Gluten-Free Brown Sugar Cookies are a delicious spin on the classic sugar cookies. They are soft, chewy, and absolutely delicious. Made with brown sugar which gives them a chewy texture. The added sprinkles are optional but a fun addition. The dough can be made by hand or with a stand mixer.
Depending on which size of cookie scoop you use, this recipe will give you 2 dozen brown sugar cookies (2 tablespoon scoop) or one dozen (3 tablespoon scoop).
If you love simple cookies like Brown Sugar Cookies, make sure to check out my Gluten-Free Shortbread Cookies.
Recipe Ingredient Notes
Cornstarch: Cornstarch gives Gluten Free Brown Sugar Cookies an ultra-soft consistency plus helps with structure. If you use Cup4Cup do not add additional cornstarch, just replace it with additional Cup4Cup. If you are allergic to corn, please omit the 20 grams of cornstarch and replace it with your gluten-free flour of choice.
Milk Powder: Whole Milk Powder or Non-Fat Milk Powder is an optional ingredient in this recipe. Adding milk powder to baked treats gives them a creamier texture and adds a hint of sweetness. As the milk powder is heated, sugar from the milk powder can also caramelize, giving the cake a browner color and richer taste. You can find milk powder in the baking section or near the canned milk in your local grocery store. I buy this product online: Whole Milk Powder. Non-Fat or Coconut Milk Powder works as well if you have that on hand.
Butter: The butter in this recipe will be melted. If you like, you may brown the butter which adds a rich and nutty note to the cookies. Brown butter is butter that’s been cooked past the melting point. The milk solids separate from the butterfat and sink to the bottom of the pan. It turns a brown color and takes on a deeper, nuttier flavor than regular melted butter.
Sugar: Using brown sugar gives sugar cookies a darker, richer flavor due to the molasses found in the brown sugar. Either dark or light brown sugar works in this recipe.
Sprinkles: I use Wilton Rainbow Confettis which do not contain artificial flavors or colors as well as no high-fructose corn syrup.
How to make Brown Sugar Cookies
Making the dough for Brown Sugar Cookies starts by melting the butter in a small pot over medium heat until it is melted. Remove the butter from the heat and transfer it to the bowl of your stand mixer or mixing bowl. Allow the butter to cool down for at least 10 minutes.
In the meantime sift together the gluten-free flour, cornstarch, milk powder (if using), baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
When your butter has cooled to room temperature, add the brown sugar and vanilla to the bowl of your stand mixer, fitted with the paddle, and mix to combine. Add the egg and the egg yolk and cream together. Turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides. At a low speed, add the dry ingredients and the sprinkles (if using) and mix to combine. The dough will be thick and glossy. The dry ingredients will absorb the flour while the dough rests and the dough will firm up.
Transfer the dough to an airtight container and allow it to rest in the fridge for at least 2hr. Chilling the dough is mandatory!
This dough does become very stiff and can get difficult to scoop if the dough rests for an extended period of time. I recommend portioning out the cookie dough after an hour. Using a 2 tablespoon cookie scoop, scoop balls of cookie dough onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Roll each portion of brown sugar cookie dough between your hands to form a ball and return them to the fridge for an additional one hour of chill time. (two hours total of chill time)
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350F.
Roll the cookie dough balls in the granulated white sugar before placing them on the baking sheet. Gently press down them down. Bake them at 350F for 9-11 minutes or until they look puffy and set around the edges. I recommend baking 10 cookies at a time when using a medium-sized cookie scoop. For large cookies, I recommend only baking 6 cookies at a time (the baking time for large cookies will increase by 1-2 minutes)
Remove the cookies from the oven and if you like, use a round cookie cutter, slightly larger than the cookies, and scoot them into a round shape. These cookies should look perfect round already when coming from the oven (and you chilled the dough as suggested).
Store any leftover cookies you may have for 3 days at room temperature in an airtight container. You may also freeze the baked cookies (make sure they are fully cooled). Allow for them to thaw at room temperature (or pop them in the microwave for 15-20 seconds to warm them up)
How to freeze Brown Sugar Cookie Dough
The dough for Brown Sugar Cookies freezes wonderfully. To freeze the unbaked cookies dough, I recommend scooping and shaping it into balls (but don’t roll in sugar). Place them on a cookie tray big enough to fit your freezer and freeze them until they are solid (around 4-5 hours, depending on your freezer). When frozen transfer them to a ziplock bag or airtight container and keep them in the freezer for up to 3 months. To bake the frozen brown sugar cookie dough, bake directly from frozen. There is no need to defrost them. You will need to add 2-3 minutes to the baking time.
Is Brown Sugar Gluten Free?
Brown Sugar is naturally gluten-free but I always highly recommend checking the product you buy. Sometimes manufacturing companies produce products in plants that also handle wheat.
Brown Sugar is granulated white sugar mixed with molasses. Sugar comes from sugar beets or from sugar cane and either of these plants contains gluten.
