Learn how to make homemade snickerdoodles perfectly from scratch – with or without cream of tartar. These popular old-fashioned cookies are soft, chewy, and coated with a delicious cinnamon-sugar mixture, plus, they are easy to make!
Think of something sweet you’d like right at this moment. Now imagine coating it with cinnamon-sugar. Doesn’t it already sound much better? If your answer is yes, then you’re going to love these cookies because they are the best snickerdoodle cookies out there. Plus, with such a whimsical name like snickerdoodle, who could possibly resist them?
What is a snickerdoodle?
Old-fashioned snickerdoodles are chewy sugar cookies coated in a cinnamon-sugar mixture. The batter is basic and easy to make. While some recipes use shortening as the fat, I like the taste of pure butter in my cookies.
The difference between a sugar cookie and a Snickerdoodle
Snickerdoodles are sometimes confused with sugar cookies since they share the same basic ingredients – flour, butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. However, there is one distinctive ingredient that a snickerdoodle has that a sugar cookie doesn’t, and that is cream of tartar.
If you’re wondering what cream of tartar is doing in your cookies, here’s a short explanation.
Cream of tartar and substitutions
Cream of tartar gives the snickerdoodle its traditional tangy taste and adds to the chewiness of the cookie. If you want to make snickerdoodles without cream of tartar, you can substitute the cream of tartar AND the baking soda with 2 teaspoons of baking powder. So, if you’re looking for a classic snickerdoodle recipe, use cream of tartar. If you just want a delicious cookie and don’t care about the old-fashioned taste, feel free to substitute the cream of tartar with baking powder, but don’t forget to omit the baking soda. I tried making these cookies using baking powder, and they were still chewy and delicious. In all honesty, I even enjoyed them just as much as the classic snickerdoodle cookies.
More tips on how to make snickerdoodles
Once you’re done making the dough, it should be quite firm and thick. If it’s too soft, chill it in the fridge for 1-2 hours until firm, or even longer. If you bake the cookies while they’re soft, they’ll spread. The thicker they are, the softer and chewier their centers will be, and the happier you and your guests will be.
Next, you’ll need to roll the cookies in the cinnamon-sugar mixture, which is best part if you ask me. 1 tablespoon of cinnamon may sound a lot, but I love cinnamon. You can start by adding 1-2 teaspoons of cinnamon to the sugar, then keep adding more until you like the flavor.
Start watching the cookies after 8 minutes in the oven. The edges should just begin to brown and the interior should look soft. For the best texture we want a crispy edge, but a chewy, soft center. The longer you bake them, the crispier they become.
More Cinnamon Goodies:
- 2¾ cups (370 g/13 oz) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons cream of tartar* (see notes for substitution)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda*
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks/230 g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1½ cup (300 g/10.5 oz) granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¼ cup (50 g/1.8 oz) granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In a mixer bowl fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium speed for 2-3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla extract. Add flour mixture and beat on low speed just until combined. Do not over mix.
- If the dough is soft at this point, chill in the fridge for 1-2 hours or until firm. This step results in thicker cookies that will spread less while baking.
- Preheat oven to 375F/190C. Line 2 pans with parchment paper.
- Make the cinnamon-sugar mixture: In a small bowl, toss together sugar and cinnamon.
- Shape the dough into balls, 1.5 tablespoons each (use an ice-cream scoop or heaping tablespoon), roll them in the cinnamon-sugar mixture, and place on the cookie sheet. Using your hands or the bottom of a glass, very slightly flatten each cookie, leaving them thick. Bake for about 8-10 minutes, until cookies begin to brown at the edges but the center is still soft. Cookies will appear undone but will continue to bake on the warm baking sheet. Leave cookies to cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes, then gently transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Store cookies at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Cookies can also be frozen for up to 2 months.