These lovely vegan Easter cookies make a delightful treat that both kids and adults will enjoy! My simple vegan sugar cookie recipe gets a springtime makeover with fun Easter cookie cutters and festively colored sugar icing. A dairy free, egg free, vegan recipe with a nut-free option.
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Ever since I developed my vegan sugar cookie recipe, I’ve been having lots of fun making batches of vegan cut out cookies for various occasions – just check out my vegan Halloween cookies and vegan Christmas cookies!
So when I recently added these fun Easter cookie cutters to my ever expanding cookie cutter collection, I knew I had to use them ASAP to make today’s Easter sugar cookies.
Once the cookies were baked, I whipped up a batch of my simple sugar icing (recipe + decorating tips included). To add festive colors to this vegan icing, I love using this vegan-friendly food coloring.
However, if you’re in a pinch, you can totally skip the sugar icing, and either drop some vegan sprinkles onto the cut-out cookies before you bake them. Or, skip all decoration completely: these cookies taste delicious just by themselves.
Why I Love These Vegan Easter Cookies:
- These cookies are made with simple, easy to find ingredients;
- They keep their shape perfectly without spreading in the oven;
- They have a delicious, buttery, not overly sweet flavor that you can enhance even further with lemon juice, rose water, or almond extract;
- These vegan sugar cookies have a nice, soft texture, yet hold their shape well without breaking;
- They keep fresh for a while – great for making ahead of time!
- Both adults and kids will enjoy making and eating these easy vegan cookies!
Looking for more vegan Easter recipes? Check out all the fun vegan options for Easter on Pinterest, from homemade Easter eggs and hot cross buns to vegan Easter dessert ideas.
See the web story for this vegan Easter cookies recipe over here.
Vegan Easter Sugar Cookie Ingredients
Unbleached All-purpose Flour – any white plain flour will do, but I prefer using the unbleached kind (organic if possible) since it doesn’t get bleached by chemicals.
Cornstarch – improves the texture and makes the cookies softer. Besides, it binds to the liquids in the dough, which keeps the cookies from spreading.
Baking Powder – I prefer it to baking soda whenever making cookies that are supposed to hold their shape during baking. Here’s a fascinating article about the science of baking powder vs baking soda when baking cookies.
Salt – just a pinch will “brighten” the sweet flavors of baked goods.
Vegan Butter – adds the fatty component and ensures the lovely buttery flavor. My go-to vegan butter for baking is the Olive Oil Plant Butter sticks by Country Crock. I’ve also used Melt butter sticks successfully. Both are dairy free, nut free, and have a neutral flavor.
Another popular vegan baking butter option – Earth Balance butter sticks, however I haven’t tested this recipe with this brand.
Vegan White Sugar – not all white sugar is vegan since it’s often filtered with bone char (burnt crushed animal bones).
To make sure you use vegan sugar, look for organic white sugar – the USDA requires all organic cane sugar to be produced without contact with animal products. It might be a bit off-white, but ultimately it won’t make a huge difference in cookie color.
Non-dairy Milk – I’ve successfully used oat and almond milk in this recipe (the latter will make these cookies NOT nut-free).
Pure Vanilla Extract – real vanilla has the best aroma and flavor.
Almond OR Rose Water Extract – optional, but I highly recommend using one of these because they add a delicious aroma and enhance the flavor of cookies. Note: A LITTLE BIT GOES A LONG WAY. (Skip the Almond extract for a nut-free option.)
Non-dairy Milk OR Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice – milk keeps the flavor of the icing more mild, while lemon juice adds a beautiful “zing” reminiscent of cream cheese frosting. Great for springtime Easter cookies!
Vanilla OR Almond OR Rose Water Extracts – to make the flavor of the icing go beyond just sweet.
Vegan Gel Food Coloring – I prefer gel food coloring to the liquid kind as it gives you more control over how runny you want your icing to be. These vegan gel food colors by Ann Clark work great.
Additional Decorations (optional) – vegan sprinkles, “googly eyes”, etc.
Traditional sugar cookies usually get a flavor boost with the addition of vanilla extract in the cookie dough, in the icing, or both.
However, you can take the flavor to the next level with a few extra add-ons:
Almond Extract – adds a delicious “je ne sais quoi” that kind of reminds of amaretto but without all the alcohol. Can be added to both the cookie dough and the sugar icing.
Skip if you need your cookies to be nut-free.
Lemon Juice – really brightens up the flavor of the icing by adding a lovely, tangy “zing” similar to the flavor of cream cheese frosting. Use in 1:1 proportion instead of non-dairy milk IN THE ICING ONLY.
Rose Water Extract – adds a nice, floral hint of flavor to the cookies. For best results, use sparingly in the cookie dough OR in the icing – A LITTLE BIT GOES A LONG WAY.
