This recipe is too good to be true. It is fast, easy, made with ingredients many of us have in the pantry right this very minute, and tasty. You can make it with your children helping and no one will cry or get frustrated (probably), and it is gluten-free (assuming you don’t buy junk peanut butter). Peanut butter cookies with only four ingredients: I can’t believe it took me more than two years to make a batch!

Before I go on, I need to say that the peanut butter cookies I grew up eating are delicious, truly classic and never-fail. I have a recipe that substitutes honey for most of the sugar and produces a chewy, flavorful cookie, and I love that recipe almost as much; unfortunately, neither will be getting much action from now on, since I have 4-ingredient cookies in my life. I made and baked a batch in less than an hour, and we’re not swimming in extra cookies (important when you are baking for two). The batch made 24 and is very easily doubled or tripled. Credit for these gems goes to my friend T, who brings some for me, all for me each year to my Christmas cookie swap. She always shares the recipe, but this time it finally stuck in my brain, and now I will share it with you.

I have many friends with allergies to peanuts, so in the months to come I want to experiment with almond butter, sunflower seed butter and the like to see how those compare. I did use a commercial peanut butter (versus the natural pb we have for sandwiches, etc.) because I had some left from candy-making at Christmas. For my candy, there is an important distinction between peanut butter that stays mixed and those brands which separate from their oil at room temperature; I will make sure to report back if that matters here. I would also like to try making them with brown sugar, and maybe with a mix of sugar and honey, even though that would bump us up to 5 (gasp!) ingredients. The experiments will have to wait; right now, I am going to go eat a cookie with some milk.

4-ingredient pb cookies

4-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies

  • 1 c. peanut butter, smooth or chunky (I used Skippy Natural Creamy)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. (I didn’t even need a mixer, another great thing about this recipe!) Using a spoon or cookie scoop, drop by the tablespoonful onto a non-stick cookie sheet; flatten the top of each cookie using a fork and sprinkle with sugar if you want.  Bake for 6-8 mins.; they stay soft and chewy, so be careful not to overbake. Cool and serve.