Baked Goods, Desserts

The Perfect Holiday Nutmeg and Clove Snickerdoodles

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Last updated on February 6th, 2023 at 06:22 pm

This holiday season, you might be thinking about adding a little extra spice to your life. So, try baking these buttery sweet holiday snickerdoodles to celebrate the season.

I love snickerdoodle cookies, and I wanted to create a cookie that was just right. So I decided on adding nutmeg and clove to the cinnamon sugar rolling mixture to give these some holiday flair. The spices add just a bit of a twist on this cookie classic.

Baked snickerdoodles fresh from the oven

If you are tired of pumpkin everything (see my pumpkin pie, pumpkin chocolate chip muffins, and pumpkin cream cheese rangoons), then maybe try this simple cookie makeover. With a mix of nutmeg and cloves, this snickerdoodle recipe gives you a tasty and unique flavor. From the smell of this dough to the flavor of the finished cookie, these cookies give your mouth a treat.

Try the perfect holiday nutmeg and clove snickerdoodles today! These are definitely the best holiday snickerdoodle cookies ever, and I am definitely not a biased reviewer.

What Are Snickerdoodles?

Seeming to hail from the New England area of the US, the exact origins of this cookie are unknown. Along with its unknown origins comes the mystery of its very name. It could be Germanic, could be a portmanteau of snicker and doodle, or it could just be a fun nonsense made-up name for a cookie.

I think it’s just utter nonsense for the fun of it.

Either way, snickerdoodle cookies are slightly modified sugar cookies that are rolled in a cinnamon-sugar mixture before baking. They’re placed on the baking sheet and cooked as balls, then bake into scrumptious round treats.

Sugar and spice-coated snickerdoodle doughBaked holiday snickerdoodle cookies
The rolled but uncooked snickerdoodles look kind of like donut holes

One of the most unique aspects of the snickerdoodle is the inclusion of cream of tartar in the baking mixture. When used in snickerdoodles, it lends a tangy flavor and also makes them more chewy.

To make these unique holiday snickerdoodles, we’ll include nutmeg and cloves along with the cinnamon.

What is Cream of Tartar?

With cream of tartar being such an integral ingredient in snickerdoodles, what even is it?

Before researching and making this recipe, I had no idea what cream of tartar was. Even though I have used it before in a few different recipes like my homemade whipped cream.

Cream of tartar is tartaric acid. It is actually a byproduct of fermenting wine. This ingredient is commonly used in a few baking applications – to stabilize eggs (especially in meringues) or cream, and to help prevent sugars from crystallizing.

Baked snickerdoodles in a stack

It tends to come in smaller containers because recipes usually call for small quantities. It is a white powder that can have a faint lemon-lime scent since it is an acid. Find cream of tartar in the store with the dried herbs and spices or down the baking aisle.

So, why is cream of tartar used in snickerdoodles? This is one of the ingredients that is used to create the typical snickerdoodle. The acidity of the tartar creates a tangy flavor in the cookie. It also prevents the sugar from crystallizing and so creates a chewier texture.

Mixing the Dough

Mixing the dough for snickerdoodle cookies is very easy with the right tools. I highly recommend using a stand mixer to whip up these tasty treats. But everything can be stirred and mixed by hand. It may be able to count as your workout for the dough. So plan ahead.

Before you begin to mix the dough, preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). That way it will be ready to go when the dough is finished. Start by mixing the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl. Then add the butter and sugar into your stand mixer bowl or a separate bowl if mixing by hand.

Cream together the butter and sugar until fully combined and it looks a little fluffy. Then add in the eggs and vanilla and mix them together. At this point, the dough will be a fairly wet mixture with lumps still visible. This is expected, so don’t try to overmix it into a super smooth consistency.

Now it’s time to add the flour mixture.

Empty the bowl of flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt into the main mixing bowl and mix it until combined. This is the final mix and it should now be smooth cookie dough.

A cookie scoop to measure out the cookies

Rolling the Holiday Snickerdoodles

Let’s roll those cookies!

Snickerdoodles get their signature flavor and look from a mix of sugar and cinnamon. For our holiday snickerdoodles, we’ll be adding ground nutmeg and cloves to the mix as well.

