by Olena

Healthy Peanut Butter Cookies

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Olena Osipov
4 from 2 votes

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These 4-ingredient Healthy Peanut Butter Cookies are rich, sweet, and slightly chewy, while naturally gluten free, low carb optional, and packed with plant based protein but no eggs, oil, or butter!

If you’re peanut butter obsessed like me, you might also enjoy these no-bake peanut butter oatmeal bars, peanut butter protein balls, or peanut butter protein pancakes!

healthy peanut butter cookies with criss cross marks and sprinkle of salt

These healthy peanut butter cookies are wonderful for adding to your healthy snacks list. Not only do they contain several health benefits, but they also require just a handful of inexpensive pantry ingredients, one bowl, and just minutes to prep before baking!

Once baked, these protein dense almond flour peanut butter cookies are perfect for a mid-afternoon treat, lunch boxes, and pre or post-workout snacking. Better yet, they’re also freezer friendly for up to 6 months, so you always have a nutritious (and delicious) snack on hand!

I also love making these PB cookies in rotation with other healthy cookies like protein cookies, healthy banana oatmeal cookies, and even healthy cookie dough!

Why Almond Flour Peanut Butter Cookies are Healthy?

  • Nutritious: Packed with plant based protein, heart healthy fats, fiber, antioxidants, plant compounds, and several vitamins and minerals.
  • High Protein: 5g protein per cookie to keep you satiated, fuel your body, and help with dietary/ fitness goals.
  • Naturally sweetened: No refined sugars are necessary for these delicious almond flour peanut butter cookies. 
  • Diet friendly: Gluten free, grain free, dairy free, refined sugar free, vegetarian, vegan (optional), low carb (optional), oil free, etc.
Holding healthy peanut butter cookie sprinkled with sea salt in hand.

Ingredients for Healthy Peanut Butter Cookies

One of the best things about this healthy peanut butter cookie recipe is that you probably already have all the required ingredients sitting in your kitchen!

  • Peanut butter: Avoid peanut butter with tons of added sugars/salt. I use organic, smooth, and unsalted. However, use crunchy or smooth and either natural or regular (creamy) peanut butter for these gluten free peanut butter cookies.

Is peanut butter good for you?

This is a debated topic as some discount peanuts entirely as a healthy nut (technically a legume). However, not only are they an excellent source of plant based protein and fiber, but they also pack in several healthful vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds (including antioxidants).

More so, while peanut butter is high in calories and fats, the fats are primarily heart-healthy, unsaturated fats, and the nutrient-dense calories help to keep you satiated for longer. Though it should still be eaten in moderation. You can read more about peanut butter health benefits at Healthline.

From savory peanut sauce and salmon to no bake peanut butter pie, there are multiple ways you can enjoy this healthy nut year round!

  • Sweetener: Use liquid sweetener of choice such as honey (non-vegan), brown rice syrup, maple syrup, or date syrup. Sugar-free liquid sweetener options will also work, so choose the sweetener based on desired taste and nutritional value (i.e., making low carb peanut butter cookies).
  • Vanilla extract: Pure vanilla is best and will help make these taste like even more of a treat.
  • Almond flour: Fine almond flour is best for these healthy peanut butter cookies. However, almond meal may also work. Oat flour may work, too, though I haven’t tried (I imagine them being drier).
  • Salt: (optional) Just a pinch of coarse sea salt is wonderful for sprinkling over the baked cookies.
Almond flour, maple syrup, vanilla extract, peanut butter.

How to Make Peanut Butter Cookies Recipe

  • The pre-prep: First, preheat the oven to 350F/177C and line a large baking sheet with either parchment paper (I use unbleached) or a silicone mat. Then set aside.
  • Combine the ingredients: In a large bowl, combine the peanut butter, maple syrup, and vanilla. Stir with a spatula until smooth, then add the almond flour and mix until a dough forms.
  • Shape the cookies: Using a small ice cream/cookie dough scoop (or around 1 ½ tbsp of dough rolled into a ball), transfer the cookies dough to the baking sheet leaving 1 ½ inches between each one. Then use a fork to press on the dough, flattening them into cookies and making a crisscross pattern on top.

If you have issues with the fork sticking to the dough, wet it lightly, which should help.

  • Bake the cookies: Transfer the tray to the oven for 10 minutes on the middle rack. Remove them from the oven before any visible browning occurs, and the cookies are still soft. Then allow cooling for at least 30 minutes so they can harden. Finally, sprinkle them with salt if preferred, and enjoy!

Why do I need to flatten these PB cookies before baking? Because these almond flour peanut butter cookies don’t flatten and spread while baking, it’s important to do this step before baking them.

Optional Add-In’s and Variations

  • Mini chocolate chips: Press a few into the top of the almond flour peanut butter cookies before baking (use sugar free chocolate if preferred) or even use cacao nibs.  
  • Dried Fruit: Instead of chocolate, add dried fruit like cranberries, blueberries, raisins, etc.
  • Flaxseed/chia seeds: A small amount of these nutritious seeds will add extra protein, fiber, and healthy omega fatty acids.
  • Spices: You could add a dash of cinnamon or chai spice for extra flavor.  
  • Shredded coconut: Will add flavor and texture. Add 2-3 tablespoons, reducing the almond flour slightly to avoid dry PB cookies.
  • Keto/ low carb peanut butter cookies: Use a keto friendly sweetener to significantly reduce the net carbs.

