These paleo peanut butter cookies use sunflower seed butter and have a crisp edge and chewy center! With a vegan option.
Is peanut butter paleo? Unfortunately not. These cookies don’t actually use peanut butter, but they taste very similar to peanut butter cookies!
They’re as close as you’re going to get without using actual peanut butter. And they’re terrific, so if you’re paleo, you don’t have to miss out on a great cookie!
I used unsweetened sunflower seed butter, which is a fantastic sub for peanut butter. I used it in this Healthy Peanut Butter and Jelly Fudge and this Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge for the paleo version. The sunflower seed version of each is really just as delicious as the peanut butter one.
You’re probably not going to fool your kids into thinking these are made with peanut butter, though. Thought I should give you that warning. :)
Don’t like sunflower seed butter?
If you’ve tried sunflower butter before and thought that it was bitter – I get it. Unsweetened sunflower seed butter isn’t the most delicious option when it comes to nut butters.
Even if you think you don’t like sunflower seed butter, I bet you’ll love these paleo “peanut butter” cookies! Believe me – there’s enough sweetener in there to take care of any bitterness issues!
I will say that the strength of the sunflower seed taste depends on your sunflower seed butter. I use homemade sunflower seed, and on those days when I accidentally toast the sunflower seeds a little too long and they’ve started to brown, the sunflower seed taste in the cookies is naturally stronger. But I like that!
Something else I did to transform my Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies into these paleo peanut butter cookies was to add another tablespoon of coconut flour. Sunflower seed butter is a little runnier than almond butter, and you could see it by looking at the dough.
Or is that just my homemade sunflower seed butter? I’ve made different variations of these cookies over 100 times and every time, the sunflower version comes out very wet – at least until you chill the dough very well!
What’s up with the lemon juice?
If you’ve ever made something with sunflower seed butter, you might’ve had it turn green. It’s a normal reaction between the chlorophyll in the sunflower seeds and the baking soda. It doesn’t change the taste, and it doesn’t mean that anything has gone bad.
I’ve read that a splash of lemon juice helps. So that’s what I’ve done! So far, no green cookies. :)
I also read that reducing the baking soda helps. I tried that, but these cookies need the full amount of baking soda. They didn’t have the right shape without the full amount of baking soda.
You just have to use a chia egg. Other people have used flax eggs with success.
If you try something else out, please let me know so I can add it to the recipe notes!
Using different sweeteners
I’ve gotten so many questions about using maple syrup or honey in place of the coconut sugar in my cookie recipes. I’ve tried it loads of times and just don’t like the result.
You, unfortunately, can’t sub a liquid sweetener for a granulated one and not reduce the liquid. The problem with my recipe is that there’s no liquid to reduce!
More liquid in a recipe = more cakey, which is definitely not how I like my cookies.
I experimented with just using the yolk, adding more flour, and stuff like that but nothing worked.
So the same goes for this paleo peanut butter cookies recipe – you have to use a granulated sweetener unless you want to totally change the texture of the cookies. When you sub in a liquid sweetener, these cookies will taste like a healthy cookie.
Want to use peanut butter?
And as for using actual peanut butter in these cookies, I still haven’t had success with that. I’ve had loads of people tell me in the original recipe that they used it with success, but I really wonder if they first tried the almond butter version.
Every single time I’ve tried, the resulting cookie texture is definitely different. The peanut butter ones are cakey, don’t have an awesome texture, and they don’t taste very peanut buttery. I actually prefer these sunflower seed butter cookies over the real peanut butter version!
But! If you want to just use coconut flour, and no almond flour, I’ve got the perfect recipe for you. These Vegan Peanut Butter Cookies use the same base recipe as today’s recipe, but with peanut butter.
There are a few small changes, so definitely check out that recipe if you want to use peanut butter.
And if you don’t want them to be vegan, I tell you how to unveganize them in the recipe. ;)
Questions about these paleo peanut butter cookies?
- Can I use something instead of almond flour?
Almond flour is only interchangeable (and not even 100% perfectly) with other nut flours, so cashew or hazelnut meal would probably work. I’ve heard of some people using sunflower seed meal as a sub for almond flour, but I haven’t tried it myself, so can’t say for sure.
- Can I use something instead of coconut flour?
Unfortunately not. There isn’t a very good sub for coconut flour. A few people have mentioned using oat flour (for a non-paleo version), but again, I haven’t tried it.
- Can I use something instead of sunflower seed butter?
If you want to use almond butter, check out my chocolate chip cookies recipe linked to at the beginning of this post. If you want to use peanut butter, read the section above.
