These are our all-time favorite Peanut Butter Cookies — they’re thick, soft and chewy, and have a rich peanut butter flavor with plenty of sweetness. Jazz these cookies up even more if you’d like by dipping half in melted chocolate (optional).
Love peanut butter? Us too! Try some of our other favorite peanut butter treats like this no-bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie, this Buttercrunch Candy, or these Chocolate Peanut Butter Muffins (which are secretly healthy!).
The Creation Of Our Favorite Peanut Butter Cookies
When my older brother was 3, he was rushed to the emergency room from what we later learned was an intense peanut allergy. Peanuts and peanut butter were no longer allowed in our home growing up. So you can probably imagine my excitement of living in a peanut-allergy-free home when I moved out to college. I immediately filled my entire pantry shelf with peanut butter, and weekends consisted of me making peanut butter cookies like they were going out of style. (It also meant a never-ending stash of trail mix in my backpack and late-night spoonfuls of edible peanut butter cookie dough to “help” the studying along.)
While I might not be able to tell you much of what I learned my freshman year of college, I can tell you that I tried every single peanut butter cookie recipe on the internet, and these cookies are my homegrown creation from a mash-up of my favorites. Right in time for the holidays (and cookie baking season!), these easy Peanut Butter Cookies will be sure to please. I can’t wait for you all to try them.
What To Expect From This Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe
These cookies are big — threetablespoons of dough per cookie! They’re thick throughout with especially soft and satisfying chewy centers — think a big, soft sugar cookie, but peanut butter flavored.
The gooey, chewy texture is in part due to the ingredient ratios and in part to the method which (dual-purpose) actually makes these cookies quick, easy, and simple to prepare. The method? Melted butter. The melted butter gives these cookies the perfect texture and simplifies the process — no stand or hand mixer is needed for this recipe! Just grab a bowl and whisk and you’ll be well on your way to Peanut Butter Cookie heaven.
Why Do They Use Criss-Cross Patterns On Peanut Butter Cookies?
Typical peanut butter cookie dough is much denser than most other cookie doughs, so the criss-cross indentations are to help flatten the cookie. It also encourages even baking.
While you can’t beat three-ingredient peanut butter cookies in the department of short ingredient lists, they definitely leave me wanting more. Those types of peanut butter cookies (that are crisscrossed with a fork) aren’t my favorite. Any I’ve had are often dry, too crisp, and typically a bit lackluster in the flavor department. So, no fork marks are required for this recipe and get ready for the softest and chewiest Peanut Butter Cookies around.
Of course, you may prefer crisp and crunchy peanut butter cookies instead. And if that’s the case, I’d recommend this recipe!
How To Make Peanut Butter Cookies
- To make a Peanut Butter Cookie soft and chewy (as opposed to crispy), the cookie needs to have a higher moisture content than typical. You achieve this by using two large eggs instead of just one, an entire cup of brown sugar (the added molasses has a 10% water composition), and overall less flour.
- To get the cookies even chewier, we melt the butter. When you mix room temperature (or cold) butter with sugar and other ingredients, you’re introducing air, which gets trapped in whatever you’re baking, and that results in a more cake-like texture. Melting the butter eliminates any air getting trapped inside and makes the cookies chewier.
- Finally, it helps to chill the dough. When you chill the dough, the butter solidifies, allowing it to melt slower when it’s baked. This creates a thicker cookie and prevents the cookie from going flat and becoming crispy. Chilling the dough also gives the sugar time to absorb more of the liquid and become more concentrated. Concentrated sugar is going to give you a chewier and sweeter cookie. The recommended chill time on these cookies is 30 minutes, so that’s not too bad!
Peanut Butter Cookie Variations
- If you’re wondering how to make peanut butter no-bake cookies, try these Avalanche Cookies or these Healthy No-bake Cookies.
- Make Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies with this recipe.
- Make peanut butter cookies healthier by using honey and oats and reducing the sugar (which is what I do in these Healthy Breakfast Cookies!)
- Try this recipe for peanut butter cookies vegan-style! (Replace the honey with agave, use a vegan rice crisp cereal, and vegan chocolate for the drizzle.)
