After five or six rounds of testing, let me present to you these perfect peanut butter cookies. Made with browned butter, a mix of dark brown and granulated sugar, and a ton of peanut butter, this recipe may just become your new favorite.

If you’re into this sort of thing, I’ll take you through the process of formulating the best peanut butter cookie. And if not, you can jump straight to the recipe.

Peanut butter fans, you may also enjoy my peanut butter sweet rolls or my chocolate peanut butter sauce recipes. For ease of browsing, you can find all my cookie recipes in one place. Thanks for being here. Now let’s get right to it.

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A small, white footed pedecstal with a stack of peanut butter cookies on it. The top cookie has a bite taken our of it. the pedestal is on a jade-green tile surface.

View my best peanut butter cookie recipe web story here.

A tender peanutty peanut butter cookie that will be hard to stop eating! I baked for 10 +5 minutes for a softer chewier cookie. Flavor is well balanced, peanutty, salty and not so sweet. A winner!

Reader Jane (who tested the recipe for me–thank you, Jane!)

Why You Need to Make These Cookies

Not all recipes are for all people, so here’s what to expect if you make this recipe.

You’ll like these cookies if you:

  • Enjoy cookies with crispy edges
  • Like large cookies that spread a fair bit
  • Want to control the amount of crunch by controlling how long you bake your cookies
  • Love deep peanut butter flavor
  • Want cookies that are rolled in sugar with a bit of salt added for more dimension
  • Think brown butter makes everything better (because it does)

Sound good to you? You can skip to the recipe. Continue reading if you need a bit more guidance on how to make them.

A collage of two images, side by side. The one of the left is a hand holding a peanut butter cookie about 3" in diameter. The second is a hand holding half the cookie with the cross-section turned to the camera to show the interior texture.

And if these cookies sound right up your alley and you do make them, I have a request:

When you do make this recipe, it will help me and other readers if you:
✅Rate the recipes using the stars in the recipe card⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
✅Leave a review when prompted in the recipe card (If it’s a positive review, and I hope it is, I’ll use it in the post as social proof)✍️
✅Leave a comment on the post📝
Thank you so much!😘

Testing to Get It Right

I went through maybe 6 rounds of testing for this recipe. If you’re interested in such things, read on. If not, skip to the recipe.

First I tried a spin on the no-flour peanut butter cookies that have a minimal amount of ingredients.

I was not a fan at all. I found the texture off-putting, plus they had a weird aftertaste. Nope.

Then I played with amounts of sugar and using baking soda versus not.

I strongly recommend using baking soda if you like crispy cookies or at least cookies with crispy edges.

Use baking powder only if you prefer a softer cookie.

Browning the butter made an enormous difference to the depth of flavor, at least to my palate, so once I tried browned butter, there was no going back.

Know that you can vary the amounts of sugar and/or flour fairly liberally to tweak the cookies even more.

Think these are too sweet? Cut back on the sugar a little next time. Want them thicker? Add a touch more flour.

Whether you make these peanut butter cookies exactly like I did or not, I hope you love them!

What Sets These Cookies Apart?

Compared to typical peanut butter cookies, and I did a LOT of comparisons, these cookies call for more peanut butter, a bit less flour, more salt, and more egg.

In short, they are crispy throughout if you bake them until they are golden brown all over, but they have a really lovely chew in the centers if you underbake them a little.

The browned butter lends depth of flavor without adding extra water as “whole butter” would. I add a touch of milk to introduce that liquid back into the cookies, but you could omit it if you prefer a cookie that’s a bit thicker and doesn’t spread quite as much.

For me, though, as written, these peanut butter cookies check all my boxes. All of them.

Perfect for dunking or just munching, I hope you give these a try.

How to Make Them

Here are all the ingredients you’ll need to make these cookies followed by the procedure to make them.

