Low FODMAP Shortbread cookies are gluten-free, buttery yet lactose-free, easy to make, and they are delicious plain as well as embellished. And you won’t believe how easy the dough is to handle. It doesn’t even require chilling. It is ready to roll out right away.
Low FODMAP Shortbread
Shortbread is classic. Crispy and crumbly, rich with butter and sugar – and favored by many. It is a “plain” cookie, but oh, so delectable. Sometimes a piece of shortbread with a cup of tea is the perfect treat. I had been meaning to develop a basic Low FODMAP Shortbread recipe for quite some time, but it took being out of eggs and having a hankering for something sweet to kick me into gear.
Traditional shortbread is often nothing more than butter, sugar and flour, and maybe salt. No eggs. You will see below that for a gluten-free version as great as the classic approach, we do need a few ingredients that are not typically called for.
This recipe can be rolled out and cut into shapes – I made rounds – or, you can make wedges (see Tips). You also have a choice of “doneness”. In the image below you can see how I kept the one in the center very pale, with a shorter baking time, and the others were baked longer.
I used to work with a baker, back in my bakery-owning days – who liked their shortbread as white as possible. And I subscribed to that at the time. But then one day I had an epiphany as Robin and I were wandering the aisles of the Fancy Food Show in NYC.
Inspiration From A Commercial Product
I was nibbling on a gluten-free version of Walker’s Shortbread, which I like very much, and as I thought about why I liked it, I realized it was the hit of salt and also the caramelization that happens during baking. Walker’s Shortbread is most decidedly not pale and white. In fact, it is a very uniform toasty, golden brown. Even the aroma is rich, buttery, caramel-like and enticing. You can choose how long to bake your low FODMAP Shortbread.
Choose Your Shape; Choose Your Color
I will give you directions for cutting different shapes and as for color, or doneness, that is simply a matter of how long you bake the cookies. The time it takes until they are done to your liking will depend on the size of your cookies and the temperature of the dough when it goes in the oven.
For the wedge shapes, see Tips at the end of the recipe.
Naturally Gluten-Free Low FODMAP Shortbread
The other reason I was excited about developing this low FODMAP shortbread recipe is because there are many traditional shortbread recipes that contain wheat flour but also a fair amount of rice flour. Rice flour is, of course, gluten-free as well as low FODMAP. I wanted to see what would happen if I made the rice flour the star, and not just the adjunct.
It worked out very well, as you can see. Check out our article on choosing LOFO flours, which has detailed information on various types of flour.
Ingredients For Low FODMAP Shortbread
As you can see in the ingredient list, I developed this recipe with two kinds of rice flour, in addition to cornstarch, as I believe that they each bring textural properties to the finished cookie that are more than any of them can alone. To create a cookie as pictured, please use the ingredients called for.
Arrowhead Mills Organic White Rice Flour – I like this white rice flour for its texture. It is milled quite finely, but is not too powdery.
Authentic Foods Sweet Rice Flour – This sweet rice flour is superfine in texture and really ads to the crisp final texture of our LOFO Shortbread.
Cornstarch – Hopefully you have cornstarch in your pantry. It is handy for all kinds of LOFO cooking and baking – like in sauces. Here it adds delicacy to the finished texture.
Unsalted Butter – Make sure your butter is fresh! Shortbread is all about the buttery flavor. If your butter has picked up off flavors, put it aside for another use. I use Land O’ Lakes brand.
Vanilla Extract – Pure vanilla extract adds a little vanilla flavor, but does not overpower the butter flavor.
Salt – Don’t leave the salt out! It provides balance.
Baking Powder – Not all shortbread recipes include leavener. I think baking powder helps the texture of this gluten-free version.
How To Make Low FODMAP Shortbread
The technique is simple. You start by creaming the butter and sugar, beating in the vanilla, and then adding your dry mixture. You have to keep beating until the dough comes together cleanly as seen below. It should not be sticky, and you should be able to tell by handling it that it will roll out easily.
I use my KitchenAid stand mixer and flat paddle and it comes together quite easily. If you are using a hand-held electric mixer, give yourself – and the dough – time to come together. Use the visual cues.
Then, I like to roll out on a very lightly flour dusted piece of parchment paper.
I used fluted round cutters that are about 2-inches (5 cm) across. The yield and baking times for this recipe are based upon that choice.
Transfer your cut cookies to a parchment lined pan, spaced apart. They do not really spread but they need space between to bake evenly.
If you make wedges, as described in Tips, below, it will look like this below. These wedges are sprinkled with raw sugar, which adds a nice CRUNCH!
