Irresistible Peanut Butter Cookies


I get cravings for certain things seemingly out of nowhere. Does this happen to you too? First, it was the pizzelles. And now peanut butter cookies. I haven’t eaten a peanut butter cookie in well over five years due to the food allergy I’ve talked about before, so I thought it was a little crazy to get hungry for one all of a sudden. But who am I to say no to a craving? (Probably the same person who is still carrying around an extra 5 pounds from the holidays, but we won’t talk about that.)

And so to the kitchen I went. Peanut butter cookies are one of my favorite cookies to make because they are pretty much fool-proof and don’t require any fancy mixing instructions. You basically throw your sugar/fat/flavorings in and mix, add an egg and mix, and then add the flour mixture and finish combining everything. You’re left with a wonderfully soft dough that is ready to be rolled, dipped in sugar, crisscrossed, and baked. Couldn’t be easier!


I am going to come right out and address the elephant in the room: shortening. I know it makes many of you shudder. And yes, it’s in the list of ingredients below. It’s true that we have come a long way since the shortening and margarine days of the 1980’s, but I have to confess: there are still some recipes that make me cling to the shortening and peanut butter cookies are one of them. Trust me when I tell you I have tried to replace it with butter. Many times. The result? Crumbly cookies that make my taste buds recognize the crunchiness more than the peanut butter goodness. I can’t have that in a peanut butter cookie. So, I still use shortening in peanut butter cookies. And I still use it in peanut butter blossoms. I hope you won’t stone me.


This is the recipe that I have been using seemingly forever, as it came from one of my mom’s little recipe books. My guess is that it was created by some corporation because the original recipe has brand names listed for most of the ingredients, but I have no idea where it came from. Probably an advertisement for one of the ingredients in a magazine. Those little recipe books of my mom’s are priceless. I have been spending time lately going through them as well as my grandma’s old saved recipes. What treasures! I have unearthed countless yellowed newspaper clippings, recipes scrawled on scratch paper or napkins, and old favorites that haven’t been made in years that I forgot about. I plan on tackling many of them, so look for many of these recipes to start showing up in the near future. I hope you look forward to reading about them because I certainly can’t wait to make them!


1 Year Ago: Fresh Strawberry Tart

More from Mom’s Recipe Books:
Pigu (Italian Gougeres)
Italian Walnut Pillow Cookies
Non-Traditional Chili
Chicken Spread
Pepperoni Bread
Italian Wedding Soup

Irresistible Peanut Butter Cookies

Yield: 3 dozen

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 7 to 8 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes


1¾ all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¾ cup creamy peanut butter
½ cup vegetable shortening
1¼ cups packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 egg
Granulated sugar, for rolling cookies


1. Preheat oven to 375°. Line baking sheets with parchment or a silicone baking mat.

2. Combine the flour, salt and baking soda in a small bowl and set aside.

3. Combine the peanut butter, shortening, brown sugar, milk and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Beat at medium speed until well blended. Add the egg and beat just until blended. Reduce speed to low and add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture gradually, mixing just until combined.

4. Put the granulated sugar in a small bowl. Scoop a tablespoonful of dough and roll into a ball between the palms of your hands. Roll the dough into the sugar and place on the baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Dip the tines of a fork into the sugar and make a crisscross patern on the cookies, flattening them slightly.

5. Bake for 7 to 8 minutes or until set and just beginning to brown. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet before removing to a cooling rack.

Storing: Store these cookies in an airtight container for about a week. You can also freeze these cookies in a freezer bag for approximately 3 months and thaw when you are ready to eat them.


92 Responses to “Irresistible Peanut Butter Cookies”

  1. Steph on June 9, 2009 at 12:39 am

    I have cravings for PB all the time, that’s when I run to the jar with a spoon! Shortening makes me shudder, but my pb cookies do get kind of crumbly. I might try subbing some in next time. Even though they got rid of the transfats, Crisco still tastes like plastic. I hope the Pens win tmr!!


  2. VeggieGirl on June 9, 2009 at 7:17 am

    Oooh yes, I too get random cravings, haha 😀 Peanut Butter cookies are another nostalgic favorite of mine (like the pizzelles)!!


  3. Liz Brooks on June 9, 2009 at 8:04 am

    So is shortening like, Crico? I’ve never used it…


  4. Liz Brooks on June 9, 2009 at 8:05 am

    Wow I meant Crisco. I really know nothing about shortening. Obviously.


  5. stephchows on June 9, 2009 at 10:01 am

    I TOTALLY get random cravings. I’ll print recipes that sound good and then it takes forever to actually make… but then I’ll see a recipe on a blog and be like “I NEED to make this TONIGHT” haha so good!


