Add these crisp, tender vegan gluten-free Linzer cookies to your Christmas baking list this year! This recipe is a dairy-free, gluten-free, and egg-free take on the traditional Austrian cookies, you can even make a nut-free version, find the details about that below.
Fill these delicious cookies with the jam of your choice, raspberry, strawberry, or apricot, it’s up to you!
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If you aren't familiar with Linzer cookies, they're traditional Austrian cookies that were inspired by the Linzer torte, a Christmas tart that was created hundreds of years ago in Linz, Austria. The cookies were created sometime after and then introduced in the United States in the 1800s. [source]
There's a reason why these cookies have been around for so long. Not only are they pretty to look at they're also delicious! And just because this version contains no dairy, no eggs, and no gluten does not mean a thing (no one will know the difference).
Over the years, there have been many different variations, this being one of them. Yes, they're vegan gluten-free Linzer cookies, so they're not the traditional or authentic recipe but they're just as scrumptious and will fit in perfectly with your other holiday treats.
Since these cut-out cookies look fancy, you may think they're not like my other easy cookie recipes, but they're just as easy to make as the others. Yes, there are a few extra steps, but they're not complicated and I'll be walking you through everything.
Before you read through this post, check out all of my other vegan gluten-free Christmas cookies so you can round out your baking list, holiday cookie tray, cookie box, or list of edible gifts to make and give this year.
Ingredients You'll Need
All you need is a few ingredients and I always recommend making the recipe exactly as it’s written for the best and intended results, but below, you’ll find some notes on what can and can’t be changed.
Ingredient and Substitution Notes
Gluten-Free Flour Blend - I have only tested this recipe with Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Baking Flour Blend (the one in the blue bag) so I can't say how it would work with any others. Results will vary and may not work with other blends since the blend ingredients and ratios will differ. This recipe will not work with any single gluten-free flour, like coconut, oat, etc.
Almond Flour - You will need blanched almond flour, NOT almond meal, for this recipe. For the best and intended results, make sure to use super fine almond flour (see the "Recipe FAQ" section below for more info on the difference between almond flour and almond meal). Fine hazelnut flour can be used in place of almond flour.
When baking, measuring your flour accurately is so important to get the best results. This applies to all types of flour. Check out my article about how to measure flour correctly before you start.
Cornstarch - I've tested this recipe with both cornstarch and arrowroot starch and there was no difference in the final result, so use the one you have on hand. Cornstarch (or arrowroot starch) plays two roles in this recipe, it acts as a binder since there is no egg and it also contributes to the cookies' tender, crisp texture.
Baking Powder - This ingredient helps the cookies to become crisp, and it also helps to give them the overall perfect texture. It cannot be replaced with baking soda.
Vegan Butter - Use unsalted vegan butter that comes in stick form. If you only have salted butter, omit the salt from the recipe. I have not used vegetable oil, nor have I tried to make this recipe oil-free, I don't recommend trying to make the cookies in either of these ways.
Sugar – I use organic cane sugar in this recipe, but you can use regular white granulated sugar instead. Make sure that your sugar is labelled vegan or that it's organic (organic sugar is always vegan). Powdered sugar, turbinado sugar, brown sugar, and liquid sugar (like maple syrup or agave) will NOT work in this recipe. I have not tested with coconut sugar or any sugar alternatives.
Vanilla and Salt - These ingredients are used to enhance the flavour of the cookies.
Jam/Jelly/Preserves - I recommend using a high-quality smooth, seedless jam without pieces of fruit (store-bought or homemade). I usually use raspberry jam, apricot jam, or strawberry jam but you can use any fruit jam you like. (Blackcurrant jam is used in traditional Linzer cookies)
Make sure the type of jam you use isn't too runny, the extra liquid will cause the cookies to get soggy.
Powdered Sugar (not shown in the image above) - Just a little is needed to dust the tops of the cookies.
Looking for more Christmas treats? Be sure to look through all of my vegan gluten-free Christmas recipes for new ideas!
Over the years, there have been many different variations of the Linzer cookies, here are a few ways you can change yours up:
- Replace some of the vanilla extract with almond extract.
- Add lemon zest or orange zest to the cookie dough.
