Thick and chewy, snickerdoodles without cream of tartar are a delicious, sweet treat! These soft, cinnamon-sugar-coated cookies are easy to make and ready in about 30 minutes. The perfect snickerdoodle recipe when you don’t have cream of tartar available!

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Snickerdoodle cookies without cream of tartar

The best cookies are often the easiest. Whether it’s chocolate chip cookies, buttery Irish shortbread, or classic sugar cookies, the old-fashioned favorites have stood the test of time. And these snickerdoodles without cream of tartar are no exception!

Snickerdoodles are one of my husband’s favorite cookies of all time. He especially loves this version because they have amazing taste and stay thick, soft, and chewy instead of becoming thin, crispy, and dry.

I love the recipe because of the simple ingredient list and quick prep. And best of all, there’s no cream of tartar in these snickerdoodles!

Where I live, cream of tartar is somewhat hard to come by. And if I manage to buy some, it’s usually expired by the time I need it.

Sounds familiar? Well then, this snickerdoodles recipe without cream of tartar is for you!

My recipe uses baking powder as a substitute for cream of tartar in snickerdoodles. I also share other substitution ideas in the FAQ section below.

Plus, you’ll find plenty of tips and tricks for baking perfect snickerdoodle cookies.

If you’re short on time, tap the Jump-To-Recipe button at the top of the page or scroll down to get to the recipe card.

snickerdoodles without cream of tartar

Snickerdoodle FAQ’s

What are snickerdoodle cookies?

First things first, what exactly is a snickerdoodle cookie? Snickerdoodles are soft, buttery, vanilla-flavored cookies. They have a tender and chewy texture with slightly crispy edges, similar to classic sugar cookies.

The main differences are that snickerdoodles typically use cream of tartar, which gives the cookies a subtle tanginess, and are rolled in a cinnamon sugar mixture before baking.

What do snickerdoodles taste like?

Snickerdoodle cookies taste exactly as delicious as they sound! They taste like sugar cookies with a delicious cinnamon sugar coating and have a wonderfully chewy texture and distinctive tangy flavor thanks to cream of tartar.

Where did snickerdoodles originate?

Snickerdoodles have been around for a long time and are one of the most popular cookies in the states, but it’s not really clear where this whimsical cookie comes from.

Joy of Cooking states the cookies originate from Germany, and the fanciful name traces back to the German word “Schneckennudel” (snail noodle). But when I asked my German relatives, none had ever heard of such a cookie.

Other sources suggest that the cookie is of Dutch origin or was invented in the 19th century in New England. Whatever the case, these snickerdoodle cookies without cream of tartar are absolutely delicious, and you need to try them!

Cream of tartar in snickerdoodles

What is cream of tartar?

Cream of tartar (aka tartaric acid, potassium bitrate, or potassium hydrogen tartrate) is a dry, powdery byproduct of fermenting grapes to wine. The acid is used in baking as a stabilizing and bonding agent.

What does cream of tartar do in snickerdoodles?

Why do snickerdoodles need cream of tartar? Along with the cinnamon coating, cream of tartar is the ingredient that sets snickerdoodles apart from sugar cookies.

There are a few reasons why cream of tartar is added to snickerdoodles:

  • Soft texture: Cream of tartar is responsible for the soft, chewy texture. It prevents the sugar crystals from binding together. Because the sugar doesn’t bind together and turns crunchy, snickerdoodles maintain that soft, chewy texture.
  • Tartness: Cream of tartar is an acid and gives snickerdoodle cookies their lovely tangy flavor and compliments the rich cinnamon aroma.
  • Leavening: When you combine baking soda and cream of tartar, you get baking powder. Cream of tartar activates baking soda, turning it into a leavener (the rising agent), and neutralizes baking soda’s bitter taste.

Substitute for cream of tartar in snickerdoodles

Although cream of tartar is essential for snickerdoodles, it’s possible to substitute it with other ingredients. I opted for baking powder, but there are other options too. You can learn more about those below if you are interested.