Ingredients and Substitutions

Full-color images of all the ingredients needed to make peanut butter cookies, labeled and arranged on a white background. Title text reads, "Brown Butter Peanut Butter Cookie Ingredients," and the pictured ingredients are all-purpose flour, bread flour, baking powder and baking soda, brown btter, dark brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt, vanilla, peanut butter, eggs, and milk.
  • All-purpose flour: provides bulk and structure while providing a modest amount of gluten
  • Bread flour: additional bulk and structure while adding a healthy amount of gluten for a nice chewy cookie when underbaked slightly. NOTE: Use all all-purpose for lighter, more delicate cookies or all bread flour for sturdier and more chewy (when underbaked) cookies
  • Baking powder: provides a little lift and puff to the cookies
  • Baking soda: provides additional leavening while making the cookies more crispy on the edges
  • Browned butter: Provides 100% butterfat with a nice, warm and nutty flavor that really complements the peanut butter. You can use whole butter (without browning it) instead. Just omit the milk in the recipe
  • Granulated sugar: provides sweetness and tenderness as well as assisting in browning
  • Dark brown sugar: provides a bit of deep molasses flavor as well as adding sweetness and tenderness. Dark brown sugar also adds to the chewy factor when underbaked
  • Salt: Peanut butter alone does NOT have enough salt to really shine in a cookie, so enhance the nuttiness of the peanuts as well as the brown butter by using additional salt. I use kosher salt. If using table salt, cut the amount by half
  • Vanilla extract: rounds out all the other flavors and brings some floral, woody notes to the cookies
  • Milk: In this case, milk provides the liquid lost from the butter when you brown it. For thicker cookies with a bit less spread, you can omit the milk
  • Peanut butter: Creamy peanut butter will oddly give you a better overall peanut flavor, although you can also use crunchy peanut butter. Why? Because creamy peanut butter is 100% peanut butter as opposed to crunchy, which is peanut butter with peanuts swirled in. So per cup, you actually get more peanut butter per cup when you use creamy. Rather than using crunchy peanut butter, use creamy, and then add chopped peanuts if you’d like some additional peanut crunch
  • Eggs: Add some fat, protein, emulsifiers, and some liquid. Eggs provide structure and the egg whites help with the crispy-around-the-edges texture

For Rolling the Dough in Before Baking

You’ll also need a bowl with granulated sugar and salt in it. Use about 1/2-3/4 cups of sugar and roughly 1 teaspoon of kosher salt.

Whisk the two together and taste. It should definitely be more sweet than salty, but you should get a little sparkle of salt when you taste it.

Procedure

A wire rack with peanut butter cookies cooling on it.

Peanut butter cookies, like most American-style butter-based cookies, are made using the creaming method.

In a nutshell, here’s how:

  1. Cream butter, sugars, salt, and flavorings together until smooth and uniform
  2. Mix in the eggs.
  3. Add the dry ingredients and stir in thoroughly

You can make these cookies using a stand mixer, a hand mixer and a bowl, or just a bowl with a silicone spatula. I made them with a bowl and a spatula, because I don’t want anyone thinking they can’t make cookies if they don’t have a mixer.

Here are some photos to get a good look at the procedure.

First, gather all your ingredients. Whisk together the two flours and leavening and set that aside.

Then, mix up the two sugars, browned butter–solid but not hard–salt, vanilla, and milk until creamy and thoroughly combined.

Once you’ve done that, add the egg and peanut butter.

NOTE: The photos show a half-batch with just one egg. A half batch yields about 20 cookies. A full batch, with 2 eggs, yields around 40 cookies.

A collage of 3 images. The first shows all the containers of all the ingredients for making peanut butter cookies laid out on the counter. The second shows brown butter, brown sugar, and white sugar in a glass mixing bowl. The third shows the first ingredients all mixed together with egg and peanut butter added in on top.

The first image below pictures the egg and peanut butter mixed into the butter and sugar mixture.

Then add the dry ingredients and mix until well combined with no loose flour remaining in the bowl.

At this point, cover the dough and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.

A collage of 4 images of the same glass bowl of peanut butter cookie dough. The first image is the dough before the flour is added. The second shows all the dry ingredients dumped on top of the peanut butter mixture. The third shows the flour being worked into the dough with a spatula. There is still a lot of loose flour in the bowl. The fouth image shows the dough completely combined with no flour remaining loose in the bowl.

Once the dough has chilled for at least 45 minutes, you can start portioning it out.

Scale the dough out in 1 oz portions or 1 1/2 Tablespoons/4 teaspoons.

Gently roll the dough into balls and then place in the bowl of sugar and salt. Toss with your fingers or a fork to coat the ball evenly in salty sugar.

Place the balls of dough on a parchment-lined pan, 9-10 cookies to a pan. They will spread a bit, so give them a good 1 1/2″ between them all around.

Criss-cross the dough balls with a fork to flatten slightly and create the classic peanut butter cookie look.

