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Vegan Linzer Cookies are delightfully soft almond shortbread cookie and jam sandwiches, dusted with powdered sugar for a perfect sweet treat.
These Vegan Linzer Cookies are the perfect buttery and fruity cookie to serve for Valentine’s Day, Christmas, or a random Tuesday 😉 Soft almond shortbread cookies are sandwiched with fruit jam and dusted with powdered sugar for a delicious cookie that looks just as good as it tastes.
Linzer cookies are not traditionally vegan, but I’ve made a few simple swaps to the classic recipe to make a plant-based version that’s just as satisfying.
Table of Contents
All About Linzer Cookies
We all love Linzer Cookies, but did you know they would not exist without Linzer Torte? The Linzer Torte originates from the city of Linz, Austria and was first made in an abbey in the early 1700s. The torte was traditionally made with a nut-and-flour pastry, seasoned with lemon zest, and filled with black current preserves. The cookies are a twist on the traditional torte, keeping a lot of the same ingredients and flavor.
The linzer torte was brought to the US in the 1850s, and has been popular ever since! Raspberry jam is the most popular filling here in the States, and they are most often made as Christmas Cookies or to celebrate Valentine’s Day. They’re the perfect cookie to add to your recipe line-up, providing a light and buttery texture with a burst of fruity flavor.
Ingredients for Vegan Linzer Cookies
There’s no need to use eggs or dairy in your linzer cookies! This vegan linzer cookie recipe comes together with only a few simple ingredients, and tastes just as delicious:
- Flour: Linzer cookies use a blend of all-purpose flour for structure and almond flour for a tender texture and buttery flavor. You could also use hazelnut flour in place of almond flour if you have some on hand!
- Lemon zest or Orange zest: Citrus zest adds the perfect pop of bright flavor! I like to massage the zest with the sugar, before I cream it with the butter, for best results.
- Vegan Butter: Vegan butter is the perfect swap for dairy butter in this recipe. I prefer to use Earth Balance, Country Crock, Violife, or Miyokos brand as I have found they give the best flavor and cookie texture.
- Cane Sugar: Linzer cookies are technically a shortbread, so they use less sugar than other cookie recipes. The jam filling and powdered sugar on top help to make these cookies perfectly sweet!
- Unsweetened Milk: Milk is not a normal cookie ingredient, but here it takes the place of eggs in this vegan recipe. The extra liquid helps make the final cookies texture softer.
- Cornstarch: This is the other egg-replacement for this recipe. I love using cornstarch in my vegan cookie recipes as it not only helps to soften the cookie dough, but it also reduces the amount of cookie spread in the oven.
- Vanilla and Almond Extract: To make our shortbread dough more flavorful! The almond extract is optional, but personally I can never have enough almond flavor, so I like to add it.
- Raspberry Jam: For our cookie filling – I prefer to use a seedless raspberry jam, but any fruit jam will work here.
- Powdered Sugar: For dusting the top of the cookies.
How to Make Perfect Linzer Cookies
Linzer cookies require a few more steps than a traditional drop cookie recipe, but the end result (both texture and flavor) is more than worth it:
- Whisk the dry ingredients together in a small bowl.
- Cream the sugar, zest, and butter together, then add in the remaining wet ingredients.
- Mix the wet and dry ingredients together to form a crumbly dough, then divide in half and chill until firm.
- Roll out the cookie dough and cut the cookies; half of the cookies with a top center “window”, and half without. Chill the cut cookies one final time.
- Bake the cookies until just barely golden.
- Dust the tops of the cookies with powdered sugar, then spread jam across each cookie bottom. Combine to form the perfect cookie sandwich.
Caitlin’s Cooking Tips
- Use a Food Scale: shortbread cookies require a very calculated balance of butter and flour. Make sure to spoon and level your flour – or for best results, use a digital kitchen scale.
- Chill the Dough: again, because this cookie is a shortbread it is very important that you chill the dough both times. If you don’t your cookies will spread too much in the oven!
I love to enjoy these Vegan Linzer Cookies for a sweet and satisfying dessert. They’re delicious on their own, but also pair really well with a hot cup of tea, cocoa, or coffee!
How to Store Linzer Cookies
Store any leftover cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. If you are concerned about your jam spoiling you can also store them in the refrigerator, but they will be more chewy.
I do not recommend freezing your baked Linzer Cookies, as powdered sugar gets freezer burned very quickly.
