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These gluten-free circus animal crackers taste just as good as the real thing! Leave them frosted or unfrosted for the perfect nostalgic treat.

We’ve all had animal crackers, or their pink and white frosted cousins, circus crackers! They’re crunchy, light, and super fun when you’re a kid. I loved these as a kid, and my toddler loves fun-shaped food as well, so for back-to-school snack season, I wanted to tackle this classic.

This version is gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free, and egg-free, but it tastes like the real deal! My dad (who is by no means gluten-free) tried them and took a whole bag home with him 😉

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • It’s nostalgic! These animal crackers are such a childhood classic made gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free, and egg-free.
  •  It’s so fun to make with kids. This is the perfect recipe to make with kids because they can help cut the dough into crackers!

The Ingredients for Gluten-Free Animal Crackers

  • Tapioca Starch, Coconut Flour and Almond Flour. I tried a few different flour blend for this recipe and this gave the perfect airy crunch! You can try to swap almond flour for tigernut flour to keep it nut-free.
  • Ground Flax. This acts as a binder to keep the recipe egg free. The AIP swap would be gelatin.
  • Palm Shortening. I tried this recipe without the palm shortening and it just didn’t have the right texture without it. I highly recommend going with this, but coconut oil would be the closest swap.
  • Maple Syrup. Honey should also work!
  • Powdered Sugar, Dairy-Free Milk, Strawberry Powder, and Sprinkles. This is what you’ll use to make the optional frosting!

How to make gluten-free animal crackers

  • Step One. Cream the palm shortening and maple syrup together.
  • Step Two. Add the dry ingredients to the palm-shortening mixture and stir to form dough.
  • Step Three. Roll out the dough and use a cookie cutter to cut your desired shapes.

  • Step Four. Bake and allow the cookies to cool.

  • Step Five. Make the frosting.
  • Step Six. Dip the cookies in frosting and top with sprinkles.

  • Step Seven. Allow cookies to set in the fridge and enjoy.

Tips & Tricks

  • Enlist help for cutting out the animal crackers. This is the perfect recipe to make with kids because they can help cut the dough into crackers! Cutting all of it by yourself can get a little tedious, so make it an activity.
  • Leave the frosting off for less sugar. The crackers themselves are pretty low in sugar. If you have little, little ones and want to keep the sugar down, they’re just as good without the frosting.

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Gluten Free Circus Animal Crackers (Vegan & Grain free)

  • Author: Michelle
  • Yield: 10 servings 1x


Units Scale
  • 1/3 cup palm shortening
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1 tbsp coconut flour
  • 2 tsp ground flax meal
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

For the frosting (optional)

  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted (I use this powdered sugar for a cornstarch-free option)
  • 1 tsp tapioca starch
  • 23 tbsp dairy-free milk
  • 12 tsp strawberry powder
  • Sprinkles (I use these sprinkles for a dye-free option)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a large baking sheet with lightly greased parchment paper.
  2. Using a large bowl, cream the palm shortening and maple syrup together until full combined.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the palm-shortening mixture and stir well to combine. You should have a dough that’s soft and easy to work with.
  4. Using a clean surface, roll out the dough, about 1/4″ thick. Use a cookie cutter (I use this set) to cut your desired shapes. Use the cookie cutter to assist in pulling up the dough, and carefully transfer to the baking sheet, evenly spacing the crackers. You should have about 50 crackers in total (varies depending on the size of your cutters).
  5. Transfer to the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  6. If making the frosting, combine the powdered sugar with tapioca starch. Pour in the dairy-free milk one tablespoon at a time and stir until you have a smooth glaze. Add the strawberry powder one tsp at a time until you have your desired color.
  7. Dip the animal crackers face down into the glaze, one by one, holding over the bowl for a few seconds to allow the excess to drip off. Transfer back to a clean plate and top with sprinkles. Allow to set in the fridge for 30 minutes before enjoying.
  8. Store the crackers in the fridge for a week.


All nutritional information are estimations and will vary. Estimations do not include optional ingredients.


  • Serving Size: 1 serving
  • Calories: 171
  • Fat: 8.4g
  • Carbohydrates: 19.7g
  • Fiber: .7g
  • Protein: 1.1g