These gluten-free peanut butter cookies are flourless, super easy, and require just a few ingredients and minutes to make! They’re also naturally grain-free and dairy-free. Recipe updated 12/15/20. See the post and recipe for notes!
Better than 3-ingredient peanut butter cookies
You know those 3-ingredient peanut butter cookies that are so popular? The ones with just peanut butter, egg and sugar? I’m not a huge fan.
I suppose the problem could be that I’m not using peanut butter like Skippy or Jif with added fat and sugar, but I’ve read people saying that you can use natural peanut butter in them, like in this recipe from Food Network, which specifically calls for natural peanut butter.
I tried that recipe but I thought it wasn’t the best. Simple is nice, but with a few changes and a few extra ingredients, I think the cookies are hugely improved.
So here we have my take on 3-ingredient peanut butter cookies! I’ve been playing around with perfecting the recipe for the last half-year and people always ask for the recipe.
Just basic ingredients here! You might not have the coconut sugar. If you don’t want to buy some just for this recipe, I have over 100 coocnut sugar recipes that you could try out, and most of them are gluten-free!
- Natural peanut butter – you have to use the kind with just peanuts and salt. So, no added fat or sugar. Be careful because a lot of brands say “natural” but actually contain fat and sugar.
- Coconut sugar – I’ve tried these gluten-free peanut butter cookies with brown sugar, granulated sugar and coconut sugar. Everyone thought that the slightly caramel-like taste from the coconut sugar added a lot of great flavor to the cookies!
With brown sugar and granulated sugar, the cookies tasted too much like sugar. Brown sugar was much better than granulated, though.
- Eggs – if you’re vegan, you can use modified chia eggs.
- Vanilla extract, baking soda and salt
The BEST texture!
They’re the peanut butteriest peanut butter cookies I’ve ever had! And the texture is so perfect.
They’re so super chewy. These gluten-free and vegan peanut butter no-bake cookies are also awesome but they taste more like a mix of peanut butter and maple syrup.
This peanut butter fudge is also a mix of peanut butter and maple and so, so good! Would be perfect for Christmas. :)
The original 3-ingredient peanut butter cookies recipe tastes so strongly of sugar (at least in my opinion!) so I reduced the amount of sweetener and used coconut sugar instead of granulated sugar, and added some vanilla and baking soda.
I’ve made these gluten-free peanut butter cookies with brown sugar, but everyone agreed that the slightly caramel-like taste from the coconut sugar added a lot of great flavor to the cookies! With regular brown sugar, they again tasted too much like sugar.
I also tried these cookies with sunflower seed butter but they didn’t work out. Same with almond butter.
Believe me, I tried. About 20 times. They were greasy, flat and spread a ton.
Like I’ve said before, nut butters aren’t always interchangeable! Especially in a recipe like this where there are so few ingredients and every ingredient is important.
If you’d prefer cookies with almond butter, try these almond butter chocolate chip cookies from Lauren Kelly Nutrition! They sound great.
You can make these cookies vegan by using modified chia eggs. You need to use ground chia seeds + water.
If you don’t have ground chia seeds, you can use a little electric coffee grinder, a food processor, or a high-speed blender to grind chia seeds.
Normally, to make a chia egg, you’d use 1 tablespoon of chia seeds + 3 tablespoons of water. If you do that, today’s cookies will be super flat messes.
For this recipe, you only need 2.5 tablespoons of water for your chia egg.
I’ve only used a chia egg in this recipe. A flax egg might work if you also reduce the amount of water to 2.5 tablespoons.
I updated this recipe in December 2020. It previously called for 3/4 cup of peanut butter and it worked great. It had really positive reviews!
But I had been tinkering with the recipe and realized that 1 cup yields in even thicker peanut butter cookies. The below is what the cookies look like with 3/4 cup of peanut butter.
More gluten-free peanut butter desserts
I have a ton of peanut butter recipes and the following are some of my favorites.
- Mini Peanut Butter Cheesecakes – these have a homemade chocolate cookie crust and the filling is made with natural peanut butter and honey, making them a little healthier than regular cheesecakes!
