Sugar Cookies Without Butter

If you’re looking for a delicious sugar cookie recipe without using butter, you’ve come to the right place. Often, people search for alternative ingredients due to dietary restrictions, personal preference, or simply not having butter on hand. Whatever the reason may be, this sugar cookie recipe ensures a delightful treat that doesn’t compromise on taste or texture.

In place of butter, this recipe utilizes alternative ingredients such as oil, applesauce, or even coconut oil to maintain the desirable aspects of traditional sugar cookies. These substitutions still provide the necessary moisture and fat content essential for creating tender, mouthwatering cookies.

The following paragraphs will guide you through the process of creating these scrumptious sugar cookies without butter. We’ll discuss the ingredients, method, and even provide some customization options for a truly unique cookie experience. So go ahead, preheat your oven, and get ready to satisfy your sweet tooth!

Ingredients and Substitutions

Sugar cookies are a delicious treat, and they can easily be made without butter to accommodate various dietary preferences or restrictions. Using alternative ingredients, you can still create a tasty and dairy-free recipe.

In a typical sugar cookie recipe, butter can be replaced with various oils. Coconut oil is an excellent option, as it is solid at room temperature and gives a similar texture to butter. Use an equal amount of coconut oil in place of butter for the best results. If you prefer a milder flavor, olive oil or vegetable oil can be used, although the texture may differ slightly.

Another option for a butter substitute is using commercial butter substitutes designed for baking. These products usually have a blend of oils and fats that mimic the properties of butter in baked goods.

For a sugar cookie recipe without butter, the other ingredients typically include:

  • All-purpose flour
  • A leavening agent, such as baking powder or baking soda
  • Salt
  • Sugar (either white sugar or granulated sugar)
  • Egg
  • Flavorings, like vanilla extract or almond extract

To make the sugar cookies dairy-free, be sure to check the ingredients of any store-bought butter substitute or use a homemade dairy-free variety.

Most of these ingredients can be easily found in your pantry, making it simple to whip up a batch of butter-free sugar cookies. Just remember to adjust the recipe as needed based on your chosen butter substitute, and you’ll have a delicious treat that everyone can enjoy.

Vegan and Dairy-Free Options

For those looking for vegan and dairy-free options in sugar cookies, there are several alternatives that can be used without compromising taste and texture. People who are lactose intolerant or have a milk allergy can also benefit from these options.

One popular alternative to butter in sugar cookies is coconut oil. Coconut oil provides a similar consistency to butter and is both vegan and dairy-free. To incorporate coconut oil, simply replace the butter with an equal amount of coconut oil in the recipe.

In addition to butter replacements, it’s essential to find an egg substitute for vegan sugar cookies. Two common options are flax eggs and chia seed eggs. To make a flax egg, mix 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed with 3 tablespoons of water and let it sit for about 5 minutes until it thickens. Similarly, for a chia seed egg, combine 1 tablespoon of chia seeds with 3 tablespoons of water and let it sit for 5 minutes. Either of these alternatives can replace one egg in a recipe.

Another consideration for dairy-free sugar cookies is the type of milk used. Choose a plant-based milk, such as almond milk, soy milk, or oat milk, to keep the recipe dairy-free. These milks can typically be used in equal amounts as a substitute for cow’s milk.

By using these substitutes for butter, eggs, and milk in sugar cookie recipes, it’s possible to create delicious vegan and dairy-free treats that can be enjoyed by everyone.


Preparation and Baking Steps

To begin making sugar cookies without butter, start by preparing the dough. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, including flour, sugar, and baking powder. In a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients, such as egg, milk, and oil, using a wooden spoon.

Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients while mixing them with a mixer until a dough forms. If the dough is too sticky, add a little bit of flour until it reaches the desired consistency. Once the dough is ready, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow it to firm up.

While the dough chills, preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) and prepare your working surface for rolling out the dough. You can use parchment paper, a silicone baking mat, or a lightly floured surface to prevent the dough from sticking. Also, prepare your cookie sheet or baking tray by lining it with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

After the dough has chilled, take it out of the refrigerator and roll it to about 1/4 inch (0.6 cm) thickness. Use cookie cutters to cut out your desired shapes and gently transfer the cutouts onto the prepared cookie sheet or baking tray, leaving at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) space between the cookies for even baking.

Place the cookie sheet or tray in the preheated oven and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the cookies are lightly golden around the edges. Once baked, remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Healthy Alternatives

Substituting butter in sugar cookies can lead to healthier and delicious treats. One popular option is greek yogurt. It provides a creamy texture and has less saturated fat and calories compared to butter. Additionally, greek yogurt is rich in protein and calcium, making it a nutritious ingredient.

Another excellent alternative is applesauce. It adds natural sweetness and moisture to the cookies while reducing the overall fat content. Applesauce is particularly effective for maintaining the soft texture in sugar cookies. However, it’s important to note that using applesauce might increase the carbohydrate content due to its natural sugars.

