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Gluten-Free Sugar Cookie Bars

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Soft, sweet, and speckled with sprinkles, this Gluten-Free Sugar Cookie Bars recipe is a fun treat any time! (Don’t miss our favorite ways to decorate them!)

three sugar cookie bars with pink frosting stacked on a white plate

There are a LOT of strong opinions when it comes to sugar cookies. Some people want them thin and crisp, others like soft, thick, and cakey. Still others want them chewy, or rolled in sugar, or cut-out cookies ONLY. I’m working on a sugar cookie recipe for every one of these occasions, but today, we’re starting with gluten-free sugar cookie bars!

We took all that classic soft, sweet sugar cookie flavor and texture and baked into a gluten-free cookie bar that’s easy, delicious, and adorable. I love that this recipe has the ease of brownies (no rolling, chilling, or cookie cutters required!), and looks so inviting and fun for any occasion.

It’s easy to dress these cookie bars up for any holiday or special occasion, just by mixing up the color of frosting & the sprinkles you use! You’ll definitely want to check out all our fun decorating ideas below in the post, but for now, let’s start with the recipe.

Here’s what you need to make this easy gluten-free sugar cookie bars recipe…

Gluten-free sugar cookie bars with pink frosting and sprinkles on white plates
  • Gluten-Free Flour. These gluten-free cookie bars keep things simple with gluten-free measure for measure flour. Our go-to is this one from King Arthur, but Bob’s Red Mill is another popular choice. Do NOT try to substitute almond flour or coconut flour, as neither will work for this recipe.
  • Cornstarch. Using a tiny bit of cornstarch helps lighten the cookie bars a bit and gives them amazing texture–soft, delicately chewy, etc.
  • Salt. To balance the flavors. I use kosher salt most of the time while baking.
  • Softened Butter. It shouldn’t be greasy or shiny looking, just lightly cool to the touch and your finger should make an indent when you press down on the butter.
  • Softened Cream Cheese. You can soften cream cheese easily by cutting it into smaller cubes, kneading it with your hands a bit, or placing the sealed foil-wrapped cream cheese in a bowl of room temperature water.
  • Sugar. Regular granulated sugar (cane sugar/white sugar) is what you’re looking for!
  • An Egg. Again, you want the egg to be room temperature. This trick will get you there in no time!
  • Vanilla & Almond Extract. I use a generous amount of vanilla extract and almond extract in the cookies and then a bit in the frosting as well. It gives that classic sugar cookie flavor!
  • A Quick Frosting. Then, we’ll finish the sugar cookie bars with an easy frosting recipe. It’s less sweet than traditional buttercream frosting and has an almost funfetti flavor–perfect for sugar cookie bars!
  • Sprinkles! I’m not saying you HAVE to add sprinkles…but it’ll be more fun if you do.

Start With The Cookie Bars

  1. Preheat The Oven & Prep Your Pans. Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×13 inch metal pan with parchment paper, with parchment hanging over the two long sides to use as handles later. (You can use metal binder clips to hold the parchment “handles” out of the way)
  2. Combine The Dry Ingredients. In a medium bowl, combine gluten-free flour blend, cornstarch, and salt. Whisk to combine and set aside.
  3. Cream The Butter, Cream Cheese & Sugar. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl with a hand mixer), combine softened butter, cream cheese, and sugar. Cream together 2-3 minutes or until light, fluffy, and smooth.
  4. Add Egg, Vanilla & Almond Extract. Mix in the room temperature egg, vanilla and almond extract.
  5. Mix In Dry Ingredients A Little At A Time. Turn the mixer on low and add the flour about 1/3 of a time, until all of the dry ingredients have just been mixed into the wet ingredients.
  6. Spread Out The Dough. Transfer the cookie dough to the prepared baking dish. The dough will be very thick and sticky, so you’ll want to work slowly. Mist an offset spatula with spray oil (or get your fingertips the slightest bit wet and shake off any excess water. Gently spread the dough out into an even layer and smooth it as level as you can. The dough will be very sticky and thick, but taking your time to do this well means your bars will be GORGEOUS. (An offset spatula makes this easier!)
  7. Bake & Cool Completely. Pop the pan in the oven and bake for 20-24 minutes, or until the edges are set and the middle looks just done. Try not to over-bake, since the cookies will continue to bake after you remove them from the oven. Cool the bars completely before making the frosting. (Otherwise the frosting will melt)

