Best Peanut Butter Cookies
Soft, chewy, and full of peanut butter flavor, these are the best peanut butter cookies! This classic peanut butter cookie recipe is super easy to make with simple ingredients and the dough doesn’t require any chilling. The perfect treat for kids and adults!
These definitely are the best peanut butter cookies! My whole family loved these so much… the perfect amount of soft chewiness!— Danny
Peanut butter cookies are a timeless classic. These irresistible cookies never go out of style and are always recognized by the traditional fork criss-cross. So, what makes this recipe the BEST peanut butter cookies?
I personally prefer them to be thick with a slightly crisp exterior and a soft and chewy center with tons of peanut butter flavor. To make these soft and chewy (as opposed to crispy), they need to have a higher moisture content. We’ve achieved this by using two large eggs and an entire cup of brown sugar.
And I’m not the only one that thinks these are the best! I brought these to a small celebration for my sister’s birthday and my family went crazy over them. There wasn’t a single one left at the end of the party!
These are perfect for the holidays, family gatherings or an after school snack. I’m bringing this recipe to you just in time for baking season and it will be a crowd pleasing addition to your Christmas cookie tray! These are sure to please. I can’t wait for you all to try them!
This peanut butter cookie dough is made from standard ingredients: flour, leavener, salt, sugar, butter, eggs, & vanilla. It’s the ratios and small details of those ingredients that make this recipe stand out from the rest. Here’s everything you’ll need:
- Butter. I like to use unsalted butter, so I control the salt. You will want your butter to be softened to room temperature, which means it’s still cool to the touch. When you press it, your finger will make an indent. It won’t sink down into the butter or slide all around.
- Peanut butter. I like using crunchy peanut butter with nuts and recommend a no-stir variety, like Jif or Skippy. You may use creamy peanut butter, instead, if you prefer.
- Sugar. We’re using an equal amount of brown sugar and granulated sugar for these cookies. You will also need extra granulated sugar for rolling the cookie dough balls.
- Eggs. Two eggs will add structure, stability, and richness.
- Baking essentials. Vanilla, baking soda and salt are all used to ensure these taste amazing and bake up perfectly!
- Flour. All-purpose flour is my top choice for best results. It gives the cookies a tenderness that you just won’t find when using other types of flour. Be sure to measure it correctly, using the spoon and level method or simply weigh the flour on food scales.
How to make this recipe
This recipe is super easy and you’ll be happy to know that you don’t even have to chill the dough! There’s enough flour in the dough to create a cookie that won’t spread when baking.
Please see the recipe card for the full, printable recipe with all of the details.
- Prep. Preheat your oven and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- Wet ingredients. In a large bowl, using a stand mixer or a hand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and peanut butter. Add sugars and beat until smooth.
- Add eggs and vanilla. Beat in eggs one at a time and vanilla.
- Dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. Then slowing add into your wet batter.
- Scoop dough balls. Use a large spoon or cookie scoop to scoop and then roll dough into balls and then roll them into sugar.
- Make fork pattern. Place on a baking sheet and use a fork to make a criss-cross pattern.
- Bake. Place pan in oven and bake for 10 minutes or until cookies just start to look brown. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack.
Frequently asked questions
The crosshatch pattern on the top of peanut butter cookies is a classic trait of nearly all recipes. And isn’t just for looks! The dough doesn’t spread much when baking, so pressing down on the cookie dough helps to flatten the cookies a bit so they bake up perfectly. As an added plus, you always know which cookies the peanut butter ones are, without having to ask. It’s very easy to make the criss-cross pattern. You can either roll the cookies in sugar (which is what I like to do) or dip the tines of a fork in sugar, gently press it into the top of the cookie, then repeat and make the fork imprint perpendicular to the first. Easy peasy!
To make these peanut butter cookies absolutely irresistible, we’re using butter instead of oil, plenty of light brown sugar, vanilla extract and we’re rolling them in sugar before making the pattern on top.
If the cookie dough was mixed too much, it can result in hard cookies. Once you add the flour to the wet mixture, be sure not to over-mix.
There are tons of tips and tricks for baking peanut butter cookies, but follow the suggestions below and you’re sure to great results!
- Measure your flour correctly. If you have a scale, that’s the easiest way to measure ingredients. If you don’t, spoon flour into a measuring cup and without shaking the cup, use the straight side of a butter knife to level the flour across the measuring cup.
