Sugar cookies are always a fun holiday treat. They are simple, fun to decorate, and an activity you can get the whole family in on. There aren’t many gluten-free (GF) sugar cookie options out there. I scoured the internet and looked for weeks at local stores and all I scrounged up were three options. However, after some digging, it looks like these are the only ones that are readily available year round. So which cookies are worth the buy and which should never make it into the cart?
Alright, you should all know how this works by now, so let’s get into how these bad boys were made, scored, and eventually ranked!
How Mixes are Prepared:
I made all the sugar cookies based strictly on the packaging instructions. As much as it pains me sometimes, I will not make any adjustments even if I can see a mix going the wrong way. On a quick side note, I really wish companies would specify salted or unsalted butter. There are many a mix that I think a bit of salt could round out the sweetness and give more depth to the overall flavor, but I always add unsalted because if it doesn’t state I feel like that is the safest option. What do you do when a mix calls for butter?
How Scoring and Ranking Works
Anyways, let’s get to how these cookies are scored and eventually ranked. We use categories to help define the characteristics of the cookies, but they don’t necessarily go to score. The reason being is because everyone has their own tastes. I like harder cookies, I just do. Chip Ahoy used to be my all time favorite after-school snack. But you may like a soft and chewy cookie. So, the categories and scores for said categories don’t necessarily mean ranking. A cookie that is chewier will get a higher score in chewiness but that won’t add to it’s ranked score because that is more circumstantial and based on individual preferences. Ultimately, the biggest decider in rank (1st, 2nd, etc.) is overall taste and which we would get again. So, to make a long post longer, let’s talk about what each category is and how to interpret the score so you can pick a cookie that would work for you (but may not be our number one).
Overall Taste: On a scale of 1-10, 10 being fan-freaking-tastic, how is the overall taste?
Does it taste GF?: Self-explanatory, but does it taste gluten-free? Answered as a yes/no.
Appearance: On a scale of 1-10, 10 being this cookie is picture perfect, how did the cookie turn out/what does it look like? This is important for those that want more than taste out of their cookie.
Versatility: On a scale of 1-10, 10 being this cookie is the swiss army knife of cookies, how versatile is the dough?
Sweetness: On a scale of 1-10, 10 being unbearably sweet, how sweet is the cookie?
Easiness: On a scale of 1-10, 10 being I bought these cookies pre-made and ate them while in the store parking lot, how easy are these cookies to make?
Chewiness: On a scale of 1-10, 10 being super chewy, how chewy is the cookie?
Graininess: On a scale of 1-10, 10 being I am eating actual sand, how grainy is the cookie?
First Impressions/Comments: These are the comments made during the first tasting and throughout the tasting process to give a better idea of the cookies past the numbers.
The Final Ranking
3rd Place: Immaculate GF Sugar Cookie Mix
Overall Taste: 4/10
Does it taste GF?: Yes
“This is pretty sandy.”
“Not a ton of flavor going on in this one.”
“Tastes very gluten-free.”
“It has a nice chew at first, but then it just breaks down into a gritty mess.”
“Kinda boring overall.”
“It’s not bad, but it’s also not great.”
General Notes: This mix requires you to add your own vanilla. We used a high-quality vanilla extract and butter, even that wasn’t enough to add flavor to these cookies. If you want to decorate sugar cookies, this one would be okay. The directions said to drop the cookies by the spoonful, which we did (below, right), but for some, we rolled them up (below, left). The rolled ones turned out smoother and wouldn’t be horrible to decorate on. See image below for comparison.
2nd Place: Pamola’s GF, Dairy-Free Sugar Cookie Mix:
Overall Taste: 6/10
Does it taste GF?: A little bit.
“Way more crumbly than the other cookies.”
“Has a bit of a weird background flavor, nothing intense or gross, just noticeable.”
“A pretty good and average cookie.”
“Tastes a bit gluten-free, but not terribly.”
