These are the BEST vegan snickerdoodle cookies! They're slightly crispy on the outside but soft and chewy on the inside—just the way classic snickerdoodles should be! They're also made oil-free for a healthier spin on the traditional recipe, but you wouldn't even know it!
I have been working on this recipe for over a year, can you believe it? I made this several times last year but they always came out too cakey. This year I was determined to perfect the recipe to make them the ultimate vegan snickerdoodle cookie.
I am pleased to announce that I have succeeded and these snickerdoodles are truly divine! They have the classic cracked tops with a crispy sugary coating and a softy and chewy inside that melts in your mouth.
I wanted to make these healthier than traditional snickerdoodles because I prefer to limit my oil intake and vegan butters are typically hydrogenated oil. Plus I wanted to keep this recipe simple with no fancy ingredients needed. However, vegan baking without oil is trickier because oil is often used as an egg replacer. Instead, I chose a creamy peanut butter and non-dairy yogurt as my oil, butter, and egg replacement.
Peanut butter provides the fat and protein found in eggs and butter to give these cookies the rich flavor needed. Yogurt provides moisture and helps to bind the dough.
Luckily eggs aren't needed for leavening in these cookies. Instead, baking soda and cream of tartar are used. Cream of tartar is a traditional ingredient in snickerdoodles that provides the signature "tanginess" that sets snickerdoodles apart from regular sugar cookies. That and the cinnamon sugar coating make them different from traditional sugar cookies.
What can you use instead of cream of tartar?
Cream of tartar is a white powder that's a byproduct of wine making. It's often found in the spices section at the store. In baking it can act as a leavening agent when paired with a base such as baking soda. If you can't find cream of tartar you can use something acidic such as lemon juice or white vinegar.
For every 1 tsp of cream of tartar use 2 tsp of lemon juice or white vinegar. For example, in this recipe as written you can use 2 tsp of white vinegar and add it to the liquids.
You can also use baking powder. Replace the cream of tartar and baking soda with 1 tsp of baking powder as the recipe is written. Adjust if changing the serving size.
Why do snickerdoodles have cracks?
A part of it is due to the cinnamon sugar coating. This causes the crust of the cookie to dry out before it's done rising which causes the crust to pull apart and crack, leaving an attractive crinkly exterior.
What is the best flour to make Snickerdoodles?
Typically, all-purpose flour is used. It's a refined white flour that's really versatile and used often in baking. However, today I'm using whole wheat flour. I prefer whole grains when possible and whole wheat flour works just as well.
Whole wheat flour has higher protein and fiber content providing more nutrients. It is drier so additional moisture is needed in the dough to obtain the same results. Since snickerdoodles are rolled in cinnamon sugar the wheat flavor from the flour is hidden well, making these a healthier cookie at no expense to the taste.
If you can't find whole wheat flour you can use all-purpose flour. It's a 1:1 ratio in this recipe.
I chose to keep this recipe simple so there's no crazy or fancy ingredients needed! Just 9 ingredients that you probably already have:
- creamy peanut butter—any creamy nut butter should work but may affect the taste
- granulated sugar of any kind—I used white but coconut sugar works too
- non-dairy yogurt—I used soy yogurt but any non-dairy yogurt will do
- vanilla extract
- cream of tartar—or lemon juice/white vinegar (see above notes for how to replace)
- whole wheat flour or all-purpose flour
- baking soda
- ground cinnamon
How to make
Start by creaming the "butter" and sugar together. In a large mixing bowl add the peanut butter, sugar, vanilla extract and yogurt use an electric hand mixer or stand mixer to "cream" everything together on a low speed for one to two minutes until smooth and creamy.
In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Slowly add the dry mixture to the wet, adding a third at a time. Careful not to over mix the dough. The dough will be thick so you may need to hand mix the last portion.
The dough should be slightly sticky but not unmanageable. If it is, allow it to chill covered in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
In a small bowl, mix together the cinnamon sugar. Roll the cookie dough into balls, about the size of 1 tablespoon or 1.5 inch thick.
Roll the balls in the cinnamon sugar and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Flatten the cookies with the palm of your hand or use a measuring cup. These cookies won't spread so this is a necessary step. Sprinkle with extra cinnamon-sugar if desired.
Bake for 10 minutes are 375F (190C). The cookies should have the distinguishable cracks on the top and a light golden color when done. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire wrack to cool completely.
Can snickerdoodles be made ahead?
They sure can! There are a couple ways to prep these ahead of time.
First, you can prepare the dough several days in advance and store it covered in the refrigerator. Make sure to allow the dough to return to room temperature before rolling into balls.
You can also freeze the finished cookies. After baking, allow them to cool fully before storing in a freezer-safe container. I like these silicone food storage bags. When you're ready to eat, allow them to thaw on the counter for a couple hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
These make ahead strategies are perfect for the holidays when you know you'll be running low on the time the day of and need a dessert that can be prepared quickly.
How to store
Snickerdoodles will stay fresh in an airtight container on the counter for a few days or for up to a week in the refrigerator. For longer, you can freeze them!
Pumpkin snickerdoodles are a popular variation. To make a pumpkin flavor, replace the yogurt with pureed pumpkin. I like using canned pumpkin that's already prepared. Make sure it's just pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling.
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The BEST Vegan Snickerdoodle Cookies
- ½ cup creamy peanut butter
- ¾ cup sugar, regular white sugar or coconut sugar
- ½ cup unsweetened soy yogurt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 ⅓ cup whole wheat flour, or all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ tablespoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large mixing bowl add the peanut butter, sugar, yogurt and vanilla extract. Using an electric hand mixer or stand mixer, "cream" everything together on a low speed for one to two minutes until smooth and creamy.
- In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Slowly add the dry mixture to the wet, adding a third at a time. Careful not to over mix the dough. The dough will be thick so you may need to hand mix the last portion.
- The dough should be slightly sticky but not unmanageable. If it is, allow it to chill covered in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- In a small bowl, mix together the cinnamon and sugar. Roll the cookie dough into balls, about the size of 1.5 tablespoon or about 1.5 inch thick. Then roll the balls in the cinnamon-sugar and place on the prepared baking sheet. Flatten the cookies with the palm of your hand or use a measuring cup. These cookies won't spread so this is a necessary step. Sprinkle the tops with extra cinnamon-sugar if desired.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes. The cookies should have the distinguishable cracks on the top and a light golden color when done. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire wrack to cool completely.
Nutrition Per Serving
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