These easy snickerdoodles without cream of tartar are the perfect snickerdoodle cookie recipe. They are soft and chewy with the a rich buttery flavor and crisp, cinnamon sugar exterior. You’ll love the tender crumb and texture of these snickerdoodle cookies.
Why Make This Recipe
Besides these snickerdoodles without cream of tartar being delicious, I love that they use simple ingredients. No need to run to the store for an obscure ingredient that will expire before you need to use it again. Cream of tartar is not as common of an ingredient in most households anymore so I love that this recipe uses baking powder.
These cookies are baked at 375 degrees which helps activate the baking powder making the cookies light and soft in the center with crisp edges. We use a high ratio of cinnamon to sugar to ensure that that cinnamon flavor really comes through. These soft snickerdoodles also have just a little bit of brown sugar in them which adds a subtle richness and complements the cinnamon flavor without being overwhelming.
- Butter. Room temperature butter ensures that air can be whipped into the cookie dough so the cookies are light and chewy and have a great texture. Butter adds more flavor
- Sugar. We use white granulated sugar to give these cookies their signature sugar cookie flavor and keep the texture light.
- Brown Sugar. We add a tiny bit of light brown sugar to these snickerdoodles cookies which adds a rich, subtle but complex flavor to these cookies.
- Vanilla. We add a generous tablespoon of vanilla to these snickerdoodles. It complements and enhances the buttery, cinnamon flavors.
- Egg. Egg acts as a binder and helps the cookies rise.
- Baking Powder. Baking powder is our leavening agent, the baking powder plus the high temperature make these cookies puff up beautifully.
- Salt. A little salt enhances all the flavors of these snickerdoodles.
- Flour. We use all-purpose flour for the cookie base.
- Cinnamon. We mix cinnamon and sugar together and roll the sugar cookie dough in it. This gives snickerdoodles their signature cinnamon flavor profile, as well as giving the cookies a crisp exterior.
How to Make this Recipe
- Cream butter & sugars. Cream the butter, sugar, and light brown sugar together for one minute.
- Add egg. Add in the egg and vanilla and continue creaming for another 2-3 minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy.
- Stir in Dry ingredients. Add in the salt, baking powder, and flour. Mix until the dry ingredients are fully dispersed, but do not over mix. Over mixing can result in tough, overworked cookies.
- Roll in cinnamon sugar. Mix together white sugar and ground cinnamon. Scoop cookie dough and roll into round balls. Roll in cinnamon and sugar until the cookie dough ball is completely coated.
- Bake. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, leaving plenty of room for the cookies to spread. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-11 minutes. Let cookies cool on the baking sheet for at least 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
Snickerdoodle History: Who invented the snickerdoodle?
Short Story: Cornelia Campbell Bedford created the first snickerdoodle cookie (without cream of tartar!) for the Cleveland Baking Company in 1891.
The long story is a little more complex, but keep reading! The origin of snickerdoodles isn’t super straight forward. The acclaimed cook book from 1931, Joy of Cooking claims the term snickerdoodle is based off of the German word “schneckennudel” meaning “snail noodle” which is a type of German pastry similar to a cinnamon bun.
Another common origin story is that it comes from the term “snipdoodle” which is a type of coffee cake named by the Pennsylvanian Dutch.
The first use of the term “snickerdoodle” to ever appear as a written recipe was in the 1889 book, Home-Maker. However, these are not snickerdoodles as we know them today. They were a type of dense cake bar topped with cinnamon sugar.
The first snickerdoodle cookie made its appearance in 1891, when Cornelia Campbell Bedford was commissioned by the Cleveland Baking Company to develop a recipe using their baking powder. Her recipe actually used baking powder, not baking soda and cream of tartar. So for all the haters out there that think cream of tartar is the only way to make a snickerdoodle, I think our inventor might have a different opinion. I’m here for it, snickerdoodles with no cream of tartar are SO GOOD!
- Line pans with parchment paper or silicone mat. Not only are these great ways to prevent your cookies from sticking to the pan and make for an easy clean up, but they also give your cookies more even bake.
- Don’t overbake. It’s easy to overbake these cookies, because they may still look a little soft and underbaked on top. The edges should look set and done on these cookies, it’s important to remember that as they cool on the hot pans they will continue to cook and set up.
- Measure ingredients carefully. I think this pertains most importantly to flour, as it is easily overpacked in measuring cups and compacts as it sits. I typically weigh my flour for accuracy (130 grams/cup), however, if you do not have a food scale I recommend you stir up your flour so it isn’t so compacted. Then, spoon the flour into the measuring cup and level it off carefully.
