Soft and Chewy Snickerdoodles

The other night I had to run to the grocery store.

I generally do everything humanly possible to not take all of my children to the store with me at the same time, but this particular night I had no choice.  It was just about bed time and everyone was cranky already when I realized I would need to pack them all up to get some things I’d need early the next morning.  It was as chaotic as I had predicted, with general arguments and whining ensuing over which two would get to drive in the race car part of the cart, why we couldn’t buy doughnuts and Cheetos, and why Mom made them put back the 12 packs of gum they grabbed while in the check-out lane.  By the time I was trying to get everyone back into the car to head home, almost everyone was screaming (including me.)

I was half-bent over in the car trying to get car-seats buckled without getting kicked in the face, when I emerged and saw a gentleman standing at the end of my car.  With a sweet smile he said, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you, I just wanted to see if I could offer you a hand.  Can I take your cart for you?”  I assumed he was passing by on his way into the store anyway and thanked him kindly.  My cart was still full of groceries so we quickly unloaded them.  The man told me he had a few grandchildren now, but he had raised three boys of his own and remembered what it was like to have your hands full.

We only chatted for a brief moment; I thanked him again and off he went, wheeling my giant race car cart back into to the store.   As I was driving away, I noticed the man coming back out of the store.  It wasn’t until then that I realized he had armfuls of his own groceries and he had trekked all the way across the parking lot to help me before returning to his own car.

And that’s when I felt a few little girly tears welling up in my eyes.  And I suddenly felt an immense surge of gratitude for someone I didn’t know, for an act of kindness that was so simple, yet so meaningful to a stressed out, tired Momma at the end of a long day.

I wish I knew who that man was so I could thank him with a big plate of cookies, now that I’m not so frazzled.  But since I don’t, I’m going to serve up some virtual cookies in his honor and as a little reminder of how important it is to look beyond ourselves and find opportunities to do kind deeds, and also to pay it forward when they’re received.  I’m so thankful for little reminders of goodness in the world.  It seems the media, and social media are constantly throwing the disturbing, the depressing, and the shocking in our faces that sometimes it’s nice to recognize plain ol’ warm fuzzy moments.  Here’s to you Mr. sweet-parking-lot-guy-who-made-my-night.  Have a virtual cookie!

Sometimes “snickerdoodle” recipes are nothing more than sugar cookies, rolled in cinnamon sugar.  And sometimes they’re puffed and fluffy.  A true snickerdoodle isn’t fluffy; it’s chewy.  It should sink down after baking so it gets a crinkly top and perhaps most importantly, it should have a signature tang, from this:

Have you ever wondered what cream of tartar even is?  It’s actually a by-product of the wine making process.  It’s a residue that’s formed as the grapes ferment.  It has many uses in cooking, maybe most commonly to stabilize egg whites in meringues, but it also prevents crystallization of sugar so it’s often used in syrups, caramels, candies, and icings.  It’s a common ingredient in baking powder as well, so in certain recipes it’s used for it’s leavening abilities.  You can buy it near the seasonings and spices in the grocery store, or sometimes near the baking soda and powder.  In this particular recipe, it does aid in leavening, but also adds the unique flavor.  I’ve heard people say before that they love snickerdoodles, but they don’t like the taste of the cream of tartar in them.  If that’s the case, then you don’t really like snickerdoodles!  I love this particular recipe because the cookies taste so buttery and have the perfect chew, and y’all know I love a chewy cookie.

Start by creaming a combination of butter and shortening, with sugar for several minutes.  Then add the dry ingredients and mix until combined. 

Do you have one of these beaters for your KitchenAid? You should.

The dough is quite soft; don’t don’t don’t add more flour.

Roll the dough into balls and give them a dip in some cinnamon-sugar.  Give your finger a dip too.

Place them on parchment lined cookie sheets, and remember they’ll spread, so give them a little space.

