Peanut Butter Cookies Recipe - Handle the Heat
Filed Under: Cookies | Dessert

Peanut Butter Cookies

By Tessa Arias
August 20th, 2019
4.63 from 27 votes
4.63 from 27 votes

These Peanut Butter Cookies are absolutely PERFECT and so easy to make! Thick, soft, and slightly chewy with tons of peanutty flavor. Your new go-to Peanut Butter Cookie recipe!

Yield: 28 cookies

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook: 12 minutes

Tessa's Recipe Rundown...

Taste: Ultra peanut buttery and perfectly sweet.
Texture: Soft, tender, and slightly chewy. Perfect with a glass of milk!
Ease: Very simple and easy.
Pros: My favorite PB cookie recipe. No dough chilling required.
Cons: None!!
Would I make this again? Of course.

To know me is to know my love and obsession for peanut butter. So when I realized that in over 10 years of blogging, I had never published my recipe for classic Peanut Butter Cookies, I was in shock. How could I have been so neglectful to all my fellow PB lovers?!

Amazing Peanut butter cookies on a cooling rack

So I actually took my go-to recipe and got to work tweaking and improving until I got the perfect balance of nutty flavor and thick, tender, and slightly chewy texture in every bite.

This is a simple and easy old-fashioned peanut butter cookie recipe, you don’t even need to chill the dough. But it’s one of those recipes I hope you add to your repertoire and return to again and again. Especially during the Christmas cookie season! Follow my instructions and tips below for perfect Peanut Butter cookies!

Stack of peanut butter cookies on a plate

How to Make the BEST Peanut Butter Cookies

Rolling cookie dough balls in sugar

What are the ingredients for Peanut Butter Cookies?

  • Flour – We are using all-purpose flour for this recipe. Be sure to measure your flour correctly! If you add too much flour, you may end up with tough, hard peanut butter cookies.
  • Baking soda & baking powderLearn more about these two leaveners, and how to test for freshness here.
  • Fine sea salt – I prefer the flavor of sea salt, but any fine salt will work. Learn more about the differences between types of salt here.
  • Unsalted butter – Always use unsalted butter in baking. It’s important that your butter is at a cool room temperature. Your sticks of butter should give slightly when pressed with your finger but still hold its shape. To be precise, your butter should be about 67°F.
  • Creamy peanut butter – I don’t recommend using a natural peanut butter – more on that below!
  • Sugar – We’re using a combination of granulated and light brown sugars here. Brown sugar is made from a combination of granulated sugar with a small amount of molasses. The addition of molasses creates that amazing butterscotch sweet flavor that we all love in cookies, plus it draws in moisture. Cookies made with brown sugar are slightly darker in color, taller in thickness, and a bit more chewy. Learn more about the role sugar plays in your baking here.
  • An egg – At room temperature. Be sure to use a large egg, about 56 grams in shell. If your egg is too large or too small, that will impact the outcome of your baking greatly.
  • Vanilla extract – for flavor.

How to make these cookies:

  1. Combine the dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  2. Cream the butter and sugars. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or in a large mixing bowl using an electric hand mixer, beat the butter and sugars until smooth and well combined, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the remaining wet ingredients to the butter mixture. Beat in the peanut butter until well combined. Beat in the egg and vanilla.
  4. Gradually mix in the dry ingredients. On low speed, gradually add the flour mixture, beating until just combined.
  5. Scoop into cookie dough balls and roll in sugar. In a separate bowl, place the additional granulated sugar. Using a 1.5 Tablespoon cookie scoop, form the dough into balls. Roll dough balls between your palms to smooth, then roll in the granulated sugar before placing on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat, spacing about 2 inches apart.
  6. Make the criss-cross pattern. Slightly flatten the dough by pressing the back of a fork into each ball of dough twice to create a criss-cross pattern.
  7. Bake. Bake at 350°F for 10 to 12 minutes or until the edges are slightly browned. Let cool on baking sheets for 10 minutes before removing the peanut butter cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

How to make thick and soft Peanut Butter Cookies:

Peanut butter is one of those ingredients that basically automatically lends itself to a thick texture in cookies. It’s thick and rich all on its own, and that translates to the final result. That’s actually why we press the tines of a fork into the balls of cookie dough: to flatten it into a disk shape. Otherwise the cookies would hardly spread.

Now the key to soft peanut butter cookies is the perfect ratio of PB, butter, flour, and leavening – which is what I believe I’ve accomplished here! Plus a hefty amount of brown sugar, which draws in moisture, for soft and tender cookies.

