This simple recipe for soft peanut butter cookies will get your mouth watering.  These classic cookies are super easy to make from scratch for a crowd or an afternoon snack.  They’ll disappear in a hurry!

Prep Time: 45 minutes
person dunking a peanut butter cookie in a glass of milk
Cookies

Soft Peanut Butter Cookies

We handpicked the products and tools linked in this post. If you buy from one of these affiliate links, we may earn a small commission. Thanks for supporting Savor the Flavour!

Freshly baked homemade cookies.   Now, that’s one of those delicious aromas that every child loves to smell after a long day at school.  Soft peanut butter cookies have stood the test of time, becoming one of America’s favorite cookies.  I’m happy to share with you a simple and delicious recipe for peanut butter cookies, along with loads of tips and tricks to make you a PB cookie expert.

person dipping a soft peanut butter cookie into a glass of milk

Where are peanut butter cookies from?

Peanut butter cookies originate from the United States, and were first made around 1910.

Who invented peanut butter cookies?

George Washington Carver, a famous Southern botanist, came up with hundreds of uses for peanuts in the early twentieth century.  One of Mr. Carver’s great ideas was a type of peanut butter cookie.  During the 1930s, the recipe was modified to use peanut butter instead of chopped peanuts and was flattened with the distinctive fork marks.

Are peanut butter cookies healthy?

In moderation, peanut butter cookies are healthy for those on a balanced diet.  A serving of three cookies, each measuring 2 1/4 inches in diameter, contains 258 calories, 13.2g of fat, and 30.9g of carbs.  For full nutrition facts, scroll to the bottom of the recipe card below.

stack of soft peanut butter cookies on wax paper

Why do peanut butter cookies have fork marks?

The distinctive fork marks on peanut butter cookies do have a practical purpose.  Peanut butter cookie dough is quite dense, and the criss-cross design flattens the cookie, encouraging it to bake more quickly and evenly.

What does baking soda do in cookies?

Baking soda is a rising agent, which means it helps the cookie dough rise in the oven instead of turning into a dense brick.  Baking soda reacts with the acidic brown sugar to create air bubbles in the dough.  Baking soda also makes a chewier cookie than if you use only baking powder.

Should you refrigerate peanut butter cookie dough before baking?

For most peanut butter cookie recipes, including this one, you should refrigerate the dough before baking.  Otherwise, the dough will be way too sticky to roll into balls, and might spread too much in the oven.

pile of soft peanut butter cookies on a plate

Should I use parchment paper when baking cookies?

I recommend using parchment paper or a reusable silicone baking mat when baking cookies.  Here’s some good reasons why you should use parchment paper (or a reusable silicone baking mat) on your cookie sheets.

  • Parchment paper insulates the cookies and keeps them from burning as easily.
  • Parchment paper makes cleanup easy and keeps your cookie sheets from getting stained.

How do you know when peanut butter cookies are done?

  • The edges are set and are lightly browned.
  • The underside of the cookie is lightly browned.
  • Can’t see the color of the cookies inside of the oven?  Take them out of the oven for a second to check the color.  Also, most oven doors make the cookies appear darker than they really are.
  • Don’t be tempted to overbake.  Perfectly baked peanut butter cookies always look a little underdone when they come out of the oven, but will finish cooking and hardening up as they cool.

person holding a peanut butter cookie with a bite taken out

Troubleshooting Peanut Butter Cookies

It’s so frustrating when cookies don’t turn out!  Here are some common problems you might encounter while making peanut butter cookies and how to fix the problem for next time.

  • My peanut butter cookies are too soft.  You didn’t bake the cookies long enough.
  • My peanut butter cookies are dry.  You added too much flour or overbaked the cookies.
  • My peanut butter cookies are hard.  You overbaked the cookies or let them sit uncovered too long.
  • My peanut butter cookies are flat.  Your baking powder may have expired or you may have forgotten to add the baking soda and baking powder.
  • My peanut butter cookies are crumbly.  You added too much flour to the cookie dough.  Try measuring the flour with a kitchen scale for more accurate results.  If you must use measuring cups, spoon the flour into the cup and sweep off the excess with a knife.  Don’t pack the flour into the cup.
  • My peanut butter cookies are cracked.  Small cracks in cookies are okay, but really big cracks probably happened because the oven was too hot.  Calibrate your oven by using an oven thermometer to make sure it’s at the right temperature.

How to Keep Peanut Butter Cookies Soft

Put the peanut butter cookies in a plastic container with a slice of bread.  The moisture from the bread will keep the cookies soft.  This storage technique also will soften hard cookies.

How to Keep Peanut Butter Cookies Crisp

Put the peanut butter cookies in a metal cookie tin.  Do not store crisp cookies with soft cookies or inside of a plastic container; this will soften the hard cookies.

person holding a stack of soft peanut butter cookies

Can you freeze peanut butter cookie dough?

Yes, you absolutely can!  It’s best to freeze the cookie dough after you’ve rolled it into balls and marked it with the fork.  Then, you can pop the cookies in the oven straight from the freezer and enjoy freshly baked peanut butter cookies anytime.

  • Roll the cookies into balls and mark with the fork.
  • Flash freeze the cookies on a cookie sheet for 1 hour.
  • Seal the frozen cookies in a zip-top freezer bag and press out the extra air.
  • Freeze for up to 6 weeks.
  • Bake straight from the freezer and add 1-2 minutes to the baking time.

Can peanut butter cookies be frozen?

  • Flash freeze the baked, cooled cookies on a baking tray for 1 hour.  This prevents the cookies from sticking together in a big mass when they’re frozen.
  • Seal the cookies in a zip-top freezer bag or airtight container.
  • Freeze for up to 1 month.
  • Defrost at room temperature.

