The classic cookie is made even better with the addition of brown butter! Brown Butter Snickerdoodles still have the tang of a traditional snickerdoodle, but are even more nuanced in flavor.
What Are Snickerdoodles?
Snickerdoodles are essentially a cinnamon sugar cookie that’s known for its unique tangy flavor. The special ingredient every snickerdoodle recipe must have to qualify as a snickerdoodle? Cream of tartar.
Cream of tartar is a leavening agent that not only helps the cookies rise in the oven, but also makes them chewy in texture and tangy in flavor.
Snickerdoodles are an American cookie, but no one is sure where exactly they originated.
Some claim that the cookie was brought over by Dutch-German immigrants, saying that “snickerdoodle” is a riff off of the German word “Schneckennudel,” meaning “snail noodles.”
Others say that “snickerdoodle” is just a silly title that was made up to name the cookie.
What Do Snickerdoodles Taste Like?
Snickerdoodles are butter, cinnamon sugar cookies with a “can’t quite place my finger on it” tangy flavor — that’s the cream of tartar you’re tasting!
If you love sweet-tangy treats like cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting or New York cheesecake, you’re bound to love any snickerdoodle variation you try.
What Makes This Recipe Unique?
This isn’t your average snickerdoodle recipe! Instead of regular butter, I made these snickerdoodles with brown butter.
Brown butter sounds incredibly fancy, but in reality it takes just 10 minutes to prepare on the stovetop. Unsure what brown butter is? In essence, it’s butter that’s been cooked gently until it’s golden brown in color.
Brown butter has a slightly nutty flavor and is far richer than regular butter because the milk solids have been browned. Snickerdoodles made with brown butter are full of cinnamon-sugar flavor, with a delicious tanginess and nuttiness to the dough.
These brown butter snickerdoodles are very easy to make, but do require some advance prep work (i.e. browning the butter).
However, the overall baking process is straightforward and the resulting cookies genuinely taste like something you’d buy in a bakery — the nutty aroma of the browned butter really takes traditional snickerdoodles to the next level!
Kitchen Tools Needed for This Recipe
To make the snickerdoodle cookies with brown butter, you’ll need a few kitchen tools. Here’s what I recommend having on hand before getting started:
- Knife and Cutting Board — To cut the butter into pieces prior to browning it.
- Skillet or Saute Pan — Non-stick or regular will work. Again, this is for browning the butter.
- Silicone Spatula — You’ll need to stir the butter as it browns so nothing burns.
- Heat-proof Bowl — The browned butter should be removed from the hot skillet and poured immediately into a bowl to stop it from cooking further.
- Measuring cups and spoons — Needed for any baking recipe.
- Medium bowl — For combining the dry ingredients.
- Whisk — To sift the flour mixture together.
- Hand mixer or stand mixer — For making the cookie dough. If you don’t have a mixer, a mixing bowl and wooden spoon works just as well.
- Plastic wrap — The cookie dough must be covered before being placed in the fridge to prevent it from drying out.
- Cookie scoop — I recommend using a medium-sized cookie scoop that holds about 1 tablespoon of dough.
- Small bowl — place dough balls in a bowl with the cinnamon sugar mixture to coat them before baking.
- Baking sheet — For baking the cookies.
- Parchment paper — You’ll need to line the baking sheet with parchment paper or else the cookies will stick to it.
- Wire cooling rack — A wire rack is perfect for cooling the snickerdoodle cookies.
Brown Butter Snickerdoodles Ingredients
The ingredients list for these brown butter snickerdoodles features pantry staples you likely have on hand. Note that brown butter is made using regular butter, but you’ll need to cook it and then let it chill in the fridge before you can make the cookie dough.
- All-purpose flour
- Cream of tartar
- Baking soda
- Kosher salt
- Brown butter
- Brown sugar
- Granulated sugar
- Vanilla extract
- Ground cinnamon
For the complete ingredient list and detailed instructions to make brown butter snickerdoodles, scroll to the bottom of this post for the FREE printable recipe card.
