These classic peanut butter cookies are the perfect cookie. Crunchy on the outside, chewy inside, with plenty of that peanutty flavor we all crave ~ this one bowl recipe is easy and flawless!
classic peanut butter cookies are perfect!
This classic peanut butter recipe is right up there with chocolate chip and oatmeal in the holy trinity of cookies. It’s a classic for a reason ~ parents have been baking them for kids for generations, it’s one of the first recipes new bakers tackle, and hungry peeps of all ages have been scarfing them down, with or without a cold glass of milk, since the oven was invented. Can you tell I love them? They have the perfect texture, great flavor, and stay fresh for days. In the world of cookies, it really doesn’t get any better.
what you’ll need for this easy one bowl recipe
- peanut butter ~ I use creamy (Jiff’s my fave.) I always use a regular peanut butter for baking, not the ‘natural’ kind that needs to be stirred. The loose, oily consistency of natural peanut butters don’t bake up well.
- brown sugar ~ the warm caramel flavor from the molasses in brown sugar goes so well with peanut butter.
- shortening ~ a controversial ingredient and many don’t like to use it. You can use all butter in that case, but shortening gives these cookies their distinctive chewy texture.
- baking powder, baking soda, and salt
- vanilla extract ~ I’m one of those vanilla lovers that always dribbles a little bit more over the measuring spoon and in this case, that’s a very good thing. Vanilla loves pb.
- granulated sugar ~ another key to the success of these cookies, I roll the balls of dough in sugar before baking. This adds a nice crunch and a final sweet touch. Pssst: I even sprinkle a little more sugar on the cookies as they come out of the oven!
peanut butter cookie faqs
Pressing the ball of cookie dough down with the tines of a fork is basically to flatten the cookie slightly so it will cook evenly. At some point the cross-hatch pattern came to symbolize the peanut butter cookie.
Regular peanut butter is best for baking, because ‘natural’ butters separate with a layer of oil on top that is very difficult to incorporate fully, and this can throw off the texture of a recipe. I like to use Jiff because I think it has the best roasted peanut flavor, and that’s important when you want the peanut butter flavor to come through in a baked good.
Yes, that’s fine. You can also add some finely chopped peanuts to your dough.
Yes, just leave out the extra salt in the recipe.
No, you can use all butter, but I highly recommend trying the shortening, especially if you appreciate a chewy cookie (that stays chewy.)
Yes, you can freeze them before or after baking. To freeze before baking put the cookies on a tray and freeze until firm, then you can put them in heavy duty freezer bags or a freezer safe container. They’ll last up to 3 months, and you can bake them right from frozen. They’ll take about a minute longer to bake.
They’ll last well for up to a week. Keep them in an airtight container at room temperature. For longer storage, freeze them.
could this be the perfect (peanut butter) cookie?
I’m biased, maybe, but these are so awesome they are definitely the perfect peanut butter cookie, and I can’t think of another cookie of any type that I’ve enjoyed more. They hit that sweet spot between crunchy, chewy, salty, and sweet. The remind me a little bit of my chewy ginger cookies, with a different flavor profile.
these cookies are ideal for the holidays
Definitely stock your freezer with these cookies for the holidays! There’s always room in a holiday cookie assortment for the classics, in fact, they’re usually the first to go 🙂 And let’s face it, there isn’t anybody who can resist a classic peanut butter cookie.
more peanut butter temptation
- Peanut Butter Pie
- Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cake
- Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Muffins
- Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bread
- Best Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Scone Recipe
- Heavenly Peanut Butter Pudding
Peanut Butter Cookies
- 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter (I like Jiff)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup shortening (I use Crisco butter flavored shortening)
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt Note: leave this out if you use salted butter.
- 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour (use the fluff, scoop and level method for accuracy)
- Beat the peanut butter, sugars, butter, shortening, egg, and vanilla together in a large mixing bowl. Blend until smooth.
- Stir in the baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Then fold in the flour. Mix just until no dry flour remains. Note: I stir the leaveners and salt in first to ensure they get evenly distributed. No one wants to bite into a lump of baking soda!
- At this point I chill the dough for about 30 minutes. I do this because it helps the cookies hold their shape a little better when they bake. I find it's a convenient opportunity to clean up before moving on. I like to keep the dough chilled between batches, too.
- Preheat oven to 350F
- Scoop out the dough, I use my standard cookie scoop which is 1 and 11/16 wide, and holds a scant 2 tablespoons of dough. I do not mound the dough in my scoop, I scrape it against the bowl to flatten the top.
- Roll the dough in your palms to form round balls and roll them generously in granulated sugar. Place on a lined cookie sheet, 2 inches apart, because they will spread.
- Take the tines of a fork, dipped in sugar, and make the cross-hatch markes by pressing down gently on each ball, first in one direction, then in the opposite. Note: the sugar will help keep the fork from sticking.
- Bake the cookies for 10 minutes. They will be very soft when they come from the oven, but will firm up as they cool. I let them cool for 5 or 10 minutes before transferring them to a rack. Note: if your cookies are bigger than mine, they will take a little longer to bake.
Questions and Reviews
What can I say that hasn’t already been said about these delicious cookies. A great way to beginmy holiday baking freezer stash. Love your post about ten make ahead holiday cookies. As always, a fabulous recipe with detailed instructions. Thank you!
These are amazing!!! I made them using Measure for Measure gluten-free flour and sprinkled Maldon sea salt over them before baking. A very special cookie! Thanks for this terrific, easy recipe, Sue!
Do you think it would taste as good with lard? We normally do not use crisco but i do cook with lard (if so, which kind ? Chicken, beef, etc…?)
You’ve got me here, Jennifer, I don’t really know. People do bake with lard, and some love it, so I know it’s possible, but not sure about the flavor, sorry! If you try it, let us know.