Easy Snickerdoodle Cookies Without Butter

on December 1, 2017

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Last week I was craving some yummy cinnamon-and-sugar-coated Snickerdoodle cookies like my grandparents used to make.

I was all excited to make some when I discovered I was out of butter, one of the main ingredients in my recipe. Arggghh.

I’m a determined sort of gal so I scoured the web for a recipe for Snickerdoodle cookies without butter.  It wasn’t easy, but I eventually tracked one down!


I’m sharing my no butter adapted version with y’all below because they turned out so soft and delicious, you really would never guess they are no butter cookies. 

Turns out that Snickerdoodles cookies without butter might be even more delicious than those made with butter!

Also, I knew that vegetable oil is cheaper than butter, but when I did the math I was surprised to discover that butter is actually six times more expensive than vegetable oil.

I’m trying to make more of our snack foods as opposed to buying them, both to save money and keep scary ingredients out of our house. This has been my go-to cookie recipe for a while now and it is so much easier to make compared to other cookies since it is butter free.

I bake ALL of my cookies on a silicone baking mat like this one from Target. I’ll never go back to dirty pans or parchment paper again! My silicone baking mat and silicone muffin pan might be my most-loved kitchen items.

I have a feeling this no butter Snickerdoodle recipe will be in constant rotation at our house.

They even come together in 5 minutes and in one bowl! Now that’s my kind of cookie.

Adapted from Recipes to a Young Poet No-Butter Snickerdoodles

Yield: 4 Dozen

Easy Snickerdoodle Cookies Without Butter

Easy Snickerdoodle cookies made with vegetable oil. Classic cinnamon sugar cookies without butter.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • For Sugar Coating:
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix the oil, sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth. Add the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon on top, then mix everything together to form a thick dough. 

Form the dough into walnut-sized balls and roll each ball in the sugar coating.

Place cookies a few inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet, flattening them slightly if desired. 

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until slightly brown on the bottom. Do not overcook or they will be hard as rocks!

The best Snickerdoodle cookies without butter. Easy cookie recipe with vegetable oil instead of butter that makes delicious and soft Snickerdoodles. Substitute oil for butter in this easy recipe. #easyrecipe #snickerdoodles
One bowl, no-butter Snickerdoodles are the easiest and cheapest cookie to make!

Want to learn how to do Disney on a budget? Check out my Disney-only site, The Budget Mouse here!


  • Suzy

    These cookies were so delicious. Had so many people compliment me on them. The recipe is good as is. Don’t make any changes for best results.

    December 8, 2018 at 7:06 pm Reply
    • Leah

      I’m so happy to hear it, Suzy!

      December 9, 2018 at 6:41 am Reply
  • Darlene

    Can u freeze left over cookie dough

    December 2, 2018 at 6:47 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Yes! You can freeze leftover dough – I’d just suggest wrapping it well with plastic wrap.

      December 3, 2018 at 6:25 am Reply
  • Jon

    I did a recipe with hot chocolate mix. 2 pouches of mix was close to half a cup so did 1 cup of sugar and ended up adding a dash more to make up the small gap left in the half cup of hot cocoa mix. The mix was a bit drier than the original recipe and the hot chocolate didnt effect the color much but did mix another pack of hot cocoa with a third cup of suger to coat my cookie balls before baking similar to the snicker doodle recipe. They definitely make your kitchen smell great and taste just as good as they smell.

    November 23, 2018 at 9:58 pm Reply
    • Leah

      This is really helpful, thanks Jon!

      November 24, 2018 at 5:44 am Reply
  • Jon

    This recipe turned out really great. I did tweek the recipe a little. I actually cut the recipe in half and made a dozen large size cookies making the dough about the size of a golf ball. I also ended up doing a 50/50 blend of oil mixing the vegetable oil with coconut oil. I actually ended up cooking them on 350 for 12 minutes and baked them on parchment paper on a metal pan. They came out with nice crispy edges with a chewy center. Was glad to find a no butter recipe for cookies that turned out so great. I definitely plan on using this one again and might try mixing in some hot cocoa powder like I had seen somewhere in the comments.

