The high-strength-to-weight ratio and corrosion resistance properties of glass-fiber-reinforced polymer (GFRP) composites makes them potentially well-suited for application in ship structures, bridges and off-shore oil platforms. These structures are often formed by stiffened plates and are subjected to axial load and out-of-plane load. Cutouts and openings are provided in the plates for access and maintenance. The main objective of this study was to examine the buckling behavior of GFRP-stiffened composite plates with square cutouts under a combination of axial and out-of-plane load up to failure. Four blade-stiffened composite plates without a cutout and four with square cutout were fabricated with stiffeners as a continuous layup of the flange plate using glass fiber and epoxy resin. The initial geometric imperfections were measured, and plate imperfections (∆x), stiffener imperfections (∆sy) and overall imperfections (∆sx) were calculated from the measurements. All fabricated-stiffened composite plates were tested up to failure. The finite element model was developed in ANSYS software and validated with the experimental results. It was observed that GFRP-stiffened composite plates failed by stiffener compression/stiffener tension mode of failure. The presence of out-of-plane loads and cutouts reduced the axial load carrying capacity of the stiffened composite plates. © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.