Peanut Butter Drop Cookies

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These peanut butter drop cookies are super soft and gooey. They’ll melt-in-your-mouth! You’ll love them so much they’re sure to be your new favorite cookie recipe! A peanut butter cookie is one of the simplest, most time-tested dessert recipes around. I make them often because they are so easy and have such a rich flavor. From first bite to last, each cookie is delicious – moist and soft with a sweet peanut butter flavor.

Classic Peanut Butter Cookies

An all-time favorite, these cookies are perfect after school with a glass of cold milk. These golden-blonde cookies are slightly soft and mildly chewy (rather than crunchy), with satisfying peanut butter taste.

PREP

15 mins

BAKE

12 to 16 mins

TOTAL

27 mins

YIELD

Classic Peanut Butter Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup (57g) vegetable shortening or 8 tablespoons (113g) unsalted butter, for softer cookies
  • 1/2 cup (99g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (106g) light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon King Arthur Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 3/4 cup (198g) peanut butter*
  • 1 1/2 cups (180g) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.
  2. Beat together the shortening or butter, sugars, egg, vanilla, and peanut butter until smooth.
  3. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt to the peanut-butter mixture, beating gently until everything is well combined. It may take awhile for this rather dry dough to come together; and when it does, it’ll be quite stiff. Only if necessary, drizzle in enough water to make the dough cohesive.
  4. Drop the cookie dough by tablespoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets (a tablespoon cookie scoop works well here), leaving 2″ between them.
  5. Use a fork to flatten each cookie to about 1/2″ thick, making a cross-hatch design.
  6. Bake the cookies for 12 to 16 minutes, until they’re barely beginning to brown around the edges; the tops won’t have browned. Remove them from the oven, and cool on a rack.
  7. Store well-wrapped cookies at room temperature for a week or so; freeze for longer storage.

Peanut-Butter-Oat Drop Cookies with Jam

These chewy treats are reminiscent of a PB&J and are a cinch to make—making this recipe a fun project to do with the aspiring little chefs in your life. 

Gallery

Peanut-Butter-Oat Drop Cookies with Jam

Recipe Summary

Prep:

15 mins

Total:

25 mins

Yield:

Makes about 18

Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

  • 4 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (we use Diamond Crystal)
  • 1 large egg yolk, room-temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1 recipe Frozen-Berry Jam

Directions

Instructions Checklist

  • Step 1Preheat oven to 375°F. Combine butter, brown sugar, peanut butter, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and creamy, about 2 minutes.
  • Step 2Beat in egg yolk and vanilla, then add flour and mix until just combined. Scoop dough into 1-inch balls and roll in oats to coat; place cookies on parchment-lined baking sheets, spaced 1 inch apart.
  • Step 3Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until puffed and just set around edges, 10 to 12 minutes. While cookies are still warm, indent centers with the end of a wooden spoon; fill each with 1/2 teaspoon jam. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before serving.

Cook’s Notes

Once baked and filled, these can be stored in—and enjoyed straight from—the freezer for up to a month.

Easy Peanut Butter Cookies

peanut butter cookies on marble

These easy Peanut Butter Cookies are soft and chewy and so easy to make! Peanut butter is one of our biggest obsessions these days, and these peanut butter cookies are one treat that no one can refuse!

Easy Peanut Butter Cookies

Can You Use Natural Peanut Butter in Cookies? While you can use natural peanut butter in cookies, you may need to add more salt if using natural peanut butter. The key reason to use regular peanut butter is that natural peanut butter tends to cause the cookies to spread more than we like and be more crisp than chewy.

To Make Soft Peanut Butter Cookies: Some peanut butter cookies end up hard and crunchy, but we love ours soft and chewy with just the perfect amount of crispy edges and these are all that and more.

These peanut butter cookies are full of peanut butter flavor with no chocolate or anything to distract from the main event (but if you wanted to add a chocolate drizzle over top, no one here would judge!).

peanut butter cookie stack

How To Make Peanut Butter Cookies:

To make homemade peanut butter cookies from scratch, simply:

  1. Cream butter and peanut butter until smooth. Whip sugar in until it’s light and fluffy!
  2. Beat in eggs and vanilla, just until smooth.
  3. Add dry ingredients, be sure to fluff and level flour to avoid dry, crumbly cookies! Mix until the dough forms.