  6. Michelle on June 9, 2009 at 10:19 am

    Liz – You’re right, Crisco is shortening.


  7. michelle on June 9, 2009 at 11:42 am

    I was just craving peanut butter cookies last night, I think I will make these today!


    • Neya on August 6th, 2012 at 6:04 am

      Delicious!!! I suggest chopped peanuts instead of half of the peanut butter


  8. Michelle on June 9, 2009 at 12:07 pm

    Michelle – Perfect timing! I hope you enjoy them!


  9. Heidi on June 9, 2009 at 2:27 pm

    I was just thinking PB cookies would be a great thing for my kids and I to bake together because there is nary a chocolate chip in my cupboard, but I always have peanutbutter. BTW, Crisco in moderation doesn’t scare me, but I just read that Crisco has a new ‘0 trans fat’ version and Cook’s Illustrated gives it the ‘thumbs up’.


  10. Michelle on June 9, 2009 at 2:33 pm

    Heidi – I agree with Crisco in moderation. I don’t put it in everything, so some recipes here and there I am okay with, especially when I notice a big difference in texture if I don’t use it. And glad to hear Cook’s Illustrated gave the trans fat version a thumbs up!


  11. Risa on June 9, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    I love peanut butter and I love cookies so I would love these. Toss in some M&M’s or Reese’s Pieces and I am set!


  12. michelle on June 9, 2009 at 4:53 pm

    Update…..I just made these (I told you I would), and they are fabulous!


  13. Cookin' Canuck on June 9, 2009 at 5:58 pm

    I love that you added the step of rolling the cookies in the sugar before baking. They look so beautiful & I’ll bet the sugar adds a great crunch.


  14. Michelle on June 9, 2009 at 6:22 pm

    Michelle – So glad that you enjoyed these!

    Cookin’ Canuck – I love peanut butter cookies rolled in sugar. Some recipes don’t call for it (this original didn’t) but I always do it!


  15. The Duo Dishes on June 9, 2009 at 8:53 pm

    They look perfecto! Got us craving pb cookies now.


  16. Joelen on June 9, 2009 at 11:13 pm

    These look delicious – great job! (I’ve missed commenting on your blog for a bit so it’s so good to have some time and catch up with all your cooking/baking! 🙂 )


  17. alice on June 10, 2009 at 1:53 am

    You are too funny!
    I’ve been looking for a good peanut butter cookie for years, I’ll give these a try. I know what you mean about the shortening, I’ve made a few older family recipes for my blog that call for shortening,it’s embarassing, but there’s just no replacing it.
    i just got a hold of my grandma’s old recipe book, probably from the 40s and 50s, full of shortening…so funny, I was thinking great, my grandma’s old recipe book, everybody seems to have old family recipes on their blogs, now I have some to share, open my book and it’s full of shortening… I can’t use any of it! ha ha! I asked my mom if there was a butter shortage when she was a kid…I thought she grew up on a farm???


  18. Michelle on June 10, 2009 at 8:13 am

    Alice, how funny about your mom growing up on a farm and using shortening! But I agree with you – for some recipes, there’s just no replacing. I tend to draw the line when the recipe calls for the shortening to be melted. Melted shortening?! Blech! The original recipe for the pizzelle I just posted called for melted shortening, so I used butter.


  19. Mermaid Sweets on June 11, 2009 at 1:16 am

    Man these look fabulous and shortening is in my favorite ginger cookie recipe, it just does the trick sometimes.


  20. Mathilde's Cuisine on June 11, 2009 at 2:45 am

    As you say, it looks irresistible and I’m not sure I would resist too long before making this recipe!


  21. hiamyj on June 11, 2009 at 8:50 pm

    I just made these cookies, super easy and YUM!


  22. Michelle on June 11, 2009 at 9:04 pm

    Hiamyj – So glad you enjoyed these, thanks for letting me know! 🙂


  23. Sarah on October 12, 2009 at 10:42 pm

    These were perfect. I used Butter-Flavored Crisco. The perfect texture, so good.


  24. Laura on October 13, 2009 at 9:03 am

    I made this over the weekend and they were amazing! Shortening can’t scare me away! 🙂


  25. Sue on December 12, 2009 at 1:41 pm

    I am so excited that I found this recipe. My Mother-In-Law (who has passed away) gave me this recipe about 30 some years ago. When I just went to use it the ink had run on the paper and some things were missing. I looked at every PB cookie on all sites and none of them were the exact ingredients. I finally saw this site and could not believe every ingredient and every step was the same as her recipe. This is a wonderful PB recipe. I am so glad I kept looking till I found it. I was just about ready to give up. Thank you!!


