Today I’m going back to my roots and sharing the classic snickerdoodle cookies recipe that has stood the test of time. This is the recipe that grandma made, that my mom made and that we still make every single year, especially during the holidays.
My grandma’s recipe calls for shortening and that is how I prefer to make them, but I’ll share how to make them with butter, plus all of the differences in butter vs shortening.
About this Snickerdoodle Cookie Recipe:
Flavor: Our snickerdoodles have that classic sweet & tangy taste that you know and love. They are rolled in cinnamon and sugar for extra sweetness.
Texture: The cookies are extra soft, lightly chewy and stay soft for days. No drying out!
Method: If you use shortening, you don’t have to refrigerate the dough. If you choose all butter, refrigerate before baking.
Why is it called a snickerdoodle?
In my reference book, Sugar and Sweets, snickerdoodles are under the Pennsylvania Dutch section, which is actually a combination of 3 groups of immigrants. Snickerdoodles is from German word “schnecknudle” which in English literally means “snail noodles”. However, this popular pastry is more like an American cinnamon roll consisting of rolled yeast dough rather than a cookie.
The exact origin and history of the snickerdoodle is one I’m not sure of. There are stories everything from a tall tale about a hero in the 1900’s to it being just a fun name for a cookie. Who knows. But this recipe has stood the test of time.
This recipe is a simple collection of ingredients.
Shortening. Ok. I know many of you do not like using shortening, so find our suggestions for using butter below. I personally prefer shortening in my snickerdoodles so that the tangy sweet and cinnamon flavor shines through. Butter tends to overtake the cookies, which isn’t bad, but it is not the snickerdoodles I knew and loved as a child.
All-purpose flour. I included ingredient weights so you can be accurate with measuring the flour. Too much flour can make for a dry, hard cookie.
Cream of tartar. What is cream of tartar and do I have to use it? This ingredient is what helps give the cookies their tangy flavor. Can you make snickerdoodles without cream of tartar? Yes. But I’d suggest adding a splash of lemon juice or white vinegar to acheive that tangy flavor that snickerdoodles need to have.
Cinnamon. Notice there is no cinnamon in the cookies. They only get rolled in a cinnamon sugar mixture. For a twist, add a teaspoon of ground cinnamon to the cookie dough. It’s so good!
Butter vs Shortening
I prefer shortening for this recipe because of the traditional flavor and the fact that there is no need to refrigerate the cookie dough. The cookies turn out slightly thick and beautiful, every time.
I realize that rightly so, many of you want to use butter instead. Here are two suggestions.
Use a combination of shortening and butter. This is the method I take with my grandma’s pie crust recipe. You get the flavor of butter, plus the ease of shortening. If you use half butter and half shortening, you won’t need to refrigerate the cookie dough.
Use all butter. This will make for a rich and buttery snickerdoodle. If you choose this, I recommend refrigerating the cookie dough so that the cookies don’t spread too much. Form the cookie dough into balls, then roll in cinnamon and sugar. Then refrigerate the cookie dough balls for 30 minutes before baking.
Use room temperature butter
If you use butter, allow the butter to come to room temperature. This yields the best results over softening it in the microwave. Do not melt the butter. This will give the cookie a completely different texture.
How to Make Snickerdoodles
Prepare. Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
Mix. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (or using a large bowl with an electric hand mixer), cream the shortening and the sugar until well mixed. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the eggs and mix again until combined.
Add in dry ingredients. Add in the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Mix well until combined.
Assemble. Use a cookie scoop to scoop and roll the cookie dough into balls. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon. Roll each cookie dough ball in the cinnamon sugar mixture, then place on the prepared cookie sheet.
Bake. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Don’t overbake! Don’t let the cookies get brown if you’d like them to be soft. Allow the cookies to cool on a wire rack.
Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. They also freeze well for up to 8 weeks.
Easy Snickerdoodle Cookie Recipe – 3 Ways
4.66 from 23 votes
The easy recipe for traditional Snickerdoodle Cookies you grew up with. Soft, sweet and tangy, made with shortening or butter.
Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
In the bowl of a stand mixer (or using a mixing bowl with an electric mixer), cream the shortening and the sugar until well mixed, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
Add the eggs and mix again until combined.
Add in the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Mix well until combined.
Roll the cookie dough into balls.
In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon. Roll each cookie dough ball in the cinnamon sugar mixture, then place on the baking sheet.
Bake for 8-10 minutes. Don’t let the cookies get brown if you’d like them to be soft.
Right after they come out of the oven, swirl in a mason jar ring or round cookie cutter so that they are perfectly round.
Allow the cookies to cool on a wire cooking rack. Then store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days. Freeze for up to 8 weeks.
The cookie dough balls were 1 1/2″ wide and I got 30 balls. The cookies spread to about 3″ wide during baking.Refer to the article above for more tips and tricks.The calories shown are based on the recipe making 30 cookies, with 1 serving being 1 cookie. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate. **We are not dietitians and recommend you seek a nutritionist for exact nutritional information. The information in the nutrition box are calculated through a program and there is room for error. If you need an accurate count, I recommend running the ingredients through your favorite nutrition calculator.**
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About Julie Clark
I'm Julie Clark, CEO and recipe developer of Tastes of Lizzy T. With my B.A. in Education and over 30 years of cooking and baking, I want to teach YOU the best of our family recipes.