This gluten free animals cookie recipe is a special kids’ favorite! Dip them in chocolate and add sprinkles to be circus cookies, or enjoy them plain! These cookies are perfectly crisp on the edges and soft on the inside.

Gluten free pink and white circus cookies on a plate.

When my kids were little, we used to love buying animal cookies and those bags of circus cookies. They were fun to eat. When we went gluten free, we missed these cookies. I never tried to recreate these classic cookies until now.

These gluten-free animal cookies are absolutely delicious on their own or dip them in white chocolate to make them into gluten free circus cookies. Either way, you make these cookies, they taste just like the real deal!

Why These Gluten Free Animal Cookies Are The Best:

  1. I use simple, easy-to-find ingredients.
  2. You can use any size of animal cookie cutters, though I prefer to use the mini ones, so they are closer copycats.
  3. You can enjoy them two ways, plain or dipped in white chocolate.
  4. They freeze well, so you can keep them on hand to snack on at any time!
Top Pick
King Arthur, Measure for Measure Flour 3 lbs

This is one of my favorite gluten-free flour blends for cookies, cakes, pie crust, biscuits, and muffins! (Do not use this flour blend for yeast recipes.)

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Ingredient Notes:

  • Gluten free flour blend – I tested this recipe using Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 Gluten Free Flour Blend, Pillsbury Gluten Free Flour Blend, and King Arthur’s Measure for Measure Gluten Free Blend. That doesn’t mean others will not work; I just have not tested other flours, and I can not guarantee the recipe will work if you use other mixes.
  • Xanthan Gum – If your gluten free flour blend doesn’t contain xanthan gum or guar gum, please add one teaspoon.
  • Butter – Use unsalted. To make this recipe dairy-free, substitute the butter for vegan butter.
  • Eggs – Use size large.
  • Salt – Sea salt or kosher salt is fine.
  • Vanilla – I recommend using pure vanilla extract.
  • White chocolate – I used Ghirardelli White Chocolate Melting Wafers, but you can use other white chocolate. Always read the labels to ensure they are gluten free. Note Wilton melting wafers are made on shared equipment. If you need dairy-free, use Enjoy Life’s white chocolate chips.
  • Sprinkles – Check my gluten free sprinkles list to ensure the sprinkles are gluten free. Many are made on shared equipment.

How To Make Gluten Free Animal Cookies:

The animal cookies steps 1 and 2 photos.

Step 1: Add the gluten free flour blend, brown sugar, powdered sugar, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, and sea salt to a large mixing bowl. Use a wire whisk to blend the dry ingredients together.

Step 2: Add the softened butter, egg, and vanilla extract to a small bowl and whisk to blend.

Photos of steps 3 and 4.

Step 3: Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.

Step 4: Mix into cookie dough.

Note: You can use a standing mixer with a paddle attachment to make the animal cookie dough. Add the wet ingredients first to a mixer bowl. Mix on low speed. Gradually add the dry ingredients and mix until the dough is formed.

Photos of steps 5 and 6.

Step 5: Wrap the cookie dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.

Step 6: Place the dough on wax paper or a silicone baking mat and roll it to ¼ inch thickness. Take small animal cookie cutters and cut the animals out of the dough.

Photos of steps 7 and 8.

Step 7: Place the animal cookie cutouts on a piece of parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Bake for 7-8 minutes. Remove from the oven to a wire cooling rack.

Step 8: If you are making gluten free circus cookies, you will prep the chocolate. Melt the vanilla melting wafers or chocolate chips in a small microwave-safe dish.

Put half of the melted chocolate into another small bowl. Add 2-3 drops of red food coloring to make a bright pink color.

The animal cookies on a rack.

Step 9: Dip the animal cookies into the melted chocolate and quickly add the sprinkles. These gluten free iced animal cookies are so good!

When the chocolate is hardened, they are ready to eat!

A jar of gluten free animal cookies.


These gluten free animal cookies will keep for up to 4 days in an air-tight container in the refrigerator or up to 4 months in the freezer. To freeze them, place the cookies into a zipper freezer bag.

Tips and Recipe Q&A

What ingredients are in animal cookies?

Animal cookies are made with flour, sugar, butter, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, eggs, and vanilla.

How do you make these cookies crisper?

If you like your cookies crispy, roll the dough to be thinner.

The gluten free circus cookies on a board.
gluten free pink and white circus cookies on a plate.

Easy Gluten Free Animal Cookies

Sandi Gaertner
Cute little gluten free animal cookies that can be decorated to be like circus cookies.
5 from 3 votes
gluten free allergy icon
nut free allergen icon
soy free allergy icon
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 7 minutes
Chill Time 30 minutes
Total Time 52 minutes
Course Gluten Free Cookies and Bar Recipes, Gluten Free Dessert Recipes
Cuisine American
Servings 32 cookies
Calories 94 kcal


  • 1 ¾ cups gluten free flour blend * see note
  • cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 egg large
  • 12 tablespoons butter * see note
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Chocolate Icing

  • 4 ounces white chocolate
  • 2 drops red food coloring
  • 1 tablespoon sprinkles


  • Preheat the oven to 350º F.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add all of the dry ingredients. Whisk with a wire whisk to blend them together.
  • In a smaller bowl, add the wet ingredients. Whisk to mix well.
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix into a nice cookie dough.
  • Wrap the animal cookie dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes to chill.
  • Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough to ¼ inch thickness. You can roll it on a silicone mat or wax paper.
  • Use mini animal cookie cutters to cut out animal shapes. Place the cookies onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
  • Bake the cookies for 7-8 minutes. Remove to a wire cooling rack.
  • While the cookies are cooling, melt the white chocolate in a microwave-safe dish. I melt in short 15-20 second intervals, stirring between each interval so that the chocolate doesn't burn.
  • Place half of the chocolate in a separate bowl and add 1-3 drops of red food coloring. Stir to get a beautiful pink color.
  • When the cookies are cool, dip each into either the white or pink chocolate. Quickly top with sprinkles.


  1. I have tested this recipe with King Arthur Measure for Measure GF. That doesn’t mean others will not work, I just have not tested other flours.
  2. If your gluten free flour blend doesn’t contain xanthan gum or guar gum, please add 1 teaspoon.
  3. Use unsalted butter.
  4. Be sure your sprinkles are gluten free with my gluten free sprinkles list.
  5. These animal cookies will keep for up to 4 days in an air-tight container in the refrigerator or for up to 4 months in the freezer.
To measure your gluten free flour, I recommend using either the spoon method or leveling method.
Spoon Method: You can also use a spoon to fill the measuring cup. Use a knife to level along the top to remove the extra flour.
Leveling Method: Put the measuring scoop into the flour and fill. Do not pack the flour. Use a knife to scrape along the top to remove the extra flour.


Please know that every gluten free flour blend has a different starch to grain ratio. If you use a blend I didn’t test, you may need to adjust your moisture levels in your baked goods.


Serving: 1cookieCalories: 94kcalCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 1gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 17mgSodium: 58mgPotassium: 17mgFiber: 1gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 140IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 16mgIron: 1mg
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Nutrition Disclaimer

Nutritional information is an estimate provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the actual nutritional information with the products and brands you are using with your preferred nutritional calculator.

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Recipe Rating


  1. The 12 tablespoons of butter says *see note. I don’t see anything about the butter in notes. Do I melt the butter. Otherwise there’s not much for the wet ingredients. Just 1 egg and vanilla.