These snickerdoodles without cream of tartar are soft, chewy, and so easy to make. They are rolled in cinnamon sugar for a delicious flavor of holiday spice. The best part is that they are ready to eat in less than 30 minutes and require no chill time!
Snickerdoodles are the best cookies to make in the fall and winter, especially for holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. These taste just like traditional snickerdoodle cookies, but without cream of tartar! You most likely have all the ingredients you need to make these cookies already at home.
For another delicious holiday cookie recipe, try these gluten-free gingerbread cookies or these vegan molasses cookies. They're both so good!
Why You'll Love These Cookies
- Soft and chewy - These cookies have firm edges with the perfect soft and chewy centers.
- Easy to make - You do not need to chill the cookie dough before baking. These are ready to enjoy in less than 30 minutes!
- No cream of tartar - The classic "tangy" flavor of snickerdoodles is present in the cookies, even without the cream of tartar.
- Cinnamon sugar topping - The cookies have a coating of cinnamon sugar for a beautiful texture and delicious cinnamon spice flavor.
- Gluten & dairy-free option - You can easily make these cookies gluten-free and dairy-free with a few simple swaps. See below!
Why Do Snickerdoodles Need Cream of Tartar?
First of all, what is cream of tartar, exactly? Cream of tartar is a natural by-product of the wine-making process. It is a common ingredient in cookies and baked goods as a leavening agent to provide structure and texture.
Snickerdoodles are traditionally made with cream of tartar to provide a chewy texture and signature "tangy" flavor. However, there are ways to make the cookies just as delicious without the cream of tartar ingredient.
Substitute for Cream of Tartar in Snickerdoodles
Common substitutes for cream of tartar include baking powder, vinegar, or lemon juice. This recipe utilizes baking powder as a substitute.
Despite not having cream of tartar, these snickerdoodles still have a super soft, chewy texture and a hint of tangy texture that makes them equally delicious as the traditional cookies you know and love. You can't tell the difference!
The ingredients for these cookies are super simple. You probably have everything you need in your pantry already! Below are some helpful notes about some of the ingredients, including substitutions you can make if necessary.
- Butter - Use room temperature unsalted butter for best results. For a dairy-free version, use your favorite dairy-free stick butter (not butter spread).
- Granulated sugar - You may also use organic cane sugar for a less-processed version if you prefer.
- Eggs - Large eggs bind the ingredients and give the snickerdoodles their soft, chewy texture. I have not tried making the snickerdoodles vegan, but if you try using flax eggs, let me know how they turn out.
- Vanilla extract - Make sure to use pure vanilla extract. This adds extra flavor to the cookies.
- Flour - This recipe uses all-purpose flour with great results, but you should be able to use gluten-free all purpose flour as a substitute if you are gluten-free.
- Baking powder - Baking powder is the substitute for cream of tartar. Don't leave this out because it helps the cookies rise.
- Cinnamon - These wouldn't be snickerdoodles without plenty of cinnamon!
- Salt - A dash of salt balances the flavors nicely.
Remember to see the recipe card at the bottom of the post for a full list of ingredients and their quantities.
Here are step-by-step instructions for how to make snickerdoodles without cream of tartar:
STEP 1: In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat together the room-temperature butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy.
STEP 2: Add the eggs and vanilla extract. Mix on medium-high speed until smooth and fully incorporated.
STEP 3: Add the all-purpose flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, and salt to the bowl.
STEP 4: Mix the dry ingredients on low speed until just combined with the wet ingredients. The dough will be thick and sticky, but be careful not to over mix.
STEP 5: In a separate small bowl, stir together the granulated sugar and cinnamon for the cinnamon sugar topping.
STEP 6: Use a 1-inch or similar cookie scoop to form evenly sized balls of cookie dough. Roll them in the cinnamon sugar mixture until fully coated.
STEP 7: Place the sugar-coated dough balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Make sure they are 2-3 inches apart so they have room to spread!
STEP 8: Bake the cookies at 350° F for 12-15 minutes. The edges should be slightly firm, but the centers should be soft. Be careful not to over bake them or they will not be as chewy.
TOP TIP: Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 10-15 minutes before you transfer them to a cooling rack. This allows them to firm up before you handle them.
Expert Baking Tips
- Line the baking sheets with parchment paper - This ensures the cookies don't stick to the pan while they bake.
- Don't over mix the dough - For soft and chewy cookies, make sure you don't over mix the dough, or they'll become tough.
- Leave space between each cookie - These cookies will spread a lot in the oven, so it is very important to leave a few inches of space between the cookie dough balls on the baking sheet.
- Watch the baking time - Remove the cookies from the oven when the edges are slightly firm, but the centers are still soft. Be careful not to over bake them!
- Let cookies cool on the pan - Allow the cookies to set up on the pan for 10 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.