Then, Make The Frosting

  1. Cream Butter & Cream Cheese. In a stand mixer or large bowl with a hand mixer, combine butter and cream cheese. Beat for 2-3 minutes, or until smooth and light.
  2. Add Powdered Sugar & Cream. Then, add 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar and 1 Tablespoon cream. Mix for 30 seconds or so on medium-low speed to incorporate, then add another 2 1/2 cups of powdered sugar and mix until just incorporated.
  3. Mix In Vanilla, Almond Extract, & Salt. Pour in the vanilla extract and vanilla extract and add the pinch of salt. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat for 1 full minute. Add up to 1 more tablespoon cream, if needed.
  4. Add Color, If Using. If you like, add 1-2 drops food coloring to the frosting and mix in until smooth and blended.
  5. Frost & Decorate The Cookie Bars. If desired, remove the cookie bars from the pan before frosting (this can help you get neater cuts.). Pipe or spread the frosting onto the cooled sugar cookie bars and top with sprinkles, if desired. Store the frosted cookie bars covered in the refrigerator 2-3 days, or freeze up to 1 month.
Gluten-free cookie bars with pink frosting on a pink ruffled plate
Gluten-free sugar cookie bars with pink frosting and sprinkles on white plates
  • Add Sprinkles! The EASIEST way to make these gluten-free sugar cookie bars instantly cuter is by adding some sprinkles. Nonpareils, jimmies, quins, and sparkling sugar can all be fun! (Check out our Sprinkles 101 post to learn more about different types of sprinkles & what they’re good for.
  • Color The Frosting. Next, you can add a lot of fun by adding just a touch of food coloring to the frosting. (You can certainly add more–if you want a stronger color, I recommend gel food coloring which is stronger and brighter and won’t water down the frosting as much.) To get the light pink color I made, dip a toothpick into red gel food coloring and wipe most of it off onto a plate, paper towel, or piece of parchment paper. Then wipe the remaining food color into the frosting and blend in, adding more color from the plate as needed until you reach your desired color.
  • Go All In For Holidays! Play up the look for whatever holiday or occasion you have coming up! Mix and match colored frosting and sprinkle combos in all kinds of ways–green frosting & holiday sprinkles for Christmas sugar cookie bars, pink frosting & red and white sprinkles for Valentine’s, white frosting with rainbow sprinkles for birthdays, etc.
  • Pipe The Frosting. You can add a touch of glam to these sugar cookie bars by piping the frosting on instead of spreading it–use the petal technique (SO EASY, especially on a sheet pan!), pipe rosettes, or use a mix of shapes to create a more intricate look. Note: if you’re going to use multiple colors or a more intricate design, you may want to 1.5 the frosting recipe so you have plenty to work with.)
  • Add Sprinkles To The Cookie Dough. You can add another layer of sprinkle fun by mixing jimmies or quins into the sugar cookie dough before baking. (Don’t use nonpareils, since their color will bleed)
Gluten-free sugar cookie bars with pink frosting and sprinkles on white plates

What Kind of Sprinkles Can Go In Cookie Bars? If you’re adding sprinkles to the cookie dough, stick with quins or jimmies, which will hold their shape. Avoid nonpareils sprinkles, which bleed their color in batter and dough. Almost any kind of sprinkles works well for decorating on top of the frosting, but check out our sprinkles 101 post for info about types of sprinkles & their uses.

Use A Metal Pan! Be sure to use a metal 9×13 for sugar cookie bars or your cookies won’t bake the same. Glass and ceramic pans conduct heat differently, and they’ll impact the way the cookies rise. Metal pans help the cookies brown evenly and rise evenly (less climbing up the sides of the pan).

Watch The Bake Time! To avoid dry cookie bars, DON’T over-bake! They’ll continue baking through with the residual heat from the pan after they come out of the oven. Mine were done right at 20 minutes.

Do Sugar Cookie Bars Need To Be Refrigerated? Yes. Since the frosting contains cream cheese, you’ll need to store the cookie bars in the fridge.

Can I Make These Dairy-Free? I haven’t experimented with vegan cream cheese or dairy-free butter in this recipe.

