If you love peanut butter cookies, you may have been on the hunt for a good gluten-free option to satisfy your craving. Try this gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan peanut butter cookie recipe for a delicious, sweet, and dare-I-say even sort of healthy(?!) treat.
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Peanut butter cookies are a staple in most kitchens. I remember making them often as a kid and arguing with my sister about whose turn it was to use the fork to smash down the centers and create the “X” in the middle with each and every batch.
These days, I like to make a lot of my baked goods at home. This is for a few reasons:
- Almost all cookies I find at grocery stores have some form of gluten in them
- Even if I do find a gluten-free cookie, they almost always have dairy or eggs in them
- So many treats from the store are WAY too sweet for my palate
- Treats that are allergy friendly are almost always at least two or three times the price – even if they use less ingredients
All this to say, I try to make my own cookies and baked goods at home, despite not being a huge baker. I don’t particularly like to bake, but I do like to eat treats. And I do have a number of food intolerances. So here we are.
I’ve learned to make what I want at home using ingredients that don’t make me feel terrible later.
Speaking of feeling terrible, I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking for ways to reduce my refined sugar intake. Don’t get me wrong, I still eat sugar in my diet, likely daily with how it’s mixed into just about anything and everything these days.
But I do notice that when I eat more than a bite of something sweet, I generally get a headache or just feel “sugared up.” Is that a thing? I don’t know, but I feel that way. Maybe it’s from getting older. Maybe I’m retraining my palate to want less sweets.
Either way, I’m always trying to find a way to satisfy a sweet tooth without actually eating too much sugar.
I’m also always always always looking for ways to give my kid less sugar. He gets ramped up enough as it is without all the extra energy that he’ll have to burn off from sweets.
As I said, peanut butter cookies take me right back to the 800 square foot house I grew up in, alongside my sister yelling at me to hand over the fork.
So I recreated a gluten-free peanut butter cookie recipe that was sweet, a little healthier, used somewhat less than half a container of peanut butter (I’m exaggerating), and one that still felt genuine to that time of my life when I was a kid just hanging out at home with my mom and older sister.
This recipe is full of healthy fats from almond flour and peanut butter, and is sweetened with maple syrup and coconut sugar over any refined sugars.
There’s nothing wrong with peanut butter cookie recipes that call for refined sugar, it’s just something I’m working on eating less of (always), so I wanted to go this route.
Before I get to the recipe, I thought I’d go over a few questions and talk about what ingredients I’m using, how to make these cookies, and how to store them.
Is peanut butter gluten-free?
Peanut butter is usually made from ground peanuts, and sometimes added oil, sugar or other sweetener, and salt. Some brands of peanut butter add other ingredients, like corn syrup, soy protein, and other preservatives.
Peanut butter in its most natural form is always gluten-free. Most store-bought peanut butter is gluten-free as it contains nothing more than peanuts and oil.
Some brands of peanut butter may contain gluten from cross contamination in a facility where wheat products are also processed. Look for a gluten-free label if you don’t feel confident in the brand that you’re purchasing.
Read on: Is Peanut Butter Gluten-free?
How to make peanut butter cookies gluten-free
The easiest way to make peanut butter cookies gluten-free is to use gluten-free flours or use no flour at all.
The texture of the peanut butter combined with sugar and eggs is often enough to make the cookie dough stay together when it bakes.
You’ll find plenty of recipes online that call for just peanut butter and no flours. You also might find some recipes that call for all-purpose flour (a lot of store-bought cookies have all-purpose flour in them).
In the case of my recipe, I opted to use a combination of almond flour and peanut butter, because I didn’t want to use so much peanut butter. Also I like the lighter texture the almond flour provides over the peanut butter.
Almond flour is also a little less oily than peanut butter, so I found this to be a better choice overall for the texture I was going for.
How to make peanut butter cookies vegan
To make gluten-free peanut butter cookies vegan, I simply omitted the egg and any dairy. Many recipes online call for eggs in even the most basic recipes.
Since I have an egg intolerance in addition to both gluten and dairy intolerances, I tend to make gluten-free and vegan versions of baked goods, because it’s what a recipe becomes once you remove all the animal products.
In the case of my cookie, I followed a similar approach to my gluten-free chocolate chip cookies and omitted the need for eggs and dairy products by using maple syrup to keep the almond flour and peanut butter together.
Surprisingly, you don’t actually need eggs in all baked goods, and they still turn out delicious.
These cookies might crumble slightly more than a recipe that calls for an egg, but it isn’t a problem for me or my family.
I just grab a plate or a napkin to eat over so I don’t track crumbs around the kitchen or house when I’m nibbling.
