Soft Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies deliver big peanut butter flavor in a rich, buttery cookie with chewy centers. This recipe requires no chill time and can be made and out of the oven in less than 40 minutes!
This recipe has been well tested, and we’ve included all our tips for keeping these cookies extra soft or freezing them so they’re ready to bake when you are!
Perfectly Soft and Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies
I have tested a lot of peanut butter cookie recipes in the last week. So many, in fact, that I told my husband I never wanted to eat a peanut butter cookie again.
The problem with that, of course, is that these soft and chewy peanut butter cookies are really, really good. So despite the fact that I felt utterly peanut-buttered out, by the next day I found myself once again reaching into the tupperware for just one more nibble.
All that testing paid off, because I think we’ve found a really great recipe for a soft, buttery, AND chewy peanut butter cookie.
Peanut butter cookies can be plagued with all sorts of issues–overly sweet, too crumbly, dry, or not enough peanut butter. We tested a few different recipes and various baking temperatures to get the right balance of big peanut butter flavor without any dryness or crumbliness.
These cookies don’t require any chill time, making them perfect for a quick after school treat or night time peanut butter craving. They’re absolutely wonderful dipped in milk or (ahem) crumbled over ice cream.
Secrets to Making the Best Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies
- Higher brown sugar to white sugar ratio– more brown sugar means a slightly chewier cookie
- An extra egg yolk– I took a page from our Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies, and added an extra egg yolk to the cookie dough. I love using this trick when I want extra fat and richness, making an even chewier cookie.
- More peanut butter! Most recipes call for only a ½ cup of peanut butter. Ours calls for a full cup.
- A slightly higher baking time– I took this trick from our Triple Chip Cookies, which use a higher baking temperature to set the outsides of the cookie faster, while leaving a perfectly soft and puffy center.
- Sprinkled sugar on top– We skipped the process of rolling the cookies in sugar, and instead sprinkled it on top of the disks before baking. It was easier and resulted in a prettier cookie.
- Precision baking and cooling times- We almost always underbake our cookies a smidge, but it’s especially important for chewy peanut butter cookies. The cookies should be removed from the oven when the edges are set and golden, but the center still looks puffy. They will need to cool on the pans for a few minutes, but should be removed to cool completely on a wire rack in no more than 3 minutes.
- Dry ingredients– Flour, baking soda, and salt
- Unsalted butter– This recipe has very little added salt, since the peanut butter has quite a bit on its own. For this reason, I don’t recommend subbing salted butter. If you do, you’ll likely want to omit the salt altogether.
- Peanut butter– While I love the big peanut flavor of natural peanut butter for recipes like Grilled Peanut Butter and Jelly and Fluffernutter Sandwiches, traditional commercial creamy peanut butter works best for this recipe.
- Brown and granulated sugars
- Egg + Egg Yolk
- Milk– I tried baking these without the milk, but it really does make a difference! The version with the milk was less crumbly and more chewy.
- Vanilla extract- I’m always generous with the vanilla extract in our cookie recipes. It makes a difference!
How to Make Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies
- Prep. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper.
- Whisk dry ingredients. In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- Beat wet ingredients. In a large bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter and peanut butter on high speed until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Add both sugars and beat until smooth. Add the egg and egg yolk, beating well after each addition. Beat in the milk and vanilla extract.
- Add dry ingredients. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the peanut butter mixture. Once it’s mostly combined, turn the mixer up to medium speed and beat until cohesive.
- Scoop and press. Scoop rounded Tablespoons of dough (I use a #40 cookie scoop) onto the prepared pans. Use a large serving fork to press a criss cross shape into the top of the dough, pressing into about ½ inch thick disks. Sprinkle the dough with granulated sugar.
- Bake. Bake the cookies for 9-10 minutes, removing them from the oven when the edges are just set, but the centers are still puffy. Allow the cookies to set up on the pan for 2-3 minutes, then remove to a wire rack and cook completely.
How to Freeze Peanut Butter Cookies
Scoop the cookies and flatten them into disks, leaving the sugar coating off the top. Place them close together, but not touching, on a parchment lined pan, and place in the freezer. Freeze for an hour, or until solid. Transfer to a freezer safe ziplock bag and store for up to 6 months.
To bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees (25 degrees lower than when baked fresh). Bake for 10-11 minutes and cool on the pans as usual. Check out this post on Freezing Cookies and Bars for more tips.
Why do my peanut butter cookies get hard?
This is likely a result of overbaking or allowing the cookies to cool completely on the hot pan rather than on a wire rack. It really is important to keep an eye on these and remove them promptly.
Our recipe for chewy peanut butter cookies should stay soft for several days if stored at room temperature in an airtight container.
Why don’t my peanut butter cookies taste like peanut butter?
Many peanut butter cookie recipes simply don’t have enough peanut butter! Or they use ingredients that mask or muddy the peanut butter flavor, like shortening.
Our recipe uses a full cup of creamy commercially processed peanut butter, which imparts the most concentrated peanut butter flavor.
Should you chill peanut butter cookie dough before baking?
Chilling is not required for these! It’s one of the things I love most about them. In fact, if you do chill them, you’ll need to let them warm up at room temperature for a bit to make them scoopable.
Why do you put hash marks on a peanut butter cookie?
This is a dense cookie dough, which means if we left it in a tight ball, it wouldn’t spread like a traditional drop cookie. Pressing it into a disk allows the cookie to cook evenly and in a proper shape, and using a fork to do it just makes it prettier!
Feel free to add a ½ cup of chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, or chopped peanuts to this recipe. If you love a cookie with lots of mix-ins, try our Reese’s Peanut Butter Chip Cookies.
You can also add some cinnamon to the sugar sprinkle for a fun flavor variation.
More Fabulous Recipes for Peanut Butter Lovers
- Peanut Butter Thumbprints with Jam
- Amish Peanut Butter Spread
- No Bake Peanut Butter Bars
- Peanut Butter Meringue Pie
- Buckeye Brownies
- Peanut Butter Breakfast Banana Splits
- Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Creme Pies
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter*
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 Tablespoon milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper.
- In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter and peanut butter on high speed until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Add both sugars and beat until smooth. Add the egg and egg yolk, beating well after each addition. Beat in the milk and vanilla extract.
- With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the peanut butter mixture. Once it's mostly combined, turn the mixer up to medium speed and beat until cohesive.
- Scoop rounded Tablespoons of dough (I use a #40 cookie scoop) onto the prepared pans. Use a large serving fork to press a criss cross shape into the top of the dough, pressing into about ½ inch thick disks. Sprinkle the dough with granulated sugar.
- Bake the cookies for 9-10 minutes, removing them from the oven when the edges are just set, but the centers are still puffy. Allow the cookies to set up on the pan for no more than 2-3 minutes**, then remove to a wire rack and cook completely.
*Commerically processed creamy peanut butter has the best texture for cookies. Natural peanut butter could result in a grainy or oily cookie.
**It's very important to remove the cookies from the oven when they're still puffy, and only allow them to set up on the pan for a few minutes.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 30 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 111Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 13mgSodium: 110mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 1gSugar: 8gProtein: 3g
Please note nutritional information for my recipes is calculated by a third party service and provided as a courtesy to my readers. For the most accurate calculation, I always recommend running the numbers yourself with the specific products you use.
Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen who credits the The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook: Old-Fashioned Recipes From New York’s Sweetest Bakery