Impossibly Rich, Buttery Gluten-Free Linzer Cookies


– Gluten-free linzer cookies? HUZZAH! –

Aaaaaaah, Linzer cookies. One of my favorite Christmas cookies. There’s just something about Linzers cookies that makes you want to dive right in and cover yourself with jam and powdered sugar. I love how each crumbly, buttery shortbread cookie clings to its swath of red jam, like the fruity sweetness is the only thing holding it together (and I guess it is!). The dusting of powdered sugar across the top layer always reminds me of winter, like a snow-covered church with its brightly colored stained glass window shining through the blustery cold. Without fail, Linzer cookies always make me smile. (They’re right up there with Christmas candy cane cream puffs, and these hilarious little ninja-gingerbread men cookies.)

Making gluten-free Linzer cookies wasn’t difficult – the basic flour mix does the job quite well with a few added grains – but moving the dough from one place to another after it had been cut was a pain in the a$$. I came up with a way to move the cookies without them turning into examples of non-Euclidean geometry, which you’ll find below.

I opted to use star-shaped cookie cutters for my gluten-free Linzer cookies, because I’m obsessed with stars and collect them in every form that I can. These little stained glass-looking star cookies make me grin right down to a subatomic level, and just thinking about eating them later makes me as giddy as a kid on the day before winter break. You can (and should) try making them in a variety of sizes and shapes. Then comes back and show me what you’ve created!

Gluten Free Linzer Cookies on

Gluten-Free Christmas Cookies FTW!

While the traditional jam flavor used for Linzer cookies is red or black currant, you can use any kind of jam for these cookies. For the ones in the photograph I used a very special jar of jam that I received from Rachel Saunders at Blue Chair Fruit Company, an artisan jam operation in Oakland, California. Rachel gifted me with this particularly enticing flavor: Black Plum Jam with Candied Citrus & Bay. Rachel combined Burgundy and Satsuma plums with hand-candied lemon and orange peel and freshly picked bay laurel. The result is a super-tart jam, complete with tiny bits of plum skins and bright citrus peel. Why am I mentioning this? I think that Rachel is doing amazingly creative things with jam, and I’d love to impart some of her creativity onto you, my dear reader. Experiment with your Linzer cookies, trying jams beyond the usual suspects of strawberry, raspberry, and boysenberry. I actually took a few Linzer shells and made a chocolate peanut butter Linzer cookie. Was it traditional? No way. Was it freaking delicious? You have no idea.

Gluten Free Linzer Cookies on

A note on moving gluten-free Linzer cookie dough

Anyone who’s ever made dough cutouts with cookie cutters knows that it’s tough – nay, nearly impossible – to move cookie dough to a baking sheet once it’s been cut into shapes. Tender dough likes to bend and stretch, and what was once a teddy bear often looks like a circus acrobat after a car wreck by the time it gets to the cookie sheet. Gluten-free dough is even harder to work with.

I’ve come up with a solution – roll your dough out onto a piece of parchment, cut out your shapes with cookie cutters, remove the excess dough to be re-rolled, and then cut the parchment around the cookies with a pair of scissors. The cookies can then be moved without contorting into unrecognizable shapes, and since they’re on parchment, they won’t stick to the cookie sheet. You can even move the baked cookies with the parchment, leaving them on the paper until they’re completely cooled and not likely to bend or break. Success tastes good, doesn’t it?

Gluten Free Linzer Cookies on

5.0 from 3 reviews
Impossibly Rich, Buttery Gluten-Free Linzer Cookies
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: German
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
These little gluten-free linzer cookies are delicate and sweet, and their star-shape makes them irresistible. So buttery they might make Santa swoon. Makes 2 dozen cookies.
  • 1 1/3 cup finely ground hazelnut flour* (you can substitute almond flour)
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar + 1/2 cup for dusting
  • 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 egg, beaten well
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup gluten free flour mix
  • 1/2 cup sweet rice flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup jam
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F (162°C). Spread nut flour into a thin layer on a cookie sheet and roast for 15 minutes, giving it a good stir halfway through.
  2. With a stand mixer or electric hand beater, beat shortening, 2/3 cup powdered sugar, and xanthan gum until well mixed. Add eggs and vanilla, mixing until well incorporated.
  3. Add gluten free flour mix, sweet rice flour, nut flour, cinnamon, and salt. Beat until you've got a smooth dough. Roll dough out between two pieces of parchment until it is 1/2-inch thick and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  4. Remove dough from fridge and cut with cookie cutters. Remove the excess dough from between the cookies and cut the parchment around the cookies with a pair of scissors. Gently move the cookies with their attached parchment to a cookie sheet. Use a smaller cookie cutter to cut out the centers of half of the cookies on the baking sheet – you will be sandwiching two cookies together and there will be a small cut out in the top cookie so you can see the jam underneath. Gently remove the inner shape with the tip of a small knife to keep from damaging the outer cookie.
  5. Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator to keep the cookies chilled. Repeat until you've used up all the dough.
  6. Once all the dough has been cut with cookie cutters and the shapes are arranged on a baking sheet, place the baking sheets in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 325°F (162°C) while they are chilling.
  7. Bake cookies for 14 minutes, until they are very lightly golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool on pan for 5 minutes before moving the cookies, with their attached piece of parchment, to a cooling rack. Allow to cool fully.
  8. Assembling the Linzer cookies, just before serving: In a small saucepan, heat jam over a low heat to thicken it a bit. Remove any lumps from the jam and allow to cool.
  9. Place the cookies with the cutouts in the middle onto a wire rack and sprinkle generously with powdered sugar.
  10. Scoop a 1/2 teaspoon of jam onto the each of the cookies that does not have a cutout in the middle. Gently spread the jam around to the outer edges of the cookie and place the cut out cookie on top, gently sandwiching them together and making sure not to smudge the powdered sugar. Using a small spoon, dab a little more jam into the cut out “window.”
  11. * To make your own hazelnut flour: Making your own hazelnut flour is easy. Just pulse the nuts a few times in the food processor until you've got a fine powder. Be careful of grinding too much or you will end up with nut butter!

