Food Babe Family - Header

Don’t Poison Santa! {Make This Healthy Sugar Cookie Recipe Instead}

I posted this photo below on facebook the other day and it caused quite a stir!
Don't Poison Santa

Don’t poison santa (and yourself) with these cookie brands with terrible ingredients… whether you choose Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Nestle or store brands like Great Value – you can almost be guaranteed they have GMOs linked to infertility, allergies, and cancer, trans fats that cause 8,000 deaths per year and 20,000 heart attacks, aluminum linked to Alzheimer’s disease, and/or very controversial artificial ingredients made from petroleum that are contaminated with carcinogens.

Sugar Cookie Roundup

Luckily you don’t need to buy these ingredients or brands to have fun this season. This healthy sugar cookie recipe below will get you through the holidays! You can roll out the dough and make shapes or just simple round cookies, it’s totally up to you.

If you decide to decorate your cookies be sure to choose ingredients that do not contain artificial food dyes linked to hyperactivity, allergies and asthma. Dyes from India Tree work great to color cookies and icing. You can get it at natural food stores (like Whole Foods) and on amazon here. 

These cookies come out crisp and a bit chewy inside – the perfect consistency! I use almond flour because it’s naturally a bit sweeter than whole wheat flour and tastes amazing! The last batch I made went quick. So you might want to double your batter if you’ve got a lot of mouths to feed. 


Healthy Sugar Cookies
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 12
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Mix all wet ingredients together and combine well
  3. Slowly pour dry ingredients into wet ingredients and mix well
  4. Drop a tablespoon of dough on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet
  5. Bake cookies for 8-10 mins (until edges are golden brown)
  6. As cookies are cooling, sprinkle with a little coconut sugar after baking if desired
  7. Cool cookies for at least 5 mins before serving
  8. (Alternatively, if you are cutting out shapes, refrigerate dough for at least 1 hour and then roll out using a rolling pin and additional almond flour and bake the same way)
***Please use all organic ingredients if possible***





Thank goodness it only takes 15 mins to keep Santa and ourselves a little healthier this season. If you know someone who could revamp their sugar cookies recipe or buying habits, please share this post with them. We don’t want anyone poisoning Santa! 

Happy Holidays, 

Food Babe 


Food Babe Family - Book
Food Babe Grocery Guide

Sign Up For Updates

And Get A FREE Healthy Grocery Guide Sent To You Now!

Find out what to buy and where at the top grocery stores near you

Posts may contain affiliate, sponsorship and/or partnership links for products Food Babe has approved and researched herself. If you purchase a product through an affiliate, sponsorship or partnership link, your cost will be the same (or at a discount if a special code is offered) and Food Babe will benefit from the purchase. Your support is crucial because it helps fund this blog and helps us continue to spread the word. Thank you.

157 responses to “Don’t Poison Santa! {Make This Healthy Sugar Cookie Recipe Instead}

    1. I generally use a combination of flours such as sweet rice, brown rice, tapioca, millet and quinoa yes and oat although the liquid and butter likely need to be increased. Xantham gum will help to hold the finished product together / improve texture.

  1. Hi,
    I love your blog and everything you stand for, but I thought you should know India Tree uses artificial colors as well. I tried to purchase them to decorate home made sugar cookies, but the ingredients listed in the colored sugar and dyes now include yellow #5, red #40, etc. 🙁

    1. Yeah – they have lots of different kinds, it’s important to buy the natural dyes I linked to in the post! Thanks for the heads up!

  2. I am so grateful for you and all that you do for the U.S. food industry. Thank you for opening our eyes. <3 Have a wonderful Christmas! Thanks for the recipe.

    1. You’d definitely not be able to use coconut flour on this recipe. Coconut flour requires a different ratio of eggs/liquid as it’s very fibrous..

  3. Is there a difference between almond flour and almond meal? I have some almond meal at home but don’t know what to do with it.

    1. I just make the recipe using almond meal… still delicious, but the cookies didn’t flatten and the result was much different looking than the delicious looking cookie shown here. That being said, my finicky six year old tried one and loved them! So, I’d say, give it a try if that’s all you have… just flatten them out a bit before baking.

    2. Almond flour and almond meal are the same thing
      The only ingredient should be finely ground almonds.
      I use it to make almond paste and petit fours

      1. Depending on what you’re baking, almond flour and almond meal do not bake the same. Many times the terms are interchangeable so you need to check the packaging. Almond meal usually contains the almond skins whereas almond flour does not, its just blanched almonds. You can always grind your own almond flour using blanched almonds.