Citric acid

I have never seen another blog mention this, but the best substitute for cream of tartar is citric acid. Citric acid, a white crystalline powder, is a byproduct of fermenting lemons and sugar cane

You can use citric acid as a 1-to-1 swap for cream of tartar in any snickerdoodle recipe. It reacts with the baking soda and will create the same taste and texture as cream of tartar.

You can find citric acid in the jam-making aisle in most supermarkets or order it online.

Lemon juice & white vinegar

Another idea is to replace cream of tartar with lemon juice. Lemon juice reacts with baking soda the same way as cream of tartar or citric acid would.

The only downside is that, as a liquid, lemon juice and white vinegar will affect the texture of the cookies and make the cookie dough too soft.

Baking powder

Another, more easily accessible cream of tartar substitute is good old baking powder. Remember, cream of tartar + baking soda is essentially baking powder.

In fact, in her book BraveTart, Stella Parks mentions that the earliest snickerdoodle cookie recipes from the 19th century used baking powder.

Since baking powder was a luxury ingredient back then, many home bakers created their own baking powder by combining baking soda and cream of tartar.

Unlike baking soda, baking powder doesn’t need an acidic ingredient to work since it already has a dry acid mixed into it.

That is why my easy snickerdoodle recipe uses baking powder in place of cream of tartar and baking soda.

snickerdoodles without cream of tartar ingredients

Ingredients

Simple pantry staples are all you need to make snickerdoodle cookies without cream of tartar. Chances are everything is already waiting in your kitchen. Check out the recipe card below for exact ingredient amounts.

  • All-purpose flour makes up the base of the cookies.
  • Baking powder is the cream of tartar substitute in this snickerdoodle recipe. It gives the cookies their signature chewy texture and helps them rise and puff up in the oven.
  • Granulated sugar sweetness the cookies and is needed for the cinnamon sugar coating.
  • Butter gives the cookies that rich, buttery flavor. I prefer salted butter to balance the sweetness, but you can also use unsalted butter and add a pinch of salt. Be sure to soften the butter to room temperature, so it creams well with the sugar.
  • Eggs: 2 large eggs provide structure. Let the eggs sit on the counter for 30 minutes or so to warm up to room temperature.
  • Vanilla extract adds depth and dimension. Pure vanilla extract is best.
  • Cinnamon mixes with the sugar to create the delicious cinnamon sugar coating, which is a hallmark of snickerdoodle cookies.
no cream of tartar snickerdoodles

How to make snickerdoodles without cream of tartar

My soft snickerdoodle recipe is so easy to make! All you need is a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl + an electric mixer. And there’s zero chill time required. Follow the step-by-step guide below and enjoy these scrumptious cookies in no time!

step 1 cream butter and sugar

#1: Mix butter and sugar

Cream together the butter in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Alternatively, use an electric mixer in a large mixing bowl.

step 2 make snickerdoodle dough

#2: Make dough

Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated and scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla extract and mix to combine. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the flour and baking powder. Avoid overmixing as you incorporate the dry ingredients.

step 3 roll cookies in cinnamon sugar

#3: Roll in cinnamon sugar

Whisk together the sugar and cinnamon for the topping in a small.

Using a medium cookie scoop, from balls of dough, then roll them in the cinnamon sugar to coat.

step 4 bake snickerdoodle cookies

#4: Bake

Arrange the dough balls on parchment paper-lined baking sheets, spaced about 2 in / 5 cm apart. Bake the cookies at 350°F for 8 to 10 minutes, or until lightly browned around the edges but stiff soft, and puffy in the middle.

Let the snickerdoodles cool on the cookie sheets for 10 minutes, then transfer them to a cooling rack to cool completely.

snickerdoodle with baking powder

Baking tips

Follow these foolproof tips and tricks for perfect no cream of tartar snickerdoodles every time.

