Holiday Cookies For Dietary Concerns

Our best recipes for gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, and nut-free cookies.
Published November 15, 2022

Whether you’re baking for yourself, your family, or an entire cookie swap, the recipes in this roundup were selected with dietary concerns in mind.

Gluten-free Cookies

You may find that gluten-free cookie dough is stickier than traditional cookie dough. If this happens, try shaping the cookies, refrigerating them for 30 minutes, and then baking. Another way to combat sticky dough? Line the baking sheet with stick-proof lining—we recommend parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. For meringue cookies with the highest peaks, let egg whites come to room temperature before beating, this will help the sugar dissolve into the whites easier. When the meringues have finished baking, open the oven door gradually to prevent the tops from cracking.

Dairy-free Cookies

Keeping your holiday cookies dairy-free couldn’t be easier thanks to the wide variety of plant-based milk products currently available in grocery stores. Feel free to adapt any recipe that calls for cow’s milk by substituting your favourite non-dairy milk in its place. Similarly, vegan margarine can be used in place of butter and plant-based yogurt can be used in place of dairy yogurt. Delicately spiced and perfect for an afternoon pick-me-up, biscotti recipes are naturally dairy-free. When slicing biscotti, wait until the loaves are warm—if it’s too hot it will crumble. Use a serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion to achieve uniform slices.

Vegan Cookies

When eggs are off the table, try using mashed banana as a sweet and effective binder in their place. Coconut oil makes a sturdy substitute for butter, mimicking the dairy product’s ability to firm up when chilled. Our recipe for pecan and apricot cookies can double as breakfast cookies, they’re an ideal snack anytime you need energy, quickly. Feel free to substitute your favourite nuts and dried fruit for the toasted pecans and apricots.

Nut-free Cookies

Keeping your cookies nut-free is easy, especially with our selection of recipes that feature every beloved baking ingredient besides nuts. To add a nutty flavour without the nuts themselves, try adding toasted seeds (if you’re sure of allergies) or a scoop of tahini to the dough. Because nuts are so expensive, if you’re participating in a cookie swap, nut-free cookie recipes are an economical choice to make in larger numbers for sharing.