The Best Vegan Peanut Butter Cookies

My search is complete. I have been looking for the perfect vegan peanut butter cookie for a long, long time, and I have finally found it. I’ve tried numerous times and failed numerous times. I’ve searched high and low and could never seem to get it right. Until now.

Top down view of five vegan peanut butter cookies on a baking tray

I decided that for our 4th of July BBQ this weekend, I didn’t want to worry about the meal. I wanted everyone else to take care of that. Instead, I opted to make an appetizer and a dessert. The appetizers were these amazing puff pastry pockets filled with mushrooms, roasted red peppers, and cream cheese. They were to die for. The recipe will show up here sometime soon.

Top down view of the ingredients in various mixing bowls and measuring cups on a rustic wooden white table.

The dessert was these vegan peanut butter cookies, and a few that I turned into ice cream sandwiches filled with fudge ice cream.

Flour being added to a mixing bowl full of other ingredients

Our 4th of July weekend was all sorts of fun. We started off on Thursday night at a brewery up in Santa Margarita with a good group of friends for a mellow hangout. We amped it up Friday with a BBQ at our friends’ place, complete with garden-grown squash, Santa Maria style trip tip (a central coast specialty for non-vegetarians), and a pasta salad that I threw together just in time (i.e. at their house).

The ingredients blended withing a stainless mixing bowl full of vegan peanut butter cookie dough

Then Saturday was a BBQ at our house with a few of the friends we saw on Thursday and Friday nights. We drank a lot of vodka in the form of Moscow Mules, fit 10 ears of corn, two pheasants, and a bunch of garlic bread onto our not very large grill, and got a little crazy with a can of whipped cream.

Oblique view of dough balls being made from a bowl of vegan peanut butter cookie dough

It was one of the most fun nights I’ve had in a while.

Top down view of unbaked vegan peanut butter cookies laid out on a cookie sheet with a parchment sheet.

 

These cookies helped us finish the night off. I used some fudge ice cream to make a few ice cream sandwiches as a “cake” of sorts to celebrate my good friend Elissa’s birthday. We even found a candle and a proper lighter this time (as opposed to AJ’s preferred method of a blow torch) and sang the happy birthday song as loud as was appropriate. It was entirely too much fun.

Oblique view of baking tray with a batch of vegan peanut butter cookies laid out.

And then to top off her birthday, her boyfriend proposed the next morning. So much excitement going on around here!

Top view of a batch of vegan peanut butter cookies on a baking sheet

These cookies are heavily based off of Joy the Baker’s Crisp Peanut Butter Cookies. I simply changed a couple ingredients to make them vegan, and then proved that it could work. I’m pretty sure Joy is my baking idol – her Homemade Decadence book is my go-to source for delicious desserts.

Joy the Baker Homemade Decadence via Amazon

This book is AMAZING.

A stack of vegan peanut butter cookies made into ice cream sandwiches

Now go forth and make cookies.

Print
Top down view of five vegan peanut butter cookies on parchment paper

The Best Vegan Peanut Butter Cookies


  • Author: Raquel Smith
  • Prep Time: 45 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 24 cookies
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Desserts

Description

These are the best peanut butter cookies I’ve ever made! Easy and foolproof.


Ingredients

  • 1 2/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup vegan butter (I used Earth Balance), cold*
  • 1/2 cup natural granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp ground flax seed
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup natural peanut butter
  • extra sugar for rolling, preferably course sugar

Instructions

  1. Combine the flax seed and water in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Add the butter and sugars to a large bowl (preferably that of a stand mixer) and beat with the paddle attachment on medium speed until homogeneous and fluffy, about 3 minutes. If you don’t have a stand mixer, grab a whisk and get ready for an arm workout.
  3. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the flax mixture and the vanilla extract. Beat another 2 minutes or so until everything is well mixed. Add the peanut butter and beat until combined.
  4. While things are beating, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix only until just combined.
  6. Cover the bowl and refrigerate 30 minutes. While the dough is chilling preheat your oven or large convection toaster oven to 350°F.
  7. Place a bit of sugar in a small bowl. Roll a tablespoon of dough between your palms to form a ball, then roll in the sugar. Place on a silicone baking mat or parchment-lined cookie sheet, then use a fork to flatten.
  8. Place the flattened cookies about 1.5″ apart.
  9. Bake the cookies for 11-12 minutes until just starting to turn golden. Let sit on the cookie sheet for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool.

