Get ready to indulge in the sweetest, most delectable vegan sugar cookies you’ve ever tasted – without the hassle of chilling or spreading! Our no chill no spread vegan sugar cookies recipe will have you whipping up mouthwatering treats in no time, using only 6 simple ingredients. Whether you’re an experienced baker or a beginner, these cookies are easy to make and guaranteed to impress.
Why You Need to make these
These sugar cookies are firm yet light, crunchy yet soft and pair wonderfully with royal icing, fondant and buttercream. And of course, they are vegan as well with an easy gluten free option. Not vegan? No worries! I’ve got you covered with my comprehensive substitution guide.
The History of Sugar Cookies
Unlike the melt-in-the-mouth shortbread type cookies which I grew up enjoying in the UK, sugar cookies are a little bit firmer, decorated with royal icing or buttercream and cut into a variety of shapes. They are traditionally flavoured with vanilla and contain basic ingredients like flour, egg, butter and sugar and a leaving or raising agent such as baking soda or baking powder. Thought to have originated in the 1700’s in Nazareth, Pennsylvania, USA, they became more widely known in the 1800’s after the first official recipes were published.
When our eldest son first started school, I suddenly found myself diving into the sugar cookie world. After binge-watching all of the cookie shows on TV, I started to teach myself how to decorate them to create fun treats for him to take to school. I quickly learned that the key to a great cookie is a good base and thus began my search for the perfect sugar cookie recipe.
How to Avoid Cookie Spread
If you regularly make cookies, you are probably aware that some cookie recipes tend to spread more than others. Your cookies may even end up slightly bigger than you expected and maybe a little bit misshapen. There are actually a few scientific reasons why cookie dough spreads. Some recipes use baking soda which causes spread (remember S (soda) for Spread) and some use baking powder for extra rise (P (powder) for Puff). Many recipes include eggs, which can also contribute to spreading if your dry ingredient ratios aren’t correct to compensate for the additional moisture. Some need chilling and some can simply just spread from overmixing the dough.
My top tips to avoid spread include not using any leavening/raising agent in your dough, stopping mixing your dough as soon as it clumps together, avoiding using butter with a high water content, and ensuring that you have the correct ratio of dry ingredients to wet (this is actually the most important point). I am also a huge fan of only mixing my cookie dough until the ingredients are just combined. Read more on that in my step-by-step instructions.
Why no chill?
Truth is that I’m a procrastibaker. I like to make things at short notice and am that Mom that literally has no room in her fridge to pop in a tray of cookies before they are baked. So when I created this recipe, I also wanted to make sure that we could skip the chilling stage. I even ran a test where I chilled some of the cookies before baking and it made no difference to the outcome as the ratio of fat to flour is perfect. And who doesn’t love a recipe that skips the need to chill before baking? If you feel more comfortable chilling your dough, go right ahead but it really isn’t necessary for this recipe.
So I’m happy to confirm that this is a NO SPREAD, NO CHILL cookie recipe. I personally think that life is too busy, and short, to spend time waiting for cookies to chill. We just want to bake and eat them! If you’re looking for another no chill, no spread recipe with even fewer ingredients, check out my funfetti cookie recipe here.
Ingredients and substitutions
To ensure that this recipe is allergen-friendly, I am using plant-based butter and plant based milk. With egg usually being the main binding agent in sugar cookies, I decided to switch it out with plant based milk to ensure that we have enough moisture. And as mentioned above, egg often contributes to spread so by removing it we are reducing the risk of spread.
I always weigh my ingredients rather than use cup measures. This ensures accuracy for every recipe and perfect results every time. If you prefer to use US cup measurements, check out the recipe card for my conversion.
Flour: I’m using all-purpose flour as we want a higher protein flour to ensure we have a great bite to the cookies. Firm on the outside but still nice and soft inside. I have also had great success using Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten Free flour in this recipe. Due to the composition of the flour, no additional adjustments are needed to turn this into a gluten free sugar cookie recipe.
Sugar: Traditional sugar cookies use white sugar. You could jazz them up and use golden or even brown sugar instead which would create a wonderful caramel flavour profile. You can also substitute with coconut sugar, although I haven’t tested it with this particular recipe. The same quantity would apply.
Salt: To enhance the flavours and also cut back on the sweetness, I am adding a small amount of salt. If you prefer to bake with salted butter, omit the salt.
