Soft Peanut Butter Cookies
The search is over! These are the best, SOFTEST peanut butter cookies you will ever make! Instead of having an equal ratio of butter and peanut butter (like most pb cookies) this one has double the peanut butter. Double the flavor, double the softness! (Double the fun?) This chewy cookie recipe is tender and melt-in-your-mouth-delicious. I will show you how to make them! Originally posted on December 2, 2011.
We are two weeks into January and I still haven’t found homes for some of the gifts our family was given for Christmas. Does anyone else struggle with this?? I have a gift sitting on my desk right now, no idea what to do with it. Don’t even get me started on the kids toys. Usually I get rid of a bunch of their old toys to make room for new ones, but I need to wait until they are not around so that I don’t start WWIII.
When we got home from traveling for the holidays, I told Eric that putting away all the new gifts after Christmas is the same exact way that I feel when I come home from Costco. Like, technically I’m glad I have food now. But I still really don’t want to figure out where to put this stuff! Small house problems, am I right? It’s like one giant game of Tetris that you never win.
Instead you are punished with packets of food falling in your face when you open the cupboard, because last time you were so fed up that you literally threw stuff in and slammed the door, hoping you aren’t the next one to open it. (Oh, is this just at my house??)
I may not be good at organizing but I am pretty amazing at making super soft cookies. Check out these Softest Sugar Cookies, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies, these Bakery Style Double Chocolate Chip Cookies. I’m a sucker for a super soft, tender cookie!
And today I’ve got another winner for you: these are the BEST Peanut Butter Cookies in the world. Hands down. Stop the search. This is THE ONE!
Recipe for one-cup Peanut Butter Cookies (Easy Dessert)
They are ultimately moist and soft because of all the extra peanut butter. Most peanut butter cookie recipes call for 1/2 cup of peanut butter (equal parts butter and peanut butter). This recipe calls for more than double that amount, 1 full cup + 2 tablespoons (I kept the butter amount at 1/2 cup). This is not a traditional cookie ratio. There is more fat in this cookie than in your average chocolate chip cookie, for example. This makes them rather delicate.
But this is NOT an apology!! These cookies are peanut butter flavored to the MAX, and if you accidentally lose half your cookie in your milk because you dipped it for too long, then so be it. That’s just the price you are going to have to pay for this level of flavor and unbeatably soft texture.
Someday I will share my mother-in-law Kris’ peanut butter cookie recipe. Hers is the classic version with a slightly chewy center but a definite snap on the edges, the kind your grandma probably made. (Hint: it’s similar to Betty Crocker).
Today’s cookies do not snap. They are melt-in-your-mouth tender and soft. I almost named them Double Peanut Butter Peanut Butter Cookies. Or One-Cup Peanut Butter Cookies!
Both types of cookies (crispy vs soft) have their place in the world. Sometimes you want a nice snappy cookie that will hold up to multiple milk dippings. Other times you want a completely decadent, indulgent, knock-you-out-with-peanut-butter cookie experience, the kind you might need to sit down for. That’s what today’s recipe is.
Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe Ingredients
The full recipe is at the bottom of the post!
- Butter I like to use salted butter, but unsalted is fine too
- Granulated sugar and brown sugar use both to get the right texture!
- Peanut butter Jif is best in my opinion. Use crunchy pb if you must, but get that natural peanut butter out of here! We need the extra sugar and oil in regular pb.
- Egg acts as a binder to hold our cookies together
- Vanilla and salt for flavor
- All purpose flour, spooned and leveled
- A combo of baking soda baking powder gives us the perfect level of spread and crispy edges.
How to make Peanut Butter Cookies
First we start out with some butter, just like any decent cookie recipe! Beat it until it is smooth and creamy. A stick of butter is not much, so sometimes it can be hard to get it nice and creamy on it’s own. (I hardly ever soften butter if I’m using my stand mixer. If using a hand mixer, you might need to soften a bit.) Once you have it at least roughly beaten, you can add in your white sugar and brown sugar.
Beat the butter and sugars together for 1-2 minutes until completely mixed. There should be no chunks of butter, it should be completely smooth like this picture on the left.
Next add in the peanut butter! I love Jif. I’m a choosy mom like that. I didn’t feel this way until recently, actually. I was using generic peanut butter for testing these very cookies when my brother Nathan came over and helped me do a blind taste test between generic and Jif.
I spun around in a circle 3 times to disorient myself, closed my eyes, and he was supposed to feed me a bite of each one, but instead he smashed it all over my face (brothers, amiright?) and then he gave me 2 spoonfuls of the same peanut butter in a row to throw me off, but it didn’t matter, once I tried them both I could tell immediately which one was higher quality. Jif won hands down (the texture is SO much creamier and more homogenous), so now I can say I’m a choosy mom. A choosy mom with peanut butter all over her chin and in her hair. THANKS A LOT NATE.