  • Measure flour correctly: Too much flour can make the snickerdoodles dense and dry. A kitchen scale is your best friend here, but you can also use the spoon and swipe method (which I explain in the troubleshooting section below).
  • Don’t over-mix: After adding the flour, keep the mixing to a minimum, and the cookies will rise up light and pillowy soft. Just mix until incorporated and you no longer see streaks of flour.  
  • Use a cookie scoop to form cookies that are perfectly uniform in size. I like to use the medium scoop from this set of three.
  • Be generous with the cinnamon sugar: This is not the time to be skimpy! Roll each cookie in plenty of cinnamon sugar. And feel free to adjust the amount of cinnamon to your taste. I suggest 2 teaspoons, but for a lighter taste, use just 1 teaspoon or 3 teaspoons for an intense flavor.
  • Line the cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat to ensure the cookies don’t stick.
  • Watch the baking time and do not overbake the cookies: Overbaking makes the cookies dry and crumbly, and they won’t be as soft and chewy.
  • How to tell cookies are ready: I recommend pulling snickerdoodles from the oven when the edges are set, and the centers are still pale and puffy. You may think the cookies are underbaked, but they continue to cook as they rest on the cooking sheet after you’ve removed them from the oven.
  • High altitude: Add an additional 1/4 to 1/3 cup all-purpose flour if baking these snickerdoodles without cream of tartar at high altitude.

Do I need to chill the dough before baking?

No, you don’t have to chill the dough. It’s one of the reasons why this snickerdoodles recipe without cream of tartar is so quick and simple.

The amount of flour in these cookies is enough to prevent the cookies from spreading too thin during baking.

However, if your snickerdoodle dough has been sitting on the counter for a long time or your kitchen is particularly warm, or if you prefer extra thick cookies, refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes. This will ensure the thickest, chewiest snickerdoodles possible.

snickerdoodle recipe with baking powder

Troubleshooting

Why are my snickerdoodles flat?

There are a few reasons why your snickerdoodle cookies may turn out flat. If the dough is too warm, the cookies will spread more in the oven. If that’s the case, simply chill the dough.

Another reason might be that your baking powder isn’t fresh. Stale baking powder will result in the cookies not rising.

To check the freshness of your baking powder, mix a cup of hot water with 2 teaspoons of baking powder. If you notice a fizzing reaction that dissolves all of the baking powder, it’s still fresh.

My cookies didn’t flatten and turned out too puffy. Where did I go wrong?

Thick cookies indicate that you may have over-measured the flour.

That typically happens when you scoop up the flour directly from the bag. Or you may have accidentally compressed the flour into the measuring cup.

I highly recommend weighing dry ingredients with digital kitchen scales to get the most accurate measurements.

Alternatively, use the spoon and level method. First, fluff the flour in the bag. Next, spoon it into your measuring cup until heaping, and then level off the excess with the back of a knife.

can you make snickerdoodles without cream of tartar

Variations

This no cream of tartar snickerdoodle recipe is pretty versatile, and there are a few ways to switch things up. Follow your sweet tooth and try one of these ideas:

  • Different spice mix: Not a fan of cinnamon? Instead, roll the cookies in pumpkin pie spice, chai spice, apple pie spice, or gingerbread spice mix.
  • Brown sugar: Prepare the cookies with 3/4 cup white granulated sugar and 3/4 cup light brown sugar.
  • Other extracts: Create new flavor profiles by adding butter rum, bitter almond, lemon, or other baking extracts.
  • Chocolate chips: Add a cup of mini chocolate chips to the dough. White, milk, and semisweet are all tasty options.

