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No cream of tartar? No problem! These snickerdoodles without cream of tartar taste just as good as the traditional ones! They are soft, chewy, rolled in cinnamon sugar, and ready in just 25 minutes!
These snickerdoodles taste just like the classic snickerdoodles, except they’re made with super simple ingredients! Cream of tartar gives snickerdoodles their signature tanginess, and it’s largely what makes a snickerdoodle a snickerdoodle!
This snickerdoodle recipe without cream of tartar uses lemon juice instead, which replaces the tanginess of the cookie. They’re so easy to make and are a perfect treat for the holidays (or any time of year, really!).
Why These Snickerdoodles without cream of tartar Work
- This recipe uses simple ingredients that you most likely already have in your pantry!
- The soft sugar cookie dough is rolled in cinnamon sugar for a warm spiced, cozy cookie.
- The cookie dough doesn’t need to be chilled, which means these cookies will be ready in 30 minutes or less!
- You can easily freeze the baked snickerdoodles, or the snickerdoodle cookie dough, which makes them a perfect cookie to prepare ahead of time for holiday baking!
- Butter: you can use regular butter or dairy free/vegan butter in this recipe.
- Eggs: this recipe uses 1 egg and 1 egg yolk, and this should not be substituted with another whole egg. Using two eggs in the recipe will give you cakey cookies.
- Lemon juice: lemon juice replaces the cream of tartar in this snickerdoodle recipe to give the cookies their signature tang. You can also replace this with white vinegar.
- Vanilla Extract: I love using real vanilla extract in this recipe, instead of artificial. Snickerdoodle flavor is vanilla and cinnamon, so using real vanilla extract makes a big difference! But if you only have artificial, that will work fine.
- Flour: this recipe calls for all-purpose flour and I don’t recommend substituting for other flours.
Step By Step Instructions
STEP ONE: Preheat the oven to 350°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking sheet. In a medium bowl, add sugar and cinnamon and stir them together to make the cinnamon sugar. Set aside for later.
STEP TWO: In the bowl of a standing mixer or handheld mixer, beat butter and together until light and fluffy, around 1-2 minutes. Add in the egg, egg yolk, lemon juice, and vanilla extract and mix again.
STEP THREE: Slowly add in the flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon and mix until just combined. Roll the dough into balls, around 2 tablespoons in size, then roll each one in the bowl of cinnamon sugar until generously coated. Place on the baking sheets and bake one sheet at a time for 8-11 minutes. Do NOT over-bake if you want these cookies to be soft and chewy!
Snickerdoodles and sugar cookies are very similar! Snickerdoodles are characterized by their tanginess, as well as their cinnamon flavor. Regular sugar cookies are rolled in white sugar and don’t have a tang, and traditionally don’t use cinnamon in the dough or in the sugar coating.
Although snickerdoodles are traditionally a thicker, puffier cookie, these ones in particular should flatten out. If they didn’t flatten, you likely over-measured your flour.
It actually is a bit tricky to know when to take snickerdoodles out of the oven. The edges shouldn’t be golden brown, or else they will likely be over-baked, cakey, and hard. The edges and middle of the cookie should look set. They take around 8-9 minutes in my oven, but since oven temperatures vary, you can try baking one cookie on its own first just to get an idea of how long they’ll take in your oven.
Snickerdoodles are traditionally a cakier cookie. However, I personally, I don’t like cakey cookies so this recipe is designed to be soft and chewy, almost like a chocolate chip cookie. If the cookies seem cakey, you may have used too much flour or over-mixed the butter and sugars, creating too much air in the dough.
- Properly measure your flour: I say this in every recipe, but you should always properly measure your flour if you want soft and chewy cookies. The most accurate and precise way to measure flour is by using a kitchen scale, or if not, use the scoop and level method. Too much flour will make the cookies hard and prevent them from spreading.
- Do NOT over-bake! This is the make or break factor in whether your snickerdoodles are soft and chewy. They will look under-baked, but will continue to cook on the hot baking sheet after you remove them from the oven!
- Bake one cookie first to gauge how long they need in the oven. Because oven temperatures can vary so much, it’s not a bad idea to start by baking one cookie on its own. Snickerdoodles are pale and not golden, so it’s a bit harder to tell when they’re ready. This is optional, but can help you judge if you need to bake them on the low or high end of the suggested baking time.
- For even baking, bake one cookie sheet at a time. If you only have one baking sheet, be sure to let the baking sheet cool completely before adding more cookie dough to it. You should never add cookie dough to a warm baking sheet - the dough will spread and the cookies could melt into each other.
Storage and Freezing Instructions
Store the snickerdoodle cookies for up to 4 days at room temperature in an airtight container.
You can also freeze the baked cookies in a ziploc bag for 2-3 months and thaw at room temperature.
To freeze the cookie dough for later, place the dough (formed into balls and rolled in the cinnamon sugar) on the baking sheet and place in the freezer until they are solid (they don’t have to be frozen completely). Put the dough balls into a ziploc bag and freeze. When you’re ready to bake them, remove them from the bags and let thaw on a baking sheet at room temperature and bake.
More Cookie Recipes You'll Love
Snickerdoodles Without Cream of Tartar
Snickerdoodle Cookie Dough
- 1 cup butter, softened (regular or dairy free)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ teaspoon lemon juice SEE NOTES
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 2½ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
Cinnamon Sugar Coating
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 2½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350°F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer with the paddle attachment or a using a handheld mixer, combine butter and sugar, mixing until light and fluffy, around 1-2 minutes.
- Beat in the vanilla extract, lemon juice, whole egg, and egg yolk until combined. Add in the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until just combined.
- In a separate shallow bowl, stir together the ⅓ cup of sugar with the 2½ teaspoons of cinnamon to make the cinnamon sugar. Scoop the cookie dough into balls (dough should be around 1.5 tablespoon sized) and roll it into balls. Roll the dough generously in the cinnamon sugar until each dough ball is well coated.
- Bake the cookies one sheet at a time for 8-10 minutes. The edges will look set but should not be golden brown. The middles will look soft. It is crucial not to over-bake these cookies, as leaving them in for even one or two minutes too long will make them cakey and not as soft as they should be. The KEY to soft snickerdoodles is to take them out when they look under-done. They'll continue cooking on the baking sheet once you take them out of the oven.
- Let cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
The calorie information provided for this recipe is an estimate. The accuracy of the calories listed is not guaranteed.