These dairy-free sugar cookies are another great recipe to try sometime, too!
Cookie Variations & Substitutions
You can easily make these snickerdoodles gluten-free and dairy-free with a few simple swaps. However, I do not recommend making vegan snickerdoodles without cream of tartar because I have not tested them without eggs.
- Gluten-Free: Replace all-purpose flour with gluten-free all-purpose flour, like Bob Red's Mill 1:1 Gluten-Free Flour. Make sure the gluten-free flour blend has xanthan gum in the ingredients, or you will need to add it separately.
- Dairy-Free: Use dairy-free or vegan stick butter instead. Make sure it is room temperature before using it in the recipe.
- Vegan: I have not tried making these cookies vegan, so I don't recommend it. However, if you want to try using flax eggs in the recipe, please let me know how they turn out.
Frequently Asked Questions
Cream of tartar is traditionally used in snickerdoodle cookies to provide a chewy texture and classic tangy flavor.
Yes, you can make snickerdoodles without cream of tartar by using baking powder in the recipe instead.
This recipe does not include baking soda. Baking powder is used instead of cream of tartar to provide a chewy texture and flavor.
No need to flatten the snickerdoodles before baking. In fact, it is better not to flatten the dough. The cookies will naturally spread in the oven. Make sure to space the dough balls a few inches apart so they don't merge together as they bake!
I do not recommend making the snickerdoodles without eggs. Eggs give structure to the cookies. If you do test the recipe with flax eggs, please let me know how they turn out for you.
Storing & Freezing
Store leftover cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for 5-7 days. This keeps them soft and chewy and prevents them from drying out.
To freeze the cookies, place them in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Allow them to thaw at room temperature before enjoying them again.
More Easy Cookie Recipes
Did you make these easy snickerdoodles without cream of tartar? Please leave a star rating and review below! This really supports my blog and helps other readers. If you post a photo of your cookies on Instagram and tag me, I would love to share it. To stay updated with the latest recipes, follow me on Pinterest and join my email list. Happy baking!
Easy Snickerdoodles Without Cream of Tartar
- 1 Electric Mixer or Stand Mixer
- 2 Mixing Bowls
- 2 Large Baking Sheets
- Parchment Paper
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature *see notes for DF version
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 ⅔ cups all-purpose flour *see notes for GF version
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
Cinnamon Sugar Topping
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a stand mixer or large mixing bowl with an electric mixer, beat the room temperature butter and granulated sugar together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. This usually takes 1-2 minutes.1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature, 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- Add the eggs and vanilla extract. Beat until smooth and evenly combined.2 large eggs, 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Add the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Mix on low speed until the ingredients are just combined. The dough will be thick and sticky, be careful not to over mix!2 ⅔ cups all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon salt
- In a separate small bowl, stir together the granulated sugar and ground cinnamon for the cinnamon sugar topping.¼ cup granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- Use a 1-inch or 1.5-inch cookie scoop to form evenly-sized balls of cookie dough. Roll each ball in the cinnamon sugar mixture until they are fully and evenly coated.
- Place the sugar-coated cookie dough balls on a baking sheet 2-3 inches apart, leaving plenty of room for spreading.
- Bake the snickerdoodles for 12-15 minutes, or until the edges are slightly firm and the centers remain soft. They should be golden in color, but be very careful not to over bake them or they won't be as chewy.
- Remove the cookies from the oven and allow them to cool on the tray for 10-15 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack. Enjoy!
Oh my gosh, these are amazingly good!! I really wanted to make snickerdoodles but didn't have any cream of tartar on hand and didn't want to go to the store if I didn't have to. I'm so glad I found this recipe! They taste just like the traditional snickerdoodles and the chewy texture is absolutely perfect. You can't tell that they don't have the cream of tartar. I'm saving this recipe for sure!
Samantha Ensinger says
Your review makes me so happy! I personally love this cookie recipe and make it every year, but it's always nice to hear that others love them too. I'm so glad they turned out well for you and that you loved the taste!
These sound delicious definitely adding them to my Christmas cookie trays this year
Samantha Ensinger says
These snickerdoodles make the perfect addition to any Christmas cookie tray or holiday cookie box. I hope you ended up making them and I hope you enjoyed them!
Wow - so easy to make Easy Snickerdoodles Without Cream of Tartar. it's not something i have on hand. Thanks for this cookie recipe
Samantha Ensinger says
I find that a lot of people don't have cream of tartar at home, which is exactly why I created this recipe! Thanks for giving it a try and leaving a review. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed the cookies and that the recipe was easy for you!
Katie Jacques says
The most perfect snickerdoodle recipe ever! I am completely obsessed!
Samantha Ensinger says
I am so happy you loved the snickerdoodle recipe! What a compliment to hear that this is the "most perfect recipe ever" -- that's music to my ears! Thank you for giving them a try this Christmas season!