If you're a snickerdoodle fan, you'll love these soft and chewy snickerdoodles! This authentic recipe uses cream of tartar for the perfect amount of tang and texture. Takes less than 30 minutes to make and bake!
Some people think that a snickerdoodle cookie is just a big sugar cookie covered in cinnamon sugar but if you love snickerdoodle cookies, you know that they are so much more! True snickerdoodles are made with cream of tartar which reacts with baking soda and salt, giving these cookies their classic tangy flavor and soft texture.
Cream of tartar also specifically reacts with sugar and prevents crystalization so your snickerdoodles stay VERY soft instead of crispy.
Snickerdoodles puff up in the oven but are only baked for 10 minutes so that they collapse down and give you that classic crinkled top. Read on to learn how to make the PERFECT snickerdoodle!
Table of contents
Snickerdoodle purists will say that if there isn't cream of tartar in the recipe, then it's not a real snickerdoodle. But if you really are desperate to make some snickerdoodles and don't have any cream of tartar on hand then these are the best substitutions.
- Baking Powder - Made from a combination of baking soda and cream of tartar, this is a good replacement for the baking soda and cream of tartar in your snickerdoodle recipe. The only difference is that a classic snickerdoodle recipe has more cream of tartar than baking soda so you will lose a bit of that tangy flavor if you use just baking powder.
- Lemon Juice - Contains the same acidic levels as cream of tartar and can be substituted in equal amounts. The flavor will be slightly different.
- White Vinegar - Similar acidic levels and can be substituted in equal amounts. The flavor may be a little off.
How to make Snickerdoodles Step-By-Step
Step 1 – Bring your butter and eggs to room temperature (not cold at all). I warm my eggs by placing them in a bowl of warm water for 5-10 minutes.
Step 2 – In the bowl of your stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix the softened butter, granulated sugar, and light brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy (about 1 minute).
Step 3 –Add the eggs (whole and yolk) and mix on medium speed for 2-3 minutes until light and creamy. This gives lift to the cookies and will cause them to rise and fall, creating those beautiful cracks.
Step 4 – Add in the vanilla, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Mix for 1 minute on medium, scraping the sides of the bowl.
Step 5 – Add the flour and mix on low until just combined.
Step 6 – Combine your cinnamon and sugar in a medium bowl, stir evenly to combine. This is your cookie topping.
Step 7 – Use a medium cookie scoop (#24) to make 2-Tablespoon-sized dough balls. Shape dough into a ball shape and roll in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. I only coat the top in cinnamon sugar, but you can roll the entire ball if desired.
Step 8 – Place on prepared baking sheet about 2-3 inches apart. Preheat oven to 350ºF (177ºC) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Step 9 - Allow your cookies to rest for 20 minutes while your oven heats up. This will reduce the amount of spreading and your cookies will be thicker. Totally optional.
Step 10 - Bake for 10-12 minutes, 10 if you want soft snickerdoodles, 12 if you want the edges to be slightly crispy. The cookies will be puffy and first then slowly collapse as they cool which creates those classic cracks and delicious chewy centers.
Step 11 – Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 5 minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store at room temperature for about 4 days or freeze for 6 months.
Tips for Perfect Snickerdoodles
- Don't skip the cream of tartar, it's the key ingredient!
- Don't cream the sugar/butter mixture for too long or you'll end up with flat snickerdoodles.
- Make sure you mix the egg/sugar mixture for two full minutes to get those classic snickerdoodle cracks.
- Don't be tempted to over-bake your cookies! They will seem under-baked at first but will be perfect when they are cool.
Frequently asked questions
The origin of the snickerdoodle is unclear but it’s believed to have been around since the late 1800s. The modern idea of the snickerdoodle might have started in New England and is of German or Dutch decent. 'Schneckennudeln,' which translates roughly to 'snail dumpling' is a German sweet bun dessert similar to cinnamon rolls.
1. More Flour - Add 1 ounce of flour for a thicker, puffier cookie.
2. Butter Temperature - If your butter is too warm, your snickerdoodles may spread more than usual. You can also chill your snickerdoodles for 60 minutes for thicker cookies.
3. Oven Temperature - If your oven is not calibrated, it might be cooler than what your dial is saying. Try increasing your temperature by 25 degrees to see if that helps set your snickerdoodles before they spread too far.
Yes, you can use a gluten-free baking mix such as Bobs Redmill 1:1 baking mix or Cup 4 Cup gluten-free mix in place of flour.
No, a true snickerdoodle isn't just a sugar cookie with cinnamon. It contains cream of tartar for a tangy flavor and requires specific mixing to give it those signature cracks on top.
Snickerdoodles have a chewy texture in the center and are slightly crispy on the outside. They have a tangy flavor from the cream of tartar, and a sweet hint of cinnamon and sugar.
- Baking sheet lined with parchment paper
- 8 ounces unsalted butter softened, not melted
- 8 ounces granulated sugar
- 4 ounces light brown sugar
- 1 whole egg room temperature
- 1 egg yolk room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 14 ounces All purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoon cream of tartar see blog post for substitutes
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Cinnamon Sugar Mixture
- 2 ounces granulated sugar
- 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Bring the butter and eggs to room temperature (slightly warm).
- In the bowl of your stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix the softened butter, granulated sugar and light brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 1-2 minutes. See above for pictures. You can also use a hand mixer, you'll just have to mix for longer.
- Add in the egg and egg yolk and mix on medium speed for 2-3 minutes until light and creamy. This gives lift to the cookies and will cause them to rise and fall, creating those beautiful cracks.
- Add in the baking soda, cream of tartar, salt, cinnamon, and vanilla extract. Mix for 1 minute on medium, scraping the sides of the bowl.
- Add the flour and mix on low until just combined.
- Combine your cinnamon and sugar in a medium bowl, stir evenly to combine.
- Use a medium cookie scoop to make 2-Tablespoon sized dough balls. Roll each into a ball shape and roll in cinnamon sugar mixture. I only coat the top in cinnamon sugar, but you can roll the entire ball if desired.
- Place the cookie balls onto the prepared baking sheet about 2-3 inches apart.
- Preheat oven to 350ºF (177ºC) and let your cookies rest at room temperature for 20 minutes while the oven heats up. This prevents over-spreading but it's optional.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes, 10 if you want soft cookies, 12 if you want the edges to be slightly crispy.
- Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 5 minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store at room temperature for about 4 days.
- Although this recipe is in cups too, I HIGHLY recommend you measure your ingredients using a food scale. It makes baking so much easier and will lead to more successful recipes. Follow my tutorial to learn how to use a scale. 1 oz= 28 grams.
- Make sure to bring your butter and eggs to room temperature. You should be able to press a finger into the top of the butter and make a light indent. I leave my butter at room temperature for at least 2 hours and place my eggs (still in the shell) in a bowl of warm water for 5 minutes to warm them up. If your ingredients are cold, they will not combine correctly and could prevent your cookies from rising.
- Don't skip the cream of tartar for that truly authentic snickerdoodle taste. If you can't get cream of tartar, leave out the cream of tartar and baking soda and replace the total amount (baking soda + cream of tartar) with baking powder.
- Don't overbake! Your snickerdoodles will seem very under-baked but trust me, when they cool down they will be perfect. Even better on day two!