  4. Saw an article about almond flour the other day…not good …they said coconut flour is much better. Can’t remember the detail, but won’t be using it!

  5. Hi! I just made some gluten/dairy/nut/soy free sugar cookies (I cheated and used the Pamela’s brand sugar cookie mix). I had bought the same India Tree natural food coloring that you have linked in your post. Instead of purchasing the sugar crystals too, I just used food coloring (mixed their yellow and blue together to make the green) and added that to some organic cane sugar crystals. I let it dry overnight. Only the red one dried completely. However, it didn’t matter because I just put them on the cookies and baked them. Still good! Glad you linked that in your post. Thanks for all of your hard work and great ideas!

  6. I think what you do and stand for is amazing, Food Babe. But having one child with a peanut, tree nut, egg, and soy allergy and another child with a milk allergy… Much of the time I am just realllllly happy to find items that they can even eat. Living in a small town with no Whole Foods or the like in a 2 hr radius? You get people like me that are just trying to survive…and help their children do the same! I shall keep reading and hoping one day both my family and I can safely eat as clean as you! God Speed!

    1. Hi Jennifer,
      I have two kids with ASD who are allergic to dairy, eggs, soy, corn, tomatoes, and 10 other things 🙁 ..I totally understand how hard it is to get them to eat anything. The nearest whole foods/trader joes from our house is 1 hour away …but I find as a blessing. They have a huge selection of healthier options for our kids , better prices than health food stores and fast shipping. You can sign up and get a $10 off 30 coupon making it even cheaper.

    2. Jennifer, hi, you can find a lot of ingredients or food items @ I order many things from there that are way cheaper than my local Whole Foods.

  7. I would love to be able to eat this healthy but the reality is that these ingredients and many other healthy ingredients are triple the cost, or more, than the unhealthy things. I try to substitute when I can, but I can’t go 100% without breaking the bank. I appreciate all your information and I wish that healthy food was more readily available and economical.

    1. Ginger, hi, check out Good prices. I find that by making cuts in many places such as in: all household cleaners/chemical sprays, lotions, potions, etc, that I’m able to afford organic food. I don’t buy anything commercial i.e., candles, plugins, scented sprays, dryer sheets, everyday stuff…etc. I use vinegar/baking soda for everything. Often, processed food cost a lot more than organic. You’ll see that if you cut back on some things: cable, HBO, cell phone, etc…..that healthier food is more cost effective in the long run to prevent major doctor/hospital bills later on.

      1. Good point! I tell people all the time that if they wouldn’t buy junk foods they could better afford organic…

    2. Hello, people often think that going organic is expensive, it can at first but its proven that its about 20% more, which is not too much considering you wont have to go to the doctor, processed, junk & frozen foods are more expensive than organic fruits & veggies, you have to invest in certain oils, flours & grains but a lot of things you can find organic & by the bulk really cheap, also homegoods, marshalls & ross sometimes have different organic oils for 1/3 of the price, honestly there are no excuses to not eating organic & healthy. People invest in houses, cars, vacations, purses, school, etc., and they dont invest enough in their health, i dont get it, remember “you are what you eat”, i’ve lost 35 pounds in the last months of only eating organic and no no diets, my body just got rid of all the toxic sustances and my wallet wasnt really hurt, i spend about the same or sometimes even less, i also make my cleaners (fast & easy) i bake all my desserts from scratch, i cook all my meals, make my own bread, i dont eat out often to avoid gmos, etc., you can check for coupons online for whole foods, sprouts market, etc., consider watching the “Food Matters” documentary too and last thing invest in a juicer, is one of the best investments ever! I drink my fruit & veggies juice everyday!