- Healthy Peanut Butter Balls – they’re like buckeyes, but maple-sweetened and just as delicious!
- No-bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies – boiling the chocolate mixture for just 90 seconds makes these gluten-free cookies better than regular no-bake cookies!
- Healthy Peanut Butter Ice Cream – this one is naturally gluten-free and can be made paleo by using sunflower seed butter. It’s also vegan and VERY rich and decadent! Probably the richest ice cream I’ve ever had.
I tend to get the same questions asked over and over again (that I might add are answered in the post ;)) so I thought I’d put the answers all in one easy to read section!
Substitution questions for gluten-free peanut butter cookies:
- Do I have to use homemade peanut butter? I’ve made these cookies with homemade peanut butter made in a Blendtec and homemade peanut butter made in a food processor.
I’ve also made them with two types of store-bought peanut butters (the only ingredients were salted and roasted peanuts).
They all came out the same.
BUT! Someone I know made these cookies (before I published this post) with store-bought peanut butter (the only ingredient was peanuts).
She did everything correctly, but the dough was greasy and the cookies spread super flat and looked nothing like these pictures. She made them again with homemade peanut butter and they came out exactly as you see here.
So the choice is yours. They’ll probably work with store-bought peanut butter, but I can’t guarantee it. If you DO make them with store-bought peanut butter, please leave a comment telling us how they came out! Update: Two commenters have used Kirkland (Costco’s brand) of natural peanut butter with success!
- Can I use another type of nut butter? I’ve tried these peanut butter cookies with almond butter and sunflower seed butter and they spread totally flat. I don’t recommend experimenting unless you’re prepared for failure.
- Can I use a different egg sub? I’ve only tried these with modified chia eggs so that’s all I know that works for sure.
- Can I use another granulated sweetener other than what’s listed? I’ve made these with brown sugar instead of coconut sugar but the cookies then just tasted super sugary rather than peanut buttery. The coconut sugar adds a delicious, caramel-like flavor that’s perfect with the peanut butter!
- Can I use a liquid sweetener? That unfortunately won’t work. You need a granulated one unless you feel like reworking the recipe to accommodate the additional liquid you’re adding to the recipe.
- How do I make these low-carb? I’m sorry to say that I have no idea! I’ve never had a good experience with low-carb sweeteners.
Gluten-free Peanut Butter Cookies (vegan option)
- Prep Time:
- Cook Time:
- Ready in:
- Yield: 8 cookies
- 1 cup (256 grams) natural peanut butter (the kind with just peanuts and salt - no added fat or sugar) - see the post for more notes concerning peanut butter
- 3/4 cup (150 grams) coconut sugar, very tightly packed (it's best to weigh this)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (add more if your peanut butter is unsalted)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 large egg (50 grams, out of shell), cold or 1 modified chia egg for vegan1
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F (170 °C) and line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper. Position the oven rack to the lower third of the oven.
- In a medium mixing bowl, add all the ingredients. Use an electric mixer on low to combine it. At first it will be very thin but after about 30 seconds of mixing, it should be firm enough to roll into balls. The dough may or may not feel oily.
- Divide into 8 50-gram balls and place about 4" apart on the prepared cookie sheet. They spread a lot!
- Bake immediately (it seems as though letting them sit for a while affects how they bake up). Bake for 11-14 minutes or until they've crackled nicely and no longer appear wet in the middle (I needed 14 minutes but you may need less if you use a dark pan, make smaller cookies, etc.). Let them cool completely on the baking sheet (where they'll continue to bake). If you don't let them cool on the baking sheet, the bottoms of the cookies likely won't be baked enough.
- Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
- To make the modified chia egg, mix together 1 tablespoon ground chia seeds + 2.5 tablespoons water until gloopy like a regular egg.
- Recipe and photos updated 12/15/20: Previously, the recipe called for 3/4 cup (192 grams) of peanut butter instead of 1 cup. See the post for an old photo so you can see the difference.