Sunbutter Cookies

Here's an easy gluten-free cookie recipe made with sunflower butter- a post-modern peanut-free take on those retro peanut butter cookies your Aunt Lizzie used to make. You know, with those jars of Skippy peanut butter (or was it Jif?).

Instead of using traditional peanut butter in this recipe, I used sunflower butter, which has a golden nutty flavor not unlike peanut butter, but slightly different. Kinda like peanut butter's wacky, geeky brother. You know, slightly nutty. Fun. Like a bright new bike.

And they taste so good you just might want some more. Now, please.

I adapted this recipe from a peanut butter cookie recipe (submitted by Erin Smith) to Beyond Rice Cakes, an easy, fun cookbook (especially for teens and students) by Vanessa Maltin, director of outreach and programming at the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness.

Sunbutter Cookies Recipe

These tasty nibbles are gluten-free, grain-free, milk-free, peanut-free and soy-free. Phew. Did I miss anything? Oh yeah. And they're tender-scrumptious.


1 cup chilled natural sunflower butter
1 cup organic light brown sugar, packed
2 organic free-range eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon bourbon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
A small pinch of sea salt, if the sunbutter is salt-free

See options below for add-in ideas.


Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Combine the chilled sunflower butter, light brown sugar and beaten eggs in a mixing bowl. Add vanilla, baking soda and salt; mix well with a wooden spoon.

If the Sunbutter you use is too wet, your dough may end up being too loose (this is why I chill it). Add a tablespoon  or two of brown rice flour to the dough, if you need to.

Pull off pieces of the dough with oiled hands and roll into 1-inch balls. Place the balls on a foil-lined or parchment-lined baking sheet. Using a fork, press the balls slightly to make a criss-cross pattern- making the cookies roughly 1 1/2 inches. Note: If the dough is still not stiff enough to do this, wrap and refrigerate for an hour to stiffen the consistency.
Place the baking sheet into the center of a preheated oven and bake for 9 to 10 minutes, until they are golden and set. They will be soft until they cool. Cool the sheet on a rack for a minute or two before removing the cookies to a cooling rack.

This recipe- as is- makes about 12 cookies. If you add 1/3 cup of optional add-ins, it makes a few more. Or you could just make bigger cookies. Whatever makes you happy.

Add-in Options:

  • Try raisins, as suggested by reader Tricia- thanks Tricia!
  • Semi-sweet chocolate chips, or gluten-free white chocolate chips.
  • Chopped walnuts, pecans, cashews or macadamia nuts.
  • How about pine nuts- for a more "grown-up" cookie?

Recipe Source:

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Reader Daisy reports- this recipe works without eggs; use your favorite egg replacer. She also mentions using these cookies crumbled as a crumb crust for cheese cake or pies. Hungry yet?


ChupieandJ'smama said...

Oh sun butter is an allergy friendly favorite at our house!! I'll be trying these tomorrow but with Ener-G egg replacer (we are egg free too). Thank you so much for sharing!!

Karina said...

Hi C & J's Mama!

Please let me know how they turn out with the Ener-G egg replacer. I have only made oatmeal raisin cookies without egg, not anything like these.

Thanks! :)


kotzebue said...

hey karina, did you know that your blog made the latest issue of Newsweek?? there's an article this week about celiac disease and in a sidebar, they list good resources for how to cook gluten-free, and boom! there you are.

we, of course, knew all along how great you are. :)

laurel said...

I hope this message finds you well - I'm a regular reader and sometimes commenter, and just wanted to thank you for all the great recipes you've sent our way. You've made
living gluten-free so much easier for me, and I couldn't be more thankful. I have a quick question if you don't mind the imposition - My mother is hosting an engagement party for my fiance and I this weekend, and asked that I make a couple of loaves of gluten-free bread. I'm trying to determine the best way to do it to ensure that it doesn't dry out for the festivities. I thought of either making loaves the day of and maybe putting them in the oven to keep them warm, or making them ahead of time, freezing the entire loaf, and then defrosting the day of. I usually freeze right after I make a loaf, and just take out slices as I need them, but wasn't sure if you had any other suggestions.

Thanks so much for your time,
Laurel :)

katie k said...


I just wanted to thank you for having such an incredible and inspiring blog. Someone from a feminist forum forwarded it to me after I was diagnosed three weeks ago. After years of whole food/veggie/health food diet, I was totally blindsided by this diagnosis (and of course misdiagnosed for years). You are a total inspiration to me (and my sweet husband) and we plan on trying your recipes and sticking with your blog for the long haul. We spent the first night I was diagnosed playing the slideshow of your food photos (I cried...he kept saying "see, it's not so bad, ooooh, yum! Look at that")

Huge huge thanks, I'm not a blogger so I didn't know how to send a message through the blog.

Katie K

Karina said...

Hey Kotzebue! [love your pic!]

Kelly from CeliacChicks told me the news- I am excited [though I have not seen a copy of the magazine- it's not available here yet!].

This is a huge boost to the whole celiac community- to have such a high profile article about celiac, gluten, Alice Bast- it's fantastic!