Almond flour can also be used as a butter substitute for those looking to increase the fiber and protein content of their sugar cookies. Almond flour is made from finely ground almonds and provides a pleasant nutty flavor. It is also gluten-free and low in carbohydrates, making it ideal for individuals following specific diets or with gluten sensitivities.

For a dairy-free alternative, using oils in place of butter can result in a lower saturated fat and sodium content. Coconut oil or avocado oil can be used for their mild flavors, as well as the added health benefits of healthy fats and anti-inflammatory properties.

Incorporating buttermilk is another way to create tender sugar cookies without using butter. The low-fat and mildly tangy tasting buttermilk can help to balance the sweetness of the cookies. This option also contains beneficial bacteria, vitamins, and minerals.

In conclusion, using healthy alternatives like Greek yogurt, applesauce, almond flour, oils, and buttermilk can lead to guilt-free enjoyment of sugar cookies without compromising taste and texture. These substitutes not only reduce saturated fat and calories but also provide extra nutrients and health benefits.


Various Flavors and Variations

Sugar cookies are a classic favorite, and even without the butter, there are numerous ways to add unique flavors and variations. One popular option is chocolate sugar cookies, which can be created by adding cocoa powder or melted chocolate to the dough. Different textures can also be achieved, like soft cookies or crumbly biscotti.

Another delicious twist on sugar cookies is snickerdoodle cookies. These are made by rolling the dough in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar before baking. The result is a slightly chewy, cinnamon-infused delight.

Brown sugar cookies offer a rich, caramel-like flavor, which comes from the molasses content in the brown sugar. Both dark brown sugar and light brown sugar can be used depending on the desired depth of the flavor. Combining brown sugar with vanilla flavor can yield a warm, aromatic treat that’s perfect for any season.

For those looking for a completely different texture, macaroons might be the answer. These delicate cookies are made from egg whites, sugar, and ground almonds or coconut, resulting in a chewy and moist treat.

In addition to the aforementioned variations, here are a few more suggestions for diversifying your sugar cookies:

  • Citrus flavors: Grated lemon or orange zest can be added to the dough for a subtly tangy flavor.
  • Nuts: Chopped nuts such as almonds, walnuts, or pecans can be used for added texture and crunch.
  • Spices: Try incorporating your favorite spices like cardamom, nutmeg, or ginger for an exotic touch.
  • Herbs: Fresh or dried herbs like rosemary or thyme can provide an interesting note to the cookies.

The numerous flavors and variations cater to different tastes, ensuring that sugar cookies remain a popular dessert choice, even without the inclusion of butter. Simple substitutions and creative additions can make all the difference in creating a delectable and unique treat.

Textures and Quality

Sugar cookies without butter can be delicious and offer a variety of textures, depending on the ingredients used and the baking process. Butterless sugar cookies can still achieve a fluffy texture through the use of alternative fats like coconut oil or shortening. These substitutes can provide a rich, tender crumb without the dairy content of butter.

One notable feature of many cookies without butter is their crisp edges. To achieve this desirable characteristic, bakers should be careful not to overbake their cookies. Removing them from the oven just as the edges turn golden brown and allowing them to cool to room temperature will help preserve this crispness. Conversely, for those who prefer soft cookies, keeping a closer eye on the baking time and temperature will ensure the desired texture is maintained.

As for the quality of these butterless cookies, substituting the fat source does not necessarily diminish the flavor. In fact, some alternative fats like coconut oil can impart a unique, subtle taste that pairs well with the other ingredients. Additionally, the color of the cookies may change slightly due to the varying fat sources. For example, a purple hue may be achieved by incorporating a bit of purple sweet potato or yam into the cookie dough or by using a naturally pigmented sugar.

In conclusion, sugar cookies without butter can still be-

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Storing and Preservation

Storing sugar cookies without butter properly can help retain their freshness and flavour. It is important to choose the appropriate method of preservation to ensure the cookies remain a family’s enjoyable pantry staple.

Using an airtight container is the best way to store these cookies. Place a layer of parchment paper at the bottom to avoid cookies sticking together. Stack the cookies gently on top of each other in the container, separating each layer with additional parchment paper. This will prevent the cookies from breaking or losing their shape.

Storing the cookies at room temperature is recommended as it helps maintain their texture. A cool, dry place, such as a pantry, is ideal for sugar cookies. Keep the container away from direct sunlight and other heat sources to prevent the cookies from becoming too soft or melting.

For longer storage, freezing the cookies is an option. Either freeze the unbaked dough or the finished cookies in a freeze-safe container. When you are ready to enjoy them, simply allow the cookies to thaw at room temperature before consuming.

In summary, the key to preserving sugar cookies without butter is using airtight containers, proper storage methods, and keeping the cookies away from heat and sunlight.