How to Make Brown Butter Snickerdoodles
You might have to brown the butter before making these cookies, but it’s a quick and easy process! Here’s how the snickerdoodle cookies come together:
- Brown the butter: Here’s my full tutorial on how to brown butter. After browning the butter, let it rest until cool enough to handle, then transfer to a jar and chill until solid.
- Make the cookie dough: Beat the nutty brown butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add both kinds of sugar, the eggs, and vanilla.
- Stir together the dry ingredients, then add to the wet ingredients ½ cup at a time.
- Chill the cookie dough: Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill for an hour.
- Scoop and bake the cookies: Scoop the cookie dough into 1 tablespoon-sized balls, roll in cinnamon sugar, and bake just until the edges are set but the centers still soft.
The above is simply a quick summary of this brown butter snickerdoodle recipe. Check out the full recipe in the free printable recipe card at the bottom of this post for all the detailed instructions.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Prep brown butter in advance — it will need about an hour to chill in the fridge to firm up completely.
- If you burn the butter, throw it out! You cannot rescue burnt butter, so you must throw it away and begin the browning process all over again with a clean saucepan and new sticks of butter.
- Spoon and level the flour — Do not scoop the flour out of the bag using your measuring cup. That will compact the flour and you’ll measure out too much.
- Don’t have to brown the butter if you’re short on time — The brown butter is the star of this snickerdoodle recipe, but if you don’t have the time to brown and properly chill the butter you can use regular butter instead.
- For best results, you MUST chill the cookie dough — If you don’t, the snickerdoodles will spread on the baking sheet and be flat rather than soft and chewy.
- Prep the cookie dough now and bake off later — You can make dough now, roll it into balls, and freeze for later. Good to keep in mind when preparing for holiday parties!
Brown Butter Snickerdoodle Recipe FAQs
Got questions about how to make this recipe for brown butter snickerdoodles? Here are the answers to a few commonly asked questions. Feel free to leave any other questions in the comments on this post and I’ll respond with answers.
Can the cookie dough be made in advance?
Yes, you can prepare and chill the cookie dough up to 3 days before rolling it in cinnamon sugar and baking. Or, you can roll it into balls and freeze for up to 3 months.
Can snickerdoodle cookie dough be frozen?
Yes, brown butter snickerdoodle cookie dough freezes well. Here are my full instructions on how to freeze cookie dough and bake it later.
How do you bake frozen cookie dough balls?
I recommend removing the frozen snickerdoodle cookie dough balls from the freezer and letting them thaw on your counter just until they’re slightly pliable but still chilled.
This will let the freshly baked cookies spread correctly in the oven rather than turning out dome-shaped because they didn’t spread enough.
Can I make this recipe without browned butter?
Sure thing! The cookies just won’t be as nuanced in flavor (but you’ll still wind up with amazing snickerdoodles!).
Why is cream of tartar used in snickerdoodles?
Cream of tartar is acidic, and it reacts with the basic baking soda to give the cookies some lift while keeping them super chewy.
Cream of tartar is incredibly tangy in flavor, which elevates snickerdoodles beyond plain sugar cookies!
Can cream of tartar be substituted in snickerdoodles?
Yes, the cream of tartar can be replaced with 1.5x the amount of baking powder in a pinch. However, your snickerdoodle cookies won’t taste tangy whatsoever, which is the main draw of homemade snickerdoodles!
Can baked cookies be frozen?
Yes! Let the brown butter snickerdoodles cool to room temperature, then flash freeze on a baking sheet until hardened before sealing in a freezer bag. To thaw, place on counter or reheat from frozen for about 5 minutes in a 325ºF oven
Brown Butter Snickerdoodle Storage Instructions
Baked brown butter snickerdoodles should be stored in an airtight container on your counter and will last up to 5 days, noting that they’ll dry out over time.
The cookie dough and baked cookies can both be frozen as well (see the FAQs above for instructions on how to freeze both the cookie dough and baked cookies).
