The best soft, chewy, and thick Snickerdoodles. Sharing all my tips and tricks for making delicious snickerdoodle cookies with chewy centers and perfectly crisp edges!
Once you’ve become hooked on these snickerdoodles, try these other delicious cookies: oatmeal cookies, chewy chocolate chip cookies, or white chocolate macadamia nut cookies. And if it’s Snickerdoodles you have a hankering for, I have more: Pumpkin Snickerdoodles and Caramel Snickerdoodles are both based on the original recipe but have their own unique twist.
Snickerdoodles have always been just an “okay” cookie for me; I’d much rather have mine stuffed (or dipped) in as much chocolate as possible. But when my soon-to-be brother-in-law said snickerdoodles are one of his favorites, I set out to perfect the snickerdoodle cookie.
My sister and her fiancé are having a cookie bar at their reception with 10 different kinds of cookies and I volunteered to develop the recipes and make the cookies (luckily I have a lot of help on the baking!). I’ve been working on my final cookie recipes for months. (I get way too excited over these kinds of things!)
So I’ve worked on Snickerdoodles for a few months now and have made dozens of batches, trying to get them just right. And if I’m being honest, these cookies have not only converted me to a Snickerdoodle lover, but they’ve also been deemed by the almost brother-in-law to be the “BEST EVER.” These Snickerdoodles have just the right amount of cinnamon and are soft on the inside with perfectly crisp edges. The flavor is incredible, and the texture is unbelievable.
If you’ve never experienced the joy of a Snickerdoodle, you might be wondering what they taste like. Well, they’re buttery and sugary with a hint of vanilla and a little tang from the cream of tartar. The dough has a hint of cinnamon and the unbaked dough is rolled in cinnamon sugar before being baked, further enhancing the cinnamon flavor.
First things first: Snickerdoodles are sometimes confused with sugar cookies since they have a lot of the same basic ingredients.
What’s the difference between a sugar cookie and a Snickerdoodle?
There are two main differences between sugar cookies and snickerdoodle cookies. First, Snickerdoodles contain cream of tartar, which gives the flavor that signature tang. Secondly, Snickerdoodles are rolled in a cinnamon-sugar mixture, making the cinnamon flavor stand out strongly. Sugar cookies rarely have cream of tartar and don’t contain cinnamon.
So you might be wondering…
Why are Snickerdoodles called Snickerdoodles?
The Joy of Cooking writes that Snickerdoodles are probably German in origin, but it’s also very possible that the name is simply a nonsense word without any particular meaning.
Before we get started on the process and talking tips, let’s talk about the ingredients!
Snickerdoodles are made of:
- Butter: Use unsalted butter to ensure you perfectly control the amount of salt. (If you use salted butter, omit the extra salt addition.)
- White sugar
- Brown sugar
- 1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk: The extra yolk adds so much flavor. Use leftover whites in these Spinach and Feta Wraps
- Pure vanilla extract: for flavor!
- White all-purpose flour: Make sure to spoon and level this measurement so you’re getting the right amount of flour.
- Cream of tartar: This is what gives these Snickerdoodles that classic “tangy” flavor; it’s also a stabilizer.
- Salt: To intensify all the ingredients’ flavors
- Baking soda
- Cinnamon: It’s added to the dough and the topping– for extra flavor!
What is cream of tartar, anyway? It’s a dry, powdery, acidic byproduct of fermenting grapes into wine. (Note: there is no alcohol content in cream of tartar.) It’s official name is potassium bitartrate or tartaric acid. It’s often used in cooking as a stabilizer. For instance, recipes for homemade whipped cream or whipped egg whites often call or cream of tartar to keep the fluffiness from deflating.
How to make Snickerdoodles
For these cookies, we start with partially melted butter. I don’t melt it all the way, because it tends to make the cookies a bit greasy.
It may seem silly to melt the butter and then let it firm up a bit. Why not just use softened butter, then? Well, melted butter adds an incredible texture to these snickerdoodle cookies. But if you add hot melted butter to the batter, it melts the sugars, and that creates greasy cookies. So, let the melted butter sit for a minute or so to cool down. When you add that melted-but-cooled butter to a cookie recipe, chilling the dough is a MUST before baking. This matters because the fats need to re-solidify. If the dough is baked immediately with melted butter in it, the cookies will spread while baking and become thin, hard, and crispy. The longer the fat stays solid, the less the cookies will spread.
The sugar in the dough also gradually absorbs liquid so when you chill the dough, the sugar has a chance to absorb more liquid, further preventing spread.
Who knew so much science was involved in baking cookies?!
- Correctly measure the flour: If you press a measuring cup into a bag of flour, you will pack in way too much flour (which will result in cake-like cookies with the wrong texture). To accurately measure the flour, spoon the flour into the measuring cup until it’s overfilled. Then use the back of a table knife to level the measuring cup at the top. You’ll have a perfect flour measurement now!
- Use room temperature eggs: This ensures the eggs disperse more evenly into the batter and gives these Snickerdoodles a lighter texture (the eggs trap air). Soaking refrigerated eggs in a bowl of warm (not hot) water for about 10 minutes is a quick way to warm them. Otherwise, pull the eggs out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before use.
- Roll tall cookie dough balls: Instead of rolling a perfectly round ball, I’ve found if you roll the dough so it’s taller and skinnier, when the cookies bake you’ll get that perfect thick and chewy center AND the crisp edges. Using this technique, the bottom of the cookie ball bakes first, which will push out and become the crisp edge. The top of that tall cookie dough ball then becomes the thick and chewy center. Perfect texture every time! (See the second picture in this post for how I roll my cookie dough balls.)
Testing began with these cookies on Genius Kitchen and evolved to become this recipe!
More Delicious Cookie Recipes
These are the very best soft, chewy, and thick Snickerdoodles.
These are the very best soft, chewy, and thick Snickerdoodles.
- 16 tablespoons (1 cup) unsalted butter 80% the way melted
- 2/3 cup (135g) white sugar
- 2/3 cup (120g) light brown sugar packed
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1/2 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 and 3/4 cup (337g) all-purpose white flour
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Cinnamon Sugar Coating
- 1/4 cup (50g) white sugar
- 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Place the 80% melted butter, sugar, and brown sugar in a large bowl and whisk together until smooth. Add in 1 whole egg and 1 egg yolk (reserve the white for a separate recipe or discard) and the vanilla extract. Whisk until just combined and smooth.
In another bowl, stir together the flour, cream of tartar, salt, baking soda, and 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon.
Add all of the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix until JUST combined. Do not overmix the dough. Cover tightly and refrigerate for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. (If you have a convection oven, do 325 degrees F at convection bake). In a small bowl, stir together the white sugar and cinnamon.
Remove the dough and roll tall balls of dough. (See the second photo in the post for an example.) If you have a kitchen scale, the balls of dough should be about 1.7 ounces. Roll the balls of dough generously into the cinnamon-sugar mixture.
Place dough balls on a parchment or Silpat-lined sheet pan and bake for 9-11 minutes. Watch carefully to be sure they don’t overbake. (I think slightly under-baked Snickerdoodles are the BEST!)
Remove and let stand on the cookie sheet for 2 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.
Cookies are best when enjoyed within 2-3 days.
*Prep time doesn’t include the mandatory chilling time
Calories: 203kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 31mg | Sodium: 87mg | Potassium: 63mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 230IU | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 1mg