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Easy Gluten-Free Snickerdoodles (Dairy-Free)

These gluten-free snickerdoodles are crispy on the outside, and soft and chewy inside, and are perfect for Christmas and the holiday season. A batch of these snickerdoodle cookies come together quickly, and are great as homemade gifts or just snacking on whenever you crave sweet cookies! Also dairy-free.

Hand reaching for a gluten-free snickerdoodle cookie from a plate of cookies.

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It’s Time for Holiday Baking!

Now that it’s December and Christmas is just around the corner. Yep, it’s officially the time of year when we start baking again.

In my house, we’ve got the oven working overtime, and I’ve been baking our favorite Christmas cookies, including gingerbread cookies, crunchy almond biscotti, chewy molasses cookies, and soft pumpkin cookies.

And of course, we can’t forget these perfect gluten-free snickerdoodle cookies that everyone can’t get enough of.

Reaching for gluten-free snickerdoodle cookies on a cooling rack.

What are Snickerdoodles?

If you don’t know what snickerdoodle cookies are and have never tried them before, you’re in for a treat!

Highly popular in the United States, snickerdoodle cookies are essentially a type of cookie made with sugar, butter or oil, and flour, which are rolled in cinnamon sugar before being baked (we’re big fans of anything cinnamon here, such as this cinnamon coffee cake).

These cookies are often leavened with cream of tartar and baking soda, and a distinguishing characteristic in their appearance is the cookies’ unique cracked surface.

cornbread in a cast iron skillet
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What’s the Difference between Snickerdoodle Cookies and Sugar Cookies?

While many people refer to snickerdoodles as sugar cookies, there are a few differences.

First up, a sugar cookie is rolled in sugar only, while the classic snickerdoodle cookie is rolled in a mixture of sugar and ground cinnamon.

In terms of taste, snickerdoodle cookies have a slightly tangy taste because cream of tartar (the powdered form of tartaric acid) is used a a leavening agent together with baking soda instead of just baking powder.

As for texture, snickerdoodles also tend to be chewier than sugar cookies as well.

GF snickerdoodle cookies cooling on a wire rack.

A Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Version

Traditional snickerdoodles are usually made with wheat flour and butter (which means that they typically include gluten and dairy).

I’ve had it on my list to test and develop a gluten-free and dairy-free snickerdoodle recipe for a few months now, and I’m so glad I’ve finally got to it!

These snickerdoodle cookies are a HUGE hit at home (Juan loves them!), and the recipe comes just in time for the holiday season! Because the holidays and Christmas means eating plenty of cookies, so make sure you keep this healthy snickerdoodle recipe handy, because these cookies are crazy good!

Why This Recipe Works:

  • Simple Ingredients: All you need to make these chewy gluten-free dairy-free snickerdoodles are easily accessible ingredients that you might already have in your kitchen (no fancy or special ingredients required)!
  • Easy and Quick to Make: The snickerdoodle cookie dough comes together easily, and with just 5 minutes of chilling, it can be rolled into balls, coated in cinnamon-sugar and baked! And, an entire batch of these mouthwatering cookies is ready in just 45 minutes.
  • Crispy Outside, Chewy Inside: The contrasting textures of these gluten and dairy-free snickerdoodles -crispy edges and a chewy center- will have you asking for seconds (and thirds and fourths). Trust me, this perfect cookie might just be your favorite holiday cookie during the holiday season!
  • Perfect for the Holiday Cookie Exchange: Since these chewy cookies keep well in an airtight container at room temperature, they make great holiday gifts! Trust me, your loved ones are going to be so happy for these delicious treats!
  • Totally Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free: Best of all, these snickerdoodles are 100% gluten-free and dairy-free (I’ve used coconut oil in place of butter to make them dairy-free, and of course I’ve used gluten-free flour as always). This means that even those with Celiac disease or have gluten and lactose intolerances can indulge in their Christmas cookies too!
Hand holding up a cookie from a plate of gluten-free snickerdoodle cookies.

Ingredients You’ll Need:

Here’s a visual overview of the ingredients required for making this gluten-free snickerdoodles recipe.

(For exact measurements, please scroll down to the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.)

Labeled ingredients for a gluten-free snickerdoodles recipe on a marble board.