Try This Brown Butter Snickerdoodle Cookie Recipe!
Next time you’re looking for a unique yet easy cookie recipe to bake during the holiday season, give these brown butter snickerdoodles a try!
Did you think they were delicious? Leave a star rating and comment below to give it a review for others to see what you thought of this twist on a holiday favorite.
On Instagram? Share your photo and tag me @goodlifeeats and #goodlifeeatsrecipes. I’d love to see a photo of your browned butter snickerdoodles!
More Easy Cookie Recipes:
Soft Persimmon Cookies are made with fresh persimmon pulp, warming spices, dried cranberries, and topped with orange glaze. Take advantage of fresh persimmons while they’re in season this fall and winter!
These Almond Butter Cookies are the tastiest I’ve tried and make a great addition to your regular cookie baking. This almond butter cookie recipe the perfect alternative if you have a peanut allergy!
Packed with white chocolate chips, shelled pistachios, and dried apricot pieces, these White Chocolate Pistachio Cookies are perfect for cookie exchanges and holiday gifting!
For a unique twist on gingerbread cookies, try these Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies! They’re great for gifting and cookie decorating parties!
These Almond Crescent Cookies are a unique Christmas cookie recipe that your family will love! These Swedish cookies feature buttery crescent cookies studded with chopped almonds, a sweet almond flavor, and a delicate dusting of sweet powdered sugar.
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Have you ever made cookies with brown butter?
For the Cookies:
- 2 ¾ cup All Purpose Flour
- 2 teaspoons Cream of Tartar
- 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
- ½ teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 1 cup Browned Butter, chilled
- ¼ cup Brown Sugar
- 1 cup Granulated Sugar
- 2 Eggs
- 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
For the Cinnamon Sugar Coating:
- ¼ cup Granulated Sugar
- 1 tablespoon Ground Cinnamon
- Prepare the browned butter. Here's a full tutorial on how to brown butter.
- After preparing, let sit at room temperature until cool enough to handle. Then, transfer to a jar and chill until solid.
Making the Cookie Dough
- In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and kosher salt. Whisk until well sifted. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, or using a large mixing bowl and hand mixer, beat the butter on high speed until fluffy and creamy. Then, scrape down the sides using a spatula.
- Add the brown sugar and granulated sugar to the butter, and beat on medium-high speed until creamed and well combined, stopping every minute or so to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, and while beating over medium-high speed, and continue to beat until the mixture is pale yellow and thick - about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Decrease the mixer speed to low. Stir in the vanilla extract.
- Then, add the flour mixture ½ cup at a time, slowly stirring so that the flour doesn’t blow out of the mixing bowl. Scrape down the sides after each addition.
- After all of the flour has been added, scrape the sides down one more time, and stir on low until just mixed.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill for 45 - 60 minutes before baking the cookies.
Rolling the Cookie Dough
- In a small bowl, combine the granulated sugar and ground cinnamon. Set aside.
- Using a medium sized cookie scoop that holds approximately 1 ounce of dough (a heaping tablespoon size), scoop the cookie dough - the balls should be 1 ½ inches in diameter..
- Roll the cookie dough balls in the cinnamon sugar mixture until completely coated on all sides.
Baking the Snickerdoodles
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place the cinnamon sugar rolled cookie dough balls on the baking sheet, spacing about 3 inches apart from one another so they don’t overlap when spreading during the bake time.
- Bake the cookies for 8 - 10 minutes. The cookies are done when they are lightly browned, have firm edges, but soft and puffy centers.
- Cool the cookies on the baking rack for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack to cool the rest of the way.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 15 Serving Size: 2 cookies
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 281Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 57mgSodium: 234mgCarbohydrates: 38gFiber: 1gSugar: 20gProtein: 3g
GoodLifeEats.com offers recipe nutritional information as a courtesy. This provided information is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although GoodLifeEats.com makes every effort to provide accurate information, these figures are only estimates.