Christmas Cookies: Best Keto, Vegan and Gluten Free Recipes

Traditional Christmas cookie recipes can be adapted to cater to alternative diets. Here we look at a selection of ketogenic, vegan and gluten-free recipes for different Christmas-themed cookies this season.


Keto sugar cookies

A ketogenic diet is low on carbohydrates and rich in proteins and fats. This alternative version of the classic sugar cookie recipe from Kelly Kwok, the author of The Asian Slow Cooker, produces "the perfect soft and buttery low carb Christmas cut-out cookies for the holiday baking season," according to Kwok's website Life Made Sweeter.


  • super fine blanched almond flour
  • coconut flour
  • powdered monk fruit sweetener (you can also try powdered Swerve or erythritol)
  • fine sea salt
  • butter
  • cream cheese
  • vanilla extract
  • almond extract

"The secret to this no spread sugar cookie recipe is the addition of cream cheese and leaving out the egg. Leaving out the egg ensures that your dough does not puff out and spread and the cream cheese makes these soft and tender," the website notes.

Find the full recipe with detailed instructions on how to bake these keto sugar cookies at the Life Made Sweeter website.

Keto chocolate peppermint stars

This keto cookie recipe from the All Day I Dream About Food blog, features "soft low carb chocolate cookies in a chocolate peppermint coating. Sugar-free and grain-free and perfect for the holidays." This recipe produces around 24 cookies.


  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup Swerve Sweetener
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup butter melted
  • 1 teaspoon (tsp) peppermint extract
  • 4 ounces cream cheese cut into small chunks
  • 7 ounces sugar-free dark chocolate chopped
  • 1 ounce cocoa butter
  • 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
  • Holiday sprinkles (optional)
  • Crushed sugar-free peppermints (optional)
  • 1 to 2 ounces sugar-free white chocolate (optional)
  • 1 tsp coconut oil

Find the full recipe with detailed instructions on how to bake these keto chocolate peppermint star cookies at the All Day I Dream About Food website.


The Vegan Heaven blog, which offers at least 25 different vegan Christmas cookie recipes, from gingerbread men and snickerdoodles to cinnamon cookies such as vegan orange cinnamon Christmas cookies.

Vegan orange cinnamon Christmas cookies


  • 3/4 cup powdered brown sugar
  • 2 cups ground almonds
  • 1 3/4 cup ground hazelnuts
  • 1 tablespoon (tbsp) orange juice
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 cup oat flour or whole wheat flour. Use oat flour to make the cookies gluten-free.
  • 1/2 cup powdered brown sugar
  • About 1 to 1 1/2 tbsp water or plant-based milk
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

This simple recipe takes 15 minutes to prepare and six minutes to cook. See the Vegan Heaven website for detailed instructions on how to make these vegan orange cinnamon Christmas cookies.

Vegan gingerbread cookies

This vegan gingerbread cookie recipe from BBC Good Food projects editor Miriam Nice uses coconut oil instead of butter, chia seeds instead of eggs as well as chickpea water in the icing.


  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 400g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 200g coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 200g dark muscovado sugar
  • 50g maple syrup
  • 100ml aquafaba (water from a can of chickpeas)
  • 500g icing sugar
  • ½ tsp lemon juice

The recipe requires around 30 minutes' prep work and 10 to 12 minutes for cooking and produces around 20 cookies. See the BBC Good Food website for detailed instructions on how to make these vegan gingerbread cookies.


Four-in-one gluten-free sugar cookies, which features a network of authors including "doctors, nurses or nutritionists who are leading experts on celiac disease," according to the website, offers a gluten-free (and dairy-free) version of class sugar cookies. The recipe can be adapted to create four different variations (snickerdoodles, cut-out cookies, pressed cookies and "jammie sammies").

This recipe uses whole grain sorghum and brown rice flour and requires either walnut or sunflower oil as a butter substitute.

"As in most gluten-free recipes, an acid is added to balance the pH and to boost the leavening action. Cream of tartar serves that purpose in this recipe," Dr. Jean Duane, the author of the recipe, notes.


  • ½ cup walnut, sunflower oil, or butter substitute
  • 1 cup organic cane sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/3 cup rice, nut or seed milk
  • 1¼ cup whole grain sorghum flour
  • 1¼ cup whole grain brown rice flour
  • ½ cup cornstarch or sweet rice flour
  • 1 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. xanthan gum
  • ½ tsp. salt

The basic directions for preparing the dough entails whisking the dry ingredients together in one bowl, while combining the wet ingredients in another. Then gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and "mix until incorporated," the website notes.

The next steps in the recipe depends on which of the aforementioned cookie variations you go for. See the full detailed instructions for each variation at

Gluten-free chocolate shortbread cookies

This gluten-free chocolate shortbread cookie recipe from Nicole Hunn, the author of Gluten-Free on a Shoestring and other cookbooks, creates "delicate and not too sweet" gluten-free sugar-dusted shortbread cookies using only six basic pantry ingredients.


  • 3/4 cup + 1 tbsp (115g) all purpose gluten free flour plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
  • 3 tbsp (27g) cornstarch (if you're using Cup4Cup or a similar high-starch blend, use more all purpose gluten-free flour in place of the cornstarch)
  • 1/4 cup (20g) unsweetened Dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup (58g) confectioners' sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 8 tbsp (112g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

"If you'd like to make these gluten free chocolate shortbread cookies dairy free, too, try using Spectrum butter flavored shortening in place of butter. But you'll have to use at least 9 tablespoons, and likely a splash of water to knead the dough together. Shortening has almost no moisture," Hunn notes.

"Do not use Earth Balance buttery sticks, as they have way too much moisture. No matter how much you chill the dough, the cookies will spread way too much," she adds.

See the Gluten Free on a Shoestring website for the full detailed instructions on how to make these gluten-free chocolate shortbread cookies.

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Gingerbread cookies in New York City 2017
A view of holiday cookies on display at the opening of Hallmark's Museum of Christmas in New York City on November 14, 2017. Those on an alternative diet, including ketogenic, vegan and gluten-free, can indulge in classic Christmas cookies using a host of adapted recipes. Noam Galai/WireImage via Getty Images