Peanut Butter Cookies
If you read the comments, you’ll see many people say these are the Best Peanut Butter Cookies they’ve ever had. They have the most amazing melt-in-your-mouth texture, with crisp edges and a creamy, rich middle. They are quick, no chilling required, and only take 20 minutes to make!
These aren’t your average fork-pressed, three ingredient peanut butter cookies, and that’s a good thing.
In my opinion, peanut butter “cookies” made from peanut butter, sugar, and egg aren’t very cookie-like. You simply cannot get the typical texture that you’d expect from a cookie with 3 ingredients. To me, those “cookies” are excessively crumbly and lack a pleasing chewiness. They don’t have the texture that you typically find in a Chocolate Chip Cookie or Monster Cookies. Fortunately, this recipe does give you that wonderful bite. These are truly the best peanut butter cookies!
Why This Recipe Is The Best
Heavenly texture that’s fluffy and creamy in the middle, while crisp on the outside – This recipe gives you tons of nut butter flavor and richness, and ALSO an incredible texture when you bite into it. It’s slightly crisp on the edges, but soft, chewy, moist, and almost fluffy. You can see its feathered texture and ridges on top.
The best flavor – These have a really gourmet flavor and are very aromatic. A little vanilla extract enhances the peanut flavor just like a little coffee does for enhancing chocolate. These are buttery and peanut buttery, with a balanced amount of sweetness.
Quick and NO chilling required – 20 minutes is all you need to make these cookies from start to finish, and you likely have all the ingredients in your pantry.
They hold up well – These cookies are phenomenal when enjoyed fresh out of the oven, but they are still decent after they’ve cooled too. For this reason, they are one of my go-to cookies for bringing to parties or gatherings.
The ingredients list here is pretty standard, requiring all-purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, butter, sugar, egg, vanilla, and peanut butter. But I want to highlight a few important ingredients that make the end result extra great.
Brown sugar/granulated sugar mix – We’ll use a 50:50 split of light or dark brown sugar to granulated sugar here, which is part of the magic of giving these cookies a way better texture than the typical rendition. They’re crisp and chewy peanut butter cookies, with a soft center.
Vanilla extract – Yes, this cookie is all about the peanut butter flavor, but much like a little coffee helps enhance the flavor of chocolate, a little vanilla here does the same.
Creamy style nut butter – While some commenters below have reported good results using a natural peanut butter, I far prefer using the creamy variety for the best texture. When I tested with natural, the cookies were more crumbly and dry, with an inferior texture. Brands like Skippy, Jif, etc. make the creamy and spreadable nut butter you’ll want, and I personally use the organic Whole Foods Brand (the ingredients are peanuts, palm oil, and salt).
Tips for Best Results
Do not overmix – Just as with virtually every other baking recipe involving flour, make sure not to overmix the cookie dough. It’s very easy to overdo it if you’re using an electric mixer. Stop mixing as soon as the flour streaks disappear.
Use great butter – WOW does butter vary in quality from brand to brand. Some don’t have any flavor, while others sing with that sweet cream dairy taste that everyone loves. My favorite brand is Kerrygold, and they are relatively easy to find. Plugra and Vermont Creamery also make great butter.
Do not use natural peanut butter – Natural peanut butter is wonderful for spreading onto toast, but it can make for inconsistent results in baking. As discussed above, while some commenters have said the natural stuff worked for them, for the most consistent results, use creamy style nut butter.
Step by Step Overview:
I use a hand mixer to make this recipe, though you may use a stand mixer as well, using the paddle attachment.
For the dry ingredients, combine all-purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl:
Whisk together, then set the flour mixture aside.
To get the wet ingredients going, combine softened unsalted butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar:
Using a combination of granulated and brown sugar gives the cookie the perfect chewiness and bite.
Cream the butter and sugars together until fluffy, then add an egg and vanilla extract. A room temperature egg is always best for baking, but cold from the fridge is fine too.
Whip those in, then mix in some creamy peanut butter, until you get a smooth mixture that looks like this:
To finish the dough, add the dry ingredients to the wet, and mix until the flour just disappears:
Use a medium cookie scoop (affiliate) to portion out scoops of dough directly onto a baking sheet. There’s no need to use parchment paper, and doing so will lessen browning on the bottom.
Do Not Roll the Scoops Into Balls
I have tested rolling these into smooth balls before baking, and the texture is not as good. I have found this to be true for many other cookie recipes like The Very Best Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies and Brown Butter Potato Chip Chocolate Chip Cookies. Just scooping is enough, and no criss-cross pattern or fork marks either! It’s the scooping of the dough that gives us those incredible ridges and “feathering” on top that melts in your mouth when you take a bite.