      1. Ginger, You sound so much like I! We know people from church who used to tell us how wonderful Whole Foods was! DH & I thought they were crazy! The more we learn about food, the more we try to eat better and shop better and shop around, the more we are considering Whole Foods! We bought kielbasa there for New Year’s Day. It was made fresh. We do not shop there “full-time;” but we are buying things, little by little. I bought Spectrum Organic Virgin Coconut Oil (Gold Label, Expeller-Pressed, Medium Heat) a while ago at Wegmans, 14 oz. for $10. True, that is a lot; but it’s adding value to our diet. I cook with it at times; and it’s lasting a while. I realized I couldn’t buy everything all at once! There’s NO WAY we could afford it. So, I’m being picky and choosy as to what foods I’ll spend more money on for now (organic vs. not, healthy vs. not as much); and we’re making improvements in our diet, little by little. I hope this is helpful to you. Wishing you and yours (and ours, too!) a Happy and HEALTHY New Year! 🙂

  8. We need Santa alive and well ! ha ha! Well, he is not exactly well, he needs to truly get his diet in order, that’s for sure. This cookie recipe helps as well as the cookie recipe I am going to post on Tuesday! Basically it’s coconut flour and flax and other deliciousness! 😀 – 100% gluten, sugar, soy, fruit, dairy, egg and nut (minus the coconut) free!

  9. I used to buy india dyes but found it easier and cheaper to just use household items.
    I use turmeric for yellow which is a really nice golden yellow. Juiced beets for red (only use a tbsp. or so for a batch of frosting). Juiced spinach for green, and we did cocoa powder for brown. There is a way to do blue but it is more complicated and you have to boil red cabbage. Also there are no good sprinkles on the market so we cut up cranberries and apricots, organic jelly beans cut into tiny pieces, cocoa nibs, and chia seeds. They turned out really cute and the kids loved it!

    1. You convinced your kids that a fat man in a red suit brings toys while they are sleeping. You can convince your kids that white or creamy or any other natural color is special or better than colors. Just start thinking!

  10. Is there a difference between coconut palm sugar and coconut sugar? I bought coconut sugar at the asian market but I am not sure I am getting the same thing. Thank you!

      1. Thank you. Can you explain the difference please? I would appreciate it. There seems to be a lot of confusion as to the difference. Thanks, again.

  11. Your fight and message are a delight . Merry Christmas / Happy New Year to all … Voni , You should contact John Symes a vet in Alabama Was one of the first pioneers to link gluten to our diseases …. his was first to link animal diseases … On PBS last night they were selling a package deal on Gluten Free Living .. Many people haven’t heard this message . I think this message is being over shadowed with chemicals and GMOs … Well its a long road and it looks like were just starting the race …. I’m gluten free , sugar free and Organic … it was a challenge to win the family over It only took 5 years !!!! You go Girl ….. hope all your dreams come true ….. Mike

  12. Thanks food babe!!! Keep up the great fight for food justice and labeling. We are going to keep this nation healthy. Merry christmas , Happy holidays and Happy New year!!!!!!

  13. These sugar cookies look delish! I’ve been doing a lot of baking with almond flour this holiday season and I’m loving it! Raw vegan “cookie dough” balls made with coconut oil and almond flour are my favorite treat lately 🙂

    Thanks for the wonderful info about the disgusting ingredients in these pre-packaged cookie mixes. Ick!!!

  14. the kids and I made sugar cookies this year and of course they HAD to be frosted so we set out to find natural food colorings… we had a bit of fun experiment making them from food. red = Juiced beets, orange = juiced carrots, yellow = turmeric, green = juiced spinach, brown = add cocoa powder, purple = the water from boiled red cabbage, and for blue add baking soda to some of your cabbage water… (we ended up with a teal for our our blue.) they were very pretty cookies and the dye’s didn’t change the taste of the frosting except green had a slightly different taste.

  15. Hi Vani,

    Thanks for this recipe. Is ther a way to use stevia to sweeten it or will the consistency be bad? Any suggestions to make sugar-free sugar cookirs?


    Happy Holidays!

    1. Hi Tammy, I have found coconut oil fine for baked items, but not for frosting. It still tastes great (amazing really) but the consistency was a bit odd. It might be better suited to a glaze kind of frosting. Awesome for baked goods though.

  16. Thanks FoodBabe! I’m going to substitute organic raw applesauce instead of the coconut oil & see how it turns out. Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

  17. I’m vegan & these sound delicious. Would substituting either ener-g-egg replacer or flax seeds with water to substitute for the egg work?

  18. Perfect timing! Was just walking into the store when I realized I hadn’t grabbed a healthier recipe for Santa cookies to make with my daughter, then I got this email with the link! Thank you!

  19. The things companies do to maintain their freshness at the expense of customer’s health. Disappointing… Probably because any product made with egg doesn’t last as long.