Plant-Based Butter: As a rule of thumb, I always use unsalted plant-based butter in my recipes. For cookies, I prefer to use slightly cool butter. I usually take it out of the fridge 10-15 minutes before I start baking. My go-to plant-based butter is soy-free and is a block-based butter – not a spreadable butter that you find in tubs. Tub butters tend to have a higher water content which you want to avoid in sugar cookies. More water equals a greater chance of spread and this recipe DOES NOT spread. If you can not find a block or stick butter, add an extra 30 grams of flour to the recipe to compensate for the extra water content. Ensure you do the consistency test as well so you can adjust your consistency if necessary. Feel free to sub with dairy butter if you are not dairy free.
Plant Based Milk: Sugar cookies need a binding agent. In place of eggs, I am using plant based milk. You can also sub with room temperature water. My preference is to use almond milk but feel free to use your preferred plant based milk. Dairy milk can also be used if you are not dairy free. If you are not vegan, sub the milk with 1 egg and add 15 grams of flour. An egg usually weighs around 50 grams (give or take a gram or two for size differences) so we need the extra flour to compensate for the additional moisture in the egg.
Flavourings: I am using vanilla bean paste in this recipe to give that distinctive sugar cookie flavour. And this is where you can really experiment with the flavour of these cookies. I will often use a combination of vanilla bean paste and almond extract to jazz up my sugar cookies (this is actually my kids’ favourite flavour). If you have a nut allergy, make sure you do not use pure almond extract. Imitation almond extracts are usually nut-free as they use the pit of a peach or apricot to replicate the flavour. That’s actually what I use as it’s cheaper than the real deal and still has a great flavour profile. Plus I have a very mild almond sensitivity and avoid them whenever possible.
How to Make Sugar Cookies
With 6 simple ingredients needed for this recipe, it won’t take you long to pull out everything you need from your pantry. I recommend using a stand mixer to make these cookies as this helps to incorporate everything evenly and also reduces the amount of time that the dough is being mixed. If you don’t have a stand mixer, a hand whisk or even mixing it by hand with a wooden spoon or spatula will work just as well. Just remember that it will take a little bit longer so factor that in if you are making these cookies on the spur of the moment for a quick snack.
Let’s start by creaming our butter and sugar, using the paddle attachment. The key with this recipe is to not overmix the ingredients so we will be using the stir setting throughout this process. If you don’t have a KitchenAid stand mixer, use the lowest setting available on your mixer.
Once the sugar and butter are combined, add the vanilla bean paste and plant based milk. Again, stir until combined.
Lastly, we will add our flour and salt. I like to add my flour in stages so that the gluten isn’t overactivated and also to avoid that huge puff of flour dust. I know you know what I’m talking about!. Scrape down the bowl between each addition to ensure that everything is getting incorporated.
The Perfect Consistency
Your cookie dough is ready once the mixture comes clean away from the sides and starts to forms a ball on the paddle.
To double test the consistency, take a small piece of the dough, roll it up into a ball and flatten it slightly. If it feels too crumbly, add a small amount of extra milk or water and re-stir. If it feels too sticky, add some additional flour and re-stir. With humidity changes, you may find that sometimes you need a little more flour, other times a little more liquid. During our cold Canadian winters, I use less flour as the air is so dry in our house. Conversely, I need to add more during our hot humid summers. So don’t worry if you need to make slight adjustments. Knowing how humidity can affect your dough and always checking it before you start rolling out will stand you in good stead.
Now we are ready to roll out our dough and cut our shapes.
Uneven cookie dough?
One of my top tips for making great cookies is to use guide rings or paint stirrers. These will guarantee that you will roll your dough out evenly every time. This will prevent uneven baking times and also just gives an overall more appealing look to your finished cookies. So why paint stirrers? I like saving money where possible (because we all know that baking tools aren’t exactly cheap!). Paint stirrers are perfect to use in place of expensive guide rings or guide strips. These stirrers are 7mm or 1/4 inch thick. They don’t come into contact with the dough when you use the method shown below so are perfectly safe to use. Next time you’re in the hardware store, pick some up to add to your baking toolkit. They usually hand them out for free in the paint section.
I prefer to roll out my dough between two sheets of parchment paper. This will prevent your dough from sticking to your rolling pin. And also avoid the need to flour/dust your surface, which can dry out your cookie dough. I also like to keep a bowl at the side of my workspace for any offcuts. Rather than re-rolling all of the offcuts as I go along, I wait until the end. Then I reroll them once. This cuts back on adding extra air to your dough and also reduces the likelihood of spread from overworking the gluten.