Ingredient Notes/Substitutes:

  • Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour: I highly recommend using a good-quality gluten-free all-purpose flour blend that is made up of lighter flours/starches (such as rice flour, tapioca starch, corn starch or potato starch), as this will result in a lighter texture. I do NOT recommend flour blends that use heavier flours such as bean flours as that will result in a denser texture.
  • Xanthan Gum: In this case, xanthan gum replaced the role of gluten in a gluten-free flour blend. If your blend already includes xanthan gum, you can leave it out completely.
  • Cream of Tartar/Baking Soda: Cream of tartar is the powdered form of tartaric acid, and despite the word “cream” in its name, it does not have any dairy at all. Cream of tartar is essential in a snickerdoodle cookie because it prevents the sugar from crystallizing to get a light and fluffy and chewier texture, and also gives the snickerdoodles the traditional tangy taste, which is what sets it apart from a typical sugar cookie. However, if you don’t have cream of tartar, simple replace the cream of tartar and the baking soda with 2 teaspoons of baking powder instead.
  • Sugar: I’ve used light brown sugar in this recipe, but feel free to swap it out for equal amounts of normal white sugar, cane sugardark brown sugar, or even coconut sugar if you prefer. If you are diabetic or insulin-resistant, I highly recommend that you use granulated monkfruit sweetener (a 1:1 sugar substitute with zero glycemic index and will not raise your blood sugar).
  • Coconut Oil: I prefer using refined coconut oil in my baking because it has a neutral flavor (as opposed to extra virgin coconut oil which has a strong coconut taste and smell). If you don’t have coconut oil, feel free to use palm shortening or dairy-free butter (vegan butter) in equal quantities instead. Alternatively, if you are not lactose-intolerant, go ahead of use butter if you prefer.
  • Egg: I personally haven’t tried this without an egg, but I believe it should work with aquafaba or an egg-replacer.
  • Vanilla Extract: I like adding a little bit of vanilla extract for extra flavor. However, if you prefer not to, or if you don’t have it on hand, feel free to leave it out.
  • Cinnamon: Ground cinnamon is essentially what sets snickerdoodles apart from sugar cookies, so I would not omit this.
Gluten and dairy-free snickerdoodles cooling on a wire rack.

How to Make Gluten-Free Snickerdoodles (Step by Step):

1. Preheat and Line

Preheat oven to 350F (180C) and line two large baking sheets with silpats or parchment paper.

2. Whisk Flour Mixture

In a medium bowl, combine the gluten-free all-purpose flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. Whisk well to combine.

Hand whisking flour in a glass mixing bowl.

3. Cream Sugar and Coconut Oil

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the sugar and coconut oil together until you get a light and creamy mixture.

Creaming sugar and coconut oil in a bowl.

4. Add Egg and Vanilla

Add the beaten egg and vanilla extract and whisk to get a smooth liquid mixture.

Whisking a snickerdoodle cookie dough in a large bowl.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and whisk well until a soft dough is formed. Let dough chill for 5 minutes in the freezer.

Preparing cookie dough.

6. Form Small Balls

Once the dough is chilled, use a small cookie scoop to scoop out 1 teaspoon of dough and roll into small balls (approximately 1 1/2-inch balls) and place them on a plate. You should get about 18 to 20 balls in total.

Let the cookie dough balls chill in the freezer for 5 minutes. 

Snickdoodle cookie dough balls on a plate.

7. Prepare Cinnamon Sugar:

As the cookie dough balls are chilling, mix the light brown sugar and ground cinnamon together in a shallow bowl until you get a homogeneous mixture.

Fork mixing cinnamon sugar mixture in a white bowl.

8. Roll Balls in Cinnamon Sugar

Roll the snickerdoodle dough balls in the cinnamon-sugar mixture until they are coated all over.

Place the coated balls on a plate and let them chill in the fridge for 5 minutes.

Rolling cookie dough ball in a cinnamon sugar mixture.

9. Bake till Golden

Place the balls on the prepared baking sheets at least 3 inches apart (roughly 9 balls per sheet) and bake for 12 to 15 minutes until the edges are golden, rotating the sheets halfway through.

Cookie dough balls on a silpat-lined baking sheet.

10. Cool Completely

Let the gluten-free dairy-free snickerdoodles cool for at least 2 minutes on the baking sheets before removing them to cool completely on a wire rack.

Freshly baked gluten-free snickerdoodles on a baking sheet.