    Better to buy cookies with familiar ingredients like flour without eggs and bad stuff like fructose/corn syrup, sodium aluminium phosphate, some vitamins (??? Why is it there?), and organic is a plus too.

    Any local organic store is better in my books, though some places might not have some vegetables due to not being in season.

  20. I wish I had seen this a few days ago!

    I made cookies for my son’s 3rd grade class because they had to have them for a holiday party, cookie decorating station that the school does every year. Personally, I don’t eat sugar and I’d rather nix the whole cooking decorating party station but its an entrenched holiday routine. So I decided to join them this year and be the one who provided the cookies and icing. I made a gluten free, dairy free sugar cookie (with coconut flour and brown rice flour as the 2 main flours). It turned out really good, my kids said it had the taste of graham crackers and they loved that we had holiday cookie cutter shapes. I practiced a few days before to get the consistency right and it turned out really good.

    The icing was the hardest part for me. My original thought was to make something but I wanted to make sure that everyone liked it and sometimes when I start messing around with recipes, I try to add one more healthy ingredient, and make it just a little bit better and then no one will eat it.
    So, I went shopping. I went everywhere I could think to find something that would not kill Santa, or the kids. I made several calls to Whole Foods and talked to the folks in the grocery section about their icings. They were so nice to me on the phone and read all the ingredients — I would have opted for that if it was closer to my home but it also seemed expensive for the amount of icing available. I checked out Betty Crocker and the likes and could not bring myself to purchase it. I was standing in the aisle with my 5 year old, reading labels and knowing that this is what people have bought every other year for every other party and I just couldn’t do it. I can’t give other people food that I would not touch myself.

    Last spring I made an awesome icing (I thought) out of dates and coconut oil and a small piece of beet which turned out a beautiful purple but I couldn’t get the kids to eat it because it wasn’t the same consistency as regular cupcake icing. So for this party I wanted to stick to something that would be similar to what everyone was used to eating. So I decided to go for a organic butter and powdered sugar recipe. I made 3 varieties. One butter and powdered sugar with a bit of vanilla but this came out beige and I wanted something more white. The next one was coconut oil and powdered sugar and that was white. The 3rd icing was butter, and powdered sugar with a little bit of spirulina mixed in and it made it a really pretty green. I would have used chlorophyl if I had it and i love the idea of juiced spinach that someone suggested. All the recipes called for 1.5 cups of powdered sugar to 3 TBS of butter — this is insanely sweet and really unnecessary. I need to work on the amounts to get it to a better level. Ah, for next year! But, secretly next year, I’d really like to work on not having this cookie station and providing an even healthier snack.

    If I had read this post before the party, the icing and decorations would have been so much easier!

  21. I made these tonight. I used mostly homemade almond meal from almond milk and the rest was Bob’s red mills. They were sooooo good. However mine did not rise – I flattened them a bit and they still tasted good – any idea what I did wrong?

    1. Yeah – they do come out flat and thin like the photos… is that how they turned out? If you want puffier cookies you can add 1/2 tsp baking soda.

  22. A wonderful icing can be made from egg white and powdered sugar. Put the coconut sugar in the blender until it becomes powdery. There is no worry of egg-borne pathogens when using properly eggs from humanely raised chickens.

  23. I made these exactly as listed. I used a scoop to portion the batter and it didn’t flatten at all. Since I had 2 cookies sheets, the first batch I flattened at 10 minutes and cooked 3 minutes more. The second batch I flattened like peanut butter cookies before I made them. They were both delicious but as mentioned above, didn’t look like the pics at all. I would think they needed more fat to flatten while cooking. My kids thought they were delicious, a little bit like a macaroon. Not really a sugar cookie like we make for Christmas and I don’t know how you would use cookie cutters on this batter. But very good.

  24. Every recipe I click on these days has almond flour in it. We have a tree nut allergy and can’t eat almonds. I have read the same articles as mentioned above. We are not supposed to be eating nuts in the amounts that all these recipes call for anyways. This seems to be a more recent trend.

  25. First, I want to personally “Thank You” for the unrelenting effort by you to help all of us that are uninformed, whether by not taking the time necessary to learn how to eat well/healthier or committing to re-configuring our time management so that two things will happen for the better, we learn what to look for (read labels), understand how our metabolism works and the importance of exercise. We have become so profit oriented that we have yielded safety, proper oversight for food production, all in the name or I should say under the guise of “the Greater Good”. This is the biggest myth ever to circulate around the world. It is ALL being done with one purpose and one only—PROFITS!!!! At our expense, our health, our children’s health and Lord only knows what else. God Bless & Merry Christmas!

