These Healthy Shortbread Cookies are a testament to the fact that you can enjoy your favourite treats without compromising on health. With just four simple ingredients, you can whip up a batch of delicious cookies that are perfect for satisfying your soul and your body. It’s also naturally vegan, gluten-free and refined sugar-free!

Vegan, gluten-free refined sugar-free shortbread.

So, whether you’re looking for a delightful snack to enjoy with your afternoon tea or a healthier dessert option for any occasion, give these shortbread cookies a try. You can customise them too, by using Holiday-themed cookie cutters, dio them in chocolate or sprinkle on some nuts!

In this recipe, I’ve transformed the classic shortbread cookie into a healthier delight that’s as easy to make as it is to devour. These Healthy Shortbread Cookies, with just four simple ingredients, are the perfect way to satisfy your cookie cravings! 

why you will love this healthy shortbread cookies recipe

Simple Ingredients – Made with just four basic ingredients that you likely already have in your kitchen! No need for a special shopping trip. This recipe is perfect for whipping up a batch when that cookie craving hits.

Healthier Twist – Indulge in a sweet treat without the guilt! These cookies offer a healthier alternative to traditional shortbread cookies, packed with better-for-you ingredients. Enjoy the classic buttery flavor you love with a lighter twist.

Refined Sugar-Free – Ditch the white sugar! This recipe uses liquid sweeteners like honey or pure maple syrup. These natural sweeteners not only add sweetness but also bring a touch of complex flavor to the cookies.

Gluten-free & Vegan – Everyone can enjoy these delicious cookies! Made with ingredients that are naturally vegan and gluten-free, this recipe is perfect for those with dietary restrictions or anyone looking for a more inclusive dessert option.

Quick and Easy – Short on time? No problem! These cookies are quick and straightforward to make, requiring minimal prep work and baking time. They’re a perfect option for novice bakers or busy schedules. With a simple process and minimal ingredients, anyone can bake a delicious batch of healthy shortbread cookies.

Gluten-free Shortbread cookies.


Ground Almonds – Almonds are a nutritional powerhouse, packed with healthy fats, fibre, and essential vitamins and minerals. They’re also a great antioxidant and help manage blood sugar levels.

Liquid Sweetener – Using a liquid sweetener, such as honey or maple syrup, adds natural sweetness without the refined sugars found in traditional recipes. They offer a more balanced release of energy, preventing blood sugar spikes and crashes.

Vanilla Extract – Adds a delicious flavour that compliments the almond meal flavour. 

Salt – I’m a strong believer that in everything sweet, you MUST add a bit of salt to bring out the sweetness even more.

Ingredient Substitutions

Ground Almonds – You can use any other ground nut such as ground walnuts, pecans, cashews etc or you can use almond extract flour.

Liquid Sweetener – Honey, Maple Syrup, Agave, Rice Syrup or Date Syrup are all great options to use in this recipe.

How to make healthy shortbread cookies

I’ve added the step-by-step instructions along with some photos, AND I’ve also got a video for you to follow along with.

Step 1: Preheat the Oven

First, preheat your oven to 160°C (140°C fan). This step ensures that your oven is ready when you’ve finished preparing the cookie dough. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and set aside.

Step 2: Combine Ingredients

In a mixing bowl, you’ll want to combine the Ground Almonds, Liquid Sweetener, Vanilla Extract and a pinch of Salt.

Step 3: Mix the Dough

Now, gently fold these ingredients together until they come together to form a well-combined dough. You can choose to use a spatula or simply your hands for this mixing process.

Step 4: Roll Out the Dough

To prepare the dough for shaping, place it between two sheets of baking paper. This not only prevents sticking but also makes it easier to roll. The thickness of the dough can be adjusted based on your preference:

  • For standard shortbread cookies, aim for a thickness of about 1/2 a cm.
  • If you prefer thicker cookies, roll the dough out to around 1 cm in thickness.

Step 5: Cut the Cookies

Using cookie cutters, a pizza wheel or a knife, proceed to cut the dough into rectangles or any shape that appeals to your creative side. Place these cut cookies onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper and poke the signature holes with a fork.

Step 6: Bake

With your cookies now shaped and arranged, it’s time to bake them. Pop them into the preheated oven for approximately 10 minutes or until they exhibit a lovely golden hue around the edges. If you’ve chosen to make thicker cookies, you may need to extend the baking time slightly. Ensure to keep a close eye on them to prevent over-baking.

Step 7: Cool and Enjoy

Once your cookies are done, carefully remove them from the oven. Allow them to cool on a wire rack, which helps maintain their texture and flavour. Now, it’s time to indulge! Enjoy your Healthy Shortbread Cookies paired with a comforting cup of tea or your favourite beverage.

Customise them!