Ingredients for gluten-free peanut butter cookies
You don’t need too many ingredients for delicious vegan gluten-free peanut butter cookies. Here are the ingredients I use in my recipe.
Creamy Peanut Butter
As with any peanut butter cookie recipe, this is the most important ingredient! You can use creamy or crunchy peanut butter, but I prefer creamy as it makes a more even texture.
Choose a peanut butter that has just peanuts as the ingredients, not a bunch of added sugars or preservatives, to make the healthiest peanut butter cookies.
Many peanut butter cookies don’t call for flour at all, but I like to swap out some of the peanut butter in this recipe for almond flour. I feel like it gives the cookies a lighter texture and less oil.
I like that these cookies are full of healthy fats, and making the swap of some peanut butter for almond flour has lightened them up even a bit overall.
I’ve made these cookies both with and without baking powder, and yet I like to add it to give the cookies a little bit of a chance to rise in the oven.
This ingredient is optional, so if you know you won’t like it in your peanut butter cookies or you don’t have it on hand, simply omit it.
Since I decided to keep the refined sugar out of this recipe, I followed the same idea that I did for my gluten-free chocolate chip cookies and used maple syrup instead.
It provides a nice rich sweetness, but you need much less of it than sugar. It also helps give some liquid to this recipe when we’ve already omitted an egg.
The coconut sugar in this recipe is optional. I have tried making this recipe with and without rolling the cookie dough balls in coconut sugar before baking.
I really do enjoy them more with the crunchy sweetness of the coconut sugar on the outside of these cookies. Although it isn’t 100% required in the cookies, it adds a little texture and flavor that I enjoy.
Now that you know what’s in these gluten-free peanut butter cookies, let’s talk about how to make them step by step.
How to make vegan gluten-free peanut butter cookies
Making these peanut butter cookies couldn’t be easier. Try including your kids to help make them too! They’ll love rolling and pressing the dough.
Preheat the oven
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. While the oven is preheating, prepare your baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.
Place coconut sugar on a plate and set aside.
Make the cookie dough
In a bowl, combine almond flour and baking powder. Stir to combine. Add the peanut butter and maple syrup. Stir well until everything is well combined.
Scoop the peanut butter cookie dough
Using rounded tablespoons or a 1 ½-inch cookie scoop, scoop the cookie dough out onto your prepared cookie sheet.
The smaller you make the cookies, the more cookies you’ll have and the faster they’ll bake.
You will have at least 12 cookies, maybe more depending on the size of your scoop.
Roll the dough into cookie dough balls
Roll the dough between your palms to create a smooth surface for each cookie dough ball.
Then roll the dough in the prepared coconut sugar, coating it on all sides, then place back on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with all other cookie dough balls.
Press the “X” into the cookie dough
Using a fork, press the tines down onto the center of each cookie dough ball, creating lines in the cookie. Turn the fork 90 degrees and repeat, creating an “X” pattern on each cookie.
Bake the gluten-free peanut butter cookies
Transfer to the oven and bake for 8 to 10 minutes.
Cool the cookies and enjoy
Remove from the oven and cool for at least 10 minutes before moving off the baking sheet, otherwise the cookies may fall apart. Enjoy with a glass of dairy-free milk or cup of coffee.
Do I need to chill the dough?
These cookies come together very quickly and don’t require chilling before forming the cookies or baking.
How to store gluten-free peanut butter cookies
These cookies soften up after about a day at room temperature in an airtight container. If you want them to last longer (they never last very long in my house!), you can store them in the fridge to extend their life and texture.
- 1 cup almond flour
- ¼ tsp baking powder
- ½ cup creamy peanut butter, no added sugar
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 2 tbsp coconut sugar
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Place coconut sugar on a plate and set aside.
- In a bowl, combine almond flour and baking powder. Stir to combine.
- Add the peanut butter and maple syrup. Stir well until everything is well combined.
- Using a rounded tablespoon or a 1 ½ inch cookie scoop, scoop the cookie dough onto the prepared baking sheet. You should have at least 12 cookies, maybe more depending on the size of your scoop.
- Roll the dough between your palms to create a smooth surface for each cookie dough ball. Roll the dough in the prepared coconut sugar, coating it on all sides, then place back on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with all other cookie dough balls.
- Using a fork, press the tines down onto the center of each cookie dough ball, creating lines in the cookie. Turn the fork 90 degrees and repeat, creating an "X" pattern on each cookie.
- Transfer to the oven and bake for 8 to 10 minutes.
If you love peanut butter cookies and are looking to avoid gluten, dairy, and eggs, give this recipe a try and let me know what you think in the comments!