Gluten-Free Orange-Vanilla Shortbread

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gluten free
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Yield: two 9" x 9" squares

Recipe photo

Indulge in the rich buttery goodness of shortbread — without the gluten. This tender cookie is touched with the perfect balance of crisp citrus and warm vanilla bean.

Gluten-Free Orange-Vanilla Shortbread

star rating (11) rate this recipe »
gluten free
Hands-on time:
Baking time:
Total time:
Yield: two 9" x 9" squares
Published: 11/24/2012


Tips from our bakers

  • This recipe works well as a half batch. If you aren't preparing for a crowd or don't have 2 pans, just cut all ingredients in half. If you would like to make a full batch, but only have one pan, you can bake one pan a time, or store the rest of the dough in the refrigerator to bake another day. Cookies keep well stored in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to two weeks.
  • The Fiori Di Sicilia is NOT a certified gluten free item, so for serious gluten sensitivities, you will need to use the orange oil instead.


see this recipe's blog »

1) Preheat your oven to 350°F and lightly grease 2 9X9 square pans. Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

2) Blend in the orange zest and flavorings.

3) Add the egg yolks one at a time on low speed, blending well.

4) Whisk together the flour, xanthan gum, and salt, then stir into the butter/sugar mixture just until thoroughly combined.

5) Scrape the bowl well to be sure all the dry ingredients are thoroughly incorporated.

6) Divide the mixture evenly between two lightly greased 9" x 9" pans.

7) Bake the shortbreads in a preheated 350°F oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until their edges are nicely browned.

8) Wait about 10 minutes, then turn the shortbreads out of the pan gently. Cut immediately into desired shapes while still warm.

Yield: 2 9X9 square pans.

Nutrition information

Serving Size: 1 cookie piece, 58g Servings Per Batch: 18 cookie pieces Amount Per Serving: Calories: 273 Calories from Fat: 145 Total Fat: 16g Saturated Fat: 20g Trans Fat: 0g Cholesterol: 71mg Sodium: 70mg Total Carbohydrate: 30g Dietary Fiber: 0g Sugars: 9g Protein: 2g

* The nutrition information provided for this recipe is determined by the ESHA Genesis R&D software program. Substituting any ingredients may change the posted nutrition information.


