M&M Sugar Cookies (dairy-free option)

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These M&M Sugar Cookies have the best texture and are easy to make! They really are the perfect sugar cookie that you can easily customize with different color M&Ms.

I’m also sharing how to make them dairy-free without compromising on the flavor and texture!

close up of stack of cookies with M&Ms

Remember those M&M sugar cookies you used to get at the mall? The ones you’d beg your mom to buy you? These are exactly that but made at home so they taste better, are less expensive and you can make them dairy-free.

I blame those trips to mall as a kid for my M&M cookies obsession. I still can’t get enough of them although I have to admit it’s been years since I’ve had the mall version. My homemade version is just like the original – chewy but crunchy with the best flavor with lots of colorful M&Ms. It really is the perfect sugar cookie.

A lot of thought went into recreating this childhood favorite of mine and there are many reasons these are the best:

  • The have the perfect ratio of sugar to fat. Unlike chocolate chip and peanut butter cookies (which have more sugar than fat), my sugar cookies have about equal amounts so you don’t have to chill the dough and they don’t spread much when they bake. It also means they are perfectly sweet, soft and chewy. Basically, a sugar cookie dream.
  • This is an M&M cookie recipe without brown sugar. Using all granulated sugar gives you that same flavor that the mall version has!
  • They have the right amount of leavening.  Baking soda is the usual leavening I use in most of my cookies, and it also contributes to spreading. Bake the same exact cookie recipe twice, once with 1 teaspoon of baking soda and once with ½ teaspoon and you’ll see what I mean. Using less baking soda gives less spread, which means you don’t have to chill the dough but you still get a soft cookie that doesn’t spread too thin.
  • I also add cream of tartar. Combined with baking soda, cream of tartar (a type of acid) is an additional leavening source to help the cookies rise and it also contributes to the pillowy soft cookie texture.

When you combine all of these factors you get the best sugar cookies. Add some M&Ms to take them over the top!

close up of stack of cookies with M&Ms

How to Make Dairy-Free Cookies

My daughter has a few friends who can’t have dairy so I’ve converted this recipe to be dairy-free. It’s a great option for events, too – I hate for people to miss out on a sweet treat!

The best news is that these dairy free M&M cookies taste just as good as the original recipe.

There are only two substitutions you need to make: the butter and the M&Ms:

  • I replace the butter with Earth’s Balance Vegan Butter Sticks. They perform much like butter in this recipe – you can’t hardly tell they are not made with real butter.
  • M&Ms are not dairy-free so I sub them for vegan candy or chocolate chips. I like to use Chocolate ChocoNoNos or UNREAL Dark Chocolate Crispy Quinoa Gems because they are vegan and allergy approved.
close up of stack of M&M cookies

A Few More Tips for the Best M&M Sugar Cookies

This recipe is basically my best sugar cookie recipe with M&Ms added in. You can mix the cookie dough in one bowl and then just scoop and bake!

The secret for the cutest cookies is to reserve some of the M&Ms and press them onto the top of the cookie dough balls before they go in the oven. That way, you end up with colorful candies on top of the baked cookies. If you skip this step, they’ll be hidden inside – I love seeing them on top!

M&Ms come in so many flavors and colors now you can easily switch them up. I love to use red and green ones to make Christmas M&M sugar cookies. There are options for pretty much all of the other holidays, too.

The cookies are perfect for freezing! I usually make them in big batches, pop them in the freezer, and then it’s easy to pull one out whenever we want to treat ourselves. No trip to the mall required!

Whether you were obsessed with these as a kid like me or just want an excuse to treat yourself to a fun, colorful cookie you need to give these a try! Everyone loves these easy M&M cookies.

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M&M Sugar Cookies {dairy-free option}

M&M Sugar Cookies are an easy M&M Cookie recipe! These copycat cookies are soft and chewy and full of candy, and the recipe comes with a dairy free option!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Yield 24 cookies
Serving Size 1 cookie

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter softened (may sub Earth’s Balance Vegan Butter Stick for a dairy-free cookie)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large large egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2/3 cup + ½ cup plain M&Ms see note

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two cookie sheets with silpat liners or parchment paper.
  • Cream butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat in egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract. Mix in baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. Slowly mix in flour. Stir in 2/3 cup M&Ms.
  • Scoop 2 tablespoon balls of dough (use a cookie scoop if you have one) onto cookie sheets. Top each cookie with 4-5 additional M&Ms.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes (10 for slightly underdone, 11-12 for more done). Cool 5 minutes before removing from cookie sheets. Place on a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe Notes

Dairy Free Options:
  • You can sub equal amounts of Earth Balance Vegan Butter Sticks for the unsalted butter, but omit the salt. This makes them dairy-free.
  • Use ChocoNONOs or UNREAL vegan candy instead of the M&Ms for a dairy free cookie.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 126kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 23mg | Sodium: 75mg | Potassium: 26mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 189IU | Calcium: 4mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword cookie

M&M Sugar Cookies are an easy M&M Cookie recipe! These copycat cookies are soft and chewy and full of candy, and the recipe comes with a dairy free option!

