My Best Snickerdoodle Recipe (2024)

My Best Snickerdoodle Recipe (1)

My Best Snickerdoodle Recipe

My best snickerdoodle recipe makes classic, buttery snickerdoodles that are coated in a generous amount of cinnamon sugar. The recipe was originally published in my cookbook, Weeknight Baking!

What makes these the best snickerdoodles ever?

Unlike other snickerdoodle recipes that make fat, thick, and puffy cookies, this recipe makes snickerdoodle cookies that are flat and similar to the size and shape of a chocolate chip cookie.

These snickerdoodles are soft and chewy in the center (to the point of being almost a little too doughy, even!), with crispy and puffed edges.

And thanks to cream of tartar, the recipe makes tangy snickerdoodles with distinctive cracks on their surface. Learn more in the Ingredients and Substitutions section below!

If you’re looking for a snickerdoodle cookie without cream of tartar, check out my Snickerdoodle Recipe Without Cream Of Tartar.

And be sure to check out my collection of unique snickerdoodle recipes on Hummingbird High!

My Best Snickerdoodle Recipe (2)

Ingredients and Substitutions

Now that I’ve hopefully convinced you to make this snickerdoodle recipe, here’s the recipe’s shopping list:

Shopping List For My Best Snickerdoodle Cookie Recipe

  • granulated sugar
  • ground cinnamon
  • all-purpose flour
  • cream of tartar
  • baking soda
  • kosher salt
  • unsalted butter
  • large eggs
  • pure vanilla extract

And let’s talk about some of the key ingredients you need to make the snickerdoodle cookies themselves:

Ground Cinnamon

My best snickerdoodle cookie recipe needs 2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon to make the cookies.

Some snickerdoodle recipe I’d tried before developing my own were too bland and only 1 or 2 teaspoons of cinnamon. They were fine, but they were definitely more “cinnamon-flavored sugar cookie” than “snickerdoodle” (if you know what I mean). I wanted mine to be unapologetically cinnamony—there would be no confusion or doubt that my cookies were anything BUT snickerdoodles. As a result, I use a whopping 2 TABLESPOONS of ground cinnamon in my recipe.

When measuring out the cinnamon for the snickerdoodle topping, you might be shocked by how much it is and be tempted to the scale the quantity back before even trying it. But I beg you—please don’t! The generous amount of cinnamon is part of the secret to these cookies’ signature “lewk” and will be balanced out by the cookies’ intense butter flavor.

Cream of Tartar

My best snickerdoodle cookie recipe needs 2 teaspoons cream of tartar to make the cookies.

I’ve already talked about how snickerdoodles are basically just sugar cookies that use cream of tartar instead of traditional baking powder. Here’s a further breakdown as to why:

Why is cream of tartar used in snickerdoodles?

Soaccording to Stella, the earliest recipes for snickerdoodles actually called for baking powder! Snickerdoodle recipes were used in national advertisem*nts for Cleveland Baking Powder as early as 1891. But baking powder wasn’t readily available back then. As a result, enterprising home cooks substituted the baking powder with a mix of cream of tartar and baking soda. This substitution gave us the more “traditional” snickerdoodle recipe I’m referencing for my own recipe today.

What is cream of tartar?

Cream of tartar is an acidic by-product of fermenting grapes into wine; bakers primarily use it to stabilize meringues and whipped creams. Although not many modern recipes call for cream of tartar, it’s worth keeping around because it lasts forever and when you need it, you really need it. Store cream of tartar in a cool, dry place and always give it a quick look and a sniff before using it. It should be white in color with no major clumps, and it will smell mildly acidic.

Do snickerdoodles need cream of tartar?

Yes. I am of the opinion that yes, my best snickerdoodle recipe needs cream of tartar. Although I’m planning on developing a recipe for snickerdoodles without cream of tartar soon, I like the tangy flavor that the cream of tartar gives this pretty classic recipe. In addition to flavor, using cream of tartar gives snickerdoodles their signature appearance with pronounced cracks and crags on the surface of each cookie.

