Slice and Bake Gluten-Free Basil Shortbread Cookies

When it comes to baking, shortbread is one kind of cookie that I am always excited about making.

Vertical top-down image of a white plateful of golden-brown shortbread speckled with herbs, with text in the middle and on the top of the image.

It’s even better when you can slice and bake those cookies, especially with the holiday baking season coming up, and you’re working on your lineup of cookies you want to make!

For those of you who are looking to give baked goodies to your friends and family as gifts, it’s never a bad idea to make something a little more memorable than a plain old chocolate chip cookie (not that there’s anything wrong with those!).

I really like to surprise my loved ones with goodies they may not normally make themselves.

In my experience, everyone loves shortbread. The buttery flavor and the slight crumble of the cookie combine to form something truly tasty.

It’s actually my grandmother’s favorite cookie, and she used to make them every year for Christmas.

Instead of making the classic shortbread, let’s incorporate some special ingredients to change them up a bit.

Vertical close-up image of a mound of lightly golden-brown shortbread speckled with herbs on a plate.

Basil is one of those fresh herbs that works not only with savory things, but also with sweet. I actually love the addition of herbs in cookies because it gives them a really elegant flair, and unique flavor.

These basil shortbread cookies are the bomb-diggity. They have just the right level of butteriness while still being sweet, with an added burst of herbaceous flavor in every bite.

Better yet? They are gluten free.

That way, when you are sending cookies out to friends and family, you can rest assured that you are taking the dietary needs of others into account. Almond flour to the rescue, a reliable gluten-free flour alternative!

For me, this is a huge relief because I like to send out holiday care packages of assorted gluten-free cookies across the country.

Vertical image of a stack of green speckled cookies on a dark surface.

If you like to do the same, know that these cookies travel really well. You don’t have to worry about them getting too hard if they’re sitting in the mail for a couple of days.

True, they are still made with butter. But you can feel free to swap that out for a non-dairy or vegan version if you need to. Don’t sweat it!

The dough all comes together in one bowl. You stir all of the ingredients together, then bring the mixture into a ball with your hands. Carefully roll it into a short log, and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap.

Make sure you really wrap that dough tightly with plastic, twisting the ends well. That way, you don’t have to worry about any gaps forming in the shaped dough, and this will make it a lot easier to slice after letting it chill in the freezer.

I left my dough log in the freezer for about 15 minutes because my house was pretty warm when I made this recipe the last time. Anywhere between 10 and 15 minutes should be good.

Vertical top-down image of a mound of golden-brown basil shortbread treats on a white plate.

Simply make sure it feels more like a solid log than a soft dough before unwrapping it, and give it a little more time if you need to.

After that, all you have to do is slice and bake until they turn golden brown, and be sure to let them cool on the pan as instructed. Otherwise, if you move them too soon, you risk having them falling apart.

Be sure to store them in airtight containers once they are completely cooled. They can be stored at room temperature.

This recipe proves that the so-called “old fashioned” cookie can be revamped and made more modern with a couple of simple changes.

No need to buy them now that you can make them at home, am I right?

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Horizontal image of baked shortbread speckled with green herbs on a white plate.

Gluten-Free Basil Shortbread Cookies

  • Author: Meghan Yager
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: About 18 small cookies 1x


These easy basil shortbread cookies are not only delicious, they are also gluten free. They hold their shape and are anything but plain.


  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 cup unrefined cane sugar (Sucanat)
  • 1 1/2 cups blanched almond meal
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped basil (about 5 leaves)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt


  1. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients with a spoon. Use your fingertips to form dough into a ball.
  2. On a clean work surface, form dough into a log about 5 inches long by 1 1/2 inches wide. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. 
  3. While the dough chills, preheat oven to 350˚F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  4. Slice firm, chilled dough into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Place on prepared baking sheets, spaced about 1 inch apart.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes, until golden. Cool on the pan for about 5 minutes before moving to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 mintues
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Gluten-Free

Keywords: shortbread, basil, gluten-free, almond

Cooking By the Numbers…

Step 1 – Chop Basil and Measure Ingredients

Chop about five basil leaves until you have two teaspoons total.

Horizontal image of bowls of almond meal, liquid ingredients, seasonings, and dark sugar on a gray surface.

Measure out the remaining ingredients as listed on the ingredients list.

Step 2 – Make Dough

Add all of the ingredients to a medium bowl. Stir them together with a spoon.

Once the dough starts coming together, use your fingers to form the mixture into a ball.

Horizontal image of a blue bowl with a mound of dough.

Place the dough ball on a clean work surface and carefully form it into a log. The log should be about five inches long by one and a half inches in diameter.

Wrap the log tightly in plastic wrap, and twist the ends to seal it tightly.

Step 3 – Chill

Place the wrapped dough log in the freezer. Freeze for at least 10 minutes, until firm.

Horizontal image of neatly spaced unbaked slices of dough on a lined baking sheet.

While the dough chills, preheat your oven to 350˚F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

Unwrap and slice the log into quarter-inch-thick rounds. A uniform shape is important here, for even baking.

Place the rounds on the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about one inch apart.

Step 4 – Bake

Bake for 15 minutes, until they are golden. Remove from the oven and let cool on the pans for about five minutes. Transfer to cooling racks to cool completely.

Horizontal image of baked shortbread speckled with green herbs on a white plate.

The finished cookies may be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for about a week.

How Do I Ship These Cookies?

Shortbread is the ideal cookie to mail to a friend or loved one in a care package.

Horizontal image of a stack of 5 basil cookies on a dark board scattered with sugar and herb leaves.

To ship them properly, be sure not to pack up the cookies until they are completely cool. Add them to an airtight container and be sure to pack them snugly into a box for mailing.

If there is room around the container(s), be sure to pad the extra space with bubble wrap or packing paper. Tape it all up and it’s ready to ship.

Do you need more gluten-free cookie inspiration? Try these Foodal favorites next:

Will you ship these cookies to a friend, or keep them all to yourself? Tell us in the comments below. And after you’ve tried it, be sure to give this recipe a five-star rating if you loved it!

Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Shanna Mallon on October 16, 2012. Last updated October 16, 2020.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

About Meghan Yager

Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.

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