Flourless 4 ingredient peanut butter cookies are soft, chewy, and have a delicious peanut butter flavour. This quick and easy gluten-free and dairy-free cookie recipe comes together in 20 minutes and can be made vegan, too.
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4 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies (No flour, no dairy, no gluten)
This is one of the easiest homemade cookie recipes, and you only need 4 pantry staples that you probably already have at home: peanut butter, sugar, an egg, and baking soda.
Homemade peanut butter cookies taste delicious dipped in milk and are a tasty addition to lunch boxes, a yum after-school snack, and a gluten-free treat that your family and kids will love.
The cookies are naturally gluten free and dairy free. In this recipe, peanut butter doubles as a replacement for flour and butter.
Before sharing the recipe, let’s talk about the ingredients. Learn about alternatives for peanut butter, various types of unrefined sugar, and how to make the cookie recipe vegan and without eggs.
The main ingredient in this cookie is peanut butter. Peanut butter is vegan, gluten-free and contains up to 30% proteins. Peanut butter is also a source of essential vitamins (e.g. B6) and minerals, including magnesium, phosphorous, and zinc.
If possible, opt for organic and natural peanut butter without any added palm oil, sugar, or artificial additives. Sometimes oil separation occurs in pure peanut butter or other kinds of nut butter. If that’s the case stir the jar until the oil and butter are blended again.
Should I use smooth or creamy peanut butter for the best peanut butter cookies?
I made the recipe with both creamy and crunchy peanut butter and loved them both. The cookies turned out perfectly, the only difference is a different texture. You can see small chunks of peanut in the cookies I made with crunchy peanut butter, whereas the cookies prepared with smooth peanut butter look smooth. My husband prefers the crisp version, I love both equally. Seriously, give me all the peanut butter cookies.
Other nut butters as a substitute for peanut butter
For peanut allergies, switch to other nut butters, for example, almond butter, hazelnut butter, or cashew butter. Simply use the same amount as indicated in the recipe and follow the baking instructions below.
The second ingredient is sugar. I made a couple of batches and used two types of natural, unrefined sugar: coconut sugar and raw cane sugar. The cookie dough made with coconut sugar had a slightly darker colour, whereas the cookies prepared with light cane sugar looked a little lighter. I didn’t notice a big difference in taste though.
You have the following options to bake cookies without refined sugar:
- Coconut sugar, also called coconut palm sugar, contains quite a bit of nutrients and minerals (iron, zinc, calcium, and potassium) and has a lower glycemic index as opposed to refined sugar. Coconut sugar has a very fine grain and creates the softest cookies.
- Cane sugar is produced from sugarcane and only minimally processed. This type of sugar is a good replacement for granulated refined, white sugar.
- Demerara sugar and turbinado sugar are other, minimally refined types of cane sugar. They contain more molasses and have a subtle caramel taste.
- Muscovado sugar is unrefined cane sugar. The molasses isn’t removed, giving this sugar variety a sticky texture and a rich, strong flavour. Muscovado sugar makes the chewiest cookies.
Of course, you can also use brown or white sugar if that is what you have and prefer to use.
How much sugar do I need for soft, chewy or crispy peanut butter cookies?
Believe or not, you can prepare this 4 ingredient peanut butter cookies recipe with different amounts of sugar and get yummy homemade peanut butter cookies every time. I made the cookies with 1/4 cup and 1/2 cup of sugar, and both batches turned out nicely. As a rule of thumb, the more sugar you add, the crunchier the cookies become.
How to make soft or crispy peanut butter cookies:
- 1/4 cup sugar for soft cookies: A 1/4 cup of sugar is the perfect amount for toddlers and folks who want to cut back on sugar and calories or don’t like it too sweet (aka me). The cookies are soft, chewy, and melt-in-your-mouth, making them easy to eat for small children.
- 1/2 cup sugar for crispy cookies: Cookies prepared with 1/2 cup of sugar taste sweeter, and the texture is crunchier. I would use this amount only for older children and peeps with a serious sweet tooth. For the best crunch use crunchy peanut butter.