Once baked until your desired doneness, they can be served as is (and I personally like them that way) or you can drizzle, dip and paint to your heart’s content. Info on decoration ideas are in the recipe, below.
Plain chocolate can be drizzled (above), or melted milk/dark/white chocolate can be melted, cookies can be dipped and dry ingredients can be sprinkled on top while the chocolate is still wet. Here you can see toffee bits and coconut.
Let’s make Low FODMAP Shortbread! Have fun with shapes and decor! Low FODMAP and gluten-free baking can be incredibly creative and satisfying.
Low FODMAP Shortbread
Low FODMAP Shortbread cookies are gluten-free, buttery yet lactose-free, easy to make, and they are delicious plain as well as embellished.
Low FODMAP Serving Size Info: Makes 36, approximately 2-inch cookies or 16 large wedges (see Tips); serving size 1 wedge or 2 small rounds
- 1 cup (158 g) white rice flour, such as Arrowhead Mills
- ½ cup (72 g) sweet rice flour, such as Authentic Foods Sweet Rice Flour
- ½ cup (69 g) sifted cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder; use gluten-free if following a gluten-free diet
- ¼ teaspoon xanthan gum
- 1/2 cup plus 6 tablespoons (1 stick plus 6 tablespoons; 198 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
- ¾ cup (149 g) sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Embellishments – All optional:
- Raw sugar
- Melted chocolate
- Toffee bits
- Coconut flakes
- Powdered food color & vodka
Position racks in upper and lower third of oven. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Line two half-sheet pans with parchment paper; set aside.
For the Shortbread: Whisk together the rice flours, cornstarch, salt, baking powder and xanthan gum to aerate and combine; set aside. Line two half-sheet baking pans with parchment.
- Cream butter with an electric mixer until soft and creamy, then add sugar and continue beating until lightened in color and texture. Beat in vanilla. Add dry mixture in a few batches, beating in until dough comes together intro a smooth mass. It should come away from the sides of the bowl.
- Lightly flour a large piece of parchment paper and roll out the dough to a ¼-inch thickness. Cut with cookie cutter of your choice; I recommend a 2-inch (5 cm) round, which will provide the yield described above and the baking times will work. Larger or smaller cookies will alter baking time, yield and potentially the low FODMAP serving size. Transfer cookies to prepared pans evenly spaced apart. They don’t really spread but spacing them out will help them bake evenly. If you would like to add some raw sugar to the tops, do so now.
Bake for about 8 to 12 minutes, depending on how well-done you like your shortbread and the size of your cookies. At the very least they need to be just taking on color on the bottom and feel dry. They should lift up with a spatula. I like to bake them until they are uniformly light golden. Cool on pans on racks. Store shortbread at room temperature in airtight containers for up to 5 days.
Any embellishments can be applied after they are cool. They can be dipped, or partially dipped, in melted chocolate. The chocolate can be drizzled on top. Dry toppings such as the toffee bits and coconut will stick to the chocolate; sprinkle on while chocolate is still wet. To apply the powdered food color (I used gold) simply dissolve some in vodka and use an artist’s brush to paint on. Allow toppings to dry before storing. Chocolate dipped should be refrigerated or served the day of.
Position racks in upper and lower third of oven. Preheat oven to Line two half-sheet pans with parchment paper; set aside.
Wedge Shaped Shortbread: Divide dough in half and roll out to rounds to ¼-inch thickness. They will be about 8-inches (20 cm) across (approximately). I like these sprinkled with raw sugar. Cut into 8 wedges going all the way through the dough but leave the round intact. Bake until golden brown but about two-thirds of the way through, remove pan(s) from oven and cut all the way through the scoring, then return to oven. Cool on pan(s), then cut and separate wedges. Store as described above.
Our recipes are based on Monash University and FODMAP Friendly science.
- Sugar: Monash University and FODMAP Friendly have both lab tested white, granulated sugar. Monash states that a Green Light low FODMAP serving size of white sugar is 1/4 cup (50 g). FODMAP Friendly simply states that they have tested 1 tablespoon and that it is low FODMAP. Regular granulated white sugar is sucrose, which is a disaccharide made up of equal parts glucose and fructose. Sucrose is broken down and absorbed efficiently in the small intestine.
Please always refer to the Monash University & FODMAP Friendly smartphone apps for the most up-to-date lab tested information. As always, your tolerance is what counts; please eat accordingly. The ultimate goal of the low FODMAP diet is to eat as broadly as possible, without triggering symptoms, for the healthiest microbiome.
All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more. For a more detailed explanation, please read our article Understanding The Nutrition Panel Within Our Recipes.