Holiday Spiced Almond Shortbread Cookies
These almond shortbread cookies are buttery, soft, and naturally gluten-free. They're made with almond flour and real butter and topped with a festive holiday spice mix. It's a quick and easy recipe that's perfect for the holiday baking season!
If you're a big fan of shortbread cookies (like we are), also try our melt-in-your-mouth shortbread cookies, our Scottish shortbread cookies, and our gluten-free shortbread cookies!
Table of contents
These almond flour shortbread cookies are a healthier twist on a Christmas classic. They've got that familiar buttery shortbread flavor that just melts in your mouth, but they're made with less sugar and they're naturally gluten-free.
It's a really simple recipe you'll find yourself making again and again. All you have to do is stir all the ingredients together in a bowl, scoop them into even-sized balls, roll them in powdered sugar, and pop 'em in the oven.
Wrap them up in a cookie tin or box with some ribbon, and spread the love this holiday season. These almond shortbread cookies are perfect for cookie exchanges because they're gluten-free and easy to make vegan.
We always double or triple the batch to have some on hand throughout the holidays. They taste especially delicious dipped in hot chocolate or alongside a warm cup of tea, and kids will love them, too!
Almond shortbread cookies ingredients
With only a short list of ingredients, you may not even need to go to the store to make these holiday shortbread cookies. Here's everything you need:
- Almond flour – make sure to use almond flour, not almond meal, which can be more coarse and not ideal for baking. Unlike all-purpose flour, almond flour contains (healthy) fat resulting in cookies that are moist with great texture.
- Powdered sugar – powdered sugar gives that delicate, melt-in-your-mouth cookie texture we're after. Plus, we use a little for rolling the cookies in to make them look like snowballs.
- Butter – unsalted butter is ideal because it allows you to control how much salt you add. If using salted butter, omit it from the holiday spice mix. You can easily make these cookies vegan by using a vegan butter alternative.
- Vanilla extract – for a subtle vanilla flavor.
- Holiday spice mix – for a little added festivity.
Here are the holiday spice mix ingredients:
- Granulated sugar – for a little added sweetness.
- Pumpkin pie spice – we use our easy homemade pumpkin pie spice but feel free to use a mix of warming spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and cloves. Or use a store-bought pumpkin pie spice blend.
- Sea salt – to enhance all the other flavors (omit if using salted butter).
How to make almond shortbread cookies
These almond shortbread cookies are the perfect holiday cookies, and they're easy to make. Here's how we make them in a few simple steps:
- While your oven preheats, get your baking sheet ready with parchment paper and mix the holiday spice mix ingredients in a small bowl.
- Add all the cookie ingredients to a large bowl and mix them together. So easy!
- Divide the dough into 12 equal balls (we like to use a cookie scoop or tablespoon). Dip each ball in some powdered sugar to coat.
- Place them on your prepared baking sheet, and bake for 10 minutes. Allow them to cool then top them with a bit of the holiday spice mix.
Full recipe instructions are in the recipe card below.
These cookies will keep their taste and texture for 3 days. Just be sure to store them in an airtight container.
We don't recommend storing them in the fridge because they may become soggy.
Definitely! Store them in a sealed container or reusable silicone bag in your freezer for up to a month. That said, wait to roll them in powdered sugar until just before serving them. Thaw them at room temperature.
This shortbread cookie recipe contains butter and sugar, so we can't exactly call them healthy. We use almond flour, which is a great source of protein. And we use a reduced amount of powdered sugar and they're naturally gluten-free so we classify them in the ‘healthy-ish' cookie category.
You can absolutely make this cookie dough with a fork or the back of a wooden spoon. It will just require a bit more elbow grease and take longer than an electric alternative.
Almond shortbread cookie variations
These almond flour shortbread cookies are perfect as-is, but you can easily add different flavors to mix it up. Here are a few of our favorite swaps or add-ins:
- Grate in some fresh orange or lemon zest.
- Swap the vanilla extract for almond extract for a more nutty flavor.
- Gently press a whole almond into the top for a decorative crunch!
- Toss in a handful of chopped dried cranberries.
- Add some fresh finely minced herbs like rosemary or thyme.
Festive holiday cookies
Holiday Spiced Almond Shortbread Cookies
If you love this recipe as much as we do, let us know with a 5-star rating!
Holiday Spice Mix
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, or ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Make the Holiday Spice Mix by mixing the ingredients together in a small bowl.1 tablespoon granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, ½ teaspoon sea salt
- Add all the cookie ingredients to a large mixing bowl. (See notes.) Using electric beaters, mix until the dough sticks together. This will take about 6-7 minutes and will look dry and crumbly until the last second when it finally comes together.1 ¼ cups almond flour, ¼ cup powdered sugar, ¼ cup butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla, ½ teaspoon Holiday Spice Mix (recipe below)
- Use a small cookie scoop or tablespoon to scoop the dough into 12 portions. Roll into balls then dip each ball in powdered sugar.2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- Place the cookies onto the baking sheet. They don't spread so you can place them quite close together. Bake for 10 minutes, until they have puffed up slightly. Let them cool completely then top them with a little extra holiday spice mix.
Can you add nuts like pecans or walnuts and if so, how much?
We haven’t tried adding nuts. If you do, make sure they’re chopped quite fine or I think you’ll have trouble rolling the dough into balls.
Cookies cracked when finished baking
They taste great
These would be great for holiday cookie plates
The link to the holiday spice mix is broken 😕 what is in it?
Unfortunately, we don’t have access to the original recipe either. We’ll be creating our own version and updating the recipe with it shortly. In the meantime, a mix of sea salt, sugar, and cinnamon should do the trick. 🙂
Winter Spice Seasoning
3 cinnamon sticks
2 Tablespoons crystalized ginger
¾ teaspoon ground cardamom
3 Tablespoons salt
1 Tablespoon pink peppercorns
1½ teaspoon whole cloves
½ cup (50 g) dried orange peel
½ cup (120 g) brown sugar, packed
Place all ingredients into the Vitamix container in the order listed and secure lid.
Select Variable 1.
Start the machine, slowly increase to its highest speed.
Blend for 30 seconds or until desired consistency is reached, using the tamper to push ingredients into the blades, if needed.
You found it! Thank you so much for sharing it, Carol!!
Thanks for sharing! How far ahead of time can I make them?
These cookies will last for several days in a sealed container on your counter. They also freeze well!
This looks so good! What a great cookie to make to share with others during the holidays!
It’s been a while since the last comment made on this recipe but I wanted to know if the cookies can be frozen? I didn’t see anyone ask this question. TYIA
Yes, they freeze very well!