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3-Ingredient Flax Shortbread Cookies {vegan, GF, keto option}

Home » Cookies » 3-Ingredient Flax Shortbread Cookies {vegan, GF, keto option}

Prepare to fall in love with these 3-ingredient flax shortbread cookies! Made with golden flaxseed meal, coconut oil and sweetener, these crisp-tender, rich-tasting cookies are vegan, grain-free, nut-free, gluten-free, and Paleo. When made keto-friendly (with 1 ingredient swap), the cookies have ZERO net carbs!

stack of 8 flax shortbread cookies on a floral napkin with a white background

Healthy, Delicious, Easy-to-Make Flax Cookies

I need little encouragement to create a new cookie recipe. So when I was grinding my flaxseed meal into a fine flour for my 1 ingredient flaxseed meal tortillas last week, I knew had to try using it in some sort of sweets. 

A simple cookie seemed like a great place to start.

Keeping the simplicity of my 3-Ingredient Almond Flour Shortbread Cookies in mind, it wasn’t long before I came up with these: 3-Ingredient Flax Shortbread Cookies.

You will love them.

stack of3 flax shortbread cookies on marble surface

Here’s what you need to know about these irresistible cookies. They are:

  • Made with 3 ingredients (flaxseed meal, coconut oil & sweetener)
  • Quick & easy to make
  • Vegan (egg-free & dairy-free)
  • Gluten-free
  • Grain-free
  • Nut-free
  • Paleo
  • Keto (with 1 ingredient swap)

Texture of the Cookies

The cookies are akin to traditional (i.e., butter and all-purpose flour) shortbread cookies when they are chilled (they should be stored in the refrigerator to preserve their freshness). They are crisp, but still tender–a perfect cookie to accompany tea!

The taste is nutty, despite the absence of nuts. 

If you like, you can also add in

  • Spices (I strongly recommend adding; use about 1/2 teaspoon of examples) cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, or pumpkin pie spice)
  • Citrus zest (e.g., 1 teaspoon finely grated orange, lemon, or lime zest)
  • Extracts (e.g., 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1/8 teaspoon almond extract)(or other extracts) to enhance or vary the flavor.

This is your template cookie for all kinds of variations!

Ingredients for the Cookies

The three ingredients for the recipe are familiar and humble:

  1. Golden flaxseed meal (golden flaxseed has a much milder flavor than regular flaxseed meal)
  2. Coconut Oil
  3. Coconut sugar (or keto-friendly granular sweetener)

I recommend adding 1/4 teaspoon of salt, too, but it is optional according to your tastes and dietary needs.  

Recipe Accuracy: Weigh Your Ingredients

For the best (and most consistent results), I recommend weighing the ingredients.

My digital kitchen scale is one of my most-used tools these days when I bake. It saves me from making mis-measurement errors, which translates to lots of savings from potential baking mishaps. 

Flaxseed meal–the star of this recipe–is easily mismeasured if it is packed into the measuring cup. Weighing it ensures that the correct amount goes into the recipe every single time.

Step by Step Directions

Making this cookie dough is quick and simple.

Before you begin mixing,

  1. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper.
  2. Finely grind the flaxseed meal.
2 bowls of golden flaxseed meal. One is meal from the bag, the other is meal that has been finely ground.

Grind the Flaxseed Meal into a Fine Flour

Flaxseed meal is just that: a coarse meal made by grinding whole flax seeds.

This recipe requires further grinding the meal into a fine, fluffy flour. 

Grinding the meal into a fine flour is easy. Measure the amount of flaxseed meal called for in the recipe (in this case, 3/4 cup, or 78 grams). Process in a high-speed blender or a small food processor until very fine and fluffy (see the photo). The flaxseed meal will be a lighter color after finely grinding.

You can also use a small electric coffee mill (process in small batches).

Can I Grind My Own Flax Seeds into a Flour?

Yes, absolutely! Measure the same weight of flaxseeds needed (104 grams, about 3/4 cup of whole flax seeds) and finely grind into a fluffy flour. High-speed blenders and electric coffee mills are the best tools for grinding the seeds (food processors are less effective when starting with whole seeds).

