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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali Shah

Snickerdoodles Without Cream Of Tartar

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Can you make snickerdoodles without cream of tartar? Yes you can! This recipe for snickerdoodle cookies without cream of tartar makes soft, sugar-coated, chewy snickerdoodle cookies just like the traditional version! The best part? They are super easy to make, and are ready in just 30 minutes!

Snickerdoodles without cream of tartar stacked on a white plate.

Traditional snickerdoodle cookies are one of those classic cookies that you can find in almost any bakery, any time of year. Typically, these chewy cookies are made with cream of tartar, which acts as both a leavening agent and provides a tangy flavor that you have likely come to expect in perfect snickerdoodles.

But you don’t need cream of tartar to make the best snickerdoodle cookies that you’ll want to keep eating again and again! This baking powder snickerdoodle cookies recipe uses baking powder as a substitute for the cream of tartar + baking soda in the traditional recipe.

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You’ll get all of the deliciousness of classic snickerdoodles, but you won’t have to go shopping for that obscure ingredient that you really can’t use in many other recipes.

These delicious cookies are sweet, slightly crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside – kind of like a sugar cookie rolled in cinnamon sugar, but so much better! You might even prefer the taste of these cookies over traditional snickerdoodles.

Not only does this snickerdoodle recipe have NO cream of tartar, but it’s ready in just 30 minutes!

Classic snickerdoodle cookies are different from other sugar cookies, with three main distinctions:

  1. Cream of tartar is added to the cookie batter to give these cookies their distinct tang and chewy texture.
  2. Unlike regular sugar cookies, snickerdoodles are rolled in cinnamon sugar.
  3. Snickerdoodles have a distinct cracked top, vs. the smooth surface of a sugar cookie.

This recipe for snickerdoodle cookies with no cream of tartar is similar to the traditional version, with an easy substitution for #1 above of course!

Where Did Snickerdoodles Come From?

Snickerdoodles have been around since the late 1800s, and actually evolved from a ship doodle cake -which was a cinnamon sugar coffee cake.

The first snickerdoodles (developed by Cleveland Baking Powder in the 1890s) were actually made with baking powder! But baking powder was not a common ingredient in homes at that time, cream of tartar + baking soda was often used for rise in baking. Which is why, when the recipe for this classic cookie was developed for the masses, cream of tartar + baking soda was used instead of baking powder.

What Do Classic Snickerdoodle Cookies Taste Like?

Classic snickerdoodles taste like a sweet sugar cookie with a cinnamon flavor, but they also have a slightly tangy and sour taste thanks to the cream of tartar. They are crispy on the outside, and chewy on the inside.

🫙 What Is Cream Of Tartar?

Contrary to its name, cream of tartar is not made from cream! It’s actually a dry, powder-like substance that’s a byproduct of wine making!

Cream of tartar is often used in combination with baking soda in baking recipes. The two ingredients together act as a leavening agent in baked goods (helps them rise and become nice and fluffy). Cream of tartar can also be used as a substitute for baking powder for this exact reason. If you need a baking powder substitute, 1 teaspoon of baking powder = 1/4 teaspoon baking soda + 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar.

Other fun uses of cream of tartar include: helping to stabilize meringue when beating egg whites, helping boiled vegetables to retain their bright color (you add just a pinch during the boiling process), and as an ingredient in homemade playdoh!

What Does Cream Of Tartar Do In Snickerdoodles?

If you’re wondering why easy snickerdoodles need cream of tartar, it’s basically what gives these tasty cookies their tangy flavor and chewy texture. However, you can still get that same feel with baking powder snickerdoodles by adding a bit of lemon juice along with the baking powder to get that same tang.

👩🏽‍🍳 Why This Recipe Works

  • Sweet cinnamon sugar coating
  • Great for the whole family
  • Made with pantry staples
  • Fluffy snickerdoodle recipe
  • Easy recipe to make
  • Simple to customize!
  • Soft and chewy cookies
  • Best snickerdoodle recipe without cream of tartar ever!

