Learn how to make Snickerdoodles without Cream of Tartar with our quick and easy recipe. These cookies still have all that soft, chewy texture and flavor of snickerdoodles and are absolutely delicious. The perfect cookie recipe if you don't have any cream of tartar on hand or if you just don't like it.
Why Without Cream of Tartar?
Maybe you're out of it or don't like the tanginess. Some baking historians believe that the original snickerdoodle was made without cream of tartar, but with baking powder. Back when Snickerdoodles first became popular, baking powder was expensive and not as common. People would mix baking soda and cream of tartar together as a substitute. So all we need to do to create our snickerdoodles without cream of tartar is subtract the cream of tartar and baking soda and replace them with baking powder.
Can I just skip the cream of tartar?
No, that will make the cookies flat. Cream of tartar is a type of leavening and helps the cookies rise. It does need to be replaced with baking powder. Also, they will taste different. Cream of tartar is more acidic, making the cookies more tangy. When making these cookies without cream of tartar, they will taste less tangy. The classic flavor of a snickerdoodle is similar to a sugar cookie, accented with cinnamon and sugar.
Below is a list of ingredients needed for this recipe. Follow our tips on each ingredient for best results.
- butter- I used salted. To get that classic buttery flavor of the snickerdoodle, butter is required.
- granulated sugar - White sugar helps highlight the buttery and cinnamon-y flavor of the cookie.
- eggs, large - to get that perfect texture you need eggs for this recipe!
- vanilla (not pictured!) - real vanilla is highly recommended over imitation
- all-purpose flour - you can use bleached or unbleached. Bleached gives it a slightly better texture, but it's hardly noticeable.
- baking powder- this replaces the baking soda and cream of tartar for this recipe without cream of tartar. As we tested this recipe, the baking powder replaces the cream of tartar, and we discovered that it didn't need the baking soda either.
- salt - I used regular table salt.
- cinnamon - what's a snickerdoodle without cinnamon? I usually use Saigon cinnamon.
- granulated sugar - you need more to mix with the cinnamon to roll the dough in.
See recipe card for quantities.
How to Make Snickerdoodles Without Cream of Tartar
Use these process shots to help get the results you are wanting. The pictures can help with presentation and texture.
1. Preheat oven to 400*F. Start by combining the sugar and butter together on high for 2 minutes until light and fluffy. This can be done using a stand mixer or hand mixer.
2. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat on high for one more minute. Scrape down the sides.
3. Add the dry ingredients (flour, salt and baking powder) and mix on low/ medium low just until combined.
4. Mix the sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl. Form dough balls and roll them into the cinnamon sugar mixture. Place them on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake 8-10 minutes until the tops are matte and the edges are set, no longer. Remove from oven and leave on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing (this lets them finish baking)
Hint: Whisk together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl for best results!
We love switching things up when we're in the kitchen. Try any of these variations for something a little different.
- Fall Fanatic - add 1 teaspoon cardamom, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg and ⅛ teaspoon cloves for
- Pumpkin Spice - skip the cinnamon and replace it with pumpkin spice!
- Lighter- to lighten these up, feel free to use 2 Tablespoons less butter. The texture will be slightly affected.
See this Chai version on our website!
How to Serve Snickerdoodles
Our favorite way to eat these cookies is warm from the oven with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of homemade caramel sauce.
Learn From Us
I make this snickerdoodle recipe all the time! My kids love it and it's a family favorite. One time when making them with my son, he didn't fluff up the flour enough when measuring and the cookies ended up being a little dry. Always make sure to fluff up your flour and spoon it in gently for the best results!
Store in an airtight container. For best results, eat within 3 days. These snickerdoodles can be frozen. Freeze in an airtight container for up to 2 months. I like to freeze them while they are still oh so slightly warm so they are extra soft when defrosted.
For the absolute perfect texture, be sure not to over bake!! Over baked cookies are dry and crumbly and crunchy. For that soft and chewy melt-in-your-mouth texture that is so popular with snickerdoodles, make sure to remove from the oven as soon as the tops are matte and the edges are set.
Make sure to whip the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Take the time to get it right, as this will help the overall texture. Then whip the eggs in again until fluffy. See picture above for reference.
Snickerdoodle Cookies Without Cream of Tartar
- ¾ cup butter salted, slightly softened
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 2 eggs large
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 cups flour fluffed, then lightly spooned into a measuring cup
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
Cinnamon Sugar Mixture
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon This is a small amount and just enough to perfectly cover the dough balls. If you like more to roll the dough in, use 3 tablespoon sugar and 3 teaspoon cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 400° F.
- Using a hand mixer and bowl or stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar on high for 2 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat for 1 more minute. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low just until combined.
- Make the cinnamon and sugar mixture by whisking together the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl.
- Form dough balls then roll into the cinnamon and sugar mixture. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
- Bake at 400° F for 8-10 minutes. You'll know they're done when the tops turn matte and the edges are set. Remove from the oven and allow to finish cooking on the baking sheet for 5 more minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
- To make classic snickerdoodles, omit the baking powder and substitute with 2 teaspoons cream of tartar and 1 teaspoon baking soda.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
- Store in the freezer in an airtight container for up to 2 months. If freezing, I like to freeze them while they are still just barely warm so they are soft upon defrosting.
- The dough can also be frozen. Roll dough into dough balls, then powdered sugar and freeze on a parchment lined baking sheet. Once frozen, remove and place in an airtight container or freezer bag. Allow to defrost in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours before baking.
- If you like extra cinnamon in the dough, add ½ teaspoon cinnamon at the same time as the rest of the dry ingredients.
- For other fun variations or substitutions, see the text of the post above!
Make snickerdoodle cookies without cream of tartar by replacing the cream of tartar AND baking soda with baking powder.
Snickerdoodles are a light fluffy cookie rolled in cinnamon and sugar, then baked. They are soft and chewy and full of yummy flavor.
You may have forgotten the leavening (cream of tartar, baking soda, baking powder), or they may need a little more flour, or your recipe may call for too much butter.
Cream of tartar is a leavener and will help the cookies rise. It also has a tangy flavor and adds a bit of tanginess to the cookie.
Snickerdoodles are done as soon as the edges are set and the tops are matte. No need to wait for them to turn golden, unless you like crunchy cookies. Allow the to finish baking on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes after removing from the oven.
Snickerdoodles will stay fresh about 3 days. Reheat in the microwave for 6-8 seconds to make them softer. Storing a piece of bread in the bag with the snickerdoodles will make them stay soft and fresh up to 5 days.