You can easily make the BEST, classic, chewy Snickerdoodle recipe, and you’ll learn the science behind why it works too!
If there is a chill in the air, and the deciduous trees are almost bare, ‘tis the season for Snickerdoodles baked with loads of loving care! Trust us. You’ll see. You’ll never want to follow another Snickerdoodle recipe.
Ours are perfectly chewy, and oh so buttery too. With loads of cinnamon and sugar to spare, they are guaranteed to make the holidays less blue. You will want to bake some for your friends, and your neighbors as well. Maybe for the office cookie exchange, or for a fundraiser to sell. But these cookies are so good, please if you would, don’t forget to bake enough for you and your family too!
Sorry about that, I may have just waxed poetic about a cookie. But in my defense, these are some of my favorite holiday cookies ever! I even like most of the other Snickerdoodle themed treats that start popping up this time of year.
You can leave the pumpkin spice at the store, but I just saw a Snickerdoodle flavored McFlurry while I was researching for this post! Yes, please!
Or how about the Snickerdoodle lattes that start showing up on your favorite coffee kiosk menus? Maybe I’m a little obsessive, but as a kid, I used to put butter, cinnamon, and sugar on my breakfast toast on the regular. I don’t want to get sidetracked though.
Let’s talk cookies!
What is the difference between a sugar cookie and a Snickerdoodle?
According to The Joy of Cooking, snickerdoodles are probably German in origin and the name is a corruption of the German word for “snail dumpling” (Schneckennudeln, or cinnamon-dusted sweet rolls). “Schneckennudeln”, try and say that three times fast! My source for this information was Wikipedia.
A Snickerdoodle and a Sugar cookie have most of the same basic ingredients, but there are a few very important differences. A traditional Snickerdoodle is supposed to be chewy, while the standard sugar cookie can have a bit of a crystallized sugar crunch to it.
Snickerdoodles, of course, are rolled in both cinnamon and sugar. The sugar cookie just gets a white sugar coating. Snickerdoodles also use Cream of Tartar and sugar cookies don’t often include this.
Can I substitute baking powder for cream of tartar in my snickerdoodles?
Now we are getting into the real secrets of what makes a perfect Snickerdoodle! Do you need cream of tartar in order to make a snickerdoodle? The answer is yes in my humble opinion.
I know, Cream of Tartar sounds like something you may want to dip your fish ‘n’ chips in, but it’s probably one of the most important ingredients you don’t want to leave out of a traditional Snickerdoodle recipe.
Cream of Tartar is made of Tartaric Acid (which is a byproduct of winemaking) and potassium hydroxide. The potassium hydroxide helps neutralize the acidity of the Tartaric Acid. Real Cream of tartar is what creates the chewy texture of a classic Snickerdoodle, as well as its unique tangy taste.
If you want to read more about the differences between Cream of Tartar and Baking Powder, or you are still interested in substituting Baking Powder in your batch of Snickerdoodles, you will want to check this article out!
Cream of tartar may also affect the color of your cookies a little. It apparently interacts with flour pigments in such a way that it maintains a more white appearance.
One other thing about cream of tartar is that it can help make a firmer meringue too. That isn’t so important for a Snickerdoodle Cookie, but you may be interested in reading more about that and other facts here.
Here are my best tips to prevent flat cookies:
The most important tip I can give is to avoid over mixing the dough! Always use real butter instead of margarine or shortening. Butter will hold the cookies together better.
If you don’t have the time to bake the cookies right away, wrap the dough in plastic and store it in the refrigerator. This will keep the butter from over saturating the dough. You can keep your dough in the fridge for up to three days this way before baking them off if you want. You will need to allow the dough to come back up to room temperature before you proceed with the final steps though.
Don’t over roll the cookies in the cinnamon-sugar mixture, just do a light roll. Too much sugar will cause the cookies to spread.
Place the cookies on parchment paper or a silicone mat when baking. And let your cookie sheets slightly cool in between batches.
Finally, I like to bake my Snickerdoodle recipe at 350 degrees, which is about 50 degrees cooler than a lot of other recipes you’ll come across, but every oven is a little different, so know your oven’s true temperature tendencies and don’t over bake.
If you are not sure how your oven performs, try doing a small test batch first, and keep your eyes on them. You are looking for the edges of the cookies to just start turning golden brown in color. The center may not look completely done yet but trust the process.
Above all, have fun! Perfection is a phantom trying to steal your joy. As long as you don’t burn them, you’re going to make a cookie. If you have any little ones around, including them in the process could be a fun and easy way to make some unforgettable memories along the way. I can almost smell that Snickerdoodle recipe baking already! From our kitchen to yours, Happy Holidays!
Looking for more amazing cookie recipes? Check out some of our other recipes below:
Chewy Snickerdoodle Recipe
- 1 cup Unsalted Butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups Sugar
- 2 large Eggs
- 3 teaspoons Vanilla
- 2 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoon Cream of Tartar
- 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Cinnamon-Sugar Mixture:
- 1/4 cup Sugar
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons Cinnamon
- 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- 2. Combine the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl.
- 3. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar for 4-5 minutes until light and fluffy.
- 4. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the eggs and vanilla. Cream for 2-3 minutes longer (Here’s a fun tip! Creaming the mixture after adding the eggs for the maximum time will result in a more cake like texture. If you like your snickerdoodles extra chewy, try creaming for just 30 seconds to a minute instead).
- 5. Now add the dry ingredients you combined in a separate bowl, and mix everything together.
- 6. There is no need to chill your dough unless you can’t complete the process right away. If you cannot complete immediately chill, but allow dough to come to room temperature before baking.
- 7. In a small bowl, stir together sugar and cinnamon.
- 8. Roll your dough into small balls until round and smooth. Drop them into the cinnamon-sugar mixture and coat well. Using a spoon, coat for a second time to ensure the cookie balls are completely covered.
- 9. To make flatter snickerdoodles, press down in the center of the ball before placing them in the oven. This helps to keep them from puffing up in the middle.
- 10. Place your cookies on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake for 9-11 minutes. Remember that you just want the edges to turn golden brown. The center may not look done to you yet, but trust the process.
- 11. Let the cookies cool for several minutes on the baking sheet before removing them from the pan.
- 12. Serve and Enjoy!