Cooking time here is pivotal; if you overcook these snickerdoodles then they will be “thin and crispy” instead of “soft and chewy”.  The trick is to watch the edges first; they should be just set, but the centers should still look raw between all of those cinnamon cracks.  The cookies will be pillowy and puffy looking while in the hot oven,

and when they come out they’ll start to fall- which is what they’re supposed to do!

That’s how they get those beautiful crackly tops.  After they’ve cooled, they’ll flatten out even more.

When cooked just right; they’re perfection.  And when cooked just wrong- they actually still taste super good, so either way you’ll get your yumminess.

Fill up your cookie jar, or eat a few and then hide them in the depths of your freezer if you have no self control.  Like me no one I know.

Once cooled, those slightly under-cooked centers become perfectly cooked and yield a soft, chewy, buttery, interior.

Go on.  You know you want to make them.

Soft and Chewy Snickerdoodles

5 from 2 votes
A true Snickerdoodle recipe, in all of it's glory!


  • 1 3/4 cups sugar 12.25 oz, divided
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 1/2 cups 12.5 oz all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt*
  • 8 tablespoons 1 stick unsalted butter* (not margarine) at room temp
  • 8 tablespoons vegetable shortening
  • 2 large eggs
  • *if using salted butter just omit table salt


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Combine 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon in shallow dish and set aside. Whisk flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt together in medium bowl.
  • Beat butter, shortening, and remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3-6 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until incorporated, about 30 seconds, scraping down bowl as needed.
  • Reduce speed of mixer to low and slowly add flour mixture until combined, about 30 seconds. Give dough final stir to ensure that no flour pockets remain.
  • Working with 2 tablespoons of dough at a time, roll into balls. Working in batches, roll dough balls in cinnamon sugar mixture to coat and set on prepared baking sheet spaced 2 inches apart.
  • Bake 1 sheet at a time until edges of cookies are set and just barely beginning to brown, but centers are still soft and puffy, about 10-12 minutes. The cookies should look raw between the cracks and seem underdone. Let cookies cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature. Makes about 2 dozen 3-4 inch cookies.
Author: Our Best Bites
Did You Make This Recipe?Snap a picture, and hashtag it #ourbestbites. We love to see your creations on our Instagram @ourbestbites!

 And now for the questions-I-already-know-are-coming section…

Q:  These look great!  But can I leave out the cream of tartar or substitute something else?  I don’t have any and I think it tastes funny.
A:  No ma’am.  Or sir.  Or whoever you happen to be.  In the words of CI, “Cream of tartar is essential to the flavor of these cookies and it works in combination with the baking soda to give the cookies lift; do not substitute baking powder.” If you don’t like cream of tartar, then guess what?  You don’t like Snickerdoodles!  Make a sugar cookie instead.

Q: Did you know that shortening causes obesity, birth defects, chronic foot odor, and the avian bird flu?  It’s true.  I refuse to use it, and you should too.  After I’m done lobbying congress to stop the production of Crisco, can I make these with all butter?
A:  Can you make them with butter? Of course you can.  You could also make them with margarine, applesauce, or a bucket of rocks.  You all should know by now how much we support butter usage, so of course they will taste yummy.  But shortening plays a key role in this cookie.  Combined with the butter it gives optimal texture while allowing the flavor of the butter to come through.  If you leave the shortening out, cookies will spread more, have a crispier texture, and lack chewiness.  Will they taste good?  Of course!  Just know we call for ingredients for a reason.

Q:  Hi, I want to make these but I live in [insert foreign country of your choice here] so I don’t understand all this nonsense about cups and tablespoons.  Can you please convert the recipe to every other existing measuring system for me?
A:  One word, my friend:  Google.

Q:  Sara, how do you know all the things we’re going to ask before we ask them??
A: I’m a genius.

*Disclaimer: These posts contain affiliate links.
woman in denim shirt holding a salad bowl
Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

Read More

Join The Discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Questions & Reviews

  1. Hi. I’ve made these for the people at my husbands work and they loved them so I want to make them for myself to taste them. The only thing is that I have a problem, you see I’m allergic to lactose so I have a problem with the butter. Why aren’t you supposed to use margarine? (you can buy margarine without lactose/milk, but not butter without lactose/milk).

