Alton Brown Peanut Butter Cookies


Alton Brown’s Peanut Butter Cookies have a soft, chewy center and a crisp edge. They are very easy to make and bake perfectly to golden-brown in about 12 minutes each. A great cookie is a combination of tenderness and chewiness. Fragile, crumbly cookies are not allowed. The best peanut butter cookies are dense, fudgy, and chewy with the right amount of peanut butter flavor to

balance the sugar. These Alton Brown peanut butter cookies start by creaming together brown sugar with creamy peanut butter. Peanut butter cookies are among the least healthy things you can put into your body, which means they should be immensely delicious. And they are! They can be prepared either as a drop cookie, or a rolled cookie, or even shaped like a peanut. You can add

chopped peanuts or pretzels or M&Ms or nuts of any other kind to the top.  There a numerous health benefits of peanut butter. They include strengthening the heart, weight loss (when combined with exercise), lowering cholesterol levels, and a reduced risk of diabetes. Learn more about these health benefits from this blog post. Try this article and increase your knowledge about peanut butter

Alton Brown Peanut Butter Cookies

Alton Brown Peanut Butter Cookies are to DIE for! These cookies are one of Alton Brown’s favorite cookie recipes. There are many versions of peanut butter cookies on the web, but this one is one of the best. Today’s recipe is one that you can hand down to your kids, grandkids and spouse. Alton Brown’s Peanut Butter Cookies are a perfect cookie to share with your family. And they are so easy to make!

This is kind of a good news/bad news cookie. The good news is — they’re incredibly simple and made with very few ingredients that you probably have sitting in your pantry right now. Also good news — gluten-free. There’s no flour in these. (I don’t follow a gluten-free diet, but I know a lot people do.) The bad news is, if you’re allergic to peanuts, and I know a lot of kids are, well, you can’t have these.


  • 1 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Specialized Hardware

  • 1 1/2 tablespoon-sized disher
Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies
  • ACTIVE TIME: 20 minutes
  • TOTAL TIME: 40 minutes


  • Heat the oven to 350 degrees F with the oven racks in the upper-middle and lower-middle positions. Line two half sheet pans with parchment paper.
  • Combine the peanut butter and both sugars in a large bowl. Use a wooden spoon to stir together, then smush the mixture on the sides of the bowl several times to incorporate the sugar.
  • Add the egg, baking soda, vanilla, and salt. Stir until really smooth. (If you’d like to make the dough ahead of time, you can cover the bowl with plastic and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.)
  • Use a 1 1/2-tablespoon-sized disher to scoop the dough out into 16 rounds, evenly spacing 8 dough rounds per sheet. Using a fork in a mash-and-swipe motion, make cross-hatch patterns in each dough round. After being cross-hatched, each cookie should be about 2 1/2 inches in diameter. (If you really want perfectly smooth cookies, you can roll the dough rounds between your hands into balls before forming the cross-hatch pattern. Me? I like ’em rustic.)
  • Bake until just set, about 10 minutes, rotating the baking sheets between the racks after about 5 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the sheet pans, set on wire racks, for at least 10 minutes before devouring.

If You’re Making Alton Brown’s Peanut Butter Cookies, a Few Tips

1. Don’t use natural peanut butter. Natural peanut butter separates and tends to be oily. Instead, use a creamy variety like Jif to make sure the cookies turn out just right.

2. Use a large rubber spatula to mix the dough. Brown’s recipe instructs you to use a wooden spoon, but I found a rubber spatula was much easier.

3. Dip your fork in water to prevent the dough from sticking. To prevent your fork from sticking to the dough as you create the cross-hatched pattern, dip it in cold water before pressing it in.

4. Sprinkle the tops with flaky salt. Because these cookies are so simple, they can easily be dressed up with garnishes or mix-ins. If you have flaky salt on hand, try sprinkling it over the tops of the cookies before baking. It’ll help bring out the flavor and balance the sweetness.


