Easy Snickerdoodle Cookies Without Butter Recipe

Posted in DIY & Recipes, Recipes
on December 1, 2017

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Enjoy my popular Snickerdoodle cookie recipe – they are the best no butter cookies!

cinnamon and sugar coated Snickerdoodle cookies

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

I was 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 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! 

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 you place them on a hot pan. 

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

No Butter Snickerdoodles Tips & Tricks

silicone baking mat

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 might be my most-loved kitchen item.

OXO Stainless Steel Small Cookie Scoop

I use a small cookie scoop like this one to get consistently sized cookies. This makes them cook evenly and all turn out perfectly every time.

Rolling the cookie balls in cinnamon sugar is a critical step in getting perfect cookies. Yes, it is a bit time consuming but I promise it is worth it. Don’t skip this step!

And last, the dough will seem a bit greasy compared to traditional cookie dough. Don’t be alarmed – they will turn out fine. If they seem WAAAAYYY too greasy though, you may have under measured your flour.

I suggest adding a tablespoon or two or flour and see if that helps. 

Why These Cookies Are Amazing

cinnamon and sugar coated Snickerdoodle cookies

First, these cookies are way cheaper to make then traditional Snickerdoodle cookies with butter.

I knew that vegetable oil is cheaper than butter, but when I actually did the math I made a discovery: 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. 

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!

Some people claim that the cream of tartar gives Snickerdoodles a characteristic “tang”, but honestly I’ve never noticed that. I have made this recipe with and without cream of tartar and I can’t tell them apart.

How To Get Thick & Chewy Butter Free Snickerdoodles

Sometimes oil based cookies spread on the pan and turn out flat and hard. 

Here are my secrets to getting thick and chewy no butter Snickerdoodles:

  • First, be sure to roll the cookies into a ball and coat thoroughly with the cinnamon sugar mixture. 
  • Then place them on the pan at least 2 inches apart and slightly press them down with your hand. They should still be mostly in a ball shape. 
  • Be sure to bake them on a cool pan each time – a warm pan will make the cookies spread and flatten out. 
  • Do NOT overbake! They should still be soft when you take them out of the oven. They will finish cooking on the pan. 

If you follow these suggestions you will get nice thick Snickerdoodles without butter. 

Butterless Cookies Variations & Substitutions


You can use many different oils in this recipe

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 rice bran oil, olive oil, coconut oil, or avocado oil in place of vegetable oil
  • 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
  • Replacing the teaspoon of vanilla extract with 1/2 tsp of almond extract

Chocolate cookies

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. 

Check out these other great cookie recipes on my site: 

I hope you enjoy this recipe! Any questions? Please leave a comment below or send me a message on The Frugal South’s Facebook page!

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. Adapted from Recipes to a Young Poet No-Butter Snickerdoodles.

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 extract
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • For Sugar Coating:
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. 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. 
  3. Form the dough into walnut-sized balls and roll each ball in the sugar coating.
  4. Place cookies a few inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet, flattening them slightly if desired. 
  5. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until slightly brown on the bottom. Do not overcook or they will be hard as rocks!

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 101Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 54mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 0gSugar: 7gProtein: 1g
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!

Easy Snickerdoodle Cookies Without Butter Recipe


  • lorraine

    can i not use baking powder

    June 1, 2020 at 8:37 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Yes you definitely can. They may have a different texture but will taste great!

      June 4, 2020 at 7:47 am Reply
  • Pizzaz Lol

    How can you make the snickerdoodles smoother? I tried what you said to Sandy Hollins, but it didn’t work

    May 31, 2020 at 5:42 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Hmmm, I’m not sure. You want a smooth texture on the top? A rolled cookie recipe might be the only way to go. I don’t have a good one of my own but I’m sure you can find one – maybe search for rolled snickerdoodle cookies? Good luck 🙂

      June 4, 2020 at 7:49 am Reply
  • Penguin

    Delicious and yummy

    May 30, 2020 at 8:34 pm Reply
  • Aida

    Hi, I am not an experience baker, but I made these cookies twice and they amazing chewy and tasty. I usually prefer less sweet cookies so I tried to half the sugar but rolling these cookies in sugar makes them sweeter again.I have a question on why do we need to roll the cookies in sugar before baking? Will it cause the cookies to lose their shape? Is it okay if I omit this step or roll it in something else?

    May 29, 2020 at 4:23 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Hi Aida! Yes, rolling them in sugar helps them hold their shape and give them the nice texture after they are baked. But you could definitely make them without and I’m sure they would still taste delicious! They just might look different.

      May 31, 2020 at 6:46 am Reply

    can i reduce de amount of oil to make them less greasy?
    could i bake these on silicone molds ? also for how long should i mix the cookie dough, do these follow the “mix as little as possible or youll get hard cookies rule”??
    how many cookies will this recipe make?

    May 26, 2020 at 11:10 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Hi Debbie! This recipe makes 4 dozen smallish cookies. I suggest just mixing until everything is combined and not overmixing, as you say. I think you could definitely make them on silicone molds – I bake mine on a silicone baking sheet. The dough is greasy but the cookies turn out lovely. You can cut down on the oil and substitute applesauce for example but it will affect the results.

      May 31, 2020 at 6:48 am Reply
  • Jennifer

    Really want to make these but I’m not a fan of cinnamon. Is it a MUST or would I be able to just roll in caster or light brown sugar?? Thanks x

    May 24, 2020 at 3:47 pm Reply
    • Leah

      You can definitely omit the cinnamon! They will still be delicious.

      May 31, 2020 at 6:53 am Reply
  • Sandy Hollins

    Are snickerdoodles supposed to be smooth when cooked. Mine came out lovely but looked cracked all over like your chocolate cookies

    May 23, 2020 at 2:19 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Nope, they are supposed to looked cracked thanks to the sugar coating. You can omit rolling them in sugar if you want a smooth surface.

      May 31, 2020 at 6:53 am Reply
  • Anabella

    Hi I just wanted to know if I can refrigerate these overnight and take them out when ready to bake.

    May 23, 2020 at 8:02 am Reply
    • Leah

      Yes you definitely can refrigerate the dough or freeze it. 🙂 I would use within 24 hours for refrigeration though.

      May 23, 2020 at 9:02 am Reply
  • Alyse

    These were AMAZING! I did end up adding a few extra tablespoons of flour to reduce the greasiness, but they turned out AMAZING and I’m embarrassed by how many I ate 😃

    May 22, 2020 at 7:08 pm Reply
    • Penguin

      how many did you eat

      May 30, 2020 at 8:36 pm Reply
  • Emilia

    Hello, will these cookies be chewy? I am a beginner and looking for chewy, simple cookies.

    May 22, 2020 at 12:53 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Hi Emilia! Yes, they are definitely soft and chewy cookies.

      May 23, 2020 at 6:05 am Reply
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