Anyway. Add in that full cup of peanut butter, plus 2 tablespoons for good measure. Mix it in until combined.
Add in an egg and some vanilla. Mix it up. Then add in your dry ingredients: flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder. I did a lot of testing with the baking soda and powder for this recipe. A 1/2 teaspoon each is my favorite combo. Using only baking soda makes your cookies crisp up on the edges a bit more, and they flatten more. A combination of both lands you with the perfect texture, just enough crisp on the edges (but not too much!) and the perfect puffiness level.
Mix the dough together, but don’t overdo it! Over mixed dough makes for tough cookies.
At this point you can chill…if you want. This is a really soft dough, so it’s actually easier to handle if you chill it a bit. It’s not necessary, though.
Use a cookie scoop to shape your cookies. I love the textured edge of a cookie released from a dough scoop. I don’t roll them in my hands to smooth out the edges. I feel like this is actually one of the secrets to that gorgeous textured, layered cookie-top that you love.
Next, smash with a fork (I know, I know, I was just talking about the texture of the top…you still get it on the edges if you don’t roll smooth in your hands. Am I going a little too deep here??)
I like to dip the fork in sugar if it starts to stick to the dough. Flour will work too. (But who wants flour all over their cookie?)
Don’t smash them too much. The thickness of your cookie when it goes in the oven is about the thickness it will be when baked. I like to smash them to be about 1/2 inch tall.
Bake until they are just baaaarely starting to brown on the very edge, and devour immediately.
Peanut Butter Cookies Recipe Variations
I love me a good traditional peanut butter cookie. But I also love EVERY type of peanut butter cookie. I just searched my own blog and I have nine separate peanut butter cookie recipes! Nine! Here are some ideas for how to take today’s regular recipe to the next level:
- Add semi sweet chocolate chips or peanut butter chips
- Add M&Ms. Bonus points if their color matches the nearest holiday!
- Use chunky peanut butter for some crunch
- Drizzle finished cookies with melted peanut butter and let cool
But if you really want to step it up a notch, try out some of my other favorite peanut butter cookie recipes, like this Outrageous Pretzel Reese’s Peanut Butter Cookies or Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies (even the frosting has peanut butter in it!). Or my new easy favorite, No Bake Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies. A childhood classic!
Best Peanut Butter Cookies FAQs
You have all the questions, here are all the answers!
Why do you put fork marks on peanut butter cookies?
Peanut Butter is heavy stuff. And it’s basically pure fat. Much more fat than goes in your average cookie. Baking soda and baking powder are powerful leaveners, but even they can’t do their job properly in the face of so much fat.
If you don’t press down peanut butter cookies, they will stay in the exact same shape they were in when you started to bake them. You don’t need to use a fork. Use a spoon, use your fingers, smash with the bottom of a drinking glass. But…don’t you secretly love those fork marks? They are so nostalgic, right?? Be sure not to flatten your cookies too much, we don’t want them baking up crispy. You want to press them to about ½ inch.
Should you refrigerate peanut butter cookie dough before baking?
Optional! This is a really soft dough, so it’s easier to handle if you chill it a bit (plus it gives the flavors a chance to deepen). But if you put them in the oven right away, it will work just fine. I tried it!
How do you make peanut butter cookies less dry?
- Measure your flour by spooning it into the cup, then leveling with a knife. Using too much flour will make your cookies dry every time!
- Don’t over bake! You want the edges of your cookie to be barely setting, and not browned at all. See the recipe!
What is the secret to making soft cookies?
- Use a tonna peanut butter.
- Don’t oversmash your dough balls. ½ inch thickness! Or thicker!
- Don’t overbake! I’m telling you guys!
Are peanut butter cookies supposed to be hard or soft?
We’re going for a thick, soft cookie full of flavor that bends deliciously rather than snapping in half. Someday I’ll share my mother-in-laws snappy recipe!
Why are my peanut butter cookies so crumbly?
Peanut butter cookies are naturally delicate because peanut butter has so much fat in it. All the extra fat makes it a little harder for the binding ingredients (egg, butter) to hold it together. This recipe has the perfect ratio of fat to flour, giving you a super soft and tender cookie that is not meant for tossing like a hockey puck. Treat it with some respect. Adding more flour would of course solve the delicacy problem, but then you would be missing out on the amazing flavor. Resist! Use your refrigerator to chill your dough, making it more manageable.
How to store Soft Peanut Butter Cookies
The best part about homemade cookies is snacking on them all week! Assuming you don’t have 4 kids and a kitchen full of neighborhood kids, a husband, plus a voracious cookie appetite, like me myself and I.
Once they’re cool, place cookies in a tightly closed plastic container or resealable bag. They will stay fresh for 3-5 days. Good luck.
