Gluten Free

Gluten-Free Snickerdoodle Cookies

Recently, a friend of mine, who has to be gluten-free for medical reasons and is therefore one of my primary gluten-free taste testers, went on vacation to South Carolina. She excitedly texted me because she found a gluten-free bakery where she was staying and she thought it must be a good bakery because it had a long line of customers waiting to make purchases. I asked her to bring me back a couple things if they were good- a little “professional curiosity.” She didn’t bring anything back for me after she bought two things for herself. She paid $4.00 for one Snickerdoodle cookie and $8.00 for a slice of cheesecake with a Snickerdoodle crust. And she threw them both away after just one bite each because they were grainy and had a “gluten-free” taste. When the other customers saw her throw her purchases away, they asked her why. Her response: “I guess I’m spoiled.” Everyone in line was disappointed when they found out I am located in Virginia. (But they can find me at the Virginia Renaissance Faire!)

Well, that was all the challenge I needed. So I set out to make a gluten-free Snickerdoodle cookie that everyone would enjoy. But after the first two batches, I realized I couldn’t remember what the taste, texture and chewiness of a Snickerdoodle cookie was anymore. I got out my Snickerdoodle cookie recipe and made it again- for the first time in over 30 years! So, armed with my original Snickerdoodle cookies for comparison, I set out to make gluten-free Snickerdoodle cookies that were crisp on the outside with a cinnamon and sugar crust and soft and chewy inside. My gluten-free version is not an exact replica, but so far no one, gluten-free or not, seems to care as they gobble down my gluten-free Snickerdoodles.

See also: Snickerdoodle Cookies, Peach Cheesecake with a Snickerdoodles Crust, Mascarpone Whipped Cream and Glazed Peaches, and Peach Cheesecake with a Gluten-Free Snickerdoodles Crust, Mascarpone Whipped Cream and Glazed Peaches

The Inside Scoop

My biggest challenge to making a gluten-free Snickerdoodle that mimicked a wheat-based Snickerdoodle was the chewiness factor. I had no problem getting the wonderful tangy taste, and my gluten-free baked goods are never gritty or have a “gluten-free” taste, but the chewiness- that was a problem. So, it was time to start experimenting!

Snickerdoodle cookies trace back to the 18th century and have changed very little over the years. A true Snickerdoodle cookie is always made with shortening. NEVER USE BUTTER OR VANILLA. Shortening is used because it is 100% fat and contributes to the chewiness of the cookie. In the United States, butter is typically 81% – 82% fat and 18% to 19% water. The water in the butter gives the cookie a more cake-like texture, which is not the desired texture in a Snickerdoodle. This proved to be especially true for gluten-free Snickerdoodles. So shortening was a must.

Vanilla is never used in Snickerdoodles. The acidic Cream of Tartar gives Snickerdoodles a tangy taste- this tangy taste is the trademark taste of a Snickerdoodle Cookie. Vanilla neutralizes this tanginess and diminishes the flavor of the cookie. Just like the original, never use vanilla with gluten-free Snickerdoodles.

I do add a touch of freshly grated nutmeg to my Snickerdoodle batter. Nutmeg is traditionally not added to Snickerdoodles, but I find that I like that bit of extra flavor. Feel free to add it or stay traditional and leave it out.

Gluten free flours need time to absorb moisture. Refrigerate your prepared cookie dough for a minimum of 12 hours and up to 7 days. This will eliminate the graininess and “gluten-free” taste.

Now I had to focus on achieving a chewy texture. One trick for increasing the chewiness of a cookie is to replace the granulated sugar with brown sugar (which is a mix of granulated sugar and molasses) and honey. However, add too much honey and the cookie has an overwhelming honey taste. Add too much sugar, and the cookie spread. Add too little sugar, and the cookie became cakey. So after several attempts, I nailed down the sugar-honey mix. In the ingredients, I list the amount of sugar and honey to use by grams because just 1 TABLESPOON of sugar was the difference between a cookie that spread excessively and a cakey cookie. The cookie was beginning to develop a very slight chewiness, but not enough to satisfy me.

Next, I focused on the mixing and baking to increase the chewiness factor.

Because Snickerdoodles are meant to be chewy cookies, I try to avoid getting excess air into the batter. Stir the cookie batter by hand or use a stand mixer on its slowest speed. I have found that the slowest speed on a hand mixer is still too fast- it incorporates too much air, which results in a cakey cookie.