TIP: When measuring flour, be sure to use a digital kitchen scale or the scoop & level method that I discuss in detail in this article here. This will prevent dry or crumbly cookies.

Lastly, for soft peanut butter cookies, be sure not to over-bake these. They’ll continue to bake from the residual heat of the oven. I find it’s best to remove them *just* before they look completely done so you don’t over do it.

What’s the best peanut butter to use for cookies?

When it comes to baking in general, conventional creamy peanut butter is usually best, both for texture and taste. Some “natural” peanut butter products have too much oil separation and won’t make for a cohesive dough. Crunchy peanut butters also don’t become as cohesive with the additional nuts in there. You can usually get away with the more natural peanut butter options among conventional brands like Skippy, Jif, or Justin’s – as long as they have an ingredient like palm oil or vegetable oil to keep everything smooth; just keep in mind that the cookies made with natural peanut butter will spread a bit more and will be crumblier.

Why do you put a criss-cross pattern on peanut butter cookies?

Pressing a fork into these peanut butter cookies prior to baking helps flatten the cookies slightly, promoting oven spread.  The fork marks also encourage the cookies to bake more evenly and brown evenly. If we skipped that step, these cookies are so thick that they would barely spread, and they may not bake all the way through.

Pressing a fork into peanut butter cookies to make the cross indentation

Do you have to refrigerate this cookie dough? What does chilling cookie dough actually do?

You do not have to chill this peanut butter cookie dough, but you can if you would prefer! Chilling cookie dough is very similar to marinating meat – things just get so much better if you wait a day or two. The baked cookies become chewier and thicker, and the flavor intensifies. If you don’t have time, no worries. You can bake the dough off right after it’s made – they’ll still be perfectly thick and full of peanut buttery flavor. Learn more about why we chill cookie dough, and the benefits of chilling cookie dough here!

Do I need to refrigerate peanut butter cookies? How to store these cookies:

You do not need to keep these peanut butter cookies in the fridge. They will keep in an airtight container or a ziptop bag for about 3 days at room temperature. Keep a piece of bread or a tortilla in the container with the cookies to keep them soft and chewy, and prevent them from drying out or getting hard as quickly.

Can these Peanut Butter Cookies be frozen?

Yes! Freeze baked cookies in an airtight container for about 1 month. Allow to defrost at room temperature then refresh in a 300°F oven for about 5 minutes, if desired. You can also freeze the disks of peanut butter cookie dough (that have been rolled in sugar and pressed with the fork) in an airtight container for several months. Allow to thaw to room temperature before baking as written. Get all of my tips for freezing cookie dough here!

Cookies on a plate

More Peanut Butter Recipes:

If you prefer crunchy & crispy peanut butter cookies, check out my recipe here.

4.63 from 27 votes

How to make
Peanut Butter Cookies

Yield: 28 cookies
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
These Peanut Butter Cookies are absolutely PERFECT and so easy to make! Thick, soft, and slightly chewy with tons of peanutty flavor. Your new go-to Peanut Butter Cookie recipe!


For the cookies:

  • 2 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons (302 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks (170 grams) unsalted butter, at cool room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (150 grams) light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup (200 grams) creamy peanut butter (don’t use “natural” peanut butter)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For rolling:

  • 1/3 cup (67 grams) granulated sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.

  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar on medium-high speed until smooth and well combined, about 2 minutes. Beat in the peanut butter until well combined. Beat in the egg and vanilla. On low speed, gradually add the flour mixture, beating until combined.

  4. Place the granulated sugar for rolling in a separate small bowl. Using a medium spring-loaded cookie scoop, form the dough into 1 1/2 tablespoon rounds. Roll between your palms to smooth, then roll in the granulated sugar before placing on the prepared baking sheets, spacing about 2 inches apart. Slightly flatten the dough by pressing the back of a fork into each ball of dough twice, to create a criss-cross pattern.

  5. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the edges are slightly browned. Let cool on baking sheets for 10 minutes before removing the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe Video

Course : Dessert
Cuisine : American

Photos by Ashley McLaughlin.

Tessa Arias
Author: Tessa Arias

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

Tessa Arias

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

Find Tessa on  

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Recipe Rating

  1. #
    Paula — February 28, 2023 at 9:57 am

    Made these this morning and not only are they delicious, they’re a great looking cookie as well. My husband already ate six of them!!! I followed the directions exactly, including weighing my ingredients, and used Jif creamy peanut butter. Thanks for a great recipe!

