cookies on parchment lined wire rack on marble table

What Is A Snickerdoodle?

Ever since publishing My Best Snickerdoodle Recipe and Snickerdoodle Recipe Without Cream Of Tartar, I’ve gotten a lot of questions about the cookies. Specifically: what even is a snickerdoodle, anyway?

So let’s clear the air about one of the most popular cookie recipes on Hummingbird High:

Snickerdoodles are sugar cookies rolled in cinnamon sugar. The cinnamon sugar gives the cookies their distinct flavor, texture, and appearance.

Some food historians argue that sugar cookies recipes use baking powder to leaven the cookies, while snickerdoodles recipes use cream of tartar. If using cream of tartar, the cookies will have a slightly tangy flavor.

You can learn more about the difference in my TikTok video below:

@hummingbirdhigh snickerdoodle WITH cream of tartar versus snickerdoodle WITHOUT #baking #bakingtiktok ♬ Happy Pizza – Tom Howe

Where Do Snickerdoodles Come From? How Did They Get Their Name?

A few cookbooks explain that snickerdoodles are German in origin. They state that the cookie’s name comes from the German word shneckennudel (which is a kind of cinnamon bun).

Others trace its origin to New England’s tradition of whimsical cookie names. Stella Parks, former pastry chef at Serious Eats, writes in her cookbook that the cookies evolved from a popular cinnamon-scented cake recipe called the “snip doodle”.

So the TL/DR is this: there seems to be no consensus on where the cookies actually come from. Or how they got their name, for that matter!

What Does Snickerdoodle Taste Like?

A classic snickerdoodle tastes like a sugar cookie generously flavored with cinnamon. And if the recipe uses cream of tartar, the cookie also tastes a little sour and tangy.

What Flavor Is Snickerdoodle?

Bakers exclusively flavor traditional snickerdoodles with cinnamon.

But I’ll be honest—cinnamon has never been my favorite flavor in the spice rack. In my opinion, cinnamon works best when I pair it with other spices. So when developing the snickerdoodle recipe for my cookbook, Weeknight Baking, I had the brilliant idea to swap out the cinnamon for other spices.

So in my book, you’ll find other flavors! Flavors like “black sesame snickerdoodles”, “matcha snickerdoodles”, and my personal favorite, “raspberry sumac snickerdoodles”. Even on this blog I have recipes for raspberry lemon snickerdoodles and black halva snickerdoodles.

@hummingbirdhigh cinnamon #snickerdoodles are basic, let’s yassify them #bakingrecipe #yassification #bakingtiktok #kitchenhacks ♬ The Great British Bake Off – Tom Howe

Moral of this story? If you’re not a fan of cinnamon, don’t be afraid to swap out the cinnamon in the recipe for your favorite spice. You can also use other ingredients like tea powder, seeds, and sprinkles to make a unique snickerdoodle flavor. 

photo of cookies on white parchment paper

Best Traditional Snickerdoodle Recipes

Unique Snickerdoodle Recipes