16, 2013 at 9:11 am #

      Hmm… I’m not really sure! There are so many factors in cookie baking. Have you read through this post?
      Maybe it’s the oven temp? The baking pans? The cookie size? I’m not sure, sorry!

      • Jen Tang September 18, 2014 at 7:12 pm #

        These cookies turned out delicious but they did look a little flat. I think maybe i had softened the butter too much. I will try chilling the dough in the refrigerator next time. Aside from that they were airy and light. Thanks for the recipe!

    • J-bakes January 15, 2014 at 12:06 am #

      I had this problem too. They all flattened completely. After I left them to (hopefully) set, I tried lifting them with a thin, flat spatula and they disintegrated. They fell to dust. I saved the delicious crumbs for shortbread crust, but there was no way these could be eaten like cookies!!!

      My question to you Emily: Do you live at high altitude? I do. This is my best guess. I’m going to try other renditions and if you’d like, I’ll post here if something works out.

      Have you had any progress?

  11. JO December 15, 2013 at 10:38 pm #

    My Mom & I have made Whipped shortbread cookies for over 20 years using flour icing sugar & butter. 3 2 1 recipe 3 C. Flour 2 C. Icing Sugar 1 pound of butter. Whip for 3-7 minutes with a hand mixer until light & fluffy put dough into Icing bag & pipe dough onto parchment paper lined cookie sheet bake 7-10 at 325 degrees or until golden brown. The longer you whip the dough the fluffier & lighter the cookies will be. These cookies will literally melt in your mouth.

  12. Nicole P. December 16, 2013 at 1:29 pm #

    Im new to the gluten free diet, and Im wondering if the Betty Crocker rice flour blend can be used as the rice flour?

    • Jeanine Friesen January 15, 2014 at 3:14 pm #

      Sorry, Nicole, I have no experience with the Betty Crocker blend.

  13. tess m December 18, 2013 at 10:02 am #

    Thank you, thank you. These cookies turned out perfectly (no substitutions.) The lighter than air, almost silky texture make them perfect for gifts. I’m thinking orange flavoring with a dark chocolate glaze will be the project for tomorrow.

    • Jeanine Friesen January 15, 2014 at 3:14 pm #

      You’re welcome, Tess! Oh, orange with chocolate – YUM!!

  14. Susan December 20, 2013 at 1:11 pm #

    Thank you for sharing this recipe. My son can have nothing that has gluten in it and as this is my first year for this I am still learning. He tells me that they taste great so again thank you for taking the time to share.

    • Jeanine Friesen January 15, 2014 at 3:15 pm #

      You’re very welcome, Susan! So glad that your son liked them!

  15. Michelle @ My Gluten-free Kitchen December 22, 2013 at 3:53 pm #

    These are so pretty and festive! Great job on them! They would be so pretty on a cookie tray too!

    • Jeanine Friesen January 15, 2014 at 3:15 pm #

      Thanks, Michelle! They are pretty festive, aren’t they? :)

  16. Suzy January 25, 2014 at 8:17 pm #

    hi Jeanine

    Just made these whipped shortbread cookies and decorated them with cherries – they were perfect. Your recipes always work so well! Thank you for taking the time to create and share with us.

    Suzy from New Zealand

    • Jeanine Friesen January 29, 2014 at 1:53 pm #

      So happy to hear that, Suzy! It is my pleasure! Enjoy some warmth for me – it’s cold in Canada right now (well, for the next few months). 😉

  17. Suzy January 25, 2014 at 8:18 pm #

    These worked SO well – thank you! All your recipes are wonderful.

  18. Karen Kay February 12, 2014 at 10:04 am #

    I am new to this gluten free baking but I am getting excited about trying these cookies. I tried a store bought cookie very expensive but very good. I thought I can make these. Tonight I will try. Thank you and I will let you know how they turned out.

    • Karen Kay February 12, 2014 at 4:30 pm #

      Okay I added pecans and mini chocolate chips to this recipe and the cookies turned out fabulous. About a cup of chopped pecans and 1/2 c of mini chocolate chips. They are light and airy, melt in your mouth yummy. They are fragile, but stay whole while eating them.

      • Jeanine May 2, 2014 at 6:52 am #

        Yeah! Glad to hear that, Karen! Love the added nuts & chocolate chips – yum!

      • Karen December 15, 2014 at 9:22 am #

        Hi Jeanine
        Good to see your blog!! I was reading the responses to these shortbread cookies and wondered if you had tried using a cookie press? I use the cookie press for the flour type and it works great. Maybe as one reader suggested – cooling the dough? I am going to try and will let you know how they turn out!
        Aunt Karen

  19. Sheri May 1, 2014 at 10:54 am #

    Admittedly I have little to none experience with being gluten free. I made a decision about two months ago to try a gluten free diet. I has NOT been an easy thing to do. i am an avid cook and do enjoy the baked goods. I have given a number of new and changed recipes a shot with moderate success, that is until this one. This is so close to my Christmas Whipped Shortbread it is difficult to tell the difference. A definite 5 star! I have discovered thou it is VERY important to use the best quality items you can find. White rice flour in particular, you will get a great result from this recipe! Big THANK YOU for developing this one. It has found a place in the recipe box right beside my traditional Whipped Shortbread!!!!!

