Snickerdoodle cookies are a beloved classic in the world of baking, known for their soft, chewy texture, and irresistible cinnamon-sugar coating. These cookies have a rich history and a simple yet delightful flavor profile that appeals to both young and old alike. In this article, we’ll explore the origins of Snickerdoodle cookies, discuss what makes them unique, provide tips for baking the perfect batch at home, and share a detailed recipe to help you master this timeless treat.

The Origins of Snickerdoodle Cookies

Mrs. Sigg's Snickerdoodles

The exact origins of Snickerdoodle cookies are somewhat mysterious, with various theories surrounding their creation. One popular belief is that these cookies have Dutch-German roots, possibly originating in New England during the 19th century. The name “Snickerdoodle” itself is thought to be of German or Dutch descent, although its precise meaning remains unclear.

Despite their ambiguous origins, Snickerdoodle cookies quickly became a favorite in American baking. They are often associated with holiday baking, particularly Christmas, but are enjoyed year-round for their comforting flavor and simplicity.

What Sets Snickerdoodle Cookies Apart?

Snickerdoodle cookies are distinguished by a few key characteristics that set them apart from other cookies:

  1. Soft and Chewy Texture: These cookies are soft, with a slightly chewy center and a crisp edge, thanks to the inclusion of cream of tartar in the dough.
  2. Cinnamon-Sugar Coating: Before baking, Snickerdoodle cookie dough balls are rolled in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. This coating adds a sweet and spicy crunch to the cookies once baked.
  3. Subtle Tangy Flavor: The addition of cream of tartar not only contributes to the texture but also gives the cookies a subtle tanginess that complements the sweetness of the cinnamon-sugar coating.

Ingredients for Snickerdoodle Cookies

To make a batch of delicious Snickerdoodle cookies, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • For rolling:
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Step-by-Step Recipe for Snickerdoodle Cookies

Step 1: Preheat Your Oven

Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats to prevent the cookies from sticking.

Step 2: Cream the Butter and Sugar

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the softened butter and 1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar until light and fluffy. This can be done with a stand mixer, handheld mixer, or by hand with a sturdy spoon.

Step 3: Add Eggs

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to ensure even mixing.

Step 4: Combine Dry Ingredients

In a separate bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt until well combined.

Step 5: Mix Wet and Dry Ingredients

Gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter-sugar mixture, mixing on low speed (or by hand) until just combined. Be careful not to overmix, as this can lead to tough cookies.

Step 6: Prepare Cinnamon-Sugar Coating

In a small bowl, mix together the remaining 1/4 cup of granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon until evenly combined.

Step 7: Form Cookie Dough Balls

Using a spoon or cookie scoop, portion the cookie dough into balls, each about 1 to 1.5 inches in diameter. Roll each ball in the cinnamon-sugar mixture until evenly coated.

Step 8: Bake the Cookies

Place the coated cookie dough balls onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 2 inches apart to allow for spreading during baking. Flatten each ball slightly with the bottom of a glass or your fingers.

Step 9: Bake and Cool

Bake the cookies in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges are set and just beginning to turn golden brown. The centers may still look slightly soft, but they will firm up as they cool. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Step 10: Enjoy!

Once cooled, serve the Snickerdoodle cookies with a cold glass of milk or your favorite hot beverage. Store any leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.

Tips for Perfect Snickerdoodle Cookies

Snickerdoodle Cookies
  • Use Room Temperature Ingredients: Allow the butter and eggs to come to room temperature before starting. This ensures even mixing and helps create a smooth cookie dough.
  • Cream of Tartar: This ingredient is key to achieving the characteristic texture and flavor of Snickerdoodle cookies. If you don’t have cream of tartar, you can substitute it with an equal amount of lemon juice or white vinegar.
  • Chill the Dough: For slightly thicker cookies, chill the dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour before rolling into balls and coating with cinnamon-sugar.
  • Uniform Size: For evenly baked cookies, try to shape the dough balls to a uniform size. This ensures that they bake evenly and look aesthetically pleasing.

Variations of Snickerdoodle Cookies

While classic Snickerdoodle cookies are always a hit, there are several variations you can explore to add your own twist:

  1. Chocolate Chip Snickerdoodles: Add chocolate chips to the dough for a chocolatey surprise in every bite.
  2. Pumpkin Spice Snickerdoodles: Mix pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice into the dough for a festive fall flavor.
  3. Maple Snickerdoodles: Substitute some of the granulated sugar with maple syrup for a rich and sweet flavor.
  4. Nutty Snickerdoodles: Add chopped nuts, such as pecans or almonds, to the dough for added crunch and flavor.
  5. Gluten-Free Snickerdoodles: Use a gluten-free flour blend instead of all-purpose flour for a gluten-free version of these cookies.

Serving Suggestions for Snickerdoodle Cookies

Snickerdoodle cookies are delicious on their own but can be enjoyed in various ways:

  • Dessert Platter: Serve alongside other cookies and treats for a dessert platter at parties or gatherings.
  • Ice Cream Sandwiches: Sandwich a scoop of vanilla ice cream between two Snickerdoodle cookies for a delightful ice cream sandwich.
  • Gift Giving: Package them in decorative bags or boxes to give as homemade gifts during holidays or special occasions.
  • Coffee or Tea Pairing: Enjoy with a cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate for a cozy treat on a cold day.

Making Snickerdoodle Cookies Ahead of Time

Snickerdoodle cookie dough can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator or freezer for future baking:

  • Refrigerating Dough: Wrap the cookie dough tightly in plastic wrap or store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Let it come to room temperature before rolling into balls and baking.
  • Freezing Dough: Shape the cookie dough into balls and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Freeze until solid, then transfer the dough balls to a freezer-safe bag or container. Frozen cookie dough can be stored for up to 3 months. Bake from frozen, adding a few extra minutes to the baking time.

Health Considerations

While Snickerdoodle cookies are a delightful indulgence, you can make them slightly healthier with these tips:

  • Reduce Sugar: Decrease the amount of sugar used in the cinnamon-sugar coating or use a natural sweetener like coconut sugar.
  • Whole Grain Flour: Substitute part of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour or almond flour for added fiber and nutrients.
  • Portion Control: Enjoy in moderation as part of a balanced diet, pairing with healthier snacks like fresh fruit or yogurt.

Snickerdoodle Cookies in American Culture

Snickerdoodle cookies hold a special place in American culture as a beloved homemade treat that evokes nostalgia and comfort. They are often passed down through generations and enjoyed during festive occasions, family gatherings, and everyday moments of indulgence.


Snickerdoodle cookies are a timeless favorite, cherished for their simple yet delicious flavor and comforting texture. Whether you’re baking them for a holiday celebration, a special treat, or just because, these cookies are sure to bring joy to everyone who tastes them. With the recipe and tips provided in this article, you can confidently bake a batch of perfect Snickerdoodle cookies at home, creating sweet memories with every bite.

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