Helpful Tips/Tricks:

  • Chilling the Dough: When testing the recipe, I realized that chilling the dough even for just 5 minutes before rolling it into small balls makes the dough so much easier to manage. Also, chilling the dough balls before placing them on the baking sheet and baking ensure that they do not flatten out too quickly or too much.
  • Use a Silpat/Parchment Paper: Lining the baking sheets with a silpat or parchment paper is important to prevent the dough from sticking to the sheets. I highly recommend using a silpat because it’s reusable and ensures that the baked cookies never stick, but parchment is fine as well if that’s what you have!
  • Allow Cookies to Cool Completely: Let the gluten-free snickerdoodles to cool completely as they will continue to cook with the residual heat. When just fresh out of the oven, they may break easily, so patience is key! Wait a few minutes before transferring them from the baking sheet to a wire rack for them to finish cooling.
Hand holding a wire rack with gluten-free snickerdoodles on it.

Recipe FAQs:

How do You Store these Gluten-Free Snickerdoodles?

Once cooled, store these gluten and dairy-free snickerdoodle cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Can You freeze Snickerdoodles?

Alternatively, you can freeze the gluten-free dairy-free snickerdoodles in a freezer-safe container or ziplock bag and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw them overnight in the refrigerator before eating. 

Can You Freeze the Dough?

If you wish to freeze the cookie dough, simply follow the instructions up till step 8, then place the coated dough balls in single layers in freezer-safe containers and freeze for up to 2 months. Let the dough thaw overnight in the refrigerator before baking as instructed. 

Hand holding up a gluten-free snickerdoodle cookie.

Other Gluten-Free Cookies You’ll Love:

Gluten-Free Desserts to Indulge in:

P.S. If you try this recipe, I’d love for you to leave a star rating below, and/or a review in the comment section further down the page. I always appreciate your feedback. Be sure to check out my entire Recipe Index for all the recipes on the blog. You can also follow me on Pinterest, Facebook or Instagram! Sign up for my Email List to get fresh recipes in your inbox each week!

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Easy Gluten-Free Snickerdoodles (Dairy-Free)


5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 2 reviews

  • Author: Felicia Lim
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 20 cookies 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

These gluten-free snickerdoodles are crispy on the outside, and soft and chewy inside, and are perfect for Christmas and the holiday season. A batch of these snickerdoodle cookies come together quickly, and are great as homemade gifts or just snacking on whenever you crave sweet cookies! Also dairy-free.


Ingredients

Scale

For the Cookie Dough:

For the Cinnamon Sugar Coating:


Instructions

  1. Preheat and Line: Preheat oven to 350F (180C) and line two large baking sheets with silpats or parchment paper.
  2. Whisk Flour Mixture: In a medium bowl, combine the gluten-free all-purpose flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. Whisk well to combine.
  3. Cream Sugar and Coconut Oil: In a large mixing bowl, whisk the sugar and coconut oil together until you get a light and creamy mixture.
  4. Add Egg and Vanilla: Add the beaten egg and vanilla extract and whisk to get a smooth liquid mixture.
  5. Prepare Cookie Dough: Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and whisk well until a soft dough is formed. Let dough chill for 5 minutes in the freezer.
  6. Form Small Balls: Once the dough is chilled, scoop out 1 teaspoon of dough and roll into small balls (approximately 1 1/2-inch balls) and place them on a plate. You should get about 18 to 20 balls in total. Let the balls chill in the freezer for 5 minutes. 
  7. Prepare Cinnamon Sugar: As the cookie dough balls are chilling, mix the light brown sugar and ground cinnamon together in a shallow bowl until you get a homogeneous mixture.
  8. Roll Balls in Cinnamon Sugar: Roll the balls in the cinnamon-sugar mixture until they are coated all over. Place the coated balls on a plate and let them chill in the fridge for 5 minutes.
  9. Bake: Place the balls on the prepared baking sheets at least 3 inches apart (roughly 9 balls per sheet) and bake for 12 to 15 minutes until the edges are golden, rotating the sheets halfway through.
  10. Cool completely: Let the gluten-free snickerdoodle cookies cool for at least 2 minutes on the baking sheets before removing them to cool completely on a wire rack.

Notes

Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour: I highly recommend using a good-quality gluten-free all-purpose flour blend that is made up of lighter flours/starches (such as rice flour, tapioca starch, corn starch or potato starch), as this will result in a lighter texture. I do NOT recommend flour blends that use heavier flours such as bean flours as that will result in a denser texture.

