The holidays are upon us and with them are seasonal activities, bitterly cold days, and the infamous Pillsbury cookies. You know—the pre–cut, circular sugar cookies, complete with screened–on pictures of holiday iconography like reindeer, snowmen, and elf hats. A fixture of my childhood, I haven’t had one in over five years on account of my veganism. So, this Thanksgiving break, I embarked on the culinary challenge of creating a vegan cookie that could replicate the vanilla, simple, and addictive quality of the Pillsbury brand.
After many tries, here’s the best vegan dupe (with gluten–free modifications!) that I came up with. And not to fear, there are no chia seeds, dates, or any other vegan superfood replacements involved. These are simple, not guilt–free cookies, that my friends and I devoured straight off the baking sheet.
Original Vegan Pillsbury Sugar Cookie Dupes
Makes 24 round cookies
½ cup of vegan butter (I used Earth Balance Organic spread)
¾ cups of white sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp almond extract (I know this might not be a staple in a college pantry, but I can’t stress enough how superior the batch I made with the extract was in comparison to the one without!)
1 ¾ cups all–purpose flour, add extra ¼ cup if dough is too wet (sub gluten–free blend if making gluten–free)
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
2 tbsp unsweetened almond milk (or other unsweetened non–dairy milk)
1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk or blend butter and sugar together. Once creamed, add vanilla and almond extracts.
3. In a separate bowl, sift the dry ingredients together. Then add dry ingredients to wet gradually, mixing with wooden spoon or by hand until dough sticks together, but is still crumbly.
4. Add almond milk and use hands to form ball of dough. If too wet, add extra ¼ cup of flour. Conversely, if too dry to form into ball, add extra tbsp of almond milk.
5. Transfer ball of dough onto large sheet of cling wrap. Fold cling wrap around dough, rolling it out with your hands so it forms a long log shape.
6. Chill in fridge for 10 minutes.
7. Using a knife, slice log into ½–inch rounds. Top with sprinkles.
8. Bake in oven for 12–14 minutes, or until cookies are ever so lightly brown around the edges.
9. Allow to cool or eat straight away for a gooier cookie (my preferred method).
Not trying to go the homemade route? Here are some store–bought break–and–bake options that’ll fit your dietary restrictions:
Betty Crocker’s Sugar Cookie mix is itself vegan. Substitute vegan butter for regular and use your favorite egg substitute (mine’s ground flax seeds), and you’ll be good to go. Though they weren’t nearly as flavorful as the homemade ones, these cookies got the job done.
Immaculate’s Classic Sugar Cookie mix, though on the pricier end, yielded phenomenally cakey cookies—I never would have guessed they didn’t use regular flour. Substitutions can be made to make them vegan–friendly as well.
Lucky you—the Pillsbury theme–shaped cookies are also Kosher.