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62 CommentsLeave a comment or review

  1. Ma’am as some have tried to point out to you…M&M’s are MILK CHOCOLATE candy – as in made from milk – read the ingredients… Chocolate (sometimes) is made without milk (as in EnjoyLife Foods Baking Chips, etc.), however, that is not the case with M&M’s……Ingredients: MILK CHOCOLATE (SUGAR, CHOCOLATE, SKIM MILK, COCOA BUTTER, LACTOSE, MILKFAT, SOY LECITHIN, SALT, ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR), SUGAR, CORNSTARCH, LESS THAN 1% – CORN SYRUP, DEXTRIN, COLORING (INCLUDES BLUE 1 LAKE, YELLOW 6, RED 40, YELLOW 5, BLUE 1, RED 40 LAKE, BLUE 2 LAKE, YELLOW 6 LAKE, BLUE 2), GUM ACACIA………..She either doesn’t actually have a milk allergy, or you’ve been poisoning her……Sorry….

    1. Have you read my post or ANY of the replies I left to the “some” that tried to point out this same point? Did you read the note in the recipe? The recipe says it has a Dairy-Free OPTION. In the post I explain how she is not affected by chocolate candy, which is why I included the M&Ms in her cookies. As I noted, if chocolate (or the milk in the chocolate) is part of the allergy USE A DAIRY FREE OPTION. Or just make the cookies without the candy.

  2. These look delicious and I hope to try them soon, BUT I would like to point out that to make them dairy free you would have to leave out the m&ms since they have milk in them.  A person who allergic to milk would not be able to have them.  Please be careful if you offer these to make sure any potential allergy friends are aware.

    1. As I said in the post AND in the recipe, these have a dairy-free option. The option being that if you are allergic to the dairy in chocolate that you should use dairy-free chocolate or substitute another candy. I made these for a friend who is not allergic to the chocolate in M&Ms.

  3. Hi Dorothy!
    Thanks for all these lovely recipes. 
    I tried your mini bownie cup cakes last time and my colleagues love it. 
    I want to try make you cookies this time but I don’t have a mixer… 
    Can I hand mixer the ingredients? Or that wouldn’t work?

    Thank you!! 
    Lauren

    1. You can hand mix 99% of the recipes I make, and these cookies are one of them! They just might take a little longer to come together. 🙂 Enjoy!!

  4. If I’m not mistaken, plain M&M’s have milk chocolate in them (which obviously contains milk), so these can’t really be considered vegan or dairy-free. Now you could use dark chocolate M&M’s (I would think) to make it dairy-free! Either way, these look delicious! I would have to use dark chocolate ones though, because my son breastfeeds and can’t have dairy.

    1. They wouldn’t be considered vegan, because they have eggs. The M&Ms in the cookie are the reason I wrote “dairy-free option” and not dairy-free. My daughters friend, who I made these for, does not have a problem with chocolate in low doses such as this, but yes, dark chocolate chips would be needed to make them truly dairy-free. Or, as I specified in the recipe, you’d need to use a candy that has no dairy – I’m not sure of all of those options but I’m sure people who are dairy-free eaters would know. 🙂

    2. All M&Ms contain milk ingredients. Even dark chocolate ones. You can find dairy free chocolate candy beans online, but all m&ms contain milk in some capacity. 

      1. That is why, in the recipe, I say that you can substitute your favorite dairy-free candy if you have a problem with chocolate. If you read the post, you’d see that the girl I was making these for does not have issues with chocolate, hence the M&Ms.

  5. I always loved those mall cookies too! Very cool that you lost your first tooth in a cookie, I lost mine in an ice cream cone. Clearly this is the reason for our sweets addiction!

    These look delicious. I might have to throw in some chocolate chips, just for good measure!

  6. I only used Earth Balance while I was vegan, and I could barely tell the difference. Whoever came up with it is a pure genius! And I loved those M&M sugar cookies as a kid too… I’d actually pick all of the M&Ms off the top first to eat, then nibble away at the soft & chewy cookie underneath. I still go to grocery stores and look for them every once in a while! 😉

  7. Okay, I don’t care how old I grow I need cookies every now and then! And especially the M&M ones!!!!!! They were one of my most favorite candies growing up and I can still finish an entire packet without any guilt! I can’t wait to bake a batch of these cookies!!!!!!!

  8. These cookies are absolutely fantastic! I think they are now my new fave thing!

  9. M&M cookies are the best! Love that you can make these dairy free!

  10. I’m IN LOVE with those M&M cookies, Dorothy! As a kind, I’d go nuts for them when we’d go to the mall food court. A dairy-free option is great too!

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