- Add a pinch of cinnamon to the cookie dough.
- Jam is the traditional filling for these cookies but you can use something else like melted chocolate, chocolate ganache, apple butter, pumpkin butter, lemon curd, hazelnut spread, or even cranberry sauce. Whatever you decide to use, make sure it is vegan and gluten-free.
- Make them without almond flour by making my sugar cookies. See the "Recipe FAQ" section below for more info.
Linzer Cookie Cutter Set
A Linzer cookie cutter set makes preparing this recipe very easy and while it is not necessary to have a set to make this recipe, I highly recommend it.
If you don't have a set of Linzer cookie cutters, you can improvise by using a round or scalloped cookie cutter and the bottom of a frosting piping tip, a bottle top, or another small circular object to cut the middle out of the top cookies. Square cutters can also be used or even heart-shaped cutters for Valentine's Day.
How to Make Them
(Note: I’ve outlined the step-by-step on how to make this recipe here, but find the full recipe, ingredients, and directions in the recipe card at the end of this post.)
1. Mix the dry ingredients in a medium bowl.
2. Using an electric hand mixer, beat the butter, sugar, and salt together in a large bowl until it's light and fluffy, this will take about 3 minutes.
3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet dry ingredients and mix until a sticky, soft dough has formed. I usually switch over to mixing by hand at this point.
4. Continue mixing until everything has combined and you're able to form a ball with the dough.
Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, and place it in the refrigerator for at least three hours and up to three days.
5. Once the chilling time has passed, remove it from the refrigerator, let it sit for 10 minutes, unwrap and place the dough on a large piece of parchment paper. Place another piece of parchment paper on top and using a rolling pin, roll until the dough is ¼ of an inch thick. Don't roll the dough too thin!
TIP: If the dough gets too soft to roll or handle while doing these steps, return the dough to the refrigerator for a few minutes so it firms up again.
6. Using your Linzer cookie cutter with the "Linzer eye" shape of your choice, cut the cookie tops. Try to cut them as close as possible to each other. Gather up the dough scraps, form them into a ball again and repeat the rolling and cutting process.
7. Repeat until you have 15 cookie tops.
8. Poke out the cookie top centers and add those poked-out centers back to the dough to be re-rolled.
9. Remove the center shape from the cookie cutter and cut out 15 cookie bottoms, re-rolling the dough when needed.
10. Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheet(s) and bake!
After the baking time has passed, remove the cookie sheet from the oven and let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for 2 minutes before removing them and placing them on a cooling rack. Allow the cookies to fully cool before moving to the next step.
11. Dust the cookie tops with powdered sugar
12. Spread a small amount of jam on the bottom cookies. I like to use a small offset spatula to do this.
13. Place a top cookie on each bottom cookie, and gently press them together so they stick.
What's the Texture Like?
On the same day they are made, the cookies are crisp, flaky, tender and have a slight snap to them.
These cookies will only be crisp the day they were made, after they've been stored, because of the moisture from the jam, the cookies will soften and will no longer be crisp, but they are still just as delicious! They may soften quicker if you live somewhere that is humid.
And the taste? It's like the perfect buttery, melt-in-your-mouth mix of a shortbread cookie and a sugar cookie.
How to Store Linzer Cookies
Store fully cooled leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 6 days.
Freezing Baked Cookies
I don't recommend freezing the filled cookies, but you can store unassembled cookies in single layers in a freezer bag or airtight container for up to 2 months.
Thaw them in the refrigerator or at room temperature, then dust with icing sugar and fill them.
To Refrigerate the Cookie Dough for Baking Later
The dough can be made and kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. If you do this, make sure to wrap the dough tightly in a piece of plastic wrap so the dough doesn't dry out.
To Freeze the Cookie Dough for Baking Later
Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and then place the wrapped dough in an airtight container or a freezer bag and place it in the freezer for up to 2 months.
When you’re ready to bake them, remove the dough from the freezer and thaw overnight in the refrigerator. When ready, start back at step 5 in the recipe.
Tips for Success
- Use the same flour I use. Baking vegan gluten-free can be tricky because different flours produce different results. I know this particular flour works perfectly for this recipe, so to duplicate that perfection, please use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour (in the BLUE bag!).