Notes

If you’d like to make these as non-vegan cookies, simply use real butter and one egg instead of the flax mixture, or follow Joy the Baker’s instructions here.

Keywords: vegan, peanut butter, cookie, flax seed,

If you loved this recipe, please rate it and let us know in the comments below.

If if this vegan cookie recipe tickled your taste buds, these will also please your palate:

Photos by Raquel Smith, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on Jul 06, 2015. Last updated: October 18, 2018 at 20:39 pm.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

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About Raquel Smith

Raquel is a whole foods enthusiast, an avid mountain biker, and a dog lover. She works by day at Food Blogger Pro and formerly maintained her food blog "My California Roots" (now being merged into Foodal).

These are the best peanut butter cookies I’ve ever made! Easy and foolproof vegan peanut butter cookies that are just as good as the originals. Made with vegan butter, flax seed, and all natural peanut butter and flavored with nutmeg and vanilla. #vegancookies

78 thoughts on “The Best Vegan Peanut Butter Cookies

  1. I’ve actually never tried plain peanut butter cookies. I guess I’ve been too caught up in chocolate EVERYTHING, so I haven’t gotten around to it…but I will most definitely be trying this ASAP! Plus, they’re guilt free!

    • I know what you mean… I was surprised that I didn’t have a plan ol’ PB cookie recipe on the blog yet! It’s easy to get caught up in other things, like chocolate 🙂 I definitely have a few chocolate cookie recipes!

  2. Peanut butter cookies are probably my favorite cookie if I had to pick just one. Okay, if you added choc chips or cacao nibs, then I’d be willing to move from probably to definitely say it’s my favorite. So I am always so excited to see peanut butter cookies and how someone else makes them. Your recipe screams a true pb cookie. And they look delicious! 🙂

  3. I was wondering, if the flax seed & water combo is the egg substitute, could applesauce be used instead? (I don’t have flax seed on hand & have read that a TBS of applesauce can replace an egg in baking) … ? Thank you!

    • Kris – I am so sorry about the delay on this! I was out of town this weekend. I haven’t tried it with just applesauce, but if you do then I would recommend using 3 Tbsp of applesauce instead of the flax+water so that you don’t lose any liquid volume. Let me know how it turns out!

  4. Have you tried using coconut oil as a sub for the earth? I’m only asking since I’m almost out and am too lazy to leave the house…these sound amazing though!

    • Hi Amber! I haven’t tried it… My guess would be that it would work, but the flavor might not be quite as rich. Coconut oil also tends to feel a bit more oily to me, so I would decrease it by a bit (maybe 2 Tbsp). If you try it can you come back and let me know how they turned out? I would love to know!

      • I used coconut oil in the same amount as I would have butter and they were extremely oily (I could squeeze the balls and oil would drip out). They still turned out good though.

        • Hi Connor – sorry about that. Coconut oil is generally much more liquid-y than than Earth Balance, so I’m not too surprised they were oily. Give them a try with Earth Balance and let me know how they turn out 🙂

        • Whoops, just realized you were replying to my comment saying coconut oil would feel more oily! Glad to know that, while they were more oily, they turned out alright. Thanks for reporting on it, Connor!

  5. Made these today and loved them! I loved the cookie dough too…probably ate more dough than cookies 🙂
    I also made the second half of the cookies peanut butter thumbprint cookies. I made a thumbprint before baking and just added a small piece of vegan chocolate as soon as the cookies came out of the oven. Two thumbs up 🙂

    • Ohmygoodness the PB-chocolate-thumbprints sound amazing! I can’t believe I haven’t tried that – you are brilliant! Thanks for trying this recipe, and double thanks for coming back to report how it went. It means so much! I’m glad you liked them!

  6. I just made these bad boys, but I couldn’t flatten them quite like the photos because the dough was too crumbly. I am very new to baking, let alone vegan baking. Did I do something wrong, or is there a clever cookie flattening technique that you used?

