3 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies use only peanut butter, brown sugar, and an egg. That’s it. Chocolate chips are a great addition but are totally optional.
You know how some recipes just seem wrong? Your friend jots down a recipe and you look at it and think, “Really, Mary? I know you forgot something, girl.” Or you hit up a blog and wonder why chicken isn’t listed in the chicken noodle soup*.”
*This one is probably just an oversight. Send the blogger a nice note. They will die when they read it and then correct the recipe asap.
That’s how I felt when I first saw a recipe for flourless peanut butter cookies. If you’re not familiar with it, the recipe goes like this: combine peanut butter, an egg, and some sugar. That’s it.
Looks wrong, right?
The first time I made it, I was pretty sure the recipe wouldn’t work. In fact, I think I made the recipe with that attitude. “Let’s see what all this ruckus is about!” I mean, c’mon, peanut butter, an egg, and some sugar? My baker’s sense told me that the peanut butter brings fat, the egg gives us structure. but the sugar stumped me. In baking, sugar is a liquefier. That means that when it gets hot, it turns to liquid. Too much sugar in a recipe and cookies can spread all over the place.
Without a little flour to hold the sugar in check, I really thought I’d have puddles of peanut butter on my baking sheet.
I grabbed my bowl, stirred everything together, and, well, the first surprise hit. The dough looked like…dough. It was maybe a little softer than regular cookie dough but it scooped out well and held the traditional fork imprints nicely.
As the first pan baked, I switched on the oven light–fully expecting to see puddles. That never happened. The egg did it’s thing, lifting the dough ever so slightly, and holding everything together.
After the cookies cooled, they looked perfect. I took a bite. Oh my! They tasted like the most peanut buttery-peanut butter cookies I’d ever eaten. They were soft with just enough crunch on the edge to make you feel like you were eating a cookie and not a power bar.
But…I wasn’t happy.
As much as I liked the cookies, I wanted to love them. The recipe I followed used a full cup of granulated sugar. This made for really sweet peanut butter cookies. Since granulated sugar only brings sweetness and not flavor, I decided to swap it for dark brown sugar. I figured a little molasses flavor would pair nicely with the peanut butter.
Then, since I like crunch, I used natural crunchy peanut butter instead of creamy. Because to me crunchy > creamy. Obviously this one is just a preference. But I do encourage you to use natural peanut butter. The fat in traditional peanut butter, usually a shortening-type fat, gives the cookies an oddly greasy and almost plastic texture. For fun, I stirred chocolate chips into half the batch. I don’t think I need to explain to you that peanut butter and chocolate are awesome together. I mean, you’re reading a food blog. You know this.
The cookies were exactly what I wanted. Deeply flavorful, crunchy, and full of peanut flavor
If you love peanut butter, add this recipe to your must-try list. It’s that good. And don’t I wish that finding out you were wrong always tasted this good.
3-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies
3 Ingredients Peanut Butter Cookies are so easy-to-make! Use crunchy natural peanut butter and brown sugar for the best results.
- 1 cup natural peanut butter, crunchy or creamy (see note)
- 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips, optional
- granulated sugar, optional
Adjust oven rack to middle position. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. (See oven note)
Stir together peanut butter, sugar, and egg in a medium mixing bowl. Stir in chocolate chips if using. Allow dough to stand for 10 minutes. (This step is important. Don't skip it.)
Drop dough, about one tablespoon each, onto prepared baking sheets. Lightly press tops of cookies with tines of a fork, making a crosshatch pattern. Sprinkle lightly with granulated sugar, optional.
Bake cookies, until golden brown, about 12 minutes. Allow cookies to cool on the pan for five minutes. Then transfer to a wire rack to cool fully. Store, wrapped, on the counter, for up to four days.
Peanut Butter Note
- Before measuring natural peanut butter, stir it to incorporate the oil.
- If your natural peanut butter does not contain salt, add 1/4 teaspoon to the recipe for the best flavor.
- When these cookies were tested in a Breville tabletop oven, the bottoms of the cookies turned very dark when the oven rack was in the "bake" position. When tested with the rack in the "toast" position, they baked as intended. Keep your eye on the cookies if using a tabletop oven.
Thank you for all the explanation that came with this recipe. I wanted to try brown sugar instead of granulated to get more flavor. You did it for me and helped me understand the why’s and the how’s. I will also follow your suggestion for natural, crunchy peanut butter. I look forward to my next batch of peanut butter cookies!
I’ve been using this the recipe for a long time. I use store brand peanut butter and half a cup of organic sugar and half a cup of turbanado sugar. THere was a fourth ingredient 1 tsp vanilla i have left that out as it didn’t make a difference in the flavor.
I made these with creamy peanut butter and threw in some milk chocolate chips and cashews………. OMG!
