What’s the best way to bake dairy-free cookies?

November 27, 2023

Eating cookies is one of life’s simple pleasures. But for those who are vegan or lactose-intolerant, the butter and milk typically found in cookie recipes can pose a problem. Enter dairy-free cookies – a delicious alternative that everyone can enjoy. In this article, we will delve into the secrets of baking the perfect dairy-free cookies.

1. Understanding Dairy-Free Ingredients

Before we get into the actual baking process, we need to understand the ingredients that make a cookie dairy-free. The primary ingredients in cookies are typically flour, sugar, and butter – the latter of which contains dairy. So, how do we replace the butter and still get a delicious cookie?

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Flour and Sugar

Flour and sugar, fortunately, are naturally dairy-free. Unbleached all-purpose flour is a favorite among bakers for its versatility. However, if you’re looking for a healthier option, you can opt for whole wheat flour or almond flour.

When it comes to sugar, there are several types to choose from. Granulated white sugar is the most commonly used in baking cookies. Brown sugar, which has a deeper flavor due to the presence of molasses, is also an excellent choice.

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The Butter Substitute

The challenge in baking dairy-free cookies is finding a suitable substitute for butter. Butter is responsible for a cookie’s rich flavor and moist texture. Some of the butter substitutes you can use are coconut oil, olive oil, vegan butter, or apple sauce.

Each substitute will give your cookie a different flavor and texture. Coconut oil, for example, will give your cookies a slight coconut flavor, while olive oil will give a more savory touch.

2. Our Favorite Dairy-Free Cookie Recipe

Now that we understand the ingredients, let’s dive into a simple dairy-free cookie recipe that you can try at home. This cookie recipe is not just dairy-free, but it’s also a vegan-friendly option.


  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup dairy-free chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup water

3. Baking the Cookies

With all the ingredients ready, it’s time to bake our dairy-free cookies. Here is the step-by-step process:

Step 1: Mixing the Dry Ingredients

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Stir these ingredients until they are evenly mixed.

Step 2: Adding the Wet Ingredients

In a separate bowl, combine the melted coconut oil, vanilla extract, and water. Add this mixture to your dry ingredients and stir until a uniform dough forms. Fold in the chocolate chips until they are evenly distributed in the dough.

Step 3: Baking the Cookies

Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a cookie scoop or your hands, form the dough into balls and place them on the baking sheet. Bake for about 12-15 minutes or until the cookies are golden brown.

Remember not to overbake the cookies. They may seem soft when you take them out of the oven, but they will firm up as they cool.

4. Tips for Perfect Dairy-Free Cookies

Baking dairy-free cookies can be a bit tricky, especially if you’re used to traditional recipes. Here are some tips to ensure your cookies turn out perfect every time.

Use the Right Oil

As we mentioned earlier, the type of oil you use will significantly affect the taste and texture of your cookies. If you want your cookies to have a neutral taste, you can use refined coconut oil, which doesn’t have a strong coconut flavor.

Don’t Overmix the Dough

Overmixing the dough can lead to tough cookies. When you combine the wet and dry ingredients, stir just until the dough comes together.

5. Customizing Your Dairy Free Cookies

The beauty of baking is that you can customize your recipes to suit your taste. You can add nuts, dried fruit, or even oatmeal to your dough for extra texture and flavor.

Another popular option is to use a different type of sugar. For example, using brown sugar instead of white sugar will give your cookies a deeper, molasses-like flavor.

Remember, baking is part science, part art. So, don’t be afraid to experiment and make the recipe your own. Happy baking!

6. Exploring Other Dairy-Free Cookie Variations

Now that we’ve nailed the basics, we can move on to other enjoyable and delectable dairy-free cookie variations. Two of the most common types include the dairy-free chocolate chip cookies and the dairy-free peanut butter cookies.

Dairy-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are a classic favorite. The steps for preparing these are similar to the ones mentioned before, but with an addition of chocolate chips. Make sure the chocolate chips you choose are dairy-free. Some brands offer vegan chocolate chips which are a perfect substitute. Simply fold in the chocolate chips into the cookie dough before baking.

Dairy-Free Peanut Butter Cookies

Craving for something creamy yet dairy-free? Peanut butter cookies are your solution. Substitute half of the coconut oil with smooth peanut butter. The peanut butter not only makes the cookies creamy but also adds a rich nutty flavor.

Remember to line the baking sheet with parchment paper to prevent the cookies from sticking.

7. Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Cookies

If you need or want to avoid gluten as well as dairy, don’t worry. You can still enjoy delicious cookies. To make your cookies gluten-free, use gluten-free flour instead of regular all-purpose flour. There are several types available in the market like almond flour, coconut flour, or a pre-made gluten-free blend. To ensure the cookies do not become too dry, don’t forget to add a binding agent like xanthan gum.

Additionally, keep in mind the texture of your cookies will vary slightly with different flours, so don’t shy away from some trial and error to find your preference.


There’s no need to miss out on enjoying cookies if you’re vegan or lactose-intolerant. With these tips and recipe variations, you can bake delicious dairy-free cookies that rival their traditional counterparts. From classic chocolate chip cookies to creamy peanut butter cookies and even gluten-free options, there’s something for everyone.

Just remember to use the right oil, don’t overmix your dough, and feel free to customize your recipes. Baking is an enjoyable journey full of experimentation and discovery, and these dairy-free recipes are a perfect starting point. So, preheat the oven, prepare your baking sheet, and let’s embark on a fantastic baking adventure together. Enjoy your butter-free cookies to the fullest!