- To make peanut butter cookies without brown sugar, replace the brown sugar with white sugar. (The cookies will be crunchier and less chewy this way.)
Peanut Butter Cookies Tips
- Use room-temperature eggs. This ensures the eggs disperse more evenly into the batter, giving these cookies a lighter texture (the eggs trap in the air). Soaking refrigerated eggs in a bowl of warm (not hot) water for about 10 minutes is a quick way to do this. Otherwise, pull the eggs out of the fridge about 30 minutes before use.
- Add eggs one at a time. Each egg should be thoroughly mixed in before adding the next egg. This allows the eggs to be evenly mixed in AND allows the eggs to emulsify with the fats (that’s the butter in this recipe).
- Bake on a Silpat liner. These cookies come out best when baked on a silicone liner — they bake evenly and the bottoms won’t get too crispy. (Parchment paper is the next best thing!)
- Use a food scale if you have one. A food scale ensures the right amount of flour (measuring flour can vary wildly from person to person!). It also makes sure you’ve got even-sized cookie dough balls (and evenly baked cookies). If you’re simply eyeballing portions, you may end up with some over-baked cookies while other cookies aren’t fully baked through because of inconsistent cookie dough ball sizes.
- Roll large cookie dough balls. We have made this recipe dozens of times and experimented quite a bit with the size of the cookie dough balls. While you may want smaller cookies, the texture is not the same. The “sweet spot” for this recipe is exactly 3 tablespoons (60 grams) of dough. Big, I know, but totally perfect!
Peanut Butter Cookies FAQs
1Why makes Peanut Butter Cookies taste bad?
Peanut butter cookies can be lacking flavor if you use shorteninginstead of butter. (Shortening adds no flavor.) They can also lack flavor with less flavorful peanut butter (a natural, unsalted peanut butter, for instance). We recommend a commercial brand like Skippy for the best flavor. Yes, the commercial brands add salt and sugar, but when it comes to flavor, that matters.
2Why are my Peanut Butter Cookies dry and crumbly?
The likely culprit is too much flour! The more flour, the more dry, crumbly, and flavorless peanut butter cookies will taste. Overbaking also dries out the cookie.
3How do you make Peanut Butter Cookies turn out well?
Here are my top tips for baking the best Peanut Butter Cookies:
- Follow the recipe carefully.
- Bake at 325 degrees F (instead of the typical 350 degrees!).
- Roll even-sized large cookie dough balls.
- Using a food scale (perfect measurements every time).
- Dip in chocolate! For a fun flavor enhancement, dip half of the cookie in chocolate (or drizzle melted chocolate on top).
4What happens if you don’t flatten Peanut Butter Cookies?
Peanut butter cookies are denser than most cookies and don’t spread the way other cookies do. It’s helpful to slightly flatten the cookie dough balls before baking, for even cooking.
5What does the baking soda do in cookies?
Baking soda produces carbon dioxide gas . That in turn produces bubbles in the raw dough and gives the batter a rise. In cookies specifically, baking soda results in a great chewy texture.
6What is the secret to chewy cookies?
The more moisture in cookies, the chewier they will be. Ingredients, baking time, and baking temperature all come into play as we work to retain moisture in the dough.
The size or mass of the cookies also contributes to their chewiness. Big cookie dough balls make softer and chewier cookies than smaller ones.
The number one way to get chewy cookies? Don’t bake them too long! Remove the cookies as soon as the edges turn a light brown and the top center is pale. The baked centers will remain soft and as they firm up, they’ll be soft and chewy.
Storage And Freezing
The yield from this Peanut Butter Cookie recipe stores well at room temperature (in an airtight container) for 3-4 days. Baked cookies freeze okay, but it’s even better to freeze the dough!
To do so: Drop the cookie dough balls on a large sheet pan and freeze until solid. Once solid, transfer the frozen cookie dough balls to an airtight container or bag and freeze for up to 3 months. To bake: You can bake these cookies straight from the freezer. There is no need to thaw, but you may need to add a few extra minutes to the baking time. Bake the cookies until the edges are set, and the center is still soft.
