These gluten-free linzer cookies are flavorful, buttery, and not too sweet. Laced with almond flour, lemon, and cinnamon and filled with bright berry preserves, they look fancy but they're actually quite simple to make. The dough is easy to handle and made with whole food ingredients (no gums or flour mixes).
Fill them with raspberry jam or berry chia jam, tuck them into cookie boxes, lunch boxes, or just enjoy with a cup of tea. Perfect for the holidays, Valentine's day, or any day. With tested vegan and paleo options.
Thanks to Bob's Red Mill for sponsoring this post!
If you need a jump-start to the holiday season, I've got you covered with these adorable gluten-free linzer cookies. These are a sandwich cookie version of Linzertorte, a dessert that hails from Linz, Austria comprised of shortbread crust filled with jam and topped with a lattice.
Linzertorte dough is usually made with ground hazelnuts or almonds and flavored with lemon zest, spices such as cinnamon and sometimes clove, plus butter and sugar. The jam is traditionally black currant but in the U.S. it's more common to use raspberry preserves.
Here I've taken my gluten-free almond flour sugar cookie dough and added lemon zest and cinnamon to give it linzer cookie vibes. I'll show you how to roll out the dough, cut, bake, and finish the cookies with ease.
These gluten-free raspberry linzer cookies may look fancy, but they're deceptively simple to put together. And they're adorable! The little windows reveal a slick of jam that resembles stained glass. The powdered sugar sprinkle smacks of snowflakes. They taste of bright, citrusy, buttery, and spicy.
These GF linzer torte cookies would make a sweet addition to a cookie box or holiday dessert cheese board. For more inspiration, you can find all of my favorite cookie recipes here and in my cookbook!
Ingredients and Substitution Suggestions
Flours for GF Linzer Cookies
A trio of flours, plus some starch, gives these gluten-free linzer cookies a divine melt-in-your-mouth texture. I use Bob's Red Mill flours which are certified gluten-free. You can order them all online or find them at a grocer near you using their store locator.
- Almond flour lends a neutral flavor and buttery, crisp texture. Feel free to sub hazelnut meal, almond meal, or use ground pecans. For a nut-free version, sub tiger nut flour or finely ground pumpkin seeds.
- Oat flour adds whole-grain flavor and a tender crumb. You can sub by weight sorghum flour, millet flour, teff flour, or buckwheat flour (which will have a stronger yet delicious flavor.)
- Sweet rice flour helps the cookies hold together. You can sub cassava flour or a GF all-purpose flour blend such as Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1.
- Tapioca starch makes the dough extensible and easy to work with. You can probably sub cornstarch or arrowroot starch if you prefer.
A handful of other easy-to-find ingredients combines with the flours to make divine gluten-free linzer cookies.
- Butter makes the cookies moist and tender. Use vegan butter to make gluten-free dairy-free linzer cookies.
- Sugar adds sweetness. Here I used maple sugar, which makes the cookies refined sugar-free, but organic granulated sugar works well too. Or try coconut sugar for a darker cookie dough.
- Egg sticks the dough together. Use a flax egg for egg-free or vegan gluten-free linzer cookies (see recipe notes).
- Vanilla, lemon zest, and cinnamon add luscious holiday flavor. I especially like Meyer lemon zest here; or try tangerine or orange zest. Cardamom would be a delicious albeit non-traditional stand-in for the cinnamon.
- Baking powder gives the cookies a little lift.
- Salt sharpens the flavors.
- Raspberry jam fills the cookies. Use any other jam you love the flavor of such as apricot, strawberry, or plum. Choose a jam with good acidity for balance. For paleo-friendly, use an all-fruit jam or try one of my chia jam recipes.
- Powdered sugar decorates the tops of the cookies. I use organic powdered sugar. You can leave this off if you're going for refined sugar-free.
How to Make Gluten-Free Linzer Cookies
These GF linzer cookies come together in a couple of hours, much of which is inactive chilling time. The dough can be made ahead of time, the cookies can be baked a few days before filling them, and the filled cookies will keep for up to a week or so.
This recipe makes about 2 dozen sandwich cookies. Feel free to double the recipe if you need more cookies! Here's how it's done:
Rub the lemon zest into the sugar (shown here with maple sugar). This will draw out the oils in the lemon zest for extra flavor.
Add the butter and beat on medium speed until combined but not aerated. This will help the cookies hold their shape well when baked.
Add the egg and vanilla and beat on medium speed until incorporated.
The mixture will look curdled at this point, but don't worry – it will come together when we add the dry ingredients.
Sift in the flours, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
Mix until combined. The dough will be fairly stiff.
Divide the dough into two balls, flatten into disks, and wrap in beeswax wrap or plastic wrap. Chill the dough until firm, 30-60 minutes or up to 3 days.
Unwrap the dough and place it on a piece of parchment paper dusted with oat flour.
Roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thickness or a littler thicker. Use biscuit cutters or cookie cutters to cut out rounds of dough. Then cut little peep-holes in half of the cut-outs.
Place the cookies on parchment-lined cookie sheets and chill again until firm while the oven preheats. This will help the cookies hold their shape.
Spread a scant teaspoon of jam on the bottom of each cookie, leaving a quarter-inch border. Sprinkle the tops with powdered sugar.
Sandwich the cookies together.
Rejoice in being the culinary god / goddess that you are!
Dairy-Free Linzer Cookies
Use plant-based butter instead of dairy butter in the cookies. I love Miyoko's cultured unsalted butter.
