Learn how to make snickerdoodles from scratch. It's a simple and straightforward recipe that requires just a few ingredients and little prep time. They are heavenly soft and literally melt in your mouth. It's a great recipe to feed a crowd. My step-by-step photo and video instructions help you having success with this snickerdoodles recipe every time. It's also suitable for the beginner baker.
If you want to master cookie baking, read my how to make cookies guide first to learn about possible challenges in cookie baking and overcome them.
Ingredients notes and substitutions
- Butter and egg - if you want to make vegan snickerdoodles, follow my vegan cookies recipe for vegan butter and egg substitutions.
- All-purpose flour - you can use your favorite gluten-free flour instead.
Note: Other than the name may suggest, snickerdoodles don't contain peanuts.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt and set aside. In a large bowl, cream the butter, sugar, and brown sugar until light and creamy.
Then, add the egg and vanilla and mix until well combined.
Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed just until combined.
It will be a slightly sticky dough (depending on the absorption rate of the flour). Cover and chill in the fridge.
In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon. Then scoop 12 equal-sized balls of cookie dough...
and roll them into even balls with your hands.
Roll in the sugar coating mixture to cover them entirely. Then bake.
Do snickerdoodles need cream of tartar?
Short answer, yes. Cream of tartar is an integral ingredient. It gives the cookies its tangy taste and signature texture. I do not recommend any substitutions on this. If you replaced it with baking powder, you would end up with a puffy, more cake-like sugar cookie. Using only baking soda transforms them into chewy chocolate chip kind of cookies.
Why are my snickerdoodles puffy?
Snickerdoodles are flat cookies and shouldn't be puffy at all unless the recipe is specially designed to create a puffy texture and is clearly stated. This recipe is not supposed to result in puffy snickerdoodles but soft ones with a chewy bite. The most common reasons for a puffy texture are
- Too much flour - spoon and level the flour correctly how I show it in my chocolate chip cookie post.
- Inaccurate oven temperature (too hot) - I advise using an oven thermometer for accurate baking results.
- Tweaked recipe - if you alter the recipe or any ingredients, please keep in mind that the texture and taste will change. Using baking powder instead of cream of tartar, for example, leads to a puffy texture. Also, a different kind of flour, like cake flour, changes the outcome. So stick to the recipe and the ingredients list to get the same results as shown in this post.
Why are my snickerdoodles flat?
If you followed the recipe and measured all ingredients correctly but the cookies turned out flatter as shown in the photos, it can be that the chilling time was too short. Give it another hour in the fridge and see if the dough is still sticky. If it's still sticky, add another 1-2 tbsp (8-17g) flour. It's worth mentioning that all-purpose flour can differ in protein content from brand to brand and country to country and ranges between 10-12 percent.
Higher protein flour absorbs more water than lower protein flour. So, baking with an all-purpose flour with 10 percent protein content will result in a stickier dough than 12 percent protein content. I used all-purpose flour with a protein content of 11 percent. Also, regions with high humidity or a high altitude will increase the amount of flour needed in cookies.
Make ahead and freezing instructions
- Prepare the dough in advance and chill for up to 2 days in the fridge. Let it come to room temperature for about 20 minutes until it is a soft and spoonable dough. Then go ahead with the recipe as directed.
- Prepare and chill the dough as described. Then roll into balls and freeze in freezer bags. Before baking, let them thaw at room temperature for 1-2 hours. Then roll in sugar and bake.
- Wrap baked cookies in plastic wrap and store in freezer bags for up to 3 months. Let thaw at room temperature for 2 hours before serving.
More cookie recipes
Can't get enough cookies? You are in good company! Try some of my favorite recipes:
- Chocolate Cookies
- Oatmeal Cookies
- Pistachio Cookies
- White Chocolate Cookies
- Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies
Recipe and Video
- 1 ⅓ cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
- 1 tsp cream of tartar
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt and set aside.
- In a large bowl, using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, cream the butter, sugar, and brown sugar on medium-high speed until light and creamy, about 2-3 minutes. Then, add the egg and vanilla and mix until well combined, about 1 minute. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed just until combined, about 30-60 seconds. It will be a slightly sticky dough (depending on the absorption rate of the flour). Cover and chill in the fridge for 2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Line 2-3 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine the granulated sugar and cinnamon. Then scoop 12 equal-sized balls (about 2 tablespoons [40g] each) of cookie dough, roll into even balls with your hands, and roll in the sugar coating mixture to cover them entirely.
- Place the cookies about 3 inches (7.5 cm) apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake one sheet at a time for 8 to 9 minutes, or until the edges are set and lightly browned and the centers look puffy, dry, pale, and underbaked. Remove from the oven and let cool on the baking sheet for about 5-10 minutes (they will continue baking) or until firm enough to move. Then, transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely. The cookies will stay fresh and soft in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
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