Snickerdoodles Without Cream of Tartar

This easy snickerdoodle recipe is simple and wonderful. It uses standard pantry ingredients to make soft and chewy cookies with the perfect amount of cinnamon spice. Ready in 30-minutes, these snickerdoodles without cream of tartar are perfect any time of year, and great for the holidays too!

a stack of snickerdoodles, with the top cooking having a bite taken out of it.

I love this cookie recipe for so many reasons. The cookies are perfectly soft and chewy. The perfect ratio of cinnamon sugar for the coating has been achieved. And this recipe doesn’t have cream of tartar, which many people do not have in their pantry (or if they do, they bought it like 5 years ago for a recipe, so it isn’t good anymore).

This snickerdoodle recipe with no cream of tartar is also a small batch cookie recipe, yielding 12 cookies. Perfect for when you want a treat, but not too many extras. If you want more snickerdoodles you can easily double (or triple) the recipe too, easy peasy.

Snickerdoodles are a popular choice for bakers when making Christmas cookies, but these cookies are really a great choice any time of year!

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What’s the Deal with No Cream of Tartar?

Cream of tartar is often used as the leavening agent in snickerdoodles (instead of baking powder or baking soda). Its most common use in baking is to act as a stabilizer for whipped eggs (think meringues) and to prevent crystallization from occurring (in things like homemade candies and caramels). But the average home baker likely isn’t using the ingredient often, and may not even keep cream of tartar in their pantry.

The substitute for cream of tartar in snickerdoodles has already been worked out for you in this easy snickerdoodle recipe! I’ve worked hard to find the perfect amount of baking powder to use to give your cookies just enough rise, and still allow for them to be nice and chewy.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Simple recipe. This easy recipe is great for new bakers and advanced bakers alike! It’s pretty much measure, mix, scoop, roll in cinnamon-sugar, and bake.

Delicious Flavor. Cinnamon-sugar, buttery sugar cookie goodness.

Wonderful texture. Is there anything better than a soft and chewy snickerdoodle?

Quick to make! It will take you approximately 30 minutes to make a single batch of this snickerdoodle recipe without cream of tartar. Time may vary depending on the size of your baking trays, and how many trays you bake at one time (30 minutes assumes you put in two trays at different times).

No chill time required. Goes right into the oven after your dough is ready, no waiting required!

A popular Christmas cookie made with standard pantry ingredients! It’s likely you already have what you need to make these cookies!

Ingredients Needed

ingredients needed to make this snickerdoodle recipe without cream of tartar.

TIP: Using room temperature eggs is often suggested for baking because the eggs will incorporate into the softened butter easier. This results in a smooth, uniform batter. If you’re setting your eggs out on the counter to bring them up to room temperature, the standard rule of thumb is to set them out for at least 30 minutes prior to using them.

See recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and measurements.

Recipe Variations and Substitutions

  • Change the spices your snickerdoodles are rolled in. We sometimes like to mix things up and make chai snickerdoodles by replacing about half of the cinnamon with cardamom instead! You could also try using pumpkin pie spice in place of cinnamon for some extra fun.
  • Use unsalted butter. Some purists would say you should always bake with unsalted butter… but I admit I personally love baking with salted butter, especially in cookie recipes. If you’d prefer to use unsalted butter (or that’s what you have in your fridge), swap the butter 1-for-1 and add ½ teaspoon of salt to your dough.

Step-By-Step Instructions

Step 1: Preheat your oven to 400°F. Set baking pans aside to use once the dough is ready.

process shot showing the sugar being added to the mixing bowl with the butter.

Step 2: In a large mixing bowl, add the softened butter, sugar, and the egg.

process shot showing the butter, egg, and sugar being creamed together with a wooden spoon.

Step 3: Cream until well combined. The mixture should look pale yellow and fluffy. It will also be a little grainy because of the granulated sugar.

process shot showing vanilla being poured into the creamed butter, egg, and sugar.