Alternative Cookie Types

Sugar cookies without butter are not only possible but can be just as delicious as their buttery counterparts. There are plenty of alternatives available, and each brings its unique characteristics to the recipe.

Margarine is the most common substitute for butter when making sugar cookies without butter. It is made from vegetable oil and is often used by those who wish to avoid the saturated fat found in butter. Since margarine is similar to butter in texture and taste, it works well in sugar cookie recipes.

Shortening is another option for making sugar cookies without butter. It is a solid fat made from hydrogenated vegetable oil that provides a tender, crumbly texture to cookies. This often results in a slightly different flavor and texture compared to butter-based sugar cookies, but the taste is still enjoyable for many.

Using ghee, a clarified butter, in sugar cookie recipes can also provide excellent results. Ghee has a higher smoke point than butter, resulting in a lower risk of burning during the baking process. However, it has a distinct flavor profile that might not be appealing to everyone, so it’s essential to consider individual tastes before deciding to use ghee in sugar cookies.

Here’s a quick comparison of these butter substitutes:

MargarineSimilar taste and texture to butter, made from vegetable oil
ShorteningProvides a tender, crumbly texture, made from hydrogenated vegetable oil
GheeClarified butter, has a distinct flavor profile

In conclusion, butter substitutes such as margarine, shortening, and ghee present viable alternatives for making sugar cookies without butter. Experimenting with these options can yield delicious results and cater to varying dietary needs and taste preferences.

Equipment and Tools

To make sugar cookies without butter, the proper equipment and tools are essential for a successful baking experience. First, a cookie scoop is a valuable tool for consistently shaping dough into uniform sizes. This ensures that the cookies will bake evenly and helps with portion control.

In addition to a cookie scoop, having a reliable set of measuring cups and spoons will ensure the proper balance of ingredients. Mixing bowls, preferably with non-slip bottoms, and a rubber spatula will make the process of combining all of the ingredients smooth and efficient.

When it comes to choosing a suitable oil for sugar cookies without butter, canola oil is a popular option due to its neutral flavor and affordable price. It is important to note that the ratio of canola oil to other ingredients may need to be adjusted compared to a recipe that uses butter. Accurate measurements are crucial for achieving the desired texture and taste of the cookies.

As for the flour, using all-purpose flour is generally suitable for these types of cookies. It provides a balanced texture and structure. However, if a lighter cookie is desired, a combination of all-purpose and cake flour can also be used.

Other essential tools for baking sugar cookies include parchment paper or silicone baking mats, which help prevent the cookies from sticking to the baking sheet. Additionally, a rolling pin is needed if planning to roll the dough and use cookie cutters for shaping.

Finally, a cooling rack is beneficial for allowing the cookies to cool properly after baking, ensuring they maintain their shape and texture. With these key tools and equipment on hand, making sugar cookies without butter should be an enjoyable and successful endeavor.


Sugar cookies made without butter can be just as delicious and satisfying as those made with traditional ingredients. By using alternative fats, such as coconut oil, vegetable oil, or even applesauce, bakers can create mouth-watering treats while accommodating dietary restrictions or preferences.

Replacing butter with suitable alternatives allows for more health-conscious options without sacrificing taste or texture. Experimenting with various substitutes enables individuals to find the perfect balance in creating their ideal cookie. Furthermore, these alternatives might even introduce new and unique flavors that enhance the overall sugar cookie experience.

In conclusion, embracing butter-free sugar cookie recipes can satisfy cravings while offering flexibility in ingredients and potential health benefits. As the demand for diverse dietary options continues to grow, this trend of experimentation and adaptation in baking is set to continue and thrive.

Sugar Cookies Without Butter

One of our best cookie recipes
4.81 from 99 votes
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 11 minutes
Total Time 56 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12
Calories 179 kcal


  • 2 cups and 1 tablespoon All-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 3/4 cup Coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup Granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Begin by whisking flour, baking powder, and salt together in a mixing bowl.
  • Next, grab a larger bowl and use a wooden spoon to cream the coconut oil and sugar together until well combined.
  • Add the egg and vanilla to your oil and sugar and mix until combined.
  • Once combined, begin to gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients until a dough begins to form. Make sure to add a dash more flour if the dough becomes too sticky, being careful to not over-do it as you don’t want it to become bread-like.
  • Once you have your dough, roll it into a ball, wrap it up, and chill the dough for 30 minutes.
  • Whilst your dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 350 Fahrenheit.
  • Finally, roll the cookie dough into 1.5-inch balls and place on a cookie sheet, flattening the balls with your hand or the bottom of a glass to create flat circles.
  • Bake for 11 minutes or until golden!


Calories: 179kcalCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 1gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 16mgSodium: 70mgSugar: 13g
Keyword sugar cookies without butter
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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
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