Substitutions and Variations
Linzer cookies keep a basic structure (cookie + jam + cookie + powdered sugar), but there are a lot of fun ways you can flavor your cookies or make them your own:
- Citrus Zest: Linzer cookies are normally made with lemon or orange zest; I prefer to use orange zest as it pairs so perfectly with the almond flavor! You could also make these cookies with lime zest or add 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon to the dry ingredients for a fun twist.
- Filling: the cookie sandwiches are traditionally filled with raspberry or black currant jam, but any fruit jam will work! You can also stuff your cookies with lemon curd or a chocolate or chocolate hazelnut spread for an indulgent treat.
Linzer cookies are a handheld variation of the Linzer Torte, which comes from Linz, Austria.
Not normally, but this recipe is! Linzer Cookies are traditionally made with butter and egg.
You can store cookies with unbaked jam at room temperature, in an airtight container or cookie tin, for up to 5 days. You can also store your cookies in the refrigerator, but they will become a bit more chewy.
Enjoy! If you make this recipe and decide to share it on Facebook or Instagram, don’t forget to tag me @FromMyBowl + #FromMyBowl! I would also love it if you could leave a comment below with a recipe rating! Thank you for the support 😊
Vegan Linzer Cookies
- 1 1/3 cups all purpose flour plus more for dusting
- 2/3 cup almond flour
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup cane sugar
- zest of 1 lemon or orange
- 12 tablespoons salted vegan butter* at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened dairy-free milk
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons powdered or confectioners’ sugar for dusting
- raspberry or apricot jam* for filling (or sub another fruit or lemon curd)
- Dry Ingredients: Add the flour, almond flour, cornstarch, and salt to a medium bowl and whisk until combined; set aside.
- Wet Ingredients: Add the sugar and lemon or orange zest to a large bowl or stand mixer. Use your hands to massage the zest into the sugar until it is evenly distributed (this creates a stronger citrus flavor!). Add the butter and beat (using a handheld or stand mixer) over low speed until the butter is light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula as necessary. Add the milk, vanilla, and almond extracts and beat for 1 more minute.
- Combine: Add the dry ingredients to the bowl and mix until the mixture is crumbly, but will pinch together. Try not to overmix.
- First Chill: Divide the dough in half (I like to use my food scale for the most accurate results). Place each half on a sheet of plastic wrap; flatten into a disc and fully wrap. Refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour, up to overnight.
- Shape the Cookies: Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Lightly flour a cutting board and rolling pin. Remove one disc of dough from the fridge, unwrap, and knead it on the cutting board for 30 seconds – 1 minute until it is pliable. Sprinkle the top of the dough with more flour and roll it out until it is about 1/4" thick. Use a round 2 1/2” cookie cutter to cut out your cookies, then use a smaller cookie cutter to cut out the center “window” of each cookie. Use a bench scraper or spatula to transfer each cookie to the baking sheet, leaving at least 1/2" of space between each cookie. Repeat with the remaining dough, dusting with more flour if necessary. Each disc of dough should make about 15 cookies.
- Second Chill: Transfer the cookie sheet back to the refrigerator and chill for an additional 30 minutes. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 350F and repeat step 5 with the second disc of dough; this time, do not cut out the center window for each cookie (these will be the bottoms). Refrigerate the cut cookies for at least 30 minutes before baking.
- Bake: Bake each baking sheet of cookies in the middle rack of the oven for 8 to 10 minutes, only until the bottoms of the cookies are slightly golden. Baking the cookies for less time will result in chewy cookies, while longer will make a more crunchy shortbread.
- Cool: Remove the cookies from the oven and let sit on the baking tray for at 5 minutes to set, then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely. Cool the cookie “tops” (center holes) and “bottoms” (solid circles) on separate wire racks, if possible.
- Assemble: Place the powdered sugar in a sifter or fine metal sieve and dust it generously over the cookie tops. Assemble each Linzer cookie by spreading 1/2-1 teaspoon of jam over each cookie bottom, then sealing it with the powdered cookie top. Repeat with the remaining cookies.
- Serve & Store: Store any leftover cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. If you are concerned about your jam spoiling you can also store them in the refrigerator, but they will be more chewy.
- Butter: If your butter is unsalted increase the salt in the recipe to 1/2 teaspoon.
- Jam: It’s best to use a smooth fruit jam (vs. preserves) for this recipe; if your jam is too chunky the cookie tops will not sit evenly.
- I have not tested this recipe with any gluten-free flours.