🥘 Ingredients

Make soft snickerdoodles without cream of tartar and you’re guaranteed to have a pantry friendly recipe with ingredients you already have on hand (or can easily find at any grocery store!) See the full instructions and nutritional information in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

Ingredients for Snickerdoodles without cream of tartar recipe on a white background.
  • All Purpose Flour: The base of our Snickerdoodle cookie dough!
  • Baking Powder: This is our cream of tartar substitute in snickerdoodles. Baking powder is a combination of baking soda and an acid (like cream of tartar!) The two create air bubbles that cause the cookies to rise.
  • Ground Cinnamon + Sugar: Included in the cookie dough to give the cookies their classic flavor, and you’ll also be using a cinnamon sugar mixture to coat the cookies before baking. You’ll want to use cane sugar, not brown sugar, to achieve the right texture in your cookies and for the coating.
  • Butter Or Vegan Butter: Butter gives these cookies a rich and soft texture. You’ll want to use room temperature butter so that it’s easy to cream with your sugar. I haven’t tested this recipe with coconut oil (or any other oil) – but my guess is it would alter the recipe and fluffy texture of the cookie. For the best snickerdoodle cookie, use vegan butter.
  • Vanilla Extract: Vanilla extract is a flavor enhancer in baked goods, and it helps to bring out the sweetness of these cookies.
  • Lemon Juice: Adds the tang and slightly sour flavor you would expect from chewy snickerdoodles!
  • Eggs Or Flax Eggs: Eggs add structure, leavening, and flavor to these cookies. Flax eggs will work just as well!

📖 Variations

This easy snickerdoodle recipe with no cream of tartar is super simple to customize! Here are some of our favorite variations:

  • Snickerdoodle Oatmeal Cookies: Use rolled oats for 1/2 of the all purpose flour and make this recipe as is! You can also use oat flour for 1/2 of the all purpose flour instead of the rolled oats.
  • Snickerdoodle Chocolate Chip Cookies: Add 1/2 cup chocolate chips into the batter! To keep it vegan friendly, use dairy free chocolate chips.
  • Vegan Snickerdoodles: Use vegan butter and flax eggs instead of regular butter and eggs. If you just need your recipe to be egg free, but not dairy free, you can make a snickerdoodle recipe without eggs by just substituting the flax eggs for regular.
  • Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cookies: Use pumpkin spice instead of the cinnamon in a 1:1 replacement in this recipe!

📓 Substitutes For Cream Of Tartar In Snickerdoodles

The best substitution for cream of tartar in snickerdoodle cookies (or any baking recipe) is to use baking powder (which is the key ingredient in our recipe!)

You can also use lemon juice or vinegar to give you that acidic cream of tartar taste in some recipes.

However, it won’t always work in baked goods without something like baking powder paired with it. This is because lemon juice or vinegar alone isn’t a leavening agent, it only provides the flavor of cream of tartar but won’t help your baked goods rise. You need a snickerdoodle recipe with baking powder for that!

🔪 How To Make Snickerdoodles Without Cream Of Tartar

This easy snickerdoodle cookie recipe without cream of tartar is so simple to make! You don’t even need to chill the cookie dough like you do in most other recipes. Here’s how you do it:

Preheat Your Oven, Mix Dry Ingredients: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F / 180 C. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat, set aside. In a large mixing bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and cinnamon, set aside.

Dry ingredients for cookies mixed in a bowl.

Cream Butter, Sugar & Wet Ingredients: Place the softened butter and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer, using a paddle attachment, beat on a medium speed for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy. Reduce speed, add the vanilla extract, lemon juice and egg. Beat until smooth.

Wet ingredients for cookies mixed in a stand mixer.

Mix Wet + Dry Ingredients: Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined to make your snickerdoodle dough.