    Thank you.

    1. NVM I re read the post and figured out your like my husband and his family, prefer the taste of butter as it actually tastes something in contrast to a lot of the margarine brands. And I know the only way to really figure it out is to try. ^^

      Have a great day/weekend!

  2. Hi Sara, Thank you so much for sharing your story. I love hearing moments like those.

    I hope I didn’t miss this in comments/other posts, but when you’re measuring your flour do you just scoop and level, or do you spoon the flour into the cup and then level? With your instruction to NOT add more flour I thought this might make a difference.

    1. When you’re measuring flour, always spoon it lightly into measuring cups and then level. If you scoop, you’ll end up getting more flour than the recipe actually calls for.

  3. Wow! These are perfect! Thank you for the excellent directions, especially when to take them out of the oven (I would have never taken them out when I did without your description of the centers still looking raw!). So delicious!

  4. Haha. you make me laugh :)It’s very reassuring to know that there are still good people in this world!

  5. Loved the story- and the q&a and now you have me craving snickerdoodles! I love my recipe but may have to try this one!

  6. Just wanted to tell you how much you brightened my day by reading your Q & A at the end of the recipe. It was hilarious! The parts about Crisco and googling conversions were my favorite. My day is good to end now with a hot yummy cookie and a cup of cold milk!

  7. Yep, these are good! They have that nice depth of flavor that a real snickerdoodle has…I’m sorry, but recipes without the cream of tartar are just sugar cookies rolled in cinnamon. Yes, those are good, too, but they just don’t taste the same, curled on the couch with a big cup of coffee (or cocoa, for those of you who stay away from coffee around here) and your favorite book. These definitely hit the spot for me! They for sure spread out a LOT in the oven, just like you said, so I was glad I ignored the temptation to crowd them on the baking sheet or it would have been one huge doodle. Thanks for this one!

  8. Hello!
    Thanks for posting! My late grandpa and I made snickerdoodles all the time when I was a kid and these hit the spot! Mine didn’t turn out as fluffy as yours and I’m not sure why? However I made a gluten free version for my husband and did 145 g of millet flour and 145g of potato starch & 2 tsp xanthan gum. Turned out fantastic! Amazing texture for any cookie Gf or not! Thanks for having a passion for snickerdoodles! I’ve converted other recipes and they have not turned out! Yours was fantastic!

  9. I seriously love Snickerdoodles and have created my very own “lemon blueberry” snickerdoodles that are to die for! Thank you for your inspirational story of kindness in a grocery parking lot. There is much all can do once we lift our eyes to look around and see beyond ourselves.

  10. These cookies are amazing!! Thank you for the tutorial. I always use cream of tarter, but usually not this much. LOVED IT!

  11. oh my word. this is the perfect recipe. i’m in love. your pictures helped so much – really great post! thanks 🙂

  12. Oh Dear! I never should have tried this recipe! These are my new favorite cookies! So delicious, and perfectly chewy.

  13. I LOVED your Q & A at the end. HILARIOUS! I noticed it didn’t necessarily “save” you though. hee hee

  14. I love Snickerdoodles but like them much better with Cinnamon Chips! Truly wonderful!!!

  15. Help…what did I do wrong? I followed your Snickerdoodle instructions exactly and made no changes. The cookies puffed up towards the end of the cooking time and then before the timer went off, they flattened down before I even took them out of the oven. Then they flattened and spread even more after that. The cracks on top are barely visible because they spread out so flat. They don’t look anything like your photos do. I don’t know what I could have done wrong. Do you have any ideas?

    1. I really can’t tell ya Sandra, but perhaps you made a mistake and didn’t realize it? Maybe try again!

    2. Sandra, I had that same thing happen to me on 2 different tried-and-true cookie recipes and was so frustrated until I discovered that my box of baking soda needed to be replaced with a fresh one. (Who knew…and who keeps track??) If you put about a 1/4 tsp. of soda into some water/vinegar mixture (around 1/2 cup of very hot water with a splash of vinegar mixed in) and you don’t get a nice fizzing action, the soda has lost it’s potency…careful with the comments! 🙂 My mom shared this little tidbit with me – hope it helps!