Don’t flatten them too much–you want the cookies to be about 1/2″ before baking.

I generally finish the cookies up by sprinkling a little bit more of the sugar mixture on top. Not a lot–maybe 1/8 teaspoon per cookie.

OPTIONAL: For slightly thicker cookies and slightly less spreading, freeze the pan of cookies for 15 minutes before baking.

Jenni Says: The dough in the photos below only chilled for the minimum amount of time. Expect the dough to be soft but not sticky. The longer you refrigerate the dough, the firmer it will be.

Variations

While I think these are the best peanut butter cookies just the way they are, there is no reason not to make variations.

Here are some ideas to get you started.

  • Add Reece’s pieces for extra peanutty flavor and little bits of creamy goodness
  • Mix in dark chocolate chips for peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. Or use M&Ms instead
  • Replace 1 1/2 ounces of flour with quick-cooking (not instant) oats for oatmeal peanut butter cookies
  • Don’t flatten the balls of dough, bake them at 375F until the edges just begin to brown, and then press a Hershey’s kiss in the center of each baked cookie to make peanut butter blossom cookies

Equipment You May Need

As I said at the beginning of this post, I didn’t use anything but a bowl and a silicone spatula to make these cookies.

Of course, I used my scale for all the measurements, and if you don’t own a kitchen scale, it’s one of the most important pieces of kitchen equipment I own.

This is the one that I used for years and years, and I recommend it.

If you don’t want to weigh each ball of dough, pick up a set of cookie scoops. No matter what size you choose, at least your cookies will all be the same size and will bake evenly.

This medium cookie scoop is 1 1/2 Tablespoons, which will yield nice, large, 3″ cookies when you bake them. Note, your cookies may be slightly smaller if you opt to omit the milk in the recipe.

You’ll also need at least 2 half-sheet pans and cooling racks.

You can purchase oven-safe racks in sets with pans, which is ideal, because you can also use the rack in the oven for roasting or for making Ritz crackers.

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  • Also use it as a roasting pan set
  • Use each piece separately for baking and cooling cookies
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07/21/2024 11:25 pm GMT

Tips and Tricks for Success

These are not difficult cookies to make, but here are a couple of tips to ensure success.

Your best bet for accuracy and consistency is to weigh your ingredients with a kitchen scale. If you don’t have a scale, measure the finished dough in 1 1/2 Tablespoon/4 1/2 teaspoon portions so they bake evenly.

If you have trouble forming the soft dough into balls, just roll the dough portions in the sugar first and shape them into balls once they’re coated.

A stack of 5 large peanut butter cookies on a dark, reflective surface.
Can I make a half batch?

Absolutely. If you don’t want to do the math, the amounts to make a half batch are in the NOTES section of the recipe.

Can I make the brown butter ahead?

Yes. I often brown a ton of butter at one time and use what I need. At refrigerator temperatures, brown butter is very hard, so be sure to remove what you need an hour or so before making your batter so it has a chance to soften. If you make it on the spot, you’ll need to refrigerate it for about 45 minutes for it to be solid but still soft.

Can I freeze my cookies?

You can freeze the cookies once they’re cool, or you can make the dough balls, shape them, freeze them and bake them from frozen. Allow the dough to freeze on parchment until solid, and then store them in freezer-safe containers or zip-top bags. Bake from frozen as needed.

Serving Suggestions

Several peanut butter cookies on a white plate with red and green ribbons around the border. There is a Santa mug in the background as well as a greeting card with a snowman that reads, "Joy."

Obviously, you should serve these cookies to Santa with a glass of milk or a mug of hot chocolate. Or coffee, because Santa has a long night ahead of him! (Maybe press some red and green M&Ms onto the tops of the cookies if they’re for Christmas.)

These cookies are addictively crispy around the edges–or all the way through, if you bake them long enough–so munching them straight is not a hardship at all.

You could warm them and serve them as the base for vanilla or chocolate ice cream. Or go all-in with peanut butter ice cream. Then pour some peanut butter sauce over everything for a lovely, peanutty sundae.

You can also turn these into sandwich cookies. In that case, I’d consider making the cookies smaller–1/2 ounce rather than 1 oz, and pressing them out to 1/4″ with a fork. Sandwich them with ermine frosting or peanut butter frosting.

If you enjoy cookies that are just a little out of the ordinary with some small tweaks that make them irresistible, you have come to the right place.

