gluten free vanilla wafers

Gluten Free Cookie Baking Help

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gluten free oatmeal raisin cookie tray


Of all the categories of gluten-free baking, it might come as a surprise to you that the one that seems to cause the most problems is not bread, but cookies! (Bread is a very close second, though!)

Particularly if the cookies must be both gluten-free and dairy-free … and (gasp) … what if they must be egg-free, too? Would it surprise you to learn that using Ener-G® Egg Replacer instead of eggs actually helps keep most gluten-free cookie recipes from spreading?!)

While most people tend to get a bit frustrated with their “free from” cookie baking results, if you keep these 13 tips (A Baker’s Dozen!) handy next time you’re baking cookies, you’ll be baking your way to moist, chewy success!

13 Top Gluten Free Cookie Baking Tips from gluten-free expert Jules Shepard | gfJules

13 Gluten Free Cookie Baking Tips

1- Cream the butter or shortening with the sugar with an electric mixer before doing anything else. This step will help whip up the butter or shortening and make it fluffier, while also breaking down the sugar a bit, so that it doesn’t melt as much (e.g. spread) when baking.

2- Bake with a combination of butter (or non-dairy butter alternative – i.e. Earth Balance® Buttery Sticks — NOT spreads because they … spread!) and shortening, rather than just butter alone. The combination works to give more body to the dough to prevent spreading. To see more on the benefits of this combination, see my video!

3- Cover cookie sheets with parchment paper for every cookie recipe.  It prevents the cookies from sticking to the sheet (and then breaking apart when removed), doesn’t leave a greasy aftertaste on the bottoms of the cookies, and helps you spend less time in the kitchen doing clean-up duty when you’re done!

4- Chill your dough well before baking! (Particularly when dealing with rolled cookie doughs, although I happen to think it’s a good rule of thumb no matter what!)

5- Don’t put too many additions into any cookie recipe. For example, with chocolate chip cookies, adding too many chocolate chips will cause the cookies to spread, as there is not enough dough to bake up for support. This is one reason why I like using Enjoy Life® MINI chips (and they’re dairy, soy & nut-free, too!).

6- If your cookies still insist on spreading, add 1/4 cup of gluten-free flour to the remaining dough to help hold them together (also helps at high altitude!).

7- If your cookie dough is too dry and crumbly, just add back to the mixing bowl and stir in a couple tablespoons of your favorite milk. Add more if needed – the dough needs to hold together, but most cookie doughs shouldn’t be sticky. Sometimes I’ll keep cookie dough in my fridge or freezer and when I go to bake some, the dough has dried out from the cold. Same solution: bring to room temperature then mix in a few tablespoons of milk. Voila – cookie dough like new!

8- Baking by weight, as opposed to volume, is always more accurate. One measured cup of my gfJules™ All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour should weigh approximately 135 grams. Measuring your ingredients inaccurately can throw any recipe off, especially finicky cookie recipes!

cookie9– If your oven has the option, bake using convection settings, rather than static temperature. If you have a convection setting on your oven and a convection temperature is not given, simply reduce the static temperature by 25 degrees when using your convection setting.

10- In fact, go ahead and reduce the temperature on your oven by 25 degrees anyway. If your oven is baking too hot (shockingly, most ovens don’t cook at the accurate temperature!), your cookies will definitely spread! The sugar in the dough may even sneak out the sides of the cookie and form a lacy texture. If this is happening, try baking the next batch at a lower temperature and see what works best with your oven.

11- Take your cookies out BEFORE they look done. With chocolate chip cookies, for example, I remove them when the centers still look a bit doughy. As they cool, they are still cooking. Taking them out of the oven at this point will ensure that they stay chewy!

12- Let your cookies cool before removing them from the parchment. I slide the parchment onto wire cooling racks after 5 minutes or so, and let them fully cool before I remove them. Once they’re cooled, they are no longer fragile … but still chewy and delicious!

13- Make sure your baking soda and/or baking powder are fresh. These are the leavening agents in your cookie recipe and if they are no longer active, your cookies won’t puff up and may spread more. Try a fresh container if they’ve been open longer than 3 months.

Also try my delectable and uber-versatile award-winning gfJules™ Cookie Mix and my easy gfJules™ Sugar Cut Out Cookie Mix! And don’t forget homemade graham crackers! I have a mix for that, too!

♦Want the gluten free recipes for my Vanilla Wafers, Oatmeal Cookies, Peanut Butter Cookies and Snickerdoodles, all pictured here? Search my RECIPES tab and you’ll find all kinds of cookie recipes for the taking!♦

And don’t forget to sign up for all things Gluten-Free Cookie by joining the Gluten-Free Cookie Swap – your community cookie recipe share site!

67 thoughts on “Gluten Free Cookie Baking Help

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  1. I’d like to add a cookie baking hint. Use a cookie scoop. Uniform sized cookies look so much better. Taking this a step further, when doing multiple varieties of cookies, such as for holiday platters, cookies of the same size make assembling platters easier and more attractive.