  2. #
    Eve — February 27, 2023 at 7:11 pm

    I didn’t listen and used crunchy kraft pb and the recipe still work perfectly, these are so good, crunchy outside and chewy inside. Easy to whip up on a weekday.

  3. #
    Noni D. — February 16, 2023 at 2:41 pm

    These cookies aren’t great. Mine came out dry and lacking flavour. I carefully measured my ingredients and used Jif peanut butter. I made them to take to a group function, and they were disappointing. I would not make them again.

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — February 17, 2023 at 1:00 pm

      Hi Noni! I’m sorry to hear these cookies did not turn out as they should. In case you’re interested in troubleshooting at all, I have a couple of ideas as to what may have gone wrong here. You said you measured your ingredients carefully, but are you weighing your ingredients? Weighing vs. measuring by volume can have a huge impact on your baked goods. It’s so easy to over or under-measure ingredients, especially flour, when measuring by volume – and too much flour is the #1 reason for dry cookies! Tessa talks about how to measure ingredients for best results in this article here. If these cookies just didn’t have enough PB flavor for you, I highly recommend trying out Tessa’s Giant Reese’s Pieces Chocolate Chip Cookies – there’s a TON of delicious PB flavor in those cookies! Happy baking

  4. #
    Suzanne Gmirek — February 6, 2023 at 2:42 am

    Excellent! Easy peasy…also easy to eat too many! They are perfect! Not too hard, not too sweet, not too peanut buttery…everything just right! It is a new “go to” cookie recipe. Thanks!

  5. #
    Lauren — December 24, 2022 at 9:16 am

    I made these today and while the taste is a perfect peanut butter flavor mine came out quite dry. I am unsure why that is – maybe too much flour? I followed the directions to a T. Next time I will weigh out ingredients and see if that makes a difference. My son absolutely love them.

  6. #
    Stella — December 10, 2022 at 5:23 am

    Hey, these cookies look absolutely amazing and I am planning to make them this Christmas as part of my cookie box. How long will they keep in an airtight container? Thanks

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — December 13, 2022 at 9:31 am

      Hi Stella! These cookies will stay fresh for about 3 to 5 days in an airtight container. Keep a piece of bread or a tortilla in the container to keep them softer for longer 🙂 Happy baking!

  7. #
    Lindsey — June 8, 2022 at 11:57 am

    Made these today and I can honestly say these are the best tasting peanut butter cookies I’ve had! They were so easy to make also! So so good!

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — June 9, 2022 at 7:23 am

      Hi Lindsey! I’m so happy to hear that you loved these peanut butter cookies! Thank you so much for taking the time to let us know 🙂

  8. #
    Alice — April 17, 2022 at 12:20 pm

    Hi Tessa,
    My husband just requested these Peanut butter cookies. He doesn’t eat a lot of cookies but since he asked for yours, I jumped right up & got out my butter & egg

    • #
      Emily — April 25, 2022 at 10:42 am

      So happy to hear how much your husband loves this recipe, Alice!

  9. #
    Scarlett — February 25, 2022 at 11:41 am

    Can I add more peanut butter to the recipe? My family wants more peanut butter flavor!

    • #
      Emily — March 1, 2022 at 11:52 am

      Hi Scarlett! Thanks for your feedback! You’re welcome to experiment with that, but I can’t say for sure how much as we haven’t tested it. You can also try using a different brand of peanut butter to see if that helps 🙂 Let me know how it goes!

  10. #
    Aviad Abu — January 21, 2022 at 1:58 pm

    Wow Wow wow!!! How lucky I was to find this incredible site!
    After maybe ten recipes I tried I almost gave up until I found this amazing site, when I went into the site I knew it was right! The detailed explanations, unit of weight per gram is excellent !!, fine raw materials! The cookies came out just right as it should be! Chewy, excellent texture with fine taste! Thank you so much Tessa Professional!

    • #
      Emily — January 24, 2022 at 2:20 pm

      So happy to hear that, Aviad! Thanks for taking the time to let us know, we appreciate it!

  11. #
    Lisa Z. — September 1, 2021 at 6:13 pm

    I made these last year at Christmas time. People loved them. One person who said she doesn’t usually like peanut butter Loved them.

    • #
      Emily — September 2, 2021 at 7:49 am

      So happy to hear they were such a hit, Lisa! Thanks for the letting us know 🙂

  12. #
    ellen — May 28, 2021 at 9:52 am

    not enough peanut butter!…. I’ve made many PB cookie recipes and this one needed more PB. They are soft but that’s it.