Step 4: Add in the vanilla and stir to incorporate into the rest of the wet ingredients.

process shot showing the dry ingredients being mixed into the wet ingredients.

Step 5: Slowly stir in the dry ingredients (the baking powder and all-purpose flour) until a dough is formed.

process shot showing the snickerdoodle cookie dough.

Step 6 (optional): If the dough is sticky, cover the mixing bowl and refrigerate your for 30 minutes – 1 hour before rolling and dipping.

process shot of rolling a ball of dough prior to dipping into cinnamon-sugar.

Step 7: Using a medium cookie scoop (or approximately 2 Tablespoons) scoop dough into your hand and roll into a ball.

process shot of a rolled ball of dough being dipped into cinnamon-sugar.

Step 8: Roll each dough ball in the cinnamon-sugar mixture to fully coat.

a baking tray filled with dough balls covered in cinnamon-sugar, ready to be put in the oven.

Step 9: Place rolled dough balls onto ungreased cookie sheets, leaving about 2 inches in between them. 

Bake each tray of cookies for 8-10 minutes. Remove from the oven when the edges just look set. Do NOT overbake to ensure you have soft and chewy cookies (the cookies will continue to set up after they’re pulled out of the oven).

Possible Dietary Restrictions?

This snickerdoodle cookie recipe is vegetarian as written. One small modification is needed to a gluten-free cookie recipe: 

  • To make this into a gluten free snickerdoodle recipe, replace the all-purpose flour called for in the recipe with a one-to-one gluten free flour alternative. Note: I have not done this myself, but have used this one-to-one gluten free flour alternative successfully in other bakes.

Expert Tips

Get your cookies to all be the same size by using a cookie scoop

While not a necessity, a cookie scoop is a super helpful tool that I use a lot in my kitchen. For the best snickerdoodle cookie, I like to use a medium cookie scoop.

If you prefer smaller cookies, a small cookie scoop is what you’ll need (and what I use for many of my cookie recipes, like Peanut Butter Blossoms and Death by Chocolate Cookies).

If you love those extra large bakery-style cookies, you can use a large cookie scoop. If you do this, you will need to add a few minutes to your baking time.

Get your cookies to be perfectly round with “the cookie scoot”

When you pull your cookies out of the oven, use a circular cookie cutter (or a round glass larger than your cookie) to gently “scoot” your cookies in a circular motion to help shift the edges and create perfectly round cookies.

Do NOT overbake your snickerdoodles!

To get soft and chewy snickerdoodles, you need to pull them out of the oven once the edges are JUST set and starting to turn golden brown. Per the directions, leave them on the cookie sheet for about five minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. This will give your cookies time to continue to set, and will result in nice and soft snickerdoodles!

a snickerdoodle just dipped in a glass of milk. a drop of milk is falling off the bottom of it.

Recipe FAQs

What is a snickerdoodle?

Simply put, a snickerdoodle cookie is a sugar cookie that is rolled in cinnamon-sugar before it is baked. Snickerdoodles have a characteristic cracked top and can be soft or crispy depending on the ingredients used and how they are baked.

Why do most snickerdoodle recipes have cream of tartar?

Cream of tartar is often used as the leavening agent in snickerdoodles (instead of baking powder or baking soda). Cream of tartar is more acidic than other leavening agents, and gives bakes a distinctive tanginess when used. Some associate this hint of tanginess with snickerdoodle cookies.

Do I have to chill the dough?

No, but you can! If you find that your dough is particularly sticky, I recommend covering it and placing it in the fridge for about a half hour. This will make the dough easier to work with when rolling and dipping into the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Snickerdoodle cookie dough can be refrigerated for up to one day. If you decide to do this, let your dough warm up at room temperature for about 10 minutes prior to scooping, rolling, dipping, and baking.

How do I store snickerdoodles?

Store cooled cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3-4 days. 

Can I freeze snickerdoodle cookies?