Bake Until Soft

Bake, but don’t overbake! Overbaked cookies are dry and hard and not soft and chewy as they should be. Bake until they appear just set, even a little glossiness in the center is okay. They will continue setting up on the hot pan out of the oven.

How to Store Peanut Butter Cookies:

There are two ways to store these peanut butter cookies if you happen to have leftovers that last beyond the first couple hours on the counter 😉

  • Room Temperature: You can store these cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4-6 days (they will last past that point, they just won’t be as good). The only problem with storing them at room temperature is you know they’re not going to last long! The freezer is a much safer option 😉
  • In the Freezer: These cookies can be frozen in an airtight container or freezer bag up to 3 months. This means you always have something delicious on hand if surprise guests drop in or you need an after school snack!

Peanut Butter Cookies

If you read the comments, you’ll see many people say these are the Best Peanut Butter Cookies they’ve ever had. They have the most amazing melt-in-your-mouth texture, with crisp edges and a creamy, rich middle. They are quick, no chilling required, and only take 20 minutes to make!

Peanut Butter Cookies On a White Dish with 4 Pieces

These aren’t your average fork-pressed peanut butter cookie, and that’s a good thing.

In my opinion, peanut butter “cookies” made from peanut butter, sugar, and egg aren’t very cookie-like. You simply cannot get the typical texture that you’d expect from a cookie with 3 ingredients. To me, those “cookies” are excessively crumbly and lack a pleasing chewiness. They don’t have the texture that you typically find in Chocolate Chip Cookies or Monster Cookies. Fortunately, this recipe does give you that wonderful bite. These are truly the best peanut butter cookies!

Why This Recipe Is The Best

Heavenly texture that’s fluffy and creamy in the middle, while crisp on the outside – This recipe gives you tons of nut butter flavor and richness, and ALSO an incredible texture when you bite into it. It’s slightly crisp on the edges, but soft, chewy, moist, and almost fluffy. You can see its feathered texture and ridges on top.

The best flavor – These have a really gourmet flavor and are very aromatic. A little vanilla extract enhances the peanut flavor just like a little coffee does for enhancing chocolate. These are buttery and peanut buttery, with a balanced amount of sweetness.

Quick and NO chilling required – 20 minutes is all you need to make these cookies from start to finish, and you likely have all the ingredients in your pantry.

They hold up well – These cookies are phenomenal when enjoyed fresh out of the oven, but they are still decent after they’ve cooled too. For this reason, they are one of my go-to cookies for bringing to parties or gatherings.

Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe Presented on White Dish with milk in background

Important Ingredients

The ingredients list here is pretty standard, requiring all-purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, butter, sugar, egg, vanilla, and peanut butter. But I want to highlight a few important ingredients that make the end result extra great.

Brown sugar/granulated sugar mix – We’ll use a 50:50 split of brown sugar to granulated sugar here, which is part of the magic of giving these cookies a way better texture than the typical rendition.

Vanilla extract – Yes, this cookie is all about the peanut butter flavor, but much like a little coffee helps enhance the flavor of chocolate, a little vanilla here does the same.

Creamy peanut butter – While some commenters below have reported good results using a natural peanut butter, I far prefer using the creamy variety for the best texture. When I tested with natural, the cookies were more crumbly and dry, with an inferior texture. Brands like Skippy, Jif, etc. make the creamy and spreadable nut butter you’ll want, and I personally use the organic Whole Foods Brand (the ingredients are peanuts, palm oil, and salt).

Tips for Best Results

Do not overmix – Just as with virtually every other baking recipe involving flour, make sure not to overmix the cookie dough. It’s very easy to overdo it if you’re using an electric mixer. Stop mixing as soon as the flour streaks disappear.

Use great butter – WOW does butter vary in quality from brand to brand. Some don’t have any flavor, while others sing with that sweet cream dairy taste that everyone loves. My favorite brand is Kerrygold, and they are relatively easy to find. Plugra and Vermont Creamery also make great butter.

Do not use natural peanut butter – Natural peanut butter is wonderful for spreading onto toast, but it can make for inconsistent results in baking. As discussed above, while some commenters have said the natural stuff worked for them, for the most consistent results, use creamy peanut butter.