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  27. Natalie on August 17, 2010 at 11:53 am

    My mom has a recipe that calls for mapeline instead of vanilla. I want to dig it out and try it! It’s pretty irresistable. I absolutely love your snickerdoodles! I rolled some in cinnamon sugar and some in sprinkles. My kids LOVED them! So glad I found you!


  28. Amanda on September 2, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    Hi Michelle! I was looking back at some of your cookie recipes, and I recognized this instantly! I am 98% certain that your mom wrote down the recipe from the jar of JIF peanut butter! The big size that you buy in the wrapped 2-pack – yep I eat that much peanut butter! This is probably the first cookie recipe I took the initiative and cooked completely on my own – and I still love it! I have definitely added Reece’s pieces to the mix before too!


  29. Tykisha Pulliam on September 5, 2010 at 9:09 pm

    Peanut butter yummy…I just pulled a batch of these from the oven and they’re just perfect. I have another peanut butter cookie recipe and those cookies turned out so dry and crumbly, almost like a peanut butter shortbread but these cookies are so soft and chewy! I’m home alone so I’m gonna have to seriously control myself tonight…but these cookies are just so darn good!


  30. Melanie on September 6, 2010 at 2:02 am

    This is the exact recipe that I got from the package of Butter Flavor Crisco sticks. It’s a good one.


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  32. Andrea on December 5, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    These cookies are awsome! I bake cookies every year to give out to our good customers at Christmas time. I already tried the Better-than-Brownie cookies and they were a hit with my kids and husband. For these peanut butter cookies I tried them with chopped dry roasted peanuts mixed into the dough. I then dipped the balls in chopped dry roated peanut and then rolled in large crystal sugar ( I used Demerara sugar). Thanks for the great recipes. I enjoy your website.


    • Michelle on December 6th, 2010 at 11:55 pm

      Oooh love your additions to this recipe, need to try those adaptations this year!


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  34. JennyBee1018 on May 29, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    These looked great and I decided to make them for my peanut butter loving husband! While they tasted great, the dough was difficult to work with. They were super crumbly and I could not roll them into balls at all. Hoping I just forgot an ingredient…I’ll be trying these again soon, hoping they’re better next time, because these came together easily and quickly!


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  36. mouse on August 15, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    Splenda is a wonderful substitute for sugar. Splenda bake is what I use. Might want to try it if you have a love one who is diabetic.


  37. sue griffore on August 27, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    I have used many of your recipes, including this one. I did compare this before I made them to an old family recipe. Hate to say, these are better. Perhaps you can explain something to me. In the other recipe it called for 3 cups of flour — or 2 if you want a richer cookie. I don’t understand what this means. Would they be softer or harder with less flour? I have never been good with chemistry. That is another reason I enjoy your site —- you have done all the work. Appreciate any insight you can provide…. thanks, sue g


    • Michelle on August 28th, 2011 at 6:17 pm

      Hi Sue, With less flour, there is a more dense, rich and concentrated flavor. It’s a big reason why flourless chocolate tortes are so popular – super rich!


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  39. linda on December 13, 2011 at 11:08 am

    Wooow, these look amazing!!!
    It’s a shame I can’t find peanut butter here… Do you think I could make some?


    • Michelle on December 14th, 2011 at 7:12 pm

      Absolutely! I have never done it, but have heard of many people who do it regularly.


  40. Morgan on December 16, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    First, I love this recipe! Shortening doesn’t scare me at all. It is now the only pb cookie recipe I use. But…..I can’t help but notice that it is the exact recipe on the Jiff jar…and there is a Jiff advertisement banner across the top of the screen. Is that a random event?


    • Michelle on December 16th, 2011 at 1:13 pm

      Hi Morgan, This recipe has been in my mom’s recipe book since I was a kid, but it’s very possible she got it from the JIF jar. The ad at the top is definitely a coincidence; Foodbuzz manages the ad inventory that shows up on my site, I don’t hand select it or anything.


  41. Shirleyk on January 7, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    I just made the cookies and they were great, you were right about the shortening I have tried to make some before with butter and they were to crumbly but I didn’t know why thank you so much it is my go to recipe when I want peanut butter cookies!!!


  42. Erin on January 13, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    WOW! These cookies are AMAZING!!! I am *not* a baker (this was my first time attempting to make peanut butter cookies) and these were so incredibly simple! My kids are loving them 🙂 Thank you!!!!


