Be My Gluten-Free Valentine

Give your gluten-free honey a sweet treat on Valentine's Day, like these heart-shaped sugar cookies topped with creamy pink frosting.

gluten-free sugar cookies

During a holiday that revolves around sweets, it's easy to forget our gluten-free friends. This Valentine's Day, Nicole Hunn has you covered with her adorable heart-shaped cookies, perfect for those who are gluten-free and, of course, those who aren't. These deliciously soft sugar cookies might have us all ready to give up gluten! Make these cookies year-round by using different shaped cutters and changing up the frosting color.

Gluten-free soft frosted valentine sugar cookies recipe

Recipe by Nicole Hunn


For the cookies:

  • 2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour (use your favorite or Nicole's go-to blend: 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons superfine brown or white rice flour plus 9 tablespoons tapioca flour/starch plus 5 tablespoons potato starch)
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 egg at room temperature, beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the frosting:

  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons milk, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons meringue powder
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • Pink soft gel food coloring

gluten-free sugar cookies process


For the cookies:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line rimmed baking sheets with unbleached parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, salt, granulated sugar and confectioners' sugar and whisk to combine. Add the butter, egg and vanilla. Mix to combine. The dough will be thick and you may have to knead it with your hands until it is smooth.
  3. Roll the dough between two sheets of unbleached parchment paper into a disk a bit less than 1/3-inch thick. Using a 2-1/2-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut out hearts of dough and place them about 1-inch apart on the prepared baking sheets.
  4. Place the baking sheet in the center of the preheated oven and bake until just set, about 6 minutes. The edges of some of the cookies may brown slightly. Take them out before there is any significant browning. Remove the cookies from the oven and allow them to cool until set. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the frosting:

  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, place the butter, milk and vanilla, and mix on medium speed until combined. Turn the speed up to high and mix until creamy. Add the salt, meringue powder and about 3-1/2 cups of confectioners' sugar. Mix slowly until the sugar is incorporated.
  2. Add the food coloring to achieve desired color and turn the mixer up to high and beat until it becomes uniformly thick. Add the rest of the confectioners' sugar if necessary to thicken the frosting.
  3. Once the cookies are completely cool, pipe or spoon a generous amount of frosting onto the top of each, and spread in an even layer with a slightly wet wide knife or offset spatula.
  4. Allow frosting to set at room temperature. Store any leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature.

Gluten-Free on a ShoestringNicole Hunn is the personality behind the popular blog, Gluten-Free on a Shoestring, and the author of the book series Gluten-Free on a Shoestring, featured in the New York Times, MSN Money,, and the Dr. Steve Show. She lives with her husband and three children in Westchester County, New York.

More gluten-free cookie recipes

Peanut butter cookies
Oatmeal apple cookies
Iced gingersnap cookies


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Comments on "Gluten-free soft frosted valentine sugar cookies"

Liz December 29, 2013 | 5:09 PM

I made these, and they were gone before we even had a chance to frost them. : ) THANK YOU for this recipe! As I got this mixed up, my dough was very stiff, and had a tendency to crack when rolling. I used a trick that my grandmother did when making her sugar cookies (these were the ones I would dream of and drool over after going Gluten Free), I kneaded in softened cream cheese. Just half an ounce (about a tablespoon or so)at a time until it felt better. I know that a lot of people that eat GF also have other restrictions, but for those that are fine with dairy, the cream cheese seemed to add enough moisture without changing the way they baked up : ) I added a total of roughly 2 ounces of cream cheese. Thank You SO, SO much! Your recipe has made my 3 year old and I very happy!

Nikki August 18, 2013 | 11:50 AM

Does the frosting set enough so that a cookie can be thrown into a ziplock, or would that ruin everything?

Nicole Hunn May 06, 2013 | 4:20 PM

Hi, @Kelly, this is Nicole (the one who wrote the recipe), and good news! Yes, they actually keep quite well. I would consider making just the cookies ahead of time, and then frosting them soon before serving. But they will even keep pretty well once frosted. Magic cookies! Hi, @Shannon Walker, I'm sorry to hear that. It sounds like one of a few things: 1. You used a gluten free flour blend that was too high in starch so the dough was too dry (high starch blends absorb a lot of moisture), 2. You rolled the cookies too thin, which could make them fragile, or 3. (my best guess), you attempted to move them before they were truly cool. They are a bit fragile when warm, but are very stable when cool. Hope that helps! xoxo Nicole

Kelly April 25, 2013 | 9:39 AM

Hi, I am wondering if these will still be soft and taste good if I make them a couple days in advance?

Shannon Walker March 24, 2013 | 6:11 AM

I made these cookies last night They tasted great but the dough was too dry. About 50% of the cookies broke as I took them of of the baking sheet. that was a bummer.

carmen March 14, 2013 | 6:49 PM

Oh wow! I just whipped up a batch of these and they are AWESOME! My son is eating them faster than I can frost them. You can't even tell they are gf!!!

Erin February 15, 2013 | 5:17 PM

YES! I've been looking for a soft sugar cookie recipe. Thanks so much!

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