How to Make Soft Peanut Butter Cookies

Measure out the ingredients.  You’ll need unsalted butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, peanut butter, an egg, all-purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and vanilla extract.

flour, peanut butter, sugar, and other ingredients for peanut butter cookies

Beat the butter and salt with a stand mixer until smooth, then add the sugars.  Beat on medium-high speed until well mixed, about 2 minutes.  This step is called creaming.

mixture of butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer

Scrape down the bowl with a spatula and mix in the peanut butter, egg, and vanilla extract.  Add a large spoonful of flour as well to prevent the dough from curdling.

mixture of butter, sugar, peanut butter, and egg in a mixing bowl

Whisk the remaining flour with the baking powder and baking soda.

whisking a mixture of flour, baking soda, and baking powder

Add the flour mixture to the peanut butter mixture and stir on low speed until blended.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and blend on medium speed for a few seconds for a perfect mix.

peanut butter cookie dough in a mixing bowl

Chill the dough for at least 3 hours or overnight to firm it up.

chilled peanut butter cookie dough in a mixing bowl

Roll the dough into 1 1/4 inch balls.  Take the guesswork out of dividing the dough and use a kitchen scale.  Each ball should weigh 20 grams.

balls of peanut butter cookie dough on a cookie sheet

Dip a fork into sugar and flatten each cookie in a criss-cross pattern with the tines of the fork.

flattening balls of peanut butter cookie dough with a fork

Bake the cookies at 375 F for 9-10 minutes per tray, until the edges of the cookies are lightly browned.  Immediately put the baked cookies on a wire rack to cool.

baked peanut butter cookies on a wire cooling rack

Enjoy your freshly baked soft peanut butter cookies with a glass of milk!

plate of soft peanut butter cookies with a glass of milk

Pro Tips for Making Peanut Butter Cookies

  • Measure the ingredients accurately.  Using a kitchen scale is the best way to measure ingredients.
  • Use room-temperature ingredients.  This ensures an evenly mixed cookie dough.
  • Want extra soft and chewy cookies?  Increase the granulated sugar to 1/2 cup (100g) and bake for 9-10 minutes per tray.
  • Want to warm up ingredients quickly?  Cut the butter into small cubes and microwave in 5-second intervals until soft, but not melted.  Submerge the egg in hot tap water for 10 minutes.
  • Chill the cookie dough for at least 3 hours.  Otherwise, the dough will be too soft and greasy to roll into balls.
  • Make each cookie the same size.  This makes sure that the cookies will all be done baking at the same time.
  • Bake one tray of cookies at a time.  It saves time to bake both trays simultaneously, but it’s harder to get an even bake this way.  If you must bake both trays at once, switch them around halfway through the baking time.
  • Be careful not to underbake or overbake the cookies.  Bake until the edges are slightly browned.  Underbaked cookies will be soft and gooey, while overbaked cookies will be dry and hard.

Our Go-To Kitchen Tools for Peanut Butter Cookies

Satisfy your peanut butter cravings with these easy desserts.

slice of no bake frozen peanut butter pie on a plate person holding a cookie sheet of no bake chocolate oatmeal cookies holding a piece of chocolate peanut butter fudge

The pleasure of a 5-star review for these peanut butter cookies would be greatly appreciated.

Print
person dunking a peanut butter cookie in a glass of milk

Soft Peanut Butter Cookies


  • Author: Emma
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 30 cookies 1x

Description

This simple recipe for soft peanut butter cookies will get your mouth watering.  These classic cookies are super easy to make from scratch for a crowd or an afternoon snack.  They’ll disappear in a hurry!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened (115g)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed (110g)
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar (50g)
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (128g)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (180g)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Instructions

Making the Cookie Dough

  1. Place the softened butter and the salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Turn onto medium-high speed and beat until smooth, about 1 minute.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a silicone spatula and add the two kinds of sugar.  Beat on medium-high speed until well combined and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  2. Scrape down the bowl again, then add the peanut butter, egg, vanilla, and one large spoonful of the flour.  Beat on medium speed until evenly mixed.
  3. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder until blended.  Add this mixture to the peanut butter mixture and stir on low speed until the cookie dough forms.  Scrape down the bowl again and turn the mixer to medium speed for just a few seconds to ensure an even mix.
  4. Chill the cookie dough for at least 3 hours or up to 2 days.  It will be much easier to shape the cookies after the dough has firmed up in the fridge.

Rolling & Baking the Cookies

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.  Line two 11×17-inch cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Roll the chilled cookie dough into 1 1/4-inch balls.  Each ball should weigh 0.7 ounce (20 grams).  Space the cookie balls evenly apart on the prepared cookie sheets.
  3. Dip a fork into granulated sugar and flatten a cookie with the fork tines.  Dip the fork in sugar again and flatten the cookie at a right angle to the previous mark, creating a crosshatched pattern.
  4. Bake each tray of cookies at 375 F for 9-12 minutes per tray, until the edges are just starting to brown.  The lower range of baking time will make softer cookies, while the longer range will make slightly crispy cookies.
  5. Immediately transfer the baked cookies to wire racks and allow them to cool for at least 5 minutes before enjoying.

Notes

  • Make crunchy peanut butter cookies by using chunky peanut butter instead of smooth.
  • The pleasure of a 5-star review for these peanut butter cookies would be greatly appreciated.
  • 👩🏻‍🍳 Want to see our latest recipes?  Subscribe to our email newsletter to get our latest recipes, fun food facts, food puns, and behind the scenes news about our blog.
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: soft peanut butter cookies, best peanut butter cookies

Recipe Card powered by

4 thoughts on “Soft Peanut Butter Cookies

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.