Thanks for letting me know- you are *sweet*.


Karina said...

Hi Laurel,

There's no easy answer to this- but I agree with you 100% that the loaves should be frozen.

You could slice them first, then freeze (if I did this I'd wrap or bag two slices together with a piece of wax paper between, then place the wrapped slices in another freezer bag- for double protection).

Thaw the morning of the event. If they appear in need of a little help, you could always toast/broil or grill them into bruschetta style slices (cut on diagonal) for folks to top with pesto or tomato-olive salsa, etc. Toasted and rubbed with garlic, they'd hold up well, I suspect.

Congrats on your engagement! :)


Karina said...

Hi Katie!

Aw. Thanks- you are so welcome. I was once exactly where you are today- and I had a tough time, believe me. I wasn't exactly a gluten-free goddess.

More like, a Gluten-Free Grump! ;)

Glad you found the blog- come by again soon!

Be well- feel better!


Tricia said...

Made half the batch as you told me...then the 2nd half I added raisins and both were great!
Some of the best gluten free cookies that have ever been bitten on this earth.
You are Karina the Patron saint of the church of the Gluten Free.
We are currently 5 for 5 with your recipes!

Karina said...

Hey Tricia! I love the idea of raisins- I'll add that to the options above and give you credit. ;)

Great idea! Thanks!



julie said...

I just wanted to say thank you for your wonderful site and links. From a deer-in-headlights recently diagnosed gluten sensitive admirer. Your site is witty, inspirational, and extremely helpful.

Thank you, thank you, and thank you!

After being wrongly diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and living with the pain for over 2 years, I went to see a Nutritionist and he figured out that it was gluten sensitivity and it had caused all of my symptoms. I am now symptom free after only 3 months and off of all the terrible meds. I now need to retrain the way I look at food and educate myself on how to cook all over again. Your web site is an indispensable tool for me and I am finally beginning to see the light again.

Bless you and your continued work.

Thanks again,


Karina said...

Thank you, Julie!

I was a deer-in-the-headlights, too. Most of us are, at first. It thrills me to hear that your fibro has improved with a gluten-free diet! That is wonderful. And no meds. Fantastic!

Thank you for posting your story- many readers will relate- and appreciate it.

Be well! And visit again soon.


Melissa said...

These cookies look so good! Yes, I'll try throwing in some GF/DF chocolate chips and a handful of pecans. What a nice launching pad! Thank you...

Dana said...

Your pictures always make me want to go cook up a storm! Yum!

Karina said...

Hey Melissa! Sounds good to me! ;)

Dana- Cool! Thanks. :)

Cindy said...

These look great- almost like peanut butter cookies. I bet Jon would love them or some evil variant of them :) Thanks! I hope you're doing well Karina

Karina said...

Hi Cindy!

These will work with peanut butter- as in the original recipe from Vanessa's book, Beyond Rice Cakes.



Daisy said...

The egg-replacer works just fine in this recipe! I also made a batch and crushed them to make a fabulous crumb crust for cheesecake.

This is my first time commenting--but I have to say that I adore you and you have made my recent diagnosis bearable. Your site gave me the renewed hope and encouragement I needed to get back into the kitchen. Thanks!

Karina said...

Hola, Daisy!

Thank you so much for sharing your egg-free option success- I'm glad to hear that egg-free will work with this recipe. Yay!

And as crumbs for a pie crust? FAB idea! I'll add it to the notes in the recipe.

Thanks again! :)


Dylan said...

Long time no talk!
I have just started school again and it has been a lot (putting it mildly) of work! I haven't even been able to bake/cook/blog/comment!!! (well I made a chocolate cheese cake to test for my business but anyway...)
These look so yummmy (I am so hungry now!!)I have not made cookies in a long time so I think a batch of cookies will do me well!

I hope you are doing ok (with life and all the allergies) Your smiling in your picture so that's a good sine! and the picture is so beautiful :)

Talk to you soon,
your fellow blogger,

Karina said...

Hey Dylan! Aw. Thanks, my friend. You are sweet. :) Hope school is going great- and that you're in for a fabulous year!


Anonymous said...

It seems there is no flour in the Sunbutter Cookie recipe. Is there a mistake? My granddaughter has all the 8 top allergies plus 15 more (some air-borne) so it is wonderful to find a recipe that could possibly be tasty for all of us!

Karina said...

Hi Anon-

This recipe has no flour. ;)



Anonymous said...

Having a celiac daughter and also a granddaughter with ALL the eight top allergins, I was very excited about this recipe. The taste was very good, however the texture was dry - needed to follow with a swallow of liquid. Could it have been because the Sunbutter was very thick - or - packing the brown sugar too much?? Thank you for any help to better my next attempt.

Karina said...

Hi- These cookies *are* on the dry side. You could try baking them for two to three minutes less.

I haven't experimented beyond this recipe because I, too, was dx'ed with most of the top allergens, too. ;) But I wonder if you added a tablespoon of rice milk to the batter...?

