Learn how to make classic peanut butter cookies with natural peanut butter that are thicker and spread less with this recipe!
This is a typical peanut butter cookie recipe, from my mom's recipe box, and it's a riff on the classic peanut butter cookie that many of us in North America grew up eating. Sometimes, you'll find the recipe on the back of the label on a jar of regular peanut butter. But of course I did a little experimenting. I wanted a cookie that was thicker but still chewy and containing natural peanut butter.
The cookie recipe below is quite different than these 3-ingredient flourless peanut butter cookies, which are gluten-free and made with three basic ingredients (peanut butter, sugar, and an egg). On the other hand, the recipe below is made with both butter and peanut butter, as well as eggs, flour, and baking soda (a chemical leavener).
Often, the key to a thicker cookie is to use more flour. When I was developing this recipe, I tested making the cookie dough with less flour, using 125 grams (1 cup) of all-purpose flour, to using more flour, 188 grams (1.5 cups) of all purpose flour:
- Peanut butter cookies made with less flour spread more. They are thinner, softer, and slightly chewy.
- Peanut butter cookies made with more flour spread less. They are thicker, chewy, more firm.
This recipe, believe it or not, is actually a variation of my recipe for the best chocolate chip cookies, which yields a thick, chewy cookie. Once you have a good base recipe, you can make so many variations and adaptations of it:
- thick chewy oatmeal cookies with milk chocolate chunks and peanuts
- blueberry oatmeal cookies with white chocolate
You should also play with the baking time to achieve the desired texture. To make the perfect peanut butter cookie that isn't too dry or crisp, the baking time should be around 10 to 12 minutes at 350 ºF. Any longer, and you will end up with crisper cookies. That's okay. They all taste amazing, and are the perfect excuse to stay home.
If you are looking for even bigger, thicker peanut butter cookies, try these thick chewy peanut butter cookies made with white chocolate chunks and chopped nuts.
Classic Peanut Butter Cookies
- 115 grams unsalted butter room temperature
- 125 grams all natural, unsweetened smooth peanut butter
- 100 grams granulated sugar
- 100 grams light brown sugar
- 1 large egg(s)
- 2.5 mL pure vanilla extract
- 2.5 mL baking soda
- 2.5 mL Diamond Crystal fine kosher salt
- 188 grams bleached all-purpose flour Note: use 125 grams (1 cup) flour for softer cookies that spread more OR use 188 grams (1 ½ cups) flour for chewy thicker cookies
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175 °C).
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, peanut butter, and the sugars for several minutes, starting on low and slowly increasing the speed to medium. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
- Add the egg, and beat until it is incorporated, then the vanilla, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- In a separate bowl, combine the baking soda and salt. For chewy/softer/thin cookies, add 125 grams of flour. For thicker chewy cookies, add 188 grams of flour. Whisk the dry ingredients together then add them to the mixer bowl. Beat until combined.
- Scoop the cookie dough with a cookie scoop onto parchment-lined cookie sheets, press with a lightly-floured fork to make a criss-cross pattern, and then bake for 10–12 minutes for chewy cookies or for 13–15 minutes for crispier cookies.
- Let cool several minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- For the peanut butter:
- I like Maranatha brand all-natural unsweetened peanut butter, which you can purchase on Amazon.
- I have also used Kraft Natural peanut butter and it works great too (it's made from peanuts only and has nothing else added)
- To scoop cookies, I use a 1.5 tablespoon cookie scoop Amazon
Tools to bake the best peanut butter cookies
There are tools, equipment, and bakeware that I use when I make these peanut cookies. If you plan to make cookies often or bake more regularly, I encourage you to invest in a few baking tools to make your baking journey easier and more successful!
- Cookie scoop: this style of cookie scoop comes in a variety of sizes. Some call it a "disher" and it's the most reliable scoop I've found (available on Amazon). They can handle firm doughs without breaking because the release mechanism is separate from the handle! This gives you a better, firm grip on the handle, without the risk of breaking the leaver. I have 4 of these in different sizes.
- Electric hand mixer: most of us used to make cookies with a good old wooden spoon, but now I don't have the stamina, the arm strength, or the motivation, honestly. I have used an electric hand mixer from Braun (Multimix HM5100 available on Amazon) to make these cookies and it works well. I've also used the KitchenAid Artisan mixer. Both work!
- Large bowl with a rubber or silicone grip on the bottom: if you are going to make cookie dough with a hand mixer, invest in a GIANT 8 quart stainless bowl with a rubberized bottom so it is stable on the counter and this way, the bowl won't dance around as the mixer runs. This set from Amazon will do the trick. Or buy a stainless bowl without a rubberized grip and nest it in a damp towel to stabilize it while mixing.
- Kitchen scale: I cannot stress enough how much easier it is to measure out ingredients by weight. If you are interested in making the switch to a digital scale, I like this OXO Good Grips kitchen scale available on Amazon. I use it all the time and it takes standard AAA batteries which you probably have on hand most of the time.
- Parchment paper to prevent sticking: I prefer to bake cookies on Aluminum pans lined with parchment paper. I have baked with Silpat and silicone baking mats in the past, but I much prefer baking with parchment. Silicone is insulating and this will have an impact on how long it takes to properly bake the cookies and this will reduce browning as well. If you like gooey, underbaked cookies, silicone mats like the Silpat are your best bet (available on Amazon). If you prefer chewy cookies, opt for parchment paper—I use the Kirkland brand roll available on Amazon.