Glen McPherson Jr. says
Along with the Last Woman who had the same question I have wondered for a while now…Thank you for that explanation..They turned out Phenominal!!
Rhonda Correia says
I want to make nutterbutter cookies would this recipe work for the cookie part. Or do you think it would be too soft to put the peanutbutter cream on.
The texture of these cookies isn’t similar to nutter butter. They won’t be too soft but they might not have the flavor that you’re looking for in a sandwich cookie.
Stephanie jordan says
I discovered this recipe a few years back and it’s fabulous one of the things I did find out not just from this recipe but from just using brown sugar it makes any cookies soft crunchy so I basically use brown sugar light brown sugar and all my cookies mixes….of course if they’re shortbread cookies I don’t. Unless I want them to look brown but they are delicious It Gets A Different Twist of flavor. I had just a little bit of vanilla to kick the taste up…..everybody one I have made them for loves them.
MS. Robbin Dilger says
I have carpool tunnel very bad in both hands. I so love to bake and It has come down to how much i can do.
I accidentally came across your recipe and am getting ready to put them into the oven. Brb. Lol
The verdict is in… Next time fix a double batch…
This makes me so happy as I can bake these.
Ps… I wanted choc. chips and they didn’t. So I spilt the dough in half.. ????☺????
Is there anymore recipes like this one??
Pamela Simpkins says
Really want to try these today! Can I use Jif peanut butter?
I was skeptical but these delivered . Best peanut butter cookies I have ever made and eaten!
M. GB says
Amazing! Brought me back to childhood. *Added some homemade jam, rather than sugar, at the end of step 3.
I made these with regular Kroger brand smooth peanut butter, after reading that natural PB made them too oily. I used brown sugar, a little less than a full cup, and added a teaspoon of vanilla extract, which was in another variation of this recipe. The dough was a bit loose so I popped it into the freezer while the oven preheated. This helped immensely. They came out great. I will add chocolate chips and/or peanut butter chips next time, just to add something extra. All in all, a great, easy recipe for an inexpensive dessert, especially for peanut butter lovers. They were really good.
I’ve added oatmeal to the recipe when using an oilier brand of pb and they turned out great. The oatmeal changed the texture completely and added a nice flavor
How much oatmeal did you use?
I have used this recipe for yrs. Love it. It’s a big hit with hubby and grandkid’s
Geneva Sucomba says
This worked better than I expected! They taste wonderful but don’t seem to be great for dunking in milk. My kinda fall apart, nothing really binding things together I suppose. The texture is more sand-y than cookie-y. Maybe a sprinkle of flour would help? All in all though, a nice easy recipe that accomplished its goal: getting sweet things in my tum ASAP ^_^
I found the same thing that they were to crumbled. The next time I made them I added another egg and they worked out beautifully.
Same here, but they seem well cooked and delicious. It is probably the absence of flour and i might also add some later 😀
I just re-tested the cookies. I used Teddie natural peanut butter.
They baked as directed. So then I tested them in my tabletop Breville oven. (Same batch.) When I had the rack in the “bake” position, the bottoms turned out dark. While they didn’t burn, I could see that if the oven was a bit hotter they might have. When I adjusted the rack to the “toast” position, they baked as directed.
This is stumping me and I’d like to get to the bottom of it. Any chance you baked these in a tabletop oven?
Sorry! I meant that reply for someone else. But I’d love to know what brand of peanut butter you used!
Misty Hatfield says
I was wanting to make some and was out of sugar so decided if brown sugar would work I googled it as I do a lot of stuff and seen how yours was made so I made some but I didntblet my dough set 10 mins I hope it didn’t hurt anything we will see shortly when their ready to eat thank you
Lillian Miller says
I absolutely love these cookies but I would like to know the serving size and the calories per serving size
I’m not sure of the calories. Sorry!
Tiff John's says
Is this on cookie recipe for keto low carb he looks good n can’t wait to try them thanks Tiff
It’s not low carb or keto because it has sugar. You could try it with a sugar substitute.
Ann Towle says
I’ve made this recipe type with Splenda for baking with good results, it’s disgusting with stevia.
I used two eggs to make them gooey… and just Jif Peanut butter. And then scooped out 24 cookies. The calculations I came up with are only 18 calories per cookie??
Okay I commented on this a minute ago with the wrong number lol I used light brown sugar, 2 eggs and a cup of Jif.. 24 cookies per batch. 91 cal per cookie
Sounds delicious! Can I add oatmeal to this recipe?
Hmmm…I don’t know how oatmeal would do in this recipe. Sorry!
Robin Zebleckis says
Can I use light brown sugar if I dont have dark?
Yes! That will work!
Could I use coconut sugar?
I haven’t tested the recipe with coconut sugar. Sorry!
Joy Ciesla says
Yes, I use coconut sugar exclusively. It works great for these cookies as well.
