Maple Pecan Gluten Free Shortbread (Paleo)

Gluten free shortbread cookies with chopped pecans and sweetened with pure maple syrup. Lads and ladies: these are paleo.

 Maple Pecan Gluten Free Shortbread Cookies | grain- free, dairy-free. sugar-free #paleo @roastedroot

Here’s one of the solutions to the “problem” I told you about yesterday.  You’ll see the other solution tomorrow. In the meantime, shortbread!

I always thought of shortbread as the filler cookie (the Short Bus Cookie, if you will) that cookie manufacturers put in those holiday cookie tins in order to even out the cookie bliss. Like, they wouldn’t want to give you too many linzer, waffers, chocolate chip, or peppermint cookies because that would result in too much ecstasy. And so they placed the less desirable lumps of shortbread in with the other much more desirable cookies in order to ensure you maintained some semblance of balance in life. No joke, I totally thought this. And aparently so did the rest of my family, because whenever we received one of those mixed cookie tins, we picked through all the cookies until there was nothing but shortbread remaining. And then the tin sat. And sat. Until next Christmas rolled around.

It took me until my mid-twenties to realize not all shortbreads are created equal. And if you’ve never made it homemade, I seriously recommend it! Whole ‘nother ball of wax, I tell ya.  I love shortbread made with almond meal and coconut oil because it has an inherently rich flavor, while being all sorts of magical for your body. 

Which brings me to my next point: Xmas cookies made with almond meal and coconut oil are the peanut butter to my jelly. I can’t tell you how many cups of coconut oil and almond flour I’ve cycled through in the last week, but I can tell you this: it’s been delicious. And the two ingredients are marvelous for gluten free (and paleo) baking.

Maple Pecan Gluten Free Shortbread Cookies | grain- free, dairy-free. sugar-free #paleo @roastedroot

This is a pretty dern clean shortbread. No sugar, butter, or grains. The first time I made shortbread, I tried to beat the system by omitting the step where you freeze or refrigerate the dough. This step omission did not a success make. The cookies spread out to the far reaches of the cookie tray, and even though they tasted spectacularly, they were reduced to mere crumbs. This is me advising you to not omit the refrigeration/freezing step, as doing so will botch your batter (dough…but “batter” just sounded better on account of the b’s).

Shortbread. Not the Short Bus cookie. Totally the Long Bus Cookie.

Maple Pecan Gluten Free Shortbread Cookies | grain- free, dairy-free. sugar-free #paleo @roastedroot

Maple Pecan Gluten Free Shortbread (Paleo)

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 24 cookies
Author: Julia



  1. In a mixing bowl, add first four ingredients and stir together. Add the remaining (wet ingredients) and mix until a sticky dough forms.
  2. Make a ball out of the dough, pressing it together, then place it on a sheet of plastic wrap and form a cylinder or a log (the log will be over a foot long, so if you'd like, you can cut it in two so that the logs are easier to manage/less deicate). Wrap the log tightly in the plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 30 minutes or in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
  3. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Unwrap the cookie dough, place it on a cutting board, and slice 1/4-inch thick slices to form cookie shapes. Place dough on a baking sheet and bake for 13 to 15 minutes, or until edges are golden brown.
  4. Remove cookies from the oven, and allow them to sit 15 minutes before removing them from the baking sheet with a spatula.

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  1. Alexis @ Hummusapien

    Butterless, sugarless, grainless shortbread?! I DIE!! I’ve been avoiding gluten even since I’ve been waking up with stiff hands, so all the more excuse to eat twenty million of these glutenless goodies 🙂

  2. Joanne

    I’ve become a shortbread person as an adult, but I definitely wasn’t one as a child. Must be my insane love of all things butter. I can get behind a coconut oil substitution though! Good move.

    1. Julia Post author

      You got it, Renee!! Let me know what you think! The recipe isn’t super sweet, so if you’re wanting a sweeter treat, I’d add a tad more maple syrup (#protip) Have a great weekend!! 😉

  3. Kathy

    Thanks for the recipe! I used it as a base for pumpkin pie bars. I chopped the dry ingredients in the food processor before adding the wet. It was then pressed into an 8×8 pan, chilled, par baked, and finally baked with a pumpkin pie filling. Fantastic!!!

  4. Emmalee

    Amazing! These are so delicious!! I didn’t have pecans so I used 1/4 cup chopped walnuts and 1/4 cup chopped homemade craisins and they are so delish! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  5. Sam

    I made these for a dinner I was having and they are amazing! As per previous comments, you can easily use this a base to make different variations of shortbread.

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  8. Clare

    These are my go to for everything, birthday presents, taking as a snack or to a picnic, lunch, afternoon tea or dinner.

    There are never any left.

    My friends always return the container for me to make more.

    1. Julia Post author

      That’s awesome, Clare! I’m so happy to hear it! It’s been ages since I’ve made a batch, so now I’m feeling inspired to do so. Thanks so much for stopping in to give your feedback – it means a lot! Cheers!

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    1. Julia Post author

      Hi Lisa,

      I have never tested my shortbread recipes using butter, but I suspect they will still work with that replacement! Let me know if you try it! 😀

  12. Jennifer E.

    I’d love for mine to be a tiny bit sweeter. Do you think it would diminish the texture of the cookie to add more maple syrup or add in some honey?

    1. Julia Post author

      I think you could definitely get away with adding more! I’d guage it by how the dough looks…if it seems too moist, you can up the dosage of almond flour too, but my guess is you’d be fine if you added 1 – 2 TBL more. If you have coconut sugar lying around, you can also try that!

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  14. H

    I’ve been making this recipe for the past 4 Christmases. I absolutely love it as is, but last year and this I am using ghee… you can’t beat the flavour of ghee, takes it to a whole new shortbread level! Still paleo but as buttery and rich as the “real” thing.

    1. Julia Post author

      I’m so happy to hear it! I absolutely love this recipe to, and make it time and again. I’ll have to make it with ghee as well – it sounds absolutely delicious! xo

  15. Katee

    I’ve just recently discovered that I cannot eat eggs, dairy, gluten, refined sugar (and a few other things). I just finished up the big batch of Christmas cookies to mail home to family, and was super bummed that I couldn’t eat them also.

    And then I found this recipe. Where I live, the ingredients are pretty expensive, but it’s totally worth it. I ate six (six!) right out of the oven.

    Definitely going to save this recipe. Thanks for posting it!

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  17. amy

    these cookies are WONDERFUL! i made my first batch last week, gifted some to friends & i’ve already been asked for the recipe. i’m making my second batch today! they’re the perfect texture, made simply but beautifully. & they taste great with coffee in the morning. thank you!


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