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These soft peanut butter cookies are crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, and have a perfect balance of salty peanut butter and sugary sweetness.
Crosshatched tops, golden brown edges, and a coating of granulated sugar. These cookies are a classic for a reason.
You’re going to love my recipe for soft peanut butter cookies because these cookies turn out perfect every time. This one is a must have for your recipe arsenal.
If you’re looking for a gluten-free version, try my Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies. Slightly crispier and denser, but filled with peanut butter flavor.
How to Make Soft Peanut Butter Cookies
When making cookies, keep in mind that you’ll need to refrigerate your cookie dough for at least an hour before baking. I recommend chilling your dough overnight, up to 24 hours in advance, if possible.
This gives your dough time to chill and firm up, so that your cookies don’t spread thin when baking. Your flavors also have a chance to meld while chilling.
First, you’ll want to gather your ingredients.
You’ll need an egg, peanut butter, unsalted butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, all-purpose flour, vanilla extract, milk, baking soda, and salt.
Combine all of your dry ingredients into a single bowl, whisk to remove any lumps, and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, add your peanut butter and butter. Mix to combine, then add your sugars and continue mixing.
Last, add your egg, vanilla, and milk, and mix until fully combined.
Then, add half of your flour mixture and mix until just incorporated. Add your remaining flour and again mix until just incorporated.
Once your gluten (the flour) has been added to the dough mixture, you want to mix the dough as little as possible. Over-mixing the dough after the flour has been added can cause your cookies to be tough.
Now it’s time to refrigerate your cookie dough. I like to spoon my cookie dough onto wax paper, wrap, and refrigerate.
You can also form your dough into a tube (like store bough cookie dough) and wrap with wax paper, to save space.
Or, feel free to to cover your mixing bowl and place the entire bowl into the refrigerator.
Once your dough has chilled, scoop into balls and roll in granulated sugar. I like to use an OXO Medium Cookie Scoop for this recipe. It will help you perfectly portion your dough into 36 cookies.
Place your sugar coated cookie dough balls onto your baking sheet, 2 inches apart.
Then, using a fork, press down gently on the top of each ball, creating perpendicular lines.
After baking, you can see that the cookies have spread (but not too much) and the cross hatch markings have faded just slightly. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from the baking sheet.
Peanut Butter Cookie History
Did you know that peanut butter cookies didn’t always bear their criss-cross markings? A 1932 recipe was the first to include this step. The author instructed to use a fork to press the dough down in each direction “so they look like squares on waffles.”
It’s believed that they did so because the dough was so thick, it wouldn’t cook evenly unless it was pressed down. They used a fork due to convenience.
Do you love peanut butter? You must try my recipe for No Churn Double Peanut Butter Ice Cream. It’s a game changer.
You may also want to take a look at my Flourless Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies. That’s right, no flour needed! They’re so moist and chewy, you won’t even notice it’s missing.
Soft Peanut Butter Cookies
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 3/4 cup peanut butter
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar
- 1 large egg room temperature
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar for rolling
- In a large bowl, cream together the butter and peanut butter. Add sugars, then beat until fluffy (about 1 minute). Add the egg, milk, and vanilla. Beat for another 2 minutes until well combined.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
- Gradually stir dry ingredients into butter mixture until just combined.
- Cover bowl or wrap dough in wax paper. Chill for at least 1 hour (up to 24 hours) in the refrigerator. Refrigerating will help the flavors meld and also create a firmer dough to roll into balls.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Remove dough from refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes. Scoop dough using a 1 tablespoon scoop or shape by hand into 1 inch balls. Roll balls in white sugar.
- Place cookie dough balls 2 inches apart onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Press a fork into the balls, creating a crosshatch pattern. Bake for 9-11 minutes, or until lightly browned around edges. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.