How much would it change the taste of these snickerdoodles if I left out the cream of tartar?

Cream of tartar is more acidic than baking powder and baking soda, which gives the cookies an added tanginess it wouldn’t otherwise have if I’d used baking powder. It’s worth sourcing the stuff (it’s available at most supermarkets in the herbs section), especially since it pretty much keeps indefinitely in the pantry.

In addition to having an effect on flavor, skipping the cream of tartar would also result in different textured cookies. The cream of tartar is what causes the cookies to puff and rise—without it, your cookies might spread too much and/or be completely flat.

I don’t have cream of tartar, can I substitute it with something else?

Yes, but with reservations. In theory, you can substitute the cream of tartar with other ingredients like baking powder, lemon, and vinegar. This article has a good list of common cream of tartar substitutions. However, I can’t personally vouch for any of them since I haven’t tried them myself.

That being said, I did have a handful of Instagram followers who substituted the cream of tartar with its equivalent in lemon juice and/or vinegar. Both reported back that they needed to up the flour in the recipe since the dough became very wet after doing so. Unfortunately, I don’t have exact amounts—both readers eyeballed the amount. One approximates that she used an amount that was between 2 to 4 tablespoons.

And finally, if you insist on making snickerdoodles without cream of tartar, check out my recipe for black halva snickerdoodles. The cookie dough uses baking powder in place of both cream of tartar and baking soda. You can swap out the black sesame sugar and halva and instead use the cinnamon sugar topping from this recipe for classic snickerdoodles without cream of tartar.

Butter

My best snickerdoodle cookie recipe needs 1 cup unsalted butter to make the cookies.

When making snickerdoodles, I like to use on high-quality butter to stand up to the strong cinnamon sugar flavor. Not to mention that this cookie recipe uses a fair amount of butter too—as a result, you can really taste it! This is the time to splurge on high-quality butter…think: something cultured, and something European (European butter has more butterfat than American butter, giving it a creamier taste and mouthfeel). Using good butter is really the secret weapon to taking your cookies to the next level.

How To Make My Best Snickerdoodle Recipe

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Here are the basic steps needed to make snickerdoodles from scratch:

  1. Make the Snickerdoodle Cookie Dough (Work Time: <10 minutes)
    Snickerdoodle cookie dough isn’t complicated to make; in fact, it follows a format similar to most chocolate chip cookie recipes. First, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, then add the eggs, vanilla, and finally, the dry ingredients.
  2. Form the Cookie Dough into Balls (Work Time: <5 minutes)
    Each cookie will need to be rolled in the cinnamon sugar snickerdoodle topping before baking. To make things more efficient, I create a “snickerdoodle cookie assembly line” that starts with using a cookie dough scoop to portion the dough into even cookie dough balls.
  3. Roll the Cookie Dough Balls in the Snickerdoodle Cinnamon Sugar Topping (Work Time: <5 minutes)
    Once the cookie dough balls have been formed, roll each one in a shallow bowl with the cinnamon sugar topping. Toss and coat every single dough ball completely.
  4. Bake at a High Temperature (Bake Time: 10 minutes per batch)
    Snickerdoodle cookies are baked at a higher temperature than most other drop cookie recipes (most cookie recipes are baked at 350℉; snickerdoodles are baked at 400℉. This is to encourage the leaveners to activate really quickly, puffing the centers of the cookies as they bake. When pulled out of the oven, the centers then fall, giving each snickerdoodle cookie its signature crispy edges.
My Best Snickerdoodle Recipe (3)

Recipe Troubleshooting and FAQ

FAQ: How To Store Snickerdoodles

Can you freeze snickerdoodle cookie dough?

Yes! You can freeze snickerdoodle cookie dough just like you can freeze your favorite chocolate chip cookie dough recipe. After portioning the dough into balls, place the balls on a parchment lined sheet pan and freeze for 30 minutes, or until the dough is hard enough to handle without being sticky. Transfer to a zip-top freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months.