    November 19, 2018 at 8:55 pm Reply
    • Leah

      That’s great to hear, Jon! I want to try the hot chocolate mix, too.

      November 20, 2018 at 12:31 pm Reply
  • Theresa

    I have no vanilla. Would it be gross without?

    November 14, 2018 at 1:48 pm Reply
    • Leah

      I think they would be fine without. If you had another extract (like almond) you could substitute that as well, but I’d cut it in half!

      November 14, 2018 at 3:11 pm Reply
  • Monica

    The time for baking is definitely not working for me. Way too short and i found the cookies still doughy and dark in the middle. Bummer, times on recipes have ALWAYS been wrong in my experience. I’m not relying on time anymore but on look and what i think. That’ll make a great baker as well.

    November 8, 2018 at 10:23 pm Reply
    • Leah

      You are totally right, Monica. Every oven cooks differently so times can be inaccurate. Hope you’ll get them to turn out better by using how they look and adjusting the time.

      November 9, 2018 at 7:11 am Reply
  • Olivia

    I subbed in applesauce for oil. The dough was really wet which made it hard to roll. I stuck the dough in the fridge for an hour, used a scooper to drop it into the cinnamon sugar mixture (which helped lessen the stickiness). But these cooked up great! They are puffy and chewy. I love a low fat, low cal dessert. 🙂

    October 16, 2018 at 8:23 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Wow, I am impressed that you figured out how to make them work with applesauce, Olivia! Thanks for sharing!

      October 17, 2018 at 5:40 am Reply
  • Trinity

    Was skeptical when I saw the vegetable oil but man are these cookies good! And soft! Just make sure you really follow the tip of not overcooking them, pulling them out right before you think they are done seems perfect!

    September 15, 2018 at 2:27 am Reply
    • Leah

      So glad they turned out good for you Trinity!

      September 16, 2018 at 3:29 pm Reply
  • Serena Tawil

    These are wonderful. Love this recipe. Thank you for saving the day. I was out of butter and really had a craving for Snickerdoodle. This fixed it!

    September 11, 2018 at 10:48 pm Reply
  • traci mead

    What if you don’t have vanilla? Can you make up for it with extra sugar?

    September 8, 2018 at 3:45 pm Reply
  • Tanya

    I wanted an easy recipe but not to sweet. Use this one but I cut sugar to one cup and added double cinnamon. Didn’t coat with extra sugar/cinnamon outside. They tasted great. No butter, less sugar but great cookies

    September 8, 2018 at 1:20 am Reply
  • Michelle

    These worked perfectly! Thank so much!

    August 18, 2018 at 5:13 pm Reply
  • Mandy

    I made these twice, using only 1/3 cup vegetable oil the second time and even adding some extra flour and cinnamon, but both times all I could taste was oil. It’s a shame, I was really hoping these would be good!

    August 17, 2018 at 10:31 pm Reply
  • Kaelin

    I make these all the time with a gluten free flour mix due to an allergy! They are so simple and I love that they don’t have butter because I always seem to be out of that!

    July 18, 2018 at 12:32 pm Reply
  • MichelsDailyDelights – MichelsDailyDelights

    […] Raisin Tea Loaf, Tomato Parmesan Bread, Apricot Frangipane Tart, Funfetti Shortbread cookies and No Butter Snickerdoodles. Thankfully I live in a large high rise filled with maintenance men, garage attendants, a […]

    July 16, 2018 at 8:25 pm Reply
  • Abby

    I used this recipe and it really works

    July 13, 2018 at 10:11 am Reply
  • Breauna N Jolley

    Can you make these chocolate with hot cocoa mix?

    July 10, 2018 at 8:51 am Reply
    • Leah

      I don’t see why not! I’d just substitute some of the sugar for the hot cocoa mix since it’s mostly sugar.

