Sugar Cookies Without Butter


Making the best cookie recipe without butter can be a challenge if you’re not sure where to turn for a good results. There are many ways sugar cookie recipes without butter can be altered to achieve delicious success. Baking without butter or oil can be a challenge if you don’t know what to do. And we’re here to help. Follow along to make these delicious sugar cookies without butter.

sugar cookies stacked

Can I Make Homemade Sugar Cookies Without Butter? Our Recipe

Yes, you can make sugar cookies without using butter. Even though you can make them without butter, you’ll likely want to use a substitute to help hold the cookies together and to provide moisture that otherwise will be missing.

Reasons why you might need to replace butter in a recipe

There are a variety of reasons you might need to replace the butter in your sugar cookie recipe, or any recipe for that matter. Perhaps there are dietary restrictions for those who gather around your table, or perhaps not eating butter is a choice.

Whatever the case, there are some good substitutes for butterless sugar cookies we’ll provide for you below. Here’s what to use instead of butter in cookies.

Milk allergy

If there is a milk allergy among those who gather around your table, you’ll likely want to make sugar cookies without butter. Butter contains cow’s milk. If this is the case, you’ll want to make your sugar cookies no butter.

Lactose intolerance

Lactose intolerance can be another reason to make your sugar cookies without using butter. If lactose is not digested well, then butter will likely also not be digested well. Using cookie recipes without butter will be important.

Vegan diet

If those who gather around your table are on a vegan diet, that means they don’t eat animal products. Regular butter is of course an animal product made from a cow’s cream.

If making sugar cookies for vegan eaters, consider using a vegan butter substitute. Sugar cookies without butter or eggs will be necessary to accommodate dietary restrictions.

Health issues

Perhaps the butter in your sugar cookie recipe needs to be substituted for health reasons. Maybe there is high cholesterol or heart issues that cause you to find an alternative. Sugar cookies with oil instead of butter is a possibility. And sugar cookies without butter or oil is an option when using apple sauce as a replacement.

Substitutes for butter 

Following are some sustainable substitute ideas for this no butter cookie recipe. We’ve included both pantry staple substitutes as well as refrigerated substitutes. You’ll want to carefully select your substitute based on both dietary restrictions as well as the recipe itself.

Using a substitute is important rather than completely eliminating it so that you don’t end up with a no butter biscuit recipe instead. Here are substitutes for butter.

sugar cookies on a plate

Pantry substitutes

Pantry substitutes for butter include household items that have the ability to be stored at room temperature and have a good length of shelf life even after they’re opened. Butter free cookies can be made using pantry substitutes.

Coconut oil

Extra virgin coconut oil comes from mature coconuts. It doesn’t involve the addition of unnecessary chemicals and is over 80% saturated fat.

Olive oil

Olive oil is the liquid fat contained and extracted from olives. It’s commonly used in cooking and baking.

Vegetable oil

Vegetable oil is oil that’s been extracted from seeds, plants, or other parts of fruits. Vegetable oil can refer to fats that are liquid at room temperature.


Ghee is thought to be clarified butter. And while in some cases ghee is thought to be healthier than butter, scientific research has proven that this is not necessarily the case. The fat and vitamin content is about the same.

Apple sauce

Apple sauce makes a great heart healthy substitute for butter in recipes like cakes and quick breads. Apple sauce doesn’t contain any unhealthy fat and it helps to maintain moisture in recipes that thrive from the addition of moisture.

Fridge substitutes

There are two main refrigerator substitutes for butter. But if the reason that you’re substituting butter is because of milk allergy or lactose intolerance, you’ll want to be sure to find ingredients that are friendly to your dietary restrictions. These don’t work for cookies without butter or milk.

Greek yogurt

If you’re looking to make easy cookies without butter or oil, Greek yogurt can be a good substitute for butter in some recipes. It helps to maintain the moisture of cakes, cookies, and quick breads, when butter can’t be used.


Buttermilk can be made by using 1 tablespoon of lemon juice + enough milk to equal 1 cup. Or it can be purchased at many local grocery stores in the US.

sugar cookies

Frequently Asked Questions

Following are questions that are asked frequently for making sugar cookies without butter. We trust you’ll find these answers helpful. If you have questions that aren’t mentioned here, please post them in the comments box below.

What can I use instead of butter in cookies?

There are a variety of ingredients that can be used in easy sugar cookie recipe no butter or easy cookie recipes no butter. You will want to select one to replace the butter, rather than eliminating the butter completely.

Eliminating the butter completely won’t give you chewy sugar cookies without butter, but rather you’ll make hard cookies that are not as desirable.

Can I make cookies without sugar?

Yes, cookies can be made without sugar. You’ll want to use your favorite 1 to 1 sugar substitute in place of the sugar.

Can I make sugar cookies with vegetable oil?

Yes, vegetable oil works as a substitute for butter when making sugar cookies. You can make simple sugar cookies with few ingredients.

Are these shortbread cookies without butter?

Not really. These are intended to be sugar cookies with no butter, but they have similarities in taste and texture. It’s one of our favorite simple cookie recipes no butter.