If you wish to add chocolate chips, this is when to add them. Dot the tops of the peanut butter cookie dough scoops with them, pressing gently to anchor them into the dough. I do not recommend mixing chocolate chips into the actual batter, as they will not spread as well.
Once the cookies are portioned out, bake at 350F for 13 minutes, until they’re golden brown on the bottom and the edges, but still soft in the middle.
Err On the Side of Underbaking
There is always a little bit of carryover cooking after you take the cookie sheet out of the oven, and the cookies will firm up as they cool, so you want to err on the side of underbaking. Because of the nature of peanut butter, these cookies will taste dry if overbaked. Watch them closely at the end, and remember they will cook a little more after they’ve been taken out of the heat.
Once your homemade peanut butter cookies are firm enough to move, you may move them to a wire rack to finish cooling, though I honestly prefer to enjoy them while they’re still warm.
FAQ and Expert Tips:
For Completely Baked Cookies: Complete the recipe start to finish, then let the cookies cool completely. Store in an airtight container and freeze for up to 2 months. To enjoy, thaw at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
For Unbaked Dough: You can also freeze these unbaked. I recommend scooping the dough onto a baking sheet, then freezing completely. Then you can remove the frozen dough balls from the tray and place in a bag to save space. For this recipe, I recommend thawing the dough back to room temperature before baking, which should take about an hour. I once tested baking straight from frozen, but I found that they don’t bake quite as evenly.
I discuss this in the post, but I don’t recommend it, as the cookies will turn out with an inferior texture that’s more crumbly and dry. Use a super smooth processed “creamy version.” Brands like Skippy, Jif, etc. prepare their products like this. I personally use the organic Whole Foods Brand.
Make sure to store these in an airtight container, or they will dry out. These cookies will last about two days at room temperature before losing too much flavor and freshness. Technically they will keep longer than this, but I think the taste is too inferior, and at that point you’d be better off freezing them. See the freezing instructions above.
Absolutely, and the dough can be kept in the fridge or freezer. The instructions for freezing unbaked dough are above. To keep in the fridge, I recommend fully making the dough and scooping it while it’s room temperature, THEN keeping those dough scoops in the fridge on a sheet pan. Otherwise, you’ll need to bring the dough to room temperature in order to scoop again. Make ahead up to 2 days in advance.
Do not overbake these. Keep in mind that when you take the cookies out of the oven, they should seem excessively soft. There will be a little bit of carryover cooking, and the cookies will firm up as they cool, so you want to err on the side of underbaking. Also, if you don’t have an independent oven thermometer (affiliate), they are an inexpensive purchase and very useful for verifying temperature accuracy. Many ovens are not accurate to the temperature they claim. If the cookies turn out dry, simply put, they were overbaked. They should be moist and gooey on the inside.
If you use chunky or crunchy peanut butter, the cookies will not spread as much, and will bake slightly differently. It’s not recommended, though they will probably still turn out okay.
More Favorite Baked Recipes
I’ve got pretty high standards for my cookies and desserts, as I believe if you’re going to bother with making an indulgent treat (and taking in the calories), it should be fantastic!
The Best Peanut Butter Cookies
- 7.5 ounces by weight all purpose flour (1.5 cups measured)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar*
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter**
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- In a medium bowl, whisk to combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
- In another medium bowl, use a hand mixer to cream together the butter, sugar, and brown sugar, for about 60 seconds, until fluffy and light.
- Mix in the egg and vanilla extract for about 30 seconds, until combined.
- Mix in the peanut butter for an additional 30 seconds, until combined.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet, then mix just until the flour is incorporated. Take care not to overmix.
- Using a medium cookie scoop, portion out scoops of dough directly onto a baking sheet. You should get about 24 scoops of dough total (split them between two baking sheets).
- Bake for 13 minutes, until the edges are golden, but the middle is still soft. Let them cool for a couple minutes before eating. They are especially fantastic enjoyed warm out of the oven. Enjoy!
- Completely Baked Cookies: Complete the recipe start to finish, then let the cookies cool completely. Place the cookies in an airtight container and freeze for up to 2 months. To enjoy, let them thaw at room temperature, for about 30 minutes.
- Unbaked Dough: You can also freeze these unbaked. I recommend scooping the dough onto a baking sheet, then freezing completely. Then you can remove the frozen dough balls from the tray and place in a bag to save space. For this recipe, I recommend thawing the dough back to room temperature before baking, which should take about an hour. I once tested baking straight from frozen, but I found that they don’t bake quite as evenly.
Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.
Post updated in August 2020. Originally published in January 2012.