    • Jeanine May 2, 2014 at 6:52 am #

      :) Thanks for the feedback, Sheri! I’m so glad to hear that this recipe earned a spot in your recipe box. Nice! :)

  20. check this site out now May 29, 2014 at 1:19 am #

    These look just delightful :) Shortbread are one of my favorites!

  21. Michelle September 24, 2014 at 2:06 am #

    I have two questions on ingredients;
    Is it possible to make white rice flour by just blending white rice? (I have a vitamix blender).
    Also, is there anything else I can substitute for xantham gum? It is SO expensive I really can’t fathom buying it. Could I possibly leave it out? Or do you think I could substitute ground chia seeds or flax seeds and get a decent texture? Thanks!

    • lougagne October 24, 2014 at 1:33 pm #

      Hi Michele – Guar gum can be used 1 for 1 in place of xantham gum.
      Jeanine – I haven’t tried your cookies yet and am getting ready to head south for the winter, but plan on making them down there. Thanks for the recipe.

  22. Michelle September 26, 2014 at 1:47 pm #

    I just made my first batch of these cookies and they look so pretty but as soon as I touch them they totally disintegrate into “dust” as another reviewer said. I followed the recipe to the letter; do you have any idea why this would happen? They taste soo good, but obviously I can’t serve crumbs as cookies. Thanks for your help.

    • Mckennzie November 14, 2014 at 9:19 am #

      I had the same thing happen to me last night and was incredibly disappointed; so after the first 4 broken ones I decided to just leave the rest of them on the pan and continue with the rest of my baking. I left them for about an hour or so, and when I came back to do something with them, they held together! The resting time on the pan after coming out of the oven is essential to keeping these cookies from completely falling apart. Hope this helps!

  23. Sara October 5, 2014 at 11:24 pm #

    Just made these and they are lovely. My only problem is that they are extremely fragile. Are there any tweaks to make them hold up a little better? I’ve never made regular whipped shortbread so I have no idea how they should look/feel.

    • Kris November 17, 2014 at 1:48 pm #

      I found them fragile too but if you keep them refrigerated, they stay together really well. My kids just eat right from fridge!

  24. Kris November 17, 2014 at 1:47 pm #

    WOW!!!! These are so amazingly good you can’t tell they’re gluten free! My non-gluten free family members can’t tell the difference!

  25. Gwen November 25, 2014 at 1:24 pm #

    Hi Janine! I just wanted to let you know that I’m featuring this amazing recipe in my post 102 Gluten Free Cookie Recipies. I’m also pinning it to my Gluten Free Cookie Madness Board. :)

    You are more than welcome to share this amazing resource with your readers or link to this post if you’d like! Thanks so much for the inspiration! Here’s the url: 102 Gluten Free Cookie Recipies

  26. Rhonda December 7, 2014 at 11:27 am #

    Just wondered if anyone has tried using a spritz cookie press with this recipe. Our family whipped shortbread was always done with a press and I’m missing the pretty little rosettes it made. Anyone?

    • Jen December 7, 2014 at 6:18 pm #

      I tried using a spritz press… The dough was too soft and got stuck in the press. Maybe if you tried chilling the dough first? I haven’t had the chance to try again.

  27. Ada December 18, 2014 at 8:09 pm #

    I JUST made these and they are the best cookies I have ever had. Wow. Crumbly, fluffy, wow. And so, so easy!

  28. laura December 18, 2014 at 9:00 pm #

    Recipe is OK.. tastes good, but the cookies fall apart instantly when you pick them up. I followed the recipe to a T. My father was a pastry chef, and celiac, so I know how to bake with these ingredients. Won’t use this recipe again.

  29. Darien December 20, 2014 at 9:15 pm #

    i made these a little bit ago. ive extensive experience baking, both with and without gluten, and these were a mess! im sure it was user error, as others have clearly had a great experience. they taste delightful, but were flat and just fell apart into dust. any ideas on what went wrong?

  30. shalindhi December 23, 2014 at 2:29 pm #

    Just made these shortbread cookies — wonderful taste, but “sandy” and not as buttery as I would have liked. They are really delicate. Would adding a bit more butter hurt the balance? What would make them less sandy? I used Bob Mills Rice flour which is nice and fine. I did chill the batter a bit before rolling them into balls. I remember in ATK’s book with muffins, etc. to leave the batter for 30 minutes and that takes away some of unwanted texture (like graininess) — wonder whether that would help?

  31. Katie December 28, 2014 at 9:19 am #

    Thank you Thank you. Thankyou! I am 51 years old and just starting to bake..Lol. Your recipe is fabulous. I must say it is better then my mother-inlaws and hers is divine but not gluten-free. I wanted to start a new Christmas tradition this year that my grand children (don have any yet,I am hopeful) will carry on and this recipe will be the first of many.

    Merry Christmas Jeanine.
    Katie in Edmonton.


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