- Use fresh baking powder. Baking powder loses its potency over time. So check the manufacturer’s best by date on the package! Old baking powder can prevent your snickerdoodles from rising properly and result In flat, dense cookies.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The original snickerdoodle recipe actually uses baking powder, but because baking powder was a little more expensive and not as common at the time, cream of tartar and baking soda were often used. Because there is typically no other acidic ingredient in snickerdoodles, cream of tartar is used to activate the baking soda, helping the cookies rise.
This recipe uses baking powder which is a combination of baking soda and a powdered acid (like cream of tartar) and only requires moisture and heat to activate it.
Many people identify snickerdoodles as having a tangy aftertaste. Cream of tartar is what gives snickerdoodles that tanginess. I’ve found that a lot of people are very sensitive to the tangy flavor of cream of tartar and the bitter, metallic flavor baking soda can have. This is why I prefer to use baking powder in this recipe.
Cream of tartar is not a necessity in cookies. Cream of tartar is usually used in combination with baking soda. Baking soda requires an acid to react with it, so if your recipe has an acidic ingredient (molasses, sour cream, yogurt, lemon juice, vinegar, etc.) you may be able to omit the cream of tartar in a recipe.
Or you may be able to use baking powder instead of the cream of tartar + baking soda. Just remember that there are lots of other factors at play with baking and you may not get the exact intended result of the recipe developer. It also probably won’t be a direct 1:1 swap for baking powder, so it may require some testing and tweaking to get the recipe just right.
Usually this means that you over baked the cookies. The cookies may still look soft and little doughy in the center when they first come out of the oven, but as long as the edges of the cookies look set and done, they will be perfect.
Snickerdoodles (and other cookies) will continue cooking on the hot pan from the residual heat even when removed from the oven and will keep setting up as they cool.
If you bake them until they look done, then they will usually be over done by the time they have cooled.
If your cookies are too flat that could mean a couple of things. It could be that you did not cream the butter, sugars, and eggs for long enough. Creaming them together whips air into the mixture helping lift the cookie, giving them a light and tender texture.
Or it could bet that your baking powder was old. Old baking powder loses its effectiveness as it ages and will not leaven the cookies like it should.
Or perhaps, you did not add enough flour. This is not usually the problem, people usually add too much flour and not too little.
If your snickerdoodles did not flatten out, this usually means that you you’ve added too much flour to the dough. Too much flour will not allow your cookies to spread very much.
How to Store This Recipe
These snickerdoodle cookies without cream of tartar are best eaten within 2 days of baking. To maintain freshness I recommend loosely covering the cookies with plastic wrap, foil, or a dish cloth.
In the Freezer
To freeze the cookie dough for a later date, scoop the cookie dough into round balls and roll in the cinnamon sugar mixture. Place on a plate or small baking sheet lined with some parchment paper or foil (it’ll keep the dough from sticking) and place in the freezer for 1 hour. Remove the snickerdoodle cookie dough and place in a freezer bag or an airtight container. It is best to use within 3 months of freezing.
When you are ready to bake, remove the cookie dough from the container and let thaw for about 30 minutes, then bake according to instructions. You may need to add 1-2 minutes depending on how warm your kitchen is.
These cookies freeze very well. Once the cookies have cooled completely place them in a freezer bag or an airtight container. Let the cookies return to room temperature before eating. Eat within 3 months of freezing.
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Snickerdoodles without Cream of Tartar
- 1 cup butter room temperature
- 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
- ¼ cup light brown sugar packed
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled, 325 grams)
- ¼ cups granulated sugar
- 1 ½ tablespoons cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- Cream together butter and both sugars together for 1 minute. Add egg and vanilla and continue creaming for an additional 2-3minutes until mixture is light and fluffy.
- Add in salt, baking powder, and flour. Make sure you have measured your flour correctly, too much flour will make these cookies dry. Mix until dry ingredients are just barely incorporated, do not over mix.
- Mix together the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl for rolling the cookie dough in. Scoop cookie dough, 2 tablespoons for small cookies or 4 tablespoons for large cookies, and roll in cinnamon sugar mixture. Place on baking sheet leaving plenty of room for cookies to spread.
- Bake small cookies for 10-11 minutes or large cookies for 11 minutes. The edges should be set.
- Let cookies cool on baking sheet for at least 5 minutes before transferring to cooling rack. Cookies will continue to cook and set up on baking sheet after being removed from oven. Let cookie cool completely before eating.
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Amazing recipe and great job!