WE ♥

Leave a star review below when you make these sugar cookie bars! I’d love to know how it goes! To pin the recipe, use the buttons at the top of the post, the recipe card, or the images.

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three sugar cookie bars with pink frosting stacked on a white plate

Gluten-Free Sugar Cookie Bars


  • Author: Emily Dixon, Sweets & Thank You
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 2432 bars 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

Soft, sweet, and speckled with sprinkles, this Gluten-Free Sugar Cookie Bars recipe is a fun treat any time! 


Ingredients

Scale

For The Sugar Cookie Bars:

  • 2 2/3 cups (320 grams) gluten-free measure-for-measure flour, weighed or scooped and leveled
  • 1 Tablespoon (8 grams) cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks, 8 oz.) butter, softened
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups (300 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract (increase amount up to 2 teaspoons for stronger almond flavor)

For The Frosting:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks, 8 oz.) butter, softened
  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 45 cups (480600 grams) powdered sugar
  • 23 Tablespoons cream (can use half and half or milk, if needed) 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (use clear vanilla extract for better color) 
  • 1/41/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Optional: food coloring or sprinkles for decorating. 

Instructions

For The Sugar Cookie Bars: 

  1. Preheat The Oven & Prep Your Pans. Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×13 inch metal pan with parchment paper, with parchment hanging over the two long sides to use as handles later. (You can use metal binder clips to hold the parchment “handles” out of the way)
  2. Combine The Dry Ingredients. In a medium bowl, combine gluten-free flour blend, cornstarch, and salt. Whisk to combine and set aside.
  3. Cream The Butter, Cream Cheese & Sugar. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl with a hand mixer), combine softened butter, cream cheese, and sugar. Cream together 2-3 minutes or until light, fluffy, and smooth.
  4. Add Egg, Vanilla & Almond Extract. Mix in the room temperature egg, vanilla and almond extract.
  5. Mix In Dry Ingredients A Little At A Time. Turn the mixer on low and add the flour about 1/3 of a time, until all of the dry ingredients have just been mixed into the wet ingredients.
  6. Spread Out The Dough. Transfer the cookie dough to the prepared baking pan. The dough will be very thick and sticky, so you’ll want to work slowly. Mist an offset spatula with spray oil (or get your fingertips the slightest bit wet and shake off any excess water. Gently spread the dough out into an even layer and smooth it as level as you can. The dough will be very sticky and thick, but taking your time to do this well means your bars will be GORGEOUS. (An offset spatula makes this easier!)
  7. Bake & Cool Completely. Pop the pan in the oven and bake for 20-24 minutes, or until the edges are set and the middle looks just done. Try not to over-bake, since the cookies will continue to bake after you remove them from the oven. Cool the bars completely before making the frosting. (Otherwise the frosting will melt) 

For The Frosting:

  1. Cream Butter & Cream Cheese. In a stand mixer or large bowl with a hand mixer, combine butter and cream cheese. Beat for 2-3 minutes, or until smooth and light.
  2. Add Powdered Sugar & Cream. Then, add 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar and 1 Tablespoon cream. Mix for 30 seconds or so on medium-low speed to incorporate, then add another 2-2 1/2 cups of powdered sugar and mix until just incorporated.
  3. Mix In Vanilla, Almond Extract, & Salt. Pour in the vanilla extract and vanilla extract and add the pinch of salt. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat for 1 full minute. Add up to 1 more tablespoon cream, if needed.
  4. Add Color, If Using. If you like, add a tiny bit of food coloring to the frosting and mix in until smooth and blended. For the light pink I did in these photos, dip a toothpick into red gel food coloring and wipe most of it off onto a plate, paper towel, or piece of parchment paper. Then, wipe the remaining food coloring on the toothpick into the frosting and mix it in, adding more red color from the plate as needed until you reach your desired color. 
  5. Frost & Decorate The Cookie Bars. Pipe or spread the frosting onto the cooled sugar cookie bars and top with sprinkles, if desired. Store the frosted cookie bars covered in the refrigerator 2-3 days, or freeze up to 1 month. 

Notes

For A Funfetti Look; add 1/4 cup jimmies sprinkles or quins sprinkles to the sugar cookie dough before patting it into the pan. 

  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: gluten free sugar cookie bars, gluten free cookie bars, gluten free sugar cookie bar recipe,

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