“Tastes like powdered sugar, or something, I can’t quite put my finger on it. Maybe it’s the flavoring used?”
“This reminds me a bit of a shortbread. It’s crumbly and buttery like a shortbread, but still has a chew like a sugar cookie and overall sugar cookie flavor.”
“Not as soft as the others.”
“Pretty good cookie.”
General Notes: These cookies are a bit harder to prepare than others. First, it says to use a stand mixer which is just more dishes in my mind. Secondly, the dough needs to be refrigerated to get a good shape. We rolled out the dough, refrigerated it, cut out shapes, and refrigerated again before baking. It is a bit time consuming, but you get a pretty good shape. As you can see in the image below, you can get basic shapes out of the dough. They do become a bit fat while baking though, so we don’t recommend anything too intricate. These would be perfect for decorating with royal icing.
This mix is the most versatile coming with 5 variations on the back alone. You can roll and cut them (top and bottom right in the picture below). You can also make refrigerator cookies or icebox cookies (top left in the image below), which is rolling the dough in saran wrap, refrigerating it, then slicing off cookies to form nice round shapes. The directions also gave 4 ways to add more flavor to the cookies by sprinkling with cinnamon for a snickerdoodle, adding chocolate chips (bottom left in the image below), or other flavorings. All of the suggestions worked, and we think there are a lot more flavor possibilities with this dough.
1st Place: Sweet Loren’s Refrigerated GF Place and Bake Cookies
Overall Taste: 8/10
Does it taste GF?: No
“Oh, this one is really good.”
“They are a little gray instead of light brown.”
“This is super chewy and delicious.”
“Tastes like vanilla and butter, super yummy.”
“There is a nice chew, but it also has a bit of crunch on the very outside. Just a bit.”
“Not grainy. doesn’t taste gluten-free, and there is no weird background taste. This is a pretty good cookie!”
“It’s a little gray and sad looking though.”
General Notes: The cookies came out of the oven looking really good and puffy. However, they deflated pretty quick, leaving behind a cracked top. They were baked for 3 additional minutes because they had not become lightly golden brown on the edges like the instructions. They do not appear to be underbaked, so we are unsure why they deflated. It could be an altitude thing or user error.
These cookies did look pretty gray compared to the rest of them, and again, we aren’t sure if this is normal for the brand. The cookies are “award-winning” and that is pretty evident in taste and texture. Even though our batch didn’t look great to decorate on, they are still amazing in taste.
Overall Sweet Loren’s placed in first, which was well-deserving. The cracked and deflated appearance could have been due to user error and had the cookies turned out they would only have one complaint — why are they gray? However, on taste alone, Sweet Loren’s knocks it out of the ballpark. Pamela’s were the most versatile, hands down. The cookie was good but did taste like a jack of all trades. The cookies seemed to be more generally ‘cookie’ flavored and textured compared to a normal sugar cookie, and this may be to give versatility. Pamela’s were a bit more involved to prepare out of all three, but they are a great option for shapes and decorating and they taste good. Immaculate was disappointing and not recommended at all by anyone. Everyone agreed that this cookie was grainy and not very good. Overall, for taste and ease get Sweet Loren’s, to decorate and for other cookie options, get Pamela’s.
That’s it! Let me know in the comments below if you have had any of these cookies and what you thought. As always, if you have any suggestions/requests for future GF Skeptics, please contact me through the comments below or the contact page.
Check out the previous GF Skeptics:
Hope you have a fun-filled and wonderful week!
3 thoughts on “The Gluten-Free Skeptic: The Best Gluten-Free Sugar Cookies Ranked”
Oh I wish I had the sweet Lauren’s one around me!
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Oh dang, I wonder if they ship, but it’s probably too much for just cookies since it has to stay cold. Maybe if you travel to a place that has them you could find them and bake em up one night! 😊
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Hmm maybe I’ll look when I visit my parents
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