Snickerdoodles Cookies are a simple sugar cookie that’s wrapped in warm cinnamon sugar spice. They’re a nice sweet, lightly tangy traditional drop cookie with a hit of cinnamon that makes it classic. This is my grandma’s recipe that’s been handed down through the generations.
These are soft and chewy on the inside with a lightly crisp crust, and oh so easy to make. And those cracked tops that the Snickerdoodles develop are so beautiful. They’re perfect for gift-giving and for shipping. Oh, and if you’re looking for more tips for how to ship cookies check out my tips and tricks!
This recipe has been on my blog since 2011, when I first shared my grandma’s recipe. It’s still my favorite, but it needed an update to the images, information, and recipe. I hope you enjoy these cookies as much as I do!
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That’s grandma’s hand writing too!
This is my grandma’s recipe for Snickerdoodles. It’s the one that I grew up eating; the one that I grew up making.
I think making grandma’s recipe is a link back to the past. It makes you become a little nostalgic. These cookies are such a classic, and it makes me happy to see just how popular they are! Everyone just loves these!
Grandma’s recipe has a pure simple flavor. Using shortening instead of butter does a couple of things.
Why use shortening in cookies?
So, I said that shortening does a couple of things. First, the flavor. Shortening has little to no flavor, and will allow the other flavors to shine. So, the cinnamon and the cream of tartar are the stars in these cookies. They have a clean old-fashioned flavor.
Secondly, vegetable shortening contains 100% fat, whereas butter is typically around 80% fat, with some water and milk solids. Because of the higher fat content, baked goods made with shortening are more tender (softer) than those made with butter.
Vegetable shortening also has a melting point of around 118° F, which is higher than butter. Due to this higher melting point, baked goods made with shortening, like these cookies, tend to not spread as much.
Why is Cream of Tartar in cookies?
Cream of tartar is a natural, pure ingredient left behind after grape juice has fermented to wine.
Instead of baking powder, baking soda and cream of tartar are used in snickerdoodles. Baking soda is about 4 times more powerful than baking powder, but it needs an acidic ingredient to interact with and create the leavening, or lift, in the cookies (that’s how you get soft puffy snickerdoodles!). The cream of tartar is the acidic ingredient in these cookies.
Cream of tartar also helps to stabilize the cookies as well as give them a little tang or acidity.
Why are they called snickerdoodles?
It’s such a funny little name, and I’ve often wondered why they are called that.
They’re possibly German in origin. Some food historians say that the word “snickerdoodle” is related to the German word schneckennudel for “snail noodles”, a cinnamon pastry that resembles a snail shell, kind of like a Palmier looks like a snail.
Others will tell you that the name is simply a whimsical or nonsensical name made up of fun to say parts. “Snicker” being a small laugh, and “doodle” being a foolish person.
Wherever the name came from, I believe the cookies are here to stay!
Pro tips for the best Snickerdoodles
To get the best soft and chewy inside, puffy, with a crispy outside, and that cinnamon spice, with a little tang filled cookies, just follow these easy tips.
Want more baking tips? Check out all my tips and tricks.
And don’t forget to scroll down to the recipe card for all the ingredient amounts and instructions.
Measure out the flour by lightly spooning it into a measuring cup and leveling it off with the back of a knife. If you get too much flour in the cookies, it will make them dry and dense rather than soft and puffy.
Make sure to check your baking soda and Cream of Tartar to make sure they’re fresh. Baking soda goes flat pretty soon after opening. And if either of these ingredients aren’t fresh, it could result in flat cookies.
You’ll also notice that the eggs give a lot of color to the cookies. If your egg yolks are very dark yellow, the cookies will be darker in color. If you have very pale yolks, the cookies will also be pale.
Avoid over mixing the dough when you add the dry ingredients to the wet. Stop mixing when they are just combined, or you may get a tough cookie.
I love using a cookie dough scoop to measure out my cookies. It makes them all a nice uniform size so they all bake at the same rate.
Coat the cookie dough balls well in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Use a shallow bowl or a large plate for holding the cinnamon so there’s plenty of room for rolling.
Bake your cookies on the middle oven rack. And for even baking, I like to use cookie sheets with no sides to allow for good air movement, and to bake these cookies one cookie sheet at a time.
You want to take the cookies out of the oven when they are just slightly under baked for a soft and chewy cookie. The cookies will continue to bake a little while they sit on the counter cooling.
Take the cookie sheet out of the oven, place the tray with all the baked cookies on it on a wire cooling rack. Leave them on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes before removing the cookies from the tray to the wire rack.
I like to simply slide the tray out from under the parchment paper, leaving all the cookies on the parchment paper on the wire cooling rack until the cookies are good and cool.
How do I store these cookies?
These cookies don’t need even to be stored in an airtight container. In fact, when they’re stored airtight, they can become crispy and crunchy. Store them on the counter in an open container to keep them soft; they lose a little of that crispy outside, but remain soft.
Can I make them ahead?
These are a great make-ahead- cookie!
The cookie dough can be made, rolled into balls, and kept in the fridge for up to 3 days. Then when you’re ready to bake them, roll them in the cinnamon sugar and bake as directed.
You can freeze the cookie dough balls for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to bake, either pop the dough balls in the fridge the night before, or let the dough balls sit on the counter for about 30 minutes to defrost. Then roll them in the cinnamon sugar and bake.
If you don’t want to roll the dough into individual balls, you can roll it into a log, wrap it up tight, and freeze it.
The baked cookies can also be frozen for 2-3 months. I do find that the texture changes slightly when baked and frozen, and the cookies become a little crunchier. Thaw them overnight in the refrigerator or on the counter when you’re ready to eat them.
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Grandma’s Snickerdoodle Cookies Recipe
- In a large bowl, using a sturdy fork or a hand mixer, mix the shortening and sugar together until all the sugar has been incorporated into the shortening. Add in the eggs.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. Stir the dry ingredients into the shortening mixture. Chill the dough for about 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a small shallow bowl, mix the 2 tablespoons sugar and cinnamon together. Once the dough is chilled, roll into balls the size of small walnuts, and roll the balls into the cinnamon sugar mixture.
- Place the balls about 2 inches apart on a baking sheet that has been lined with a silpat or parchment paper. Bake until lightly brown but still soft, about 8-10 minutes. Cookies puff up at first, then flatten with a crinkled top. Remove from oven, and let cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes to firm up. Transfer to wire rack and let cool completely. Enjoy!
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations, and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary based on brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes, and more.
Some of the original pictures. The cookies are so good they even look yummy in these old pictures!