    • Hmm.. if they were crumbly then there are a couple things I can think of. Did you use natural peanut butter (the kind you have to stir) or something like Jif or Skippy? Natural peanut butter has more liquid in it. And how did you measure your flour? If you scoop your flour right out of the bag, you can end up with a ton extra. It’s always a good idea to use a spoon to fluff the flour in the bag, then spoon it into your measuring cup and level it off with a knife.

      I hope one of those solves the problem! I don’t think I used any special technique to flatten them, so it’s probably just an ingredient issue.

  7. I tried this PB cookie recipe for the 1st time today – and they are so yummy. Thank you so much for doing all the hard work to come up with this delish recipe. My 7 year old is dairy intolerant (her ears turn firehouse red if she eats dairy). She thinks your recipe is wonderful too.
    One quick question about the Nutrition Facts: What is the SIZE and WEIGHT of the “Amount Per Serving”? Thank you.

    • I’m so glad you liked them, Catherine! When I made these, I got 24 cookies out of the batch, so the nutrition info is per cookie, or 1/24th of the batch. I unfortunately don’t have the weight per serving, sorry!

  8. Hi Raquel,

    These look amazing! I have been hunting for a handy and foolproof peanut butter cookie recipe that is vegan for ages!

    Will it be ok if I leave out the flaxseed? I can’t find it near me.

    Thanks!

    Alice

    • Hi Alice! The flax seed acts as a binding agent, kind of like an egg. It’s a necessity in a vegan kitchen! You can usually find it in the baking aisle on your local grocery store with the Bob’s Red Mill stuff (if they have it). If you can’t find it, you can get it online at Amazon.

      If you must leave it out, another commenter just said she made these using a whole banana instead of the flax+water. You could try that and see if it works for you!

      • Hi Raquel,

        Thank you very much for your reply, I did find ground flax and now I am making everything with ‘flax eggs’, they’re the best! I made your peanut butter cookies and they are gorgeous, best vegan peanut butter cookies I’ve ever made, and everyone agrees, especially my non vegan boyfriend who got a parcel of cookies in the post!!! 🙂

  9. We are vegetarians who occasionally dabble in veganism 😉 we’re in the midst of a blizzard and can’t get out so have limited baking supplies. I made these this afternoon with a stick of butter instead of earthwise and a whole banana +1 tblspn of water instead of an egg or flax(our chickens aren’t laying). I also used generic kroger brand crunchy peanut butter.

    They’re divine!! I imagine if I had all the ingredients they’d be even better! Lol

    Thank you for a lovely recipe to break up the monotony of storm Jonas. ♡

    • Hi Autumn! I’m so glad these helped get your through that giant storm! I bet being stuck inside gets pretty boring, but there’s nothing like cookies to brighten your day 🙂 Thanks for the notes about the banana sub – I’ll mention that to others who can’t find flax seed!

      • They did! I have found through years of experimental vegetarian/vegan baking trial and error that I Iike a half to a whole (depending on ripeness) mashed banana versus applesauce. IMO it binds a little better. You may or may not need the water based on how wet the banana looks post mashing. It does have a slightly stronger flavor though so use it based on whether or not you think it would be a compliment to what you’re making. Thanks again! They’re almost gone!

  10. Okay, so I made some Raw Peanut Butter Cookies and they were gross. I shouldn’t say that, I just didn’t like it. These look like something I can sink my teeth into.

    • Haha, sometimes things don’t turn out like you think they should! These are delicious, I promise 🙂 let me know if you give them a shot!

  11. I am a beginner cook and trying to become vegan and I found your site and cant wait to try these cookies and start trying the new healthy recipes listed here!!

  12. These are currently in the oven baking, but the dough ended up way too dry and crumbly, I couldn’t even roll the dough into balls. I had to add a pretty hefty amount of water to get the dough back to a normal consistency. I followed all the measurements exactly. What did I do wrong? 🙁

    • Hi Mary, how did they turn out? Sorry the dough was crumbly :/ There are a couple things I can think of that might cause this:

      1) Scooping your flour with the measuring cup instead of lightly spooning it into the measuring cup
      2) Using processed peanut butter like Skippy of Jif

      If you scoop your flour, you are likely to get as much as 1.5x the amount of flour as when you lightly spoon it into your measuring cup, so that is often a big source of any “dryness” in baked goods recipes. In addition, processed peanut butters have a lot less “free” oils (i.e. they stay solid at room temp) so that effectively lowers the amount of liquids you add to the recipe.

