sugar cookies
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Sugar Cookies Without Butter

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There are times when we’re craving a specific recipe or maybe we promised to make it for a party but then we find we don’t have all of the ingredients listed in the recipe.

While many recipes have been tried and tested again and again using the same ingredients, we still can achieve the desired results with a few simple substitutions.

When you think of sugar cookies the word buttery might come to mind. It’s understandable, with the taste and texture, that you might think you can’t make sugar cookies without butter. But, in fact, you can make delicious sugar cookies without butter if you don’t have it on hand or need a dairy replacement.

That reminds me, if you’re dairy-free, I highly recommend checking out my list of the best vegan chocolates on Amazon. You could even get creative and add some to this recipe to make some dairy-free chocolate sugar cookies, yum!

Butter doesn’t quite make it to the list of pantry staples to always have on hand. It has to be refrigerated and likely will be used up quickly in many households.

If you can’t make it to the store but want to bake some delicious cookies, look no further than your pantry. There are many different substitutes for butter that work just as well in this classic cookie recipe that you probably already have at home.

When using a substitute of any kind in baking, you should always check and see how much to use. In the case of butter, some substitutes have a 1:1 ratio. This means that you would use the same amount of the substitute ingredient as you would for the original ingredient in the recipe. 

However, this may not always be the case and you may end up with cookies that are a very different flavor or texture. In baking, the number of certain ingredients can affect how the cookie rises. It may cause the cookie to be either soft and chewy or hard and crunchy.

For sugar cookies, you want a cookie that is soft in the middle but slightly crispy around the edges and not too buttery or sticky.

Most people have oils in their homes for cooking such as vegetable, olive or coconut oil. All of these can be used to achieve the same, or similar, outcome in cookie recipes.

In this recipe, I have used coconut oil which has a very buttery-like texture and keeps well in the pantry for a long time. Coconut oil is a great staple to have in your pantry for days when you can’t make it to the store. It can be used easily for both cooking and baking.

The quality of the coconut oil you use really does matter though. If you don’t have quality organic coconut oil, I’m completely obsessed with this one from Amazon.

The shelf life of coconut oil is around 2 years compared to 6 months for vegetable oil and about 20 months for olive oil. Like other cooking oils, coconut oil does not need to be refrigerated.

Using coconut oil may give your cookies a very subtle coconut flavor. While some people may find that this makes the cookies even better, you can always use another substitute if you don’t like coconut oil.

Other substitutes for butter that can be used if sugar cookies also include applesauce, greek yogurt, and buttermilk. However, some of these substitutes may also change the flavor so a type of oil might be the best option for sugar cookies, depending on what you have available.

When using vegetable oil or olive oil, you can substitute about ¾ of a cup for every one cup of butter. In sweeter recipes, some people find that the flavor of olive oil might be too strong. But I think this is a matter of preference and I have never minded using olive oil as a substitute for butter.

How to Make Sugar Cookies Without Butter

Step 1: Gather your ingredients.

step 1

Step 2: Whisk together the dry ingredients.

step 2

Step 3: Add the wet ingredients.

step 3

Step 4: Chill the dough for 30 minutes.

step 4

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

step 5

Step 6: Bake for 11 minutes, then take out your cookies and let them cool before enjoying!

sugar cookies
Sugar Cookies Without Butter

Sugar Cookies Without Butter

Yield: 12
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 11 minutes
Total Time: 56 minutes


  • 2 cups and 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


    1. Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a medium-sized bowl.
    2. In a larger bowl, use a wooden spoon or mixer to cream the oil and sugar.
    3. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until combined.
    4. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients until dough forms. Add more flour if the dough is too sticky or thin.
    5. .Chill dough for 30 minutes
    6. Preheat oven to 350 F
    7. Roll dough into 1.5 inch balls and place on a cookie sheet, flatten with your hand or a pint glass to create a flat circle.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 179Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 16mgSodium: 70mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 0gSugar: 13gProtein: 1g

Up Next: How Long Do Sugar Cookies Last? – Storage Tips


  1. They came out so delicious and chewy! My nana said they are addictive and she’s “gotta stay away!” Haha! Thank you for sharing this recipe Jason it’s awesome☺️😁

  2. These cookies are PHENOMENAL. I’ve never tried a recipe similar to this before so I was a bit skeptical, but I am literally blown away. I absolutely love them and am making them for the second time tonight. Thank you so much for the awesome recipe!!

  3. This recipe is really good!! I substituted the coconut oil with some margarine, and added some ginger spice to one batch of cookies and chocolate chips to another. They came out really well. Thanks!!!

  4. Awesome dough! I didn’t have any butter and we are in quarantine. These made my son’s Valentine’s Day special. Thank you 🙂

  5. These were so delicious! I needed a sugar cookie recipe without butter as I had promised my 2yo that we would make dinosaur cookies and I was out. These were a hit all around! Super crunchy and coco nutty. Thanks for sharing!

  6. I substituted brown sugar instead, and oh my, they came out so good! Thanks for this easy & delicious recipe! It’ll be a staple in our household!

  7. Wow, I have to leave a review because I can’t believe how well this worked! I had no idea this substitution was possible. I used sunflower oil (put the dough in the freezer for 30 mins; rolled into balls without pressing down)—I can imagine coconut oil is a bit better for this, but the cookies still baked exactly as expected. Maybe the butter flavor is slightly missing, but I suppose people could try adding that flavoring if they have it. I used vanilla and a bit of almond. The texture is great too. Thanks!

  8. i am OBSESSED with this recipe! i can’t stop eating the batch i just made!! i added some cinnamon to taste and topped them with some coconut flakes before baking for some extra texture! AMAZING

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