    • #
      Tessa — May 28, 2021 at 10:31 am

      I’m sorry to hear that! I’m obsessed with peanut butter and thought it was the perfect amount! I wonder if maybe it was the brand of peanut butter you used? Maybe it didn’t have as strong of flavor as what I used.

  13. #
    Dayris Andrade — March 12, 2021 at 4:24 pm

    Hi Tessa.. I just discover your website and I love it.. the way you make them look so easy.. amazing.. i have a question, may I change brown sugar for regular granulated one?.. I’m from Venezuela and here brown sugar is really expensive.. I would like to here from you about this.. thank you very much…
    NOTE: Please can you share with us a banana brownie recipe o mixed nuts brownie recipe please?… thanks…

  14. #
    Dayris Andrade — March 12, 2021 at 4:16 pm

    Hi, tessa.. I just discover your page and instagram and i absolutly love the way you cook and explained everythig so simple and easy.. I habe a guestion with this recipe. May I change the brown sugar for regular granumated sugar?… I am from Venezuela and here brown sugar is really expensive… i hope you can response… best regards.. I’ll letbypu lnow tomorrow when i try the recipe. Thanks…

  15. #
    Alina — March 12, 2021 at 9:21 am

    Hey Tessa! Love all your recipes! Want to make these for a party this weekend but would prefer making the dough ahead of time so I just need to pop them into the oven the next day. Usually you prefer chilling the dough beforehand which in this case would be practical for me. What do you think, can I make these a day before and finish them straight from the dough or should I bake and then freeze them for the next day? Or are they just as good after 1 day of baking? Thanks in advance! 🙂

  16. #
    Christine Beelen — March 6, 2021 at 3:08 pm

    Hi Tessa:

    I just made these and while they are good, I found the peanut butter flavour a bit mild. I used Kraft smooth peanut butter. I also weighed all of the ingredients. Do you think a different brand of peanut butter might help to add a stronger peanut butter flavour or should I add more peanut butter (i.e. 250grams)?


  17. #
    Esther — February 20, 2021 at 12:31 pm

    I flattened these cookies slightly with a fork and they did not spread. They kept the same shape going in the oven. I only baked 4 cookies to see how they would turn out. The dough was dry and gave me the idea to make cut out cookies since they don’t spread. I rolled the dough and cut out cookies and they kept their shape at room temp dough. This recipe is a good peanut butter cut out cookie recipe with no chilling required. I weighed my ingredients when I made this. The texture of these cookies is crumbly edges and a soft middle similar to a soft batch cookie. This is not my personal preference in texture but I made these for work and some of my co-workers liked them a lot.

  18. #
    Brianna Newsom — December 15, 2020 at 1:50 pm

    The absolute best Peanut butter cookie recipe! Comes out perfect everytime. They are soo good, it is now required in my house to have these on hand at ALL TIMES.

    • #
      Tessa — December 16, 2020 at 9:53 am

      Haha YAY! This makes me so happy, Brianna!

  19. #
    Jorjean — November 9, 2020 at 9:25 am

    These are literally melt in your mouth delicious! I’ve never thought of a peanut butter cookie as delicate, but these are that. So good.

    • #
      Tessa — November 9, 2020 at 9:44 am

      So happy you loved these cookies! Yay!

  20. #
    Heather — August 15, 2020 at 1:48 pm

    These are freaking amazing!! I’ve made these about ten times & they always come out delicious. I’ve had them rolled in sugar & without. The sugar really brings a beautiful look & extra little crunch yet super soft middle.

  21. #
    HNH Style — July 2, 2020 at 2:17 am

    Godddd these cookies are so delicious!!! gosh super duper yummy! can’t wait to try more!! Love it!

  22. #
    Chelsea — June 18, 2020 at 6:16 pm

    Hi Tessa
    I want to make nutella stuffed peanut butter cookies, which you do have a recipe for but the measurements for it are all by volume instead of weight and I really prefer to use weight for more consistent, predictable results. This recipe is very similar to the nutella stuffed recipe, same total amount of sugar but more brown sugar in this one and this one has more flour.

    Do you know if the reason the nutella stuffed recipe has less flour is because of the nutella or because it’s just an older (possibly less tested?) recipe? I’m thinking I’ll use this recipe with the instructions for stuffing with nutella, unless there is a reason not to do that.

  23. #
    Melissa — April 29, 2020 at 5:46 pm

    I made these for the first time and they were a hit with everyone. I found that rolling the balls in sugar made them crunchier, so I like it better without rolling them. These are nice, chewy and not too sweet!