Mix the Ingredients

Whisk the finely ground flaxseed meal, sweetener, optional salt and any optional dry flavorings (e.g., spices. I added 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon in this batch) in a medium mixing bowl. 

Add the warm coconut oil, water, and any optional wet/moist ingredients (e.g., vanilla extract or citrus zest) and stir until completely combined. I found the two teaspoons of water is just right, but you may need to add a little bit more for the dough to come together (due to variations in brands of flaxseed meal).

steps for making the 3-ingredient flaxseed meal cookie dough

Scoop and Shape the Dough

Roll 12 equal portions of the dough into balls (I use my small cookie scoop for even portioning, but a scant tablespoon measure of dough will also work great). Use your fingertips or the flat bottom of a glass to flatten the dough into an even circle.

2 picture collage showing the dhaping of the flax seed meal cookies

Bake the Cookies

Bake the cookies in a preheated 325F oven for 11 to 12 minutes until just set and the edges of the cookies appear crispy and dry.

Leave the cookies on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely. 

overhead shot of flax cookies cooling on a wire rack

The cookies are somewhat delicate while still warm. They are sturdy once completely cooled, and firm as shortbread once chilled (I recommend storing them in the refrigerator). 

These cookies are wonderful as a treat, but also as a healthy snack (or part of a heathy breakfast). Here’s to great cookies for all!

How Do I Make the Cookies KETO (& zero net carbs)?

Replace the coconut sugar with the keto-friendly, measure-for-measure, granulated sweetener of your choice! I have the keto macros in the notes of the recipe card (below) but (spoiler alert!), the keto version of the cookies are 52 calories each and ZERO net carbs!

OVERHEAD SHOT OF A FLAXSEED MEAL SHORTBREAD COOKIE

FAQ

Q: My cookies have a strange taste. Why?

A: It is mostly due to one of the following issues relating to the flaxseed meal.

  • Old or rancid meal: Flaxseed meal can develop off flavors if it is old or has not been stored in a cool, dry place.  For best results, use fresh flaxseed meal.
  • Dark flaxseed meal: I strongly recommend using golden flaxseed meal (it will be marked as such on the outside of the bag). It has a much milder flavor than regular (darker) flaxseed meal. Some regular flaxseed meals are very dark and, when used as a primary ingredient (as is the case here) can have a slightly fishy smell and taste (due to the high omega-3 fatty acid content of flax seeds).

Q: Can I substitute another oil for the coconut oil?

A: No, other oils will not work in this recipe. The success of the cookies depends upon using a fat that is solid at cool room temperature or when chilled. Plant butter (vegan margarine) that is sold in sticks (e.g., Earth Balance buttery sticks, Flora plant butter, or Country Crock plant butter) can be used in place of the coconut oil. It is important to use a plant butter with a high fat content (some margarines, even sticks, have a high percentage of water). If you are not vegan, an equal amount of butter can also be used.

Q: Can I use something else, like chia seed meal or another flour, in place of the flaxseed meal?

A: No, these particular cookies will only work with finely ground flaxseed meal.

Happy baking, friends!

More Flaxseed Meal Recipes to Love:

  1. 100% Flax Breakfast Cookies {vegan, oil-free, keto option}
  2. 100% Flax Chocolate Cookies {vegan, oil-free, keto option}
  3. 2-Ingredient Flax Sandwich Bread {vegan, keto, grain-free}
  4. 3-Ingredient Banana Flax Bars {vegan, oil-free, grain-free}
  5. Zero Carb Flax Tortillas {1 ingredient, 0 grams net carbs}
  6. Almond Flour Flax Biscuits {Oil-Free, Vegan, 4 ingredients}
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stack of3 flax shortbread cookies on marble surface

3-Ingredient Flax Shortbread Cookies {vegan, GF, keto option}


  • Author: Camilla
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 12
  • Total Time: 22
  • Yield: 12 2-inch (5 cm) cookies 1x
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Prepare to fall in love with these 3-ingredient flax cookies! Made with golden flaxseed meal, coconut oil and sweetener, these crisp-tender, rich-tasting cookies are vegan, grain-free, nut-free, gluten-free, Paleo, and keto-friendly (with 1 ingredient swap).


