One of my favorite Christmas cookies are these soft and chewy brown butter snickerdoodles! They have crispy edges, soft chewy centers, and that classic snickerdoodle tang enhanced by the nutty brown butter.
What are Snickerdoodles?
A snickerdoodle is a crinkly cookie topped with cinnamon sugar. They have a tangy flavor due to the addition of cream of tartar.
They're delicious all year long, but I especially love snickerdoodles in the fall and winter!
You just need a few simple ingredients to make these chewy brown butter snickerdoodles!
- Brown Butter - My favorite ingredient of all time is brown butter!! Brown butter is just unsalted butter that has been melted and gently cooked to bring out a toasty, nutty flavor. If you've never made brown butter before, you can check out this post with all my tips for how to make brown butter!
- Cream of tartar- This is what adds that extra tangy flavor to snickerdoodle cookies!
- Cinnamon sugar - You can't have snickerdoodles without a generous dusting of cinnamon sugar!
Browning the butter is [technically] optional but the extra time is SO worth it! The biggest problem I see people run into when using brown butter in cookies, is not letting the butter cool completely to room temperature before adding it to the dough.
How to Make Snickerdoodles
Using a stand or hand mixer, cream together the brown butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until smooth and creamy.
Add in the eggs and vanilla extract and for 3-4 minutes until the texture is light and fluffy (it should look much paler than before).
Add in the flour, cinnamon, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt and mix until thoroughly combined. The dough should be wet and sticky.
Cover the dough and chill in the fridge overnight (minimum of 2 hours if you just can't wait).
Preheat your oven to 350°F and line a light colored baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, whisk together the cinnamon sugar topping.
Spoon a generous 3 tablespoons of dough and then roll cookie dough balls in cinnamon sugar.
Place dough balls at least 2-3 inches apart on the baking sheet (they will spread, I usually only do 6 cookies on a half sheet pan).
Place the rest of the cookie dough balls back in the fridge while the first batch cooks.
Bake the snickerdoodles for on the center rack of the oven for 9-11 minute or until the edges are set and the centers are still soft.
Remove from the oven and let rest on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.
Why do I have to chill the dough?
Chilling the dough is super important for a few reasons!
First, letting the dough rest gives the flour time to hydrate. Eggs are the only liquid in the snickerdoodle cookies and it takes flour a long time to absorb that moisture. When the flour is hydrated it helps contain the spread of the cookie so that you get a nice set edge and soft, chewy center.
Similarly, the brown butter needs to be as cold as possible before baking so that the cookies don't spread too much.
But don't we want the cookies to spread? Yes, we do and they will. We just don't want them to spread too much because then you get a flat, crispy cookie instead of one with a soft, chewy center.
Tips for Perfect Cookies
Measure your flour correctly! It's most accurate to use a kitchen scale, but if you're measuring by volume you want to spoon and level! Fluff up the flour a bit with a spoon, and then spoon flour into the measuring cup. Once it's overflowing, use the back of a knife to level it off. Don't ever pack flour into the measuring cup or you'll end up with way too much! Improperly measured flour can lead to dry, crumbly cookies that don't spread.
Make sure your oven is the proper temperature! Use an oven thermometer to make sure your oven is exactly 350°F. If the oven is too cold, the cookies will spread too much and if it's too hot they centers won't bake all the way through. For example, my oven is about 20 degrees off. So I have to set the oven to 370°F in order to get it to bake at 350°F.
Use a lightweight, light colored baking sheet for best results! Believe it or not, a lighter pan makes the cookies bake more slowly than a dark pan, which helps keep them from spreading too much. My favorite pans for baking cookies are:
You also want to use either parchment paper or silicone mats on your cookie sheet to help keep the cookies from spreading.
Bake the cookies one sheet at a time, on the center rack. This will ensure all your cookies cook evenly and the bottoms don't burn. Then let the cookie sheet cool completely between batches. This ensures the cookies cook evenly and don't spread too much by being put on a hot pan.
Always under-bake the cookies! If you slightly under-bake the cookies (so the centers are still soft when you remove them from the oven), they'll stay soft and chewy for days!
Do the cookie scoot! In order to get perfectly round cookies, use a large cookie cutter to gently scoot them around as soon as they come out of the oven!
The reason cookies spread too much either has to do with the dough not being chilled long enough, or improper oven temperature. Make sure the dough is cold before baking and use an oven thermometer to make sure the oven is exactly 350°F.
Store the baked cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. You can also store the dough in the fridge for up to a week and bake just a few cookies at a time, as desired.
Yes! Freeze the pre-rolled cookie dough balls on a baking sheet, once frozen transfer to an airtight container and freeze for up to 6 weeks. The frozen dough can go straight from the freezer to the oven, just add 2-3 minutes to the cooking time.
Tips for Success!
For best results I always recommend using weight measurements (especially when baking) because it's the most accurate. Kitchen scales are super affordable and also reduce the number of dishes you have to do! However, all my recipes also include US customary measurements for convince. Use this chart to convert measurements for common ingredients!
Substitutions: In all my recipes, I've included substitutions that I know will work, but I cannot guarantee results if you substitute ingredients that I have not recommended. [For example, granulated sugar and honey are indeed both sweeteners but they have very different properties so they can not always be swapped 1:1. Using honey in a cookie recipe that calls for granulated sugar will yield a giant mess.] In the recipe card you'll find links to the specific ingredients/brands that I use.
A note on salt: I almost exclusively use Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt because it's the best all-purpose salt for cooking and baking. If you're not using kosher salt, consult this handy guide for a conversion chart! When in doubt, if you're using table salt just reduce the amount by half for baked goods. When cooking, I prefer to under-salt because you can always add more! If you've over-salted, adding a little bit of acid (like lemon juice) can help.
More Recipes You Might Like!
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Brown Butter Snickerdoodles
- 1 cup brown butter, room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Cinnamon Sugar Topping
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- Using a stand or hand mixer, cream together the brown butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until smooth and creamy.
- Add in the eggs and vanilla extract and for 3-4 minutes until the texture is light and fluffy (it should look much paler than before).
- Add in the flour, cinnamon, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt and mix until thoroughly combined. The dough should be wet and sticky.
- Cover the dough and chill in the fridge overnight (minimum of 2 hours if you just can't wait).
- Preheat your oven to 350°F and line a light colored baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the cinnamon sugar topping.
- Spoon a generous 3 tablespoons of dough and then roll cookie dough balls in cinnamon sugar.
- Place dough balls at least 2-3 inches apart on the baking sheet (they will spread, I usually only do 6 cookies on a half sheet pan).
- Place the rest of the cookie dough balls back in the fridge while the first batch cooks.
- Bake cookies for on the center rack of the oven for 9-11 minute or until the edges are set and the centers are still soft.
- Remove from the oven and let rest on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.
The nutritional information on this website is only an estimate and is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
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Leigh Robertson says
I'm new to baking and had a few cookie exchanges happening for the holidays this year. I really wanted to impress with a classic holiday cookie. I tripled this recipe and it was such a winner!! I've never browned butter before and it was nerve wracking to brown 3 cups at once but the instructions were really helpful and the cookies came out amazing. I didn't even know I liked snickerdoodles before making these. A must try! 🙂