One bowl, seven ingredients, a hand mixer and a fork. That’s all you need to bake these classic Vegan Peanut Butter Cookies. There’s no chilling time required either, so you can have homemade peanut butter cookies ready to go in 30 minutes flat.
Why Make These Vegan Peanut Butter Cookies
- Short, tender, and crumbly: If you like super tender, melt-in-your-mouth cookies with no hint of chewiness, these are for you. When talking about pastries, “short” means a recipe with a high proportion of fat. These cookies are super short!
- No refrigeration needed: These are my go-to emergency cookies because they’re so quick to make. No need to chill them in the fridge before baking.
- Crowd pleaser: Pretty much everyone who’s tried these cookies has loved them. (Sorry to my peanut allergy peeps out there, maybe try one of my nut-free cookie recipes instead like Chocolate Chip Cookies or Slice & Bake Cookies.) These are one of my boyfriend’s favourite cookies, and he’s not even a big peanut butter fan.
- Use regular peanut butter and natural peanut butter: I’ve made this recipe with both regular processed peanut butter (think Skippy or Jif), and my own Homemade Peanut Butter which is made from nothing but peanuts. The only change you need to make is to add only half as much sugar if using regular peanut butter, since it already has sugar added.
Ingredients + Substitutions
A few important notes on some of the ingredients used in this Peanut Butter Cookie recipe:
Peanut Butter: You can use either Homemade Peanut Butter or a storebought one. Just make sure it’s smooth peanut butter. Also, reduce the sugar by half if using a conventional processed peanut butter like Kraft or Skippy.
Craving something a lil different? Other nut butters and seed butter work great too. Substitute the peanut butter in this recipe with pumpkin seed butter, sesame paste, tahini (these are the substitutions I’ve tried), or any other nut butter of your choice!
Butter: I recommend using vegan butter over margarine in this case. Margarine usually has a higher water content than vegan butter, so your peanut butter cookies will not come out fully crisp all the way through. They will be slightly chewy in the centre. The difference is small, but noticeable. Don’t stress, you can still make this recipe with margarine, but use butter for best results.
Sugar: If I have both on hand, I love using a mix of brown sugar and white sugar in this recipe to add some caramelized flavour. But being lazy, I use only white sugar most of the time and I’ve got no complaints.
Flour: I recommend all purpose flour, but you can also use bread flour with similar results.
For a full list of ingredients and quantities, refer to the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Step 1: Cream together peanut butter, vegan butter, white sugar, and brown sugar on high speed until light and fluffy.
Step 2: Add flour, baking soda, and salt. No need to sift together first, just add them directly to the bowl. Mix on low speed until well-combined.
Step 3: Scoop the dough out and roll into balls. It will be soft but shouldn’t really stick to your hands.
Step 4: Place the cookie dough balls onto a baking sheet and flatten each one with a fork.
Tip: A #40 cookie scoop is really helpful for portioning out the dough; I use this one from OXO.
Step 5: Bake at 350 °F for 12 to 15 minutes (if using natural peanut butter) or 15 to 18 minutes (if using regular peanut butter).
Make Ahead & Storage Tips
Make Ahead: The peanut butter cookie dough can be mixed ahead of time and kept in the fridge for up to three days until you’re ready to bake. You can also freeze raw cookie dough—roll into balls and flatten them onto a baking sheet, then put the baking sheet into the freezer for a few hours or until fully firm, then transfer into a resealable bag.
Baking from Frozen: Bake the frozen cookie dough balls as normal, just add two minutes to the baking time.
Storage: Homemade peanut butter cookies can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for two to three weeks.
If your peanut butter cookies don’t taste strongly of peanut butter, there are a few possible reasons. First, it could be related to the type of peanut butter used. Some brands or varieties of peanut butter have a milder flavor, while others are more robust. Using a peanut butter with a stronger taste or a “natural” peanut butter without added sugars or stabilizers can enhance the peanut flavor in your cookies. Second, it might be due to the ratio of peanut butter to other ingredients in your recipe. Adjusting the amount of peanut butter or using a recipe with a higher proportion of peanut butter can intensify the flavor.
If your peanut butter cookies turned out hard, it could be the combination of an excessive moisture in the dough + overbaking. Too much moisture can lead to a chewy texture instead of the crumbly texture we want, and if you overbake, then it turns from chewy to hard. To prevent this, make sure to use vegan butter instead of margarine, as margarine often has a higher water content, and get an oven thermometer if you think your oven’s temperature reading is unreliable. Properly measuring ingredients and following the recommended baking time and temperature will help you achieve a softer texture.
Smashing the peanut butter cookies with a fork before baking helps them bake evenly. Peanut butter cookies don’t spread out as much as other cookies, so we need to give them a bit of “help” by flattening them into an even surface first. See the comparison below between cookies that were pressed with a fork, vs cookies that were dropped directly onto the baking sheet. The fork cookies look neater and they have the classic peanut butter cookie appearance.
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Classic Vegan Peanut Butter Cookies
Use Imperial/Metric buttons below to toggle between volume vs weight measurements. I recommend weighing out your ingredients for best results.
- Electric mixer (hand mixer or stand mixer both work)
- 1 cup Homemade Peanut Butter *can sub with regular storebought peanut butter; see Note 1
- 1 cup vegan butter = 2 sticks of butter; see Note 2
- ½ cup white sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar *can sub with more white sugar
- 2½ cups all purpose flour *can sub with bread flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- Preheat oven to 350 °F.
- Cream 1 cup peanut butter, 1 cup vegan butter, 1/2 cup white sugar, and 1/2 cup brown sugar on high until light and fluffy, around 2 minutes.
- Add the remaining ingredients (2 ½ cups flour, 1 tsp baking soda, and 1/2 tsp salt). No need to sift together first, just add them directly to the bowl. Mix on low speed until well-combined, around 30–60 seconds.
- Rolled into balls of 1½ tbsp (25g) each and place them onto a baking sheet. Gently flatten each ball with a fork.
- Bake at 350 °F for 12 to 15 minutes (if using natural peanut butter) or 15 to 18 minutes (if using regular peanut butter).
- Peanut Butter: Instead of homemade peanut butter, you can also use any storebought peanut butter, either natural or regular. Just make sure it’s smooth peanut butter. (I usually use Kraft, but Skippy is another good vegan option). If using a conventional processed peanut butter, reduce the sugar by half.
- Other nut butters and seed butter work great too. Substitute the peanut butter in this recipe with pumpkin seed butter, sesame paste, tahini (these are the substitutions I’ve tried), or any other nut butter of your choice!
- Butter: I recommend using vegan butter over margarine in this case. Margarine usually has a higher water content than vegan butter, so your baked goods will not come out fully crisp all the way through. The difference is small, but noticeable. Don’t stress, you can still make this recipe with margarine, but use butter for best results.
- Sugar: If I have both on hand, I love using a mix of brown sugar and white sugar in this recipe to add some caramelized flavour. But being lazy, I use only white sugar most of the time and I’ve got no complaints. Also, reduce the sugar by half if using a processed peanut butter.