  2. I am baking GF cookies for my daughter’s wedding reception (Italian cookie table). We will need 100 dozen cookies of different kinds. Can I successfully freeze GF cookies for several weeks? Or should I only freeze the dough? How best to thaw that many cookies? Or should I just plan to bake them all during the last few days before the reception and store in well-sealed plastic containers??
    Thanks for your help…

    • Hi Bev, how fantastic that you’re making GF cookies for your daughter’s wedding reception! I did the same thing last year for my wedding. My favorite, of course, were the Mexican Wedding Cookies! As for early prep for the cookies, you can certainly make up any and all the doughs and freeze them without problems. Most, though, will be find to freeze and just set out at room temperature before the reception to thaw (if they’re frozen well-sealed, as you note). The only ones I’ve tried and don’t love after they’ve been frozen are sugar cut-out cookies, but maybe I left them too long. At any rate, some combination of making dough and making cookies then freezeing before the wedding should keep you sane and make all the guests happy too! Be sure to come back and tell me how it all went! Congratulations!

      • Thank you so much! I have found your recipes, tips, and flour all are life-savers. I even baked your angel food cake for Grandma and it was amazing! Please keep up the good work.

        • That’s wonderful to hear, Bev! Thank you for letting me know – so nice to hear when someone finds my work helpful! 😉

  3. The biggest problems I have had is trying to do cookies dairy free so not using butter. Any help or advice would be appreciated. In particular two things. Using cocounut oil in baking cookies? I have also had a major problem in converting my mother’s Christmas cookie recipes to gluten free. Even if I do use butter. They NEVER stick together. This last Christmas I did use your flour mix for the first time ever and yet again they crumbled completely. I am at a loss. Help??

    • Hi Mary, without seeing the recipe for myself, it’s hard to speculate, but if the cookies don’t stick together, it sounds like they are too dry. Have you tried adding a splash of non-dairy milk to the dough to get it to really hold together well? Have a look at my Christmas Cookie Doughs (search on the recipes search bar – I have two recipes) and see how different they are from your mother’s – that might help you compare successful proportions.
      I haven’t experimented a lot with coconut oil in my cookies, but I can tell you that the Earth Balance Buttery Sticks and Shortening Sticks (non-dairy) work great in cookies. Have you tried those yet?

  4. I’m not a big baker so what does
    8- Convection settings tend to work best for cookies. If you have a convection setting on your oven and a convection temperature is not given, simply reduce the static temperature by 25 degrees when using your convection setting.

    mean haha

    And then also do you have to use shortening in the cinnamon sticky buns? Is there an alternative? Thank you so much!

    • Hi Ashely, if your oven doesn’t have a convection setting (it will say that on the oven as a choice), then don’t worry about this tip at all! :) If there is a convection setting though, you would simply read the oven temperature given for a particular recipe, and then reduce it by 25 degrees. As for the cinnamon sticky buns, would you feel comfortable using coconut oil (it is a solid at room temperature) in place of the vegetable shortening? That should work fine as a substitute. Happy baking!

  5. I have a novice baker question–when I cream the butter, shortening, and mix together, the mix ends up floating all over my kitchen! Using an electric beater…any hints to keep the powder contained would be much appreciated!!

    • Hi Kate, no worries! Cream the butter and/or shortening and sugar together alone first, then add any eggs called for. Then, once creamed, slowly add dry ingredients so that they don’t explode all over the place! If a recipe calls for any additional liquids, add them in on top of the creamed mixture to help keep the powder problem down!

  6. Hi Jules, do you know if there’s a way to make brown butter chocolate chip cookies gluten free? I’ve tried four times, and each batch either spread out, making essentially cookie brittle, or just fell flat once they came out of the oven. I take your point about creaming the butter with the sugar, and will definitely try going back to basics, but I love the nutty, caramelized taste of the brown butter recipes and really want to re-introduce it back into my repertoire. Think it can be done? Thanks!

    • Hi Sarah, based on what you’re telling me about the results, I’d suggest revisiting your brown butter recipe but adding more of my GF flour. Start with 1/4 cup more and see if that’s enough with just baking a few cookies so as not to waste the dough; if not, add another 1/4 cup to the remaining dough and test that. Also refrigerate the dough well before baking and use parchment. Let me know how it goes!

  7. I just used your new (to me) program for printing, it is fantastic and I think every site should use it. Great choice!

  8. I used Jules gluten free flour for the first time in a pound cake. The recipe calls for sifting the flour first, which I did. The cake rose (not as high as with flour), but then it rather collapsed. Could it be from sifting the flour?

    • That shouldn’t have an effect, Rhea, but if it meant that the flour wasn’t measured accurately, that could certainly cause the cake to fall. If you have a food scale, measure 1 cup of my flour to 135 grams to be sure you have the accurate measurement. Otherwise, I’d say add an extra 1/4 cup of my flour to this recipe next time to help give it more support.

