My Favorite Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies Only Require 3 Ingredients

published May 29, 2024
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Stack of peanut butter cookies.
Credit: Kelli Foster

Baking is a science, and the careful choreography of how flour, butter, sugar, and leavening are mixed and managed can result in anything from chewy baked bread to a perfectly crumbly cookie. Luckily culinary innovation also comes from experimentation — often at the cost of just a few ingredients and time spent in the kitchen. I’m convinced that’s how these perfectly chewy peanut butter cookies came into existence. They’re so good, I’ve been making them every week — here’s why. 

Credit: Kelli Foster

What Makes This Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe So Good

These peanut butter cookies are among my favorite cookies to make because their flavor and texture far outweigh the effort needed to bake a batch. The recipe calls for just three ingredients: peanut butter, granulated sugar, and an egg. Those are three things that I always have in my kitchen — even if the rest of my pantry is bare. 

Without flour or other flavorings to get in the way and muddle the flavor, the rich nuttiness of peanut butter comes through in the most pure and delicious way possible. Plus, with no flour required, these cookies are naturally gluten-free. Make sure to use a jar of peanut butter that you truly love, as you’ll really taste it in the cookie. (Not sure which peanut butter to choose? Here are the results from our peanut butter taste test.)

These cookies are practically perfect as-is, but I can’t help but add my own spin (I am a professional recipe developer, after all). I’ve added vanilla extract, used brown sugar instead of granulated, and added a variety of mix-ins including mini chocolate chips, toffee bits, and chopped honey-roasted peanuts. I’ve also finished the cookies with the classic cross-hatch, topped with flaky salt, and dipped the bottoms in melted chocolate. I’m sure there are even more ways to dress up these simple cookies, and luckily there are still plenty of weeks left in the year for me to do so. 

Why This Recipe Works

Most cookies — regardless of flavor — start with a similar list of ingredients and standard set of instructions. Most often, cookies (and many cakes) start with the creaming method, in which softened butter and sugar are mixed until light and fluffy; eggs and extracts are added next, then dry ingredients, including flour and leavening, are mixed in at the end. 

But in this recipe, there’s no need to wait for butter to soften, nor do you need a stand mixer or other special equipment. All you need is a mixing bowl and a stiff silicone spatula to mix the peanut butter, sugar, and egg together. That means you can start baking as soon as the urge hits, and you only have to wait about 30 minutes until a plate of peanut butter cookies is in front of you. 

I love/hate Kelli’s advice to wait for the cookies to cool before taking a bite. There’s nothing better than a warm cookie, but these will crumble if you don’t let them finish cooling first. So I (begrudgingly) wait until the cookies firm up to that crispy-edged, chewy texture before serving them up.

Get the recipe: 3-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies

This post originally appeared on The Kitchn. See it there: My Favorite Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies Only Require 3 Ingredients