Cookie dough mixed in a mixing bowl.

Make Cookie Balls: Using a 2oz ice cream scoop or a cookie scoop, scoop cookie dough into balls and place them on the prepared baking sheet, do not flatten. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Cookie scoop used to scoop out cookie dough and place on a baking sheet.

Make Cinnamon Sugar Topping: In a small mixing bowl stir together the sugar and cinnamon. Gently roll each cookie dough ball in cinnamon sugar. Return all the cinnamon-sugar rolled cookie dough balls to the baking sheet.

Baking powder snickerdoodle cookie dough balls rolled in cinnamon sugar coating.

Bake No Cream Of Tartar Snickerdoodles: Bake in the oven for 9-11 minutes. (Note: Cookies are done when the outer edges are lightly golden brown in color and the center still looks slightly undercooked.)

Cookie dough balls rolled in cinnamon sugar on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Let Baked Cookies Cool: Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet before cooling completely on a wire rack. Store leftover cookies in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 5 days.

Snickerdoodles without cream of tartar stacked on a wire rack.

❓Recipe FAQs

What causes snickerdoodles to be flat?

The most common reason for snickerdoodles to come out too flat is that the oven temperature is too low. Check to make sure your oven is calibrated correctly, or just slightly increase the baking temperature (e.g. by 20-30 degrees).

If your oven is calibrated correctly, then check your baking powder to make sure it’s fresh, when making this baking powder snickerdoodle recipe. You can do this by adding a pinch of it to a bowl of hot water – if it fizzes, it’s fresh!

Should you flatten snickerdoodles before baking?

It depends on what type of cookie you want! If you want soft and thick snickerdoodle cookies that are more puffy than flat, then don’t flatten out these cookies before baking. If you want a slightly thinner cookie that’s not as puffy in the center, then you can press down gently in the center of these cookies with the back of a spoon before baking.

Does cream of tartar have a taste?

Yes it does! It has a slightly acidic, mild taste that’s not too overpowering or pungent.

How to tell when snickerdoodles are done?

You want the tops of the cookies to be just slightly golden brown, and a little bit cracked on top. If you can lift the cookie off the baking sheet easily, it’s done! Under-baking is better than over-baking with this no cream of tartar snickerdoodles recipe, as these cookies will continue to cook on the hot baking sheet even after they’ve been pulled out of the oven.

How to store snickerdoodle cookies?

At Room Temperature: Once the cookies have cooled, transfer them to an airtight container and store at room temperature for 4-5 days. To keep your cookies even more fresh, you can wrap each one in plastic wrap before transferring to the container for storage.

To Freeze: Let the cookies cool completely. Wrap each cookie in plastic wrap, then transfer to an airtight freezer safe ziptop bag or container. Freeze for up to 3 months. To defrost, let the cookie thaw in the the fridge overnight, then warm in the oven at 200 degrees F until just heated through. You can also bake them straight from frozen at 175-200 degrees F for 5-10 minutes until warm.

💭 Expert Tips

  • Sift flour: For best results, and for super soft and fluffy cookies, sift the flour 2-3 times before you measure it.
  • Use a kitchen scale to measure your ingredients – go by weight when measuring!
  • Butter should be room temperature: Make sure that the vegan butter is softened at room temperature. It will help the sugar and butter cream which results in a lighter fluffier cookie.
  • Chilling dough is optional: If you have time, chill the dough for at least an hour. This will help give the cookies a chewier texture.
  • Under bake the cookies just a bit. It will help this chewy snickerdoodle recipe without cream of tartar stay light and fluffy for a longer period of time. The longer you keep your cookies in the oven, the more crispy they’ll be in texture – don’t overbake your cookies or they will be too hard!
  • Storage is important: Once your cookies have cooled, transfer them immediately to an airtight container to retain their moisture and soft chewy texture.
  • Don’t crowd your oven: If you can, I recommend baking these cookies one pan at a time in the oven in a couple of batches. If you need to put both sheet pans in the oven at the same time, adjust your oven racks so that they’re closer to the middle vs. too far towards the top or bottom.
  • The cookies are done when the edges are slightly golden and the center is still soft. They should be puffy when they come out of the oven, and as they cool they will flatten and very slightly harden.
Snickerdoodles without cream of tartar stacked on a white plate.

