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Check your pantry, because you probably already have everything that you need to whip up a batch of these 3 ingredient peanut butter cookies! Soft, chewy, salty, and sweet, it’s one of the quickest and most delicious homemade dessert recipes you’ll ever enjoy. You don’t even need to chill the dough, so the easy peanut butter cookies are ready from start to finish in less than 30 minutes. Add chocolate chips if you like, and pair them with a cold glass of milk!

Close up side shot of a glass of milk with a pile of 3 ingredient peanut butter cookies

Easy Peanut Butter Cookies

These 3 ingredient peanut butter cookies are the first treats that I remember baking with my mom as a child. I think the original recipe probably came from the jar of Skippy peanut butter that was always in the pantry! While I love the ease of the cookies, I continue baking them for my own children now, because of how good they taste (the short ingredient list is just an added bonus). They’re truly the best peanut butter cookies — thick, soft, chewy, and loaded with peanut butter flavor!

Stack of homemade peanut butter cookies in a white heart shaped dish

Ingredients in Three Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies

This is just a quick overview of the ingredients in three ingredient peanut butter cookies. As always, specific measurements and step-by-step baking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Creamy peanut butter: use classic creamy Jif or Skippy brands; don’t substitute with natural peanut butter.
  • Sugar: granulated sugar sweetens the cookie dough and also coats the outside of each cookie.
  • Egg: gives the cookies structure.
  • Optional, but recommended: vanilla extract and salt — so technically these would be 4 or 5 ingredient peanut butter cookies!
Process shot showing how to make the best 3 ingredient peanut butter cookie recipe

Which ingredient makes cookies moist and tender?

These cookies don’t require any butter or oil, since the fat in the peanut butter keeps them moist and tender. The egg (particularly the egg yolk) also adds moisture to the dough.

Scooping peanut butter cookie dough

How to Make 3 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies

With this easy recipe, you can enjoy homemade peanut butter cookies in less than 30 minutes! Kids and adults love them…

  1. Cream together the peanut butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer.
  2. Add the egg, vanilla extract, and salt. Mix on medium speed for about 1 more minute.
  3. Place extra sugar in a shallow dish.
  4. Using a cookie scoop, shape the dough into balls. Roll each ball in the sugar to coat.
  5. Arrange the dough balls about 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
  6. Gently flatten each cookie by using a fork to make a crisscross pattern on top.
  7. Bake the cookies for about 10 minutes, or until they’re set and lightly brown on the edges. The cookies should still be soft in the centers so that they stay chewy when cool.
  8. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Making crisscross pattern on top of peanut butter cookie dough

Why do peanut butter cookies have fork marks?

That classic criss-cross pattern is an old-fashioned hallmark of a peanut butter cookie — but why?! The waffle-like fork design was first used in a peanut butter cookie recipe in the early 1930’s, but was popularized by Pillsbury in a cookbook later that decade. While the traditional crisscross marks have become synonymous with homemade peanut butter cookies, they actually serve a purpose. Peanut butter cookie dough is dense, so flattening the cookies with fork marks helps the cookies bake evenly.

Close overhead shot of easy peanut butter cookie recipe served in a vintage pan with a glass of milk

How to Keep 3-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies Soft

The key to maintaining those decadent, soft centers in your cookies is not overbaking. Remove the cookies from the oven just as the edges are starting to brown. The centers will still look soft and under-baked, but the cookies will continue to firm up as they cool.

Storage

Store the baked cookies in an airtight container at room temperature. They will last on the counter for about 3 days. To extend the life of your cookies, wrap them tightly and freeze them for up to 3 months.

Soft and chewy 3 ingredient peanut butter cookie recipe served on a table with milk

Make Ahead 3 Ingredient Cookies

You can prepare the dough up to 24 hours in advance and keep it covered in your refrigerator until ready to bake. When ready to scoop the dough, let the bowl sit on the counter and soften slightly so that it’s easier to work with.

How to Freeze Peanut Butter Cookie Dough

Scoop the cookie dough into round balls, roll in sugar, and flatten each ball with a fork in the crisscross pattern. Freeze the cookie dough on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 1-2 hours, or until firm. Once the dough is frozen, package in airtight containers or a freezer-safe Ziploc bag. Store the dough in the freezer for up to 3 months. When ready to bake, arrange the frozen dough on baking sheets and bake according to the recipe instructions, adding 1-2 minutes to the total baking time since you’re starting with frozen dough.

