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Gluten Free Vegan Lemon Shortbread

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I have to say, that when it comes to shortbread, my mum's recipe takes the blue ribbon prize every day of the week and twice on Sundays. I have been happily scoffing these delicious little morsels of Heaven every Christmas since I can remember. It is one of my "I will endure a wheat-induced stomach-ache" treats that has me coat-checking my colon, paying homage to the toilet bowl, and still returning for more. Suffice to say, it is absolutely scrumptious; and no "Fisher Family Christmas Extravaganza" would be complete without a quadruple batch on offer.

Actually, all of my aunties bring their shortbread blends in tupperware containers for the main event, and they are all pretty spectacular. But, let's be honest, (and not to take anything away from my mum and my aunties), it is pretty hard to mess up shortbread. It is one of those quick and easy gifts that uses just a few ingredients and takes you to Nirvana without too much effort. The magic ingredient - the butter. I must admit, that whilst I don't cook with butter very often; when it comes to shortbread, I am with Julia Child - "You can never have too much butter."

So, when I set about creating allergy free recipes and a gluten free shortbread recipe that my niece could indulge in this Christmas, it was quite a frustrating endeavour. If you are just making gluten free shortbreads it is just a matter of substituting the flours, and you can create a gorgeous flavor sensation by using almond or hazelnut meal. It is even easy if you are just look for gluten and dairy free recipes and making vegan shortbread. But if you are making allergy free recipes and trying to make the shortbread gluten free, nut free, egg free and dairy free, it is a lot more challenging.

Thankfully, there are some wonderful vegan spreads on the market that work very well. My favorites are the Earth Balance vegan buttery sticks and Nuttelex spread. Both work well in this recipe. But if you are not refraining from dairy or need to make these soy free, feel free to use conventional butter, which will make these vegan shortbread cookies taste even better. I have deliberately chosen to use coconut sugar in this recipe, as it adds a gorgeous caramel-like quality that comes the closest to replicating the richness of butter. But if you want to make these more forgiving on the purse strings, feel free to use conventional cane sugar. The secret ingredient in this blend is the vanilla extract and lemon zest. I have always been a sucker for gluten free lemon shortbread, and if you want these really lemony, feel free to add more zest, but two teaspoons was juuuuust right for me.

Now, I am not bold enough to claim that this allergy free vegan shortbread is the best on offer, compared to those recipes containing nut meals and butter. But, if you're living with multiple food allergies, they will hit the spot this Christmas! 

Gluten Free Lemon Shortbread

Gluten Free Vegan Lemon Shortbread

  • 1 cup white rice flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/2 cup white corn flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch Celtic sea salt
  • 3/4 cup Earth Balance buttery sticks or Nuttelex vegan spread
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 teaspoon finely chopped lemon zest
  1. Preheat oven to 180 C / 350 F.
  2. Sift together flours, baking soda and salt until well combined.
  3. Cream butter, vanilla and sugar in the food processor until smooth and creamy.
  4. Add in the dry ingredients and lemon zest and pulse until the mixture forms a workable dough.
  5. If batter is too sticky, just add a pinch more rice flour a little at a time until workable.
  6. Roll out between two pieces of parchment paper to about 2 mm / ¼ inch thick.
  7. Cut with cookie cutters and place on a lined baking sheet.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes - the cookies will yield to the touch slightly and will not be completely hard.
  9. Take out of the oven and leave on the tray for a couple of minutes before placing on a rack to cook and solidify.

Makes about 20 cookies 

Tip: Adding flour into the food processor when mixing

I recommend using a food processor to make a lot of my batters. However, adding flours into the mixture can be time consuming and messy if you have to take the lid off every time you want to add something. In addition to this, the opening of the top if often a lot smaller than the width of a standard cup measurer and it is difficult to get the flours in evenly without losing a lot of it and making a mess. A quick trick to make this easer is to create a funnel with some parchment (baking) paper. Place this funnel into the feeding tube and this will allow the flours to slide in slowly and evenly.

I must admit - I am going to make them with butter. But the lemon zest sounds yummy! Merry Christmas Tess :)


LOL! Make them any way you want! ENJOY!

Thankyou for posting this allergy-friendly shortbread. My “allergic to everything” friend will be so thankful this Christmas. Have a great one Tess.


You are SO welcome!
These are a LIFESAVER for those with food allergies. ENJOY!

Brilliant. A shortbread recipe that is delicious without butter. And I thought it could never be done. THANKS!!!!


Oh, Nuttelex or Earth Balance are AMAZING and made it easy. It was making them allergy-friendly without nuts which was the challenge. ENJOY!

These were surprisingly good Tess. I made one batch with butter and one without and they were both great.


Oh Good! I know…..butter is just SO good!
It was hard to give up :)
These are good either way!

There were surprising good! And I thought you could only make delicious shortbread with BUCKETS of BUTTER! Thanks for sharing piggy :)


LOL! Yeah - these are yummy!
Earth Balance is a vegan LIFESAVER!

I made these for my niece who is allergic to dairy and eggs and she loved them. Thankyou Tess


WONDERFUL! So glad you she enjoyed them.
Thanks for sharing Katie :)

Yum! So great that this recipe offers the goodness to vegans & folks w/ allergies! Sounds delish!


Yes! This is a good little allergy-free recipe!

These look lovely and I’m planning to make some for my sister’s hen party - does anyone know if I could freeze it before or after baking?


Angela - I have not frozen this mixture beforehand. However, I have frozen other shortbread mixes in rolls before and they came out wonderfully. I would give it a go!
ENJOY the party :)

Thank you so much - I’ll give it a try!
(The best part so far is ‘testing’ all the recipes beforehand and getting to eat the results ;) )

LOL! YES! That IS the best part. Enjoy!
Congratulations to your sister :)

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