Snickerdoodles are light and soft cinnamon sugar cookies that are the perfect combination of sweet and tangy with that signature scent and crinkle tops. Plus, they’re easily made vegan! Add these to your favorite cookie recipes.
I recently discovered that everyone and their mother does NOT know what snickerdoodles are. If you are aware of them, let me pause to let you pick your jaw up off the floor.
For those people in the world who think I’m just making up a weird word, let’s just get this out of the way right now: Snickerdoodles have nothing to do with Snickers, or doodles.
Okay, so what are snickerdoodles?
There are no peanuts or chocolate involved, and you can’t use them to draw.
Snickerdoodles are a soft, chewy cookie that is coated with cinnamon sugar and includes a key ingredient that separates them from a plain ol’ sugar cookie: cream of tartar.
Why in the world are they called snickerdoodles?
That’s a fabulous question. I’ve heard a few different theories about the name, but if you want to go by Wikipedia:
The Joy of Cooking claims that snickerdoodles are probably German in origin, and that the name is a corruption of the German word Schneckennudel, a Palatine variety of schnecken.
It is also possible that the name is simply a nonsense word with no particular meaning, originating from a New England tradition of whimsical cookie names. The Oxford English Dictionary claims the word’s origin is “uncertain”, and possibly a portmanteau of the word “snicker”, an “imitative” English word with Scottish roots that indicates a “smothered laugh”, and “doodle”, a Germanic loanword into English meaning a “simple or foolish fellow,” originally derived from the Germanic dudeltopf, meaning “simpleton, noodle, night-cap”.
The word “snicker” had appeared in the English language by 1836, while “doodle” had appeared by the early 17th century. The word “snickerdoodle” itself, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is first recorded in 1889.– Wikipedia
I just love reading about this kind of stuff. It also makes me wish I could invent a ridiculous word.
Tips for making the best snickerdoodles
Beat the butter until pale and fluffy. Making sure to incorporate enough air into the butter is going to help produce the signature light and soft dough we’re looking for. See the top two photos in the collage above! Notice how they’re a very pale yellow.
Mix your dry ingredients separately. I’ve talked about why you need to do that in this post, and this recipe is no exception. You’ll want to incorporate the dry ingredient mixture into the wet on low speed until you’ve produced a thick dough.
The ratio of sugar to cinnamon matters. You’re going to roll the balls of dough in a mixture of ¼ cup granulated sugar and 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon. It’s the perfect combination of sugary and spice.
Portion out all your dough, then roll them all in cinnamon sugar. Your hands will get a little oily and sticky during the process of rolling the dough, so just make your life easier and portion them all out at once on a baking mat or parchment paper, and then take a second pass to roll them all in cinnamon sugar.
Give them plenty of space on the cookie sheets. They’re going to spread quite a bit, so they need room to do so! I never do more than 8 cookies to a sheet, and you can see how I space them out in the photo above.
Bake at 375°F. Many cookie recipes are baked at 350°F, but we’re going to do a tad higher temperature to allow them to puff up and then cool back down and get those beautiful crinkled tops.
And make sure to let them cool directly on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes before moving them to wire racks to cool completely – that time on the baking sheet is where the magic happens.
While they set on the baking sheet, you can watch them go from puffy tops to flatter, crinkled tops. If I’m honest, that process might be my favorite thing in all of baking.
As you might already know, I have a bit of a love affair with chewy, crinkled cookies:
- Fluffernutter Cookies
- Peanut Butter Espresso Cookies
- Chewy Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies
- Salted Brown Butter Toffee Chocolate Chunk Cookies
- Grinch Crinkle Cookies
- Brownie Cookies
How to make vegan snickerdoodles
I’m not vegan and rarely go out of my way to make recipes vegan-friendly (sorry), but this is one that I’ve easily made vegan for a former coworker of mine.
The only difference between the vegan and non-vegan version of this recipe (you know, aside from… being vegan) is that the vegan version usually turns out puffier and less thin.
But both versions are soft and taste like comfort. Coated in cinnamon sugar.
Pair snickerdoodles with vanilla ice cream!
The cinnamon flavor isn’t overwhelming, and goes fantastically with a nice bowl of vanilla ice cream.
Want to eat these the Leslie way? Here’s what you do:
- Make cookie dough.
- Place first batch of 12 cookies in the oven.
- Place a couple scoops of vanilla ice cream into a bowl (although, if I’m being totally honest you’d just take the container of ice cream out of the freezer and shove a spoon in it).
- When the first batch of cookies are done,
burn your hand picking up a hot cookielet them cool and then grab one, slather it with ice cream, and place another cookie on top. Inhale.
- Place second batch of 12 cookies in the oven.
- Now grab another couple cooled cookies and crumble them on top of the ice cream. Inhale yet again.
- Remove second batch of cookies from the oven. Wonder why you only have 12 cookies. And why your stomach hurts.
After you’ve made this recipe, please consider coming back to share your experience with others by leaving a comment below with a star rating!
The Best Snickerdoodles
- 1 and ¾ cups granulated sugar, divided
- 4 ½ teaspoons cinnamon, divided
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 2 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 375°F degrees. Prepare two cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats and set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk to combine ¼ cup sugar with 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon. Set aside.
- In a large bowl using a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat butter for about 1 minute on medium-high speed until smooth. Add remaining 1 ½ cups sugar and beat on high speed until pale and fluffy.
- Add egg and vanilla to butter mixture and beat until combined. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, the remaining 3 teaspoons of cinnamon, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix on low speed until completely combined - dough will be very thick.
- Scoop out 2-3 tablespoons of dough and roll into a ball (a large cookie scoop works well). Roll in cinnamon sugar mixture and place each ball of dough on prepared pans several inches apart (they’ll spread quite a bit).
- Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and lightly press on the top of each cookie to flatten them a bit. Let cool on baking sheets for 5-10 minutes until they’ve set, then move to wire racks to cool completely.
To make this recipe vegan:
- Substitute unsalted butter 1:1 for Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks.
- Substitute 1 egg for 1 ½ teaspoons Ener-G or Bob's Red Mill Egg Replacer and 2 Tablespoons water. In a small bowl, combine Egg Replacer with water according to package directions. and then add the mixture to butter mixture with vanilla (step 4)