Ingredients for making peanut butter cookies on a counter.

Peanut Butter: I like using a creamy peanut butter for this recipe but you can definitely use chunky peanut butter instead. If you’re using a natural peanut butter make sure to give it a VERY good mix before adding.

Brown Sugar: You can use either light or dark brown sugar in this peanut butter cookie recipe. Dark brown will impart a slightly more caramel-like flavor.


Peanut butter getting added to a bowl for peanut butter cookies.

1. Preheat over to 350F. Sift flour and baking powder together into a large bowl then whisk to combine.

2. Cream butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add peanut butter and mix until incorporated.

An egg getting mixed into peanut butter cookie dough.

3. Mix in the room temperature egg and vanilla extract then scrape the bowl down and mix once more.

4. Add flour mixture and beat on low until just incorporated.

Dough for peanut butter cookies getting rolled and pressed with a fork.

5. Roll the cookie dough into one inch balls and place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

6. Flatten the cookie dough balls with a fork in a criss-cross pattern. Bake cookies for about 8 minutes. Allow cookies to cool completely on baking sheet, they need to set up before being transferred.

Peanut Butter Cookies cooling on a wire rack.


  • You will bake the cookies until almost done when the edge is just starting to change color. They will set up and continue baking with the residual internal heat after they’re pulled out of the oven.
  • Measure your flour correctly! Adding too much flour to the recipe is the most common mistake. The best, and easiest way to measure flour is by using a scale. If you don’t have one then fluff your flour with a spoon, sprinkle it into your measuring cup, and use a knife to level it off. 
  • The cookies will be VERY soft just out of the oven so let them rest for a while on the baking sheets before transferring to a wire rack; when cooled they will be firm enough to handle and quite delicious.  
  • Store in an airtight container for up to a week for delicious anytime treats.
Three peanut butter cookies next to a glass of milk.


  • For best results I use a smooth, salted peanut butter.
  • There’s no need to use a sweetened peanut butter but if that’s what you have on hand it will work just fine, you make want to decrease the sugar by 2 tablespoons though.
  • If you’re using a natural peanut butter without stabilizers make sure to mix really well after opening the jar. The oil heavy top of that jar will make very runny cookies.
  • Any brand that you enjoy the taste of plain will be a great for this peanut butter cookie recipe!


Nope, there’re no need to chill the cookie dough but if you want to make the dough ahead and chill it the cookies will bake up just as nicely.

Peanut Butter Cookies

  • PREP TIME 30 mins
  • COOK TIME 10 mins
  • TOTAL TIME 3 hrs 40 mins
  • SERVINGS 24 servings

You can use either smooth or crunchy conventional peanut butter for this recipe. Smooth peanut butter will give you a smoother consistency. Crunchy will give you some bits of peanuts throughout the cookie.

The oils in natural peanut butter tend to separate, causing cookies to spread and take on a gritty texture. You can use it, but conventional peanut butter is preferred for the best cookie texture.

You can chill the dough for less time than the 3 hours the recipe calls for, but it does help the cookies to keep their shape if the dough is completely chilled, which it should be by the 3 hour mark.


  • 1/2 cup (112g) butter, unsalted or salted, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (110g) packed brown sugar, light or dark
  • 1/2 cup (130g) peanut butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/4 cups (160g) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (omit if using salted butter)


