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Vegan Oat Shortbread {Gluten-Free}

Decadent and delicious oat shortbread that is both vegan and gluten-free! A variation for coconut oil shortbread is also included.
vegan oat shortbread on a china plate

Just when I think that there’s no time for cookies, I remember shortbread.

It may be the only cookie you ever need. Go classic with minimalist bars, roll it into balls and dab with jam for thumbprints, use it as a bar cookie base for just about any topping you can dream of (I can fantasize endlessly on this topic), or play with endless add-in possibilities and permutations including spices, extracts, chopped chocolates, zests, nuts and seeds.

Thank you, shortbread, for all that you do.

And thank you, British Isles, for this brilliant, baking invention.

Shortbread Made with Gluten-Free Oats

This dandy version has Scottish flair, relying on oats that have been ground to a fine flour, plus a bit of potato starch (the latter is the secret to yielding a crisp-tender texture).

You can buy ready-made oat flour, or grind your own in a high-speed blender, handheld coffee grinder, or food processor. It will take about 1 and 1/4 cups of rolled oats to yield 1 cup of fine oat flour. So long as you use certified gluten-free oats, that makes this recipe your go-to gluten-free cookie, especially considering all of the options mentioned above.

The remaining ingredients are simple and straightforward: coconut sugar, vegan margarine (I used Earth Balance soy-free buttery sticks), and salt. I have options for using other sugars, as well as a coconut oil option. 

ingredients for oat shortbread

No Mixer Required

No need to unearth the stand-mixer for these cookies; simply cream the margarine and sugar with a wooden spoon. (I’ve completed the calculations: you burn enough calories from 1 to 2 minutes of hand-mixing to equal one–perhaps two– cookies.)

metal bowl with the dough for oat shortbread

As you nibble away on your finished results, don’t forget that you are doing your body some serious good. Oats are fiber-wonderful, true, but they also contain a range of antioxidants and plant chemicals that help keep the heart and arteries healthy, such as avenanthramides (a plant chemical with antibiotic properties), saponins and vitamin E. Boom.

slate board covered with oat shortbread

My general observation is that kids love these cookies as much as adults; my particular experience indicates that these are favorites with both my 9-year-old and my husband alike.

Happy baking!

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slate board covered with oat shortbread

Vegan Oat Shortbread {Gluten-Free}

  • Author: Camilla
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 45 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 mins
  • Yield: 16 1x


Decadent and delicious oat shortbread that is both vegan and gluten-free! A variation for coconut oil shortbread is also included.


  • 3 cups oat flour (see note about grinding your own)
  • 1/2 cup potato starch (see note about other options)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) vegan margarine (I used Earth Balance Buttery Sticks), softened
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar


  1. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, allowing paper to overhang on the sides (for removal of the shortbread).
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the oat flour, potato starch  and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together (I used a wooden spoon) the margarine and coconut sugar until blended and somewhat fluffy. Add the oat flour mixture, stirring until combined (it may look slightly crumbly).
  4. Press dough evenly and firmly into prepared pan. Prick with a fork. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour or up to 1 day.
  5. Preheat oven to 325F.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes until shortbread is cooked through and pale golden. Cool completely in pan.
  7. Using paper overhang, carefully remove shortbread from pan; place on cutting board. Cut into 4 quarters; cut each quarter in half, then in half again, making 16 rectangles total.


Potato Starch Subs: An equal amount of rice flour, cornstarch or arrowroot can be used in place of the potato starch.

Butter Options: If you eat dairy, feel free to use 2 sticks of butter in place of the margarine.

Sugar Options: An equal amount of the brown sugar or granular sugar of your choice can be used in place of the coconut sugar.

Oat Flour Tip: You can grind your own oat flour in a high-speed blender, food processor, or blade (not burr) coffee grinder. It will take about 1-1/4 cups of rolled oats to yield 1 cup of oat flour.

Coconut Oil Shortbread: Add the coconut sugar to the oat flour mixture in step 2. Add 1 cup melted coconut oil to the oat mixture, stirring to combine. Press into prepared pan and place in freezer for 30 minutes to harden. Proceed with remaining steps.

  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: British, Scottish

Keywords: vegan, gluten-free, shortbread, oat shortbread, vegan gluten-free oat shortbread

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