12 Practical Tips For Making Better Vegan Cookies

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Baking cookies is not as easy as it sounds, and when you eliminate eggs and dairy from the equation it gets even harder.

So we rounded up 12 of our most practical tips for making vegan cookies at home — form picking the right butter substitute to making meringues without eggs — so you can bake delicious vegan cookies at home.

1. When using non-dairy milk in your cookies, double check that it’s unsweetened…

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This will ensure your cookies don’t turn out too sweet and give you more control over the finished product. Also keep in mind that not all non-dairy milks are equal — almond milk is thin and acts more like skim milk while coconut milk is thick and has a texture more similar to heavy cream. Similarly, if your recipe calls for yogurt, you can use your favorite dairy-free yogurt variety (such as coconut or soy) — just make sure it has a similar texture.

More: The Ultimate Guide To Non-Dairy Milks

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Aquafaba — the liquid found in canned beans that’s whipped until light and airy — can work as a egg replacer as well as a replacement for whipped egg whites. The flavor is very mild, so you don’t need to worry about your cookies tasting like beans, and it makes surprisingly delicious meringue cookies. Some people like to add xanthan gum to their aquafaba to stabilize the peaks and keep it glossy, but it’s not always required.

More: 23 Amazing Foods You Can Make With Aquafaba

5. Swap out processed white sugar (which is not always vegan-friendly) with sugar that’s labeled “evaporated cane juice/sugar.”

Some commercial white sugars are processed with bone char, making them not suitable for vegan baking. An easy way to get around that is by using sugars that are labeled vegan or ones called "evaporated cane juice"/"cane sugar". These sugars are usually slightly darker in color but can be substituted cup for cup in most cookie recipes. This also applies to powdered sugar, which is sometimes processed with bone char, so just make sure you're buying brands that are labeled "vegan."More: Check out a list of popular vegan sugar brands.

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Some commercial white sugars are processed with bone char, making them not suitable for vegan baking. An easy way to get around that is by using sugars that are labeled vegan or ones called “evaporated cane juice”/”cane sugar”. These sugars are usually slightly darker in color but can be substituted cup for cup in most cookie recipes. This also applies to powdered sugar, which is sometimes processed with bone char, so just make sure you’re buying brands that are labeled “vegan.”

More: Check out a list of popular vegan sugar brands.

6. For most cookie recipes, swapping butter with coconut oil works well — but not for other baked goods…

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If your recipe calls for solid butter, use unmelted coconut oil — if it calls for melted butter, pop your coconut oil in the microwave until liquid. This is a good rule of thumb for most cookie recipes, but for more finicky baking projects (like cakes) it isn’t a definitive swap. Coconut oil has a different melting point and water content compared to butter, so reserve this simple swap for cookies and other easy baking projects.

Pro Tip: Make sure to use refined coconut oil, as virgin coconut oil has a strong flavor. (Unless of course you want a strong coconutty flavor in your cookie.)

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If your recipe calls for solid butter, use unmelted coconut oil — if it calls for melted butter, pop your coconut oil in the microwave until liquid. This is a good rule of thumb for most cookie recipes, but for more finicky baking projects (like cakes) it isn’t a definitive swap. Coconut oil has a different melting point and water content compared to butter, so reserve this simple swap for cookies and other easy baking projects.

Pro Tip: Make sure to use refined coconut oil, as virgin coconut oil has a strong flavor. (Unless of course you want a strong coconutty flavor in your cookie.)

7. And swap honey out for equal parts maple syrup or agave.

Some vegans choose to eliminate honey from their diet, and if your cookie recipe calls for honey (such as Greek Christmas cookies or German honey cookies) just swap it out with equal parts maple syrup or agave. (Just make sure you're using real maple syrup to avoid any unwanted processed sugars.)

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Some vegans choose to eliminate honey from their diet, and if your cookie recipe calls for honey (such as Greek Christmas cookies or German honey cookies) just swap it out with equal parts maple syrup or agave. (Just make sure you’re using real maple syrup to avoid any unwanted processed sugars.)

