Melt-in-your-mouth, bite-sized cookies, made with only 4 ingredients: “Sequilhos” Cornstarch Cookies is the easiest recipe you’ll ever bake!
If you’re looking for more delicious and authentic Brazilian recipes, you need to bake our version of carrot cake with a chocolate glaze. Have you tried pão de queijo? I have an easy Brazilian cheese bread recipe that requires easy ingredients and no special equipment.
🍪What are sequilhos
Cornstarch cookies, also known as “sequilhos” or “Maizena” cookies, are a popular Brazilian cookie recipe made with cornstarch, butter and sweet condensed milk.
Sequilhos are like meltaway cookies, but made with no wheat flour or eggs. They're like a delicious gluten-free version of shortbread: soft on the inside, a bit crumbly and have a melt-in-your-mouth texture because of the cornstarch.
🤔Why bake these cookies
- Cornstarch cookies are made with no mixer needed - just like these peanut butter cookies!
- They’re gluten-free and egg-free;
- These cookies are super easy to customize (as are these buttery Earl Grey cookies): if you don’t want to bake the plain version, scroll down to check all the flavor variations I’ve already tried.
This recipe is made with only 4 simple ingredients:
Sweet condensed milk. It adds sweetness and contributes to the soft texture on the inside. Don’t substitute for evaporated milk, as they are different ingredients. You can use a vegan condensed milk for a dairy-free, vegan version.
If using homemade condensed milk, or a vegan alternative, you might need to add a bit more of cornstarch, as they tend to be more runny.
Butter. Use unsalted, room temperature butter. Do not substitute for shortening. You can use a vegan butter that has a consistency similar to margarine to make these cookies dairy-free and vegan.
Cornstarch. The ingredients responsible for the slightly crunchy outside, and melt-in-your-mouth inside of these cookies. Don’t substitute for all-purpose flour, potato or tapioca starch: any substitution will give you a very different result.
Vanilla Extract. Choose a good vanilla extract for the best taste.
See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and substitutions.
- Lemon sequilhos (my favorite!): Add 1 ½ tablespoons of lemon zest to the dough.
- Orange sequilhos: Add 2 tablespoons of lemon zest to the dough.
- Pumpkin spice sequilhos: Add 1 ½ teaspoons of pumpkin spice to the dough.
- Lime sequilhos: Add 1 ½ tablespoons of lime zest to the dough.
- Chocolate sequilhos: Add 2 tablespoons of cocoa to the dough. Remove 2 tablespoons of cornstarch.
- Cinnamon sequilhos: Add 1 teaspoon of pumpkin spice to the dough.
- Gingerbread sequilhos: For perfect gluten-free Christmas cookies, add 1 teaspoon of gingerbread spice mix, and substitute 2 tablespoons of condensed milk (40g) with molasses.
🥣How to make them
Sequilhos are super simple to make: you can choose between using your hands or mixing everything in the food processor, just like these famous cream cheese coconut cookies!
Step 1: Mix the sweet condensed milk, room temperature butter and vanilla extract with a spoon or spatula, until they’re combined.
Step 2: Add the cornstarch, mixing until combined. When it gets too hard to mix with it, use your hands. The dough should feel very soft and smooth.
Chef's Tip: If using a food processor, I recommend weighing all the ingredients instead of using cups. Add all ingredients to the processor’s bowl, using the dough blade if you have it. Blend until all ingredients are mixed and the dough is formed.
Step 3: Divide the dough into 2 parts, rolling each one in logs as thick as your index finger. Slice them into ¼’’ thick pieces, rolling each piece into a ball.
Step 4: Place each ball into a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, flattening them down individually with a fork. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean towel and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Step 5: Bake into a preheated oven (350 degrees F) for 10 to 12 minutes, or until they’re barely golden on the bottom.
- Don’t bake these cookies for longer than the recipe asks for! Over-baked cornstarch cookies can get too dry.
- Set a timer for 9 minutes after placing cookies into the oven. If they’re lightly colored on the bottom after 9-10 minutes, remove them from the oven. Cornstarch cookies are supposed to be pale on the top, so don’t worry about it.
- Don’t skip the refrigeration time if you don’t want these cookies to spread.
- If making with vegan ingredients, you might need to add more or less cornstarch, as the condensed milk and vegan butter can have more or less liquid.
- Remember: the dough should not stick to your hands, but it shouldn't be crumbly either. If it’s sticky, add a tablespoon of cornstarch and knead to combine. If it’s too crumbly, add a teaspoon of room temperature butter.
🙋🏻♀️Questions you might have
Cornstarch creates a texture both crumbly and tender. It also binds the ingredients together, making it possible to bake them without adding eggs.
These cornstarch cookies are gluten-free and egg-free.
If making 1 teaspoon-sized cookie, you’ll get about 60 cookies.
If you’ve skipped chilling the dough, these cookies will spread out more when baking. Chill shaped cookies for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour before baking. Using too little cornstarch can also make these cookies spread more.
Storing and freezing
Cornstarch cookies will keep well for one week if stored correctly. After 7-8 days, they might start to get too dry. Wait for cookies to cool, and store them in an airtight container at room temperature, away from direct sunlight.
You can freeze these cookies before baking them. If doing so, after shaping the cookies, using a baking sheet, place them for 30 minutes in the freezer for the cookies to set (if you skip this part, cookies might freeze all together in a big block) . After 30 minutes, store them in a freezer safe bag for up to 3 months.
I’m not a fan of freezing these cookies after they’re baked, as they might have a different texture when thawed.
When baking frozen cornstarch cookie dough, you might need to increase baking time by one minute.
🥠More cookie recipes
If you tried this Cornstarch Cookies (Condensed Milk Sequilhos) Recipe, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it goes in the comments below!
Cornstarch Cookies (Condensed Milk Sequilhos)
- ½ cup butter unsalted, room temperature
- ⅔ cup condensed milk
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 ½ cup cornstarch
- Start by mixing the sweet condensed milk, room temperature butter and vanilla extract. Mix them using a spatula, until they’re all combined (some lumps of butter are ok).
- Add the cornstarch, starting with a little less than half of what’s asked in the recipe. Mix using a spoon or spatula, until all cornstarch is incorporated into the dough. When it gets too hard to mix with it, use your hands.
- Add the remaining cornstarch, kneading until the cookie dough is formed.
- The dough should feel very soft and smooth, and it shouldn't stick to your hands. If it does, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of cornstarch to it, kneading until incorporated. Repeat if the dough is still sticky.
- To shape them evenly in an easy way, divide the dough into 2 parts, rolling each one in logs as thick as your index finger. Slice them into ¼’’ thick pieces, rolling each piece into a ball.
- Place each ball into a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, flattening them down individually with a fork. These cookies don’t spread too much, so the space of one cookie between each is enough for them not to touch when baking.
- Cover shaped cookies with plastic wrap or a clean towel and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Bake chilled cookies into preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes, or until they’re barely golden on the bottom.
- Remove from the oven, letting them cool in the baking sheet for 5 minutes before placing them in a cooling rack.
- Don’t bake these cookies for longer than the recipe asks for, or they might get dry. Cornstarch cookies are supposed to be pale on the top, so don’t worry about it.
- Don’t skip the refrigeration time if you don’t want these cookies to spread.
- The dough should not stick to your hands, but it shouldn't be crumbly either. If it’s sticky, add a tablespoon of cornstarch and knead to combine. If it’s too crumbly, add a teaspoon of room temperature butter.