You owe it to yourself to try these 4 ingredient peanut butter cookies! Made with less sugar and in 3 different variations, these flourless and completely gluten free cookies are one of the easiest and tastiest things you'll ever bake. Plus, they're ready in less than 30 minutes!
These easy peanut butter cookies are completely flourless and based on the famous three ingredient peanut butter cookie recipe that's all over the internet. However, the total amount of sugars in this recipe is reduced and half of it is replaced with maple syrup.
The maple syrup, except for being somewhat a healthier alternative, also fixes the problem that some people have with the cookies being dry. As a result, these delicious gluten free peanut butter cookies are perfectly sweet and chewy, with crispy edges and a soft, moist center.
If you like baking with nut butters, you'll also love these olive oil and sesame butter chocolate chip cookies that get rave reviews. And since you'll have an egg white left, you can freeze it and when you have two, make these also gluten-free, Italian almond cookies (soft amaretti) which are equally delicious! Or, when you have 4 whites, you can make this white chocolate cake with white ganache.
For more delicious cookies visit my cookie recipes category.
😍 Why I love this recipe
Here are some reasons why I love these easy 4 ingredient peanut butter cookies:
✓ Delicious with no effort: You won't believe that something so tasty requires so little effort. You basically just mix everything in a bowl and bake. No mixer needed, just a fork or a whisk. These are probably the easiest cookies you'll ever make.
✓ Quick: They are ready in less than 30 minutes!
✓ GF and dairy free: Because they're completely flourless, they're ideal for people who follow a gluten-free diet. Plus, because they don't require any butter, they're also dairy-free.
✓ 3 variations: Plain, salted dark chocolate, cinnamon and white chocolate. All 3 flavors are amazing!
The plain cookies have a pure peanut butter flavor, while the salted dark chocolate will taste like peanut butter cups. The cinnamon and white chocolate flavor is equally delicious, especially if you love white chocolate.
These are the ingredients you'll need to make these flourless peanut butter cookies:
Peanut butter: Store-bought creamy peanut butter works best with this recipe. Try to find a brand that's 100% peanuts (or almost 100%).
Homemade or natural peanut butter will also work but the texture will be a bit softer. If you want to know how I make my homemade peanut butter watch this video for how to make almond butter and just replace the almonds with roasted, unsalted peanuts.
White sugar: Caster sugar dissolves more easily than granulated sugar, so use that if possible. Brown sugar can also be used. I tested this recipe with coconut sugar instead of white but the taste was disappointing.
Maple syrup: Maple syrup has a lower Glycemic Index (GI) compared to sugar, something that makes it a healthier substitute. Grade A Golden maple syrup is recommended for this recipe.
Egg yolk: Instead of a whole egg, an egg yolk is used. This lets us substitute half of the white sugar with maple syrup without affecting the texture of the cookies. The texture is definitely not dry like some other recipes. Crispy edges and soft, chewy centers.
Chocolate dipped peanut butter cookies
This is one of the most amazing things you're going to taste! If you like peanut butter cups you're going to LOVE these chocolate dipped cookies. They're just as good as these Greek chocolate covered honey cookies (melomakarona) which are my favorite.
The only thing you have to do is to melt some chocolate, dip the cookies and let them set on a piece of parchment paper. Add a sprinkle of salt when the chocolate is still soft, for extra flavor.
If you feel that melting the chocolate and dipping the cookies is a lot of work you can just add half a cup of mini chocolate chips to the cookie dough before forming the cookies.
Cinnamon and white chocolate variation
Cinnamon pairs perfectly with white chocolate. Just try these fluffy cinnamon rolls with white chocolate icing and you'll know what I mean.
Again, if you don't want to melt the white chocolate for dipping, just add ½ a cup of mini white chocolate chips to the cookie dough before forming the cookies.
Paleo:If you follow the paleo diet substitute hazelnut or almond butter instead of peanut butter, omit the sugar and double the amount of maple syrup. Note that the texture won't be the same because using only maple syrup will make these cookies softer.
Vegan: In many recipes you can substitute an egg with 1 tablespoon of ground flax seeds (or chia seeds) mixed with 4 tablespoons water. Here, because only the egg yolk is used I would use 1 teaspoon ground flax seeds and 1 tablespoon+1 teaspoon of water. However, I haven't been able to test it this way yet, so I can't say how it will turn out. If you have done it this way, please let me know how it went in the comments!