Measuring cups + spoons
Easter-themed cookie cutters (I used these ones from Amazon)
Glass measuring cups
Small glass bowls or ramekins, for mixing individual colors
How to Make Vegan Easter Cookies with Sugar Icing
(This is an outline of the baking process. For an ingredients list and step-by-step instructions, see the printable recipe card below.)
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In a bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, cream together softened vegan butter and sugar on medium speed until soft and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
(Alternatively, use an electric hand mixer.)
Add 1/4 cup non-dairy milk, vanilla and almond/rose water extracts (if using). Continue mixing until well incorporated.
Change the mixer attachment to a dough hook, and add half of the flour mixture into the wet ingredients. Mix on low speed until mostly incorporated.
Add the rest of the flour.
Continue mixing. The dough will look crumbly at first:
Eventually a ball of dough will start forming around the hook.
If it doesn’t, use a silicone spatula or your hands help mix everything together.
The dough is done when it looks soft and smooth, and doesn’t feel sticky to the touch:
TROUBLESHOOTING: If the dough isn’t coming together easily and looks crumbly, add 1 Tbsp of non-dairy milk. If the dough is too sticky (doesn’t look smooth, gets stuck to your fingers), sprinkle it all over with 1 Tbsp of flour, and mix it in with a spatula or your hands.
Divide the dough into two equal size balls, and flatten them into discs. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Once the dough is thoroughly chilled, remove the plastic wrap, and roll out the dough on a lightly floured clean work surface to about 1/3 inch thickness.
Cut out the cookies using Easter cookie cutters.
Line two insulated baking sheets with parchment paper.
Arrange the cookies on those, leaving at least 1 inch in between each cookie.
(I ended up filling 2.5 baking sheets with the amount of cookies this recipe yielded.)
Refrigerate the cookies while the oven is preheating to 350°F.
Bake the cookies for 11-12 minutes, one baking tray at a time. Don’t overbake – the cookies are done when they still look pale and feel soft to the touch. They’ll firm up as they cool.
Repeat this step to bake the second (and the third) batch of the cookies.
Cool the cookies on a wire rack until they reach room temperature.
Feel free to eat them as is, or decorate with sugar icing, sprinkles, etc.
Decorating the Cookies:
Combine the wet icing ingredients (plant milk OR lemon juice, vanilla, almond OR rose water extracts) in a measuring cup.
Add powdered sugar to a separate bowl.
Work in batches to make each individual icing color. Use separate small bowls (I used ramekins) to make each color, starting with the base color that you’ll be using for outlining the cookies (white color in my case).
Don’t make more than one color at a time, or the icing will dry up.
Make the white color icing. Combine 1-2 tablespoons powdered sugar and a a few drops of the liquid ingredient mix in a small bowl. If you need the white icing to have an extra bright color, add some white food coloring.
Keep adding more sugar/liquid mix until the icing is rather thick, not runny. This thick icing texture works great to outline the edges of each cookie design.
Attach a fine piping tip to a plastic icing bag, and fill the bag with the sugar icing (alternatively, use food-grade squeeze bottles).
Squeeze the bag/bottle lightly to produce thin lines of icing to outline the cookies.
Once you’re done the outlining, add a bit more liquid mix to make the white icing runny.
Use it to “flood” in the outlined cookie designs. (Example: the white base of the bunny face cookies).
If you’re adding sprinkles, drop them into the icing while it’s still wet.
Continue the same way with the rest of the colors/decorations.
If adding additional decorative accents with the icing (example: the squiggly lines on carrot and egg cookies), wait until the base layer of icing is dry.
Let the icing dry completely (2 hours or longer) before stacking the cookies or packing them into bags.
To avoid messing up the design of each cookie when stacking them in boxes or cookie jars: line each cookie layer with parchment or wax paper.
For troubleshooting tips when decorating vegan holiday cookies with sugar icing, see my post with my vegan Halloween cookie recipe.
Vegan Easter Cookie Storage Tips
These vegan Easter sugar cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 7-10 days.
Use parchment or wax paper between the layers of cookies to prevent their design from getting smudged.
Freezing baked sugar cookies: DO NOT DECORATE THE COOKIES FIRST. Wait till they cool off completely, then flash freeze them on a baking sheet until cold and hard.
Wrap the cookies individually in plastic wrap. Place them in an airtight freezer bag, and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. If you plan to defrost the cookies in less than 3-4 weeks, you can skip wrapping them in plastic wrap first.
Thawing frozen vegan sugar cookies: Place them in the fridge to thaw overnight, then put them on the kitchen counter to bring to room temperature.
Decorating defrosted sugar cookies: wait until the cookies are fully defrosted before decorating them with icing. Follow the steps outlined in the recipe to decorate the cookies.
More Vegan Cookie Recipes from the Blog:
I hope you enjoy my vegan Easter cookies as much as we do in our family!
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