Baking the cookies
Once your cookies are cut, place them onto your lined baking pan. Do not overcrowd your pans. Even though these will not spread, I prefer to leave a nice gap around each cookie to allow for better airflow and more even baking.
Bake at 350F for 8-10 minutes until lightly golden. Your cookies should be matte in appearance. Remove the trays from the oven and allow them to cool for 5 minutes before transferring the cookies to a cooling rack.
These cookies taste wonderful as they are but if you intend on decorating them, allow them to cool completely before decorating and adding icing. Here’s an example of some royal iced cookies that I decorated for Valentine’s Day.
This recipe makes approximately 18 cookies but the overall yield will depend on how thick you roll your dough and the size of the cutter that you use. I roll my dough to 1/4 inch thickness and generally use 3.5 to 4 inch sized cookie cutters.
Yes! These cookies pair wonderfully with royal icing, fondant and buttercream and are firm enough to decorate. If you are going to decorate these cookies, allow them to cool completely before adding your icing. Check out my icing recipes for my favourites.
That’s right! This recipe does not require chilling. Make up the dough, check the consistency, roll out then cut your shapes and bake.
Best enjoyed on the day of baking. Cover and store them at room temperature for 7 days. These cookies can be frozen as well, either before baking or afterwards.
These cookies are wonderful to eat as they are or when decorated with royal icing or buttercream. Why not try fondant on them as well? Looking for some ideas or decorating tips?
- Check out my Top 15 Cookie Decorating tutorials.
- Here’s the link for my vegan royal icing.
- And for more cookie recipes, click here.
No Chill No Spread Sugar Cookies
- Paint Stirrers (get these from your hardware store)
- Cookie Cutters
- 200 grams White Sugar (1 US Cup)
- 220 grams Plant Based Butter (unsalted) (1 US Cup)
- 2 tbsp Plant Based Milk
- 2 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste
- 375 grams All Purpose Flour (3 US Cups + 2 tbsp. Also known as plain flour)
- 0.5 tsp Salt
- Preheat your oven to 350℉ (180℃) and gather all of your ingredients. The butter should be slightly cool and the milk should be at room temperature. Line baking pans with parchment paper.
- In a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar with the paddle attachment until fully combined. This usually takes about 30 seconds.200 grams White Sugar, 220 grams Plant Based Butter (unsalted)
- NOTE it is important not to overmix any of the ingredients in this recipe and to only use the lowest speed setting (stir on KitchenAid mixers). Overmixing incorporates too much air into the dough and increases the likelihood of spreading.
- Add the plant based milk and vanilla bean paste and stir until just combined.2 tbsp Plant Based Milk, 2 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste
- Add all of the salt and the flour in thirds (to avoid a huge puff of flour) and stir to combine. I highly recommend scraping down the bowl with a spatula before each addition of flour.375 grams All Purpose Flour, 0.5 tsp Salt
- Your cookie dough is ready once the mixture comes clean away from the sides and starts to forms a ball on the paddle. To double test the consistency, take a small piece of the dough and roll it up into a ball. If it feels too crumbly, add a small amount of extra milk or water and re-stir. If it feels too sticky, add some additional flour and re-stir.
- Place parchment paper and paint stirrers on the counter and roll out the dough, using another piece of parchment on top of the dough to avoid it sticking to your rolling pin.
- Cut out shapes and place on lined baking pan.
- Bake at 350℉ (180℃) for 8-10 minutes until cookies are lightly golden on the edges and have a matte appearance.
- Allow to cool, decorate as required and then enjoy!
- This recipe makes approximately 18 cookies but the overall yield will depend on how thick you roll your dough and the size of the cutter that you use. I roll my dough to 1/4 inch thickness and generally use 3.5 to 4 inch sized cookie cutters.
- These cookies are firm enough to decorate with royal icing or fondant.
- This recipe DOES NOT require chilling. Make up the dough, roll out then cut your shapes and bake.
- Best enjoyed on the day of baking. Cover and store them at room temperature for 7 days. These cookies can be frozen as well, either before baking or afterwards.
- If you are going to decorate these cookies, allow them to cool completely before adding your icing.
- Nutrition information is provided as a guide only and is based on the actual ingredients that I used to create this recipe.