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
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 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.
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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.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. I made these last year on the day you posted this recipe, and then again this weekend as refreshments for a piano recital, and again today as a welcome for some new neighbors. Perfect every time. Thanks again for a great recipe. When I go to the internet looking for a good recipe, I often just google “our best bites dip” or “our best bites marinade” “our best bites chocolate chip cookies” etc. You gals are just that good!

  2. So say someone made these tonight for a school program’s refreshments tomorrow and they were cooked for 10 minutes and still came out crunchy after they cooled off….how should someone adjust the time so that they come out soft and chewy?? Try 9 minutes, then 8?? I was disappointed that they’re crunchy, though the flavor is perfect, but my son informed me that he didn’t care that they’re crunchy. 😀

    1. Sounds like your oven might be a bit hot- you got it right, just decrease the baking time until they look just set around the edges.

  3. Hi I just finished making these today, they taste great but the only problem was that it didn’t flatten out like yours I followed the recipe and directions but just wonder why my cookies didn’t flatten all the way like urs, is it because the butter wasn’t fully melted to room temp? Please let me know I love this recipe and would love to make these again:)

    1. Yes, the butter temp could be the culprit- as could elevation, humidity, etc. Cookies are kind of tricky that way, but these ones usually come out every time for me. Next time try making sure your butter is the right temp and see if that helps!

  4. I just recently got my Kitchen Aid Mixer and am now obsessed with baking! A co-worker gave me your site as you are her go-to for all things desserts, esp. cookies!

    Snickerdoodles are in the oven, but I CAN’T/CAN eat all of them in one sitting… Does the dough freeze well? Does this go with all of your cookie dough?

    1. The baked cookies freeze beautifully, and you could also freeze the dough, but I always think cookie dough tastes better when cooked from fresh. That’s just me though, you could experiment!

  5. LOVE this recipe!! My 16 old just came home to a great smelling house, and some tasty cookies. But, mainly I wanted to say that you totally cracked me up with your responses to some of the comments and suggestions for variations. Funny, funny lady! I like your spunky style…

  6. I made these just today and I will only be using this recipe from now on. I made some soft and some crunchy. Amazing!!’

  7. a year later i finally got around to making these! and now i am sad i waited as long as i did… super easy, SUPER YUMMY!!!!!!!

  8. This is a great recipe. I would call it fail-proof just because it made it through all my fails. Ha ha. I had my dough all mixed up and I read the part where it said… dough should be quite soft… mine was really stiff and crumbly. And then I realized I left out the eggs. *forehead smack. Added in the eggs and all was well. They still turned out fantastic. And I have a happy husband. 🙂

  9. Oh my! I have embarked on what we’re calling “Snickerdoodlepalooza 2012: The search for the perfect chewy snickerdoodle recipe” I’ve worked my way through 4 recipes and you are on top by far! I used margarine (blue bonnet) and salted butter, omitted the table salt. Yes, I am going to have to hide half the cookies in the freezer, or I will eat them all. Thanks a bunch!

  10. Just made these! I needed a taste of fall. I did one pan with 1 T. balls and topped with a pumpkin Kiss when they came out of the oven. Yum!

  11. I just made this recipe this week and I used Silpat mats instead of parchment. Was wondering if you’ve tried this recipe with those and if you noticed a difference. I didn’t have enough motivation to try one pan with each 😛

  12. I just finished making these Snickerdoodle Cookies and have to say they are AWESOME! Definatley a keeper recipe…..Glad I ran across it! Thanks!

  13. I’ve had this link saved for a couple weeks and Thanks to a bout of insomnia, I finally made them at 6am this morning. They are FABULOUS! I’ve spent a good 7 years trying to find a snickerdoodle as good as the ones I used to buy at my favorite cookie shop that went out of business. This recipe knocks that cookie out of the water! Thanks for such a delicious & perfectly textured cookie.

  14. I just found this recipe, been craving snickerdoodles, never made them before. Made them today and OH MY GRACIOUS ALIVE…They are wonderful1!!!!

  15. Best cookies I’ve ever made! They came out perfect and everyone loves them! Thank you!!

  16. My daughter is campaigning for snickerdoodles right now! Also wanted to share that if you have rust stains from the dryer you can boil water with cream of tartar and that will remove the stain (in a fabric that can take the temperature of course…. and be sure to not start a fire – but I saved 7 military uniform shirts with rusty points on the collar this way) – LOVE multi-use products.

