My peanut butter cookie recipe uses all butter and no shortening for the softest, actual-best tasting peanut butter cookies out there. This recipe is great for freezing & making in advance or enjoying the same day! Recipe includes a how-to video!
The BEST Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe
Say hello to the softest, butteriest, best peanut butter cookie recipe you’ve ever tried! With their slightly crisp, sugar-coated exteriors that give way to chewy, melt-in-your-mouth, peanut butter-y centers, these cookies are in-cre-di-ble.
This recipe is one of my all-time classic favorites, right up there with my chocolate chip cookies and snickerdoodles. I have so many peanut butter cookie recipes on the blog (a quick search will show you there are at least 13 ), but these are the real deal, classic cookies everyone enjoys.
What’s so great about my recipe:
- Freezes well: I typically have a bag of of this cookie dough (portioned into balls) in my freezer!
- Quick chilling: Just 30 minutes!
- Super soft: if you’re looking for a crispy peanut butter cookie recipe, this isn’t it! This recipe was designed to melt in your mouth.
- Incredible flavor. We’re using real, creamy, rich BUTTER (no shortening) for best flavor and texture!
- Can be made ahead of time: simply cover and chill for up to 2 days.
What You Need
You’ll recognize most of the ingredients above, but there are a few key points I’d like to make about the following:
- Peanut butter. I recommend using creamy peanut butter, but chunky peanut butter will also work if you want a little extra texture (smooth peanut butter is my preference). I do not recommend using a natural peanut butter (the kind where the oil separates). I’ve found this can be a bit more drying and can yield crumbly, dry cookies (sadly!).
- Butter. Many peanut butter cookie recipes (including my favorite version growing up) use shortening or a blend of butter and shortening. I developed this cookie recipe specifically to use butter and only butter. The result is a cookie that’s soft and chewy with an oh-so-tender, buttery crumb and a flavor like no other.
- Sugar. We’re using a blend of light brown and granulated sugar. The brown sugar imparts moisture and a touch of extra flavor, and of course, granulated sugar creates that pretty, sparkly exterior.
- Cornstarch. I love using cornstarch in my cookie recipes. It acts similarly to flour by preventing the cookies from spreading too much, but it does so without making them cakey or dry (the way flour might). It’s key for their soft texture!
SAM’S TIP: As with many of my recipes, this recipe uses unsalted butter and salt instead of salted butter. If you only have salted butter on hand, you can use that and reduce the salt in the recipe to ¼ teaspoon. If you’d like to learn more, I have a full post on why I use unsalted butter instead of salted butter.
As always, this is just an overview of the ingredients I used and why. For the full recipe please scroll down to the bottom of the post!
How to Make Peanut Butter Cookies
- Cream the butters and sugars until well combined, then stir in the egg and vanilla.
- Whisk together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl.
- Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients until combined.
- Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes.
- Roll 1 ½ Tablespoon-sized balls between your palms before rolling through granulated sugar.
- Press the tops of each cookie with a fork to create a criss cross design.
- Bake on a parchment lined baking sheet for 9-12 minutes at 350F.
- Let cool completely on the cookie sheets before enjoying.
SAM’S TIP: Do not over-bake these cookies! The centers should actually seem just slightly under-baked when they come out of the oven. They will finish baking as they cool on the cookie sheet for perfectly soft and chewy results.
Frequently Asked Questions
Peanut butter cookie dough is typically quite dense and needs to be pressed down to encourage spreading and even baking. Typically this is done with the tines of a fork.
With my peanut butter cookies recipe, the fork marks are largely unnecessary as these cookies will spread pretty well on their own. However, a peanut butter cookie without the criss-cross design on top just doesn’t seem right to me, so we keep it classic here!
Yes! My recipe freezes quite nicely. Follow the directions for rolled cookies (if rolling in sugar) or drop cookies (if not rolling in sugar) in my how to freeze cookie dough post.
Absolutely! Feel free to add chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, Reeses pieces, chopped chocolate, or even chopped up Nutter Butters. I would recommend skipping the fork tines if you add any of these ingredients.
This is most likely to happen from over-baking your cookies. Make sure to take them out of the oven when they’re still a bit soft in the middles, that way they can finish cooking on their cookie sheets outside the oven.
Looking for a chocolatey peanut butter cookie? Try my peanut butter chocolate chunk cookies!
Let’s bake together! I’ll be walking you through all the steps in my written recipe and video below! If you try this recipe, be sure to tag me on Instagram, and you can also find me on YouTube and Facebook
(The Actual Best) Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe
- 10 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature (141g)
- ½ cup creamy peanut butter¹ (140g)
- ⅔ cup light brown sugar, tightly packed (135g)
- ¼ cup granulated sugar (50g)
- 1 large egg
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour (188g)
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- Additional granulated sugar for rolling
- Combine butter, peanut butter, and brown sugar and ¼ cup granulated sugar in a large bowl (or in the bowl of a stand mixer) and use an electric mixer to beat until creamy and well combined.10 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature, ½ cup creamy peanut butter¹, ⅔ cup light brown sugar, tightly packed, ¼ cup granulated sugar
- Add egg and vanilla extract and stir until well-combined.1 large egg, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt.1 ½ cups all-purpose flour, 1 Tablespoon cornstarch, ¾ teaspoon baking soda, ¾ teaspoon salt
- Gradually stir the flour mixture into the peanut butter mixture. Make sure to pause periodically to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure all ingredients are well-combined.
- Cover mixing bowl with plastic wrap and place peanut butter cookie dough in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes to one hour (start with 30 minutes, if the dough is too sticky or your cookies are coming out of the oven too flat, chill for an additional half an hour. This dough may be chilled overnight if you'd like).
- Preheat oven to 350F (175C) and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Once dough has chilled, remove from refrigerator and scoop into heaping 1 ½ Tablespoon-sized balls.
- Roll the cookie dough between your palms until smooth and then roll thoroughly in additional granulated sugar. Place on prepared cookie sheet, spacing cookies at least 2" apart.Additional granulated sugar for rolling
- Use the tines of a fork to gently make a criss-cross pattern on the surface of each cookie by slightly pressing down.
- Bake on 350F (175C) for 9-12 minutes. Edges should be just turning golden brown but the cookie centers should appear slightly under-baked, allow cookies to cool completely on the cookie sheets and the centers will finish baking (but remain soft and chewy) as they cool on the cookie sheet. Don't over-bake or the cookies will be dry.
- Allow cookies to cool completely on baking sheet before enjoying.
¹Type of Peanut ButterI do not recommend using a natural peanut butter (the kind where the oil separates that you have to stir). You could use crunchy peanut butter, if you don’t mind the texture.
Video NotePlease note that the recipe video states to bake the cookie dough on 375F for 8-11 minutes. This will work, but recently I’ve found that baking on a slightly lower temperature (350F) for a minute longer makes the cookies even softer and so that is now what I recommend.
FreezingThis cookie dough freezes well. Chill the dough as instructed then scoop and roll through sugar before freezing in an airtight container. Cookie dough will still need to bake on 375F but may need an additional minute or so in the oven.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.
This recipe was originally published 05/09/2018. The recipe remains the same but more notes, photos and information have been added to the post with the hope to make it as helpful as possible!