- Fresh baking soda. Be sure that your baking soda is fresh! Baking soda loses potency over time. When I open a new can of baking soda, I always write the date on the lid with a sharpie. Discard the opened can after 6 months.
- Peanut butter type. I do not recommend using a natural nut butters for this recipe. I’ve found that a commercial peanut butter, i.e. Jif or Skippy will work best for these cookies. You need the higher oil and sugar content that are found in the Jif variety type of peanut butter. Using natural peanut butter may yield crumbly cookies.
- Peanut butter hack. Peanut butter is sticky, which makes it hard to get out of a measuring cup. Try coating the measuring cup with non-stick cooking spray to help it slide right out.
Peanut butter cookies are fantastic as-is, but sometimes it’s fun to change things up. Here’s some ways to get creative and experiment with your favorite ingredients!
- To make chocolate chip peanut butter cookies. Add up to 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips to the cookie dough. You could also add other types of baking chips, like cinnamon, butterscotch or even mini M&Ms.
- For extra peanut flavor. Fold 1/2 cup of chopped peanuts or peanut butter chips into the cookie dough.
- Peanut butter cup cookies. Place the ball of dough into a mini muffin pan, then press a mini peanut butter cup into the centers when they come out of the oven. Here’s the full peanut butter cup cookies recipe.
- Peanut butter blossoms. Place the sugared balls of dough on a cookie sheet and press a Hershey’s kiss into the center when they come out of the oven.
- Colored sugar. Instead of rolling in regular white granulated sugar, try rolling in colored sugars for a festive look.
- Decorate for the holidays. Drizzle with or dip the cookies into white or dark chocolate and then add sprinkles or colored sugars. See these double chocolate chip cookies for instructions.
Storage and freezing
- Freezing dough. Scoop out balls of dough and place them on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Chill the dough in the freezer for 30 minutes. This will flash-freeze the dough, so the dough balls don’t stick together. Once firm, you can transfer them to a freezer-safe bag or container. Frozen dough will keep well for up to 3 months. Be sure to label your bag with the date.
- Thawing dough. When you’re ready to bake, remove the dough balls from the freezer, set them on a baking sheet that is lined with parchment or a silicone baking mat and let them thaw on the counter for 30 minutes, roll in sugar, indent a crisscross pattern with a fork, then bake for an extra minute. No need to completely thaw.
- Freezing baked cookies. Store cookies in a freezer-safe container or baggie and freeze the cookies for up to 3 months.
- Storing. Baked cookies will keep in an airtight container or zip-top baggie at room temperature for about 1 week, but I can’t imagine them lasting that long!
These classic peanut butter cookies are a personal favorite of mine. I love baking them all year round, but especially around the holidays! Beware, it’s really easy to eat about a dozen of these soft, chewy, flavorful treats before you even realize what you just did. You only live once, so indulge and enjoy!
If you try these, let me know! Leave a comment and if your family loves them as much as mine does, be sure to give it a five star ⭐️ rating! Also, tag @kimscravings on Instagram with a picture of your creation. It’s so fun to see what you’re cooking! Be sure to subscribe to our mailing list to receive more healthy delicious recipes straight to your inbox.
Best Peanut Butter Cookies
- 1/2 cup (113g) butter, softened
- 1 cup (240g) crunchy peanut butter*
- 1 cup (200g) dark brown sugar
- 1 cup (200g) sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups (300g) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
For rolling cookie dough balls
- 3 tablespoons (40g) granulated sugar, optional
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and peanut butter. Add sugars and beat until smooth, then beat in eggs one at a time, then vanilla. Sift dry ingredients and slowly add them to the mixture just until incorporated.
- Place the 3 tablespoons (40 grams) of granulated sugar in a small bowl. Scoop dough (about 1.5 tablespoons) roll into a ball, and coat in the granulated sugar. Place each ball of cookie dough onto the prepared baking sheets, making sure to leave a little room between each one. Gently press each one down with a fork to make a small criss-cross pattern.
- Bake for 10 minutes until barely starting to brown, puffed and beginning to crack. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5 to 10 minutes, then carefully transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Storage. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.
- Freezing Instructions. Cookie dough will freeze well for up to 3 months. See post for more detailed instructions. Baked cookies will also freeze well for up to 3 months, thaw to room temperature before serving.