And to get the spiced sugar onto the cookies we need to roll the snickerdoodle dough into balls and then roll it around in the sugar mixture. So, start by mixing together the sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Get everything evenly distributed. I decided to mix it together on a plate since it would be easy to roll the dough around.

Now scoop and roll the dough into balls. Use a spoon or dedicated cookie scoop on the dough. They don’t need to be perfectly round, just a good shape for rolling around.

After rolling the dough into balls, take them one by one and place them in the sugar and spice mix. Roll the dough around so that it gets coated everywhere with the spiced sugar. You may want to roll them once, let them sit for a minute or so, and give them a second roll around to get them fully coated.

The more sugar coating, the better in my opinion.

Why Nutmeg and Clove?

I’ve always had a soft spot for cloves, I just love the way they smell. But I promise that isn’t the only reason I added them to this recipe. I swear.

Is it just me, or does the cookie dough kind of look like mashed potatoes?

Snickerdoodle cookies are typically made by rolling the dough in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. And nothing else.

But I wanted to add a little more holiday flavor into the treats – hence the holiday snickerdoodles recipe. And it made sense because cinnamon is already a pretty popular spice to use around the holidays.

So, I started thinking of all the other spices used around the holidays and what might pair well with the cinnamon. And when you think of fall flavors, you think about pumpkin spice. The spices commonly used in pumpkin pie and the ubiquitous fall flavor that takes over every year.

And now they look like donut holes.

Included in the typical pumpkin pie spices are cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. And so this combination was born and seemed perfect for these holiday snickerdoodles.

And the combination of all these spices is delicious. But don’t take my word for it, make the recipe and try it for yourself.

Baking Holiday Snickerdoodles

After mixing the dough and rolling it all in the flavored sugar, all that’s left is to bake the cookies.

The typical cracked surface of the cookies

And the main goal here is just to not burn them.

Place the rolled dough balls onto a greased baking sheet about two inches apart from each other. Then pop the tray into the preheated oven. If you’ve forgotten to preheat before mixing the dough, then preheat now and wait until the oven has come to temperature to start baking.

Preheating ensures the cookies will start to bake immediately upon going into the oven.

Bake them for 8 to 10 min. when checking on them, you’ll be looking for a golden color on the cookie itself. It can be a little difficult to distinguish and differentiate since the cookies were rolled in spiced sugar.

A delicious cookie stack with a broken cookie on top

While baking the dough balls will flatten out into perfect cookies with amazing texture. Remove the cookies from the baking sheet to a wire cooling rack.

Then eat the cookies. Store them in an airtight container after about an hour to make sure they stay soft and fresh for as long as possible.

These snickerdoodles are delicious when served warm with a glass of milk. Just make sure you wait long enough for them to cool so that you don’t burn yourself on the delicious treats.

How did yours turn out?

I’d love to hear when you try these holiday snickerdoodles! Take a pic of your food and share your success with me by adding it to your Instagram stories or feed, and tagging me @doyouroux, or by using #doyouroux.

Plus, leave a rating to let me know how you liked the recipe. It helps me out a lot to know how things worked out… or didn’t.

Perfect Holiday Nutmeg and Clove Snickerdoodles

Recipe by Marc PetersonCourse: DessertDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time


Total time



These soft, buttery, spicy cookies are full of clove and nutmeg flavor. Make a batch of holiday snickerdoodles to share with family and friends.


  • 2 and 3/4 cups flour

  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 cup butter

  • 1 and 1/2 cups white sugar

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/3 cup white sugar

  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg


  • Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C)
  • Mix together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and set it to the side
  • In a stand mixer, cream together the butter and 1 and 1/2 cups sugar until fully combined and a little fluffy looking
  • Add the eggs and vanilla and mix together well
  • While stirring with the stand mixer, pour in the flour mixture from step 2 and let it mix until fully combined and a soft dough has formed
  • In a wide bowl or small plate, combine the remaining 1/3 cup sugar with the ground cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg
  • Use a small cookie scoop or spoon to scoop out the dough, roll it into a ball, roll it into the spiced sugar mixture, set them to the side for about a minute, and then roll it into the sugar mixture a second time for a thorough coating
  • Place the rolled dough balls 2 inches apart on a greased baking sheet
  • Put the baking sheet into the preheated oven and bake for 8 to 10 minutes
  • Remove the baking sheet from the oven and place the cookies onto a wire cooling rack

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