Scene of Vanilla Shortbread Cookies (AIP/Paleo), some on a plate, some on a cooling rack, and one with a bite missing.

Vanilla Shortbread Cookies (AIP/Paleo)

These soft Vanilla Shortbread Cookies (AIP/Paleo) are fragrant with vanilla and honey. Gluten free, dairy free, egg free, and no processed sugar!

Scene of Vanilla Shortbread Cookies (AIP/Paleo), some on a plate, some on a cooling rack, and one with a bite missing.
Vanilla Shortbread Cookies (AIP/Paleo)

Every year about this time, young girls in green dresses go door-to-door, selling their delicious cookies – and those of us on a healing diet weep. 😭 I mean, those cookies are sooooo goooood. I’ve been known to buy boxes of cookies, then give them to my family. And I’ve even been known to snitch some of them too, and that’s no bueno.

One kind they have that I just love is shortbread cookies. So simple. So addictive. You know I just had to make some for us! And it seemed right to make them with a good hit of vanilla.

Closeup of Vanilla Shortbread Cookies (AIP/Paleo) with one bite gone one a plate next to a cooking rack with other cookies on it
Vanilla Shortbread Cookies (AIP/Paleo)

About that vanilla…

My preferred brand of vanilla is Singing Dog. And guess what??? They’ve heard those of us with food sensitivities, and are creating an allergy-friendly recipe page on their site, partially populated by yours truly! Woo hoo!!!

When they asked me to create some recipes for them, I was totally on board. I love a creative challenge, and creating recipes in which vanilla is a major player was just that.

They sent me some things to try, including their new double strength vanilla extract. It was love at first sniff! In addition to having a heavenly fragrance, it allows us to get full vanilla flavor without disrupting the balance of liquid to dry ingredients.

I hope you will try it. For baking, it’s a game changer!

As for those cute little troopers selling their cookies, support them, by all means! Share the cookies with your family, then make yourself some that won’t derail your diet. (I have a version of the mint kind that I call Minty Thins. You can give those a try, too!)

Happy baking everybody! As usual, I am wishing you great love, and deep healing.



P.S. Remember, if you want a VERY simple way to bake cookies, you can always get cookies mixes (they’re AIP friendly!) from my friends at Eat G.A.N.G.S.T.E.R. I’ve tried all three kinds, and they have NAILED it! Click here to check them out!

Vanilla Shortbread Cookies (AIP/Paleo)

Recipe by Wendi’s AIP Kitchen – Course: Treats and SnacksCuisine: AIP, PaleoDifficulty: Medium


Prep time


Cooking time





These soft Vanilla Shortbread Cookies (AIP/Paleo) are fragrant with vanilla and honey. Gluten free, dairy free, egg free, and no processed sugar!



  • Preheat oven to 350º F.  In a large mixing bowl, cream shortening.  Add honey and vanilla.  Cream again.
  • In a small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over 1 tablespoon room temperature water, and whisk in gently.  Add 2 TBSP hot water, and whisk vigorously until frothy.  (This is your gelatin egg.)  Add immediately to the shortening mixture, and cream it all together.
  • In a separate bowl, gently combine the rest of the ingredients.  Add these dry ingredients to the shortening mixture.  Mix together to form a dough.  (It will be slightly sticky.)
  • Tablespoonful at a time (a one tablespoon cookie scoop is helpful here), gently roll dough into a ball, and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Then using the bottom of a measuring cup or glass, press each ball of dough to ½” thick.  Bake for 7 minutes, or until golden.  Allow cookies to cool on the sheet for a couple of minutes before removing to a cooling rack.  Enjoy!

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  1. Hello! Is it possible to add the gelatin to the dry ingredients? The gelatin clumped when I made these. Thanks! 😊

    • Hi, Jennifer! Hmm…that should not happen. You really do need the frothy gelatin egg. It sounds like one of two things happened: either the 2 TBSP hot water wasn’t hot enough (gelatin liquifies under heat), or it sat too long before it was added to the wet ingredients. It will begin to clump as it cools. Hope this helps! 🙂

  2. Jennifer Sue Swisher

    Thank you! I’ll give it another try. I love your recipes, keep them coming!

  3. Hi, Wendi! I want to make these tonight. Can I use single strength vanilla with a decent result till my double arrives?

    • Hi, Crista! I’m so happy to see you on here! 😀 You CAN use regular, but the taste is a bit bland. (I tried it.) I wouldn’t double it, though, because the dough would likely get too wet. Best bet, eat bland cookies until the double arrives! Wishing you WELL. 💗

  4. Hillary Sadler

    Can this be made with regular strength vanilla?

    • Hi, Hillary! I tried it with regular, and it was “ok,” but it didn’t pop. I fear if the vanilla were doubled to 4 teaspoons, the dough would be too wet. I would say you CAN make it with regular (2 tsp), but the taste will be more bland. Your call! 🙂

  5. Joel N April Rittenhouse

    do you think i could sub tigernut for cassava?

    • About the only AIP flour swap that I have found that works is arrowroot and tapioca. That said, you could try just a half batch to see if it works. I’m all for experimentation! Tigernut has a very different texture to cassava flour. It’s grittier. You’d probably get a yummy cookie, but the cookie itself will have a different texture. Sigh… sometimes I really miss regular ol’ all-purpose gluten-y flour!

  6. Pingback: Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable #358 - Phoenix Helix

  7. Hi Wendi, when using the double strength vanilla in recipes that call for single strength vanilla do you have to modify the amount? Just ordered from Singing Dog and I have been waiting for an AIP friendly shortbread recipe. Thank you!

