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. 5 stars
    Hands down the best Snickerdoodle recipe out there!!! I didn’t love Snickerdoodles until I made this recipe. The pictures for when to pull the cookies out are so helpful!

  2. 5 stars
    These cookies are AMAZING! Made them for my family today, they’re nearly half gone 😋

  3. Hey Sara,
    I’m about to make these and noticed it says “vegetable shortening” I only have butter flavored shortening. Do you think I can use what I have or will the cookies come out too buttery?

  4. Lol, love your sense of humor. Gonna try these out- EVERY time I see a snickerdoodle lately I really want it but I don’t like to buy in the package with all the weird ingredients.

  5. just made these – by far…the best snickerdoodle recipe I’ve come across. Just shared some with my sick neighbor. Spreading a little joy with your recipe.

  6. Mine didn’t become as thin as yours did. Would it be because I substituted the shortening with butter?

  7. This turned out beautifully, and I followed the recipe to the T, but added a single mini Rollo to the inside of each one, and, well, need I say more? Wonderful story, great comments, love the FAQ. This is an awesome recipe.

  8. Silly question, but I know you said to use a cookie scoop for these if possible. I’ve got three sizes – a tiny one, a medium size one (I’m guessing a “standard” size . . . whatever standard means) and a pretty big one (that I think is 1/4 cup). Which would I want to use here? Any idea? I know you said each cookie should have 2 tablespoons of dough. Thanks for your help!

  9. Sara, so these are the most amazing cookies ever and I was wondering if you could make them into snickerdoodle bars like Kate did with your sugar cookie recipe?

    1. Kylee, I think this recipe would be too chewy for that. You’d want to use a softer, more cake-like cookie recipe for a bar. Or simply a blondie recipe.

  10. I just made these for our PTA’s Literacy Night Bake Sale. I used 1/2 cup unsalted butter and 1/2 cup coconut oil. Plus I made them into gigantic cookies (4-5″)across because I don’t always want to spend all my time putting cookie sheets in and out of the oven. The recipe made 12 gigantic cookies and one regular sized cookie for product control consumption-YUM.

  11. I am going to a cookie exchange and want to bake these. But the host is askign for 7 dozen cookies!! Do you think the cookies will turn out if I make them smaller to try to get 7 dozen out of 2 batches? I am assuming I should shorten the cooking time by a couple of minutes. I just don’t want them to turn out overly crispy. Or should I multiply the recipe?

  12. This IS the Snickerdoodle I hadn’t been able to replicate from my childhood.
    Exactly as pictured – really delicious. Funny how just tiny differences make such a difference. Thank you.

  13. I made these cookies tonight for a cookie swap party, they were delicious. I don’t know if there will be any left for the party. Will probably have to make another couple batches Thanks for sharing your recipe.

  14. These were by far the best cookies I have ever had! But I’m curious with the holidays coming… Do you think there’s anyways I could make them into Pumpkin Snickerdoodles?

    1. I recommend subbing pumpkin pie spice for the cinnamon- I would not recommend adding pumpkin puree, it will drastically change the texture of the cookie and turn it cakey.

  15. High altitude? Any change in the recipe? My mom tried to make some snickerdoodles yesterday with my son and they turned out kind of hard but didn’t spread… Any advice on what went wrong so I can send my mom some good snickerdoodles? Gotta out do grandma ya know.

    1. If they didn’t spread, I’d say there was a mis-measurement somewhere. I’m not really sure, sorry!

  16. I know I’m a girl and I’m already blissfully married, but I still feel the need to marry you so you can make me these cookies! 🙂

    Thanks for the cream of tartar lesson. I have always used it without knowing a thing about it.

  17. Sara, I did not have shortening so I went ahead and used 2 sticks of butter. Because u said they may turn out hard I used a little trick that I had learned with making chocolate chip cookies. Instead of putting the baking sofa in with dry ingredients I mixed the 1 tsp. baking soda with 2 tsp. hot tap water until the baking soda is dissolved. Then mixed it in with the wet ingredients. The cookies came out fantastic!

  18. Really yummy! The cream of tartar made a huge difference. I’m happy I found a chewy cookie recipe that followed through especially in my crappy old oven.
    I will be making these forever! Thanks!

  19. Unfortunately, I am usually short on ingredients for whatever I’m in the mood to cook. But this time, all I’m missing is shortening!! I’m following someone else’s advice and chilling the dough before I bake it to stop it from spreading so much, it’s all pre-rolled and sitting in my fridge right now. Hopefully it works!

  20. Truly the best snickerdoodle I have ever eaten. New family favorite. Came out perfectly – thank you!

  21. I just want to tell you that I am AGAIN making these before dinner! They are that good! This time I made mini silver-dollar sized ones so I don’t feel so bad about eating them. Thanks! 🙂

  22. Hey! I so very rarely comment on things unless it’s worth my time, but let me tell you, this is so VERY worth my time.
    I came across this recipe a while back, probably around December, because I wanted something warm and cozy to eat while I watched Up(best movie ever?), and so I made them. What I am getting at is that these cookies always come out different. They are fantastic every time though.. Especially a few weeks ago when my boyfriend and I made them in the quickest 45 minutes ever, literally crunch time, they were the best batch ever.
    Okay, best part coming up– So every year my school does a cooking competition with the different world language clubs. There are three different categories: appetizer, entree, and dessert. My German club didn’t win, but we did win the dessert category with this lovely recipe. We served them with lightly sweetened cream.
    I really love how quick these are, and I seriously never get tired of the taste.

    Definitely a favorite recipe. I’m saving this one to make when I’ve got a family someday(not that I don’t have a family now, but you know what I mean).

    Sorry, I ramble. Part of why I tend not to comment.

    Great recipe, thank you dearly for sharing, you are a magnificent human being who has made a huge impact on my life.

  23. these are delicious! I like them so much more than the fluffy kind, though those are still good. The only downside to these is that they’re too big to sneak them up to my bedroom to snack on! Haha. Your guys’ posts always make me laugh. Thanks Sara and Kate!