  9. I am trying to make my mother in laws cookie recipe with your AP flour. They keep coming out flat. Crispy. And I am getting frustrated. I added more flour. But I still can’t figure this out. I have had great success with cakes and meals but these cookies are hard to get right!!! Your help would be appreciated. Should I not try to convert a regular recipe to GF???

    • Hi Peris, I’m sorry you’re having trouble converting that particular recipe. The easiest way to help you get it right is to communicate via email. Send an email to and we’ll walk through the recipe with you to see if we can figure out how to get it just like you like it!

  10. I LOVE your flour for everything I make. I have successfully turned my mother’s chocolate chip cookie into gluten and egg free using Bob’s red mill all purpose. When I use your flour they spread and are not edible. What am I doing wrong?

  11. I just discovered your products. I received the “New To Jules Gluten Free” flour, cookie mix, cornbread mix, and e-books. I can’t wait to try some of the products this weekend. I enjoy baking; my non-celiac family often tell me they are not interested in trying my cookies and cakes. I imagine there will be rave reviews by the comments on this blog!
    Thank you for the informative website.

    • Beth – I look forward to hearing about all the goodies that your family will be loving, without even knowing they are gluten-free! I know you will love them too – welcome to our family!!!

  12. I mix up oatmeal cookies and leave them overnight in the fridge. I am able to add dried cranberries, raisins, walnuts and flax to the original recipe with no “spreading” issues at all. I have actually left them up to 24 hours and they cook up fabulously and are always moist. Even family members who are not GF love these cookies.

  13. My daughter and I just finished making the Christmas cut out cookies. Absolutely delicious! Her Christmas baking is now complete! Thanks Jules for the great flour mixture. Anxious to make some blueberry muffins next and maybe an Angel food cake.

  14. I just made your sugar cut-out cookies, and they turned out divinely! I never thought I would be able to eat Christmas cookies again at parties, and now I have a recipe that I can bring! Thank you so much!

  15. I just made your Hamanashen Cookies. What is the best way to store them? Can they be frozen for eating a future date? Thanks for all your gluten free baking tips! I love your recipes!

    • So glad you tried the recipe and that you’re putting my tips and recipes to good use! You can certainly freeze them if they are wrapped tightly – I never recommend refrigeration, though, as that just dries out recipes. Enjoy!

  16. I would like to add a tip… cookies that are placed in a covered container within 20 minutes of baking tend to stay softer, if soft cookies are what you prefer.

  17. After I partially chill the cookie dough, I lay out 5 or 6 sheets of saran wrap and divide the dough between them and roll them each into a cylinder. Place back in fridge or freezer and just slice and cook when needed. Works much better than wrestling with frozen chunks of dough!!!

    • Roselyn, I’ve tried that trick before too. It’s awesome! I use it especially for peanut butter cookies because then I can slice them to be flat and just press the fork into them for the pattern. Much faster!

  18. After trial and error, we found that adding more flour was often the key to success.

    For the butter / shortening blend – do you recommend a 50/50 mix or some other variation?

    • Congratulations, Wendi! You are our Blog Hop winner! Look for an email from us – we need your address to ship your prize: one 5lb bag of my Jules Gluten Free All Purpose Flour! :)

  19. I haven’t had a cookie since I went gluten free, but haven’t really missed them yet. I know that will change once Christmas gets here, though.

  20. Wow, that explains a lot. Now I understand why my cookies occasionally fail. (I have some chocolate chip cookies that kind of melted one year.)

  21. Wow, thanks for your post today. Cookies are also my downfall. Seem to have the most problem with them. I will try some of your suggestions.

  22. Fantastic baking tips! I need to remember to try chilling my cookie dough even when it is not just for roll out cookies :)

  23. Thanks for today’s post :) I too love the Enjoy Life chips, my hubby & I love chocolate chip cookies using these chips!

  24. I’ve just started gluten-free cooking. I have not tried cookies yet. We are also dairy free and oil free so I’m a little intimidated to try.

    • Holly – you’ll be just fine! Check our GlutenFreeCookieSwap on Facebook for more recipes too, and post questions anytime for help! We have a remarkably helpful community! :)

  25. Thanks so much for the tips- especially about sliding the paper onto the rack to finish cooling!

    I am a teacher, and I promised my students cookies for beating me in a game- and I promised to make something we could ALL share (I’m the celiac, and they are very curious). Then, I found out one student is egg free- and I knew exactly where to turn! I’m making your oatmeal raisin cookies over the memorial day break- I’ll let you know what my students think!

  26. This is so useful! Thanks for posting a wonderful list of tips, we can now make gluten free cookies with ease!

  27. Thanx for the tips–and the reminder of how much a cup of your flour weighs! I had forgotten, but didn’t want to bug you again about it… :)