I believe cashew butter would be too thick, causing the cookies to not spread like they’re supposed to.
- Can I use something instead of coconut sugar?
If you’re not paleo, you can use brown sugar. Subbing in a liquid sweetener wouldn’t work because there’s no liquid to reduce to make up for the added liquid. That’d make the cookies cakey. Another granulated sweetener, like maple sugar, would likely work.
- What can I use place of the egg or chia egg?
I’ve tried flax eggs, but I personally don’t like the taste (people say that flax eggs don’t taste like anything, but I think they do). Others have used it with success in this recipe. I haven’t tried it, but Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-free Vegan Egg Replacer would probably work.
- Can I make these cookies smaller?
Sure! But I think that they have a better texture when they’re baked as huge cookies. Some of the reviewers on my chocolate chip cookies agree with me!
- Can I bake these cookies as bars?
Yes, you can make them in an 8″x8″ pan. I’m super forgetful and never remember to write down the baking time, but I recommend to start checking around 12 minutes. They bake more quickly than you’d probably think.
Other paleo desserts
- I have lots of paleo desserts to browse through, but here are some of my favorites.
- These Paleo Air Fryer Cookies are amazing! And the air fryer bakes just enough where you won’t over indulge. They taste just like traditional chocolate chip cookies, and they have a vegan option and conventional oven directions.
- Then there’s these Air Fryer Paleo Brownies! They’re perfect for those who love gooey brownies. They’re made entirely with almond flour and are dairy-free.
- This Vegan Mug Brownie is made for one when you have to have something sweet and want it now! It can be made gluten-free. If you are in need of a larger batch, these Paleo Vegan Brownies are perfect.
- For a healthier treat, try these Air Fryer Apples. They’re super quick and easy to make with dairy-free, gluten-free and paleo options.
- And this Chocolate Avocado Smoothie is super healthy and amazingly good!
I can’t wait to see your photos of these Paleo Peanut Butter Cookies! Remember to tag #texanerin so I can join in on the fun. Enjoy!
Paleo Peanut Butter Cookies (vegan option)
- Prep Time:
- Cook Time:
- Ready in:
- Yield: 8 huge bakery-style cookies or 16 regular-sized cookies
See recipe notes for vegan/dairy-free version!
- 1 cup (100 grams) finely blanched almond flour
- 5 tablespoons (40 grams) coconut flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/8 teaspoon salt (or 1/4 teaspoon if using salted sunflower seed butter)
- 6 tablespoons (84 grams) refined coconut oil or unsalted butter, firm1
- 3/4 cup (150 grams) coconut sugar
- 6 tablespoons (98 grams) salted natural sunflower seed butter2
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice, if desired, to prevent cookies from possibly turning green
- 1 large egg (50 grams, out of shell), room temperature or 1 chia egg for vegan3
- 1 1/4 cups (213 grams) paleo semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
- In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl with an electric hand mixer or using a stand mixer, beat together the fat, sunflower seed butter and sugar for about 1 minute.
- Beat in the vanilla and egg or chia egg on low and mix until well incorporated. Stir in the lemon juice and then the flour mixture until well combined. Then stir in 1 cup (170 grams) chocolate chips. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap (I form a flat disc so it chills quicker) and chill for about 4 hours or until firm. If you're in a hurry, press into a very flat disc or two and freeze for about 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F (175 °C) and line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper.
- Roll the dough into 8 (75-gram) balls, press down very slightly, and place the remaining 1/4 cup (43 grams) of chocolate chips on the top and on the sides of the dough balls. You can also roll them into smaller balls but then you need to adjust the baking time. Place 4" apart on the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for 13-17 minutes or until the surface of the center of the cookies no longer appears wet. They'll be very soft but will continue to cook as they sit on the cookie sheet.
- Let cool completely on the baking sheet. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Don't be alarmed if there are green spots in the cookies – this could happen (see post for more details).
- If your coconut oil is a little soft, put it in the fridge for about 10-20 minutes or until firmer, like softened butter. If you use very soft coconut oil, the dough will be greasy and the chocolate chips will be hard to incorporate.
- The sunflower seed butter should just have sunflower seeds in it and no added fat/sugar.
- To make a chia egg, mix together 1 tablespoon of ground chia seeds and 2.5 tablespoons water. Let sit 5-15 minutes or until goopy like an egg.
- For paleo: use coconut oil, and paleo chocolate.
- For dairy-free: use coconut oil and dairy-free chocolate.
- For vegan: use coconut oil, vegan chocolate and a chia egg.
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