Easily the best keto sugar cookies you will ever make. This recipe produces sturdy but tender cookies, perfect for decorating with sugar-free royal icing. They’re fun to make for any holiday or occasion!
If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck, right? And if it looks like a sugar cookie and tastes like a sugar cookies, it’s a sugar cookie, right? Or not.
Perhaps I shouldn’t actually call these keto sugar cookies, since they don’t have a single grain of sugar in them. False advertising and all that.
But sometimes keto recipes deserve a little poetic license. I’ve got Keto Banana Bread with no bananas, and Keto Oatmeal with no oats. They just look and taste like the real deal and that’s all that matters. So why not sugar free sugar cookies too?
And during the holidays, who doesn’t love playing around with fun cookie cutters and pretty colors of royal icing? We look forward to it every year, when we crank the holiday music and make a horrific mess in the kitchen. It’s a family tradition!
A must make cookie recipe
These keto sugar cookies have stood the test of time. I first published this recipe in October 2012, and I decided to give them a little update. I changed very little about the cookie itself but created a perfect sugar free royal icing to pair with it. So that you can decorate to your heart’s content!
What makes them so great? Well for one thing, they don’t spread or rise, and they hold their shape perfectly during baking. And if you’re careful and keep your eye on them, you can make sure that they don’t brown too much, so that they stay a pale golden brown like a traditional sugar cookie.
Once cooled, they are both sturdy and tender. You bite into one thinking it’s going to be too crisp, but it has just the right amount of give under your teeth. And yet they still hold up to all the decorating you care to throw at them.
The only changes I made to the cookie dough itself was to swap out the oat flour for coconut flour, and leave out the xanthan gum altogether. Everything else stayed the same, including the chilling time and baking time.
Testimonial “I’d never attempted keto cut-out sugar cookies before and was afraid they might fall apart when rolling/cutting, but nope – these behaved amazingly well. Oh and absolutely delicious!” — Stephanie
“I’ve been craving a good keto sugar cookie but the recipes I’ve tried have come up short – until yours. These are so good! They’re buttery and perfectly sweet all on their own, and they were easy to make. Thank you so much for another fantastic recipe!” — Sara
“This is a wonderful recipe, thanks for sharing! This also makes a great base for a fruit pizza. I have my second batch in the oven right now. ????”– Amanda
Ingredients you need
- Almond flour: For keto sugar cookies with really good texture, make sure you use a finely ground almond flour like Bob’s Red Mill. You can use sunflower seed flour as a nut-free alternative, but your cookies will be more gray in color.
- Coconut flour: A little coconut flour helps make the dough less fragile and easier to work with. You can also use a little oat fiber.
- Swerve Sweetener: You really need an erythritol based sweetener such as Swerve for crisp cookies. Allulose and BochaSweet simply won’t work here. Learn more about keto sweeteners and how they affect your baked goods.
- Butter: If you use salted butter, you can omit the additional salt in the recipe. Be sure to use softened butter for better mixing.
- Pantry staples: Eggs, vanilla, salt.
Royal Icing Ingredients
- Powdered Sweetener: I use a mix of Swerve Confectioners and BochaSweet for this icing. You can use all powdered Swerve but it looks a little dried out when it hardens. By mixing in some BochaSweet, the icing has a nice sheen to it.
- Egg white powder: Classic royal icing takes meringue powder to help it firm up and harden, but it often contains sugar. I use powdered egg whites to the same effect. In a pinch, you could use some pasteurized egg whites and then reduce the water.
- Vanilla extract: Royal icing isn’t very flavorful, so l like to add a little vanilla to make it taste better.
- Natural food coloring: I prefer to use natural food colorings, but you can use any food colorings you like. It’s tricky to get a true red with natural dyes, so I add some beet powder to help.
1. Prepare the cookie dough: In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond flour, coconut flour, and salt. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sweetener together until creamy. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract, and then beat in the almond flour mixture until dough comes together.
2. Roll out: Turn the dough out onto a work surface with a silicone baking mat or a large piece of parchment paper, lightly dusted with coconut flour. Pat into a rough circle and then top with a large piece of parchment paper. Roll out to about ⅓-inch thickness.
3. Cut out: Using cookie cutters of your choice, cut out cookies and lift carefully with a small, offset spatula or knife. Place the cookies on baking sheets lined with silicone liners or parchment paper and freeze for 30 minutes.
4. Bake: Once chilled, bake the cookies at 325F for 12 to 14 minutes, or until they are just starting to brown around the edges, switching and rotating the pans halfway through baking. Remove from the oven and let cool completely on pan. The cookies will still be quite soft when removed from the oven but will firm up as they cool.
