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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.
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.
The dessert was these vegan peanut butter cookies, and a few that I turned into ice cream sandwiches filled with fudge ice cream.
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).
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.
It was one of the most fun nights I’ve had in a while.
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 blowtorch) and sang the happy birthday song as loud as was appropriate. It was entirely too much fun.
And then to top off her birthday, her boyfriend proposed the next morning. So much excitement going on around here!
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.
Now go forth and make cookies.Print
The Best Vegan Peanut Butter Cookies
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 24 cookies 1x
These are the best peanut butter cookies I’ve ever made! Easy and foolproof.
- 1 Tbsp ground flax seed
- 3 Tbsp water
- 1/2 cup cold vegan margarine (I used Earth Balance)*
- 1/2 cup vegan granulated sugar or coconut sugar
- 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup natural peanut butter
- 1 2/3 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
- Extra sugar for rolling, preferably coarse sugar
- Combine the flax seed and water in a small bowl and set aside.
- Add the margarine 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.
- 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.
- While things are beating, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix only until just combined.
- Cover the bowl and refrigerate 30 minutes. While the dough is chilling preheat your oven or large convection toaster oven to 350°F.
- 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.
- Position the flattened cookies about 1.5″ apart.
- 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.
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.
- Prep Time: 45 mins
- Cook Time: 15 mins
- Category: Cookies
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Desserts
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:
- Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies
- No-Bake Crispy Chocolate Treats (Vegan, GF)
- Vegan Caramel-Stuffed Double Chocolate Cookies
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: April 10, 2023 at 17:06 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.
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 merged into Foodal).
87 thoughts on “The Best Vegan Peanut Butter Cookies”
I love your vegan p.b. cookies! They’re already pinned in my “Recipes I am going to try” wall. 🙂
Hi Raquel, these look really good. I was wondering are these cookies Gluten free? If not how can I make them gluten free?
Hi Ryan, the cookies aren’t gluten free. You can try using a 1-to-1 gluten free mix. Bob’s Red Mill makes a great one. Let me know if you try it!
I will, thank you!
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!
Just made these! Me and my mum can’t get enough! Crispy on the outside and super soft on the inside. I’m in love ????
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! 🙂
Thanks, Meg! Chocolate chips would definitely be a good addition to these 🙂
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!
I made these tonight!!!! PERFECT!! Thank you so much for sharing.
Awesome! I’m so glad you liked them, Tanner 🙂
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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 purchase it online from 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! Others like a chia egg with ground seeds of that variety instead of the flax.
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!!! 🙂
So awesome, Alice! I’m glad you were able to find the flax, and even more glad you liked the cookies! ?
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 earth balance and a whole banana +1 tbsp of water instead of an egg or flax (our chickens aren’t laying). I also used generic 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!
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!
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!!
Awesome! Thanks for being here, Ryan!
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!
Yeah, that’s a super common mistake! I hope they turned out alright anyway. Thanks Tiffany!
is the flax seed crucial? will the cookies still turn out if I don’t have any?
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!
The banana addition sounds amazing! Glad you liked these, Dunder 🙂
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!
Just made these with chia seed “eggs” instead of flax. Delicious with vegan coconut ice cream!
Glad you liked them, Alicia! I bet they were delicious with the vegan ice cream!
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.
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 at OrdinaryVegan dot net. 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!
This is very helpful for those that didn’t know about the US sugar companies.
Thanks for posting 🙂
Glad to help! ☺
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!
They are if you use organic cane sugar and brown cane sugar
It could be implied
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 a 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 minutiae 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.
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 soy milk worked!
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!
Hi Rachel –
These cookies come out crispy, not very soft. Sorry about that!
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!
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?
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.
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!
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 Jif kind) and added a tablespoon of oil and a tablespoon of soy milk. Fantastic. I also baked them 10 minutes longer than suggested.
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.
I made these tonight with oat flour, and they turned out delicious!
I made these with King Arthur Measure-for-Measure Gluten Free blend, and sunbutter spread, and they turned out an excellent cookie!
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!
The recipe doesn’t work. The dough was incredibly dry.
Sorry to hear you had less than satisfying results, William! This dough is meant to be a bit on the firm side, since it’s made with very little water. The high oil content of the margarine and the peanut butter accounts for most of the liquid – what type of peanut butter did you use, and was it at room temperature before you stirred it into the dough? This should result in a mixture that’s easier to work with. Please let us know if you give it another shot.
Made these tonight and they came out perfect. Thank you for sharing the recipe.
I find that the dough is perfect when using a stand mixer but too dry if mixing by hand. Delicious cookie dough and cookies!
I made these and they turned out great! I only had half the amount of Earth Balance the recipe calls for, so I used (solid) coconut oil for the other half and it worked fine. I also used half all purpose flour and half whole wheat flour, and the texture was still great.
I was able to get them to turn out well but the recipe doesn’t work as is. I had to add almond milk since it was way too dry without it. The batter was extremely greasy, like balls of oil. Yes they taste good but the recipe itself isn’t a good one.
Hi. This recipe sounds great and I want to try it. I’m confused as to why the vegan butter is supposed to be cold when usually room temperature is required for creaming. Why does this recipe call for cold butter?
Vegan butter and margarine tends to soften more quickly at room temperature than regular butter, and it’s typically easier to beat at cooler temperatures as well. Starting with cold fat for this recipe will help to keep the cookies from spreading too much during baking, but if you find that it’s easier to cream at room temperature, just chill the dough a little longer before proceeding with the recipe.