  24. #
    Marlene Hall — April 27, 2020 at 11:07 am

    OMG!! Made these for Monday Pandemic Baking Monday lol… and these are FANTASTIC! I love your blogs and reasoning why you do what ya do! Thank you!

  25. #
    carol — April 26, 2020 at 5:45 am

    I usually use Skippy Natural Creamy peanut butter. You say don’t use natural in the recipe. Why?

  26. #
    Scarlett — April 11, 2020 at 12:17 am

    Thanks for the tips appreciated your work.

  27. #
    Jennifer — April 9, 2020 at 6:44 pm

    The cups and grams measurements are not adding up. 302 grams of flour is equivalent to about 1 and 1/4 cups and 2 tablespoons i believe. and the sugars are each 3/4 cups but the grams are different. Which measurement is correct? Grams?

    • #
      Jennifer — April 9, 2020 at 6:46 pm

      Sorry i meant the brown sugar and the peanut butter are different. The cups are the same but the grams are different.
      3/4 cup (150 grams) light brown sugar
      3/4 cup (200 grams) creamy peanut butter

      • #
        Charlotte — June 9, 2020 at 4:05 pm

        3/4 cup of peanut butter weighs more than 3/4 cup light brown sugar.

  28. #
    Alina Evans — March 29, 2020 at 12:26 am

    Thank you for the recipe, I love cookies so much.

  29. #
    Lina — March 23, 2020 at 12:15 am

    I love cookies so much, thanks for great recipe and step by step tips 😉

  30. #
    Mandi — March 21, 2020 at 10:02 am

    Wow!! Wonderful cookies!! I added chocolate chips to mine and they were perfect!! I made them again using cookie butter instead of pb and they were amazing too!! Thanks for a great recipe!!!! ♥️

  31. #
    Margarita — January 27, 2020 at 9:03 am

    this recipe is perfect , it is one of my favorites! I am thinking about using the exact same recipe to make nutella cookies. Instead of peanut butter I will use nutella.What do you think?

  32. #
    Karen Pearman — November 13, 2019 at 5:07 pm

    Good evening,

    I made the peanut butter cookies OMG they are amazing!!!!! took them to work everyone loved them. I will definitely be checking out more of your cookie recipes .
    I also tagged#handletheheat on my Instagram page with a picture of the cookies I made.
    Thanks Karen

  33. #
    Jennifer Gillingham — August 24, 2019 at 7:42 am

    I made these as soon as I got the recipe yesterday. I followed the directions exactly. They are a nice cookie, but I find them a bit dry…next time I would bake a little less, as my edges weren’t browning so I think I overbaked them a bit. I am also not liking the sugar on the outside, so I would omit that next time. So, I will try this recipe one more time with the above changes and then review it again.

    • #
      Tessa — August 29, 2019 at 7:21 pm

      Hopefully these changes will make them work for you 🙂

  34. #
    Susan — August 23, 2019 at 8:12 pm

    Have made several of your creations and am very pleased with the results, so thank you for sharing them.
    On the PB cookies, is the sugar roll absolutely necessary to the flavor ?
    Thank you

    • #
      Tessa — August 29, 2019 at 7:20 pm

      It’s traditional to PB cookies, but if you don’t like that you can skip 🙂

  35. #
    Kay Hagan-Haller — August 23, 2019 at 1:46 pm

    I’m sorry but your videos popping up over the recipe I am trying to read are SO annoying!!!!

    • #
      Tessa — August 23, 2019 at 3:04 pm

      Hi Kay – I’m sorry to hear that! You should be able to press the X to close out of them 🙂

  36. #
    Stephanie — August 23, 2019 at 1:38 pm

    I love peanut butter and love these cookies. They are the right texture soft with a nice crumb like the Pb cookies we used to make as kids. They are going to be perfect when we make s’mores with them later on tonight! I noticed when you rate the recipe, it automatically clicks on “I made this” maybe you should change that so people aren’t misled with a 2 star rating when clearly that’s crazy!

    • #
      Tessa — August 29, 2019 at 7:23 pm

      Yay! So glad to hear that. I’m not sure I’m understanding your comment re: recipe rating. The “I made this” box gets ticked because the rating is meant to allow for feedback from only people who have actually made the recipe 🙂

      • #
        Stephanie — August 29, 2019 at 9:51 pm

        Oh in a perfect world people follow directions but looks like the comment I was referring to was deleted. Keep up the good work cookie queen

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