  43. :) on January 29, 2012 at 9:58 am

    i made these the other day and i substituted the shortening for butter. They turned out a bit dry, is this cos i used butter instead of shortening? they were still really good i added chocolate chips to some of them
    🙂 really tasty!


    • Michelle on January 30th, 2012 at 12:09 pm

      Yes, using butter in place of shortening would cause the cookies to be more crumbly and dry.


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  45. Donna on February 18, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    Simply cannot wait to try peanut butter cookies or peanut butter fingers were always my favorite after-school drool….

    Question…Could I substitute saindoux (here in France) or organic white lard (in English) for the shortening? I’ve heard it has the same effect in baking…and makes for light end results? Intrigued by any insight you or your readers might have!


    • Michelle on February 19th, 2012 at 3:35 pm

      Hi Donna, I think you would be okay substituting lard, it does have very similar (although not identical) properties to shortening.


  46. Li-Anne on March 3, 2012 at 11:28 pm

    Wow. Just came out of the oven. Took a bite and died and went straight to peanut butter heaven. Enough said.


  47. Kristine on March 20, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    Hi, great blog, I’m just about to start making these. But there’s no measurement for the flour? It only says 1 3/4 flour….. Is it cups? I hope so, that’s what I’m gonna count on 😛 Can’t wait to try more of your recipes


    • Michelle on March 31st, 2012 at 10:50 pm

      Hi Kristine, I am so sorry! Yes, that should be cups. I am correcting it right now.


  48. Diane on March 21, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    Aha, finally! I lost my recipe for the peanut butter cookies I used to make back in the 50s. The recipe was from my grandmother and try as I might I haven’t been able to duplicate it. Your recipe isn’t the same, but it’s close. Shortening rather than butter is definitely part of the answer as is pure peanut butter, but my recipe had lemon juice in it and I think that added a little something extra. I’m going to try it again adding some lemon juice to see what happens. Anyway, these are going to keep me in ecstasy for the time being.


  49. Mama Jennie on April 3, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    I just made these…was looking for a recipe with brown sugar (not white). Love these. I know what you mean about the consistency changing without shortening…I can’t stand to use 1/2 cup so I used 1/4 cup butter, 1/4 cup shortening…Perfect! Thanks for the recipe!


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  51. Hayley on June 18, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    Made these a couple weeks ago, and received bundles of compliments. Good work! Plan to make them again tonight or tomorrow. Thanks so much for all the great recipes 🙂


  52. Kelle on August 10, 2012 at 12:01 am

    I just tried out this recipe tonight before dinner. Like someone else said, it looks to be the same as the recipe inside the Butter Flavored Crisco box. Turned out great! I added just a splash of Bailey’s Creme Brulee coffee creamer that we have in the fridge (been adding that to EVERYTHING lately, so why not? Hah) and it seemed to add a bit of an extra rich flavor. I also substituted a small amount of the shortening for butter (not much at all, maybe a tablespoon or 2). I always love my peanut butter cookies to be crispy but with a nice bendable tender chewy snap, and these did not disappoint! The first batch was more puffy and crispy, and I flattened the 2nd batch a little more to get the texture I really wanted. Came out great!


  53. Quicha on August 16, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    These are the most yummy peanut butter cookies EVER! I did not use shortening, but a stick of butter and my cookies still came out moist. Also, I made them into sandwich cookies using my own chocolate buttercream filling. My husband and son LOVE them! LOVE your recipies!


  54. Julie R. on September 18, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    I just made these today, and let me say, the DOUGH tasted amazing! I only let myself have a sweet treat a couple of times a week right now on my new diet, so I haven’t tried the actual cookies yet. But, they came out soft in the middles and a little bit crunchy on the edges, not brown though after the 7 minutes. Mine were larger than a tablespoon though. I imagine if the dough tastes good, the baked cookies will also. Using shortening makes them stay chewier.


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  57. Yolie D on November 29, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    These are by far some of the most beautiful PB cookies I have seen or made! Lovely for holiday gift giving!


  58. Valerie on December 10, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    OMG!!!! Thanks for the recipe. I used butter instead of shortening. these cookies came out awesome and are so delicious!!!!


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  60. Nadia Ovalles on March 30, 2013 at 7:39 pm

    *looks to see if shortening is in recipe* … *hits back button*


  61. Nancy on April 7, 2013 at 10:36 pm

    This is the same recipe that’s on my Crisco package (except for your step to roll dough in sugar). It calls for Jif peanut butter, Crisco, and Pillsbury brand flour. I’ll bet that’s where your mom got it too! Mine are in the oven now. 🙂
    I try to avoid feeding my family partially hydrogenated oil, but once in a while we do consume it, and I have shortening in my pantry for the occasional cookie recipe like this one. Thank you for giving us the choice. I love your recipes and your blog.


