Small-batch peanut butter cookies are packed with flavor, soft inside, and have a delicious crisp edge. This straightforward small-batch recipe makes six smaller cookies or three large cookies, perfect for your peanut butter craving. Enjoy fresh out of the oven with a glass of milk.
I love baking cookies and eating them fresh out of the oven. (Who doesn’t?) The only problem is sometimes I want a small batch of cookies and not a regular-sized batch.
Of all the peanut butter cookie recipes I have played around with over the years, this is my favorite. The peanut butter flavor is perfect, the recipe makes the perfect amount of cookies, and it is an easy recipe.
I love that this peanut butter cookie recipe is straightforward and packed with loads of natural peanut butter. My favorite part is the extra sugar on edge. It just gives the cookie a perfect little crunch!
All-purpose flour (APF) – Provides the structure for the cookies. All-purpose flour is an excellent all-around flour and the perfect flour for this recipe.
Baking powder and baking soda – create the perfect lift and spread you are looking for in a cookie. Ensure that your baking powder and soda are no older than six months for the best results. Also, stay away from the baking soda in your refrigerator. While tempting in a pinch, it will make your cookies taste like everything in your fridge. (I can vouch from personal experience.)
Salt – Best results use a pinch of salt, such as common table salt or sea salt.
Unsalted butter – When baking, always try and use unsalted butter. This allows you, the baker, to control how much salt goes into your recipe. You also want your butter at room temperature. Leave it out for at least two hours before starting to bake.
Sugar – Use standard granulated sugar when making peanut butter cookies.
Brown sugar – You can use either light or dark brown sugar. If you have both, I would go with dark brown sugar. The extra molasses will give the cookies a deeper flavor and warmth.
Large egg yolk – A whole egg adds too much liquid to a small batch recipe. Instead, use the egg yolk. I either make a small omelet with the leftover egg white or scramble it for my dog’s dinner.
Peanut butter – I prefer to use creamy peanut butter for homemade peanut butter cookies. For crunchy cookies, use crunchy peanut butter. I find processed peanut butter brands such as Jiff or Skippy are perfect for baking. On the other hand, natural peanut butter will make your cookies dry and crumbly, and I recommend avoiding it.
Vanilla extract – Always use vanilla extract to enhance the other flavors. Vanilla is the best supporting actor in the baking world.
Preheat the oven to 350F/175c. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
Mix Dry Ingredients
Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a small bowl. Set aside.
Mix Wet Ingredients
In a medium bowl, cream the butter and both sugars (white and brown) together on medium speed using a hand or stand mixer until smooth. Add the egg yolk and beat on low until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add the peanut butter and vanilla, then beat on medium speed until combined.
* If at altitude, add one teaspoon of water for every 5,000 feet above sea level.
Combine Dry and Wet Ingredients Together
Using a mixer on low, combine the dry and wet ingredients in a medium bowl until combined. The dough will be thick.
Scoop and Bake
Using a cookie scoop or a spoon, scoop an individual portion and roll it into six cookie dough balls. Use a fork to make a criss-cross pattern on the top of each cookie. Bake time averages between 12- 15 minutes or until lightly browned on the sides. The centers will look soft. Allow to cool for 3 -5 minutes, then transfer to a baking rack.
Optional: While the cookie is still in a ball, roll the ball in white sugar for a lighter look and extra texture.
Additions and Substitutions
- Chocolate – If you want to make these cookies chocolate, add 1/3 cup of cocoa powder when mixing the dry ingredients.
- Chocolate chips – If you would like peanut butter cookies with chocolate chips, add 1/3 cup of chocolate chips after mixing the dry ingredients.
- Pretzels – For that extra crunch and salt, add 1/3 cup of roughly chopped pretzels just after mixing the dry ingredients.
- Once the dough is rolled into a ball, roll the dough in white sugar. This will help to keep the color light and provide extra texture to the cookie.
- When measuring, fill your cup and gently tap it on the counter. Then run your knife over the top. This will level the ingredient and match the quantity used in this recipe.
- When using the hand mixer, cover the bowl with your hand. This will help reduce the number of ingredients that go flying. In a small batch of cookies, this step is really important.
- Use a silicone mat instead of a cookie sheet for the perfect golden cookie. (Click here to purchase a silicone mat.)
How Can I Keep My Cookies From Being Thin?
There are several reasons your cookies could be flat, but the main reason is warm butter. To avoid this, you can do three things.
- Use room temperature butter and never melted butter. Room-temperature butter will hold its shape and be soft to the touch. If the butter is not having its shape it is too warm.
- Beat the butter and sugar just enough to blend, but not over-beat. When over-beating occurs, the butter is too warm, causing the cookies to rise but collapse in the oven.
- Chill the dough in the refrigerator for one hour before baking. This is a universal cookie best practice to achieve the best shape. If pressed for time, you can skip this step. But if time permits, I always chill the cookies before baking.
Frequently Asked Questions
Allow the cookies to cool thoroughly. Then place them in an airtight container. You can store them this way for up to one week.
Yes, these cookies freeze very well. Allow them to cool fully, and then place them in a freezer bag. Store in the freezer for three months.
Before eating, allow cookies to come to room temperature. (If you can wait that long!)
If you are freezing the dough, scoop the dough into balls. Then place it on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Put the baking sheet in the freezer for one-two hour. Once the dough is frozen, move the cookies to a freezer bag. Allow the cookies to come to room temperature before eating. Cookies can be stored this way for up to three months.
Small Batch Peanut Butter Cookies
- Hand Mixer
- Small and medium sized bowls
- ½ cup all-purpose flour (82g)
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder (1g)
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda (1g)
- 1 very small pinch salt
- 3 tablespoons butter, at room temperature (42g)
- 3 tablespoons sugar (36g)
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar (36g) Use either light or dark
- 1 large egg
- ⅓ cup extra creamy peanut butter (88g)
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract (2g)
- extra sugar for rolling (optional)
High Altitude Adjustment
- 1 – 2 teaspoons water (see notes) (15g)
- Mix dry ingredients: Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a small bowl. Set aside.1/2 cup all-purpose flour (82g), 1/4 teaspoon baking powder (1g), 1/4 teaspoon baking soda (1g), 1 very small pinch salt
- Mix wet ingredients: In a medium bowl, cream the butter, and both sugars (white and brown) together using a hand mixer, on medium speed until smooth. Add the egg yolk and beat on low until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add the peanut butter and vanilla, then beat on a medium speed until combined.* If at altitude, add 1 teaspoon of water for every 5,000 feet above sea level.3 tablespoons butter, at room temperature (42g), 3 tablespoons sugar (36g), 3 tablespoons brown sugar (36g), 1 large egg, 1/3 cup extra creamy peanut butter (88g), 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (2g)
- Combine dry and wet ingredients: Using a mixer on low, combine the dry and wet ingredients into the medium bowl until combined. The dough will be thick.
- Baking prep: Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Using a cookie scoop or a spoon, scoop the dough into 1.5 tablespoon balls. Use a fork to make a crisscross indent on the top of each cookie. Optional: Place the cookies in the refrigerator for one hour. Optional: While the cookie is still in a ball, roll the ball in white sugar for a lighter look and extra texture.
- Baking: Bake for 12- 15 minutes until lightly browned on the sides. The centers will look soft. Allow to cool for 3 -5 minutes, then transfer to a baking rack.