Gluten Free Snickerdoodles have always been one of my favorite gluten free cookie recipes! I just love these soft and chewy cookies rolled in cinnamon sugar. The snickerdoodle dough gets a subtle tang from the cream of tartar, which gives them their iconic taste.
This year, I’m participating in the Blogger Fall Cookie Swap with a few of my fellow allergy-friendly blogger friends and we’re hosting a virtual giveaway on Instagram to go along with it!
We each chose one of our favorite “free from” cookie recipes to share with you (scroll to the bottom of this post to see what treat they each chose!).
Don't forget to enter our giveaway on Instagram, too!
In my opinion, the perfect snickerdoodle cookie should be soft and chewy, with buttery edges with a little bit of a crisp bite, from boing rolled in cinnamon sugar before baking.
Not only does the perfect gluten free snickerdoodle need to be coated in cinnamon sugar, it needs to have cinnamon in the snickerdoodle cookie dough, and also a slight tang from cream of tartar.
I'm ashamed to admit, that in my first gluten free cookies cookbook, I merely added cinnamon to my gluten free sugar cookies and rolled the dough in cinnamon sugar before baking. Technically they were cinnamon sugar cookies, not snickerdoodle cookies!
I fixed that in my second gluten free cookie cookbook, Gluten Free Holiday Cookies. I created a new recipe that spreads into chewy, sugary, TANGY authentic gluten free snickerdoodles with cream of tartar.
If you ever see a snickerdoodle recipe without cream of tartar, please don't use it. Learn from my noob cookie-baking mistake. A snickerdoodle has to have cream of tartar to be a real snickerdoodle.
If you want to try a fun twist on classic snickerdoodles, check out my friend Amanda's recipe for gluten free apple spice snickerdoodles. They have chopped apples, and apple cider in them and look incredible!
What do you need to make gluten free snickerdoodles?
To make your gluten free snickerdoodle cookies you'll need:
- Butter or vegan butter. You'll only use butter for half of the fat in this recipe, to prevent your gluten free snickerdoodle cookies from spreading too far.
- Palm shortening. The other half of the fat. Shortening has a higher melting point than butter, which helps your cookies not get too thin. I like using palm shortening because it isn't hydrogenated but any shortening should work.
- Egg or egg substitute. I use either a whole egg (at room temperature) or egg substitute in this recipe. When I use an egg substitute, I reach for Bob's Red Mill's Egg Replace, but I mix it up with 3 tablespoons of water, instead of 2 like the package directs.
- Vanilla extract. Vanilla brings flavor. Don't skip it!
- Salt. Your cookies won't taste right without it.
- Baking soda. Baking soda works with the cream of tartar to help your cookies spread and rise.
- Cream of tartar. Cream of tartar is ESSENTIAL to make an authentic snickerdoodle cookie. They give the baked snickerdoodles a subtle tang.
- Ground cinnamon. It isn't a snickerdoodle without cinnamon.
- Xanthan Gum. Depending on your gluten-free flour, you may not need xanthan gum. If you use my gluten free flour blend, you'll need it. If your gluten free flour already has xanthan gum, omit it from the recipe or your cookies will be gummy.
- Gluten-free flour. I use my own gluten free flour blend and I've also tested Bob's Red Mill's 1 to 1 gluten free flour. Bob's GF Flour, and some other blends, absorb more liquid than my flour blend so you may need to use less flour than called for. I recommend using at least ½ cup less gluten free flour to start, and then adding flour 2 tablespoons at a time until you get a soft, scoopable dough.
- Cinnamon Sugar, to roll dough in before baking. If you don't roll your cookies in cinnamon sugar before baking, they aren't truly snickerdoodles. Cinnamon sugar is literally just sugar mixed with ground cinnamon. No need to buy it pre-mixed! I usually eye-ball my cinnamon instead of measuring it, but you can measure it if you like.
How do you make gluten free snickerdoodle cookie dough?
Snickerdoodle cookie dough uses the basic creaming method.
First, cream your fat (in this case, butter and shortening) with the sugar. This helps to aerate your cookies and give them the right texture.
Next add the egg or egg substitute and mix until it is all the way combined.
Then I like to add the vanilla, salt, baking soda, cream of tartar, cinnamon, xanthan gum (if using) and mix until they are evenly distributed. I like to add them all before the flour so that I don't have to whisk them with the flour first. Adding them to the butter/sugar/egg makes sure they are evenly distributed so that your snickerdoodle cookies have cinnamon throughout and will rise evenly.
Last, add the gluten free flour. If you are using any gluten free flour other than my gluten free flour blend, I recommend starting with at least ½ cup less than the recipe calls for. You can always add more flour, but you can't take it out if your dough is too dry! Each gluten free flour mix absorbs liquid differently, so you may need less gluten free flour. I use ¼ cup less flour when I use Bob's Red Mill's Gluten Free 1 to 1 flour.
The last step before baking, is to scoop or roll your snickerdoodle cookie dough into balls and then roll them in cinnamon sugar. I use a 1 ½ tablespoon cookie scoop, and drop each scoop into the cinnamon sugar. I give my bowl of cinnamon sugar a quick swirl to make sure the cookie is covered evenly, and then I gently move it to parchment paper or a silicone baking sheet on a cookie sheet.
The dough will be really soft, which is okay. If you want to chill your dough, you absolutely can. Keep reading, I talk all about whether or not you should chill your dough just before the recipe.
Finally, bake your gluten free snickerdoodles until they lose their doughy sheen. They won't look like they are finished baking. If they look "done" they are overbaked. You just want them to not look doughy. They will set as they cool.