Tips for Best Results

  • Don’t overbake the cookies: They should still look pale and soft when removing them from the oven. They’ll finish cooking from the residual heat and harden as they cool.
  • Adjust the salt levels: Depending on the peanut butter you use, adjust the amount of added salt (or omit it entirely).
  • To use a food processor: While you only require a bowl and spatula, feel free to use a food processor to further cut down on prep time.
  • Adjust flour if needed: If you’re using peanut butter that is particularly drippy/runny, you may need to add a small amount of extra almond flour to form the rollable dough consistency.
  • Don’t skip the cooling stage: The PB cookies will be very fragile and soft immediately out of the oven, so ensure you allow them to cool for at least 30 minutes to finish cooking and harden.

FAQs

Why are peanut butter cookies scored?

This helps to flatten the cookies, since they don’t spread while baking. As a result, these almond flour peanut butter cookies bake more evenly.

Can I use natural peanut butter for cookies?

Yes, you can use any peanut butter; natural, creamy, smooth, chunky, etc. My one piece of advice is to use peanut butter without tons of added salt or sugars.

Should I refrigerate the peanut butter cookies before baking?

There’s no need as these almond flour peanut butter cookies don’t spread at all while baking.

Why are my peanut butter cookies dry?

This is usually down to baking them too long (they’ll become dry and crumbly). While it may seem a little deceiving, these cookies don’t look fully cooked even when they are. So follow the recipe instructions for the best results.

Can I substitute the peanut butter?

I haven’t actually tried (yet). However, feel free to experiment with other nut butters like almond butter, hazelnut butter, or cashew butter. I can’t see why they wouldn’t work if they’re a similar consistency. However, the flavor will obviously vary.

Healthy peanut butter cookies sprinkled with sea salt.

How to Eat Your PB Cookies?

These healthy almond flour peanut butter cookies make for a wholesome treat to enjoy at breakfast time, mid-afternoon, as a lunchbox treat, or even pre/post-workout. Enjoy a cookie alone or with a glass of milk (or tea/coffee).

You could also enjoy these gluten free peanut butter cookies as part of a dessert/snack spread with other healthy bakes like:

Or browse through my entire collection of healthy snack recipes for more inspiration!

How to Store Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies?

Storing: Once cooled, store the gluten free peanut butter cookies in an airtight container in a cool, dry location for 3 days (or 5 days in the refrigerator).

Freeze: Spread the cooled cookies back across a baking tray and flash freeze until solid. Then transfer to an airtight container of reusable Ziplock bag and store in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Allow them to thaw at room temperature again until soft enough to enjoy (1-2 hours).

A stack of healthy peanut butter cookies sprinkled with sea salt.
Healthy Peanut Butter Cookies

Healthy Peanut Butter Cookies

These 4-ingredient Healthy Peanut Butter Cookies are rich, sweet, and slightly chewy, while naturally gluten free, low carb optional, and packed with plant based protein but no eggs, oil, or butter!
4 from 2 votes
Print Save Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: North American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Chilling Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 15 cookies
Calories: 140kcal
Author: Olena Osipov

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line large baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper or silicone baking mat (15 cookies should fit as they do not spread). Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, add peanut butter, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Stir with spatula until well combined and smooth. Add almond flour and mix until smooth dough forms.
  • Using small cookie dough scoop, drop cookie dough onto baking sheet leaving 1.5 inches in between (cookies do not spread but we will flatten them). Or use a tablespoon, scoop about 1 1/2 tbsp of dough and roll into balls. Using a fork, press on cookie dough balls making a criss cross pattern.
  • Bake for 10 minutes on a middle rack. Remove cookies from the oven before any visible browning occurs and cookies are still soft. Let them cool off for about 30 minutes and they will harden. Sprinkle with salt if you wish and enjoy!

Store: Store in a cool dry place for 3 days or freeze in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

    Notes

    • Flour substitutions? I think you can also use almond meal or oat flour.
    • Crunchy or salted peanut butter: Any peanut butter will work, you just have to adjust accordingly. Salted PB will yield salted cookies – do not sprinkle with salt. Crunchy PB – will make less smooth cookies. Natural or regular peanut butter can be used as well.
    • Do not overbake cookies: Remove them from the oven while pale and looking “uncooked”. They will finish cooking with residual heat and harden with time.
    • To use a food processor: While you only require a bowl and spatula, feel free to use a food processor to further cut down on prep time.
    • Adjust flour if needed: If you’re using peanut butter that is particularly drippy/runny, you may need to add a small amount of extra almond flour to form the rollable dough consistency.
    • Liquid sweetener: Feel free to use your favorite, including sugar free liquid sweetener. Taste may vary.
    See recipe post for more tips and FAQs.

    Nutrition

    Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 140kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 79mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g

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    4 comments on “Healthy Peanut Butter Cookies

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      1. Hello! Happy to help you troubleshoot. Was your peanut butter extra drippy? If so, you may need to add a bit more almond flour. Also, ensure that you wait a full 30 minutes after baking to consume, this allows them to harden up. Last tip, you may need to adjust baking time as all oven models differ. I would try adding 1-3 minutes onto the baking time next go round.

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