      July 11, 2018 at 6:34 am Reply
  • Hailey

    Can olive oil work instead of vegetable oil

    June 26, 2018 at 8:28 pm Reply
    • Leah

      I’ve never tried it but I think it would work just fine! Healthier, too. 🙂

      June 27, 2018 at 8:59 am Reply
  • Abby

    I tried this and it worked out great! 💛💛💛💛 Total Success!

    June 25, 2018 at 1:14 am Reply
  • Olivia

    what do you think would happen if i added brown sugar? and how much would you recommend?

    June 15, 2018 at 7:30 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Since brown sugar has more moisture in it, I’d use the same amount (1.5 cups packed) but cut back on the oil slightly. Maybe about a tablespoon less oil? Just a thought, I’ve never substituted brown sugar for white before but hope they turn out!

      June 15, 2018 at 8:42 pm Reply
  • Alexa

    These turned out so much better and softer than butter-based ones! I used rice bran oil which I had in my kitchen too.

    May 5, 2018 at 12:25 pm Reply
    • Leah

      So glad they worked out for you with rice bran oil, Alexa!

      May 5, 2018 at 8:47 pm Reply
  • Jacqueline

    Thanks so much for sharing. This is the best snickerdoodle recipe I’ve tried and I’ve tried many.

    April 29, 2018 at 3:48 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Wow, thanks Jacqueline! That’s high praise. Glad you liked them!

      April 29, 2018 at 7:10 pm Reply
  • Elizabeth

    I’m eating dairy free and getting tired of using coconut oil in place of butter all the time. I made these today and used about 1/3 coconut oil, 2/3 avocado oil. They turned out perfectly. Seriously, the best snickerdoodles I have ever made. They don’t even taste like coconut! Thank you for a great recipe. I have copied it into my personal recipe collection, I liked it so much.

    April 27, 2018 at 3:07 pm Reply
  • Marco

    I halved the recipe, because I was just making a teeny batch for my coworkers and boyfriend. I found that they didn’t spread too much, and they were a bit harder to mold into balls, but they were absolutely delish! Great recipe.

    April 22, 2018 at 4:46 pm Reply
  • Meg

    I made these the other day and they are so yummy!
    I used half vegetable oil and substituted the other half with apple sauce. They were so soft and were a huge hit in the fam:) they were gone in less than 1 day!

    February 13, 2018 at 11:12 am Reply
    • Leah

      So glad to hear it, Meg! I’m going to try applesauce next time to cut down on the oil… I bet pumpkin would work, too. Pumpkin Snickerdoodles!

      February 13, 2018 at 11:45 am Reply
  • Lindsey

    I just made these and they are delicious! I had to change a few things, I was low on oil so I did 1/2 cup of shortening and 1/2 cup oil. I also had to add an extra egg so it wasn’t crumbly, probably because I didn’t use all the oil. But they taste fantastic and are so soft!

    January 1, 2018 at 6:09 pm Reply
  • Linda

    Has anyone tried crushing walnuts, adding it to sugar coating and rolling them in that?

    December 23, 2017 at 12:45 pm Reply
    • Leah

      I’ve never tried that but it sounds great, Linda!

      December 23, 2017 at 1:56 pm Reply
  • D

    These turned out great. I would decrease the cinnamon a little–it was a bit overpowering.

    December 21, 2017 at 2:12 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Thanks, D! I think it really depends on what kind of cinnamon you use and I agree it could definitely be too much if you use some high-test cinnamon! I use some cheap stuff (Badia, I think) so this amount works for me.

      December 21, 2017 at 8:58 pm Reply
  • Snickerdoodle cookie recipe – Dessert and Delving in

    […] people, rather than bringing in a whole cake. I came upon this recipe from The Frugal South Blog (https://www.thefrugalsouth.com/no-butter-snickerdoodle-cookies-recipe/#). It is really simple, and probably took a total of 35 minutes to make and […]

    December 9, 2017 at 8:10 pm Reply
  • Sam

    Should I use powdered white sugar or granulated?

