Refined sugar free vegan gingerbread cookies made with spelt flour and no nuts. They are perfect as a festive treat or edible gift!
All year long, I wait until Christmas so I can make gingerbread. They are amazing with a glass of milk shared with loved ones, presented as a gift or as an on-the-go snack.
The cookies and coconut butter-based frosting are entirely refined sugar free. Instead, I sweetened them with maple syrup and coconut sugar!
Ingredients for these sugar-free vegan gingerbread
If you have a wholefoods pantry, you'll probably have all the ingredients needed to make these gingerbread NOW! You will need:
Notes about the ingredients
Vegan butter. I used Naturli's block butter though solid coconut oil will work.
Maple syrup as a binder and because it's simply delicious! I prefer this over molasses because, let's face it, we only use molasses once a year! However, molasses will work in this recipe, though it makes the cookies soft and chewy rather than crunchy.
Ground flax or chia seeds
Spices, salt and baking soda
If you're after a healthier gingerbread recipe which is gluten free, refined sugar free and has with no butter, check my healthy vegan gingerbread cookies recipe.
How to make vegan gingerbread dough
I'm all up for simplicity and minimal steps so simply put ALL the ingredients in a bowl and mix until combined.
No whisks, no beaters, just a simple bowl!
I started mixing the ingredients using a wooden spoon. It looks dry at this stage, but it will come together. Then get your hands dirty and mix the dough by hand. The squeezing and warmth of your hand will encourage the ingredients to come together.
Alternatively, you can pop all the ingredients in a food processor or stand mixer and let it do all the work ;).
If the dough is too dry or wet, add more flour or water as needed. The consistency of your dough will depend on whether you used spelt or plain flour, block butter or butter spread and how you measured your ingredients.
Chilling and shaping the gingerbread dough
Once you've made your gingerbread dough, I'd highly recommend chilling it dough before you roll and cut shapes from it. This firms up the dough and makes it much easier to work with!
When you take the dough out of the fridge/freezer, roll it out on a floured surface. If the dough is TOO firm, allow it to warm up at room temperature until it's softer (and won't break your arms).
Carefully transfer each gingerbread cookie to a lined baking tray and BAKE!
Decorating the sugar free vegan gingerbread
I've included a sugar free and conventional frosting recipe below.
Making the sugar free frosting can be a little tempermental. Add too little milk and the frosting seizes up. Add too much milk and it's too runny for frosting. I'd recommend adding the milk in very small amounts so neither happens.
The sugar free frosting is healthier but a lot more difficult to pipe.
If you're happy using a conventional sugar frosting, it's a lot easier to pipe and decorate with (pictured).
The gingerbread makes a perfect and thoughtful gift for your health-conscious family member or friend. They are affordable and are much more sentimental than a conventional present :).
More vegan Christmas recipes:
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Vegan Gingerbread Cookies (refined sugar free)
- 2 cups (240g) spelt flour, or plain/all-purpose flour (note 1), plus more for dusting
- ¼ cup (55g) vegan butter, chilled block or room temperature spreadable
- ½ cup (100g) coconut sugar
- ¼ cup (85g) maple syrup, (note 2)
- ¼ cup (60g) water, or as needed
- 1 tablespoon ground chia or flax seeds
- 2-3 teaspoons ground cinnamon, to taste
- 2-3 teaspoons ground ginger, to taste
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- Pinch of salt
Frosting (note 3)
- ½ cup (65g) coconut butter, softened
- 1-3 tbsp dairy-free milk, as needed
To make the cookies:
- Add all the cookie ingredients to a large mixing bowl. Mix the ingredients with a spoon and your hands until it comes together. Add more flour or water if needed (the dough should be soft and pliable). Alternatively, mix the ingredients in a food processor or stand mixer.
- Set aside the dough in an airtight container in the fridge for 1 hour or in the freezer for 30 minutes until it's firmed up.
To shape the cookies:
- When you're ready to roll out the cookies, preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
- Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface so it is about 8mm (0.3 inch) thick. Use a cookie cutter to cut shapes out of the dough. Carefully place each cookie on a lined baking tray with a little space in between each cookie. You may need to use a flat spatula to transfer them,
- Collect the excess dough, roll it out and cut out more shapes from the dough. Repeat until you have no more dough.
- Bake the cookies in the oven for 10 minutes (depending on the size of your cookies). The edges of the cookies should be slightly golden brown. Allow the cookies to completely cool on the baking tray.
