How to Make Snickerdoodle Cookies

I’m not sure which is the first cookie I ever baked by myself: it was either classic chocolate chip, or Snickerdoodles. I remember having just moved to Connecticut when I was 7, and making them in our little classroom kitchen area with my teacher and thinking, “school isn’t so bad!”


What is the Difference Between Sugar Cookies and Snickerdoodles?

Snickerdoodles are usually thicker and softer in the middle than sugar cookies, though if you bake them for longer, they will definitely crisp up. Sugar cookies are often rolled in sugar before baking, while snickerdoodles are usually rolled in a cinnamon sugar mixture. Snickerdoodles may crack a bit on the tip, while sugar cookies are usually smooth.

The name snickerdoodles may be an alternation of a German word:  “Schneckennudeln” which means “crinkly cookie”.

I think of snickerdoodles as cakey, and kind of soft, kind of chewy. Snickerdoodles are traditionally kind of puffy and domed.  If you like a flatter cookie, press down on the balls with your hand or the bottom of a glass.

Cinnamon Sugar Coating for Sickerdoodles

The main difference between sugar cookies and snickerdoodle cookies is really the cream of tartar in the cookie dough and the combo of sugar and ground cinnamon that the balls of cookie dough are rolled in just before baking. This light coating provides cinnamon-iness (duh), some color, and a little crunch that contrasts very nicely with the delicate, soft interior.


Cream of Tartar in Snickerdoodles

Part of why Snickerdoodles are so tender is thanks to the cream of tartar. It has a bit of acidity which activates the baking soda, and gives these cookies a different texture than straight butter or sugar cookies. The cream of tartar is offers a slightly tangy flavor. Cream of tartar is often used to stabalize whipped cream and meringues. Here it offers a bit of tartness and the distinctive soft, cakey texture in Snickerdoodles.

Can Cream of Tartar Be Left Out of Snickerdoodles?

If you skip the cream of tartar, then you will want to use baking p[owder instead of baking soda. Use 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder in place of both the 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, and the 1 teaspoon cream of tartar. The texture will not be as puffy and cakey as it would with the cream of tartar and baking soda combo, but it will be a close approximation. The rolling of the dough in the cinnamon sugar will make the cookies feel like very snickerdoodle-ish, however.


Ingredients for Snickerdoodles

As long as you have cream of tartar on hand, you probably have all of the rest of the ingredients for these cookies in your pantry!

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

Freezing Snickerdoodles

You can freeze these cookies for up to 3 months in freezer proof zipper top bags with all of the air squeezed out. Remember to label them with the name of the cookie and date. Defrost them at room temperature for a few hours before serving.

What to Serve With Snickerdoodles?

A big old class of milk! Or coffee, or tea.


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The classic: tender, cakey, soft cookies with that quintessential cinnamon sugar coating for a bit of crunch.
Yield: 20 Cookies
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Diet: Vegetarian


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar divided
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon


  • Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, if you have it, otherwise leave it ungreased. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt.
  • In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together the butter and ¾ cup of the sugar for about 2 minutes, until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides as needed. Beat in the egg until completely incorporated, then beat in the vanilla extract. With the mixer on low, beat in the flour mixture until incorporated, scraping down the sides as needed.
  • Place the remaining ¼ cup sugar and the cinnamon in a shallow bowl and stir to combine. Troll the batter into 1 ½-inch balls, then roll the balls in the sugar mixture, working in batches. Place them on the baking sheets, at least 2 inches apart. If you like a flatter cookies, press down on the balls with your hand or the bottom of a glass.
  • Bake them for 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the sheets midway if you are baking more than one sheet at a time, so that both sheets have a chance to be on the upper rack.
  • Transfer the snickerdoodles to a wire rack to cool.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 171kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 33mg | Sodium: 90mg | Potassium: 44mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 296IU | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 1mg

The nutrition values are provided as an estimate. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional.

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    1. a whisk is probably not powerful enough to really blend the dough, so you are better off with a mixing spoon (and some stamina!)

  1. When I want a soft, chewy cookie, it’s a tossup between these snickerdoodles and your sugar cookies. The cinnamon and sugar cookies take me back to my grandma’s kitchen. They are a teacher favorite for the school cookie jar

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