Make the cookies using a flax egg instead of regular egg (see the recipe notes below)
Vegan Linzer Cookies
Use plant butter and flax egg.
Make the dough with maple sugar or coconut sugar.
Make the cookies using either sugar or maple sugar. Be sure to use a low-FODMAP jam in the filling, such as berry jam.
Grain-Free Linzer Cookies
Make the dough using cassava flour and almond flour (see recipe notes for amounts)
Paleo Linzer Cookies
Make the grain-free dough + refined sugar-free.
Linzer Cookies for Everyone
These cookies are so cute and tasty, you'll be torn between wanting to give them to everyone you know in order to flaunt your baking prowess, and hoarding them all to yourself.
Bite into one and enjoy the way crisp, buttery cookie shatters and melts in your mouth. The perfume of floral lemon zest supported with a hint of spice and sweet vanilla contrast beautifully with fruity jam. Wash it down with a glass of almond milk or a cup of tea and you'll be in cookie heaven.
Bojon appétit! For more Bojon Gourmet in your life, follow along on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest, purchase my gluten-free cookbook Alternative Baker, or subscribe to receive new posts via email. And if you make these gluten-free linzer cookies, I’d love to know. Leave a comment and rating below, and tag your Instagram snaps @The_Bojon_Gourmet and #bojongourmet.
Gluten-Free Linzer Cookies with Almond FlourPrint Recipe Pin Recipe
- ½ cup (100 g) organic granulated sugar*
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (from 1 medium lemon)
- 12 tablespoons (170 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature**
- 1 large egg***
- 2 teaspoons GF vanilla extract
- 1 cup (120 g) Bob’s Red Mill blanched almond flour****
- 1 cup (160 g) Bob’s Red Mill sweet white rice flour*****
- 1 cup (105 g) Bob’s Red Mill GF oat flour, plus more for dusting******
- ¼ cup (24 g) Bob’s Red Mill tapioca flour*******
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ cup raspberry jam (or other preserves)
- powdered sugar, for sprinkling
Make the gluten-free linzer cookie dough:
- Place the sugar and lemon zest in the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl), and rub with your fingertips to combine. This will bring out the oils in the zest and make the cookies extra flavorful.
- Add the butter and beat (or stir with a wooden spoon or electric egg beater) on medium speed until combined, about 1 minute. We don’t want to aerate the dough in this case as that will make the cookies spread more.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the egg and vanilla. Beat on medium speed or stir to combine. The mixture will look curdled at this point, but it will come together once the flours are added.
- Sift in the almond, sweet rice, and oat flours with the tapioca starch, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Beat on low speed until just combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice.
- Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a ball. Flatten the balls into disks (the thinner you make them, the easier it will be to roll them out), wrap in beeswax wrap or plastic wrap, and chill until firm, at least 30-60 minutes and up to 3 days. Or freeze for longer storage.
Shape and bake the cookies:
- Unwrap one of the dough rounds and place it on a piece of parchment paper dusted lightly with oat flour. If the dough has been chilled for a while, you may need to let it soften for 5-10 minutes to make it easier to roll.
- Dust the top of the dough with oat flour, using a dry pastry brush to sweep away excess flour. Roll the dough into a large oval that’s ⅛-inch thick or a little thicker.
- When the dough starts to stick to the parchment, dust the top with a little oat flour, place a piece of parchment on top of the dough, and flip the whole thing over, parchment and all. Carefully peel away the now top piece of parchment, dust the dough with more flour, and continue rolling, sweeping away excess flour with a dry pastry brush.
- Cut the dough into shapes using cookie cutters or biscuit cutters. As you work, place the cuts as close together as you can to maximize the dough. I use biscuit cutters that are 2 ½-inches in diameter. Once you've cut out the larger shapes, use smaller cookie cutters or biscuit cutters to cut out a little peep-hole in half of the cookies. I use a biscuit cutter that's 1-inch in diameter for the holes. You can bake the little cut-outs if you like, or add them to the dough scraps to re-roll and make more full-size cookies.
- Gather up the dough scraps and save them to combine with the dough scraps from the next dough round. You can gently smush these together, chill them for 20 minutes, and roll this dough to make more cookies. Repeat the rolling/cutting process with the other dough round.
- Transfer the cut-outs to a cookie sheet lined with parchment and chill while the oven preheats, 20-30 minutes.
- Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 350ºF.
- Bake the cookies one pan at a time in the upper third of the oven until set and slightly golden around the edges, 10-16 minutes. Rotate the cookie sheet halfway through for even baking. Watch closely as they can go from baked to burnt within minutes.
- Let the cookies cool on the cookie sheets or transfer to a cooling rack.
Fill the cookies:
- Separate the cooled cookies into pairs with a solid bottom and cut-out top. Turn the bottoms upside-down so the flat side is facing up. Spread 1 scant teaspoon of jam on the bottom cookies, leaving a quarter-inch of space around the edges.
- Sprinkle the cut-out tops lightly with powdered sugar. Make sandwiches by placing the cut-out tops on their bottom pairs.
- The cookies keep well, airtight at room temperature, for up to 3 days. They will be crisp when freshly made and will soften slightly as they sit. Refrigerate the cookies for longer storage, up to 1 week.
- The cookie dough can be made ahead, tightly wrapped, and refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 1 year.
- The baked cookies can keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week.
- Filled cookies will keep covered at room temperature for up to 3 days or refrigerated for up to 1 week. They will soften slightly as they sit.