These simple homemade air fryer sugar cookies are soft on the inside, perfectly crisp on the outside and topped with simple sweet icing. The cookies are made with just a few ingredients, are vegan friendly, and can also be oven baked if you don’t have an air fryer!
- Soft Interior, Slightly Crisp Exterior: air frying creates the perfect cookie texture.
- Amazing Buttery Flavor: these cookies are dairy free but have an amazing sweet, buttery flavor thanks to the plant-based butter.
- Super Fast Cook Time Perfect for Holiday Baking: air fryers preheat faster than conventional ovens and they take less time to bake because of their small size.
- Step by Step Photos and Video Tutorial: this post includes step by step photos and a video tutorial so you can easily make these air fryer cookies.
Why Air Frying Works For Sugar Cookies
I recently made the BEST air fryer chocolate chip cookies. And now, I only want to make cookies in the air fryer because of how easy and fast it is! Air frying creates the perfect thin crispy edges on the cookies while keeping the insides soft.
Countertop air fryers have a small size which leads to a fast preheat time. They use a fan to blow hot air through the cavity helping create a crisp exterior on foods.
Fun fact: in a past life, I used to design countertop air fry ovens and I use the air fryer I designed everyday in my kitchen! I’m definitely an air fryer aficionado.
If this is your first time air frying, no worries! This post will walk you through my best tips and tricks so you’ll be an air frying pro in no time.
To make these sugar cookies from scratch, you’ll need just a handful of simple ingredients. And this recipe is great for small batches since it can easily be divided in half! You’ll need:
- Dairy Free Butter
- Granulated White Sugar or Cane Sugar
- Vanilla Extract
- Dairy Free Milk
- All Purpose Flour
- Baking Powder
Substitutions & Add-ins:
- Vanilla Extract: the vanilla flavoring can be subbed for almond extract.
- Dairy Free Butter: plant butter can be substituted with a 1:1 ratio with dairy based butter.
- Dairy Free Milk: I used oat milk in this recipe to keep the cookies vegan but it can be subbed with a 1:1 ratio with another plant milk or with dairy-based milk.
- White or Dark Chocolate Chips: although they don’t traditionally have chocolate chips, you could add them to these cookies if you’d like!
- Crushed Candy Canes: to make these peppermint sugar cookies (perfect for Christmas baking), sprinkle crushed candy canes on the dough prior to air frying.
- Measuring Cup & Digital Scale
- Air Fryer or Air Fry Toaster Oven
- Air Fryer Parchment Paper: to keep the dough from sticking to the basket
- Rolling Pin
- Cookie Cutters
- Wire Rack
Step By Step Instructions
*Video Tutorial is Above the Recipe Card Below!*
STEP 1: In a large bowl, cream softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy. This can be done with a whisk or an electric mixer.
Add vanilla and almond extracts (if using), and room-temperature oat milk. Mix until incorporated and fluffy.
STEP 2: Sprinkle the flour, baking powder, and a pinch of salt on top of the wet ingredients. Mix the dry ingredients together with a fork, then mix into a soft dough.
STEP 3: Form into a ball, cover in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes – 1 hour.
Cut Out the Cookies
STEP 4: Preheat the air fryer or oven. Then, line the air fryer basket with a piece of parchment paper designed for the air fryer. You can also use normal parchment paper. If you’re baking the cookies in the oven, line your baking sheets with parchment.
STEP 5: On a floured surface, roll out the dough into a circle that is about 1/4” thick.
STEP 6: Cut out the cookies with your cookie cutters of choice. Re-roll the scraps of dough as needed.
STEP 7: Air Fry 320 F for 7-8 minutes. For very small cookies (less than 1”x1”), air fry for 5-6 minutes.
📌 NOTE: Each air fryer bakes differently because of cavity size and other factors. Keep an eye on the cookies (starting around 5 minutes) to make sure they’re not browning too quickly and adjust the cooking time accordingly.
Oven Instructions: Bake 350 F for 8-10 minutes. Let the cookies cool for 2-3 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack.
Icing the Sugar Cookies
You can’t have sugar cookies without a simple icing on top! Decorating cookies is such a fun activity around the holidays. This icing has only 3 ingredients and hardens beautifully on top of the cooled cookies.
To make the icing:
STEP 1: In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the powdered sugar, plant milk, and corn syrup.
📌 TIP: The icing should be very thick but spoonable. If you prefer to dip the cookies in icing (vs. piping) add 1 tsp of milk at a time until it reaches a looser consistency.
STEP 2: Place a piping bag in a tall glass and fold the edges of the bag over the rim. Spoon the icing into the piping bag.
STEP 3: Ice the cooled cookies and enjoy!
📌 NOTE: This icing is for piping on the cookies. This recipe makes enough icing to lightly ice the cookies like in the pictures. Double the quantities if you prefer more icing.
How to Store the Cookies
Room Temperature: these cookies can be stored at room temperature for 3-4 days. Place them in an airtight container after the icing has hardened. You can lay wax or parchment paper between the cookies.
Freezer: these air fryer sugar cookies store very well in the freezer and it’s a great way to keep them fresh longer. Place them in a freezer-proof bag or storage container. You can keep them in the freezer for 2-3 months.