    September 24, 2017 at 9:50 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Granulated white sugar

      September 25, 2017 at 9:48 pm Reply
  • Angela E

    I made these today because I wanted to make a treat and didn’t have much butter in the house. They are really good. I baked on my baking stone and they DID take14-15 minutes for the “cold” stone. I then let them sit on the stone for 2-3 minutes after baking before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling. The next batch on the stone took 12-13 minutes. Just wanted to share my experience with the baking stone since others said not to bake longer than 10 minutes.

    September 10, 2017 at 3:13 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Thanks so much for sharing your experience, Angela! I’ve never used a baking stone and now I am curious!

      September 10, 2017 at 3:28 pm Reply
  • Samantha

    I substituted extra virgin coconut oil instead of butter. I didn’t have vanilla and used maple syrup. Added in chocolate chips. Definitely not the healthiest, but great for a cheat day! Absolutely amazing!

    April 18, 2017 at 9:05 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Wow, Samanatha, those sound amazing. I bet they were so good with coconut oil! Thanks for sharing.

      April 19, 2017 at 5:45 am Reply
  • Alta

    To turn hard cookies soft put them in a Ziploc bag with a piece of bread. Overnight, the cookies will be soft!

    April 6, 2017 at 1:45 pm Reply
    • Leah

      That’s a great tip, Alta… thank you!

      April 6, 2017 at 1:49 pm Reply
      • Alta

        Also, I was out of vanilla but i had almond extract instead, it’s aroma and taste is a little strong so i only uses about half a tsp.

        April 6, 2017 at 2:24 pm Reply
  • Erica

    I don’t have any backing soda, do you know what I can use as a substitute

    April 3, 2017 at 12:00 am Reply
    • Leah

      Hi Erica, if you were really in a bind you could use baking powder, but I would use an extra 1/2 tsp. Hope that helps!

      April 3, 2017 at 10:50 am Reply
  • JJ

    Tried these and they turned out pretty good! Never tried snickerdoodles before but these tasted good!

    March 20, 2017 at 4:22 pm Reply
  • Christine

    These are absolutely the best cookies! I also just used the basic recipe and instead of vanilla I used the juice of one lemon, and mixed the zest with the sugar.

    Best lemon cookies ever! ( if you like lemon cookies)
    Thanks for a great versatile cookie recipe!

    March 4, 2017 at 2:17 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Thanks for the brilliant idea, Christine! I can’t wait to get home and try out some lemon cookies!

      March 4, 2017 at 8:34 pm Reply
  • lindsay

    These are seriously the best snickerdoodle cookies they are perfectly soft in the center and have the perfect amount of crunch on the outside. I will only use this recipe for snickerdoodles from now on, thank you

    February 17, 2017 at 8:19 pm Reply
    • Leah

      I’m glad they turned out good for you, Lindsay! Thanks so much for your comment.

      February 17, 2017 at 10:41 pm Reply
  • Vivian Telodias

    Oh my goodness! Thank you SO MUCH! I love to bake, but my family is extremely weight-conscious. When they finally let me bake a batch of cookies, I was so excited, only to find I had no butter! AH! You saved me! Thank you!!!

    December 29, 2016 at 4:35 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Wonderful! So glad to help!

      December 30, 2016 at 4:39 am Reply
  • Shawn

    At what tempersture do I bake them and what kind of sugar do I coat them with?

    December 8, 2016 at 4:51 pm Reply
    • Leah

      375 degrees and white sugar!

      December 8, 2016 at 7:12 pm Reply
      • Shawn

        Thanks very much!

        December 10, 2016 at 8:17 pm Reply
  • Brittany

    Had the same thing happen to me – wanted to make cookies but not enough butter in the house! Just tried these and they came out pretty good! Not overly sweet and tastey even without butter! Thanks internet!!

    November 26, 2016 at 10:19 pm Reply
  • Paul Branning

    Made these last night and they turned out delicious! Definitely dont cook longer than 10 minutes and they are nice and soft the next day. I was skeptical about the oil instead of the butter, but dont worry!

    November 15, 2016 at 11:06 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Thanks, Paul! Yep, have to be sure not to overbake and they will turn out great.

      November 27, 2016 at 4:13 am Reply

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