Soft peanut butter cookies are great any time of day, any time of year. They are somewhat nostalgic, at least for us, and are definitely an OG cookie recipe. We love a yummy, soft, melt-in-your-mouth cookie and these peanut butter cookies hit the spot. The peanut butter provides so much flavor with a hint of saltiness, which is balanced out by the sugar that coats each cookie. And of course we use the back of a fork to stamp the traditional criss-cross pattern on each cookie. Our recipe is easy to make and results in good ol' fashioned peanut butter cookies!
What makes these cookies soft?
To be honest, we prefer to slightly underbake any cookie for this sole reason. Overbaking results in a tough cookie so we usually trim 1-2 minutes off the recommended baking time when testing recipes. As cookies cool on the baking sheet, they continue to cook. It's easy to fix a cookie that's too underbaked (which Zach may say never exists) - all you gotta do is pop it back in the oven. But once a cookie is overbaked, it's hard to fix. In addition to slightly underbaking the peanut butter cookies, using more brown sugar than white helps to keep these cookies soft. We are definitely a household that prefers soft, chewy cookies over hard, crunchy cookies!
Yes! The cookies will still taste great if you don't, but we chill the dough before baking so that the cookies keep their shape and don't spread too thin. The ingredients (mainly butter and peanut butter) need to get nice and cold so they maintain their shape as much as possible while baking.
You will start to smell fragrant peanut butter coming from the oven and that's how you know they're almost, if not already, done! We take them out right when they start to turn golden brown. Knowing your oven well is important - some ovens cook hotter or cooler than others, so we suggest frequently checking the cookies!
Natural peanut butter is our go-to for any recipe, mainly because it has less ingredients and is less processed than regular peanut butter. However, for this recipe, any peanut butter will work! If you like texture, crunchy peanut butter adds a nice crunch compared to smooth!
Nope! It's totally up to you. The sugar coating adds a little bit of sweetness and texture but these cookies are still great without it 🙂
There are two ways. Our favorite way is to roll the dough balls and place on a baking sheet as if you were about to bake them. Pop them in the freezer for 15 minutes or until mostly frozen. Remove from the baking sheet and place in a resealable plastic bag, and place the bag back in the freezer. Boom! Now you have ready-to-bake cookie dough for whenever you desire. Just add a minute or two to the baking time and it's like you just made fresh cookies!
The second way is to fully bake the cookies as if you were going to eat them that day. Once they have fully cooled, transfer to an air-tight container and freeze for up to 1 month.
Put a twist on these cookies
We love playing with recipes and seeing what we can add to alter the flavor slightly (or satisfy a craving that hits). Here are some fun add-ins to try with this peanut butter cookie base (we suggest using ½-3/4 cup of add-ins with this recipe):
- Chocolate chips (milk, dark, white - your preference!)
- Peanut butter chips
- Raisins or dried cranberries
- Make thumbprints and fill with jam or icing
- Make sandwich cookies by filling with our cream cheese buttercream or our bourbon honey buttercream
- Chop salted peanuts to add even more crunch
- Follow the recipe as is and crush the cookies once they're cooled. Use crushed cookies in lieu of Nutter Butters in our no-bake peanut butter pie recipe
If you make this recipe at home, please rate and review it below! We love connecting on social media too, so snap a photo and tag us @theperfectpear8 so we can see!Print
Soft Peanut Butter Cookies
Soft peanut butter cookies are great any time of day, any time of year. We love a yummy soft, melt-in-your-mouth cookie and these peanut butter cookies hit the spot. The peanut butter provides so much flavor with a hint of saltiness, which is balanced out by the sugar that coats each cookie. Our recipe is easy to make and results in good ol' fashioned peanut butter cookies!
- Prep Time: 1 hour
- Cook Time: 8 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 8 minutes
- Yield: 50 cookies 1x
- Category: Desserts
- Cuisine: American
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp baking powder
- 1 cup peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
- ½ cup (1 stick) butter, room temp
- ¾ cup packed brown sugar
- ¼ cup granulated sugar, plus ¼ cup for rolling
- 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 large egg, room temp
- In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In a stand mixer or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat butter and peanut butter until creamy. Add brown sugar and ¼ cup granulated sugar and mix. Be sure to scrape the bowl!
- Add egg and vanilla. Mix until combined, ~1 minute. Scrape the bowl.
- Add ½ of the dry ingredients to the wet and mix. Once combined, add remaining ½ of the dry ingredients.
- Once dough is fully mixed, cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 45 minutes.*
- While dough is chilling, prepare baking sheets by lining with parchment paper and/or spraying with nonstick spray. Place remaining ¼ cup granulated sugar onto a plate or shallow bowl.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Remove dough from the refrigerator and roll into balls the size of ~1-2 Tbsp.
- Roll each ball in sugar until fully coated and place onto baking sheet ~2" apart. Using a fork, lightly press each ball down until an imprint is left and then turn the fork 90 degrees and repeat.
- Bake for 6-8 minutes, until edges are golden brown.
- Let cool on sheet for 2 minutes before transferring to a cooling wrack.
- *Dough can chill overnight - just make sure it's fully covered and won't dry out!
- You can portion dough into balls and freeze. Line a baking tray with dough balls and freeze for 20 minutes. Place balls into a resealable plastic bag and freeze for up to 2 months! You can also freeze after baking if you prefer but we suggest eating these within 1 month for freshness purposes.
- These cookies are best served warm (and with a glass of milk) but will last in an air-tight container for up to 5 days.
- Serving Size: 1 cookie
- Calories: 76
- Sugar: 5
- Sodium: 53
- Fat: 4
- Saturated Fat: 2
- Unsaturated Fat: 1
- Trans Fat: 0
- Carbohydrates: 8
- Fiber: 0
- Protein: 1
- Cholesterol: 9