Healthy Peanut Butter Cookies

A world without dessert is just not a world in which I am prepared to live, so I baked us a big batch of Healthy Peanut Butter Cookies.
Healthy Peanut Butter Cookies

I am a fan of New Year’s resolutions, if for no other reason than they give me pause to reflect on areas of my life I can (and should} improve. In 2014, I’m striving to take time to be grateful each day, to revive my languishing French language skills, and (by request of my ever-patient husband) to be on time.

The exercise of setting New Year’s resolutions—placed sensibly, if cruelly immediately after the gloriously excessive holidays—leads many of us to conclude that we need to better our diets. Now, I know last Thursday I told you that I can’t live on cookies and cheese dip alone, but that doesn’t mean I’m prepared to cut sweets out of my life. I value my personal happiness too dearly and know myself too well to try. Healthy Peanut Butter Cookies are for those of us who want to eat a more balanced diet, but refuse to sacrifice our cookies and milk.

Healthy Peanut Butter Cookies. Chewy, soft, and made with whole wheat flour.

Made with whole wheat flour, flaxseeds, gobs of peanut butter, and crunchy roasted peanuts, Healthy Peanut Butter Cookies are packin’ fiber, protein, and omega-3 power. The moisture of Healthy Peanut Butter Cookies comes from the peanut butter itself, so the batter requires only a touch of oil and no butter to hold together and stay soft. Brown sugar adds a note of caramel and the chopped peanuts are a fun, crunchy contrast to the chewy texture of Healthy Peanut Butter Cookies.

Healthy Peanut Butter Cookies. Soft, chewy, and made with whole wheat flour and NO butter!

With Healthy Peanut Butter Cookies, you can keep your New Year’s resolutions intact, your cookie jar stocked, and your skinny jeans at the top of the “to wear” pile.

Now, I may eat my Healthy Peanut Butter Cookies in my sweatpants instead of those skinny jeans, but I will do so of my own free will. Yes friends, the forecast for 2014 includes healthy cookies and yoga pants. This year is looking good.

Healthy Peanut Butter Cookies

Healthy peanut butter cookies that are soft, chewy, and use ZERO butter! Loads peanut butter make these healthy cookies moist and extra delicious.

Yield: 36 cookies

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes


  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup dry roasted unsalted peanuts, chopped


  1. Place rack in center of oven and preheat to 375°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat mat.
  2. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a large mixing bowl, beat together the oil and peanut butter on medium speed until smooth and combined. Beat in the granulated sugar and brown sugar until well combined. Add the vanilla and egg, beating well to fully incorporate.
  3. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the whole wheat pastry flour, flaxseed, baking soda, and salt. Add the flour mixture to sugar mixture, beating at low speed just until combined (mixture will be very thick and may be crumbly). Stir in chopped peanuts.
  4. Scoop the dough by rounded tablespoons lightly packing it as needed so that the cookies hold together. Drop cookies 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet. With a fork, gently press the top of each cookie one direction, then the other to form a crisscross pattern.
  5. Bake for 8 minutes or until lightly golden and the tops look slightly dry (cookies will appear underdone). Let cookies cool 2 minutes on the baking sheet, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

You can also find my post for Healthy Peanut Butter Cookies at Food Fanatic, where I contribute Stealthy Healthy recipes.

58 Responses to “Healthy Peanut Butter Cookies”

  1. Taylor @ FoodFaithFitness — January 9, 2014 @ 6:04 am (#)

    Peanut butter cookies are my most favorite. But peanut butter cookies that I can eat in my yoga pants? You are my most favorite. These look ah-may-zing lady!

    • Erin Clarke — January 9th, 2014 @ 12:57 pm

      Thanks so much Taylor! Let’s designate yoga pants the official cookie uniform, shall we?

  2. Mary Frances — January 9, 2014 @ 7:26 am (#)

    Peanut butter is one of those lovely ingredients that tastes decadent, but (in moderation) is healthy for you! (or at least I tell myself that:) These cookies look so thick and chewy! I love me a good peanut butter cookies and these are the ones I would pick first.

    • Erin Clarke — January 9th, 2014 @ 12:56 pm

      You and I have similar PB philosophies Mary Frances! Though I admittedly struggle with the whole ‘moderation’ part, lol.

  3. Lisa @ Garnish with Lemon — January 9, 2014 @ 7:46 am (#)

    Anytime I can find an excuse to eat peanut butter cookies- I’m in! Especially if I can eat them in my yoga pants! Yum! Pinned.

    • Erin Clarke — January 9th, 2014 @ 12:55 pm

      I’ll drink (milk with cookies) to that!

  4. Dixya @ Food, Pleasure, and Health — January 9, 2014 @ 7:57 am (#)

    im so glad this is not the flourless kind..I like peanut butter cookies in general but cant do those flourless type. Heading over the recipe because I resolve to fit into my skinny jeans all year eating cookies :P

    • Erin Clarke — January 9th, 2014 @ 12:55 pm

      I’m the same way Dixya! I’ve tried the flourless kind, but they just didn’t hit the spot. I hope these do the trick for you!