Note that the dough will be frozen WITHOUT the snickerdoodle topping. When ready to bake, you’ll need to roll the cookie dough balls in the snickerdoodle topping. There’s no need to thaw the cookie dough balls before baking. Follow the instructions for baking in the recipe, but increase the Bake Time to 12 to 14 minutes.

Can you freeze the baked snickerdoodle cookies?

Yes! I love freezing baked snickerdoodle cookies and snacking on them (while still cold from the freezer!) in the summertime. For softer cookies, thaw them overnight in the refrigerator, then for a few hours at room temperature before serving.

FAQ: Troubleshooting Unexpected Results

Why are my snickerdoodles flat?

Snickerdoodles can come out flat if 1) the leaveners you used (for this recipe, it’s both the baking soda and the cream of tartar) are on the old side and no longer work, and 2) if you baked them at a lower temperature.

First, figure out if it’s your leavener. First, test the cream of tartar by adding a pinch to a bowl of hot water. If the water slightly fizzes, that’s a good thing! It’s still fresh and good to go. Then add the baking soda. If it really fizzes, you’re all set. But if the water stays flat, then you’ve got a problem. Figure out if it’s your baking soda by pinching a small amount into a bowl and adding a splash of vinegar. If it doesn’t fizz, your baking soda has gone bad.

Next, double check your oven. In Weeknight Baking, I always insist that people get an external oven thermometer. Hang the thermometer on one of the center oven racks to monitor the temperature inside. Although most modern ovens come with their own thermometers, these internal thermometers degrade over time, giving you inaccurate readings. To wit—many years ago, when I still lived in San Francisco, I rented an apartment with a faulty oven. Although its internal thermometer always read 350℉, I burned almost everything I made. When I finally shelled out for an external thermometer, I discovered that the inside of the oven was actually a full 100 degrees hotter, despite the oven telling me that it was at the perfect temperature! No wonder I burned everything.

This can go the other way too. If your cookies are coming out flat, it’s likely that your oven is too cool, baking the cookies at a lower temperature, and causing them to come out flat.

How to bake snickerdoodles that stay soft

For soft snickerdoodles, it’s better to pull them out when they’re underdone. Specifically, bake only until the edges are set, but the centers are still gooey. Immediately transfer to a wire rack and let cool for at least 20 minutes. The residual heat from the pan will continue to bake the cookies to the perfect texture. Do not pull your cookies out only when they’re set and crispy. The pan will continue to bake them even after you pull them out of the oven, leading to hard and overdone cookies.

How to Make My Best Snickerdoodle Recipe Small Batch

There are two ways to make this snickerdoodle cookie recipe small batch. The first is freezing the dough, and onlybaking as many cookies as you want at a time. See the sectionabove for more instructions on how to freeze this cookie dough for baking later.

The second way is to halve the recipe. Halving the recipe will result in 10 cookies as opposed to 20. The new ingredient quantities are:

For the Snickerdoodle Topping:

  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

For the Snickerdoodle Cookie Dough:

  • 1 ¼ cups+ 2 tablespoons (6.15 ounces or 175 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ cup (5.25 ounces or 149 grams) granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (4 ounces or 114 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Note that you won’t need to change any of the recipe’s steps or Bake Time when halving the recipe. Everything stays the same aside from the recipe’s final yield. You can also follow the instructions above for freezing the cookie dough accordingly.

My Best Snickerdoodle Recipe (4)