  1. Make the cookie dough:Beat the butter until creamy, 2 minutes. Add the brown sugar and white sugar, beat for 2 more minutes. Mix in the peanut butter and the egg.In a separate bowl, vigorously whisk together the dry ingredients—the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir the dry ingredients into the sugar butter mixture.Peanut butter in a metal bowl with flour in a glass bowl next to it.
  2. Chill the dough:Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate at least 3 hours.Dough for Peanut Butter Cookies being wrapped in plastic wrap.
  3. Preheat the oven:Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
  4. Shape the cookies:Shape the dough into 1 1/4 inch balls. Place the balls of dough about 3 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets (unlined sheets are fine, though you can use parchment paper to line them, if you like). Flatten in a crisscross pattern with a fork. (It helps to dip the fork in sugar to keep it from sticking to the dough.)Rolling Peanut Butter Cookies in a ball.Pressing a fork in a crosshatch pattern on Peanut Butter Cookies.
  5. Bake the cookies:Bake at 375°F (190°C) until light brown, about 9 to 10 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven and let cool in their baking sheets for a minute. After 1 minute, transfer the cookies to a rack to cool completely.Note: For chewier cookies, bake at 300°F (150°C) for 15 minutes.

Tips for the Best Peanut Butter Cookies

There are a few tips that will help you make the best cookies.

  • Use a name brand peanut butter like Skippy, Jif, or Peter Pan. I usually buy a natural version of peanut butter for my PB&Js, but the natural brands (the ones that separate) yield a cookie with a grittier texture, and spread too much. That said, if you have a natural brand of peanut butter that works for you, use it! I just find I get better results with the name brands.
  • Chill the dough. Chilling the dough for a few hours will help the peanut butter cookies maintain their shape, and not overly spread when cooked.
  • Dip the fork in sugar. To help keep the fork from sticking when you make a cross-hatch pattern on the cookies, dip the tines in a little granulated sugar between cookies.
  • Use a lower oven temp for chewier cookies. If you want chewy cookies, bake a little longer at a lower temperature.

Fun Peanut Butter Cookie Variations

  • Roll in sugar. Roll the cookie dough balls in sugar before pressing with a fork.
  • Add a Hershey’s kiss. Skip the fork marks (don’t press, but leave as a ball). Roll the cookie dough balls in granulated sugar and bake as instructed. As soon as the cookies come out of the oven, press in a chocolate Hershey’s kiss (out of the wrapper of course).
  • Use almond butter. Swap out the peanut butter with almond butter for an easy almond butter cookie.

Health Benefits Of Peanut butter

Peanut butter is one of the foods that never goes out of style. It’s tasty, versatile and pleasing to eat. But apart from that, peanut butter can also offer numerous health benefits. Peanut butter is rich in proteins, fiber and good fats. Being a plant-based source of protein, peanut butter consumption can help you reach your recommended daily intake of proteins.

1. You’ll feel fuller.

smooth creamy peanut butter in jar

Is peanut butter good for you? Ilyse Schapiro, MS, RD, CDN thinks so. She shares that peanut butter’s monounsaturated fat and protein are highly satiating.

How to eat peanut butter for weight loss:

  • Have peanut butter on toast for breakfast with bananas and chia seeds
  • Add peanut butter to a sandwich for lunch with crushed whole raspberries
  • Pair peanut butter with an apple for a snack that can prevent you from overeating

“But always consume it in moderation,” Schapiro adds. A good serving size is two tablespoons. You can also creatively work peanut butter into your meals.

2. You’ll get an energy boost.

happy woman after a workout

“The protein, fiber, and healthy fat in peanut butter can give you that kick you need to start the day or as a pick-me-up midday,” says Schapiro. “It also helps to keep blood sugar stable, which prevents those crashes later on.” Start your day off right with this healthy breakfast staple to ward off afternoon cravings.

3. Peanut butter may help you lose weight.

Female leg stepping on floor scales

Even when you’re on a calorie-restricted diet, studies have shown that including legumes can help with weight loss. Why? For starters, peanuts contain a good amount of protein—7 grams in 2 tablespoons. Add that to the high healthy fat and fiber content, and you’ve got a tasty snack that will keep you fuller longer. The result may be less caloric intake later in the day. “Most people find eating 200 calories of peanut butter is more satiating than, say, 200 calories of pretzels,” says registered dietitian Jennifer McDaniel, MS, RDN, CSSD, LD. According to a study in the International Journal of Obesity, peanuts can even increase your metabolic furnace. In that study, subjects’ metabolic rate jumped by 11% when they ate about 500 calories of peanuts daily for 19 weeks.

