Vegan Peanut Butter Cookies
Time for a fresh twist (or in this case, a crisscross) on a grandma-level classic cookie: Vegan Peanut Butter Cookies. They’re lightly crispy at the edges, chewy in the centers, and miraculously contain no butter, no oil, and no eggs. Pure peanut butter magic is all it takes to create a healthy peanut butter cookie that doesn’t skimp on texture or taste.
Did a batch of vegan peanut butter cookies appear on your doorstep this week? If yes, we must be neighbors. (Surprise! It was me.)
Coming up with a recipe for a perfect peanut butter cookie without butter or eggs took me four full tries, and it was absolutely worth it.
The ultimate secret to this recipe is a boatload of peanut butter. The peanut butter adds richness to the cookies, holds them together, and proves that you can have a vegan peanut butter cookie that lives up to your most insistent cookie cravings.
I’ve seen other recipes for vegan peanut butter cookies with coconut oil or vegan butter alternatives, but neither are needed. Pure peanut butter is all that’s required for a sublime PB cookie experience.
Like the classic peanut butter cookies I remember snitching from my grandma’s cookie tin, these might appear thin. Depending upon your cookie tastes (I’m more of a thick and chewy cookie girl ordinarily), you might even think they look lackluster. Don’t be deceived!
These vegan peanut butter cookies are crisp only at the edges, then give way to soft, tender centers.
They’re sturdy but not dry. Sweet, but not overly so.
These easy vegan peanut butter cookies demand a cold glass of milk (or almond milk) and should you turn them into vegan peanut butter sandwich cookies (spread a layer of coconut ice cream in between), you won’t be disappointed in the least.
As a special note to peanut butter lovers, the high ratio of peanut butter in this recipe imparts an intense, pure peanut butter taste experience. It’s as delightful as it sounds.
How to Make Vegan Peanut Butter Cookies
Nailing the right ratio of ingredients for the very best vegan peanut butter cookies proved tricky for a number of reasons (read on if you enjoy baking science). I’m so happy with where they ended up, and I hope you are too!
- Peanut Butter. Peanut butter is the fat, the flavor, and the all-around oomph in this cookie recipe.
I snagged the idea to make a cookie that used entirely peanut butter (and no butter or even coconut oil) from these reader-favorite Peanut Butter Banana Cookies. Those cookies, however, rely on an egg.
In order to make today’s peanut butter cookies vegan, I had the challenge of eliminating the egg too. Which led me to the next ingredient:
- Flaxseed Meal. Ground flaxseeds combined with water create a lightly sticky mix often referred to as a “flax egg.” Similar to eggs, they can bind ingredients and create moisture in baking. Flax seeds come from the flax plant. They’re incredibly rich in omega-3 fatty acids and fiber.
**Please note that while swapping a regular egg for a flax egg works in many circumstances, as I discovered with this recipe, it’s not always as simple as it sounds. Sometimes, you need more than a flax egg to hold dough together. Which brings us to…
- All-Purpose Flour. A moderate ¼ cup of all-purpose flour does the trick of giving these vegan peanut butter cookies a soft, yet sufficiently sturdy texture. If you are conserving your supply, these cookies will only demand a little bit of it and will reward you with 18 magnificent, crispy-chewy peanut butter cookies in return.
Along the way, I played around with making the peanut butter cookies with no flour…which resulted in a flow of peanut butter cookie dough lava on my baking sheet. Delicious, but not passable for a cookie recipe.
- Sugar. The perfect peanut butter cookie calls for a little brown sugar and granulated sugar. The dance between the two makes the cookies the right amount of sweet, and sugar also is important to ensure the cookies have a soft, chewy texture. You can also roll your cookie dough balls in bonus granulated sugar for the quintessential peanut butter cookie exterior.
- Cinnamon. My personal addition. It adds a subtle bit of warmth I find nearly impossible to resist.
- Pure Vanilla Extract. Let no cookie be without it.
- Mix together water and flaxseed meal to create the flax egg.
- Whisk the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl.