8. For recipes that call for cream cheese (like cheesecake cookies), make a simple replacement using soaked cashews.

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Cream cheese is often used to make cheesecake-style cookies, or as a frosting for soft sugar cookies, but commercial cream cheese is not vegan-friendly. To make your own DIY substitute, you can blend soaked cashews with coconut oil and a few other ingredients. It won’t always work the same as dairy cream cheese, but it will work perfectly fine in frostings and fillings.

More: Learn how to make vegan cream cheese.

Tequi0 / Getty Images, Simplycreativephotography / Getty Images

Cream cheese is often used to make cheesecake-style cookies, or as a frosting for soft sugar cookies, but commercial cream cheese is not vegan-friendly. To make your own DIY substitute, you can blend soaked cashews with coconut oil and a few other ingredients. It won’t always work the same as dairy cream cheese, but it will work perfectly fine in frostings and fillings.

More: Learn how to make vegan cream cheese.

9. Don’t overbake your cookies — there’s no need to worry about raw eggs, so as soon as they’re set, take ’em out.

The disadvantage of baking with eggs is that you have to bake the cookies until the eggs are safe to eat, which means some people overbake theirs due to fear of consuming raw eggs. With vegan cookies, this is not an issue so you can pull them out of the oven as soon as they're set. Nobody wants a dry cookie, and timing them perfectly is the only way to assure that the center is chewy while the outside remains crisp.More: Get a recipe for vegan chocolate chip cookies.

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The disadvantage of baking with eggs is that you have to bake the cookies until the eggs are safe to eat, which means some people overbake theirs due to fear of consuming raw eggs. With vegan cookies, this is not an issue so you can pull them out of the oven as soon as they’re set. Nobody wants a dry cookie, and timing them perfectly is the only way to assure that the center is chewy while the outside remains crisp.

More: Get a recipe for vegan chocolate chip cookies.

10. Invest in an oven thermometer to make sure your cookies turn out just right.

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Many vegan recipes are baked for a bit longer compared to traditional recipes and at a slightly lower temperature, so it’s important to know what temperature your oven is actually at. Most ovens run hot or cold, and a drastic difference in temperature can cause your cookies to turn out messed up. A simple way to avoid that is to invest in an oven thermometer and hang it from the grates of your oven. That way, you can check that your oven is actually at the temperature you want it to be at.

More: Get an oven thermometer on Amazon for $6.29.

Nirad / Getty Images, Johnnyh5 / Getty Images

Many vegan recipes are baked for a bit longer compared to traditional recipes and at a slightly lower temperature, so it’s important to know what temperature your oven is actually at. Most ovens run hot or cold, and a drastic difference in temperature can cause your cookies to turn out messed up. A simple way to avoid that is to invest in an oven thermometer and hang it from the grates of your oven. That way, you can check that your oven is actually at the temperature you want it to be at.

More: Get an oven thermometer on Amazon for $6.29.

11. If you’re new to vegan baking, stick to recipes that are already vegan and work your way up to creating your own…

Vegan cookie recipes are already designed to work perfectly without eggs or dairy, so sticking to preexisting vegan recipes is a good way to make sure your cookies always turn out perfectly. Once you start getting used to vegan baking, you can start making educated swaps in traditional cookie recipes with ease.Start with a recipe for vegan chocolate chip cookies or vegan mint cookies.

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Vegan cookie recipes are already designed to work perfectly without eggs or dairy, so sticking to preexisting vegan recipes is a good way to make sure your cookies always turn out perfectly. Once you start getting used to vegan baking, you can start making educated swaps in traditional cookie recipes with ease.

Start with a recipe for vegan chocolate chip cookies or vegan mint cookies.

12. And invest in some good vegan baking books to get inspired.

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Because baking without eggs and dairy can be a challenge, so it’s good to stay inspired and excited to keep going!

More: 10 Vegan Baking & Dessert Cookbooks

Looking for more vegan recipe inspiration? Check out these posts:

30 Quick Vegan Dinners That Will Actually Fill You Up

42 Ridiculously Easy Vegan Recipes Anyone Can Master

26 Budget-Friendly Dinners With No Meat Or Dairy

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