  5. Tasha @ ThatsSoYummy — January 9, 2014 @ 8:51 am (#)

    I love soft and chewy cookies!

    • Erin Clarke — January 9th, 2014 @ 12:54 pm

      Me too Tasha! Soft and chewy is just how a cookie should be.

  6. Natalie @ Tastes Lovely — January 9, 2014 @ 10:04 am (#)

    Peanut butter cookies might be my favorite cookie. I think because they taste good straight out of the oven, and the days following. I’ve been fiddling with a whole wheat flour recipe, so glad I found yours : )

  7. Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough — January 9, 2014 @ 10:06 am (#)

    Peanut butter cookies that I don’t need to feel guilty about when I eat a dozen of them in one sitting (because that happens, every. single. time.)? I LOVE YOU. :)

    • Erin Clarke — January 9th, 2014 @ 12:53 pm

      Steph, if we ever get together over a plate of PB cookies, we’re going to need a double batch, because it sounds like we take a similar PB cookie approach!

  8. Jessica @ A Kitchen Addiction — January 9, 2014 @ 10:23 am (#)

    Definitely can’t sacrifice cookies! These cookies look perfectly soft and chewy!

    • Erin Clarke — January 9th, 2014 @ 12:57 pm

      That’s the whole idea Jessica! Thanks :-)

  9. Monica — January 9, 2014 @ 11:14 am (#)

    how much flaxseed?

    • S. A. Young — January 9th, 2014 @ 11:24 am

      Was just about to ask that Monica! Was thinking I missed something somewhere.

      • Erin Clarke — January 9th, 2014 @ 12:44 pm

        GAH, so sorry about that! It’s two tablespoons. I’m working with Food Fanatic to update the recipe ASAP. Thanks for calling it to my attention!

    • Erin Clarke — January 9th, 2014 @ 12:46 pm

      Monica, so sorry about that miss! I’m so happy you brought it to my attention and am working with Food Fanatic to update the recipe ASAP. The correct amount is 2 tablespoons.

  10. Nicole @ Young, Broke and Hungry — January 9, 2014 @ 12:15 pm (#)

    Healthy cookies are never a bad idea and should always be eaten in your sweatpants.

    • Erin Clarke — January 9th, 2014 @ 12:52 pm

      Amen, amen!

  11. Liz — January 9, 2014 @ 12:28 pm (#)

    Nice recipe. Thank you.

    • Erin Clarke — January 9th, 2014 @ 12:51 pm

      You bet Liz! Happy to share :-)

  12. DT — January 9, 2014 @ 12:37 pm (#)

    Canola oil and whole wheat flour? Nothing healthy about these cookies. Think I’ll stop following your newsletter.

    • Erin Clarke — January 9th, 2014 @ 12:51 pm

      Hi DT–‘Healthy’ can be a tricky word, since it can mean different things to different people. Because these cookies use whole wheat flour (a much better source of fiber and whole grains that the typical all purpose flour) and only 3 tablespoons of a fairly heart-healthy oil (vs. 8 tablespoons of butter as called for in many traditional cookie recipes), I think these cookies are a good choice for a healthier dessert. If you feel differently, they may just not be for you. Everyone’s tastes and needs are different so by all means, do what works best for your lifestyle.

  13. Angie@Angie's Recipes — January 9, 2014 @ 1:15 pm (#)

    We love peanut butter ANYTHING! These cookies look wonderful, Erin.

  14. Ashley — January 9, 2014 @ 1:30 pm (#)

    Peanut butter cookies are the best! I could never give up cookies and milk either – I just balance it all out with lots of veggies : )

  15. Erin | The Emerging Foodie — January 9, 2014 @ 3:33 pm (#)

    Erin, these look amazing. Peanut butter cookies are so good but my yoga pants don’t always love them so I’m alllll for yoga pants AND peanut butter cookies. :) Hope you have a great start to the new year! Also your mom ^. Love it. You go, Mamma!

    • Erin Clarke — January 9th, 2014 @ 5:58 pm

      Yoga pants + cookies unite!!! Thanks Erin!

  16. Danae @ reciperunner — January 9, 2014 @ 4:21 pm (#)

    Erin these peanut butter cookies look perfectly soft and chewy just the way I like them! I think I need a few!

    • Erin Clarke — January 9th, 2014 @ 5:58 pm

      I think you need a few too Danae…then a few more! :-)

  17. Teffy — January 9, 2014 @ 4:22 pm (#)

    I love peanut butter!
    I’ve actually only discovered it a year ago. For some reason I had a silly idea I didn’t like it. very very silly.

    {Teffy’s Perks} X

    • Erin Clarke — January 9th, 2014 @ 5:54 pm

      Teffy, you have so much making up for lost time to do!! I’m glad PB is in your life at last.

