Vegan Life | Recipes

Vegan Sugar Cookies with Buttery Icing

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My favorite childhood Christmas memories include cookies. Each member of my dad's side of the family would make one or two types of cookies each year and bring them to my grandmother's house. In the basement were two long folding tables with endless tins of cookies of all types. After dinner, my grandmother would let us go downstairs and pick whatever cookies we wanted.

We also got to participate in making some of the cookies. As children, that usually meant roll-out sugar cookies that we got to decorate.

Decorating sugar cookies is a holiday activity that's enjoyed by children (and children at heart).

In an attempt to continue the tradition, I had tried many vegan sugar cookie recipes out there. For the most part, they were bland and dry. While they could be fun to decorate, they weren't so great to eat. So I put on my baker's hat to fix that.

These sugar cookies are flavorful and the perfect texture. I created the icing with melted vegan butter, salt, and vanilla to give it a rich flavor. (If you prefer your cookies to have the look that smoother icing provides, just skip the butter and add some more non-dairy milk until the icing reaches your desired consistency. You'll lose some flavor, but the icing will have a smoother look!)

Be sure that any food coloring or sprinkles that you use are vegan; many food colors contain animal products. I was able to find vegan food coloring and sprinkles at Whole Foods Market, or you can order it online.

Sugar cookies are often associated with Christmas, but they can be cut into shapes for any holiday, like Easter, Halloween, or even baby showers.

Vegan Sugar Cookies with Buttery Icing

Yield4 dozen 2-3" cookies

Prep Time30 minutes

Cook Time8 minutes

Total Time90 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup vegan butter, softened

  • 1 cup, plus 1 tbsp. granulated sugar

  • 6 tbsp. aquafaba (liquid from a can of chickpeas)

  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for coating and rolling

  • 1 tsp. baking powder

  • 1/2 tsp. salt

  • vegan sprinkles (optional)

Buttery Icing

  • 1/3 cup vegan butter, melted

  • 3 cups powdered sugar

  • 2-4 tbsp. non-dairy milk

  • 3/4 tsp. vanilla

  • 1/8 tsp. salt

  • vegan food coloring (optional)

Instructions

  1. Beat vegan butter until light and fluffy (preferably using an electric mixer, but you can do this by hand as well).

  2. Add granulated sugar to the vegan butter, and continue to beat until well-incorporated. If using an electric mixer, be sure to stop occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.

    Mixed butter and sugar
  3. Add in aquafaba and 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla, and continue mixing.

  4. Add in baking powder, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1 cup of flour. Once that's well-incorporated, continue adding flour until it's all mixed together.

  5. Divide the dough into 2 balls, and flour the outsides of the balls so they won't stick, then place them in 2 separate bowls. Cover the bowls and refrigerate for about an hour.

    Be sure to put adequate flour at the sides and bottom of the dough so it doesn't stick to the bowl.
  6. Once the dough has chilled, preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Then place a rolling mat or large piece of parchment paper on the counter. Dust the work surface with flour.

  7. Take one ball of dough from the refrigerator and place it on the prepared work surface. Sprinkle some flour on the dough, and use a rolling pin to roll the dough out to about 1/4" thickness.

    Roll the dough to approximately 1/4" thickness. Adding flour on top when needed will prevent the rolling pin from sticking.
  8. Dip the edges of your cookie cutters in flour, then use them to cut your cookies from the dough. If you don't have shape cookie cutters, you can use the top of a glass to make standard circle shapes. Place cookies 1/2" apart on an ungreased non-stick cookie sheet. When you run out of contiguous dough to cut shapes from, you can take the remaining dough, roll it into a ball, then roll it out and cut more. Repeat with the second ball of dough.

    Be sure to allow at least 1/2 of space between your cookies.
  9. (Optional) If you don't plan on icing your sugar cookies, you may wish to decorate them with colored sugar or other sprinkles. Top your cookies with sprinkles as desired before baking them.

  10. When you have a full cookie sheet, bake it for 7-8 minutes, until the edges are light brown. Then transfer the cookies to a cooling rack and continue with additional cookies. (You will want to have 2-4 cookie sheets to allow the sheets to cool before putting more cookie dough on them.)

    Allow your cookies to cool completely before icing.
  11. (Optional) While cookies are baking, prepare the icing in a small mixing bowl by whisking together melted vegan butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt. Add non-dairy milk 1 tbsp. at a time, until you reach the desired consistency. It should be thin enough to spread easily, but thick enough that it won't run off your cookies. If you're planning to add liquid food coloring, you may wish to leave the icing on the thicker side to allow for the thinning that the food coloring may cause. To make multiple colors, divide the icing before coloring.

  12. (Optional) Once your cookies have cooled (around 30 minutes), decorate them with icing. You can use a butter knife to spread the icing, or you can use a piping bag with small decorator tips to place the icing exactly where you want it. Top with colored sprinkles, if desired. Leave the cookies out until the icing dries (a few hours).

    The best part! (Decorating the cookies)

Notes & Hints

If you prefer your cookies to have the look that smoother icing provides, just skip the butter and add some more non-dairy milk until the icing reaches your desired consistency. You'll lose some flavor, but the icing will have a smoother look!

Storage: Sugar cookies can be stored in an airtight container for about a week. They can be frozen for longer storage.

StephSunshine

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Steph Sunshine

Hi! I'm Steph, and I love to explore vegan food, health, and of course, the world. I'm sharing my best vegan recipes, and things I've learned and loved from my travels and health journeys.