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These soft, thick, melt-in-your-mouth peanut butter cookies may be the only peanut butter cookie recipe you ever use again. You need just 9 ingredients and the dough can be adapted in many ways to make different variations like peanut butter blossoms and peanut butter jam thumbprints.

This recipe has lived on my site for years and some readers say the cookies taste like the inside of a peanut butter cup. YUM!

peanut butter cookies on cooling rack
Same dough as the cookie cups on page 138 of my cookbook!

Why hello there, peanut butter cookie lovers. You’ve come to the right place! This may look familiar, as I have shared a number of peanut butter cookie recipes over the years. But believe me when I say this one is the one to keep in the front of your recipe folder.

This go-to, flagship peanut butter cookies recipe has lived on my website since 2012 and is the same dough used to make these popular peanut butter blossoms among the other 6+ variations listed below. The recipe stands the test of time and even after publishing dozens of other peanut butter recipes online and in my cookbooks… THIS IS THE BEST ONE.

Why You’ll Love These Soft Peanut Butter Cookies

  • Pillow-soft centers with slightly crisp exterior and crumbly edge
  • No-fuss recipe with 9 ingredients
  • Super simple to make
  • Marked with a traditional criss-cross on top
  • Major peanut butter flavor
  • Versatile cookie dough— add mix-ins or turn the dough into pb&j thumbprints
stack of peanut butter cookies cut in half

Grab These 9 Ingredients:

vanilla, egg, flour, butter, brown sugar, and other ingredients on marble counter

You can find the full printable recipe below, but first let me tell you some of the keys to recipe success, starting with the ingredients.

Ingredient Success Tips

  • A shockingly small amount of flour. You may look at the recipe below and wonder why there’s so little flour… has Sally completely lost her mind?! Ha! Well, peanut butter and other nut butters act as a binder and can actually replace some or all flour in recipes including these flourless almond butter cookies. Using more flour will dry out the cookies, so stick with the recipe below.
  • More peanut butter than other recipes. Most recipes I’ve tried call for around 1/2 cup of peanut butter with similar amounts of other ingredients. We’re using more.
  • Use creamy peanut butter instead of crunchy. Just like when making peanut butter snickerdoodles, creamy peanut butter is ideal because crunchy peanut butter creates an overly crumbly cookie. Crunchy peanut butter is typically thicker and, well, less creamy! For a soft cookie that stays mostly intact, use creamy peanut butter.
  • A combination of brown sugar + white granulated sugar. Like when you make chocolate chip cookies, it’s ideal to use more brown sugar than white granulated sugar in this dough. Brown sugar lends a softer, moister, and thicker cookie, while white granulated sugar helps the cookies spread. Use both, but use more brown.

Can I Use Natural Peanut Butter in Peanut Butter Cookies?

Yes, you can use natural peanut butter in this dough! Over the past decade, I’ve made these exact cookies with processed peanut butter such as Jif or Skippy as well as natural-style where the ingredients are only peanuts and salt. Here are my notes:

  1. Processed: The cookies truly taste perfect with great texture. They spread less and aren’t as crumbly.
  2. Natural-Style: The cookies spread a bit more and are somewhat sandier/crumblier.

But, most importantly, both cookies have fantastic peanut butter flavor. Keeping the above notes in mind, you can use either kind.

cookies made with processed vs natural peanut butter

Another Success Tip: Chill the Cookie Dough

Chilling the cookie dough in the refrigerator before baking the cookies is crucial to this recipe’s success. The dough is incredibly creamy, almost like peanut butter frosting, and you’ll have a heck of a time trying to roll and bake such a soft dough. Set aside 1–2 hours for chilling, or do yourself a favor and make the dough the night before.

Expect a VERY creamy cookie dough:

soft and creamy peanut butter cookie dough

After chilling, the cookie dough solidifies and it’s easier to roll into balls:

cookie dough in bowl and rolled in granulated sugar

After chilling, roll the dough into balls and then generously roll in granulated sugar. Sugar gives these cookies a sparkly sweet exterior with a touch of crunch before giving way to soft, melt-in-your-mouth bliss. Don’t forget the classic criss-cross on top of each cookie, just press with a fork!

Another success tip: After flattening the balls with a fork, use your fingers to reshape the edges into thicker/taller discs, because the thicker the disc, the thicker the baked cookie.

peanut butter cookie dough with fork criss-cross indent
peanut butter cookies on lined baking sheet
close-up of criss cross peanut butter cookie
peanut butter cookies on pink polka dot plate

Welcome to the Peanut Butter Cookie Headquarters

Today’s cookies have been my go-to for a decade. If you want to compare, here are 2 other peanut butter cookie doughs and how they differ:

  1. Crisp/Old-Fashioned Version: Crispier with less peanut butter punch.
  2. Very Peanut Butter Cookies: Bigger and crumblier with EXTRA peanut butter flavor. It’s practically today’s recipe, only doubled.

The following recipes use today’s dough. (Note that the plain cookies have an extra Tablespoon of flour to retain shape because we’re flattening with a fork.)

  1. Peanut Butter Chocolate Swirl Cookies (pictured)
  2. Peanut Butter Blossoms (pictured)
  3. PB Cookie Cups on page 138 in Sally’s Cookie Addiction
  4. Peanut Butter M&M Cookies
  5. Peanut Butter Jam Thumbprint Cookies
  6. Reese’s Cup Stuffed Cookies

So whether you’re looking for a classic criss-cross cookie or want to add some flair, this soft-baked peanut butter cookie is the ideal base recipe for many variations.