Best Snickerdoodle Recipe Tips

Best Baking Tips

  • Because this dough has a LOT of butter in it, it has a tendency to really want to stick to the bottom and sides of the bowl when mixing. For the best cookies, use a rubber spatula to scrape down the paddle and the bowl repeatedly—I like to liberally scrape things down two to three times during the creaming process (once after every minute of creaming), once after every egg addition, and finally, two more times after adding the dry ingredients (the first time after ALL the dry ingredients have JUST been added, the second time after they’ve just been mixed together).
  • For the best snickerdoodle cookies, be sure to cover your cookie dough balls with a LOT of the cinnamon sugar topping. But be warned: you may still end up with some of it leftover since the recipe makes a generous amount. I like to save the leftovers in an airtight container to sprinkle on my breakfast oatmeal and toast throughout the rest of the week—I wouldn’t keep it any longer than that though (because I mean… you did roll raw cookie dough in the stuff, lol).
  • I like to bake the cookies one pan at a time. I find that doing so makes the best cookies, ensuring that none of them have overly burnt bottoms or raw centers. However, to save time, you can bake two sheet pans at a time. Position a rack in the upper-third position of the oven, and a second one in the lower-third position of the oven. Bake a pan on each rack, swapping their positions half way through the Bake Time.

More Snickerdoodle-Like Cookie Recipes

  • Black Halva Snickerdoodles
  • Chocolate Sugar Cookies
  • Snickerdoodle Recipe Without Cream of Tartar
  • Raspberry Lemon Snickerdoodles
  • Tangy Meyer Lemon Sugar Cookies

My Best Snickerdoodle Recipe (5)

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Get the Recipe:My Best Snickerdoodle Cookie Recipe

Prep: 5 minutes mins

Cook: 15 minutes mins

Bake Time: 10 minutes mins

Total: 30 minutes mins

Servings: 20 cookies

Author: Michelle Lopez

My best snickerdoodle cookies recipe makes snickerdoodles that are soft yet chewy in the middle, with crispyand lightly puffed edges

(5 stars) 46 reviews

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Ingredients

For the Snickerdoodle Topping

  • ¼ cup (1.75 ounces or 50 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon

For the Snickerdoodle Cookie Dough

  • 2 ¾ cups (12.35 ounces or 350 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 ½ cups (10.5 ounces or 298 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (8 ounces or 227 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Instructions

For the Snickerdoodle Cookies

  • Prep the oven and pans. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F. Line two half sheet pans with parchment paper.

  • Make the snickerdoodle topping. Whisk together ¼ cup (1.75 ounces) granulated sugar and the ground cinnamon in a shallow bowl.

  • Make the snickerdoodle cookie dough. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt.

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the sugar and butter. Beat on medium-high speed until light, fluffy, and doubled in volume, 2 to 3 minutes, using a rubber spatula to scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl as necessary. Reduce the mixer to low and add the eggs one at a time, adding the next egg only after the previous one has been fully incorporated. Add the vanilla and beat until just combined. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl. With the mixer on low, gradually add the dry ingredients and beat until just combined. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl once more, and beat on low for an additional 30 seconds.

  • Use a 3-tablespoon cookie dough scoop to portion the cookie dough into balls. Roll each in the snickerdoodle topping, covering them completely. Place the coated cookies at least 3 inches apart on the prepared sheet pans.

  • Bake the cookies. Bake one pan at a time for 10 minutes, or until the edges have set but the centers are still gooey. The cookies will look puffed when you pull them out of the oven, but will fall and crack into the perfect cookies as they cool. Cool the cookies on the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes, or until the edges and bottoms of the cookies have set and feel firm to the touch. Repeat with the remaining cookie dough.

  • Serve and store. Serve warm or at room temperature. The cookies can be stored in an airtight container or zip-top bag at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Did you make this recipe?Please leave a star rating and review in the form below. I appreciate your feedback, and it helps others, too!

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment and rating for the recipe using the form below!

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My Best Snickerdoodle Recipe (2024)

FAQs

Why don't my snickerdoodles crack? ›

If yours aren't cracking, your oven may not be hot enough or your ingredients may not be fresh enough! Are snickerdoodles supposed to be undercooked? I always recommend slightly underbaking your cookies and then letting them finish baking through cooling on the pan.

Why are my snickerdoodles so soft? ›

Slightly under-baking the snickerdoodles also guarantees a softer cookie. Take them out of the oven after about 10-11 minutes. This will keep the interior of the cookie soft and chewy.