If you like these gluten-free Linzer cookies, check out these others:

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Comments from other ninjas:

  1. domenicacooks says

    I love linzer cookies. They are among my favorites for the holidays. Very clever trick cutting out the parchment around the unbaked cookies. Thanks for sharing it.

  2. Nancy @SensitivePantry says

    Mmmmm. Did I say, mmmm? These cookies are gorgeous. I love the star shapes. Can’t wait to make them–they’ll be perfect for the holidays.

  3. Michael Procopio says

    I am all for anything made with hazelnut flour.

    I am so over Christmas cookies and we’ve got so far to go before the actual holiday that I may start screaming at any moment. But these look absolutely lovely. I think they speak to my inner Austrian.

    Well done.

  4. Veronica says

    I have had both of these cookies, and can attest to their absolute deliciousness!!!!!! I would have never known they were gluten free if I had not been told, and could literally eat myself into a delicious coma with these! Yum yum yum!!!!!! Thanks, Steph, for the gift of delicious!!! :)

  5. Sheryl says

    Linzer cookies are among my favorites. And I love your version with the chocolate filling – different, for sure, but I’m sure it is absolutely delish!

  6. MyKidsEatSquid says

    Whoa–wait a minute where’s the info on the chocolate-peanut butter variety? Did you just add a dollop of peanut butter and melted chocolate? I was thinking of filling mine with nutella. I usually make linzer cookies every year but I might not get around to it this year.

    Have you tried the King Arthur Linzer cookie cutters? They will change your life. Seriously, they’re co easy to use and turn out these perfect cookies. I use the cutter inserts for all sorts of other things too–add a bit of pizzazz by making little cut-outs with them using cheese or carrot slices. My kids love it.

  7. nicola @ gfreemom says

    These look phenomenal. Hoping to muster up renewed Christmas baking enthusiasm to bake these this coming week. Think my kids would be eternally grateful. ;-).

  8. Susan says

    These look delicious! I especially liked the final image where you show the powdered sugar stars after you removed the dough. Yum!

  9. alexandra says

    Thanks for the explanation on how to move them. When I come to this blog, I am always sure to find total information, which really helps, knowing the recipes will work. This cookie is a family favorite. Really glad to have a gluten-free version now!

  10. jas says

    I’m so loving the linzer cookies this christmas! the crunchy cookie and how the jam goes all chewy then topped with gluten free icing sugar – yum! thanks for the shout out too, my good friend bought that little star cutter back from her European holiday + I love it!

  11. Anna says

    These are beautiful! I’m curious though- your ingredient list calls for 1 egg while step 2 specifies adding egg yolks. Should there be yolks in addition to the single beaten egg? Also, you mention that these taste buttery but they do not actually have any butter in them. Do you think this recipe would work if I swapped out half the shortening for butter?

    • Stephanie Stiavetti says

      Oops, not sure why that says yolks! I’ll fix it now. Thanks for pointing it out. You could certainly use butter, but that will change the texture somewhat, but not too much. Go for it – I’m always a fan of butter over shortening!

  12. Laura says

    Terrific recipe! I’ve been craving linzer cookies for years now. I love the combination of hazelnut and raspberry jam.

    I used 1/4 cup honey instead of the sugar, and it turned out just fine. A little crumbly, but next time, I will roll them out thicker.

    I also used 1 stick of real butter and 1 stick of Earth Balance, because that’s what I had in the fridge, and they were so yummy. Someone asked about the “buttery” description, and I think these cookies are described as “buttery” not necessarily for the inclusion of real butter but for the amount of fat used — they’re rich cookies.

    For the flour mix, I used 1/2 cup potato starch, 1/2 cup sweet rice, and 1/2 cup millet.

    I didn’t use any powdered sugar for dusting, but if I do “dust” in the next batch, I’ll use arrowroot starch or powdered coconut milk.

    Your trick of cutting the parchment is ingenious. :)

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Stephanie Stiavetti says

      Thanks so much for sharing! It’s good to know all of these ingredients will work well. :) So glad you enjoyed them.


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