Butter cookies are a classic Christmas cookie that you can enjoy at any time of year. These vegan butter cookies are rich and not too sweet. The texture is crisp, a little crumbly, and melt-in-your-mouth buttery.
You can shape these butter cookies any way you like. Pipe the dough into pretty spirals using a piping bag with a large star tip (like I did), or use a cookie press for perfect, uniform cookies. If necessary, you can shape them by hand or wrap and chill the dough in a log for sliced cookies. Enjoy them plain, or decorate them as desired!
Ingredients for Making Vegan Butter Cookies
Butter cookies have a high ratio of butter to flour, and a relatively low sugar content. The non-vegan version contains eggs but no chemical leaveners.
You only need 6 simple ingredients to make a batch of vegan butter cookies. Flour, vegan butter, sugar, aquafaba, vanilla, and salt.
Vegan butter is essential. I used Earth Balance, but any vegan butter that’s hard when chilled should work. This isn’t a cookie recipe where you can substitute the vegan butter with coconut oil or vegetable shortening (or apple sauce!)
Aquafaba, the liquid leftover from canned chickpeas/garbanzo beans, takes the place of eggs. It’s high in protein with an egg white-like consistency. Choose canned chickpeas with no added salt for best results. 3 tablespoons of unwhipped aquafaba is equal to 1 egg.
How to Make Vegan Butter Cookies
If you have a stand mixer or hand mixer, use it to cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the aquafaba, vanilla, and salt, and beat very well for about 5 minutes. By hand, gradually mix in the flour until just combined. Avoid overmixing the dough for the best texture.
Piping or Pressing the Cookies
Transfer the dough to a piping bag with a large star tip (or a cookie press.) Pipe or press the cookies on a cool cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. The cookies won’t spread much but leave some room between them.
If you’re piping your cookies, use a strong piping bag. I used *Wilton’s disposable 12-inch piping bags (affiliate links marked with *). They’re nothing special but they’re widely available and strong enough to get the job done. If you wash them they can easily be used multiple times. These Wilton bags aren’t very large so I loaded half of the dough at a time. A reusable piping bag will be the strongest and most environmentally friendly option.
Choose a large star piping tip. I used a *Wilton 1M star tip, which is the smallest size that will work. I widened the tines to make it a little larger. A *Wilton 6B or *Ateco #826 or *#827 would probably work better if you have them available.
To pipe rounds like the cookies shown, start piping from the center and spiral outwards. Decorative piping isn’t my strong suit. If you’re not happy with how you’ve piped a cookie, just scrape it off your baking sheet and reload it into your bag or press.
Measuring Tips for Baking Perfect Vegan Butter Cookies
For best results, measure ingredients by weight, especially the flour. It’s incredibly easy to add too much flour if you measure by volume. If you add too much flour the dough will be very stiff and difficult to pipe/press. The cookies will be denser and drier with dull flavour.
If you don’t have a kitchen scale: Use a whisk to fluff up the top few inches of flour in its container. Use a spoon to gently spoon the fluffed flour into your measuring cup, taking care not to compact the flour. Gently level the measuring cup with a flat edge. When it’s time to add the flour, assess the consistency of the dough as you go. You might not need to add all the flour you’ve measured out. The dough should be slightly firm but not stiff.
If the dough ends up too stiff, skip the piping or pressing. You can roll the dough into balls and press them into rounds, or form it into a log, wrap it in plastic wrap, chill, and slice into rounds.
Decorating Vegan Butter Cookies
- Sprinkle the unbaked cookies with coloured sanding sugar before baking.
- Top each unbaked cookie with a single glacé cherry.
- Dip or drizzle the cookies with melted chocolate. Top with sprinkles if desired.
I dipped my cookies into melted chocolate before sprinkling them with chopped pistachios and freeze-dried strawberries.
Reader Favourite Vegan Holiday Cookies
- Vegan Molasses Cookies
- Perfect Vegan Gingerbread Cookies
- Coconut Oil Sugar Cookies
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- 1 cup (240 grams) vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
- ½ cup (120 grams) sugar
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon (1.25 ml) salt
- 3 tablespoons (45 ml) aquafaba
- 2 ½ cups (300 grams) all-purpose flour *see notes
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
- In a large bowl or stand mixer, cream together vegan butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add vanilla, salt, and aquafaba to the creamed butter mixture and beat for 5 minutes.
- Mixing by hand, gradually add the flour. Mix until the dough is just blended. Avoid overmixing. The dough should be just firm but not stiff.
- Fill a large piping bag fitted with a large star tip (or a cookie press), with the cookie dough. Pipe or press the cookies onto a cool cookie sheet, leaving a little space for the cookies to spread.
- If desired, sprinkle cookies with coloured sanding sugar or top with a glacé cherry.
- Bake until the cookies are just golden-brown around the edges, about 10-13 minutes.
- Transfer cookies to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.
- For best texture, store vegan butter cookies lightly wrapped for 1 day before transferring to an airtight container. Freezer-friendly.