Xanthan Gum: In this case, xanthan gum replaced the role of gluten in a gluten-free flour blend. If your blend already includes xanthan gum, you can leave it out completely.

Cream of Tartar/Baking Soda: Cream of tartar is the powdered form of tartaric acid, and despite the word “cream” in its name, it does not have any dairy at all. Cream of tartar is essential in a snickerdoodle cookie because it prevents the sugar from crystallizing to get a light and fluffy and chewier texture, and also gives the snickerdoodles the traditional tangy taste, which is what sets it apart from a typical sugar cookie. However, if you don’t have cream of tartar, simple replace the cream of tartar and the baking soda with 2 teaspoons of baking powder instead.

Sugar: I’ve used light brown sugar in this recipe, but feel free to swap it out for equal amounts of normal white sugar, cane sugar, dark brown sugar, or even coconut sugar if you prefer. If you are diabetic or insulin-resistant, I highly recommend that you use granulated monkfruit sweetener (a 1:1 sugar substitute with zero glycemic index and will not raise your blood sugar).

Coconut Oil: I prefer using refined coconut oil in my baking because it has a neutral flavor (as opposed to extra virgin coconut oil which has a strong coconut taste and smell). If you don’t have coconut oil, feel free to use palm shortening or dairy-free butter (vegan butter) in equal quantities instead. Alternatively, if you are not lactose-intolerant, go ahead of use butter if you prefer.

Egg: I personally haven’t tried this without an egg, but I believe it should work with aquafaba or an egg-replacer.

Vanilla Extract: I like adding a little bit of vanilla extract for extra flavor. However, if you prefer not to, or if you don’t have it on hand, feel free to leave it out.

Cinnamon: Ground cinnamon is essentially what sets snickerdoodles apart from normal sugar cookies, so I would not omit this.

Storing/Freezing the Cookies: Once cooled, store the snickerdoodle cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. Alternatively, you can freeze the cookies in a freezer-safe container or ziplock bag and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw them overnight in the refrigerator before eating. 

Freezing the Dough: If you wish to freeze the cookie dough, simply follow the instructions up till step 8, then place the coated dough balls in single layers in freezer-safe containers and freeze for up to 2 months. Let the dough thaw overnight in the refrigerator before baking as instructed. 

This recipe was originally posted in December 2020, but has since been republished to include better text, clearer instructions, recipe notes/substitutions.

Adapted from: All Recipes

  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

8 Comments

  1. Hi, mine came out really dense, dry and cakey. Everything you don’t want in a cookie basically. Could it be that using volume ingredients and using too much flour caused them to be dry and cakey for me? Thank you. I’ll try again tomorrow. Was really eager for chewy cookies today 🙁

    1. Hi Kar, it should come out chewy, until the cream of tartar or baking soda is expired (maybe you can check that). You can also try to reduce a bit of flour – the dough will be sticky at first but freezing the dough makes it easier to form balls.

      Hope the second batch turns out well!

  2. Yes Felicia, I totally agree that this is a great snack to enjoy!

    I particularly like the tangy taste and the chewy texture of this snickerdoodles which gives me great joy as I chew each bite in my mouth !

    Can’t stop thinking of you as I enjoy these snickerdoodles!

    Have a blessed day!
    Mum






  3. Hello Felicia, These Snickerdoodles look exactly like my pre-gluten-free ones. I would love to try them. Could you tell me what flour brand you used? Thank you in advance!

    1. Hi Nancy! I actually live in Argentina and use an Argentine brand, but if you are in the US and have access to Amazon, you can definitely use King Arthur Flour multipurpose baking mix for these cookies! Hope you enjoy them as much as we do! 🙂

  4. Good morning Felicia,

    I am so happy to see you introducing this easy snickerdoodle cookies which is new to me.

    I definitely want to try out a batch to enjoy the light, fluffy and chewier texture, and also the traditional tangy taste. This will be added to my other snack items for this festive season.

    Thank you again and may you be so blessed this Christmas !

    Love overflowing from
    Mum






    1. Hi mummy, Juan really liked these snickerdoodles so maybe you might too! Perhaps you can reduce the amount of sugar or use monkfruit sweetener (1:1 sugar substitute that has zero glycemic) so it won’t spike blood sugar!

      Love you too mummy!

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