Snickerdoodle cookies are dressed up for the holidays in red, green, and gold sprinkles. Christmas snickerdoodles are soft and chewy, with a subtle tangy flavor and cinnamon sugar crust.
Snickerdoodles are the perfect cookie for the holiday season. They're rolled in cinnamon sugar and colorful sprinkles for a cozy and festive holiday feel.
The addition of cream of tartar gives these cookies their traditional tangy flavor that sets them apart from a regular sugar cookie. Made with simple pantry ingredients, these cookies are surprisingly easy to make in your own home kitchen.
Serve Christmas snickerdoodles at your next holiday party or have the kids help make a batch for Santa on Christmas Eve!
Ingredients and substitutions
- Unsalted butter - Can be substituted with salted butter (you'll want to omit the salt listed in the recipe). Your butter should be room temperature - not cold, not melted.
- Sugars - Adds sweetness and moisture to your dough. You'll also be rolling the dough balls in additional granulated sugar before baking.
- Large eggs - Eggs should be room temperature. Set them on the counter 1 hour before baking or place your whole eggs in a small bowl covered in warm tap water for 15 minutes.
- Vanilla extract - Adds flavor to the cookie base.
- All-purpose flour - I have only tested this recipe with all-purpose flour. If you have a different flour on hand, I suggest searching for a recipe using your preferred type of flour. Many times it's not an easy 1:1 substitution, and a recipe written for a particular flour will turn out better.
- Baking soda - Cannot be substituted with baking powder - these are two different ingredients that react differently with the other ingredients listed. Check the expiration date before beginning - expired baking soda will result in a flat, dense cookie.
- Cream of tartar - Prevents the sugar from crystallizing and creating a crunchy texture in your cookie. I like to add it to cookie recipes when I want a soft, chewy cookie. Cream of tartar also gives the cookies a unique, slightly tangy flavor, which sets it apart it from a regular sugar cookie.
- Cinnamon - The dough balls are rolled in sugar sprinkles and cinnamon before baking to create that traditional cinnamon snickerdoodle flavor.
- Salt - enhances the flavor of your cookie and balances the sweetness without making them "salty".
- Sprinkles - I used red, green, and gold sugar sprinkles. Colors can be adjusted for the season and holiday, or substituted with granulated sugar for a traditional snickerdoodle cookie.
Tips and tricks
Room temperature ingredients - It's important to allow your ingredients to come to room temperature. They create a consistent, creamy, and even dough. When beaten, the eggs and butter form an emulsion, which traps air in the dough and bakes up into a soft and fluffy cookie.
Improperly measured flour - This is the most common issue I see in baking. If you have issues with your cookies not spreading, turning out extra thick and tall, or tasting bland, you probably measured too much flour into your cookie dough.
To properly measure flour - Use a kitchen scale for 100% accuracy. If you don't have a scale, use a spoon to gently add flour to your measuring cup, then level off with a knife. By scooping flour directly from a container with the measuring cup, you’re compacting the flour into the cup. This can add up to 25% extra flour to your dough.
Frequently asked questions
This can happen when your dough is too warm or the baking sheet was greased instead of lined with parchment.
- Don't skip the step of refrigerating your dough. Refrigerating not only helps the flavors meld, but also makes the dough easier to roll into balls and reduces spreading.
- If your dough is still spreading in the oven, try refrigerating the dough balls for 10 minutes, then transfer directly into the oven.
- Use parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. I do not recommend using a greased cookie sheet. A layer of grease/cooking spray makes cookies of any kind spread more in the oven.
Homemade cookies will keep for up to 5 days in a sealed container at room temperature. I highly recommend storing leftover cookies with a slice of bread inside the container. While the bread dries out, your cookies stay fresh and soft.
Cookies (and cookie dough) can be frozen for up to 3 months in a tightly sealed freezer safe container. To bring baked cookies to room temperature, transfer from the freezer to the counter top and allow to thaw for one hour.
Yes! Replace the holiday sprinkles with granulated sugar and make the rest of the recipe as written for traditional snickerdoodle cookies.
- 1 cup (226 g) butter, room temperature
- ¾ cup (149 g) granulated sugar
- ½ cup (106 g) brown sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 cups (360 g) all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup (48 g) colorful sugar sprinkles, reserved for rolling
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon, reserved for rolling
- In a large bowl, add butter and sugars. Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat until creamed and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla extract. Beat until creamed and fluffy, about a minute.
- In a separate bowl, whisk (or sift) together the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt.
- Gradually stir dry ingredients into butter mixture until just combined.
- Cover bowl or wrap dough in wax paper. Chill for at least 1 hour (up to 24 hours) in the refrigerator. Refrigerating allows the flavors meld and makes dough easier to roll into balls.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Scoop dough using a medium cookie scoop or shape by hand into 1.5 inch balls.
- In small bowls, divide the cinnamon evenly between your different colors of sugar sprinkles. Gently roll balls in cinnamon-sprinkle mixture to coat. Place cookie dough balls 2 inches apart onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
- Bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until puffy and set on the tops and lightly browned around the edges. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Your cookies will keep for up to 5 days in a sealed container. To help keep cookies fresh, place a slice of bread in the container with the cookies. Replace the bread slice as needed.
- Raw cookie dough will keep in the refrigerator for 3 days. Cookie dough balls (and baked cookies) freeze well, up to 3 months in a sealed plastic container or freezer bag. Allow frozen balls to thaw for up to 10 minutes on the baking sheet before baking, or add 1-2 minutes to the baking time.
- For extra cinnamon flavor, add ½ teaspoon of cinnamon to your dry ingredients before mixing into the dough.
- Sugar sprinkles can be substituted with granulated sugar to make traditional snickerdoodle cookies.
- Be sure to check out my 10 tips for baking cookies, based on reader comments and questions!