Dominio Sugar: Via in their FAQ on their website that none of their sugars contain gluten. Their powdered sugar does contain corn starch to prevent caking. Otherwise only cane sugar is used in any of their products.
Crystal Sugar: while only stated on their website that their products are naturally fat-free, there are no statements regarding gluten-free.
Pioneer Sugar: All products are labeled as gluten-free on their packaging. (This it the sugar I bake with)
Frequently Asked Questions for Brown Sugar Cookies
My cookies did not spread during baking
It’s important to press down the cookie dough after rolling it in granulated sugar before baking. This gives the cookies a head start to spreading out (similar to my gluten free pumpkin snickerdoodles or gluten free peanut butter cookies). The pressing down also gives the gluten-free brown sugar cookies a crinkle top.
My cookies spread all over during baking
This most likely happened because the dough did not get chilled long enough before baking. Since this recipe starts with melted butter, the dough must be refrigerated for at least 2hrs before baking.
My dough is very hard to scoop!
I recommend scooping and shaping this dough after one hour of chill time. This makes scooping and shaping it a lot easier. Make sure to pop the dough back in the fridge for at least another hour once they are in shape (2hr chill time total!)
How should I store my Gluten Free Brown Sugar Cookies?
Please store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Can I make this recipe vegan?
While this recipe can easily be made dairy-free with a non-dairy butter substitute, I have not used egg replacers.
I don’t have celiac, can I make this recipe?
Yes. Please use 265 grams of regular all-purpose flour instead of gluten-free flour in this recipe.
Baking in grams
My recipes are posted in grams since baking by weight is the most accurate way to bake. Digital Scales are very affordable and can be found on Amazon for less than a set of measuring cups. Measuring cups are very inaccurate and can cause significant errors when it comes to baking. Especially since I bake with gluten-free flours which weigh differently than “regular” flours. I do provide some ingredients like spices and leavening agents in measuring spoons.
Note about Ovens and Oven Temperatures
All my recipes are tested and developed with a conventional oven. I always bake my baked goods on the rack placed in the MIDDLE of my oven. This way the heat coming from the bottom will not burn my baked goods.
If you are baking with convection (fan-forced), please adjust the recipes accordingly. Be also prepared that the convection oven can cause your baked goods to dry out quickly and still be raw inside. Be aware that it takes at least 15-20 minutes for a standard American Oven to be fully preheated. I highly recommend investing in an Oven Thermometer.
Substitutions and Modifications
Any dietary or ingredient modifications/substitutions to this recipe may alter the end result in appearance and taste. My recipes have been tested several times as published in this post and The Gluten Free Austrian Blog is not responsible for the outcome of any recipe found on our website.
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For Brown Sugar Cookies
- 175 grams unsalted butter (which we will melt)
- 225 grams brown sugar, light or dark
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
- 1 teaspon good quality vanilla extract
- 290 grams Gluten Free Multipurpose Flour
- 10 grams cornstarch
- 5 grams milk powder (optional)
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon (2 grams) kosher salt
- 30-40 grams of Sprinkles (optional)
- granulated white sugar for rolling
How to make Gluten Free Brown Sugar Cookies
- In a small pot, over medium heat. melt the unsalted butter. If you like, you may brown it. Transfer the melted butter to the bowl of your stand mixer and allow it to cool for 10-15 minutes before proceeding with the recipe.
- Sift together the gluten-free flour, corn starch, milk powder (if using) baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and set aside.
- To the bowl of your stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, add the brown sugar and mix until combined.
- Add the egg and egg yolk and mix until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides.
- With the mixer running on low, add your dry ingredients and sprinkles (if using) and mix until the wet ingredients are fully incorporated. The dough will be on the thicker and softer side.
- Place your mixing bowl in your refrigerator for 2hrs to allow your dough to firm up. Around halfway through the chill time, I recommend scooping the cookies, using a 2 tablespoon cookie scoop, rolling them into balls, and placing the scooped cookies back in the fridge (2hr chill time total!)
- When ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350F.
- Line two sheet trays with parchment paper.
- Roll the cookies in granulated sugar. Place no more than 10 of them on the prepared cookie sheets when using a 2 tablespoon cookie scoop. When baking larger cookies (3 tablespoons) I recommend only baking 6 cookies at a time.
- Gently pat down the dough balls.
- Bake the cookies one tray at a time at 350F for 9-11 minutes or until they look puffy. If they do not seem to spread out after 9 minutes, use a spatula or a spoon and gently press them down. (for large cookies please increase baking time by 1-2 minutes)
- The cookies will look slightly underdone but will continue to bake while cooling
- Remove the brown sugar cookies from the oven and allow them to cool for 10 minutes on the sheet tray before transferring them to a cooling rack. The cookies will deflate - that is completely normal.
Chill Time: These cookies must chill for at least 2hrs before baking. The melted butter must hydrate the flour. Skipping the chill time will cause the cookies to spread.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 200
Calories are a guestimate.