 Get creative with the presentation! Cut the cookies into holiday-themed shapes, drizzle them with dark chocolate, or sprinkle them with chopped nuts for added texture and flavour.

A stack of Healthy Shortbread Cookies.

How to store shortbread cookies

To ensure your Healthy Shortbread Cookies stay fresh and delicious, here are the recommended storage instructions:

Room Temperature: These cookies can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3-5 days. However, the exact shelf life may vary depending on factors like humidity and temperature. If it’s very hot and humid, they may soften more quickly.

Refrigeration (Optional): If you want to extend their shelf life, you can store the cookies in the refrigerator. This can help keep them fresh for up to a week. Again, ensure they are in an airtight container to prevent moisture absorption.

Freezing (Optional): To prolong their shelf life even further, consider freezing the cookies. Place them in an airtight container or freezer-safe bag, separating layers with parchment paper. Properly stored, these cookies can last in the freezer for up to 2-3 months. When you’re ready to enjoy them, simply thaw them at room temperature for a few hours.


Do I need a special pan to bake these cookies?

No, a special pan isn’t required for this recipe. A regular baking sheet is perfectly suitable. Line your baking sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup and to prevent the cookies from sticking. Parchment paper also helps ensure even heat distribution while baking.

Can I dip these cookies in melted chocolate?

Absolutely! Dipping these cookies in melted chocolate is a delicious way to customize them and add a touch of indulgence. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Prepare a shallow dish with melted chocolate. You can use dark chocolate, milk chocolate, or even white chocolate.
  2. Once the cookies are baked and cooled, dip them partially or fully into the melted chocolate.
  3. Place the chocolate-dipped cookies on a wire rack lined with parchment paper to allow the chocolate to harden.

Can I substitute coconut oil for the liquid sweetener?

No, you cannot substitute coconut oil for the liquid sweetener in this recipe. The liquid sweetener, such as honey or maple syrup, adds sweetness and helps bind the cookie dough together. Coconut oil is a fat, and it would not provide the same binding properties. If you are looking for a dairy-free option, you could try using a vegan liquid sweetener, such as agave nectar or date syrup.

Are ground almonds the same thing as almond flour?

Ground almonds and almond flour are similar but not exactly the same. Ground almonds, often referred to as almond meal, are made by grinding almonds with their skin on, leading to a coarser texture. Superfine blanched almond flour (or just ‘almond flour’), on the other hand, is typically made from blanched (skinless) almonds, resulting in a finer, smoother flour.

Is it possible to use coconut flour instead of ground almonds in this recipe?

While coconut flour can be a great gluten-free alternative in some recipes, it behaves quite differently from ground almonds. Coconut flour is highly absorbent, so if you decide to substitute it for ground almonds, you’ll likely need to adjust the quantities of other ingredients and possibly add additional liquid to achieve the right consistency.

How can I adjust the recipe to be made with almond flour?

If you want to adjust the recipe to be made with almond flour, then you can substitute the same amount of superfine blanched almond flour for ground almonds. The almond flour shortbread cookies texture will be a bit different, but you’ll still get that same nutty flavor.

More easy and healthy cookie recipes

Vegan, gluten-free refined sugar-free shortbread.

Healthy Shortbread Cookies

These easy and healthy shortbread cookies are such a game-changer! They're so fun to make and you only need 4 ingredients to make them. They're also naturally gluten-free, vegan and refined sugar-free!
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Healthy, Vegan
Servings 14 cookies
Calories 54 kcal



  • Start by preheating your oven to 160°C (140°C fan).
  • In a mixing bowl, add the ground almonds, liquid sweetener, vanilla extract and salt. Gently fold the ingredients together until they form a well-combined dough.
  • Place the shortbread dough between two sheets of baking paper. Roll it out to your desired thickness, aiming for about 1/2 a cm for standard shortbread cookies. If you prefer thicker cookies, roll them out to around 1 cm thick.
  • Using cookie cutters or a knife, cut the dough into rectangles or any shape you like. Poke some holes with a fork.
  • Place the cut cookies made with almond flour on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 10 minutes or until they turn golden around the edges. If you opted for thicker cookies, you may need to bake them for a few minutes longer.



  • Whilst I do provide the US cup measurements for the recipe, I always recommend using a kitchen weighing scale and using the weighted measurements instead. This will result in a more accurate process and your cake will come out perfectly.
  • Elevate them – You can use Holiday-themed cookie cutters, dip them in chocolate or add some nuts – get creative and make this recipe your own!
  • Read the blog post before making these Healthy Shortbread Cookies for extra tips, ingredient substitutions and storage instructions.
  • These nutritional values are provided as a guide only and may be different depending on your ingredients and measurements.


Nutrition Facts
Healthy Shortbread Cookies
Serving Size
1 cookie
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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I hope you love this healthy shortbread cookies recipe made with just 4 ingredients!