Why did my snickerdoodles come out so flat? ›

If your cookies repeatedly turn out flat, no matter the recipe, chances are your oven is too hot. Here's what's happening. The butter melts super quickly in a too-hot oven before the other ingredients have firmed up into a cookie structure. Therefore, as the butter spreads so does the whole liquidy cookie.

How do you fix sticky snickerdoodle dough? ›

When cookie dough is too sticky, you may have an imbalance of wet and dry ingredients. You can fix this by adding a teaspoon of flour or cornstarch at a time until your dough is just how you want. The added flour or cornstarch will absorb the excess liquid and reduce the dough's overall stickiness.

What happens if you add too much cream of tartar? ›

Keep in mind that more cream of tartar doesn't necessarily mean a better, more stable result. “Too much cream of tartar will impart a metallic, tin-like taste,” Molly warns.

Why aren't my snickerdoodles puffy? ›

How do you make snickerdoodles puffy and soft? The secret's in the ratio of butter to leavener to flour to egg. Don't use shortening here; you'll miss the flavor of butter. Slightly under-baking the snickerdoodles also guarantees a softer cookie.

Are snickerdoodles supposed to be soft when they come out of the oven? ›

They puff in the oven and then settle back down while cooling into a soft, thick, supremely chewy cookie with a gorgeous crinkly top. They've received nothing but rave reviews! Snickerdoodle is sort of a strange name, yes?

What is a good substitute for cream of tartar? ›

What is a Good Replacement for Cream of Tartar? A good replacement for cream of tartar in baking is 1 teaspoon of vinegar or lemon juice for every 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar.

How do you know when a snickerdoodle is done? ›

How do you know when the cookies are baked? The snickerdoodle cookies will only take about 10 to 12 minutes to bake, so be sure to keep your eye on them! It's best to rotate the cookies after about 6 minutes so that the cook evenly. The cookies are done when the edges are just set and the centres are soft and cracked.

Why do my snickerdoodles taste like flour? ›

Improper flour measurement is the #1 cause of your cookie dough being too dry or the cookies tasting like flour.

Why did my snickerdoodles come out dry? ›

However they won't be particularly chewy and they should not spread out on the baking sheet that much. There are several reasons why the cookies may have become dry and crumbly but the two most likely are that either the cookies were baked for too long or too much flour was added to the dough.

How do you fix runny snickerdoodle dough? ›

Soft – Dough that's “soft” or “runny” can be thickened by adding one or two tablespoons of flour to your mix. This will help keep your batch from “Spreading” and coming out of the oven looking like flat, not-so-cookie-like puddles.

Why do my snickerdoodles sink in the middle? ›

Cakes sink in the middle due to several factors, including overmixing of the batter, opening the oven door too soon, or not baking at the right temperature. Expired leavening agents or incorrect proportions of ingredients can also cause sinking.

Can I refrigerate snickerdoodle cookie dough overnight? ›

Yes! Prepare the snickerdoodle cookie dough, scoop it, roll it in sugar, and refrigerate it overnight. Cookie dough that's been in the fridge for longer than 2 hours should sit at room temperature for 15-20 minutes before baking, to take the chill off.

What is the purpose of cream of tartar in cookies? ›

What Does Cream of Tartar Do in Cookies? Cream of tartar makes cookies chewy, as it precludes the sugar in the dough from crystalizing, which would lead to crispiness (ie: the opposite of chewiness).

What happens if you leave out cream of tartar in cookies? ›

You can also simply leave out the cream of tartar from a recipe, which may result in baked goods that are not as fluffy, but will still work out and taste good.

Does cream of tartar make things thicker? ›

No. Cornstarch is a starch used for thickening, while cream of tartar is an acid used for leavening, stabilizing, and preventing crystallization. They play totally different roles in baking and are not considered substitutes for one another.

How do you thicken Snickerdoodle cookie dough? ›

Soft – Dough that's “soft” or “runny” can be thickened by adding one or two tablespoons of flour to your mix. This will help keep your batch from “Spreading” and coming out of the oven looking like flat, not-so-cookie-like puddles.

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