To decorate the cookies:
- First make the frosting. Add all the frosting ingredients to a bowl and mix until it forms a thick paste. Add more coconut butter to thicken and more milk to thin the frosting.
- Use a fine tipped piping bag to decorate the gingerbread as desired.
- Enjoy immediately! Cookies are best enjoyed on the day of baking. Alternatively, store them in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
- If you use all-purpose flour, you'll need less or no water. Start with no water and add a little at a time until the dough comes together.
- Molasses will work instead of maple syrup. However, it'll produce soft and chewy cookies rather than crunchy cookies. If you use molasses, I'd recommend slightly underbaking your cookies otherwise they'll be overly chewy.
- If you don't mind having a conventional sugar frosting, mix 1 cup (200g) powdered sugar with 1-2 tablespoons plant-based milk until it's just runny. Add more sugar for a thicker frosting and more water for a thinner frosting. Make sure you don't add too much water otherwise the frosting will spread on your cookies. The sugar frosting is much easier to work with than the coconut butter frosting.
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Hi, am I able to substitute buckwheat flour instead of spelt - to make it gluten free?
Hi Olivia, I haven't tried it but it should work! If the mixture is too dry or wet, feel free to add more flour or liquid ingredients. I hope that helps!
Tried these for my first time ever making gingerbread cookies and they turned out wonderfully! 🙂
Everyone loved them, thankfully I made enough for everyone to take some away too!
Will be making every Christmas from now on.
Can I use whole wheat flour instead of spelt? I grind my own.
Yes, whole wheat flour will work! If your flour is very absorbent, you may need to add a little more milk. I hope that helps!
Thank you for the recipe! May we sub with GF flour? Thank you kindly.
Hi Eliza! I haven't tested these with GF flour but readers have made similar recipes using 1:1 GF flours, such as by Bob Red Mills and King Arthur Baking. I hope that helps!
Julia L Koch says
Mine came out strange! Not sure why
Oh no! What do you mean by strange?
Made these today and they turned out great! I used molasses as I love chewy cookies. I’m in Canada, so I’m assuming it’s a much drier climate here… I needed to add a bunch more tablespoons of water to have it come together.
You are saving my holiday, I’m nursing and my baby isn’t tolerating dairy or soy, your blog is coming in handy!! So nice to have a one bowl cookie recipe!!
Aw thanks for your feedback! I made these once with molasses and found that I needed to add more water too (maple syrup is runnier than molasses maybe?!).
And I'm glad these cookies helped with you nursing your baby! I'll be sure to make these next time for my mother friends. I hope you had a wonderful holiday xx
They are so crunchy, sweet, gingery and festive! Really great recipe! I used store bought icing because I needed it to be stable and was afraid coconut butter frosting won't work out... Should I give it a try next time? Is it really hard to work with it?
Anyways thank so much for the recipe!
So glad you enjoyed these cookies! Store bought icing is absolutely fine and totally understandable :). Yes, coconut butter frosting is a little fiddly for patterns (like smiley faces) but good if you just want to cover the cookies. My simple sugar frosting is a easier to work with if that helps! Thanks for your comment!
So glad you enjoyed these!
Fedra Herman says
Delicious cookie recipe. Decorating these is so much fun! My sister absolutely loves these. Thank you for sharing this recipe, Anthea.
I'm so happy you loved these! Thanks so much Fedra!
I made these into ginger cookies as I didn’t have the correct cutter.
I switched up the coconut sugar for Canderel granulated sweetener and only one tbsp of honey instead of maple syrup. I didn’t use butter either and they came out of the oven perfect. Thank you so much for your recipe I will be trying out your other recipes very soon 🙂
Glad that all those ingredient subs worked for you! Thanks for taking the time to leave your feedback - so much appreciated 🙂
Ewa & Piotr says
Fantastic recipe, Anthea! So easy to make it!
Thanks for sharing and for inspiring us!
We love your page!
Soo glad you enjoyed them!! Thanks so much for taking the time to leave your feedback xo
How many cookies does this recipe make 🙂
It depends how big your cookie cutters are but I got around 16 assorted size cookies which is about 10 large gingerbread men or 30 smaller cookies 🙂
While reading the recipe, I thought it would be more difficult. I've made it the first time and everything turned out perfect. Thank you for sharing!
I'm sooo glad to hear that Grace! I hope you enjoy the rest of your cookies and thanks so much for your feedback 🙂