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


  • 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
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