Print
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peanut butter cookies on cooling rack

Soft & Thick Peanut Butter Cookies

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes (includes chilling)
  • Cook Time: 12 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
  • Yield: 32 cookies 1x
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

These are the softest, thickest peanut butter cookies! You need just 9 ingredients for the base recipe, and it can be adapted in so many ways to make different variations (see post above). Do not skip chilling the dough.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 and 1/3 cups (170gall-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick; 115gunsalted buttersoftened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (50ggranulated sugar, plus 1/2 cup (100g) for rolling
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (about 185g) creamy peanut butter (see note)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  2. Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat the butter for 1 minute on high speed until creamy. Switch to medium-high speed and beat in the brown sugar and 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar until completely creamed and smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and beat until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add the peanut butter and vanilla extract and beat until combined.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and beat on low speed until combined. The dough will be very creamy and soft. Cover and chill the cookie dough in the refrigerator for at least 1–2 hours, and up to 3 days.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  5. Roll & coat the dough: Place remaining 1/2 cup (100g) of sugar into a bowl. Roll chilled cookie dough into balls, about 1 scant Tablespoon (5/8 ounce or 18g) of dough each. Roll each ball in the sugar and arrange on baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Use a fork to make a criss-cross indent on top of each. To prevent the cookies from over-spreading, after indenting the cookies, use your fingers to reshape into a thicker disc (since indenting the balls flattened them out).
  6. Bake for 11–12 minutes or until the edges appear set and are very lightly browned. The centers will still look very soft.
  7. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. Cookies stay fresh covered at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Notes

  1. Make-ahead instructions: You can make the cookie dough and chill it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Baked cookies freeze well for up to 3 months. Unbaked cookie dough balls, without sugar coating, freeze well for up to 3 months. Let frozen cookie dough balls sit 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. See How to Freeze Cookie Dough for more success tips.
  2. Special Tools (affiliate links): Electric Mixer (Stand Mixer or Handheld) | Baking SheetsSilicone Baking Mats | Cooling Rack
  3. Peanut butter: Creamy peanut butter is ideal for this recipe because crunchy peanut butter creates an overly crumbly cookie. You can use processed peanut butter such as Jif or Skippy, or natural-style peanut butter. If using natural peanut butter, make sure it’s at room temperature, stirred well, and expect a slightly crumblier cookie. 3/4 cup of peanut butter weighs anywhere between 185–195g.
  4. Can I use almond butter? Yes, you can use almond butter in this cookie recipe; however, expect a crumblier cookie. You may enjoy these flourless almond butter cookies more, though!
  5. Can I add chocolate chips or other add-ins? Yes, in step 3 after the dry and wet ingredients come together, you can fold in 1 cup add-ins like chocolate chips (180g), peanut butter chips (180g), or chopped salted or unsalted peanuts (150g). Skip indenting the cookies with a fork.

Keywords: peanut butter cookies

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. I have been searching for the perfect peanut butter cookie recipe and THIS IS IT! Soft in the center with a light crunch on the outside. I will be printing this one! Thanks for sharing! My family devoured them.

  2. Just finished making these cookies. I must say my roommate says they are delicious. However, I think I might have flattened them just a tad too much but they all came out really beautiful but just not thick. I used a scoop which is exactly 1 and 1/2 tablespoons and then rolled like you said to do. Thanks as always for the great recipe. Wish I were better at making peanut butter cookies so they looked like yours, nice and thick.

    1. WAY to dry! I used natural PB, and followed the recipe exactly. Should I have added some oil to make up for the missing oil in conventional PB?

  3. Hi, Sally!
    I’ve never been a big fan of peanut butter, but these cookies changed my life forever. These cookies are so soft and have just the right amount of peanut butter in them. Your chocolate chip cookies recipe used to be my favorite, but after baking these I think I have a new favorite! Thank you for this delicious recipe.

  4. Very good peanut butter cookie!!! My only notation would be not to expect 32 cookies. I followed the recipe exactly using scant of my tbsp cookie scoop & I only managed to get 22 cookies. Really good though!

  5. OMG. BEST PB COOKIE RECIPE EVER. I TRIPLED THE RECIPE FOR MY FAMILY THAT WAY I WAS ABLE TO FREEZE SOME.
    Note: the original recipe only makes around two dozen medium size cookies.

  6. I’m sitting in my kitchen ‘taste testing’ these for my family. I’m not sure I will tell them I made them! I will hide them for myself to enjoy.
    LOL! Just kidding! They are too good not to share! Thanks for this. I am making chocolate chip ones next.

  7. These cookies are truly the best. One tip I would like to add: to achieve the desired thickness, it’s best to chill them overnight. I have baked them after 3 hours filled and the just will not be as thick. Also, rolling them in sugar gives them a little extra crunch but the added sweetness is really not necessary. I have just made a quadruple batch, that’s how good they are!

    1. Hi Pamela, You can use salted butter, just reduce the amount of salt you include–try using just a pinch.

  8. Love love love this recipe. I use super chunky peanut butter. I added peanuts, dark chocolate chips, and peanut butter chips. So rich!

  9. Awesome recipe. I added a bag of Reese Peanut Butter chips to mine to make the yum factor higher.

  10. Thank you for providing such a great, well-written recipe which has the ingredients listed in grams! In the future, I need look no further than this website for recipes that are logical, easy to follow and which I can trust to turn out just as shown. Gram measures allow me to try your recipes without having to fiddle around with cumbersome conversion calculators. Thank you so much for that!

  11. These are the best peanut butter cookies I’ve ever made –I added milk chocolate chips to them… I am an avid baker and try different recipes all the time; this one will be saved as it is now one of my favorite cookie recipes!

  12. Not sure why, but these tasted chalky and didn’t have a really strong peanut butter flavor.

  13. Hello! Could you use this recipe for cut out cookies? If so, how would you adjust oven temp and/or baking time? Thank you!

    1. Hi Chelsea! This dough will spread too much for cut out cookies, we don’t recommend it.

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