Three Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies
Enjoy soft, chewy, and intensely peanut buttery cookies made with only 3 ingredients: peanut butter, sweetener (sugar or honey), and egg. You can make a batch of freshly baked cookies in under half an hour for a quick snack or dessert.
I love 2-3 ingredient recipes that transform basic ingredients. Some of my favorites that I've posted are:
- Banana + egg = 2 ingredient pancakes
- Eggplant + salt = microwave eggplant
- Tomatoes + butter + onion = tomato sauce
As long as you keep your expectations in check, you'll love these simple recipes. It may seem obvious, but you have to keep in mind that a recipe will taste like its components. If you make pancakes out of a banana and an egg, you shouldn't expect fluffy buttermilk pancakes.
Made of just peanut butter, sugar, and egg, flourless 3 ingredient peanut butter cookies are nutty, rich, and chewy. On the other hand, traditional peanut butter cookies are more cakey and buttery because they contain flour and butter.
Unlike with traditional cookies, you can sweeten 3 ingredient peanut butter cookies to taste, so it's easy to take peanut butter on the go. Simply make a batch of cookies with less sugar and then enjoy portable, portion-controlled servings of peanut butter.
- 1 cup of creamy peanut butter
- ½ cup of sugar
- 1 egg
- optional: ½ teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of vanilla
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Add all of the ingredients to a medium bowl, and stir until smooth.
- Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Make 12 balls of cookie dough. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the mixture about 1 inch apart on the baking sheet.
- Bake for 10 minutes.
- Let cool for 10 minutes before serving. Leftovers keep well in the fridge or at room temperature for a few days.
- Peanut butter: Provides fat and flavor. I used Jif creamy peanut butter. Substituting any sort of peanut butter or nut butter would work.
- Sugar: Sweetens the cookies. Use up to 1 cup of sugar. Alternatively, use to 1/3 cup of honey or other liquid sweetener.
- Egg: Adds structure and fluffiness. Use 1 or 2 eggs. For a vegan option, you could substitute a flax egg or omit the egg altogether.
- Salt: Balances out the sweetness of the cookies. I used 1/2 teaspoon of table salt.
- Vanilla: Adds flavor. Can omit.
Step by Step Photos
Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees.
You can add sugar to taste. I found that 1/2 cup of sugar makes the cookies sufficiently sweet, but most recipes call for 1 cup of sugar. Add 1 cup of peanut butter, 1/2 cup of sugar, 1 egg, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla to a medium bowl.
Stir everything until smooth. Three ingredient peanut butter cookie dough is basically sweetened peanut butter with an added egg for structure.
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil for easy cleanup. Make 12 balls of cookie dough. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the mixture about 1 inch apart on the baking sheet. The cookies look the same after baking, so you should shape the cookies now if you want them to be round and pretty.
Bake for 10 minutes for soft and chewy cookies. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving. If you don't, the cookies will collapse.
Leftovers keep well in the fridge or at room temperature for a few days. These 3 ingredient peanut butter cookies are rich and chewy with intense peanut butter flavor, so they're best enjoyed with a cold glass of milk.
You can reduce the sugar even further from 1/2 cup to 1/4 cup. You'll still get tasty peanut butter cookies, but they won't be as sweet as regular cookies.
If you want to reduce the sugar even further (<1/4 cup), then you basically get peanut butter in cute shapes. I wouldn't call them cookies anymore, but you do get portable peanut butter. Baking the peanut butter makes it more stable and less goopy, so you can easily pack it.
Here's the low sugar peanut butter cookies before baking. Since you reduce the amount of sugar, you end up making 8 cookies instead of 12.
Bake time is the same - 10 minutes.The low sugar peanut butter cookies look the same as the original peanut butter cookies after baking.
I'd love to be able to say "You won't believe these cookies are lightened up!" However, that'd be false. The cookies have the same soft and chewy texture and peanut buttery flavor, but these cookies are less sweet and don't taste like traditional cookies.
You can make 3 ingredient peanut butter cookies with 2 eggs instead of 1. This is useful if you want to use up extra eggs. You can also make a smaller batch of cookies without having to divide eggs in half.
To make 6 cookies, you can use 1/2 cup of peanut butter, 1 egg, and 1/4 cup of sugar. I took the original recipe, doubled the number of eggs, and then halved the recipe. This batch is as sweet as the original batch.
Here's the 2 egg peanut butter cookies before baking. If you use 1 cup of peanut butter, 2 eggs, and 1/2 cup of sugar, you should end up with 12 cookies, but I halved the recipe.
Bake time is the same - 10 minutes. Due to the additional egg, these 3 ingredient peanut butter cookies puff up more in the oven, have a smoother appearance, and taste a bit fluffier.
If you care about presentation, these cookies are definitely the prettiest even without any shaping. The extra egg causes the cookies to spread out more evenly, so your cookies end up less spiky.
Unlike in most cookie recipes, the only purpose of the sugar is to add sweetness, so you can substitute other liquid sweeteners, such as honey.
Keep in mind that 1 tablespoon of honey is as sweet as 2 tablespoons of sugar. I used 1 cup of peanut butter, 1/4 cup of honey, and 1 egg, so this batch would be as sweet as the original batch. You don't have any sugar granules, and the dough looks a lot smoother in appearance.
Here's the 3 ingredient peanut butter honey cookies before baking. You end up making 9 cookies. You might have difficulties making the traditional crosshatch pattern, but you could definitely form some pretty swirls.
Bake time is a bit less than 10 minutes. These peanut butter honey cookies tend to brown easily, so I would suggest reducing bake time to 8-9 minutes.
There's nothing unexpected about these cookies. The 3 ingredient peanut butter honey cookies taste the same as the original peanut butter cookies, but more like honey. The texture is a bit softer.
After I made 4 different batches of 3 ingredient peanut butter cookies, here are the differences I found:
- Using more sugar makes sweeter cookies.
- Using 2 eggs instead of 1 makes fluffier, prettier cookies.
- Using honey makes softer swirly cookies that taste like, well, honey.
Basically, you can make pretty much any substitution and still get tasty cookies. If you really want to make these cookies sound healthy, you can substitute almond butter, maple syrup, and a flax egg and dub these cookies "paleo, vegan, and gluten-free!"
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