• Gutsy Baker

Apple Cider Cookies (Gluten & Dairy Free, Paleo-Friendly)

What is better than a cider donut? A CIDER COOKIE. And surprisingly, as much as they taste similar and have similar ingredients, they actually taste different! The cookie has a much richer flavor of the spice with a hint of that buttery cookie flavor. But they’re both delicious! If you prefer, the cider donut, these have a been a favorite so far this early fall. But the recipe for those is here.

For now let’s talk about these cookies! They're one of my favorite gut healthy desserts. They have a hint of apple cider while infused with cinnamon, nutmeg and all the favorite fall flavors. I even chopped up apples and mixed them in and it really is the gem of the cookie. I made them dairy and gluten free, however I did recipe test them with cassava flour to make them grain free as well, and although they tasted great, they were a bit dry. So I suggest if you want to try to substitute the gluten free flour with cassava, that you reduce the flour by at least 1/4 cup. To make these cookies even better, you can reduce the apple cider on the stovetop for 20 minutes to make an apple cider syrup. It really gives a rich apple flavor.

I actually really never cared for fall. As a child I would actually get depressed when the weather changed, the wind sounded different, and I could smell the leaves ‘dying’, as I referred to. It drove me to move to California in my early 20s and enjoy the warm sunshine almost every day. However, being home in quarantine with my family this year and experiencing the seasons for the first time again in 10 years, I have to say it has been nice. I’m appreciating the change from summer to fall and loving the feeling it brings here in New England. I think growing up in this part of the United States, I never really knew what I had. I do find a few falling leaves this time of year in LA though, and it makes my heart happy.

Well if you want to feel fall and don’t feel like making a pie or anything too complicated. Throw some cookies in the oven! It’s never a bad idea.

What do I need for these apple cider cookies?

-Two mixing bowls

-A baking sheet

-An oven

No hand mixer for this one!

What are in these apple cider cookies:

All purpose gluten free flour or cassava flour: I used Bobs Red Mill gluten free 1:1 flour but you can use any GF flour. I also made these with cassava flour and they tasted great, but make sure to reduce the amount to 1 3/4 cup. They'll be a drier cookie.

Non dairy butter: Essential in any cookie! Thankfully there are some great vegan butter subs these days. I typically bake with Earth Balance or Miyoko’s. Miyoko’s is a cleaner brand but it’s a bit pricier.

Apple Cider: The hero of the cookie. Make sure this is apple cider NOT apple cider vinegar!

Cinnamon: Perfect compliment to the apples

Nutmeg: Another fall spice. Honestly this is what brings the flavor out in the donuts. Try not to omit!

Chopped Apples: I added finely chopped apples in these cookies. I think they elevate them and differentiate them even more than the cider donuts

Baking Soda: Allows these cookies to rise a bit. These are more of a fluffy cookie than a flat one

Sea salt: Essential in all baked goods to balance out the sweetness

Coconut Sugar: My go to sweetener in all my baked goods, if I can get away with it! It’s low glycemic, candida and diabetic friendly in small servings, and does not taste like coconut! However you can substitute this with brown sugar for chewier cookie.

Egg: This cookie does have an egg to bind it. You can try subbing for a flax egg but I would add 2. It tends to be a bit crumbly.


  • 2 cups of All Purpose GF Flour (or 1 3/4 cups of Cassava Flour)

  • 1 tsp baking soda

  • 2 tsp cinnamon

  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg

  • 1 cup of coconut sugar, or brown sugar

  • 3/4 cup of melted non dairy butter, I used Earth Balance sticks. Or regular grass fed butter

  • 1 egg*

  • 1/4 cup of apple cider* (not apple cider vinegar!)

  • 1/2 cup of small chopped apple pieces (optional)

The icing:

  • 1 1/2 cups of unrefined powdered sugar*

  • 1 tbsp of softened butter

  • 3 tbsp of apple cider

The coating:

  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  • 3 tbsp of coconut sugar

Make the apple cider donuts:

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set your oven to 350 F.

  2. Mix your coating ingredients on a plate or shallow bowl and set aside.

  3. Mix the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg together in a bowl.

  4. In another bowl, melt your butter so it's just warm, not hot. Mix in the coconut sugar.

  5. Add in your egg (and optional egg yolk) and mix well. Make sure your butter isn't too hot or it may cook the egg!

  6. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet until a sticky dough forms.

  7. Now mix in your apple cider until well combined.

  8. Mix in your chopped apples and any other add ins of choice. Your dough will be pretty sticky but the flour will eventually absorb the moisture.

  9. Place in fridge for the dough to become cold, about 30-45 minutes. This is a trick so the cookies do not spread flat. It also helps firm the dough up.

  10. Once the dough is chilled, scoop cookies out into balls, roughly 2 tbsp per ball. Roll the ball into the cinnamon sugar mixture until fully coated

  11. Now place on baking sheet and push down a bit with your fingers. Repeat until all your dough is used.

  12. Bake for 14-18 minutes, until edges are brown. I try to take them out a bit undercooked, but that’s how I like my cookies!

  13. Let cool on sheet for 10 minutes, then transfer to cooling rack to completely cool

  14. Now make your icing. Whisk all icing ingredients in a bowl until an icing texture forms. If too runny, add 1 tbsp of powdered sugar at a time until a thicker texture. If too thick, add 1/2 tsp of apple cider at a time until it thins out.

  15. After your cookies are completely cool, drizzle your cookies with the icing and let them set, about 20 minutes. The icing will harden.

  16. Store on countertop for 2-3 days and then transfer to the fridge for 7 days. Can be kept frozen!

  17. Dip in your favorite tea or coffee

Recipe notes:

*I have not tried flax eggs in this recipe for substitutes. If you try, I recommend using 2 flax eggs for better binding

*You can try subbing cassava flour for all purpose gluten free flour but reduce the flour by 1/4 cup. This flour absorbs lots of moisture so the cookies may be a bit more dry if it’s not reduced enough

*If you are not following paleo and substitute the coconut sugar for brown sugar, these will have a nice chewy texture

*Do not use apple cider vinegar in replacement of the apple cider! They’re very different. I got my apple cider at the grocery store, it's in season right now!

*To make these cookies even better, you can reduce the apple cider on the stovetop for 20 minutes to make an apple cider syrup. It really gives a rich apple flavor, and take them from delicious to epic!

Let me know if you made these cookies below! I love to hear from you.

xo Stephanie