Connie Congemi says
I tried this recipe but added quick cook oatmeal, and they turned out good. Had to cook a little longer because I didnt smash down like regular peanut butter cookies.
How much oatmeal did you use??
Mrs. Lovely says
What can I do to make sure the cookies are soft after cooling down?
These cookies aren’t soft, I’m afraid. Due to the lack of flour, they’re a bit crisp. I’ll work on a soft peanut butter cookie recipe. That sounds good!
Can I use sunflower seed butter instead of peanut butter?
Marissa K says
I just tried this recipe with light brown sugar and this was delicious. I couldn’t believe that they came out as good as they did. I put them in at 350 for 10 minutes and they are crispy on the outside but nice and soft on the inside. Definitely would make again.
I had a sweet tooth real late at night and didn’t have any vanilla extract, cocoa, or much flour, and this recipe saved me! These turned out way better than I expected.
I used chunky peanut butter and half granulate sugar/half brown sugar (because I didn’t have enough brown sugar.)
12 minutes at 350 was a perfect recommendation. The middles were gooey and the outsides perfectly crunchy. ????????made 14 cookies. Great and simple recipe. Thank you!! ❤️❤️
Love love love this recipe. Having to go to food banks you sometimes end up with lots of peanut butter & no jelly!! This recipe is great for snacks or dessert!! Add coconut & different flavored chips when they are given!! Kids I’ve to help make. Thank you for sharing this recipe!!♥️
Can this dough be frozen ahead of time?
Yes. The dough freezes well.
I love these cookies. I’ ve made so many variations. I add coconut and choc chips. I package them in the freezer and eat them frozen. They are great crumbled over ice cream as well.
Julie Burdette says
I love these cookies but always add a teaspoon of soda. Makes them puff up. I could eat my weight in them!!
Robin Gore says
These are 1 of my Must make for Christmas, and my go to recipe whenever looking for something sweet and delicious. I’ve made with just regular sugar and I’ve doubled the recipe and used regular sugar and brown sugar in even amounts and they came out Super Yummy. I also sometimes dip my girl in powered sugar when making the cross marks on top of cookies. Time to bake some cookies!!!!
Robin Gore says
Oops just made a comment and somehow a word appeared wrong. I meant to say, I sometimes dip my fork in Powered Sugar when making crisscross marks on top of cookies! Love this site!!!
I saw a recipe like this, but it called for some vanilla, baking soda and salt. I made these tonight, using chocolate chips and coarse sea salt. Oh my goodness! The chocolate chips and brown sugar with crunchy crystals of salt are amazing!
Jen kemp says
I have not yet made these but I was wondering if I could use natural peanutbutter with honey
Yes! They’ll might be a little sweeter than those made with unsweetened peanut butter but that will work!
This is now my go-to recipe. I’m a single, stay-at-home mom to 2-year-old twin boys, and when it comes to baking (for us or anyone/anything else), it’s pretty much impossible. Everything takes too much prep time, etc., for me to get it all done in their half-hour long naps, and when they’re awake, they’re climbing on counters and chairs, no matter how, or how many times, I try to stop them. This recipe is so quick and easy to just throw together and whip up. Aside from the amount of sugar, they’re a healthy snack, and either way, they’re filled with protein… and they taste *amazing*!! I am going to experiment with ways to cut down on the sugar. I’m a Beachbody coach, and I use our nutritional supplement, Shakeology, every day, but while thinking of ways to cut down on the sugar in this recipe, I thought that maybe I could try the Shakeo in place of some of the sugar. I used a full scoop of Shakeo (I’ve tried it with chocolate, café latte, and strawberry – all came out tasting *incredible*) and only 1/4 cup of sugar. They came out *so* well, though just *slightly* dry. Next, I’m going to try to figure out how it works with less sugar and no substitutions to make it easier for people who don’t have Shakeology sitting around their houses!
Seriously, though… I love this recipe. It’s my new favorite.
Nala S Guertin says
So I tried and should have known to not put it in for 12 minutes I just burnt the cookies…
You’re right. That’s why the recipe indicates that the cookies should be baked until golden brown. Which, if they are a tablespoon each and the oven is running correctly takes about 12 minutes. Time is an approximate guide, not set in stone which is why we give visual indicators first. Sorry you burnt the cookies!
Penny A Holbrook says
I’ve made these as the simple 3 ingredients for years. About 4 years ago I had a bad accident and ended up in a wheelchair. For two years after I sat and watched food network and did stupid, destructive things with my life. Now, here I am, 2 years after drug rehab and still in intensive mental health therapy. But I’m doing great and cooking up a storm! Being in a wheelchair gives me bunches of time for it and I LOVE IT! I want to make cookies for the hubby to take to work so I thought I would see if there were any variations. WOOHOO! Lovin this!