Can these sugar cookies be made vegan?

Yes, simply use a vegan appropriate 1 to 1 egg substitute in place of the egg that’s called for in the recipe. Vegan recipes are always bake without butter recipes.

Can this recipe be used for cut-out cookies?

This recipe doesn’t work well for cut-out cookies as it’s delicate and falls apart quite easily. Sugar cookie recipe no butter doesn’t have the strength required to hold together for the detailed design of cut out cookies.

Can these be frosted?

Absolutely, you can add whatever frosting or frosting glaze you desire. You should be aware that these cookies are delicate because of baking without butter.

Can I decorate with sprinkles or nonpareils?

Yes, it will make your sugar cookies without butter more visually beautiful and enticing. If using sprinkles or nonpareils, we recommend putting them on the cookie, right before you bake them.

That way they’ll stick nicely. If you wait until after the cookies are baked, they’ll probably roll right off. These don’t have to be your typical no butter no sugar cookies. Make them fun and playful too.

sugar cookies without butter

How many calories in a sugar cookie?

The number of calories in a sugar cookie varies depending on the ingredients used. In our recipe we estimate there are 493 calories, if the recipe is divided into 6 servings, for a no butter sugar cookie. Sugar cookies with oil compared to sugar cookies with less butter have differing calorie counts.

Can you use olive oil in sugar cookies?

Yes, olive oil can be used as a substitute for butter in some cases for sugar cookies.

Can you make these sugar cookies gluten-free?

Yes, these sugar cookies can be made gluten-free. Just use a 1 to 1 all purpose gluten free flour as a substitute to the regular all-purpose flour.

Do you have to use apple sauce here?

No, our recipe doesn’t call for apple sauce, but if you’re under dietary restrictions and want to avoid the use of cooking oils and other butter substitutes, you can certainly use apple sauce as a butter replacement for cookies.

How do I make 3 Ingredient sugar cookies (no eggs) ?

Use 1 cup butter, 2/3 cup + 3 tablespoons sugar, 2 cups flour, mix until just incorporated. Bake at 325F for 14-16 minutes, until golden brown around the edges.

How do I make 3 Ingredient sugar cookies without butter?

It is challenging to make a 3-ingredient sugar cookie without butter. 3 ingredient cookies no butter are challenging because they would likely crumble. Sugar cookies no eggs no butter are complex. Using 4 ingredients as noted in our recipe below makes it much more achievable and a much more successful outcome that will be enjoyed.

No Butter Sugar Cookies: the easy recipe to make super soft sugar cookies without butter

Ours is an oil sugar cookie recipe because it calls for coconut oil. But if you don’t want to use oil, you can make cookies without oil or butter, using apple sauce instead.

How to Store Sugar Cookies without Butter

The best way to store sugar cookies after they’re baked, is at room temperature. After they have cooled, simply place them in an airtight container and place them on the counter. They will last for up to two weeks.

How to Make No Butter Sugar Cookies

To make no butter sugar cookies, follow our recipe below for mixing the ingredients, chilling the dough, adding the sprinkles, and baking.


1 egg
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup coconut oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 pinch salt
1 tsp vanilla extract ½ tsp baking powder
sprinkles or nonpareils (optional)

How to Make Sugar Cookies Without Butter

We’ll show you how to make cookies without butter, follow our step-by-step instructions below.

Step 1: Gather your ingredients

To make your butterless cookies, gather your ingredients using the list above. Place them in your workspace so that you’re ready to go.

Step 2: Whisk together the dry ingredients

In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients of flour, salt, and baking soda. Mix until just incorporated.

Step 3: Add the wet ingredients

Using an electric mixer, cream the egg, sugar, vanilla, and coconut oil until mixed thoroughly.

Step 4: Chill the dough for 30 minutes

Create one large dough ball, wrap in plastic wrap and chill dough for 30 minutes. Remove from refrigerator, unwrap plastic wrap, and preheat oven to 350F degrees.

Step 5: Roll and flatten the dough onto a baking sheet and place into a preheated oven (350 F)

Roll dough into dough balls, place them on a parchment lined baking sheet or silicone mat, leaving space around each one.

Using the palm of your hand or the bottom of a glass, gently press each dough ball to flatten it out.

Sprinkle with nonpareils or sprinkles if desired. Or leave them as plain cookies if preferred.

Step 6: Bake for 8-10 minutes, then take out your cookies and let them cool before enjoying!

Bake at 350F degrees for 8-10 minutes, until golden brown around the edge.

How to decorate your sugar cookies without shortening

Consider making a simple powdered sugar and water frosting glaze for the top of your sugar cookies with coconut oil.

You can also add sprinkles or nonpareils to the tops of your cookies before baking them. Or after they’re frosted. It gives a fun, festive feeling.

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Sarah is known for her extra fancy yeast breads, melt in your mouth pies, and everything salads. She has won awards as a home cook, and is passionate about helping others feel smarter in the kitchen. Sarah is the cooking genius of the sister duo.

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