Serving suggestions

Snickerdoodles without cream of tartar go well with all of your favorite drinks. Here are some ideas to serve the cookies:

  • A tall glass of cold milk: Serve your snickerdoodles with a glass of cold milk to dunk them in. They are the perfect afternoon treat and after-school snack!
  • Cup of coffee + tea: You can never go wrong with a warm cup of coffee or your favorite tea.
  • Hot chocolate: For the ultimate cozy winter delight, enjoy your easy snickerdoodle cookies with a steaming mug of hot chocolate. Try our decadent condensed milk hot chocolate or this creamy evaporated milk hot chocolate.
snickerdoodle recipe no cream of tartar

Storage instructions

How to store snickerdoodles without cream of tartar

Keep the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature. They will stay fresh for 4 to 5 days.

Tip: To keep the snickerdoodles nice and soft, put a piece of sandwich bread in the container with the cookies.

Freeze snickerdoodle recipe without cream of tartar

  • Baked cookies: You can freeze baked snickerdoodles in a freezer-friendly container or zip-lock bag for up to 3 months. Let thaw on the counter before enjoying.
  • Unbaked cookie dough: It’s also possible to freeze the dough before baking. Place the dough balls on a lined baking pan and freeze until solid. Once frozen, transfer the dough balls into a freezer bag. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Bake frozen snickerdoodles

Arrange the frozen, pre-scooped dough balls on parchment paper-lined cookie sheets and bake at 350°F / 180°C / gas mark 4 for 2 to 3 minutes longer than the recipe recommends (about 12 to 13 minutes).

Yield: 40 cookies

Snickerdoodle Recipe without Cream of Tartar

snickerdoodles recipe without cream of tartar

Thick and chewy, snickerdoodles without cream of tartar are a delicious, sweet treat! These soft, cinnamon-sugar-coated cookies are easy to make and ready in about 30 minutes. The perfect snickerdoodle recipe when you don't have cream of tartar available!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups / 300 g / 10.6 oz white granulated sugar
  • 1 cup / 2 sticks / 230 g / 8 oz salted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 3/4 cups / 340 g / 12 oz all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder

Cinnamon Sugar Coating

  • 1/4 cup / 50 g / 170 oz granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Prepare for baking. Preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C / gas mark 4. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or non-stick baking mats; set aside.
  2. Mix butter and sugar. Cream together the butter in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Alternatively, use an electric mixer in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Make dough. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated and scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla extract and mix to combine. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the flour and baking powder. Avoid overmixing as you incorporate the dry ingredients.
  4. Make cinnamon sugar. Whisk together the sugar and cinnamon for the topping in a small.
  5. Scoop dough balls. Using a medium cookie scoop, from balls of dough, then roll them in the cinnamon sugar to coat.
  6. Bake. Arrange the dough balls on the prepared baking sheets, spaced about 2 in / 5 cm apart. Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes, or until lightly browned around the edges but stiff soft, and puffy in the middle.
  7. Cool. Let the snickerdoodles cool on the cookie sheets for 10 minutes, then transfer them to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  8. Store. Keep the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature. They will stay fresh for 4 to 5 days. Or freeze for up to 3 months.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

40

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 76Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 21mgSodium: 71mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 0gSugar: 8gProtein: 0g

Reasons to love no cream of tartar snickerdoodles

  • Soft + chewy texture: Move aside dry, crumbly cookies! This easy snickerdoodle recipe is moist and chewy with slightly crispy edges and soft-baked centers.
  • Amazing flavor: Thanks to vanilla, cinnamon, and plenty of butter, these snickerdoodles with baking powder are positively delicious. They’re irresistible!
  • No chill recipe: The recipe goes from the mixing bowl to the oven in minutes and doesn’t require chilling.
  • Store well: The cookies will keep well for several days on the counter and can be frozen for even longer storage.
  • The perfect cookie to make all year long: Make this simple snickerdoodle recipe for the holidays, special occasions, or just because it’s Thursday.
soft snickerdoodle recipe

More cookie recipes

Cookies just might be my favorite treat, and we have a lot of them for you to choose from. Try one or try them all – you and your family will love them!

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