Adding soy-free dairy-free chocolate chips might help, too. Enjoy Life makes allergen free chips.

You might also want to look at my recipe for peanut butter bars (sub with sunflower butter) and see if that recipe works for you.

Take care and good luck!


Jacqueline said...


I use the egg replacer in all of your recipes and have never had a problem. The Sunbutter cookies turned out amazing, thank you so much!

Karina Allrich said...

Jacqueline- Thank you for letting me know that! I appreciate it- and so will my readers.

Take care!


Jenn said...

I'm getting ready to make these for my son and he's EXCITED about mommy making HIM cookies that HE can eat! He's autistic and we're GFCFSF (as well as some other things, free) We're going to go a bit farther with the recipe and roll each ball of dough in some sugar first and then flatten them for some glistening cookies. I'm also going to add a tad bit of milk to see if that helps with the dryness of the cookies. We're also going to add in some enjoy life chocolate chips for some extra fun!

I'll be sure to post back but I wanted to thank you for having JUST the recipe I was looking for!

Jenn said...

GFCFSF Chocolate Chip Sun Butter cookies

Ok .. so there's my post on my blog about the cookies I made, including a picture!! :) Karina, the cookies WERE DELICIOUS!! My younger son (the one who is NOT GFCFSFPF) said "Mommy, these are the 2nd best cookies you've ever made!" When I asked him what was first best, he said "the regular chocolate chip cookies"... Which I agree. These cookies are absolutely scrumptious, but I do prefer regular, home-made chocolate chip cookies better but these are definitely a wonderful treat for the kid who can't have all the gluten, dairy, etc that the rest of can.

YAY and thank you!! I did make a couple of modifications...
#1 - I added a tablespoon of hemp milk to help with the dryness/crumbliness of the cookies. worked PERFECTLY! The cookies came out moist and not dry at all! WOOHOO!
#2 - I also added a tablespoon of flaxseed to add some nutritional benefit to the cookies. You can't taste it and hey, the more nutrition you can add without affecting the taste, the better in my opinion!

SO thank you SO MUCH!!

jeannerunning said...

The best dessert I have made so far on your blog. These cookies came out tasting like true peanut butter cookies. A-mazing.

I put a chocolate square in the middle of each so it was like one of those peanut butter Hershey kiss cookies :)

i LOVE your blog :)

Karina said...

Sounds yummy.

Anonymous said...

Katrina-do you know any delicious GF christmas cookie recipe??
It's a family tradition every year and recently my son, is gluten sensitive. Can you help??


Brooke said...

Is there a way to make these cookies with a sugar substitute? My son grapples with yeast so we are needing cookie recipes that have low/no sugar. Thanks!

Karina Allrich said...

Christmas cookies- you mean sugar cookies? I haven't tried a basic sugar cookie recipe yet, but there are several delicious cookie recipes in the archives. Look under 'cookies'.

As for sugar subs- you could try the suggestions offered in my post on sugar substitutes titled Sugar Blues?.

I haven't tried this particular recipe with agave or honey but I don't see why it couldn't work. Maybe add 2 teaspoons baking powder.


Anonymous said...

I am going to try adding small banana chip pieces to mine! Hope it tastes as good as it sounds :-)

Bibi Butler said...

I read through the other posts to see if someone else wondered about there being no flour and sure enough there was. So, I know there wasn't a mistake, but my dough is more like batter, even after hours in the fridge. There's no way it'll shape into a ball so I guess I'll have to try baking it in a pan with sides. Not sure how long or what temp. Any suggestions? I really wanted an individual type baked cookie.

Karina Allrich said...

Bibi- It's true- some butters are looser than others. Yours must be softer than the seed butter I used. You could add brown rice flour and some extra sugar until it forms a ball. Karina

Bibi Butler said...

I experimented a bit by adding the rice flour and baking some, then adding a bit more because it was still quite soft, and finally adding too much flour I think - yet all 3 batches were chewy and good. I also tried rolling the balls in sugar to help hold the shape. I baked small batches of 3-6 cookies and found that the time & temp was best baking 6. I plan to make another batch using a drier butter this time.

Highway Dreamer said...

Hi Karina,
I seem to remember you wishing for a sugar cookie?
Well, so was I and I've done tweaking a recipe I found. Gluten-free, dairy-free, egg yolk free. I can still have egg whites.
1 1/2 cups of almond meal
1/8 teas salt
1 tbl packed, lemon zest
1 tbl poppy seeds
1/3 cup organic sugar
1 tbl of grapeseed oil
1/2 of an egg white

Mix together

Here's the hard part and it might turn people off:
I put teas size dollops on a sheet of baking paper
and then I put another sheet over that and then I use a cast iron pan to press the cookies flat, about 1/4".
I bake them at 350 for about a total, but no more than, 8-10 minutes. They will burn quickly, but you want the edges brown. If I do it perfectly, I flip them over leave them in for another minute, remove and let cool. and I have the closest thing yet to a sugar cookie. Heaven. Crunchy, tart, sweet.

Cheryl at

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