These cinnamon-sugar cookies are the best! They’re easy to make, and they come out of the oven soft and fluffy. They’re also perfect for any occasion. Have a cookie or two with afternoon tea and coffee, or serve up a large platter during a holiday gathering.
While we love cutout cookies like Christmas sugar cookies, rolling them out takes a lot of effort, and you need the right type of cookie cutter on hand. These cinnamon-sugar cookies, however, require only standard cookie supplies to prepare, and they’re ready to bake in just 25 minutes (plus chilling time).
This recipe makes a lot of cookies—a whole lot! That shouldn’t be a problem, since they store well and they’ll go quickly (cinnamon-sugar cookies are beloved by adults and kids alike)! If you’re not baking in bulk for a holiday cookie tray or an edible gift exchange, you can freeze the extra unbaked dough and have ready-to-bake cookies whenever you want them. It will be sooner than you think!
Ingredients for Cinnamon Sugar Cookies
- Ground cinnamon: These wouldn’t be cinnamon-sugar cookies without the cinnamon! Use your favorite type of cinnamon for this recipe.
- Sugar: We use both white and confectioners’ sugar. Confectioners’ sugar is finer than granulated sugar, so it melts into the cookie dough to create a soft, smooth texture.
- Butter: Softened butter should be 65°F, still cool to the touch but soft enough to leave an indentation when you press it. If it’s soft enough to melt, the cookies can turn out greasy and might burn more easily. If you’re in a pinch, learn how to soften butter quickly.
- Vegetable oil: Vegetable oil is the secret ingredient for making tender cookies.
- Eggs: Eggs are a binding ingredient that holds the dough together. Room-temperature eggs blend into the dough more easily than cold eggs. Set them on the counter 30 minutes before you bake (but no longer than two hours). If you forgot to bring your eggs up to temp, place them in a bowl of warm (not hot) water for 10 to 15 minutes.
- All-purpose flour: All-purpose flour is the best flour for cookies. High-protein bread flour can make cookies tough, and cake flour can make them delicate and flat.
- Baking soda: Baking soda combines with acidic ingredients (like cream of tartar) to create carbon dioxide. Those little bubbles give rise to cookies and make them fluffy. If you don’t have any in the pantry, learn how to make cookies without baking soda.
- Cream of tartar: Cream of tartar is typically added to snickerdoodle cookies, and we use them here to give our cinnamon-sugar cookies a slightly tart edge. It also helps the cookies achieve the perfect chewy texture.
- Pecans: Finely chopped pecans are buttery and sweet, and they add a gentle crunch. Feel free to omit them for nut-free cinnamon-sugar cookies.
Step 1: Cream the butter and sugar
In a large bowl, cream the softened butter, sugar, confectioners’ and vegetable oil.
Editor’s Tip: You can use a stand mixer to make cookies, but a hand mixer is, well, handy. These compact mixers are perfect for tackling lightweight jobs like a batch of sugar cookies.
Step 2: Add the liquid ingredients
Add the room-temperature eggs and vanilla. Mix well.
Step 3: Incorporate the dry ingredients
Add the flour, salt, baking soda, cream of tartar and cinnamon. Stir in the pecans if desired.
Editor’s Tip: Mix until the flour is just combined. Overmixing can make the cookies tough.
Step 4: Chill the cookie dough
Cover and refrigerate for three hours or until easy to handle.
Editor’s Tip: The waiting is the hardest part! Chilling cookie dough is important for creating cookies that hold their shape while baking.
Step 5: Shape the cookies
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Roll the chilled dough into 1-inch balls. Place the cookies 2 inches apart on greased baking sheets. Flatten each dough ball with the bottom of a glass dipped in sugar. If desired, sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar.
Editor’s Tip: Use a cookie scoop to create identical cookies. If you don’t have one on hand, use a spoon to scoop and roll the dough into 1-inch balls.
Step 6: Bake the cinnamon-sugar cookies
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until set.
Editor’s Tip: Most of us don’t have enough baking sheets to cook this many cookies. It’s OK to reuse the baking sheets to bake in batches. Just let them cool completely before starting the next batch. And don’t rinse them! Rinsing hot baking sheets in cold water can warp the metal. Keep unbaked dough cool in the refrigerator in between batches.
- Add frosting: Once the cinnamon-sugar cookies are completely cooled, frost them with a confectioners’ sugar glaze or royal icing.
- Sprinkle with colored sugar: Decorate these cookies for any holiday occasion by adding colored sugar. You can make DIY colored sugar with food coloring.
- Swap in pumpkin spice: Use another warming spice instead of cinnamon. Pumpkin-spice sugar cookies are delightful in the fall.
How to Store Cinnamon-Sugar Cookies
Store cinnamon-sugar cookies on the counter in an airtight container to keep them soft and fresh. Enjoy within seven days. If the cookies become dry or hard, you can soften cookies with a slice of bread. Simply slide it into the container, and let it work its magic.
Can you freeze cinnamon-sugar cookies?
Yes, baked cinnamon-sugar cookies freeze well! Freeze cookies in a single layer on a baking sheet. After frozen solid, transfer them to an airtight container, and store for up to three months. Thaw at room temperature when you’re craving a sweet treat!
You can also freeze cookie dough or individual cookies for up to three months. To bake, thaw overnight in the fridge. Or bake from frozen—just increase the cooking time by three to four minutes as needed.
Can you make cinnamon-sugar cookies ahead of time?
Yes, cinnamon-sugar cookie dough can be prepared up to four days in advance. Store it, covered, in the refrigerator. When you’re ready, shape and bake the cookies as directed.
Cinnamon-Sugar Cookies Tips
Should sugar cookies be soft or crispy?
Traditionally, sugar cookies are soft and chewy, but some people prefer a crispier sugar cookie. It’s a matter of personal preference! For crispy cookies, press the cookies very thin before baking. For soft cookies with a tender texture, avoid overbaking. Learn more about creating the perfect cookie with these tips for sugar cookies.
Should you chill cookie dough before baking?
Yes, chilling cookie dough is the best way to prevent cookies from spreading out too much when they hit the oven. The fats solidify in the refrigerator, which means the cookies will expand more slowly. They’ll hold their texture instead of turning into flat, hard disks. Cookies made from chilled dough also taste better. The flavors concentrate when the dry ingredients have time to soak up moisture from the wet ingredients.
Why did these cinnamon-sugar cookies spread so much?
If your cinnamon-sugar cookies spread, you may have skipped the chilling step. Or, it’s possible the flour wasn’t measured correctly. Cookies will spread if they contain too much fat and not enough flour to soak it up. Use this foolproof technique for measuring flour. Instead of dipping the measuring cup into the jar, spoon the flour into the cup (until heaping). Then, level off the top with the flat side of a knife.
Are snickerdoodles just sugar cookies with cinnamon?
These cinnamon-sugar cookies are very similar to snickerdoodles! A snickerdoodle is basically a sugar cookie rolled in cinnamon-sugar, and it contains a not-so-secret ingredient, cream of tartar, which gives the cookie a tangy edge. Not all sugar cookie recipes contain cream of tartar, but ours does!