Easy Snickerdoodle Cookies

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The easy recipe for traditional Snickerdoodle Cookies you grew up with. Soft, sweet and tangy, made with shortening or butter.

Table of Contents
  1. About this Snickerdoodle Cookie Recipe:
  2. Why is it called a snickerdoodle?
  3. Ingredients
  4. Butter vs Shortening
  5. How to Make Snickerdoodles
  6. Storage Instructions
  7. Easy Snickerdoodle Cookie Recipe – 3 Ways Recipe
  8. Love cinnamon? Try our famous cinnamon rolls.
  9. The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes

Over 5 years ago, I shared a unique snickerdoodle recipe made with homemade cinnamon chips. These were meant to be a “bakery style” snickerdoodle cookie that took a little extra time, but was worth it because it was special.

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.

overhead view of a pile of snickerdoodles on a pan
  • 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.

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a stack of snickerdoodle cookies, one with a bite out of it

Ingredients

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.
  • Sugar.
  • Eggs.
  • 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.
  • Baking soda.
  • Salt.
  • 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.
shortening cookie and a butter cookie on a table

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.
unbaked snickerdoodle cookie dough balls on a baking sheet
  • 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.
overhead view of snickerdoodle cookies on a baking sheet

Storage Instructions

Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. They also freeze well for up to 8 weeks.

a pile of snickerdoodle cookies sitting on a cookie sheet
a pile of snickerdoodle cookies sitting on a cookie sheet
4.78 from 9 votes
The easy recipe for traditional Snickerdoodle Cookies you grew up with. Soft, sweet and tangy, made with shortening or butter.
Servings 30
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes

Ingredients
 

For the cookies:

  • 1 cup shortening 185 grams
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar 300 grams
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour 358 grams
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar 8 grams
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda 7 grams
  • ½ teaspoon salt 1 gram

For rolling:

  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon

Instructions
 

  • 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.

Notes

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.**

Nutrition

Calories: 153kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 11mg | Sodium: 80mg | Potassium: 52mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 17IU | Vitamin C: 0.02mg | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 1mg
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 153
Keyword best sugar cookies, easy cookie recipes

Love cinnamon? Try our famous cinnamon rolls.

The best cinnamon roll recipes.

Have you tried our famous cinnamon rolls yet? It’s the recipe that went viral on social media over 5 years ago and continues to be a recipe that brings families together. Find over 25 cinnamon roll recipes right here.

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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.

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Kandy
1 day ago

Mine didn’t flatten out. Would like to know more about the swirling process