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How to Make Peanut Butter Cookies

Updated September 7, 2017
Here’s everything you need to know about making classic peanut butter cookies from scratch at home.

How to Make Peanut Butter Cookies

These chewy, sweet cookies have been a favorite of the Betty Crocker Kitchens for decades. They’re easy to make, pack well in lunches and make the perfect holiday gift. Follow along to learn our tried-and-true recipe for Peanut Butter Cookies.

What you’ll need:

  • Ingredients for Peanut Butter Cookies
  • Additional granulated sugar
  • Large bowl
  • Electric mixer or spoon
  • Cookie sheet
  • Fork
  • Cooling rack

How to:

1. Mix sugars, peanut butter, shortening, butter and egg in large bowl with electric mixer or spoon; stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and refrigerate mixture about 2 hours or until firm. Afterwards, shape dough into 1 ¼-inch balls and place them 3 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.


2. Heat oven to 375°F. Flatten cookie balls in crisscross pattern with fork dipped in granulated sugar.


3. Bake 9 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 5 minutes; remove from cookie sheet. Cool on wire rack.


Tip: Adding peanut butter chips is a secret to boosting the flavor of peanut butter cookies; try for yourself with our recipe for Rich Peanut Butter Cookies.

Best Baking Pans for Making Peanut Butter Cookies

A good cookie sheet is one ingredient necessary to making perfect peanut butter cookies. Ideally, cookie sheets should be at least two inches narrower than the inside of your oven, so heat can circulate.

Cake Mix Peanut Butter Cookies

Here’s our pick for the best cookie sheet, plus everything you need to know about making the best cookies using the sheet you have.

  • The best cookie sheets are shiny aluminum cookie sheets with a smooth surface and one to three open sides. The shiny aluminum reflects heat, letting cookies bake evenly and brown properly. Open sides also help cookies brown evenly. The recipes in the Betty Crocker Kitchens are tested on these types of pans. 
  • Insulated cookie sheets help prevent cookies from turning too dark on the bottom. Cookies baked on these sheets may take longer to bake; the bottoms will be light colored and cookies may not brown as much overall. Cookies may be difficult to remove from these sheets because the bottoms of the cookies are more tender.
  • Nonstick and dark-surface cookie sheets may result in cookies that are smaller in diameter and more rounded. The tops and especially the bottoms may be hard. Check cookies at minimum bake time, so they don’t get too brown or burn. Follow the manufacturer’s directions; some recommend reducing the oven temperature by 25°F.

Tip: Did you know you can actually make peanut butter cookies using Betty Crocker SuperMoist yellow cake mix? Give it a try with our top-rated recipe for Cake Mix Peanut Butter Cookies.

More Tips for Baking Perfect Peanut Butter Cookies

No matter what type of cookie sheet you use, always bake cookies in the middle oven rack.

Having at least two cookie sheets is helpful. When one batch of cookies is finished baking, another batch is ready to go. However, we recommend baking only one sheet at a time to ensure even baking and using completely cooled cookie sheets. Cookies will spread too much if put on a hot or warm cookie sheet.

If you do bake two sheets at a time, position oven racks as close to the middle as possible and switch sheets halfway through baking.

Tip: Using a cookie scoop will ensure all cookies are the same size and bake evenly.

How to Make Crispy Peanut Butter Cookies

Crispy peanut butter cookie recipes include smaller quantities of ingredients that retain moisture. Ingredients like brown sugar, flour and eggs contain moisture and don’t allow for as much liquid to evaporate during baking. In general, a cookie containing granulated sugar, in place of brown sugar, will be crisper.

When making, form smaller cookies and bake at a higher temperature for a crisper end product.

Tip: Try the method described above using Betty’s classic Peanut Butter Cookies recipe for a crisper cookie.

How to Make Soft Peanut Butter Cookies

Soft peanut butter cookie recipes will contain more fat. Fat adds tenderness and flavor to cookies.

When making, you can accentuate the soft texture by making your cookies larger and underbaking slightly.

Tip: For perfectly soft peanut butter cookies, we recommend the Rich Peanut Butter Cookies recipe.

How to Make Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies

Chewy peanut butter cookie recipes contain more sugar and liquid and less fat than what would be used in a soft cookie. These types of recipes also contain a higher proportion of eggs, which add richness, moisture and structure to cookies.

When making chewy peanut butter cookies, it’s important to mix flour properly—according to the directions—in order to develop the gluten, which gives the cookies structure.

Tip: If you love a chewy cookie, try the recipe for 1-2-3 Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies.

How to Make Peanut Butter Cookies Without Flour

There’s no reason you or your loved ones have to forgo peanut butter cookies because of dietary preferences or restrictions. Here are a couple of ways to bake peanut butter cookies without flour.

Grain Free Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Cookies

Tip: For best results, follow a recipe written to be gluten free, use a gluten-free mix (like Bisquick’s Gluten Free mix) or a premade dough rather than swap in alternative flour in a recipe written using conventional all-purpose flour.