Try my pecan sandies or toffee chip cookies, both make Super Delicious with the addition of our friend brown butter.

If bar cookies are more your thing, consider making some angel slices. With a sandy, shortbread crust, coconut pecan filling, and a thin, crispy lemon glaze on top, they are my favorite bar cookie.

And give my brand new snickerdoodles (super cinnamony), oatmeal raisin cookies (crisp edges; chewy centers) or sugar cookies (rolled in sugar or frosted after baking) a try as well.

Questions?

If you have any questions about this post or recipe, I am happy to help.

Simply leave a comment here and I will get back to you soon. I also invite you to ask question in my Facebook group, Fearless Kitchen Fun.

If your question is more pressing, please feel free to email me. I should be back in touch ASAP, as long as I’m not asleep.

A Note About Measurements

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07/22/2024 07:15 am GMT

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A wire rack with peanut butter cookies cooling on it.

Peanut Butter Cookies (Brown Butter)

Jennifer Field
This peanut butter cookie recipe yields what I think are the perfect peanut butter cookies. Made with brown butter as well as brown and white sugar, these cookies are perfect for lunchboxes, picnics or any time you need a crispy-on-the-edges, peanutty cookie!
4.75 from 8 votes
Tried this recipe?Please give it a star rating!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 33 minutes
Course Cookies and Bars
Cuisine American
Servings 40 cookies
Calories 138 kcal

Ingredients

  • 85 grams 3 oz or a generous half cup all-purpose flour (See NOTES)
  • 85 grams 3 oz or a generous half cup bread flour (See NOTES)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 170 grams 6 oz, 1 1/2 sticks, 3/4 cup, or 12 Tablespoons butter, browned and chilled until solid but not hard (NOTE 6 oz/170 grams is the weight before browning)
  • 113 grams 4 oz or about 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 142 grams 5 oz or about 1/2 cup, tightly packed dark brown sugar
  • 28 grams 1 oz or 2 Tablespoons milk (See NOTES)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 425 grams 15 oz or 1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter (I used Jif)
  • 2 eggs

To Finish

  • 113 grams 4 oz or about 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions
 

  • In a medium bowl, whisk the two flours, baking powder, and baking soda together. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl, combine solidified-but-not-hard browned butter, sugar, brown sugar, milk (optional, see NOTES), vanilla, and salt.
  • Mix on medium-low speed (or using a hand mixer or spatula) until the mixture is uniform. It does not need to be fluffy.
  • Add the peanut butter and eggs and mix until smooth and well-combined.
  • Dump in the flour mixture and mix just until you can see no loose flour.
  • Cover the dough and refrigerate for 45 minutes and up to 2 days.
  • About 30 minutes before baking, place a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 325F.
  • Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment.
  • Mix the second amount of granulated sugar and salt in a bowl and set aside convenient to the baking pans.
  • Scoop a 1 oz portion of dough (28.4 grams or about 1 1/2 Tablespoons). If you only refrigerate the dough for 45 minutes, the dough will be pretty soft but not sticky or hard to work with. Dough will be a bit firmer if you refrigerate for longer.
  • Gently roll the portion between your palms into a ball, and drop it into the bowl of sugar and salt.
  • Roll to coat the dough with the mixture.
  • Place dough balls onto the parchment-lined sheet pan, 9-10 to a pan. You will end up baking 4 trays. Cookies will spread to give them a good 1 1/2" between each dough ball.
  • Dip the tines of a fork into the bowl of sugar and salt and make criss-cross marks on all the balls of dough, flattening each to about 1/2". Dip the fork back into the sugar mixture as needed to prevent it from sticking in the dough. Sprinkle a little bit more of the sugar mixture onto each flattened cookie.
  • Bake one sheet at a time on the center rack for 10 minutes.
  • Rotate the pan 180 degrees and continue baking until done to your liking, an extra 5 minutes for chewy-in-the-center cookies and up to about 19-20 minutes for cookies that will be crisp throughout.
  • Allow cookies to cool on the pan for 3 minutes and then use a spatula to remove them to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  • Repeat with the remaining dough.
  • Store at room temperature in an airtight container for a few days. Freeze for longer storage.

Did You Make Any Changes?