  26. Thank for all you do food babe! We have nut allergies & would love a substitution for the nut flour! I see several comments about it above & no response. Help please! It’s Christmas Eve & I would love to make some safe & healthy cookies! Merry Christmas!

  27. made them with the addition of 1/4 teaspoon lemon oil and 1/4 teaspoon almond oil (both organic). rolled them out, the kids cut them out and decorated them with chocolate chips, dry cranberries and crushed organic hard candy before baking. the kids had fun and the cookies are really tasty! thanks Vani, happy holidays

  28. I just made these & they’re wonderful. Since I’m vegan, I used flax & water mixture for the egg & raw cane sugar, because that’s what I had. I also added the 1/2 tsp. baking soda. While they were still warm I put a whole almond in the middle. When I was putting them on the cookie sheet I rolled them into balls & used the bottom of a measuring cup to flatten. They’re really pretty. Problem is I only made one recipe, should have made more & now don’t have time. A definite keeper for us.

  29. Vani, These big companies like Betty Crocker can usually get away with making packaged junk food, but you tell them girl. Hold their feet to the fire.

    1. We are baking these right now! They smell yummy!! Best this too, my step had to be gluten free! So he can eat these!

  30. I made these cookies 5 times already and they are great! I topped one batch with chocolate chips and dried cranberries. One batch a made a thumb print in top and added raspberry jam in half and apricot jam ( in this batch I added a pinch of cinnamon). I used organic jams , chocolate chips and cranberries.
    Thanks for a great recipe, my grand kids and friends have enjoyed them and commented that eating “healthily and gluten free ” tastes really good.

  31. My kids (ages 4 and 6) and I have enjoyed trying some of your recipes lately! They got a huge kick out of making popcorn on the stove and watching the kernels pop up in the pan. We also made this cookie recipe today. As a person that has slowly transitioned to the raw, organic, whole food lifestyle over the past year I was really proud of myself that I had every ingredient needed in my pantry. ( I did use Bob’s Redmill gluten free all purpose flour since I didn’t have almond flour). We did add chocolate chips to the batter and my kids really liked the cookies! Thanks for sharing all if your information. My family is learning that eating well is not just about reduced calories or eating in moderation. There is some crap food and drink out there that should never enter one’s mouth. Ever!

      1. My husband tried these cookies when he got home later that evening. (He is the toughest one to crack when it comes to transitioning to a whole food lifestyle. He thinks eating organic, raw, grass-fed food are just the latest buzzwords/fads and waiting for the pendulum to swing back the other way.) He turned his nose up at the cookies and said they weren’t worth the calories. I thought that was such a funny, but not surprising, comment for him to make. In his mind, he was saving himself from unwanted calories, but in reality, it was probably the most nutritious food he put in his mouth all day! I realize the texture and taste may be different from the traditional cookie, but actually they are worth the calories! If my kids asked to eat these for breakfast, I probably would let them and not feel guilty about it! LOL!

      2. I would agree with your husband. Organic is a marketing tool. Our expected lifespan has been rising, not falling. Our food, regardless of production method and eaten in moderation, is not killing us.

  32. I made these cookies twice and was disappointed both times – they didn’t get flat and crispy. The first time I used almond meal from Trader Joes. I thought that was the problem so today I used blanched almond flour. Now I look at your photos and see that your batter is runny…that just doesn’t happen no matter what almond product I use. If I were to try again, I’d use 1 1/2 c almond flour instead of 2. Anybody else have this problem?

    1. That’s strange. I followed the recipe exactly and did not experience this problem. The only thing I did was kind of flatten them with a spoon before I put them in the oven.

  33. made your healthy sugar cookies twice now and they did not look anything like yours. The first time I used all the same ingredients except I used sugarleaf instead of coconut sugar. They tasted like macroons and never flattened. This time I used coconut sugar and they still did not flatten so I used more coconut oil because they seemed to dry. What am I doing wrong??????

  34. Thank you SO much for this extremely easy and delicious recipe! My 3 yr old and 2 yr old LOVE them and I can feel good about giving them “cookies” now!

  35. I tried these but they did not come out thin and crispy like the ones pictured. But, they were still delicious and my husband loved them!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

food babe with grocery cart - footer image