How to Frost Peanut Butter Cookies

The key to successfully frosting cookies is simple: allow cookies to completely cool before attempting to frost.

  • If you are using a wire cooling rack, it’s easy to frost cookies while they are still on the rack.
  • Offset spatulas are especially handy for spreading frosting but a table knife will also work.
  • Let frosting set before storing in between layers of waxed paper in a sealed container.

Tip: We love frosting our peanut butter cookies with chocolate buttercream frosting. Try our recipe for Frosted Peanut Butter Football Cookies for a fun game day twist.

Frosted Peanut Butter Football Cookies

How to Fill Peanut Butter Cookies

The real question is what to fill your peanut butter cookies with. One of our favorite answers is with a Reese’s peanut butter cup, like in our recipe for Peanut Butter Cookie Cups. Options are only limited by your imagination! Here are a couple of recipes to get you started.

Fudge-Filled Peanut Butter Cups

Double the delish factor with our recipe for Fudge-Filled Peanut Butter Cookies, which calls for using a chocolate-peanut butter filling to sandwich together peanut butter cookies.

Fudge-Filled Peanut Butter Cookies

Tip: When we’re in a rush, Betty Crocker Frosting makes a great filling that never disappoints!

Peanut Butter Cookie Cups

For this cute twist on a peanut butter cookie, bake your cookies in a muffin tin. Then, quickly press a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup into cookies after removing from the oven. This is a fun recipe to make with a young baker or fellow cookie lover.

Peanut Butter Cookie Cups

Tip: If you think this recipe looks good but you’re short on time, try our Easy Peanut Butter Cookie Cups recipe.

Peanut Butter-Chocolate Cookies

Gussy up your peanut butter cookies with a chocolate star or a kiss. In our opinion, Peanut Butter Blossoms are always in season.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookies

Tip: For an extra easy take on peanut butter blossoms, try making them in bar form with this recipe for Peanut Butter Blossom Bars.

How to Tell if Cookies Are Done

It’s best to check your cookies at the minimum baking time called for in the recipe, so you don’t over bake. Peanut butter cookies appear golden brown when they are done.

How Long to Let Cookies Cool For

If cookies are left to cool too long on the cookie sheet, they become difficult to remove. For best results, cool cookies as directed in the recipe. Then, use a flat, thin metal spatula to remove cookies from the baking sheet and allow cookies to finish cooling on a wire rack.

If cookies are left too long and get stuck to the pan—life happens—we’ve got a fix. Put the cookie sheet back in the oven for one to two minutes and then remove them from the sheet. They should come off easily.

How to Store Cookies

Store cookies at room temperature in a covered container. Also, never store Betty’s classic chewy peanut butter cookie in the same container as a crisp cookie, because they will make crisp cookies soft. It’s best to store peanut butter cookies separate from other cookies in their own container, so there’s no transfer of texture or flavor.

How to Refrigerate Cookies

There’s no need to refrigerate peanut butter cookies. Instead, follow the instructions above for storing at room temperature or freeze cookies, following instructions below.

How to Freeze Cookies

To freeze peanut butter cookies, store in an airtight container. Unfrosted cookies will keep in the freezer for up to one year.

Frosted cookies will keep for up to 3 months. To freeze frosted cookies, place in single layers in freezer containers and cover with waxed paper before adding another layer.

Thaw cookies uncovered in the container they were frozen in by letting them sit at room temperature.

Tip: There’s even more information about freezing cookies here .

How to Store Cookie Dough

Peanut butter cookie dough can be stored in the refrigerator temporarily and in the freezer for up to six months.

How to Refrigerate Cookie Dough

Remember, cookie dough can be covered and refrigerated for up to 24 hours. If it’s too firm to work with after refrigeration, let dough sit out at room temperature for 30 minutes.

How to Freeze Cookie Dough

We love serving up warm homemade cookies, even to unexpected guests, which is why we always have cookie dough stashed in the freezer. The best way to freeze peanut butter cookies is to prep cookies until just before the baking step.

So go ahead and roll dough into balls and flatten on a wax-paper lined cookie sheet with a sugar-dipped fork to give them their distinctive criss-cross pattern. Cover the cookie sheet and freeze for 20 to 30 minutes or until firm. Then, quickly transfer frozen dough to an airtight container, and line each layer of raw cookies with waxed paper. Frozen cookie dough can be stored in the freezer for up to six months.

When you are ready to bake cookie dough, immediately transfer frozen cookie dough to a baking sheet. Let stand 15 minutes to thaw. Then bake as the recipe directs.

Now that you know the best method for freezing peanut butter cookie dough, you can surprise everyone with a warm homemade dessert in about 10 minutes.

Betty’s got a cookie for everyone, plus all the info you need to become a master baker. Up your cookie game with more peanut butter cookie recipes, tips for baking the best cookies ever and recipes for every type of cookie you could ever want to bake.

Cookies, cookies, cookies we love to bake ‘em but mostly we love to eat ‘em. Find Betty’s best cookie recipes right here.