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  • star rating 10/04/2014
  • Gretchen from Chicago, IL
  • I followed the recipe exactly and consider myself an experienced baker, yet when I made these and turned them out of the pan after 10 minutes of cooling, they completely fell apart. I'm extremely disappointed.
    I am sorry this recipe did not meet your expectations! Please call our Bakers Hotline so we can discuss in more detail, 1-855-371-BAKE. Elisabeth@KAF
  • star rating 09/17/2014
  • Laura from Ohio
  • I am an avid baker who loves King Arthur Flour recipes. Actually, I've never made a recipe from KAF that I didn't love. Until now. After reading all the reviews, I decided to make this recipe for myself. The flavor is wonderful, but the cookie has a texture that is almost sand-like. Having a gluten sensitivity, I know that GF baked goods don't have the same texture as regular baked goods. I had my fingers crossed this would be a keeper, but for me, it's not.
    We're as disappointed as you are, Laura. Our problem solving is conflicted in that the shortbread should be cut while the baked dough is still warm, but the bars may have a less sandy texture with an overnight rest. If you call the baker's hotline, we'll ask questions about mixing and baking methods to get to the culprit in this case. Here for you at 855-371-2253. Irene@KAF
  • star rating 09/04/2014
  • Ashley from VT
  • Yum, works well with other citrus flavors too. As far as the crumbliness, I halved the recipe and actually used two egg yolks (technically would half to 1.5 yolks) and I had a much easier time - not nearly as crumbly but also not as tender. I also made them as slice and bake cookies - rolled into a log, popped in the freezer/fridge to chill, and sliced. Didn't work too well in terms of getting round cookies, but it helped with them breaking apart a lot less. Just my experience.
  • star rating 07/22/2014
  • Kathy from East Haddam, CT
  • I trusted this recipe, based on being a King Arthur recipe using King Arthur product. AND I doubled the recipe for a party favor, figuring I was safe in trusting this site/recipe Followed the directions explicitly=--the cookie wasn't a cookie--it's nothing but shortbread crumbs. If you try to pick it up, no matter what size you cut them, they turn to crumble immediately. I tried to salvage them, by placing cut cookies on a sheet pan, with space between, and placing them in convection oven. No luck. I now have a huge container of shortbread cookie crumbs....very disappointed.
    I am sorry to hear of the difficulty. Doubling recipes can really become tricky. It's always best to try the recipe as a single batch first before moving forward with making changes. We encourage you to give our baker's hotline a call so we can help you with the recipe. ~Amy
  • star rating 12/31/2013
  • Sue1017 from KAF Community
  • Love this recipe. I lined the pans with parchment and removed the shortbread about 10 minutes after I took them out of the oven. After they cooled, I put them in a Tupperware and they are even better the next day. My family loves them. Oh, and I substituted vanilla extract for the vanilla bean paste as I didn't have any and it worked just fine. Yummy!
  • star rating 05/10/2013
  • Julie in the Berkshires from Pittsfield, MA
  • I made these for my sister who is gluten intolerant and her husband, who is not, gobbled up most of them along with the rest of us! They are delicious and, although they are a bit more fragile than regular shortbread, they held together very well even when packed to travel. Keep in mind, as with any shortbread, that they should be cut when warm from the oven rather than when they have cooled off and are more apt to crumble. After cutting, I lifted them gently out of the pan and let them problem and absolutely delicious. Fiori di Sicilia is so worth the perfumes my entire kitchen whenever I use it.
  • star rating 04/17/2013
  • from Media, Pa.
  • I made this shortbread recipe, and the taste is delicious! HOWEVER, the cookies disintegrated into crumbs when I took them out of the pan. After reading the other reviews, I even lined the pan with parchment paper prior to baking - hoping to lift them out successfully. No luck. I hope someone at King Arthur Flour can find a way to tweak this recipe in order to get a cookie that will hold together. As I said before, the taste is fabulous - but we ended up eating the crumbs with a spoon. I will keep the morsels in a container and use them as an ice cream topping.
    I would call our Bakers Hotline and we should be able to troubleshoot this recipe with you!-Jon
  • star rating 12/23/2012
  • Becky Steinmiller from Pittsburgh PA
  • Baked this last night. First pan, complete disaster. Gently removed from pan, at first cut the cookies crumbled into crumbs. Since I only had one pan I cleaned and greased again, removed chilled dough from refrigerator and discovered that it had set up due to the large amount of butter in the recipe. Spread the batter in the pan and the second pan came out slightly better but still extremely crumbly. These are extremely delicate and are at best a plated dessert as to eat them out of hand results in crumbs everywhere. On the other hand the flavor is excellent. One question, the printed recipe states 2 teaspoons of vanilla bean paste, the step by step instructions show 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste? Also, how should your gluten free flour be measured? Scoop or spoon and sweep?
    I'm so sorry for your trouble. Always measure with the spoon, sprinkle, sweep method to ensure that you won't end up with too much flour. They do have a true shortbread texture that is tender and somewhat crumbly, but should hold together for cutting and serving. I thank you kindly for noticing the error in the vanilla measurement and I have fixed the blog to read 2 teaspoons. Make sure that you are not letting them cool too long before cutting. ~Amy
  • star rating 12/18/2012
  • from
  • I made these today and they are delicious!! I did find them to be very crumbly but that may have to do with the fact that I baked them in 8x8 pans. They look very nice because of the vanilla bean and the orange zest. The next time I think I'll line the pan with parchment to lift them out of the pan as one pan of shrotbread broke when I turned them out- it's a deep pan. The other ones I sliced in the pan and got them out carefully with an off-set spreader. The flavor is fantastic and the texture is really very nice as well (usually I find GF stuff to be rather grainy in texture and this seemed a little softer) Very easy to make and worth it!
  • 12/05/2012
  • from
  • I will definitely try this recipe but some time ago, I called to find out if the Fiora was gluten free and the person from KA told me that it wasn't gf?? Have you changed it to gluten free? Thanks.
    Because of how we package the Fiori di Sicilia, it becomes exposed to gluten in the air, so we cannot say it is Gluten-Free. At this point, we have no determined if we will package this in a separate facility, so it will be a non-GF product for now. However, your request will be submitted to our product team and I hope we can have a GF-free Fiori at some point down the road! Best, Kim@KAF
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