Close up side shot of easy peanut butter cookies served with a glass of milk

Recipe Variations for 3 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies

  • This recipe yields a fairly small batch of just 18 cookies. You can double or triple the ingredients to bake more cookies.
  • Substitute with crunchy peanut butter if you like little bits of crunchy peanuts in your cookies.
  • Add chopped, salted, roasted peanuts to the dough for an extra-crunchy cookie with great flavor and texture.
  • For peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, stir about ½ cup of your favorite chocolate chips into the dough. We like mini semi sweet chocolate chips here.
  • Rolling the dough in extra sugar adds a nice texture and flavor to the cookies; however, this step is optional. Skip it if you don’t want to bother!
Overhead shot of easy peanut butter cookies in a white heart shaped dish.

Tips for the Best 3 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe

  • Don’t grease the cookie sheet. The dough will not stick, so there’s no need for nonstick spray or parchment paper.
  • For thinner, flatter cookies, press down harder with the fork. The dough won’t spread too much in the oven, so you can control the size and thickness of your cookies.
  • Use a processed peanut butter (like Jif or Skippy) rather than all-natural peanut butter. The processed nut butters do not separate, which yields a better quality cookie.
  • For soft peanut butter cookies, pull the cookies out of the oven when they still look slightly under-baked in the center. They will firm up as they cool, but will remain nice and chewy on the inside.
  • The cook time is just an estimate, and will vary depending on your specific oven. Keep a close eye on the cookies and pull them out when they are set and lightly golden brown on the edges. Don’t overbake, or you’ll end up with crunchy pb cookies!
Stack of peanut butter cookies

More Cookie Recipes to Try

Square side shot of 3 ingredient peanut butter cookies on a white platter

3 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies

5 from 1 vote
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings 18 cookies
Calories 132 kcal
Check your pantry, because you probably have everything you need to whip up a batch of these soft and chewy peanut butter cookies!

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter (such as Jif or Skippy brand)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, plus extra for rolling
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • Optional, but recommended: 1 teaspoon vanilla extract; ¼ teaspoon salt

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to cream together the peanut butter and 1 cup of sugar until smooth. Add the egg, vanilla, and salt. Mix on medium speed for about 1 more minute.
  • Place about ½ cup of additional granulated sugar in a shallow dish.
  • Using a cookie scoop (about 1 ½ tablespoons), roll dough into balls and coat in sugar. Place dough balls about 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
  • Gently flatten each cookie by using a fork to make a crisscross pattern on top.
  • Bake for 10 minutes, or just until set and lightly brown on the edges. The cookies should still be soft in the centers so that they stay chewy when cooled.
  • Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes, and then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Notes

  • Don’t grease the cookie sheet. The dough will not stick, so there’s no need for nonstick spray or parchment paper.
  • For thinner, flatter cookies, press down harder with the fork. The dough won’t spread too much in the oven, so you can control the size and thickness of your cookies.
  • Use a processed peanut butter (like Jif or Skippy) rather than all-natural peanut butter. The processed nut butters do not separate, which yields a better quality cookie.
  • For soft peanut butter cookies, pull the cookies out of the oven when they still look slightly under-baked in the center. They will firm up as they cool, but will remain nice and chewy on the inside.
  • The cook time is just an estimate, and will vary depending on your individual oven. Keep a close eye on the cookies and pull them out when they are set and lightly golden brown on the edges. Don’t overbake, or you’ll end up with crunchy pb cookies!
  • This recipe yields a fairly small batch of just 18 cookies. You can double or triple the ingredients to bake more cookies.
  • Substitute with crunchy peanut butter if you like little bits of crunchy peanuts in your cookies.
  • Add chopped, salted, roasted peanuts to the dough for an extra-crunchy cookie with great flavor and texture.
  • For peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, stir about ½ cup of your favorite chocolate chips into the dough. We like mini semi sweet chocolate chips here.
  • Rolling the dough in extra sugar adds a nice texture and flavor to the cookies; however, this step is optional. Skip it if you don’t want to bother!

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookieCalories: 132kcalCarbohydrates: 14gProtein: 4gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 65mgPotassium: 84mgFiber: 1gSugar: 13gVitamin A: 13IUCalcium: 9mgIron: 1mg
Keyword: 3 ingredient peanut butter cookies, easy peanut butter cookies
Course: Cookies
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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Comments

  1. I would like more peanut butter taste. Can I add powdered peanut butter to the recipe? If I do, do I need to add more egg?

    1. Hi, Linda! I’ve never worked with powdered peanut butter, so I’m not sure how that will impact the cookies. You can add chopped peanuts for crunch and more flavor, too. Let me know if you give it a try!