Working with sugar free royal icing
If you want to decorate sugar cookies properly, you really need royal icing. It’s thin enough to make beautiful patterns, but it also hardens as it dries. I had to experiment quite a bit to get a keto royal icing that worked well. You can use this same icing on my Keto Gingerbread Cookies.
Why use two sweeteners?
I use both powdered Swerve and powdered BochaSweet for this recipe. Swerve hardens and dry better than BochaSweet, but can become a little dull as it sits. BochaSweet on its own makes the icing too goopy and soft, but gives it a nice sheen when combined with Swerve. The combination of these two sweeteners allows me to take advantage of their desired properties and offset the undesired ones.
You could also use powdered xylitol in place of the BochaSweet. I am not sure if allulose will work, as it tends to make things so soft that they never firm up properly.
Whisk together the sweeteners and the egg white powder in a large bowl. Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking in between, until the desired consistency is achieved. Whisk in the vanilla extract.
It’s important to get just the right consistency. You want the icing to be slightly drippy but not runny. This allows you to make outlines of shapes, and then “flood” them in by zig-zagging lines of icing within the outlines. Then use a toothpick to run all the lines together into a smooth coating.
Coloring the icing
Once you’ve got your icing to the right consistency, divide it up into separate bowls and color as desired.
These days, there are an increasing number of all-natural food dye options. Most of them are vegetable or plant-based, and they tend to produce pastel colors rather than true, deep reds and greens.
But I recently found this beet powder coloring which makes a much stronger red color. It tends to thicken the icing a bit so you need to add more water to get the right consistency.
To get that perfect pale golden sugar cookie color, use a silicone baking mat. It protect the cookies from the heat better than parchment paper.
Let the cookies cool completely before decorating them. If they are still warm, the icing will melt and run off the cookies! Also let them cool completely before attempting to freeze them.
Allow the royal icing to harden completely overnight. Simply lay all the decorated cookies out on cookie sheets and set in a cool, dry location. Once the icing is hard, you can layer the cookies on top of one another without risk of smearing the decorations.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can indeed! I actually have some undecorated cookies in my freezer right now. You can freeze them with or without the royal icing. I like to make a big batch weeks in advance, and then decorate them closer to the holidays.
This keto sugar cookie recipe has 4.8g of carbs and 2.4g of fiber per serving. That comes to 2.4g net carbs per serving of 3 to 4 small cookies. The exact amount depends on the size of your cookies.
It all comes down to what sweeteners you use. Erythritol is the only sugar substitute that produces crisp cookies. Any amount of xylitol, allulose, or BochaSweet will prevent the cookies from crisping up properly. For more information, read my Guide to Keto Sweeteners.
Keto Sugar Cookies Recipe
- Prepare a work surface with a silicone baking mat or a large piece of parchment paper, and dust lightly with coconut flour. Line two large baking sheets silicone liners or parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond flour, coconut flour, and salt. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sweetener together until creamy. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract, and then beat in the almond flour mixture until dough comes together.
- Turn the dough out onto the prepared work surface. Pat into a rough circle and then top with a large piece of parchment paper. Roll out to about ⅓-inch thickness.
- Using cookie cutters of choice, cut out cookies and lift carefully with a small, offset spatula or knife. Place on the prepared baking sheets and freeze for 30 minutes. Gather up the scraps and re-roll your dough, to cut out as many cookies as possible.
- Preheat the oven to 325F.
- Bake the cookies 12 to 14 minutes, or until they are just starting to brown around the edges, switching and rotating the pans halfway through baking. Remove from the oven and let cool completely on pan. The cookies will still be quite soft when removed from the oven but will firm up as they cool.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the sweeteners and the egg white powder. Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking in between, until desired consistency is achieved. It should drizzle off the end of the whisk in ribbons, but shouldn't be too thin. Whisk in the vanilla extract.
- Divide into sepate bowls and add food coloring in small amounts until the desired color is achieved.
- Place icing in small ziploc bags or piping bags with the very corner snipped off to pipe outlines. Let the outlines dry at least 10 to 20 minutes before filling in.
- To fill in the outlines, pipe frosting into the outline in a back and forth motion. It does not have to be perfect and there may be gaps. Then simply use a toothpick to fill the icing into the gaps.
- Let the flooded icing dry completely before adding any additional icing decoration. (Or do what I did for one cookie, add little dots of another color and swirl them in with a toothpick. So many fun options!).