      Do any of those tips help?

      • AH! I found my dough crumbly too and i ended up not using all the flour i measured out but i did indeed SCOOP the flour, not sift. Thank you for this valuable tip!

    • Hey Adam – the flax seed acts as a binder – kind of like an egg. Another reader reported that using a mashed banana worked great, though this would impart a banana flavor on the cookies. If you’re okay with that then charge ahead!

      • Just gave this a shot, and it was absolutely delicious. A single bread-ready banana to the mix, and removed some of the white sugar and the flaxseed.

        Wound up needing a little more liquid (used a tablespoon of soy milk) for it to have the same dough consistency, but the extra flavor was a big hit!

  13. I was told you can use applesauce instead of sugar, but you have to reduce the liquid in the recipe. In you peanut butter cookies how would I do this?

    • Hi Pam – the applesauce swap usually works better in recipes that aren’t quite as sugar-heavy, such as a quick bread. I wouldn’t really recommend swapping the sugar for applesauce here. If you really want to give it a go, then I would say try swapping only 1/3 or 1/2 cup of the white sugar with applesauce and don’t make any other changes. If you give this a shot then let me know how it turns out!

  14. I have store bought peanut butter and I see that you have suggested that it might make the dough dry. I’d love to try the recipe. Should I add less flour if I’m using non-natural peanut butter?

    • Hey Ariella – yeah, if you have the kind of peanut butter that doesn’t separate (i.e. there’s no oil on the top that you have to mix in after you buy it) then you would probably need to use less flour. I’m not really sure though since I haven’t tried this recipe with the no-stir kind of peanut butter. Maybe try adding a Tbsp of canola oil to the mix after you add the flax?

    • I just made them with store bought peanut butter (no stir natural kind), I added 2 tbsp of vegetable oil and the dough was great. Before oil it was very crumbly and would not stay together.

      • Hey Erica – yeah, that’s expected. The lack of free oils in the no-stir peanut butter would mean that the dough would be more dry. Adding the vegetable oil in does the trick though! Glad they worked out for you.

  15. These are not Vegan cookies when using white sugar and brown sugar. White sugar is processed with animal bones.

    • Hi Renee –

      There are vegan white and brown sugars available for purchase. Please use your discretion when purchasing vegan ingredients. Thanks!

      • What brands do you purchase? Most US sugar companies only process with animal bones. Most people are not aware of this. Vegan sugars are organic only and are certified, this recipe doesn’t state use organic only.
        Thanks for your response.

        • You can find a list of companies that sell sugar made without bone char here. The specific brand I buy varies depending on the store I am at and the price at the time. I’ve tried many of those on the list in the past!

      • Now MY search is complete. I am a vegan, love to cook and bake, and have been searching for a good peanut butter cookie recipe since I have been craving them for quite some time. I have others but this one reads to me to be “the one”. About a month ago a Fresh Thyme natural foods store opened here in Milwaukee and they have an island for grinding fresh peanut, almond, and cashew butters. I love they have it because of the no added salt to the nuts. I’ll be using the peanut butter I bought there for my cookies, and in the future will make the cookies with the almond and cashew butters.
        Thank you for pointing out there are vegan versions of ingredients. Just a little research will bring those facts to the surface. And, thanks for all the vegan recipes posted – they all are appreciated very much.
        I know these cookies will be great! Cheers!

        • I love freshly ground peanut butter! I personally get the salted kind, but I love me some salty PB ? Hope you liked these cookies, Carol!