- Add the wet ingredients (including the flax egg) to the dry, stirring until smooth and blended. Chill the dough for 30 minutes. The vegan peanut butter cookie dough MUST be chilled or the cookies will spread too much during baking. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
- Once your dough is done chilling, scoop your cookie dough balls, and roll them in a shallow bowl of sugar. Arrange them on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Use a fork to make a crisscross indent on the top of each cookie. Place any remaining dough in the refrigerator until ready to bake.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for 8 minutes, until the edges are golden. Let cool (or sneak a couple!), and repeat with the remaining dough. DIG IN!
Make Ahead and Storage Tips
- To Make Ahead. Prepare your peanut butter cookie dough, and roll it into cookie dough balls. Store the balls in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Roll them in sugar and press with a fork immediately before baking.
- To Store. Keep the cookies in an airtight storage container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Counterintuitively, vegan peanut butter cookies do not stay as fresh in the refrigerator, because they quickly soften. They stay the most fresh at room temperature.
- To Freeze Cookies. Place the baked cookies in an airtight freezer-safe storage container or ziptop bag in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let come to room temperature before serving.
- To Freeze Dough. Prepare the cookie dough as directed, rolling it into cookie dough balls. Place the balls on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and freeze until solid. Transfer to a ziptop bag or container, then store the frozen dough balls in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let soften in the fridge, then roll them in the sugar and press with a fork just before baking.
Recipe Variations + Dietary Swaps
- Vegan No Bake Peanut Butter Cookies. See this recipe for Healthy No Bake Cookies, using maple syrup in place of the honey and a non-dairy milk.
- Gluten Free. Use a 1:1 GF baking blend like this one in place of the all-purpose flour.
- Chocolate Vegan Peanut Butter Cookies. Drizzle the baked, cooled cookies with melted chocolate. Let set, then devour!
More Marvelous Healthy Peanut Butter Desserts
Cookie craving? Check out my other healthy cookie recipes!
Recommended Tools to Make This Recipe
- Baking Sheets. These sturdy, high-quality baking sheets are ready to go anytime a cookie craving strikes.
- Batter Scoop. The key to perfectly portioned cookies.
- Small Whisk. This whisk helps you keep your ingredients in the mixing bowl instead of splashing all over the counter.
Whether you follow a vegan diet, can’t have dairy or eggs, or you are simply conserving ingredients, these vegan peanut butter cookies will hit the spot.
And if you are a peanut butter lover: hello, friend. You are going to especially adore these easy treats!
Vegan Peanut Butter Cookies
For the Cookies:
- 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal
- 3 tablespoons water
- 2/3 cup packed brown sugar - light or dark
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon - optional
- 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter*
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For Rolling (optional):
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flaxseed meal and water. Let sit 10 minutes (this creates a flax “egg”). In a separate, medium bowl, whisk the brown sugar, granulated sugar, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon until smoothly combined.
- Add the peanut butter, vanilla, and flax egg. Whisk again until the dough is smooth and the peanut butter has completely blended into the batter. As the batter thickens, switch to a rubber spatula or spoon as needed. Place the dough in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.
- Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Shape and roll the cookies: Place the sugar in a shallow bowl (a pie plate works well). Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Scoop the cookies by heaping 1 tablespoons of dough and roll into balls that are about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Roll in the sugar, then place on the baking sheet, leaving 1 to 2 inches of space around each one. With the tines of a fork, make a crisscross indent on each, leaving the cookies fairly thick. (Return the remaining dough to the refrigerator between batches.)
- Bake until the cookies are barely golden at the edges but still just a little underdone in the center, about 8 minutes. Let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for 2 minutes, then gently transfer to a wire cooling rack to finish cooling. Repeat with the remaining dough.
- *I recommend using a shelf stable peanut butter that does not have to be stirred or refrigerated (natural peanut butters that separate, while delicious, can be unreliable in baking). I used Jif Natural.
- Nutrition was calculated without the sugar used for rolling, as the amount will vary per cookie.
- TO STORE: Keep the cookies in an airtight storage container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Vegan peanut butter cookies do stay fresh in the refrigerator, but they stay the most fresh tasting at room temperature.
- TO FREEZE COOKIES: Place the cookies in an airtight freezer-safe storage container or ziptop bag in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let come to room temperature before serving.
- TO FREEZE DOUGH: Prepare the cookie dough as directed, rolling it into cookie dough balls. Place the balls on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and freeze until solid. Store the frozen dough balls in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let soften in the fridge, then roll them in the sugar and press with a fork just before baking.
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