- up to 1 cup: I also saw versions of this recipe online where an entire cup of sugar was suggested. I haven’t tested this but guess the cookies will taste very sweet and crispy. You can gradually add more sugar to the dough until you get the sweetness you personally enjoy.
If you made these peanut butter cookies, leave a comment and let me know how much sugar you used and how you liked the cookies.
What about other sweeteners?
No matter what type of sugar you use, it has to be a granulated sugar to get the texture right. Liquid sweeteners such as maple syrup or honey make the dough too soft and sticky and won’t produce great cookies.
How to make sugar-free, Keto-friendly peanut butter cookies?
If you follow the keto diet or like yummy low carb treats, then make this flour-less peanut butter cookie recipe without sugar. Peanut butter is low in carbs but high in fats, making an excellent addition for ketogenic recipes.
I don’t recommend swapping the sugar with anything super concentrated (e.g. stevia powder) because it will change the consistency of the dough too much.
And for more keto-friendly peanut treats, try this easy chocolate peanut butter fat bomb recipe from Shrimp Salad Circus.
The third ingredient is one fresh egg. Use a “L” if you live in the US, Canada, or Australia but a size “M” if you live in the UK or Europe. (Don’t ask me why but eggs sizes vary in different countries, just so you know.)
Vegan egg substitute: Flax egg or chia egg
If you’re looking for a vegan cookie recipe or are on an egg-free diet, prepare this vegan egg substitute with ground flax or chia seeds and use it instead of the egg. The amounts listed below are enough to replace 1 regular egg.
How do I make a vegan flax/chia egg with two ingredients?
- If using whole seeds, grind a few tablespoon flax or chia seeds in a coffee grinder.
- Mix one tablespoon ground seeds with 2 1/2 tablespoons water.
- Put in the fridge for 15 to 30 minutes to thicken.
The fourth and last ingredient is baking soda. Baking powder can be used as well, the cookies just might expand a little more while baking.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
I know this recipe is called 4 ingredient peanut butter cookies but can I suggest one more addition that I know you’ll love? Okay, here it is: chocolate chips.
I’m not the biggest stan of chocolate, but the combination of peanut butter and chocolate chips is… so yummy, magical, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Yes, I just quoted Mary Poppins to rave about flourless peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. You will too once you have tried these cookies.
How to make 5 ingredients gluten-free peanut butter chocolate cookies
Follow the instructions below and stir a 1/4 cup chocolate chips into the cookie dough. For extra pretty cookies press a few chocolate chips into the cookies after flattening the dough rounds on the baking sheet/tray.
For a Keto version of these cookies, use Lily’s Dark Chocolate Baking Chips. They are vegan and sweetened with stevia.
One thing I love about this gluten-free peanut butter cookies recipe is that you can add and swap ingredients to make it your own. To customize the recipe, add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, a pinch of sea salt, or a dash of cinnamon, nutmeg or allspice for a festive holiday twist.
Want to know how to make homemade peanut butter cookies without flour? The recipe is super simple and a breeze to whip up. Here are a few tricks and tips that will help you to bake the best peanut butter cookies.
You only need a mixing bowl and a spoon, spatula or whisk to mix the dough. You can use a stand or handheld mixer, but it isn’t really necessary.
Use a tablespoon or cookie scooper to create evenly-sized dough balls.
I simply flattened the cookies with my fingertips because lazy. To make old fashioned peanut butter cookies with fork marks, use a fork to press down and flatten the dough balls creating a criss-cross pattern with the tines. Dip the fork in a bowl of cold water occasionally so it doesn’t stick to the dough.
A silicone baking mat reduces waste and makes it super easy to lift the cookies off the baking sheet/tray after baking.
‘Don’t bake the cookies longer than 10 minutes. Overbaking only makes the cookies crumblier.
After taking the baking sheet/tray out of the oven, let the peanut butter cookies set for a few minutes. They break easily fresh out of the oven but are ready to handle after cooling for a bit.
I hope you find the tips helpful to bake the best flourless peanut butter cookies!
Over to you!
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