Peanut Butter Pretzel M&M Cookies

Soft-baked peanut butter cookies loaded with pretzels and M&Ms. One of my favorite sweet & salty desserts!

1 bowl Peanut Butter Pretzel M&M Cookies. Sweet, salty, and soft-baked!

Tried and true, peanut butter came to my rescue this week. You see, when all of the locals were scurrying about stocking up on water, batteries, and non-perishables for Hurricane Sandy… I was racing around my kitchen making sure to be fully prepared with peanut butter cookies (naturally). And scented candles. Two of my life’s comforts.

And yours too, yes?

Never the shy one to add weird stuff to desserts, adding crushed pretzels to my favorite peanut butter M&M cookie proved quite the norm last weekend. And with the forthcoming hurricane throwing electricity, heat, and Big Bang Theory marathons completely out of whack – I knew I’d crave the norm. So I thought ahead and prepared for Sandy with comforting bite-sized M&M-dotted peanut butter cookies instead of flashlights. Priorities.

1 bowl Peanut Butter Pretzel M&M Cookies. Sweet, salty, and soft-baked!

What you’ve got today is my special soft-baked peanut butter cookie. It’s the bees knees, cat’s pajamies, the ONE and only peanut butter cookie you’ll ever, ever, ever need. Promise promise promise.

What makes them so good? To start, this recipe calls for more peanut butter than your typical peanut butter cookie. Most run-of-the-mill recipes I’ve seen call for around 1/2 cup of peanut butter. Speaking ratios, this amount is paired with 1.25 cups of flour and 1 stick of butter. I simply add an extra 1/4 cup of peanut butter.

I tested the recipe with different amounts of flour as well. 1.25 cups was the magic number – any more flour caused the cookies to crumble easily and any less flour made the cookies too goopy. We’re using technical terms here. 😉

1 bowl Peanut Butter Pretzel M+M Cookies. Sweet, salty, and soft-baked!

More often than not, I shoot for a higher ratio of brown sugar to white sugar in cookie recipes. The logic is simple here –  brown sugar is more acidic and less course than white sugar; it retains much more moisture from the air in the baking process. The cookies are left incredibly soft, even the next day. For maximum softness and chew, I almost always use more brown sugar than white sugar in cookie recipes.

If a soft cookie is what you’re going for, then why not use all brown sugar? Well, I don’t want the peanut butter cookies to completey fall apart from being too soft.   From the butter, peanut butter, and brown suugar – you’ve got a lot of softening agents here. White sugar, with its crisping properties, allows the cookies to hold their shape.

1 bowl Peanut Butter Pretzel M+M Cookies. Sweet, salty, and soft-baked!

We’ve been over the whole peanut butter/chocolate/pretzel combination many times before. You all tell me you really like the three paired together. How can you not?!

It’s that whole salty pretzel meets creamy peanut butter meets melty chocolate nirvana that pulls us all in. In fact, Chocolate Covered Pretzel Peanut Butter Brownies are what heaven is made of. Salty and sweet – there’s no denying this contrasting flavor pairing is the best!


Bite-Sized Peanut Butter Pretzel M&M Cookies

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • Yield: 36 small cookies
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


Soft-baked peanut butter cookies loaded with pretzels and M&Ms. One of my favorite sweet & salty desserts!


  • 1/2 cup (115g) salted butter, softened to room temperature*
  • 1/2 cup (100g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup (185g) creamy peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 and 1/4 cups (160g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 3/4 cup (150g) M&Ms
  • 3/4 cup (50g) pretzel pieces


  1. In a large bowl, using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars together on medium speed. Beat in the peanut butter, egg, and vanilla (in that order). Beat in the baking soda and flour. Do not overmix. Fold in the M&Ms and pretzels. Cover the dough tightly and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Drop chilled dough by tiny tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet or Silpat. Press down to slightly flatten them out. Bake for 8-9 minutes. Cookies will be soft and may appear undone. They will firm up as they cool. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Cookies stay fresh at room temperature in an airtight container for 10 days.


  1. Butter: You may use unsalted butter in this recipe. If so, add 1/4 teaspoon salt with the flour.
  2. Be sure to check out my top 5 cookie baking tips AND these are my 10 must-have cookie baking tools.

Keywords: peanut butter pretzel m&m cookies


  1. Too funny – with the hurricane coming and everyone freaking out my first thought was make sure I have snacks and desserts to hold me over. haha. Oh, great tip on using more brown sugar than white! I think it gives a better flavor, too 🙂

    1. Hi Ashley! Cookies were the first on my mind as well. There’s only a couple exceptions, but I almost ALWAYS use more brown sugar than white in my cookie recipes. Swear by it!

  2. Ok, am I missing something? Ingredient list doesn’t include pb cups, pb chips, or peanuts…. but in directions it says to add all of these. ??☺

    These cookies sound delicious and a good way to use pb m&ms from trick or treating.

    BTW, the other night as I was waiting during my daughter’s dance class, I came across this recipe in Family Fun magazine. It was for movie night, they were called Blockbuster Cookies. Cookies with Raisinets and salted-buttered popcorn. I immediately thought of you :). Maybe you could experiment with popcorn in a cookie, then let us know how it went.

    1. Hi Sara! This pb cookie dough base is the same as another cookie I’ve made, so I copied/pasted the recipe. I’m silly. I didn’t delete those add-ins and switch out for M&Ms and pretzels. 🙂 Updated now. I apologize, it’s been a long week. Blockbuster cookies – sounds intriguing and incredible!