📌 TIP: you can also wrap the dough in plastic and store it in the freezer. The frozen cookie dough will stay fresh for 2-3 months. Simply let it thaw in the fridge overnight and bake according to the instructions in the recipe card below.
Cookie Pro Tips
- Preheat the Air Fryer: this helps ensure even heat in the cavity.
- Accurately Measure the Flour: Too much flour can create cookies that are too puffy and cake-like. For the best results use a digital scale or use the spoon and level method to measure the flour.
- Use Air Fryer Parchment: parchment with perforations helps air circulation and even baking.
- Do a Test with One Cookie Before the Whole Batch: the strength of air fryers can vary quite a bit. I recommend doing a test with 1 cookie before air frying the entire batch. If the cookie looks like it cooked too quickly, decrease the temperature by 20-25 degrees F (so 300F instead of 320F). If it looks like it isn’t done baking, increase the time by 1-2 minutes.
I don’t recommend using brown sugar in this cookie recipe. Brown sugar will cause the cookies to spread more and the cutout shapes won’t be as crisp.
Plant butter can be substituted with a 1:1 ratio with dairy-based butter. I don’t recommend using coconut oil in this recipe because the cookies will lack a ‘buttery’ flavor. If using unsalted butter, add 1/4 tsp of salt to the recipe.
This cookie dough recipe is meant to be rolled out to a 1/4″ thickness. You can certainly try using a cookie scoop or rolling the dough into balls, however, this recipe is designed to prevent as much spreading as possible. So your cookies will likely be tall and thick if the dough isn’t rolled out.
Yes, this recipe can be made with a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the ingredients to the bowl of the stand mixer according to the instructions below. Cream the butter and sugar on medium speed for 1-2 minutes before adding the remaining cookie ingredients.
Homemade cookie dough or store-bought dough can be easily made in the air fryer! To make the best soft yet crisp cookies, preheat the air fryer to 320F, line the basket with air fryer parchment paper, and do a test batch prior to air frying the rest of the cookie dough.
- ½ cup (120g) softened salted vegan butter, or butter of choice- I used Country Crock Plant Butter to make these dairy free
- ½ cup (100g) granulated white sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Optional - ¼ tsp almond extract
- 2 tbsp (30g) room temperature oat milk, or milk of choice
- 1 ¼ cup + 2 tbsp (185g) all-purpose flour, spooned from the bag and leveled off*
- ½ tsp baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 1 cup powdered sugar, icing sugar
- 1 ½ - 2 tbsp plant milk, like oat milk
- ½ tbsp light corn syrup
- Food coloring- optional
- In a large bowl, cream the softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add the vanilla and almond extracts (if using) and room temperature oat milk. Mix until incorporated and fluffy.
- Sprinkle the flour, baking powder, and a pinch of salt on top. Mix the dry ingredients together with a fork, then mix into the wet ingredients to form a soft dough.
- Form into a ball, wrap in plastic and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes - 1 hour. The dough can be chilled overnight.
- When ready to make the cookies, preheat the air fryer (320F) or oven (350F). Line the air fryer basket or cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Cut out two 12x12” pieces of parchment paper. Lay one of the pieces on the counter and dust lightly with flour.
- Place the chilled dough on the parchment, and cover the top with the 2nd piece. Roll out into a circle that is about 1/4” thick.
- Cut out the cookies with your cookie cutters of choice. Re-roll the scraps of dough as needed. If the dough is sticking or difficult to work with, wrap it in plastic and place back in the fridge for 10-20 minutes before re-rolling.
- Place the cookies on the parchment lined air fryer basket or baking sheet.
- Air Fry at 320F for 7-8 minutes. For very small cookies (less than 1”x1”), air fry for 5-6 minutes. Let cool completely before icing.
- NOTE: Each air fryer bakes differently because of the cavity size and other factors. Keep an eye on the cookies (starting around 5 minutes) to make sure they’re not browning too quickly and adjust the cooking time accordingly.
- Oven Instructions: Bake at 350F for 8-10 minutes. Let the cookies cool for 2-3 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack.
To Make the Icing
NOTE: this icing is for piping on the cookies. This recipe makes enough to lightly ice the cookies like in the pictures. Double the quantities if you prefer more icing.
- In a medium sized bowl, mix together the powdered sugar, plant milk, and corn syrup.
- The icing should be very thick but spoonable. If you prefer to dip the cookies in icing (vs. piping) add 1 tsp of milk at a time until it reaches a looser consistency.
- Place a piping bag in a tall glass and fold the edges of the bag over the rim. Spoon the icing into the piping bag.
- Ice the cooled cookies and enjoy!
- Preheat the air fryer: this helps ensure even heat in the cavity.
- Use air fryer parchment: parchment with perforations helps air circulation and even baking.
- Do a test with one cookie before the whole batch: the strength of air fryers can vary quite a bit. I recommend doing a test with 1 cookie before air frying the entire batch. If the cookie looks like it cooked too quickly, decrease the temperature by 20-25 degrees F (so 300F instead of 320F). If it looks like it isn't done baking, increase the time by 1-2 minutes.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 105Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 34mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 1gSugar: 10gProtein: 2g
Nutritional info is an estimate.
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