The Best Peanut Butter Cookies

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Thick and soft with a rich peanut butter flavor and slightly sandy texture, these are the best peanut butter cookies.

Peanut Butter Cookies

In search of the ultimate peanut butter cookies, I gathered up the best-looking recipes from the internet and my cookbook collection, and I baked them all. Gwyneth Paltrow’s recipe, published in her cookbook My Father’s Daughter, was the winner hands down. The cookies are thick and soft with a rich peanut butter flavor and slightly sandy texture, and they are chockfull of Reese’s peanut butter chips and chopped peanuts. Normally, I’m not a big fan of peanut butter chips, but they add really nice texture and flavor here.

If you happen to be on a gluten-free diet (or are baking for someone who is), I’ve also got a fabulous flourless peanut butter cookie recipe that offers a delightful twist on this classic favorite.

“Wow Wow wow!!! My 7-year-old said it best after trying one: “It’s like I’m having a party in my mouth eating this cookie””


What You’ll Need To Make The Best Peanut Butter Cookies

ingredients for peanut butter cookies
  • Flour: Provides the base for the cookies. To ensure you’re using the correct amount of flour, spoon it into the measuring cup and level it off.
  • Baking Powder and Baking Soda: Act as leavening agents, helping the cookies rise and become fluffy and soft.
  • Butter: Adds richness and flavor to the cookies.
  • Creamy Peanut Butter: Not only adds deep peanut butter flavor, but also contributes to the moist and chewy texture. For best results, do not use natural peanut butter; it doesn’t contain stabilizers and is prone to separating.
  • Light Brown Sugar: Adds sweetness and moisture to the cookies, while also contributing to their chewiness.
  • Vanilla Extract: Enhances the overall flavor of the cookies with its aromatic richness.
  • Egg: Provides structure and helps bind the ingredients together.
  • Peanut Butter Chips: Intensify the peanut butter flavor and add bursts of sweetness throughout the cookies.
  • Salted Peanuts: Provide extra crunch and a hint of saltiness, complementing the sweetness of the cookies. These are optional, but I highly encourage them.
  • Jump to the printable recipe for precise measurements

Step-By-Step Instructions

Begin by whisking together the dry ingredients.

whisked dry ingredients

Next, combine the butter, peanut butter, brown sugar and vanilla extract in the bowl of an electric mixer.

butter, brown sugar, peanut butter and vanilla in mixer

Beat until smooth and creamy, about a minute.

smooth and creamy peanut butter mixture

Add the egg.

adding the egg

Mix to combine, then add the dry ingredients.

adding the dry ingredients

Add the peanut butter chips and chopped peanuts (if using).

adding the peanut butter chips and peanuts

Mix until just combined.

peanut butter cookie batter

Form the dough into 1-1/2-inch balls on parchment-lined baking sheets, and then use a fork to make a crisscross pattern and push the cookies down.

dough balls on baking sheet

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden.

baked peanut butter cookies

Let the cookies cool on the pan for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Peanut Butter Cookies

Note: This recipe is modestly adapted from Grandad Danner’s Favorite Peanut Butter Cookies in My Father’s Daughter by Gwyneth Paltrow. I replaced the dark brown sugar with light brown sugar, omitted the additional sugar for rolling, and add chopped peanuts for texture and more peanut flavor. I also made a few tweaks to the method. To see the original recipe and read the rave reviews, click here.

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The Best Peanut Butter Cookies

Thick and soft with a rich peanut butter flavor and slightly sandy texture, these are the best peanut butter cookies.

Servings: 32 cookies
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Total Time: 35 Minutes, plus 1 hour to chill the dough


  • 1¼ cups all purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off with knife
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter, at room temperature (I like Skippy No Need To Stir)
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup peanut butter chips
  • ½ cup very finely chopped salted peanuts (optional)


  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter, peanut butter, brown sugar and vanilla on medium speed until well combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the egg and beat until incorporated, about 20 seconds more. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until just combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Mix in the peanut butter chips and chopped peanuts (if using).
  4. Chill the dough for 1 hour (see note below). Set racks in the middle and upper thirds of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Using a 1½-inch scooper with a wire scraper (if you don’t have one, use a spoon and your hands), form the dough into 1½-inch balls on the prepared baking sheets. Using the tines of a fork, mark a crisscross pattern on the cookies, pressing them down slightly. Bake for 11-13 minutes, rotating the pans from top to bottom and front to back midway through, until puffed and golden on the bottom. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, and then transfer to a rack to cool completely. (Note: the cookies are very fragile when hot, so take care not to break them. They’ll firm up nicely as they cool.)
  5. Note: It's not absolutely necessary to chill the dough, however, it is quite sticky and difficult to handle if you don't have a "cookie scooper." Chilling the dough makes it much easier to handle, but feel free to skip this step if you like.
  6. Freezer-Friendly Instructions:The cookie dough can be frozen for up to 3 months. Roll the dough into balls, let set on a baking sheet in the freezer, then place in a sealable bag and press out as much air as possible. Bake as needed directly from the freezer. (Allow 1 to 2 minutes longer in the oven.) To freeze after baking: Let the cookies cool completely and store in an airtight container separating layers with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Before serving, remove the cookies from the container and let them come to room temperature.

Nutrition Information

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  • Serving size: 1 cookie
  • Calories: 173
  • Fat: 12g
  • Saturated fat: 4g
  • Carbohydrates: 12g
  • Sugar: 6g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Protein: 5g
  • Sodium: 13mg
  • Cholesterol: 78mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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  • Hi Jenn.
    If I don’t like the chips, would you suggest substituting chopped peanuts?
    Bon appétit from France.

    • — Jennifer D on January 8, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Jennifer, I generally don’t like peanut butter chips either, but I do like them in these cookies. That said, it’s fine to replace them with chopped peanuts. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on January 10, 2024
      • Reply
  • Tried these. My neighbors child took one bite of the cookie and spit them out due to taste of Reese’s peanut butter chips. It was a shocker. I don’t care for their fake taste either but that’s just me. My husband loves Reese’s candy, but the chips have a different taste. Nothing like real peanut butter. Won’t be using those again.

    • — Laura on December 20, 2023
    • Reply
  • OMG, these are the best peanut butter cookies I’ve ever made / tasted. I made them for my “Christmas Goody Day” at work and they’re going like hotcakes. So easy to make. These are my new go to for peanut butter cookies. Thanks Jenn! Your recipes never disappoint.

    • — Deb on December 11, 2023
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn – can I add diced apples to make it a peanut butter apple cookie?

    • — Tracy on October 14, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Tracy, I wouldn’t recommend it as I think you’d need to change too many other things in the recipe – sorry!

      • — Jenn on October 16, 2023
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    I made a batch of these peanut butter cookies and they were delicious.
    I tweaked it as you did from the original using what I had on hand. Instead of chopped peanuts I had a half jar of crunchy peanut butter and a cup of creamy peanut butter. I did not have the peanut butter chips so I used dark chocolate chips instead. So good….thank you always for inspiration. CAK

    • — Carole Kiel on September 28, 2023
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,

    Made these cookies for Church event. Everyone loved them!!!
    Thanks for another dynamite recipe.

    Love, Rose Kidd

    • — Rose Kidd on August 20, 2023
    • Reply

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