Use Leftover Peanut Butter In One Of These Recipes
- Peanut Butter Granolawith chocolate chips
- Peanut Butter Blossomswith a Hershey’s kiss center
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Snack Mixwith mini Reese’s cups
- Peanut Butter Brownie Bitesmade in a miniature muffin tin
- Peanut Butter Cup Brownieswith double the peanut butter!
Peanut Butter Cookies
Peanut Butter Cookies
- 1cup (227g)unsalted butter,melted (this is 16 tbsp.)
- 1cup (225g)(light or dark) brown sugar,lightly packed
- 1cup (200g)white granulated sugar,plus extra for rolling (optional)
- 1cup (245g)creamy peanut butterNote 1
- 1/8teaspoonalmond extract,optional! Note 2
- 1tablespoon (12g)vanilla extract
- 1teaspoonbaking soda
- 2-2/3cups (385g)white all-purpose flourNote 3
OPTIONAL: Chocolate Dip
- 4ounces (113g)milk, semi-sweet, or dark chocolate baking bar
PREP: Line a large baking sheet with a silicone liner (or parchment paper) and set aside.
COOKIE DOUGH: In a microwave-safe bowl, heat the butter until it’s melted. Set aside to cool back to room temperature (hot butter will melt sugars and cause greasy cookies). Once at room temperature, use a spatula to scrape every bit of butter into a large bowl and add in the brown sugar and white sugar. Mix with a large whisk until smooth, about 1 minute.
COOKIE DOUGH, CONT.: Add in the peanut butter, almond extract (if using), and vanilla extract. Mix until combined. Add in one egg. Mix just until ingredients are incorporated and then add in the second egg. Again, mix until the ingredients are just incorporated. Add in the baking soda and salt and mix until just incorporated. Add in the flour and mix again, until just incorporated. Don’t over-mix.
CHILL: Cover the dough and chill for 30 minutes, up to 1 hour — See Note 4. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Scoop the cookie dough and roll into large balls that are each 3 packed tablespoons (60 grams) in size (See Note 5) and if desired (optional) roll cookie dough balls in some extra granulated sugar. Place dough balls on a lined cookie sheet — 6 cookies at a time– leaving ample room (2-inches) between cookies.
BAKE: Bake for 8-14 minutes. Ever so slightly under-baking the cookies will keep them soft and chewy. (They also bake a bit more on the cookie sheet when removed from the oven.) Be careful to not over-bake these cookies!
COOL: Remove the cookies (if any edges are going wayward, working quickly, press the edges inwards with a metal spatula) and allow them to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing them to a cooling rack to finish cooling completely. Cool completely before dipping in chocolate (optional step).
OPTIONAL DIPPING IN CHOCOLATE: Coarsely chop the chocolate bar into evenly sized pieces and place in a microwave-safe bowl. See Note 6. Microwave in bursts of 20 seconds, stirring in between each burst for 15 seconds, until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Dip one half of each cookie into the melted chocolate, scrape the bottom of the cookie on the bowl of the melted chocolate and transfer it to a sheet of parchment paper. Allow the chocolate to set at room temperature.
Note 2: Almond extract: Completely optional, but it adds an additional nutty flavor to the cookies if you’d like that. If you have some, add it in, but don’t go purchase just for these cookies!
Note 3: Flour: Measuring flour can vary from person to person and is usually the culprit for cookies not working out. If you have a food scale, use that instead of measuring cups. 385 grams is perfect for this recipe!
Note 4: Chilling: The dough is best chilled for 30 minutes to an hour and after that, it begins to dry out and become crumbly so it is hard to roll into balls. If you need to chill longer, just roll out the cookie dough balls and place them on a parchment paper-covered plate. Cover tightly and chill for up to 24 hours.
Note 5: Cookie dough ball size: Cookies work best at this size. While you may want smaller cookies, know that the texture is not the same. The «sweet spot» for this recipe is exactly 3 tablespoons (60 grams) of dough. Big, I know, but totally perfect!
Note 6: Chocolate: Use good, high-quality chocolate melting wafers/baking bars for best results. Melt in the microwave very slowly, stirring A LOT in between microwave bursts. If you’d like more tips on melting chocolate in the microwave, check out our peppermint bark post. If the chocolate is too thick and not dipping well, thin with 1 up to 2 teaspoons coconut or vegetable oil.
We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.