Why do snickerdoodles have cream of tartar?
The cream of tartar makes all the difference in the flavor and texture of snickerdoodle cookies. Before the invention of baking powder, home cooks would use baking soda with something acidic to make their cookies and cakes rise.
Depending on the recipe, most baked goods using baking soda as leavener use a little buttermilk, lemon juice, or vinegar. Think back to that volcano you made with baking soda and vinegar in grade school.... that is how you'd get your cookies and cakes to rise before baking powder.
Now, many recipes use baking powder because it is usually easier to use. You no longer have to count on using buttermilk or vinegar to get your cakes and cookies to rise!
Baking powder is essentially cream of tartar and cornstarch mixed with baking soda. The cream of tartar activates the baking soda the same way that lemon juice or vinegar would.
One thing to be careful of in recipes that use baking soda and cream of tartar instead of baking soda, is that they will start to rise as soon as liquid is added so you'll get best results if you use the dough or batter immediately.
Double acting baking powder, which is the standard in the United States today, rises once when you add liquid, and again when you heat it.
Baking soda and cream of tartar don't get a second rise from heat, however that isn't a huge issue with snickerdoodles because you only need a little bit of rise from your snickerdoodle cookie dough. Mostly, you want them to spread.
Because of this, you don't have to worry as much about baking your gluten free snickerdoodle cookie dough immediately.
Do I need to chill gluten free snickerdoodle cookie dough?
You can chill your snickerdoodle cookie dough in the fridge if you'd like, but it isn't necessary.
HOWEVER, if you use all butter, I would recommend chilling your dough a little bit. Butter has a low enough melting point that if you use all butter, your cookies will spread too much.
To prevent my cookies from spreading too much, I use palm shortening as some of the fat in the recipe. It doesn't melt as quickly as butter, which will give your dough a chance to set before it spreads too far.
Chilling your dough will make a thicker, softer cookie, if that is your thing.
If you want, you can chill your snickerdoodle cookie dough in the fridge. You can also scoop it into cookie portions and then freeze it, and then bake snickerdoodle cookies on demand, straight from the freezer. They won't spread as much, and your snickerdoodles will still bake up just fine.
Personally, I like my snickerdoodles to spread out a bit, as long as they don't get too crispy.
How do I make gluten free dairy free snickerdoodle cookies?
I used a dairy-free butter substitute for the remaining fat in the recipe. (I use palm shortening also, to keep my cookies from spreading too thin.)
My daughter has a dairy intolerance, so I wanted to make dairy free snickerdoodle cookies that she could eat, too.
Can I make my gluten free snickerdoodles vegan?
If you want to make vegan snickerdoodle cookies, use egg replacer equal to 1 egg.
I've tested this recipe with Bob's Red Mill's Egg Replacer, however I use 3 tablespoons of water instead of the 2 suggested in the directions.
Want more cookie recipes like this one?
Check out my cookbook, Gluten-Free Cookies All Year Round, for more than 60 gluten-free & allergy friendly cookie recipes for every occasion.
Looking for more cookie inspiration? My friends have stirred up some pretty incredible recipes – check them out below!
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons palm shortening
- ¾ cup white sugar
- 1 egg
- ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¾ teaspoon xanthan gum
- 1 ½ cups gluten-free flour blend
- ¼ cup white sugar
- ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone
- Cream together the butter, shortening, and sugar.
- Add the egg and mix
- Add the vanilla extract, salt, baking soda, cream of tartar, cinnamon, xanthan gum,
and mix until combined.
- Add the gluten-free flour. Mix until combined. If you use a different gluten free flour blend, other than my flour blend, please start with 1 cup of gluten free flour and add the rest 2 tablespoons at a time until you have a soft dough. Different gluten free flour blends absorb liquids differently, so depending on your gluten free flour you may need less.
- In a small bowl combine the sugar and cinnamon.
- Scoop the dough using a 1½ tablespoon cookie scoop and then roll each scoop in the
cinnamon sugar before placing it on the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the cookies have spread and lose their doughy sheen.
- Let cool for a few minutes, until set, before removing them from the baking sheet.
To make dairy free snickerdoodle cookies, use vegan butter (like Earth Balance or Melt ) instead of the butter. I've also tested this recipe using solid coconut oil instead of the butter (soft, but not melted) and it worked great. I usually make my snickerdoodles dairy free with these substitutions.
To make vegan snickerdoodles, use the butter substitute listed above, and use Bob's Red Mill Egg Replacer. I used 1 tablespoon of egg replacer, mixed with 3 tablespoons of water, instead of the 2 tablespoons of water used in the directions. You can also use 1 tablespoon of ground flax meal mixed with 3 tablespoons of warm water.
If you use a different gluten free flour blend, other than my flour blend, please start with 1 cup of gluten free flour and add the rest 2 tablespoons at a time until you have a soft dough. Different gluten free flour blends absorb liquids differently, so depending on your gluten free flour you may need less.
If you want thicker cookies, or if you try using all butter instead of half butter half shortening, you can chill it in the fridge for 30-60 minutes, or you can scoop the dough and then freeze the cookie dough balls on a baking sheet until solid (then move to an airtight container for long-term storage, you can bake a few at a time whenever you have a gluten-free snickerdoodle craving). Chilling your dough will make your cookies thicker, and prevent them from spreading as far.
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Nutrition InformationYield 18 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 124Total Fat 5gSaturated Fat 3gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 1gCholesterol 15mgSodium 119mgCarbohydrates 19gFiber 0gSugar 11gProtein 1g
All nutrition info is a guestimate and will vary depending on the ingredients you use.