Easy Snickerdoodle Cookies Without Butter Recipe

Posted in DIY & Recipes, Recipes
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 made without butter. 

 

Turns out that Snickerdoodle 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.

So not only are these cookies with oil instead of butter delicious, but they are also frugal. 

How To Make Cookies Without Butter

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.

If you are wondering how to make cookies without butter, you’ll be happy to know that you make them just like any other Snickerdoodle cookie. You mix up the dough, roll it into a ball in your hand, coat it in cinnamon sugar, and bake. 

The only challenge to making cookies with oil instead of butter is that they might flatten out too much if the dough is warm to start with, or if you place them on a hot pan. 

My suggestion is to chill your dough for about 15 minutes and use a cool pan each time. This will help your cookies keep their shape and not flatten out!

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.

To keep this recipe simple and easy to make with ingredients on hand, I have omitted the cream of tartar called for in some traditional recipes.

This ingredient is supposed to make the cookies rise better but I think you’ll find that these Snickerdoodle cookies without cream of tartar are plenty light and fluffy without it!

Butterless Cookies Variations & Substitutions

As you can find in the almost 100 comments below, there are MANY substitutions and variations you can make on these butterless cookies!

Here are some common substitutions people have tried and that appear to work:

  • Using almond flour or gluten free flour in place of all purpose flour
  • Substituting 2 packets of hot cocoa mix for 1/2 cup of sugar
  • Using rice bran oil, olive oil, or avocado oil in place of vegetable oil
  • Replacing the teaspoon of vanilla extract with 1/2 tsp of almond extract

And if you’d like to try a chocolate variation, check out my new chocolate cookies without butter recipe here!

As you can see there are many options for making Snickerdoodle cookies with oil instead of butter.

These butterless cookies even come together in 5 minutes and in one bowl (now that’s my kind of baking). Here is the recipe so you can give them a try. 

Adapted from Recipes to a Young Poet No-Butter Snickerdoodles

Yield: 4 Dozen

Easy Snickerdoodle Cookies Without Butter

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

Ingredients

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

Instructions

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!

If you liked this recipe you might also like:

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!

94 Comments

  • Hannah

    There so good i add everything perfect they smell so good😁

    August 14, 2019 at 2:58 pm Reply
  • Alfred

    Just made these and they turned out puffy and I was so pleased to see the characteristic cracks on top. I tried one and it was crispy loud and the center soft. I added chopped macadamias and white chocolate chips. This is definitely a great recipe. Thanks!

    July 16, 2019 at 3:46 am Reply
  • Lisa

    Absolute perfection! I made the recipe exactly as written and they turned out to be the most soft, moist and delicious snickerdoodle cookies I have ever tasted. I am now called a “baking celebrity” after bringing some to a party. Next time I’ll make two batches since they disappeared so quick! Thank you so, so much for sharing this amazing recipe.

    July 7, 2019 at 7:16 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Wow that’s wonderful Lisa! Thanks so much for sharing.

      July 8, 2019 at 2:50 pm Reply
  • Katherine

    Hi thanks for the recipe my kids absolutely loved the biscuits. I made larger biscuits so around 24 in total and they took 27 minutes to cook. But I accidentally didn’t check the temperature properly. I assumed it equated to 180 degrees c. Hence the longer cook time. Next time I’ll up the temp. Great recipe. I didn’t have vanilla and they still tasted great. Thanks so much.

    July 4, 2019 at 7:38 pm Reply
  • Sherry Bohrmueller

    Could you make this in a 9×13 pan as cookie bars?

    June 25, 2019 at 2:24 pm Reply
    • Leah

      I actually have no idea, Sherry! If you try this please let us know if it turns out. Sorry I can’t be of more help.

      June 26, 2019 at 6:15 am Reply
  • Erin

    So… I used 1 cu organic PB (w/ oil on top), so reduced oil in recipe just a bit. They came out just a tad dry, though, so next time I’ll put in more oil.

    Also, I followed other people’s directions and rolled the balls in cocoa mix before baking.

    I still used a pinch of cinnamon both in the dough and in the cocoa, and a dash of cardamom (not enough to flavor; just enhance).

