Kolacky Cookie Recipe that’s Gluten Free

Gluten free Kolacky cookies
Kolacky Cookies

This gluten free Kolacky cookie recipe has become a family favorite each Christmas in our house. I’ve successfully included it in our holiday cookie platter for the past 4 years. I made many experimental batches before settling on this gluten free kolacky cookie recipe. Kolackys are not easy to make, and when you have to make them gluten free it becomes even more difficult. Would you like to try my special gluten free kolacky recipe for a cookie that won’t crumble or get hard?

Also called Kolaches, this Traditional Kolacky Cookie Recipe is a Holiday Favorite in our Family

Mychalina, my mother, emigrated from the Ukraine as a young married woman with two children.  I was the second youngest of five sisters and grew up watching my mother make her kolacky recipe on that old cutting board she had.
She would always make the best kolackys. She would be in the kitchen for hours on end, making dozens and dozens of kolacky cookies for holidays, church socials, for birthdays, graduations, you name it. Well into her 80’s she would make this traditional kolacky cookie recipe for us, even for the neighbors who mowed here lawn and shoveled her snow. That’s the kind of wonderful and generous person she was. Before she recently passed away my family and I made it a point to get all her favorite recipes. It is a good thing because she never wrote anything down.

Our nine favorite holiday cookie recipes
Our nine favorite gluten free holiday cookie recipes

Her kolacky cookie recipe was always my favorite recipe of hers. Her prune and apricot kolacky cookies were the best. In one sitting I could eat a dozen. Now since my recent diagnose of celiac, I thought I would never be able to eat another kolacky cookie again. But thanks to my husband’s niece and the use of her kitchen, we successfully made a GF version of my mother’s kolackys. Trust me it wasn’t easy. After many failed attempts and many long hours in the kitchen, we finally had an edible kolacky that was pretty close to my mother’s original recipe. According to my family, and my niece’s 5 year-old diagnosed son, they were delicious. So if you are gluten intolerant and you think you can’t ever eat a kolacky again, here’s a recipe for you to try. I hope you like it.


(Dry Ingredients)

1 cup rice flour
1/2 cup almond flour
1/3 cup potato starch
2 TBS tapioca starch
3/4 cup of coconut flour (Honeyville sells a bulk 5lb bag of organic coconut flour at a bargain price.)
1 package of Red Star dry yeast
1 tsp guar gum

(Wet Ingredients)

1/2 cup rice syrup
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup cream cheese
1 egg
1 TBS evaporated cane juice (or sugar)
4 oz evaporated milk


gluten free kolacky cookies
Gluten free kolacky cookies

Dissolve yeast with evaporated milk and 1 Tablespoon of sugar. To activate the yeast, add mixture to a small pot and stir briskly on very low flame until lukewarm and take off the stove and set aside. When mixture begins to bubble and peaks (in 20-30 minutes) it is ready for use. In a separate bowl combine all the dry ingredients and sift well. In a mixer, combine the wet ingredients and blend on high for 1-2 minutes, scraping the sides. Slowly add the dry ingredients. When wet and dry ingredients are well blended add the yeast mixture. Mix until the dough forms. Dough should be pliable and not sticky. For best results, refrigerate overnight, covered in plastic. We made this recipe after having refrigerated it one hour and again after refrigerating overnight. This gluten free kolacky cookie dough improves with time.

To prepare the kolacky cookie:

Cut two pieces of parchment paper. Sandwich the dough between the two sheets (be sure to use only 1/4 of the dough each time, leaving the rest in the refrigerator) and roll it with a rolling pin to about 1/8 inch thickness. (Too thick and it will be hard to fold, too thin and they will tear). Using a knife or a pizza cutter, cut off the uneven edges and make one even square. Then measure out and make 2″ square cookie pieces.

Transfer the cut dough (still on the parchment paper) onto a metal cookie sheet and flash freeze it for about 3 minutes. This makes it much easier to peel the dough away from the parchment paper and onto the cookie sheet without tearing. Place 9 cookie dough squares onto silicone baking mat on a metal baking sheet. Drop a teaspoon of your favorite filling (or make your own) into the center of each cookie square. Carefully fold one corner over the filling and the opposite corner over the first folded corner (see picture). Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15-20 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Allow the kolacky cookies to cool completely before attempting to move them. They are light and crispy and do not crumble when you bite into them.


Cilie Yack is Under Attack by Caryn Talty
Recommended Reading: Cilie Yack is Under Attack Written for elementary school kids, this children’s novel tells the story of a funny boy growing up in Ireland before, during, and after he is diagnosed with celiac disease.
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4 Comments on Kolacky Cookie Recipe that’s Gluten Free

  1. Theresa,
    Great job on your first recipe! Our boys just loved these. Your basic dough recipe is corn free (because you use guar gum instead of xanthan gum). I just wanted to post a comment on the filling for folks avoiding citric acid or corn like ourselves. If you can find an appropriate jam or jelly (hard to do, but we use American spoon apple butter, for example) or if you want to make your own, the best way to make a nice filling for these cookies is to add about 1/2 teaspoon tapioca starch and a 1/2 teaspoon arrowroot starch to about 1/2 cup of jam/jelly. Then bring it to a low boil on the stove, stirring constantly until it thickens, then remove from heat and cool. We did this and after refrigerating for about an hour the filling was nice and thick like you see in the picture. Also, corn-free folks need to avoid commercial powdered sugar. We make our own out of evaporated cane juice and a teaspoon of tapioca flour in a high powered mixer. Tastes just as good as the store bought kind!
    P.S. I hope you post many more recipes in the future!– and I can’t wait to have these for the holidays coming up!

    • Susan,
      Do you have molasses? You can substitute for 1/4 molasses. You can also try maple syrup. My guess would be to use even less maple syrup. Rice syrup is very thick and sticky, like molasses. It is much lighter in color than molasses, so using molasses may change the color of your cookies. I use Lundberg Farms rice syrup (not all rice syrup is gluten free). They have a page that will help you find a local retailer. http://www.lundberg.com/Info/Where_to_Buy.aspx
      Let me know how it goes if you decide to make them. When I do them I like to keep them pretty thick. My cousin makes them flat and doesn’t fold them over. That’s an option too.

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