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Snickerdoodles without cream of tartar stacked on a white plate.
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5 from 9 votes

Snickerdoodles Without Cream Of Tartar

Can you make snickerdoodles without cream of tartar? Yes you can! This recipe for snickerdoodle cookies without cream of tartar makes soft, sugar-coated, chewy snickerdoodle cookies just like the traditional version! The best part? They are super easy to make, and are ready in just 30 minutes!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Baking, Dessert
Cuisine: American, Vegan
Diet: Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 12 cookies
Calories: 192kcal
Author: Anjali Shah

Ingredients

For The Snickerdoodle Cookie Dough

For The Cinnamon Sugar Coating

  • ¼ cup sugar
  • tsp cinnamon

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F / 180 C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.
  • In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and cinnamon, set aside.
  • Place the softened butter and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer, using a paddle attachment, beat on a medium speed for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy.
  • Reduce speed, add the vanilla extract, lemon juice and egg. Beat until smooth.
  • Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined.
  • Using a 2oz ice cream scoop, scoop cookie dough into balls and place them on the prepared baking trays, do not flatten.
  • Repeat with remaining ingredients.
  • In a small mixing bowl stir together the sugar and cinnamon.
  • Gently roll each cookie dough ball in cinnamon sugar and return to the baking tray.
  • Bake in the oven for 9-11 minutes. Cookies are done when the outer edges are lightly golden in color and the center still looks slightly undercooked.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes on the baking tray before cooling completely on a cooling rack.
  • Store leftover cookies in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 5 days.

Notes

  • Make sure that the butter/vegan butter is softened at room temperature. It will help the sugar and butter cream together, which results in a lighter fluffier cookie.
  • If you have time, chill the dough for at least an hour. This will help give the cookies a chewier texture.
  • Don’t over mix the batter when adding the flour mixture.
  • Cooking times may vary based on your oven. Do not over cook the cookies, keep an eye on them and remove them from the oven when the centres are looking slightly undercooked. You may want to even under bake the cookies just a bit. This will help the cookies stay chewy, light and fluffy for a longer period of time. The longer you keep your cookies in the oven, the more crispy they’ll be in texture.
  • The cookies are done when the edges are slightly golden and the center is still soft. They should be puffy when they come out of the oven, and as they cool they will flatten and very slightly harden.
  • Substitute the butter and eggs for vegan butter and flax eggs.
  • Cookie dough can be made ahead of time, rolled in cinnamon sugar and stored, covered, in the fridge for up to 2 days before cooking.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 192kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 48mg | Sodium: 72mg | Potassium: 38mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 17g

Posted In…

Plant Based Desserts ·

Indulge your sweet tooth with some of my delicious, lightened-up treats! From vegan vanilla pudding to gluten-free brownies to microwave peanut butter fudge, there’s something for everyone!

All of these desserts are healthier than their traditional counterparts, and many have gluten free and/or vegan alternatives. But the most important part is that they are all so tasty, so satisfying, and are total crowd pleasers!

Be sure to try other reader favorites like this healthy hot chocolate, our healthy edible vegan cookie dough, and these peanut butter bliss balls!

16 responses to “Snickerdoodles Without Cream Of Tartar”

  1. Brilliant recipe! I hardly ever have the cream of tartar at home, so this recipe is definitely a keeper! Very soft and deliciously cinnamony!5 stars

  2. Snickerdoodles are so delicious! Dipping them in white chocolate is brilliant. I love making these over the holidays. You gave great tips to make them perfect!5 stars

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