Ingredients

Scale
  • 3/4 cup (78 g) golden flaxseed meal
  • 3 tablespoons (36 g) coconut sugar (see notes for keto & other sugar options)
  • 2 tablespoons (28 g) coconut oil, melted and still warm
  • 2 to 4 teaspoons (10 to 20 mL) water
  • Optional: 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Optional: 1/2 teaspoon ground spices (e.g., cinnamon, ginger, cardamom)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325F (160C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Process the flaxseed meal in a high-speed blender (or food processor or electric coffee mill) until it resembles a lightly, fine flour. Transfer to a medium bowl and whisk in (optional) salt.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the finely ground flaxseed meal, coconut sugar, (optional) salt and (optional) spice until blended.
  4. Add the warm coconut oil and 2 teaspoons water and stir until the mixture just comes together into a smooth dough (add a little bit more water, as needed). Let the dough stand for 5 minutes for the flax to absorb the liquid.
  5. Roll 12 equal portions of the dough into balls (I use my small cookie scoop for even portioning, but a scant tablespoon measure of dough will also work great). Use your fingertips or the flat bottom of a glass to flatten the dough into an even circle.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 11 to 12 minutes until just set and the edges of the cookies appear crispy and dry.
  7. Remove from oven and cool on the sheet for 5 minutes. Use a spatula to transfer the cookies to a cooling rack and cool completely. Place the cooled cookies in an airtight container and chill until cold.

Notes

Storage: Store the cookies in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2 weeks or the freezer for up to 6 months.

Make it Keto: Replace the coconut sugar with the keto-friendly, measure-for-measure, granulated sweetener of your choice. Keto Macros per Cookie: Calories (52); Total Carbs (2 g); Sugars (0 g); Net Carbs (0 g).

Sugar Options: An equal amount (36 g) of brown sugar, natural cane sugar or granulated sugar can be used in place of the coconut sugar.

Use fresh flaxseed meal: If the flaxseed meal is not fresh, the cookies will not taste fresh, ether.

  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 cookie
  • Calories: 64
  • Sugar: 3.1 g
  • Sodium: 0 mg
  • Fat: 4.6 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2.4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 5.2 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Protein: 1.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

Keywords: nut-free, 3 ingredient vegan flax cookies, keto vegan flaxseed cookies, egg-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, grain-free, zero net carb cookie, easy recipe, keto cookies, keto, ketogenic, 3 ingredients, keto cookies

Recipe rating

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Lia

Tuesday 6th of July 2021

So easy and delicious

Lillia

Wednesday 16th of June 2021

I really love your muffin tin flax breakfast cookies (chewy), but I am now a fan of these (crispy!), too! I added extra spices so they are like gingerbread cookies.

Camilla

Thursday 17th of June 2021

Yay! I am so glad you like both, Lillia!

Sara

Wednesday 16th of June 2021

Delish!I drizzled them in chocolate, like the coconut flour shortbread on your site. I added some vanilla paste, too.

Camilla

Thursday 17th of June 2021

Why didin;t I do that??!!! Thanks, Sara!

Janey

Tuesday 15th of June 2021

These are soooo good! And so easy. I used my small food processor to grind the flaxseed meal, worked great. Thank you!

Camilla

Wednesday 16th of June 2021

Thanks a million, Janey!

Pilo

Friday 21st of May 2021

Could you check the amount of flaxseed meal for 3/4c, is it 78g or 104g. Looking at the package recommended it would be 84g. Also, would you mind commenting on the effect of leaving out any kind of sugar. Thanks a lot for your time and dedication.

Camilla

Wednesday 2nd of June 2021

Hi Pilo!

I use Bob's Red Mill for the golden flaxseed (sorry, I will change the recommended option). It is 13 grams per 2 tablespoons, so 78 grams for 3/4 cup

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