So this is what I’m going to do. Double the recipe. Use 3 eggs, all dark brown sugar, chunky great value peanut butter, 1 tablespoon vanilla, 1 cup milk chocolate chips, and 3/4 cup chopped almonds. YES! I SAID ALMONDS! I can’t wait! So I have now doubled the ingredients, but that’s not the point! I’ll try real hard to let y’all know how they turn out.
Penny A Holbrook says
So, I finally made them! I decided not to put almonds in them. The hubby wasn’t to keen on the idea, and I’m glad. There’s plenty of nuts from the chunky peanut butter. The cookies turned out wonderful. They’re soft and chewy, just the way we like them. I had to bake them for 15 minutes though. I think that has to do with my elevation (around 8000 ft) and maybe the addition of the vanilla. At any rate, they are delicious and I hope you feel inspired!
Harper Moody says
Really satisfying when my sugar tooth starts calling. I love the flavor and how easy it is to make!
I churched up the recipe a little bit with one teaspoon of baking powder, a dash of vanilla extract, and a dash of cinnamon. So delicious and easy!
After trying peanut butter cookies from Chop Shop, salt instead of sugar on top of pb cookies is a must! I tried these with flaked sea salt and they are amazing!!!
Real, all natural peanut butter made these so greasy they burned in no time and tasted horrible. I have no idea how other people made them work.
May I ask what brand of natural peanut butter you used? I’ve tested this with Smuckers, Teddie, and Justin’s and haven’t experienced them burning or being oily. I’m curious what brand was oily and burned. And also what type of sugar did you use?
I made a batch for us yesterday and they baked up as they always do.
So sorry this was your experience!
Sara Colbert says
I made these cookie today and they turned out terrible. The batter did not get smooth, oil started separating from tge batter. I continue on to the baking but they were
floating in oil when i took them from the oven. What went wrong … was the peanut butter spoiled. It was creamy Jiffy with a date of 2021.
Ack! That’s terrible. What type of sugar did you use?
And was it creamy Jif natural or regular peanut butter? The batter should be nice and smooth after you add the sugar and egg and it rests for 10 minutes. I’m really curious about the peanut butter.
Let’s see if we can get to the bottom of this!
Carolyn Correira says
Easy breezy and that is all I can say. Thank you for posting this recipe.?
My mother-in-law and I have been using this recipe for years . We like to stir in peanut butter chips . They are so easy to make.
I just made these today & the dough was nothing but crumbles. I couldn’t really call it dough. I put all three ingredients in my kitchen aide mixer & got crumbles. Went ahead & baked but they are just falling apart. I figured this recipe was too good to be true. Not sure what went wrong but won’t waste ingedients on these again
Oh dear! What type of peanut butter did you use?
Very meh. Followed the recipe exactly. I’ll be sticking to normal peanut butter cookies.
Tom R says
I made a batch this morning and the family liked them. I reduced the sugar to 5 oz. (a little over 1/2 cup)… just my preference for a slightly less sweet cookie. My cookies didn’t spread much, they puffed up gently. I suppose they might have spread more with the full amount of sugar. I used Trader Joe’s organic PB, which is a “natural” style PB (only peanuts and salt, no added oils or sugar). It has 15g fat per 2 Tbsp. Peanut butters can vary in their fat content. I think that could affect the results with this recipe.
I don’t think these will replace my regular peanut butter cookie recipe, but they’re quite good, and they sure are easy, and I can serve them to my GF diet friends. I mixed them up in a small food processor (also easy!). The texture of the dough was surprisingly similar to my usual PB cookies, and easy to handle – not sticky, just a bit on the dry/crumbly side.
HNH Style says
I loved this recipe! Simple enough for everyone. Thumbs up for this recipe!!
I literally eyeballed everything because I only had half a cup of PB, and only white sugar, and they still turned out tasty! incredibly easy and they have a surprisingly lovely texture warm. I used about half a cup of PB, about half an egg, and added granulated sugar until it had the texture of cookie dough. I’m sure it’s even better if you actually follow the recipe, but it’s a very solid and flexible recipe even if you don’t! ? I want to try it with brown sugar and cashew butter too.
Linda Wagner says
Sooo easy. I just finished making a batch and they’re not gonna last long. I followed the recipe exactly using brown sugar. I’d like to try this recipe using some of the other nut butters that are out there. What other nut butters do you think think will work well?
I just made these! Yummy! I substituted Swerve brown sugar-for dark brown sugar- used Smucker’s Natural Creamy Peanut Butter (added the suggested 1/4 tsp salt) cooked for 9 minutes! So good!!
Doug Palmer says
Why does dough need to sit for ten minutes?? I forgot and balled them up. When I remembered I mixed them back in a bowl & let it rest for ten.
It gives the egg a little time to dissolve the sugar. You can skip it!