  16. You have awesome timing! My husband’s birthday was yesterday and as soon as I saw this post on Monday I knew I needed to get to the store to buy cream of tartar! My hubs is the cookie monster and loves snickerdoodles, so this was the perfect birthday treat for him. This recipe turned out great. I can’t wait to bake up more tonight with the leftover dough!

  17. These cookies looked so great and your commentary was so fantastic that I ended up making and eating these cookies, twice, in one day!!! I made one batch with a friend and fellow follower of your blog in the afternoon and ended up coming home and making them for dessert for company that evening for dinner!!! They were perfect in flavor, texture and presentation. We devoured them,so I might have to make another batch tonight and actually put some in the cookie jar! 🙂

  18. The cookies are cooling now … they just might be the most beautiful cookies I’ve ever made! Exactly the kind you want to give away 🙂

  19. So weird that you did this post on Monday. Sunday I was watching something on TV and in the show a person made a reference to being a stay at home mom and wanting to do things like make snickerdoodle cookies. It then occured to me that I don’t even know how to make them. I then started to feel guilty because I don’t know how to make them and feel like my kids are missing out on life and what a horrible mom I am. Monday morning I went to your blog to do a search and the first post was this recipe. I did not even have to do a recipe search. So thank you for making me feel like a good mom because know I can make snickerdoodle’s for my kids.

  20. Oh it’s like you guys KNOW me or something. I’ve been looking for the “perfect” snickerdoodle recipe for a while and I was blown away at how many I found without cream of tartar! How dare they! This is really similar to my mom’s that I always use but your step by step directions helped the process a lot. These are the best snickerdoodles I’ve ever made and I’ve made a lot! Thank you!

  21. I love snickerdoodles ! One of my favorite cookies and love your story. A suggestion for when you feel the need to repay a kindness and don’t know who to repay.. try taking some of your scrumptious goodies to the police station or fire station. They’d love to have them, and they love to be thanked for their thankless jobs. I dropped 6 dozen cupcakes by the police station the other day and they were thrilled.

  22. My biggest complaint about snickerdoodles has been the “eggy” taste and, sometimes, smell of them. I haven’t made snickerdoodles for years because of this. Please tell me this is not a problem for this particular recipe!!

    1. Laura, that taste/smell is actually the cream of tartar taste Sara was talking about (and the reason why I don’t like snickerdoodles, haha!)

  23. Just made these snickerdoodles and they came out great. Just the right amount of chew. They are now packaged and on their way to my son who is out in his first week in the mission field. Hope he and his comp like them too. I was thinking the shortening would keep them chewier longer than an all butter cookie.

  24. Loved the story and the recipe! I’ve never gone crazy over snickerdoodles like some people, and I think it’s because they always have a cakey texture. But chewy is definitely going to be better.

    Speaking of cookies, my friend introduced me to something I think you two will love: Speculoos, a.k.a. Cookie Butter. Have you tried it?? Words aren’t sufficient. I’ve only had Trader Joe’s brand, but I’m sure it’s available online. It’s good enough to just eat with a spoon, but I bet you two could think of some even tastier ways to devour it.

  25. Oh Sara! You always make me smile! Thanks for your great story and sarcastic wit with the Q&A. I love it! Love the cookies too. 🙂

  26. Whoa…way to go on this one! I just made them and YUM! Thank you! You converted me to a Snickerdoodle lover.

  27. I made these cookies last night. One word…AMAZING! These were the most perfectly shaped cookies I have ever made. And they were delicious. A hit with my family. Thank you for posting the recipe.

  28. You’re making my mouth water. And I love that story! I always get people telling me what a bad mom I am in those situations (and it has happened a number of times), instead of being helpful. I’m glad there are some kind people around still.