  3. Haha you are just like me!! It’s no coincidence that I also made these cookies on Sunday…I figured it would be a great snack if the power went out! Luckily it didn’t but that didn’t mean I had to stop stuffing my face with little peanut butter balls of heaven!

  4. Haha cookie chemistry 101! That’s my kind of learning. 🙂 Love that these are soft and chewy and not crumbly like most peanut butter cookie recipes. The addition of chocolate chips and pretzels also isn’t too shabby-in fact, it’s pretty much the ultimate salty and sweet combo! Another great recipe, Sally!

    1. crumbly pb cookies are the wooooooooorst. These are just so soft and literally melt in your mouth. No chocolte chips – just M&Ms in these! 🙂

  5. I was being totally delusional the other day when I got a bag of pb m&ms and thought there would be any left for an actual recipe! Now I’m kicking myself. Or I should have bought more than one bag…

  6. Peanut butter and candles = life’s two most important things ever! And these cookies are just to die for. You’ve seriously incorporated all my favorite things in here!

  7. These look absolutely incredible! Glad you’re safe enough to be cooking throughout the storm 🙂


    1. yes! everything is A-ok here. MY parents live in Philly and they STILL do not have electric. SO awful! but no damages or injuries, thankfully 🙂

  8. these kind of remind of redskin colored m&m’s haha, glad you’re good to go when storms come around! haha, but in all seriousness, i’m glad things are ok! xo

  9. Sally they look amazing! I love these photos. They are your best photos to date, by far. They are sharp, clear, the color and tone is spot on, seriously you outdid yourself on these images. I want to reach thru my screen!

    And little PB cookies, with M & Ms, well, the recipe subject matter you were photographing sure wasn’t too shabby 🙂 Love everything going on here and big fan of an abundance of brown sugar for all that softness, too!


    1. Thank you so much Averie! I moved the photo shoot to another part of my apartment and I REALLY love how they turned out! With the white surface, the cookies really pop. It was a lucky photoshoot, that’s for sure. photo compliments mean the world to me!

  10. Sally!! These cookies look positively phenom. Your soft-baked peanut butter cookie base is my all-time FAVORITE pb cookie base EVER. So soft, so chewy and so so perfect 🙂 and I’d expect nothing less from the cookie queen, hehe. These look so scrumptious. The pretzels and the peanut butter M&M’s are such awesome add-ins. And I’m sure provided some comfort during that poop storm. Glad you’re okay!

    1. hhhhhahahahahaha poop storm. yes, yes it was. We’re all OK! These cookies saved me though – I LOVE this cookie base too 🙂 🙂

  11. Perfectly reasonable to be scrambling for baking supplies and cookies in a storm emergency!!! Those cookies are so amazing looking. Averie is right…these pictures do really make you want to reach through the computer. Definitely keep taking pictures in that new spot:-) I just picked up a bag of peanut butter m&m’s…now I’m wishing I had gotten 2!!!

    1. Hi Jocelyn! Thank you for the photography compliments – means a lot to me. =) And I love peanut butter M&Ms but I used regular in these cookies.

  12. Love my dose of cookie chemistry!! I always learn something from you 🙂 These look fantastic, I need cookies in my life soon!

  13. Holy cow. I just… I don’t know what to say. These are insane, just like all your other goodies. In the best way, of course. 🙂

  14. Cookies and candles (OK, and a few bottles of good wine) got me through the hurricane quite well – we would get along very good!!!

  15. I totally agree Sally – it’s all about the brown sugar in cookies! It makes them so chewy!!

    These look yummy – I love M&Ms in cookies but it’s easy for them to be too hard and crunchy but yours look perfect!

  16. Ha, I love the cookie chemistry! Honestly, I learned a bunch of stuff that I didn’t already know – win! And these cookies sound just wonderful – you just can’t beat that sweet/salty/peanut buttery combo!

  17. Hi, So I have bags of pretzel m&ms that I got for 15 cents from halloween clearance! And I want to bake them into something. Would you recommend mixing them into this peanut butter cookie recipe or your go to cookie recipe as used in the rainbow m&m cookies or blondies of some sort?

    1. Megan – since the cookies are small, the giant pretzel M&Ms may not work. Unless you made them into larger cookies. Yes, the pretzel M&MS would be wonderful in the rainbow M&M cookies!!

  18. Sally,
    This is a great recipe. I first made it with mini Resse’s pieces and chocolate chips. Delicious! I am making these cookies for Christmas using red and green M&M candies. I would like to make a couple of batches ahead of time and freeze for later. Does this dough freeze well?

    1. Hi Angie! A perfect recipe to dress up for the holidays using festive M&Ms. You could certainly freeze these. First, you could freeze the baked cookies and thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Alternatively, you could make the cookie dough as instructed, chill for 30 minutes, and then roll and freeze individual dough balls. Then bake the frozen cookie dough balls for 1 extra minute.

  19. Hey sally I just made them using the larger m&ms however im finding that the cookies are breaking…. should this be the same issue if I use the small ones?

      1. Yes they are falling apart. They seem really soft and yes underbaked I wasn’t sure if 9 mins was to short of a time and cooked for 15 mins. They would hold there shape but when moving them around they break or with the first bite it fall to pieces. What can be the issue?

      2. Since the cookies are so small, 15 minutes is way too long! They’re crumbling because they are overbaked. Stick to 10 mins or less.

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