Buttery soft Peanut Butter Cookies! These are a classic cookie, but I’d bet that this recipe is a little different from the versions you’re used to. This recipe uses all butter and no shortening for the softest, best-tasting peanut butter cookie. I’ve also included a video so you can see exactly how I make them in my own kitchen.
The Best Peanut Butter Cookies
Say hello to the softest, butteriest, best peanut butter cookies you’ve ever tried.
I’m not even exaggerating. With their slightly crisp, sugar-coated exteriors that give way to chewy, melt-in-your-mouth, peanut butter-y centers… I’m basically obsessed with them.
The dough freezes well, too, which I can attest to because I have (or, had, rather) a full bag of peanut butter cookie dough balls in my freezer that I’ve been baking my way through all too rapidly. As I’m writing this the oven is currently preheating so I can make myself even more. I’m not sure if it’s because these peanut butter cookies have become one of my top pregnancy cravings or just because they’re that good.
Key Ingredients for the Softest Peanut Butter Cookies
You’ll recognize most of the ingredients above as being pretty standard for peanut butter cookies, but there are a few key points I’d like to make about the following:
- Butter. As I mentioned, many, many peanut butter cookies (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 a 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 into the cookies.
- Cornstarch. I love using cornstarch in my cookie recipes. The cornstarch acts in much the same way flour does and helps keep the cookies from spreading too much without making them cakey or dry (the way flour might). It’s key for the soft texture of these peanut butter cookies.
Once Baby Boy is born the first thing I’m doing is diving head-first into a bowl of peanut butter cookie dough. Avoiding raw dough and batter has been one of the toughest things about this pregnancy (thank goodness for edible cookie dough!)!
What’s With the Fork Marks?
Peanut butter cookie dough is typically quite dense and traditionally the dough needs to be pressed down to encourage the cookies to spread properly and bake evenly. Typically this is done with the tines of a fork. With my recipe, the fork marks are largely unnecessary as these cookies spread pretty well on their own, but a peanut butter cookie without the grid-design on top just doesn’t seem like a peanut butter cookie to me, so we keep it classic here!
Tips for Making Perfect Peanut Butter Cookies
- I recommend using creamy peanut butter, but chunky peanut butter will also work well if you want a little extra texture! However, I do not recommend using a natural peanut butter (the kind where the oil separates and it needs to be stirred).
- As with many of my recipes, this recipe uses unsalted butter and then we add ¾ teaspoon of salt. If you only have salted butter on hand you can use that and reduce the salt in the recipe to ¼ teaspoon. Here’s more information on why I use unsalted butter and then add salt, if you’re interested.
- The peanut butter cookie dough will need to be chilled. Cover the dough and chill it for at least 30 minutes. That’s usually enough chilling for my cookie dough, but if yours is still too sticky, return it to the fridge and chill another 15 minutes or so. This dough can also be made a day or two in advance, just make sure you cover it well while it is chilling.
- Rolling your peanut butter cookie dough balls in sugar is optional, but I think it gives these cookies a nice slightly crisp exterior and super soft and chewy interiors. Plus, what’s an extra teaspoon of sugar? 😉
- Do not over-bake these cookies, that’s the surest way to get dry 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 (let them cool completely on the cookie sheet).
I’m so obsessed with how soft and buttery and chewy these cookies are that I’ve used this same base for my peanut butter blossoms!
More Classic Cookies to Try:
Peanut Butter Cookies
- 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.
- Add egg and vanilla extract and stir until well-combined.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and 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.
- 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 peanut butter cookies to cool completely on baking sheet before enjoying.
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!