It is easy to identify a Snickerdoodle cookie because of the cracked top and the cinnamon-sugar coating. However, the cinnamon-sugar mix needs to stay on the OUTSIDE of the cookie; if it gets inside the cookie as one is rolling the dough into balls, the excess sugar will cause the cookie to spread. To solve that problem, I filled a sealable container with the cinnamon-sugar mix. The container needs to be tall enough so that it can hold the cookies without smashing them when the lid is put on the container.

Be sure to remove any cinnamon sugar from your hands before rolling the next batch of cookies.

Then, I focused on the actual baking. To achieve the crisp crust but tender inside, Snickerdoodles are typically baked quickly at 400 degrees. However, this baked the gluten-free cookies too quickly and eliminated the soft, chewy center. I reduced the temperature to 375 degrees, and was rewarded with an increase in the chewiness of the cookie without excessive spreading.

Finally, I made these cookies using My Gluten Free Flour Mix. One cannot substitute rye flour for cake flour when making a cake, and expect to get the same results, because of the differing characteristics of the flours used. Similarly, one may not get the same results using different gluten-free flour mixes because of the unique characteristics of various gluten-free flours.

Gluten-Free Snickerdoodle Cookies

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By Connie Teunis Serves: Makes 26 1 ½ ounce cookies
Cooking Time: 13 minutes

A delightful gluten-free cookie that has a tangy flavor, is crisp on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside, and rolled in cinnamon and sugar before baking.


  • Cookie:
  • 180 g. Brown Sugar
  • 126 g. Honey
  • 216 g. Vegetable Shortening
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 426 g. My Gluten Free Flour Mix*
  • ¾ t. Xanthan Gum
  • 13 g./ 3 T. Powdered Milk
  • 2 t. Cream of Tartar
  • 1 t. Baking Soda
  • ½ t. Salt
  • 1 t. Freshly Grated Nutmeg (opt.)
  • Sugar and Cinnamon Crust:
  • 144 g./ ¾ c. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 t. Cinnamon



In a large bowl by hand, or on the slowest speed of a stand mixer, combine the brown sugar, honey and shortening; mix until smooth. Do not use an electric hand mixer because it will incorporate too much air.


In a small bowl, whisk the eggs. Add to the brown sugar, honey and shortening and mix until fully incorporated.


In a medium bowl, combine the remaining ingredients; add to the sugar/butter/egg mix; stir until smooth.


Cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours or up to 7 days.


When you are ready to bake, fill a resealable container with the Sugar and Cinnamon Crust ingredients.


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Line two large heavy baking sheets with parchment paper. If you do not have heavy baking sheets, double them.


Roll out 8 walnut-size balls of dough (1 ½ ounces) or the number that will fit onto your baking sheet, and place them into the container with the sugar and cinnamon. Put the lid on and gently tip the closed container upside down to evenly coat the cookie balls with the cinnamon and sugar. Remove the lid and place the cookie dough balls onto the baking sheet, leaving at least 3” of space between each cookie. Flatten the cookies slightly.


Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 14 minutes until cookies begin to show a hint of browning; Cookies will be soft to the touch. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and place it on a cooling rack for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, use a spatula to remove the cookies from the baking sheet and place the cookies directly on the cooling rack to finish cooling.


While the first tray of cookies is baking, remove any sugar and cinnamon clinging to your hands and then roll out the next batch of cookies. Place the cookie dough balls into the container with the cinnamon and sugar, put on the lid, tip over to coat the cookie balls with cinnamon and sugar, remove the lid, place the sugar-coated cookie dough balls on the cookie sheet and bake after the first batch is finished.


Repeat until all of the cookie dough has been used.




Store in an airtight container. Makes twenty-six 1 ½ ounce cookies.

*My Gluten Free Flour Mix:

70 g./ 7 T. White Rice Flour
35 g./ 3 1/2 T. Brown Rice Flour
24 g./ 2 T. Potato Starch
15 g./ 2 T. Millet
11 g./ 1 1/2 T. Tapioca Flour

This equals 155 g. per 1 cup.

To make a large batch at once, I multiplied the above amounts by 8:

560 g./ 56 T. White Rice Flour
280 g./ 28 T. Brown Rice Flour
192 g./ 16 T. Potato Starch
120 g./ 16 T. Millet Flour
88 g./ 12 T. Tapioca

This makes 1240 g./ 8 cups of Gluten Free Flour Mix


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