    • Hi, Jo! I hope you love these cookies! To answer your question, it depends… I tasted both regular and double-strength side by side, and there really is an appreciable difference. I tried making the cookies with single strength (same amount), and they lacked pizzazz. Double strength did the trick. I was afraid to use single strength and double it because it would add more liquid to the mix. (AIP baking…OY!) If you’re talking about generally using half the vanilla of double strength, I think it would depend on the recipe, and your love of vanilla. Would double strength overpower the recipe, or would it add something that you love? Depends. At any rate, I hope you enjoy the cookies as much as I do. They are soft the first day, and have more of that shortbread texture the next day. ENJOY! 🙂

  8. Hi Wendi! I’ve skimmed the comments above and I see people asking the same thing I’m wondering about using single strength vanilla. What are your thoughts on using vanilla powder + vanilla extract??

    • Hmmm, now THAT’S an interesting option. The only thing is that vanilla powders are not all the same, and REAL, straight vanilla powder is not usually available commercially (according to the folks at Singing Dog Vanilla). The real stuff is brown, not white, and it’s mild. The white stuff may have non-friendly ingredients, so be sure to check labels. If you try this option, will you please report back? Someone else might have the same question. Thanks for writing!

      • I had no idea that vanilla powder can be white! Mine is brown…so I guess it’s the real stuff! LOL! I bought it quite a while ago and to be honest, I’ve never seen it sold again!! Good thing there’s a good amount in the bag, but eventually, I’ll need another source for it!

        Yes, when I try it, I will report back!

        Thanks, Wendi!

      • I did make a few changes to the recipe – but they still tasted great and were gone in no time in my son’s belly! I don’t know what the cookies are suppose to taste like with the double strength vanilla as I didn’t have any, but I instead used vanilla powder + single strength liquid vanilla. I had some troubles with the gelatin egg clumping up, so by the time I mixed it all in, there were clumps of gelatin in the dough…almost like bits of beaten up gummy bears LOL…which I ended up picking out of the dough and discarding. But the cookies still held together just fine, even with less gelatin than the recipe called for. After rolling the dough into balls, I also rolled them in a little bit of coconut sugar before flattening and baking. My son’s been asking when I’ll be making them again!

      • Hi, Tasha! So glad they ultimately worked for you. About the gelatin, what brand did you use? I’m curious if brand has anything to do with it. Another possibility is that the second dose of water might not have been hot enough to dissolve the gelatin.(?) If you ever have the opportunity, give that double strength vanilla a try. It’s heavenly! 😌 Thanks for writing!

      • Hi Wendi! Yes, I suspect as well that my water was not hot enough to fully dissolve the gelatin. I usually do my gelatin eggs, heated over the stove, and I’ll probably just do that next time, to get it to dissolve. The gelatin I use is the one from Great Lakes. I would love to try the Singing Dog Vanilla, but I’m in Canada and it doesn’t look like they ship to Canada :0(. Thanks again for all of your recipes!

      • Ah, ok! I use Great Lakes, too. I’m sorry about the vanilla! So close, and yet so far… 😆

  9. Can I replace Tapioca flour for the arrowroot?

    • Hi, Rosie! Of all the subs out there, the one you mentioned has the best chance of working. That said, I haven’t tried it on this recipe before, so I don’t know for sure. If you try it, please let me know how it turned out!

  10. Well my first attempt was a fail! Used single strength vanilla so the flavor is definitely on the bland side. But, my gelatin egg thickened up the shortening and just about solidified it to an immovable lump! I managed to get the dry ingredients in but the consistency was odd. In the oven the cookies all just melted together into a big glob. They are not like shortbread at all but quite soft and gelatinous. They do taste OK but nothing like shortbread. Do you think adding the gelatin egg last would work better?

    • Hi Jill! Have no fear! Let’s troubleshoot. When I hear that the gelatin egg thickened the shortening, I wonder if the water was hot enough to really liquify the gelatin. When you whisk it up, it should be frothy and liquid. When it goes into the shortening and you cream it again, it should be light and fluffy. I’m really curious about it turning stiff. That should definitely not happen. When you whisked up the “egg,” was it liquid or clumpy? I do not recommend putting the gelatin egg in last, but here is something you can try: pour ALL of the water (3TBSP total, if I remember correctly?) into a cold saucepan and let it sit for 2 minutes. Then, put the saucepan over medium heat. Gently stir until all the gelatin has liquified. Turn off the heat, then whisk it like crazy until it’s frothy. Add it immediately to the shortening mixture, and cream it again. I’m also curious about the cookies melting together in the oven. Interesting! I’m guessing that it has to do with the gelatin/shortening thing. What brand of shortening do you use? (There are some out there that are part coconut oil, and that won’t work.) And then regarding vanilla: I tried single strength vanilla, and yep, they were too bland. Double strength really does makes a difference. I’m blabbing on… My best guess is that the problem was somewhere between gelatin egg and shortening mixture. The water has to be hot enough, and the egg used right away before it cools. Another thought: Try just the egg/shortening part to get it light and fluffy. If it flops, stop the recipe, and circle back to me! I’m dying to know the issue! Ok, I’m really done blabbing now. Lemme know! 😀

  11. Allison Miller

    Can I use tapioca starch instead of arrowroot flour?

    • Hi, Allison! My usual response to any sub in AIP baking is noooooooo. However, tapioca flour MIGHT work. Those two flours are very similar. I haven’t tried this combination, so I can’t give a definitive answer. The mantra in AIP baking is “sub at your own risk,” but tapioca flour for arrowroot might work. If you try it, please let me know the result! Others may have the same question, and you can help us all out! 😀

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