  62. Jill on May 31, 2013 at 8:05 pm

    My husband said, “I could go for some chewy peanut butter cookies.” And I knew exactly where to look. 😉
    Just made these. Yes, irresistible!


  63. Jen on August 5, 2013 at 10:18 pm

    I just made these, except swapped out the shortening for equivalent in butter (1/2 c) Just wanted to let peeps who do not want to use the shortening know that they came out yummy and tasty still. Not too crumbly – held together and had a rich peanut-y taste 🙂 Thanks for the great posts!


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  65. karen wilson on December 15, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    These cookies are great!! After they cooled I sprinkled a little confectionary sugar on the top, made them look really pretty..


  66. will on February 20, 2014 at 8:32 pm

    Hi. I switched out the peanut butter for homemade toasted pecan butter. The taste was amazing but since the pecan butter is on the thin side the cookies flattened a bit. I thought to maybe add a little more flour, or possibly put the sugared dough balls in the freezer for 10 minutes?



    • Michelle on February 21st, 2014 at 1:35 pm

      Hi Will, Unfortunately, homemade nut butters don’t take as well to baking as commercial peanut butter. I would definitely add more flour, and refrigerating may not hurt, either.


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  70. Phyllis on June 15, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    when to add the cry ingredients? I assume after the eggis blended, but it is missing from the recipe.


    • Michelle on June 17th, 2014 at 4:34 pm

      Hi Phyllis, Yes, you are correct, my apologies for the error, I will edit that immediately.


  71. CeeCee on June 22, 2014 at 8:48 pm

    Hi! I’m planning on baking these cookies this week, but only have Golden Brown Sugar on hand. How do you think this will affect the cookie in terms of taste and texture compared to light brown sugar?


    • Michelle on June 26th, 2014 at 10:43 am

      Hi CeeCee, I have never used golden brown sugar, so I couldn’t say definitively how it might alter the cookies.


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  73. Brian on October 17, 2014 at 10:30 pm

    When I needed a good peanut butter cookie recipe the first place I thought to look was your site. You didn’t disappoint! What an easy and tasty recipe for peanut butter cookies. I defiantly will be adding this to my cookie arsenal for the holidays. Thank you!


  74. Elizabeth on December 19, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    Loved these cookies! But next time will be using 1 cup of peanut butter instead of 3/4 cup. Needed just a touch of a more peanut butter taste. Felt like the peanut butter was competing with the sugar. Thanks for the receipe.


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  76. Peggy on May 5, 2015 at 8:54 am

    You mentioned that you thought the recipe might have been from a corporation because the ingredients were name brand. I just Googled “Crisco peanut butter cookies” and the first result was “Irresistible Peanut Butter Cookies” on Crisco’s website. All the ingredients and quantities were identical to your mom’s recipe, so you were right. Not using butter seems unforgivable, but I suppose you could compromise and use butter-flavored Crisco, eh?


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  78. sam on June 19, 2015 at 12:24 pm

    hi i was wondering if these would come out the same if i used carton egg whites instead of whole eggs?

    she carton says that 3 tbs of egg whites = 1 whole egg in baking.

    do you think they will still come out as good?


  79. Liv on July 30, 2015 at 5:07 pm

    These were really delicious! Thank you! If any one is afraid of shortening, I use palm oil shortening which is all vegetable oil and non-hydrogenated (and contains no trans fat). My favorite is an organic one made by Spectrum which I get in my local Fred Meyer. Admittedly, I don’t use it a lot, but there are some recipes which are difficult to replicate without it, and so far it acts exactly like hydrogenated shortenings (as it contains no water like butter does). Recently I’ve read that palm tree oil may be contributing to rain forest woes. Sigh. You just can’t win! At least I use it very sparingly.


  80. Sue in San Antonio on February 2, 2016 at 12:51 pm

    Thank you for this recipe. I have been looking for a recipe for peanut butter cookies that didn’t use butter or margarine and yours was perfect. The only problem I had was I was a little short on the vanilla only had about 3/4 tbs. Will be making this again when I have more vanilla


  81. Leslie on October 17, 2016 at 9:19 pm

    A family member asked for peanut butter cookies. I did not have a good recipe, so of course I turned to you. As always you came through for me. These cookies are terrific. They are delicious, and they stay soft. Thank you for another keeper.


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