Notes

To Make a Half Batch

  • 1 1/2 ounces EACH all-purpose flour and bread flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 oz butter, browned and chilled until solid but not hard
  • 2 oz granulated sugar
  • 2.5 oz dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 ounce (1 Tablespoon) milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 7.5 oz peanut butter (3/4 cup)
  • 1 egg

About Flour and Milk Amounts

Use all bread flour for a chewier, sturdier cookie or all all-purpose flour for a more delicate, crispy cookie.
For a dough that is a bit easier to handle right away, increase both flours to 3.5 ounces each instead of 3 ounces each. Another option is to leave out the milk. But don't do both. Either increase the flour OR omit the milk.
For cookies that don't spread quite as much, omit the milk while leaving the flour amounts as they are.

Variations

  • Add Reece's pieces for extra peanutty flavor and little bits of creamy goodness
  • Mix in dark chocolate chips for peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. Or use M&Ms instead
  • Replace 1 1/2 ounces of flour with quick-cooking (not instant) oats for oatmeal peanut butter cookies

Storage

Store cooled cookies in airtight containers (cookie jars!) at room temperature for up to 5 days. Freeze for longer storage. You can also freeze the dough after shaping and "x-ing" with a fork and bake them from frozen, allowing 1-2 minutes extra baking time.

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 138kcalCarbohydrates: 12gProtein: 3gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 19mgSodium: 142mgFiber: 1gSugar: 7g
Keyword best peanut butter cookies, brown butter peanut butter cookies, cookie recipes, cpeanut butter cookies
Did you make this recipe?Please tell us what you loved!

And that’s it, friends.

Thanks so much for spending some time with me today.

I hope you enjoy the peanut butter cookies. Remember: brown butter makes everything better!

Take care, and have a lovely day.

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16 Comments

  1. Can I use only wheat flour for this recipe. If yes, let me know the measurements.
    Also, I do not want to use egg, can there be a substitue?

    1. I’m sorry, but I’ve perfected this recipe as written, and I cannot test every possible iteration of a recipe since I work alone. Having said that, you can use all all-purpose flour rather than half ap/half bread flour. You may want to increase the total amount of flour by a little bit. As to the egg substitute, you can use a flax egg instead. Please understand I cannot guarantee your results since you are making changes to the many-times-tested formula, but if you do give these a try, please let me know how it goes. Have a wonderful holiday!

  2. 5 stars
    I’ve made these twice and love them. I just have one issue. They are not firm enough for me to pack in my lunch. I use my scale when measuring ingredients. Can I add another egg to help them firm up a little. I don’t want to do anything to change the flavor or texture. My family love these.

    1. I just realized I didn’t respond to your question, Bridget! I’m so sorry. The longer you bake them, the firmer they become. I liked mine baked on the longer-end, I think maybe 20 minutes? You’ll have to play around with this, removing a cookie at 15 minutes and another after each consecutive minute. Let them cool completely, and then do a texture test by eating them to see at what point they’re firm enough to pack. Enjoy the tests, because after you’re done, you’ll be able to hit *your* cookie perfection every time you make them!

  3. 425 Gramm Erdnussbutter klingt großartig, ich muss diese Kekse unbedingt nachmachen, vielen Dank für das Rezept und auch für die Gramm Angaben!
    Grüße sendet,
    Gabriel

  4. 5 stars
    A tender peanutty peanut butter cookie that will be hard to stop eating! I baked for 10 +5 minutes for a softer chewier cookie. Flavor is well balanced, peanutty, salty and not so sweet. A winner!

  5. Wouldn’t using up to 2 cups chocolate chips vs. the 1/2 cup peanut butter drown out the peanut butter flavor for a much more cholatey one?

    1. Not really. Since the chips are discrete pieces of chocolatey goodness, you still get plenty of peanut flavor in the dough itself, Chris. Of course, it’s your call if you want to dial back the amount of chips, though!

    2. In all honesty this is a bit much for some peanut butter cookies really not to mention all of the blow by blow instructions you have to go through way to much

      1. Hi, Lisa. If you just want “some peanut butter cookies,” there are hundreds of recipes out there.

        As I say in the post, not all recipes are for all people. And as to the “blow by blow,” I provide no fewer than 3 links for you to jump straight to the recipe if you don’t like/don’t need detailed instructions or commentary.

        It took you longer to leave this self-serving comment than it would have for you to use one of the links. Have a great day.

4.75 from 8 votes (6 ratings without comment)

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