Yes! Place cooled cookies into a freezer bag or air-tight container and freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to enjoy, remove the cookies from the freezer and allow them to thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

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a stack of snickerdoodles, with the top cooking having a bite taken out of it.

Snickerdoodles Without Cream of Tartar

Meredith
This easy snickerdoodle recipe is simple and wonderful. It uses standard pantry ingredients to make soft and chewy cookies with the perfect amount of cinnamon spice. These snickerdoodles without cream of tartar are perfect any time of year, and great for the holidays too!
5 from 10 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12 Servings
Calories 187 kcal

Ingredients
  

Snickerdoodle Cookie Dough Ingredients

  • ½ C salted butter, softened*
  • 1 large egg
  • ¾ C granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 + ¼ C all-purpose flour

Cinnamon-Sugar Mixture for Rolling

  • 4 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Instructions
 

  • Preheat your oven to 400°F. Set baking pans aside to use once the dough is ready.
  • In a large mixing bowl, cream the softened butter, sugar, and egg together until smooth and well combined.
  • Once a uniform mixture has been created, add in the vanilla and stir to incorporate.
  • Slowly stir in the baking powder and all-purpose flour until a dough is formed.
  • If your dough is sticky, cover your mixing bowl and refrigerate your dough for 30 minutes – 1 hour (up to overnight if that is better for your schedule). This will make it easier to roll.
  • In a small bowl, make the cinnamon-sugar mixture by stirring together the ground cinnamon and sugar.
  • Using a medium cookie scoop (or approximately 2 Tablespoons) scoop dough into your hand and roll into a ball. Roll each dough ball in the cinnamon-sugar mixture to fully coat. Place rolled dough balls onto ungreased cookie sheets, leaving about 2 inches in between them.
  • Bake each tray of cookies for 8-10 minutes. Remove from the oven when the edges just look set. Do NOT overbake to ensure you have soft and chewy cookies (the cookies will continue to set up after they’re pulled out of the oven).
  • Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for about five minutes and then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Serve and enjoy!
  • Store cooled cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3-4 days.

Notes

*If you prefer to use unsalted butter, add ½ teaspoon of salt to your dough.
*Do NOT overbake your snickerdoodles! To get soft and chewy snickerdoodles, you need to pull them out of the oven once the edges are JUST set and starting to turn golden brown. Per the directions, leave them on the cookie sheet for about five minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. This will give your cookies time to continue to set, and will result in nice and soft snickerdoodles!

Nutrition

Calories: 187kcalCarbohydrates: 27gProtein: 2gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.4gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 34mgSodium: 102mgPotassium: 25mgFiber: 1gSugar: 17gVitamin A: 258IUVitamin C: 0.02mgCalcium: 33mgIron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
*Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means at no additional cost to you I may receive a small commission for purchases made through these links. However, please know that I strive to provide links to products that I actually use and wholeheartedly recommend whenever possible.
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Comments

  1. Ben R. says

    5 stars
    Love this recipe! Easy to make, tastes great, and I love that it’s a small batch recipe.

    • ourlovelanguageisfood says

      I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed these!! Thank you for making my recipe 🙂

  2. Vivienne says

    5 stars
    These are fabulous! I like the small batch idea…there is nothing like freshly baked cookies. I like the use of cardamom in the cinnamon – sugar mixture too..a different flavor profile and a change of pace. This good old fashioned cookie cannot be beat!

    • ourlovelanguageisfood says

      I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed these Vivienne! Love mixing cardamom in with the cinnamon-sugar mixture to for a little change up – so yummy!

  3. Elizabeth Turner says

    5 stars
    Awesome! My crew can’t get enough

    • ourlovelanguageisfood says

      I’m so happy to hear everyone loved it Elizabeth!! Thank you for making my recipe 🙂

  4. Emjay says

    In the recipe, it says baking powder but in the instructions, it mentions baking soda?

    • ourlovelanguageisfood says

      Hi Emjay – thank you for letting me know! It is baking powder, in the amount listed in the ingredient list. The instructions have been updated.