  17. Your story at the beginning made me cry! I’ve so been there. What a sweet man. He will be blessed.

    Now for the cookies – I’m heading to the kitchen right now 😉

  18. My guys are big fans of thin crispy snickerdoodles, made with all shortening and cream of tartar. Mine come out light, not hard. BUT…They only work in dry weather. Too much humidity makes them soggy. In other words, crispy snickerdoodles can’t be baked in Texas summers. So I will be trying this recipe tonight. Thanks!

  19. found this on Pinterest today and can.not.wait to make these. I am a snickerdoodle fan. My grandma always made them and they remind me of her. Will post back after I make them and let you know how mine turn(ed)out!

  20. I usually am not that crazy over snicker doodles but these were amazing! One of my favorite cookies! Thanks, I love your blog:-)

  21. I told my husband yesterday I was making snickerdoodles, and he said, “Why would you do that? I hate snickerdoodles.” I just smiled. Later, after he had eaten four of them, I said, “I thought you hate snickerdoodles.” He said, “These can’t be snickerdoodles. They are WAY too good.”

    Thank you for the excellent recipe!

  22. These were absolutely perfect and totally picturesque! I always seem to forget snickerdoodles exist, and when I do remember them, I don’t want them because I associate a dry, crumbly waste of calories with them. I am a changed woman. Thanks!

  23. Wow, these are the best snickerdoodles I have ever made! So so perfect. I almost never make large cookies, but I decided I would try the 2 Tbsp. of dough like it says in the recipe and I’m so glad I did! After 10 minutes of baking I wasn’t quite sure they were done, but I took them out anyway and they ended up being just right. Thanks for another go-to recipe!

  24. I was half way through the recipe with my daughter and realized I didn’t have vegetable shortening. So I improvised and used 4 Tablespoons Coconut Oil. They turned out great!

  25. As I am desperately searching for a truly chewy Snickerdoodle, I am excited to try this recipe. I was a little surprised that it does not include brown sugar, which I associate with increased chew generally. Any thoughts on dividing up the sugar between white and brown? And seriously on the cream of tartar – if there’s no cream of tartar, its not a snickerdoodle. We need a PSA…

    1. It’s true brown sugar is associated with increased chew, but it also adds deep flavor, and in a Snickerdoodle, we’re not looking for a molasses flavor. The crisp, clean flavor or white sugar is best.

      1. Thanks! Makes sense that white sugar is best for a classic snickerdoodle, but I might play around a bit on this one since I think the depth of a light brown sugar would match nicely with the cinnamon of a snickerdoodle. I’d never do 100% brown, but maybe a combo… I love the flexibility and tinkering of baking.

  26. I recently made these cookies and they were a huge hit. Thank you so much! I truly loved them! I made several batches as a surprise for my family, husband’s family and a few others. A friend was driving back home and was willing to drop them off at each house. I think sometimes the best gifts are the ones that are totally unexpected!

    Anyways, everyone absolutely adored them! The only thing is that several family members asked if I could make them smaller next time. This might be a silly question, and it might just show you how much of a “beginner” I am at baking but I rather just ask. If I were to half the size, do you think the cookies would still have the same wonderful chewy texture?

    1. Not a silly question at all Kristine! You can definitely make them smaller- they should turn out just fine.

      And then you can eat twice as many 😉

  27. I loved your kindness story! I am a firm believer in angels! Ironically,I am making these cookies to repay an angel for an act of kindness she did for me this weekend. I asked a friend if she would make me a “few” cinnamon rolls for my son’s baptism. When I went to pick them up, she had made 48 of the most delicious, enormous cinnamon rolls you have ever seen (and I imagine you have seen some beauties!). My son suggested we make snickerdoodles to repay her. Since your blog it my “go to” first and foremost I came here looking for a better snickerdoodle recipe and of course found this one attached with your wonderful story! Thanks for both!

  28. I just finished making these and they came out perfectly!The edges were crisp and the center was so chewy. I’ve tried a few different snickerdoodle recipes and this recipe is definitely the best.