Another great option is the freezer. Gently stack cookies in freezer-weight ziplocks after they are cooled, or store in an airtight container. Let thaw on the counter in the container until they reach room temp.
Also, don’t ignore your reheat options. Warm yesterday’s cookies in the microwave for 10-20 seconds to soften them. It almost tastes like they are just out of the oven!
Can I freeze peanut butter cookie dough?
But why freeze baked cookies when you can have freshly-baked peanut butter heaven anytime by freezing dough balls?
All you have to do is roll out the dough balls as if you were going to bake. Roll them in sugar and store in a ziplock. (I do this all the time, and rarely is there a moment in my life when I don’t have cookie dough balls of some kind in my freezer.)
You can even bake straight from frozen, no need to thaw first. You might need to add 1-2 minutes to the bake time. Watch them!
Here is the original photo I took of these peanut butter cookies back in 2011! I added chocolate chips to the dough, never a bad idea right? You can also try swapping in a cup of peanut butter chips for the ultimate peanut butter experience! Tell me you are going to make these soon!!!
More cookie recipes you are going to love!
- Chewy Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies << The only thing better than a peanut butter cookie is a peanut butter oatmeal cookie.
- Texas Cowboy Cookies << people go crazy for this recipe. Probably one of the most-made recipes on my site!
- 30 Minute Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies << you really just can’t beat this classic.
- The Softest Sugar Cookies of Your Life << Check out the reviews on this recipe! They are so soft and chewy.
- Nathan’s Peanut Butter Butterscotch Chocolate Chip Cookies << these are legit.
- No Bake Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies << you’ve made no-bakes before, right? This recipe is a classic.
- Soft Peanut Butter Cookies with Maple Glaze << have you ever put peanut butter on your pancakes? BEST FLAVOR COMBO.
- Peanut Butter Oatmeal Sandwich Cookies << have you had the Girl Scout version? These are even better.
- Gingerbread Snickerdoodles from Crunchy Creamy Sweet
- Crisp and Chewy Strawberry Sugar Cookies from Wild Thistle Kitchen
- Levain Bakery Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies from Domestic Rebel
Soft Peanut Butter Cookies Recipe
- 1/2 cup butter, (1 stick)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons peanut butter, don’t use natural pb
- 1 large egg
- 1 & 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 & 1/3 cups all purpose flour, spooned and leveled
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar, for rolling dough
- In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat 1/2 cup butter until it is smooth and creamy, scraping the sides of the bowl.
- Add 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup packed brown sugar. Beat well until fluffy, scraping the sides. There should be no chunks of butter.
- Add 1 cup peanut butter plus an additional 2 tablespoons. I like Jif best. You can use crunchy peanut butter if you like! Beat well until combined.
- Add 1 egg and 1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla. Beat until combined.
- Add 1 and 1/3 cups all-purpose flour, but don’t stir it in yet. Add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt on top of the flour. Stir it in with your teaspoon to combine the dry ingredients together a bit.
- Turn the mixer on to combine the dry ingredients into the dough. Don’t overdo it! Once the dough barely starts to come together (with some flour still visible), stop and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Continue mixing until you no longer see flour streaks, then turn off the mixer. Over mixing cookie dough results in tough cookies.
- Cover the bowl and chill the dough for 15 minutes to an hour.* (Or up to 2 days!)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Add about 1/2 cup granulated sugar to a bowl.
- Shape the dough into 1 and 1/2 inch balls. I used this cookie scoop. Don't smooth out the ball of dough by rolling it in your hands! Leave it textured from the scoop.
- Roll each ball in the sugar to coat. Place on a baking sheet. I added 15 cookies to an 11×17 inch pan. The cookies don’t spread much at all, so you can place them closer together than regular cookies.
- Dip a fork in the bowl of sugar and press into the top of a cookie. Turn the fork perpendicular and press one more time. Your cookies will puff a little bit in the oven, but not a ton. Whatever thickness you press them down to is about how thick your cookie will be. I like my cookies to be about 1/2 inch thick. Dip in sugar whenever the fork starts to stick to the dough.
- Bake the cookies at 350 for about 10-12 minutes.
- The cookies are done baking when the edges are set. They should not be shiny in the middle. If you like REALLY soft cookies, under bake them slightly so there is no browning at all. I like a very slight browning just on the very edges.
- Sprinkle with additional granulated sugar right after you pull them out of the oven.
- Let the cookies set on the pan for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- If you know what’s good for you, eat at least one of these warm, with a tall glass of milk!
- This recipe makes about 26 cookies. Store leftovers in a tightly sealed container for up to 3 days.
- The dough freezes very well. Since these cookies need to be flattened before baking, I like to shape the dough, roll it in sugar, and press with a fork, then transfer to a ziplock to freeze. That way you can just put them on the baking sheet frozen and bake immediately. No need to thaw, just add 1-3 minutes to the bake time.
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.