  18. Happy Valley Chow — January 9, 2014 @ 4:34 pm (#)

    I love Peanut Butter Cookies, I love healthy peanut butter cookies even more! Great job :)

    Happy Blogging!
    Happy Valley Chow

    • Erin Clarke — January 9th, 2014 @ 5:53 pm

      Me too!! I figure that way I can eat seven for good measure ;-)

  19. Kelly — January 9, 2014 @ 8:19 pm (#)

    Peanut butter cookies are the best and I love how soft and chewy these look :) Love that you used whole wheat flour in here too and can’t wait to give these a try :) Pinning :)

  20. The Sketched Chef — January 10, 2014 @ 3:41 am (#)

    These cookies look really good and the fact that they’re healthy makes it even better!

  21. Julie @ Table for Two — January 10, 2014 @ 6:50 am (#)

    I love that you’re using resolutions as ways to improve areas that need improvement and to better yourself! What a great resolution idea :) part of my new year’s resolution is to eat all your healthy pb cookies, hahaha ;)

    • Erin Clarke — January 10th, 2014 @ 3:52 pm

      Julia, I like your resolution style! I think I’ll add eating the cookies you post to my list as well, hehe.

  22. tanya — January 10, 2014 @ 9:20 am (#)

    I could live on cookies and cheese dip too!! I’m not giving up desserts just yet, but I could definitely eat better-for-me-desserts! That is why these cookies are perfect Erin!

  23. shashi @ — January 10, 2014 @ 9:53 am (#)

    Peanut butter and peanuts – these peanut overload cookies look fabulous! Much better than my flourless ones ;)

  24. Courtney @ Neighborfood — January 11, 2014 @ 4:28 pm (#)

    These look wonderful! Being on time is certainly a resolution I need to make, but I may be hopeless at this point. The hubby and I are BOTH always late, which means we can’t even motivate each other. I love when I can have my cookie and my skinny jeans too!

  25. anecdotesandapples — January 12, 2014 @ 5:07 pm (#)

    Oh my goodness! So delicious, my friend. I thought I was done with cookies…but now that I’m seeing these, I want another dozen (or two!) Thank you so much for sharing them with me!

  26. Gretchen @ Two Healthy Kitchens — January 12, 2014 @ 6:12 pm (#)

    Hi Erin! These look fantastic! (I super wish I could bold type and italicize that word!) I just had a PB cookie made with loads of unhealthy ingredients … and feeling not so fulfilled, I’m really wishing I could have had one (or 12!) of these! I love that there is flax and whole wheat flour!
    I’m trying to reduce stress and find the grace in everyday this year. And yoga pants. More yoga pants are always a good thing! And a yoga class! :)

    Do you think coconut oil could work in place of the canola? Just a thought!

    Thanks for an awesome recipe! Gorgeous pics!

    • Erin Clarke — January 12th, 2014 @ 8:56 pm

      Gretchen, I so wish I could type THANK YOU in big, bold font!!! This recipe would absolutely work with coconut oil. What an awesome idea! I may have to try ’em that way next time myself :-)

  27. Layla @BrunchTimeBaker — January 12, 2014 @ 9:20 pm (#)

    I love how soft and chew these cookies are and on top of that they are healthy! I also want to thank Gretchen for the coconut oil idea! Now I won’t feel guilty eating a cookie!

  28. mercinabba — April 5, 2014 @ 9:41 pm (#)

    Erin, I am about to make these cookies, I think I will try to add oat bran and wheat germ, maybe honey, I will work with them, but first I will use your recipe. Erin, I don’t understand why people need to say things that are not edifying. It is okay to not like a recipe, but why post, “I think I will stop following you”, I want you to know I appreciate you and your recipes. Truthfully they are healthier than the Peanut Butter cookies I have made. Thank you for sharing. I just recently started eating healthier and I am 52yrs old. Changing things slowly to me allows me to still enjoy the taste. Please add more, and may you be blessed.

    • Erin Clarke — April 6th, 2014 @ 4:48 pm

      Thank you so much for trying this recipe and for your kind words. It’s so encouraging to read comments like these, and I hope you enjoy the cookies very much. Have a wonderful day!

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  30. Megan {Country Cleaver} — September 25, 2014 @ 7:37 am (#)

    Positively craveable!!

  31. judy — September 30, 2014 @ 11:10 am (#)

    Has anyone actually treid the recipe????? OF course they LOOK GOOD!!!!

    • Erin Clarke — September 30th, 2014 @ 11:53 am

      Hi Judy! I can assure that I personally have made these many times, but if you are looking for some supplemental reviews (understandable!), I actually received a recent email from a reader who makes them for her husband every week, and they both love them. They are not as ooey gooey as a classic peanut butter cookie recipe that contains lots of butter and more sugar, but for a lightened up cookie, I think they are pretty darn good!

  32. Estefania — September 30, 2014 @ 8:13 pm (#)

    Delicious cookies but how díd You get 36???! I only got 13

    • Erin Clarke — September 30th, 2014 @ 10:56 pm

      Hi Estefania! I’m so glad that you liked the taste of these! I scooped mine pretty tiny, so I’m guessing that is the difference. Bigger cookies are not a bad thing though :)

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  34. laurasmess — October 21, 2014 @ 11:39 am (#)

    LOVE this recipe!!! I adore peanut butter cookies but I never really make them as my previous default recipe was soooo buttery and… well, indulgent. This is a great revision Erin!! Drool-worthy photos too! x

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