- Use fine almond flour, NOT almond meal. (See the Recipe FAQ section below for more info on the difference between the two). I use Bob's Red Mill Superfine Almond Flour.
- Measure your flour correctly. Too much flour in this recipe will make your dough dry and crumbly and you will have a hard time rolling it out. Please read my article about how to measure flour correctly.
- Measure and have all your ingredients ready to go before starting. This will make the process run smoothly, quickly, and easily.
- Give yourself enough time. The cookie dough needs to chill for at least 3 hours, so take that into account when planning to make this recipe.
- Always make sure that your butter is slightly softened before starting, NOT melted or TOO soft. To make sure your butter is at the ideal softness, lightly press your finger into it. If it leaves a shallow indent, your butter is at the perfect temperature. If your finger sinks into the butter with barely any effort, your butter is too soft. Refrigerate it until it has firmed up and then test it again. Soft butter will blend better and easier with sugar.
Tips for Success (continued)
- Don’t skip chilling the cookie dough. This step is VERY important for the cookies to turn out properly. If the dough is not chilled, your cookies will be hard to roll out and if you do somehow manage to roll and cut them out, they will spread while baking and not hold their shapes. If the dough gets too warm while rolling and cutting, return it to the refrigerator for a few minutes so it firms up again.
- Don't roll the dough out too thin, it has to be ¼ of an inch or as close to that as you can get it. If the dough is rolled too thin, the time will have to be adjusted or the cookies will overbake and possibly burn.
- Make sure to fully cool the cookies before dusting them with powdered sugar and adding the jam. If you don't, the powdered sugar will melt into the cookies, the jam will become too runny and the result will be messy cookies.
- Don't use a jam or preserve that is runny. Use a good quality jam, if it's runny, the extra liquid will seep into the cookies and make them soggy.
- If your jam is stiff, give it a good stir or you can microwave it to loosen it up to make adding it to the cookies easier. Microwave for just a few seconds, you don't want the jam to be hot.
- Use a jam that has a flavour you love. The unfilled cookies on their own are not overly sweet since there isn't a lot of sugar in the cookie dough, most of the sweetness comes from the jam filling, so use one you enjoy.
- Read this post from top to bottom before you start. I’ve included a lot of tips and tricks so you get things right. Also read through the actual recipe before getting started.
- Follow the recipe exactly as it’s written for the very best results.
Are you new to vegan gluten-free baking? If so, be sure to read all of my vegan gluten-free baking tips!
Yes, follow steps 1-4 in my sugar cookie recipe, then come back to this recipe and start at step 5.
Almond flour is made by grinding whole almonds that are raw, blanched, and skinless. After grinding, it's then sifted to create a very fine flour. Almond meal is ground almonds, usually with the almond skins intact (but not always) and it has a coarser texture. Almond meal is heavier than almond flour, so it adds more texture and almond flavour to recipes. Almond flour and almond meal can be interchanged in some recipes, but in a lot of recipes, they cannot, so always use the type the recipe is calling for or the recipe you are making may not turn out as it is supposed to.
These Linzer cookies only remain crisp the day they were made. After they've been stored, because of the moisture from the jam, the cookies soften and are no longer crisp (but they are still just as delicious!). If you want to serve crisp cookies, make them but don't assemble them. Store them and only assemble them the same day you want to serve them.
Want more cookies? Be sure to look through this list to see all of my vegan gluten-free cookie recipes!
If You Make This Recipe...
Please let me know how your cookies turned out! You can leave a comment and star rating below. You can also upload a picture to Instagram and tag me, I'm @delightfuladventures.
And If You Like This Recipe...
Look through all of my vegan gluten-free Christmas cookies if you need more ideas for your cookie swap, holiday potluck, homemade gifting, or just for baking and enjoying at home, here are a few:
Vegan Gluten-Free Linzer Cookies
- 1 cup (148g) gluten free flour **see important note about flour below**
- ½ cup (56g) almond flour (for a version without almond flour, see notes below)
- 1 tablespoon (8g) cornstarch or arrowroot starch
- ½ cup / 1 stick (113g) unsalted vegan butter, (slightly softened, see note below)
- ⅓ cup (67g) granulated sugar (or organic cane sugar)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons (60g) seedless raspberry jam
- 2 teaspoons powdered sugar (for dusting cookie tops)
- Add the flour, almond flour, and cornstarch to a small bowl. Whisk to combine and set aside.