      • There are plenty of sugars out there that do not use bone char for crying out loud. First of all, organic sugars…they aren’t allowed to use bone char.. secondly, even Wal-mart carries a pure cane sugar (non -gmo) without use of bone char (it even states it on the bag).
        Anyone can imply anything they wish whenever they wish. If you are vegan (a true vegan) then you are most likely already aware of the bone char in sugars.. not *everything* needs to be spelled out for someone to use their own common sense. Does it? Scary world we live in. We are vegan, and personally, I think the recipe sounds amazing , and because I am going to be taking these to my kids’ classroom parties tomorrow… I plan on dipping half of each cookie in chocolate…(I need something friendly for them so they aren’t left out).
        Thank you, Raquel, for posting the recipe… it is greatly appreciated! And just FYI.. I plan on using chia egg replacement.. I’ll let you know how that turns out.. Should be fine. Flax has a very distinct flavor I cannot get past. So excited! Wahoo!

        • Sorry but … I am very grateful to Renee and to Raquel for drawing this bone char issue to our attention. I have been vegan for about 6 months and had no idea about this. Not every vegan is miraculously endowed with the minutia of every ridiculous place companies chose to hide animal “products”. I am constantly amazed and sickened how things like this permeate many seemingly benign products. Thanks again to Renee and Raquel.

  16. The first time I made these I added a tablespoon of soy milk and they turned out PERFECT! And then a few days later, I made them exactly according to recipe and they turned out a little too crumbly. So I’d suggest adding the tablespoon of soy milk if you want to make them easier to work with.

    • Hi Jessica – did you use no-stir peanut butter? That’s generally more dry than the natural kind you have to stir. If so then I wouldn’t be surprised it they needed a bit more liquid. Good to know a bit of soymilk worked!

  17. Hey! I am planning to make peanut butter cookies for an upcoming office party and want to impress since most of the office are not vegan!

    Are these the soft, chewy type of cookies or are they crisp like the recipe you adapted from? I am looking for the soft, chewy kind of peanut butter cookie I am familiar with from my past. They look amazing! Hope to hear back from you!

    • Mine turned out soft and chewy. A hard, crisp cookie is an indicator of too much flour. If you measure correctly, your cookie should turn out how you want it. Nice recipe. Good luck!

    • Hi, I made these yesterday and they came out delicious! I made slight adjustments to the ingredients, based on what I had available, and it could be what made them so smooth, soft, and (surprisingly) chewy: I used coconut oil instead of the vegan butter, and I only used brown sugar (about 3/4 cup). I sprinkled with a mix of brown sugar and cinnamon on top.
      I think the use of coconut oil as a butter substitute is the main factor in texture. Either way, my guests absolutely loved these, so thank you Raquel for posting your recipe!

  18. Hello Raquel,

    Your recipe sounds so yum! I can’t wait to try it. I have a couple of questions. Please see if you can answer those for me.
    1. We are trying to eliminate white flour from our diet. Can I substitute it with coconut flour? Or is it a bad idea?
    2. Somebody mentioned mashed banana before to substitute for flax seeds. Do you reckon coconut flour AND banana would be a complete disaster?

    Thanks again!

    • Hi Sowmya, I would not use coconut flour – it does not behave the same as regular flour. The mashed banana may work, as others have reported.

  19. Can I use almond flour? I did read that coconut flour is not recommended. Need gluten free and dont have Bob’s gluten free flour on hand. Thanks!

    • Sorry for the delay. I don’t think almond flour would work – they would turn out crumbly. I also can’t guarantee it’ll work with Bob’s Red Mill GF flour since I haven’t tried it. Let me know if you do!

  20. I loved these. I read that in order to get them chewy, I should add a little extra oil and soymilk. I used regular peanut butter (the jiff kind) and added a tablespoon of oil and a tablespoon of soymilk. Fantastic. I also baked them 10 minutes longer than suggested.

  21. I love your vegan peanut butter cookies. The best cookies I’ve made so far. Thank you for sharing such awesome. recipe. Can I substittute the All Purpose Flour with Bob’s Red Mill Whole Wheat Pastry Flour? What will be the measurement? Thanks.

    • Hi Carol, so glad you enjoyed these! You can probably sub half the all-purpose flour for whole wheat pastry flour without a noticeable difference. I’m not sure about doing any more than that, though. You would just sub 1-to-1.

  22. I made these with King Arthur Measure-for-Measure Gluten Free blend, and sunbutter spread, and they turned out an excellent cookie!

  23. Just made these! I didn’t use a natural peanut butter and the dough was a little too dry, but I added a tiny bit of water and it was perfect. Delicious cookies!

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