Step by Step Photos:

For the dry ingredients, combine all-purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl:

Flour, Salt, and Leavener in Mixing Bowl

Whisk together, then set aside.

To get the wet ingredients going, combine softened butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar:

Butter, Sugar, and Brown Sugar in Glass Bowl

Using a combination of granulated and brown sugar gives the cookie the perfect chewiness and bite.

Cream the butter and sugars together until fluffy, then add an egg and vanilla extract:

Adding Vanilla Extract and Egg to Creamed Butter and Sugar

Whip those in, then mix in some creamy peanut butter, until you get a smooth mixture that looks like this:

Creamed Butter and Sugar with Egg in Mixing Bowl

To finish the dough, add the dry ingredients to the wet, and mix until the flour just disappears:

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Made from Scratch in Glass Bowl with Beaters

Use a medium cookie scoop (affiliate) to portion out scoops of dough directly onto a baking sheet:

Scoops of Peanut Butter Cookie Dough on Sheet Pan

Do Not Roll the Scoops Into Balls

I have tested rolling these into smooth balls before baking, and the texture is not as good. I have found this to be true for many other cookie recipes like The Very Best Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies and Brown Butter Potato Chip Chocolate Chip Cookies. Just scooping is enough! It’s the scooping of the dough that gives us those incredible ridges and “feathering” on top that melts in your mouth when you take a bite.

Once the cookies are portioned out, bake at 350F for 13 minutes, until they’re golden brown on the bottom and the edges, but still soft in the middle.

The Best Peanut Butter Cookies on a Sheet Pan Freshly Baked

Err On the Side of Underbaking

There is always a little bit of carryover cooking after you take cookies out of the oven, and the cookies will firm up as they cool, so you want to err on the side of underbaking. Because of the nature of peanut butter, these cookies will taste dry if overbaked. Watch them closely at the end, and remember they will cook a little more after they’ve been taken out of the heat.

How to Serve

The Best Peanut Butter Cookies are enjoyed warm, with a glass of milk. They’re so rich! If you want to serve them with a few other complementary nibbles, I recommend Peanut Brittle and Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes.

FAQ and Expert Tips:

How do you freeze peanut butter cookies?

For Completely Baked Cookies: Complete the recipe start to finish, then let the cookies cool completely. Store in an airtight container and freeze for up to 2 months. To enjoy, thaw at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
For Unbaked Dough: You can also freeze these unbaked. I recommend scooping the dough onto a baking sheet, then freezing completely. Then you can remove the frozen dough balls from the tray and place in a bag to save space. For this recipe, I recommend thawing the dough back to room temperature before baking, which should take about an hour. I once tested baking straight from frozen, but I found that they don’t bake quite as evenly.

Can you use natural peanut butter?

I discuss this in the post, but I don’t recommend it, as the cookies will turn out with an inferior texture that’s more crumbly and dry. Use a super smooth processed “creamy version.” Brands like Skippy, Jif, etc. prepare their products like this. I personally use the organic Whole Foods Brand.

How do you store peanut butter cookies?

Make sure to store these in an airtight container, or they will dry out. These cookies will last about two days at room temperature before losing too much flavor and freshness. Technically they will keep longer than this, but I think the taste is too inferior, and at that point you’d be better off freezing them. See the freezing instructions above.

Can you make this ahead of time?

Absolutely, and the dough can be kept in the fridge or freezer. The instructions for freezing unbaked dough are above. To keep in the fridge, I recommend fully making the dough and scooping it while it’s room temperature, THEN keeping those dough scoops in the fridge on a sheet pan. Otherwise, you’ll need to bring the dough to room temperature in order to scoop again. Make ahead up to 2 days in advance.

How do you ensure the best texture and a moist center?

Do not overbake these. Keep in mind that when you take the cookies out of the oven, they should seem excessively soft. There will be a little bit of carryover cooking, and the cookies will firm up as they cool, so you want to err on the side of underbaking. Also, if you don’t have an independent oven thermometer (affiliate), they are an inexpensive purchase and very useful for verifying temperature accuracy. Many ovens are not accurate to the temperature they claim. If the cookies turn out dry, simply put, they were overbaked. They should be moist and gooey on the inside.

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