- Using an electric mixer, beat the butter, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl until blended and creamy, about 3 minutes. Stop to scrape down the sides of your bowl when needed. Add vanilla extract, and blend again.
- Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix on low speed with your electric mixer or with a wooden spoon until a soft, sticky dough has formed. Form the dough into a ball.
- Place the dough ball on a piece of plastic wrap and pat it down into a disk. Wrap the dough disk and place it in the refrigerator to chill for at least 3 hours and up to 3 days.
- Remove the dough from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes (it will be too hard to roll out right away, especially if it has been in the fridge for longer than 3 hours).
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C).
- Line cookie sheet(s) with parchment paper.
- Dust a piece of parchment paper with a little gluten-free flour and place the dough on top of the flour. Place another piece of parchment paper on top of the dough and using a rolling pin, roll the dough out until it is ¼-inch thick.
- Using the Linzer cookie cutter, cut out 15 top shapes, poke out the centers and place them on the prepared baking sheets, leaving a little space between the cookies.
- Gather dough scraps into a ball and repeat rolling, this time, cutting out the bottom cookies. Repeat until all of the dough has been used and you have 15 matching cookies.
- Bake cookies for 12 minutes. Don't overbake.
- Remove from oven and let cookies cool on the cookie sheet for 1-2 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack. Fully cool before moving to the next step.
- Place powdered sugar into a small sieve and lightly dust the cookie tops. Set aside.
- Using a small offset spatula or a butter knife, spread jam (roughly ½ teaspoon for each cookie) on the cookie bottoms.
- Place each cookie top on top of each cookie bottom, and carefully press the two cookies together.
- Please read all of the information and FAQ info above, as well as the notes below before making this recipe.
- This recipe makes 15 cookies using a standard 2 ½" Linzer cookie cutter. This recipe can be doubled if needed. If doubling, separate the dough into two equal pieces and wrap them separately before chilling.
- It’s important to know that different gluten-free flour blends use different ingredients and ratios, so results may vary if you substitute. I have never used any other brand of gf flour to make this recipe other than Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour (Amazon link) in the blue bag with xanthan gum, NOT the red package, so please know that your results may not be the same as mine if you substitute with another gluten-free flour blend. The weight listed above is for this specific brand of flour.
- Use fine almond flour for this recipe, NOT almond meal.
- This recipe will NOT work with coconut flour or any other single gluten-free flour, it must be a blend, the one listed above for the intended and best results.
- If you cannot use almond flour, use my vegan gluten-free sugar cookie recipe to make these cookies. You will end up with more than the 15 cookies this recipe makes since the sugar cookie recipe makes slightly more cookie dough.
- Powdered sugar, turbinado sugar, brown sugar, and liquid sugar (like maple syrup or agave) will NOT work to make this cookie dough. I have not tested with any sugar alternatives.
- Make sure to measure your flour correctly.
- Make sure that your butter is slightly softened before starting, NOT melted or TOO soft. To make sure your butter is at the ideal softness, lightly press your finger into it. If it leaves a shallow indent, your butter is at the perfect temperature. If your finger sinks into the butter with barely any effort, your butter is too soft. Refrigerate it until it has firmed up and then test it again.
- If your cookie dough gets too warm while rolling and cutting, place it back in the refrigerator to cool down for about 10 minutes.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in a cool, dry spot for up to 6 days. Because of the moisture from the jam, the cookies will soften and not be crisp after the day they were made.
- To freeze the cookie dough for baking later: Wrap the cookie dough tightly and place it in an airtight freezer-safe bag or container and freeze for up to 2 months. When you’re ready to bake the cookies, remove it from the freezer and thaw it overnight in the refrigerator. When ready, start back at step 5.
- The dough can be made in advance and kept in the refrigerator, tightly wrapped, for up to 3 days.
- Nutrition info is based on 1 of 15 cookies using the recipe as it is written and is only to be used as a rough guide. Click to learn how nutrition info is calculated on this website.