These chewy peanut butter crinkle cookies are full of peanut butter flavor and have a crackly top and soft and chewy center. They’re super easy to make and are one of my go-to cookie recipes since I always have all the ingredients in my pantry.
Peanut butter cookies will forever be a favorite of mine. I grew up on the classic peanut butter cookies that have the infamous cross hatch mark pattern. They’re nostalgic and remind me of my childhood. In fact, peanut butter cookies are one of the first things I learned how to bake from my late Mom’s cherished and well-loved Betty Crocker cookbook that now has duct tape along its spine to keep it together. So, these peanut butter crinkle cookies are a special nod to my childhood favorite.
They're soft and chewy from the brown sugar and have a slight crisp exterior texture (not crunchy) when you bite into it. They're also not overly sweet. They're juuust right. I debated if I wanted to stamp my cookie dough balls with Betty’s signature cross hatch pattern and ultimately refrained. And I’m so glad I did. Because I’m in love with the crackly, crinkle texture that these cookies have. Those cracks and crevasses are simply irresistible. Plus, the sparkle of the cane sugar just makes it absolute perfection in my book. So I hope you adore these simple and easy peanut butter cookies as much as I do!
Tips for making the perfect peanut butter cookies:
- Use the spoon and level method to measure the flour: If you use cups to measure the flour, then use the spoon and level method to get the most accurate measurement (weighing is the best if you own a scale!). Don't scoop the flour directly out of the bag or the container with the measuring cup as it will cause the flour to be packed into the cup and you'll end up with too much flour and a dry cookie. To spoon and level the flour, use a spoon to scoop the flour into the cup. Then use a knife or offset spatula to level off the top.
- Use room temperature ingredients. When it comes to cookies or cakes, using room temperature butter and eggs is best when creaming to help create an emulsion. See below for tips on how to get your butter and eggs to room temperature in a pinch. Because if you’re like me, then you don’t have time to wait. Right? I’m with you. I see you.
- Sufficiently cream your butter and sugar. Yes, really cream the butter and sugar for 5 minutes until light and fluffy and pale in color. It should be double its volume. This will help create a soft, chewy cookie texture.
- Use regular peanut butter. I recommend using the creamy Skippy or Jif brand. While I'm all about healthy nut butter, for this recipe, you don’t want to use the organic, natural peanut butter that typically has the oil separated on top.
- Don’t overmix the cookie dough. Once you add the flour, mix for a few seconds (about 30 seconds) just until the cookie dough is incorporated. This will prevent the gluten from creating too much structure and keep the cookies soft.
- Let the cookie dough chill. I will cover the stand mixer bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the cookie dough for at least 1 hour or overnight. Overnight is perfect if you want to make ahead. Just be sure to tightly wrap the cookie dough before putting it in the fridge. Chilling the cookie dough will prevent any spreading and allows all the ingredients to get to know each other.
How do you get the crackly crinkle top?
There's two tricks to achieve the signature crinkle top: 1) rolling the cookie dough in cane sugar, and 2) using the “pan-banging method” popularized by Sarah Kieffer.
If you don't roll the cookies in the cane sugar, then you'll still get cracks but they won't be as prominent. Why? According to Cooks Illustrated, coating the cookies in the cane sugar will draw out moisture and the tops will set before the interior does which will cause the cookies to crack.
What is the "pan banging" method?
I first learned the "pan banging" technique in pastry school (my pastry instructor learned it from her friend who owns a cookie business) and it’s one of the best takeaways I learned in school. And, now, I use the pan banging method for all my drop cookies (i.e. Milk Bar cornflake cookies, brown butter snickerdoodles).
If you aren’t familiar with this method, it’s exactly what it sounds like. You take the cookies straight out of the oven, pick up the baking sheet with one hand on either said of the sheet pan (using oven mitts or a kitchen towel, of course), and drop it straight onto the counter a few times. This “banging” will create the cracks and crevasses we’re after.
How do you get perfectly round cookies?
In order to get picture-perfect round cookies, then use a large biscuit cutter, ring mold, or wide cup (needs to be wider than the cookies) to shape the cookies. When you take the cookies out of the oven, immediately take your biscuit cutter (or tool of choice), place it around the cookie, and gently swirl the biscuit cutter in a circular motion around the edges of the cookie. It’s okay if the cookie is a bit stuck on the bottom. Just gently shape the edges. You can loosen the bottoms from the parchment paper once the cookies have cooled a bit more. Do this while the cookie is still hot and pliable right out of the oven.
How to get butter to room temperature in 10 seconds?
Don't want to wait for the butter to sit on the counter and get to room temp? Same, same. The cookie cravings are real! For the butter, I like to place it on a plate (I keep it in the wrapper if wrapped in paper) and microwave it at 50% power (I repeat, 50% power) in 5 second increments, flipping the butter after each 5 second increment. It usually only takes about 10-15 seconds max in my microwave. The butter should be around 70°F and should be pliable but not too soft or soupy or melted.
How to quickly get eggs to room temperature?
Forgot to pull the eggs out ahead of time before making the recipe? No problem. For the eggs, I like to place them in a bowl and submerge them in very warm water (not boiling; don’t want to cook the eggs). Let it sit in the bowl for a few minutes. Et voilà! Room temperature eggs in a pinch. Boom. Problem solved.
Can I make ahead and freeze?
Yes, absolutely. I find that cookies are the perfect freezer stash item. I like to portion the cookie dough into balls, place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and freeze. Once they are frozen (they won't stick together if frozen), then I’ll transfer them to a freezer-safe plastic or reusable bag. Do not roll the cookie dough balls in the sugar at this time. Then, when I am ready to bake, I will roll the frozen cookie dough balls into cane sugar and put them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and then bake. No need to let them defrost or get to room temperature. But, you may need to add 1 or 2 minutes to the bake time.
p.s. If you've got more cookie cravings, then might I suggest some of my other cookie recipes?
Chewy Peanut Butter Crinkle Cookies
- ½ cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
- ½ cup (135 grams) creamy peanut butter (Skippy or Jif), packed, heaping ½ cup
- ¾ cup (150 grams) light brown sugar, packed
- ¼ cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
- 1 ¼ cups (156 grams) all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled (see above)*
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
- ½ cup (100 grams) cane sugar (or granulated sugar if you don't have), for rolling
Make the cookie dough:
- In a bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and Kosher salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the softened butter and creamy peanut butter on medium speed for 1 minute.
- On medium speed, add the sugars and cream for 5 minutes until light and fluffy and pale in color. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl and paddle.
- Add the egg and vanilla and cream for another 2 minutes on medium speed until emulsified. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl and paddle.
- On low speed, slowly add the flour and mix just until combined, about 15-30 seconds.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour or overnight.
Bake the cookies:
- Preheat the oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Using a cookie scoop or spoon, portion the cookie dough into balls. Gently roll each cookie ball in the cane sugar so they’re evenly coated and transfer the cookie balls to the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for 9 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven and bang the pan onto the counter to create the cracks (see note below).
- Return the cookies back to the oven and bake for 1-2 more minutes. Bang the pan onto the counter again and then immediately shape the cookies into perfect circles while still hot, if desired (see note below). Let cool on a wire rack. Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Betty Crocker