Follow this step by step guide to make easy, homemade peanut butter cookies in a cinch:
Step 1: Transfer the peanut butter, the sugar and the maple syrup to a mixing bowl and mix well using a whisk, a fork or a wooden spatula.
Step 2: Add the egg yolk to the peanut butter mixture and stir well until the cookie dough comes together and it's no longer sticky.
Step 3: Take full tablespoons of the cookie dough, form balls between your hands and place them on a cookie sheet. Flatten them gently by pressing them with your hand or make a criss-cross pattern with a fork.
Step 4: Bake the cookies until set and let them cool for 10 minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring them to wire rack to cool completely.
👨🍳 Expert Tips
Choose a good quality peanut butter for richer peanut flavor. Contrary to some other recipes, the peanut butter should be at room temperature.
Line your baking sheets with parchment paper to prevent the cookies from sticking and make clean-up easier.
Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack. This helps them set without breaking.
Melt the chocolate in a narrow bowl so that it will be high enough for the cookies to be dipped.
If you plan to add chocolate chips choose the mini ones because their small size helps the cookies to hold their shape better.
These cookies, when stored in an airtight container, will last at room temperaute for 3-4 days. If you store them in the refrigerator they will last for more than 5 days.
The four basic ingredients in cookies are: fat, sugar, eggs and flour. In this recipe the peanut butter provides the fat and the flour (think of it like peanut flour mixed with peanut oil) so we only need some sugar and egg to complete the recipe.
Gluten is abinding protein that helps baked goods hold together. It basically acts like a glue. Gluten-free cookies, don't contain any gluten, so they're naturally more crumbly than other types of cookies.
Do you have to flatten peanut butter cookies?
This recipe doesn't contain any levener such as baking powder or baking soad, so these cookies will spread but not too much. Gently pressing them to flatten them before baking will ensure a nice shape and more even baking. Making a criss-cross pattern on their surface with a fork is the traditional way to do that.
If you tried this 4-ingredient peanut butter cookies recipeor any other recipe on my website, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it went in the 📝 comments below. I love hearing from you!
Best 4 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies (GF)
- 1 cup (260 g) peanut butter
- 4 tablespoons (50 g) white caster sugar
- 4 tablespoons (60 g) maple syrup
- 1 egg yolk (from a large egg)
For the salted dark chocolate version:
- 3.5 oz (100 g) dark chocolate (melted and tempered or ½ cup mini dark chocolate chips)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
For the cinnamon – white chocolate version:
- 3.5 oz (100 g) white chocolate (melted and tempered or ½ cup mini white chocolate chips)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon ((or double for stronger taste))
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and line a cookie sheet with baking paper.
- Make the cookies: Transfer the peanut butter, the sugar and the maple syrup to a mixing bowl and stir well using a whisk, a fork or a wooden spatula (if you're making the cinnamon and white chocolate version, also add the cinnamon at this step).
- Add the egg yolk to the peanut butter mixture and mix for 2-3 minutes until a soft and pliable dough is formed. If you're using mini chocolate chips instead of dipping the cookies in melted chocolate, add them to the dough and mix gently to combine.
- Take full tablespoons of the cookie dough, form balls between your hands and place them on a cookie sheet. You should have 16 cookies. Flatten them gently by pressing them with your hand or make a criss-cross pattern with a fork.
- Bake for 16 minutes, take them out of the oven and and let them cool for 10 minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring them to wire rack to cool completely.
- Optional: Dip the cookies in the melted chocolate. Let the excess chocolate drip and place on a piece of parchment paper until the chocolate is fully set (instead of dipping the cookies you can also drizzle the melted chocolate over them). Sprinkle some sea salt flakes over the dark chocolate or some ground cinnamon over the white chocolate.
- I don't find that vanilla extract adds anything special to this recipe, but you can add 1 teaspoon if you feel like it.
- Melt the chocolate in a narrow bowl so that it will be high enough for the cookies to be dipped.
- For the best results, the chocolate has to be tempered, otherwise it may not set properly. You can temper it in a few different ways but the easiest one is to melt the ⅔ of the chocolate, and when it's completely melted, add the remaining ⅓ and stir until combined. You can read more details in the article how to temper chocolate from sugargeekshow.
- Tempering white chocolate with this method doesn't always work for me and sometimes the chocolate stays soft. If that happens, store the cookies in the fridge.
- Each cookie is about 125 calories without chocolate and 158 calories with the chocolate.