    Next batch I think I’ll roll them in straight cocoa, because not much ends up sticking and that pure cocoa with the sweet PB dough will taste great!

    Thank you so much for this recipe! There are so many variations and your original is just wonderful, as you directed here! I have no clue about a few of the comments where they were oily. I know if you use olive oil, you’re going to taste the oil flavor because it’s pungent. I used straight vegetable oil but I bet canola oil would be perfect, too.

    Anyway, thank you, again! Nomnomnomnom 🙂

    June 18, 2019 at 11:45 pm Reply
  • egghead96

    WOW! Just made this recipe and it was fantastic!! I added extra cinnamon (cuz I can’t ever get enough cinnamon) in the cookie mix, and doubled the sugar and cinnamon for the coating. Instead of “walnut” size (as suggested) I used a 1″ cookie scoop, and made about 35 cookies. Cooked them for 10 minutes on the convection oven setting. The cookies were slightly underdone, but I’m okay with that!

    June 14, 2019 at 5:11 pm Reply
  • Heather

    MmmMMM! These were very yummy!! I needed to make some baking but had no butter in the house so this was perfect, thank you 😋

    June 4, 2019 at 3:50 pm Reply
  • Christiba

    SO MUCH OILLLLLLLLLL. BUT IT TASTED AMAZING> OMLLLLL IT WAS SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO GOOd

    May 31, 2019 at 12:14 am Reply
  • Roche

    Thank you very much for this recipe!
    This is actually my first time baking! I am enjoying baking using this recipe. It’s like my masterpiece! And that is because of your recipe!
    I actually don’t have butter and eggs; we run out of them so I’m actually waiting for my cookies to bake while I’m typing this! Our kitchen smells good though…
    Thank you and by the way, I’m 11 and I think this will be on history because your cookies, my cookies, and everybody else’, who baked using this recipe, are delicious!
    Thank you again!

    May 16, 2019 at 11:36 pm Reply
  • Holley

    Just made some of these and they are so good. My 2.5year old daughter loved them.

    May 14, 2019 at 4:11 pm Reply
    • Leah

      So glad you liked them, Holley. 🙂

      May 14, 2019 at 4:26 pm Reply
  • Julie

    The dough was too wet and sticky to roll, even after adding some more flour

    April 28, 2019 at 3:49 pm Reply
  • mia edd

    just made the recipe they are really good!

    April 9, 2019 at 5:57 pm Reply
  • Julia

    Excellent recipe and so quick and easy. My go to snickerdoodle recipe from now on.

    April 3, 2019 at 3:55 pm Reply
  • Catherine

    So delicious! I made them with almond flour and they’re so rich and sweet. Planning on making them into sandwich cookies.

    March 9, 2019 at 1:45 pm Reply
  • Ashley Rounds

    These turned out great with the recipe as is! Thank you for providing a recipe that uses oil rather than butter. I’m all out of butter but wanted to bake for my women’s group and these are perfect for the occasion.

    February 20, 2019 at 12:33 am Reply
  • Mellow

    I am eating these as I write. Absolutely delicious! I stuck to the recipe, except that I baked the cookies for 12 minutes because my oven is weird like that. I’d write more but I’d rather go get more cookies. Thank you for the recipe!

    February 17, 2019 at 9:53 pm Reply
  • Sam

    This was absolutely perfect. I cut the recipe in half because I just wanted to satisfy my sweet tooth. I got 12 well sized cookies which were delicious! Don’t change a thing!

    January 31, 2019 at 7:49 pm Reply
  • Midge

    Quick easy recipe to make with my four year old granddaughter. Fun rolling them in cinnamon and colored sugars.

    January 14, 2019 at 11:39 am Reply
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  • Danielle Gayler

    I made these one night when i was very stressed and, of course, the solution to that was bake until I couldn’t think anymore. Alas, I didn’t have any butter. This recipe was a life saver and delicious to boot. I made so many that I brought 3 dozen to work the next day. I left with only 6 cookies and many more compliments. I made them as is and with reduced oil as per the comments and they turned out great both times!

    December 26, 2018 at 3:17 am Reply
    • Leah

      This made my day, Danielle! Thanks so much. 🙂

      December 28, 2018 at 3:18 pm Reply
  • 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
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    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
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    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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