4. You’ll have healthier muscles and nerves.

Woman with strong muscle arms doing push ups for exercise

Magnesium is an essential mineral that powers more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. The nutrient has been shown to help fight headaches, muscle cramps, and fatigue. Peanut butter is a good source of magnesium, containing about 15% of your RDA in one two-tablespoon serving. That means PB can assist in body-temperature regulation, detoxification, energy production, the formation of strong bones and teeth, and maintenance of a healthy nervous system.

5. Fats in peanut butter may improve brain health.

Man working on crossword puzzle

According to McDaniel, studies have found that the monounsaturated fats found in foods like nuts and olive oil are protective of brain health and function. How? Nuts’ antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties help reduce stress (or oxidative damage) to the brain.

6. You may decrease levels of stress hormones.

happy woman laughing

“Eating peanut butter may help you fight the effects of stress,” says registered dietitian Miriam Jacobson RD, CDN of PB contains beta-sitosterol, a plant sterol. In studies involving endurance athletes, beta-sitosterol was shown to normalize high cortisol levels and bring them back into balance with other hormones during times of stress. Beta-sitosterol can also help improve immunity.

7. You may improve your skin health.

woman with good skin

Speaking of vitamin E, in addition to the healthy fats that help your body absorb fat-soluble vitamins, peanut butter also happens to be high in vitamin E. The spread contains 2.9 milligrams of vitamin E per two-tablespoon serving or 15 percent of your daily value. Vitamin E is important for preventing heart disease, cancer, eye disorders, and cognitive decline. Most notably, antioxidant vitamin E can help protect your skin from the damaging effects of free radicals from UV exposure. Moreover, the monounsaturated fats in peanut butter will help keep your skin supple and naturally radiant.

8. You may reduce your heart disease risk.

Happy Woman Holding Heart Shaped Hands Near Eyes. Closeup Of Smiling Girl With Healthy Skin Showing Love Sign

Because peanuts are chock-full of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, they’re good for your heart as much as your waistline. A 2015 study in JAMA Internal Medicine found that consuming as little as 30 grams of peanuts or peanut butter every week can help decrease the risk of total mortality and death from cardiovascular disease.

9. You lower your death risk.

older mature happy couple at table eating drinking

According to a 2015 Vanderbilt University study, eating nuts every day is linked to a lower total death risk. What gives nuts the ability to deter the reaper? Their density of health-promoting and protective nutrients. “Nuts have a healthy fat profile—including mono- and polyunsaturated fats—are rich in antioxidants, contain nutrients like potassium that help maintain a healthy blood pressure, are rich in fiber, and contain heart-healthy plant phytosterols,” says McDaniel. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids have been shown to decrease LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels, lowering the risk of metabolic syndrome, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.

10. You could prevent a peanut allergy.

peanut butter jar

Eating PB during pregnancy may actually help lower the risk of your child having a peanut allergy, according to guidelines by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “If you yourself don’t have a peanut allergy, a scoop a day might keep a food allergy away!” says McDaniel. A JAMA Pediatrics study found that non-allergic mothers who ate peanuts or tree nuts five times a week or more were less likely to have a baby with a nut allergy. “Mothers don’t need to avoid any of these allergic foods,” adds Frank R. Greer, MD, professor of pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin. “If anything, they might be beneficial.”



Peanut butter cookies are denser than most and will not spread out in the oven very much and would not bake evenly if the fork marks were not there to flatten them out and really press them down.  


To get the perfect fork mark/ crisscross pattern try using skewers instead of a fork. I used my trusty wooden skewers, snapped a few in half, lined four up and pressed down. It took more time but I got the picture-perfect cookies of my dreams. A fork works well too of course, try to use one with long tines. For a clean release pull the fork away instead of lifting up, or it you’re using the skewers try twisting them. 

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