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The Easiest 3-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies Recipe I've Used for Almost a Decade

Not only are these cookies simple to bake, but they are also affordable, delicious, and reliable.
FACT CHECKED BY Jordan Powers Willard
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Every good cookie recipe has a story behind it—or in the case of my favorite three-ingredient peanut butter cookies, years' worth of beloved stories and memories with dear friends.

In my early and mid-twenties, I lived in a two-bedroom apartment with my best friend. One day, two women moved into the apartment directly below us, and the four of us became fast friends. We were completely inseparable. For those few years, we did almost everything together, and many of our memories were centered around our favorite foods and drinks. We'd enjoy coffee and breakfast together in the morning before going our separate ways for school or work, and then we'd come home and debrief our days over a glass of red wine and dinner on the porch.

Like many people in their twenties, though, we weren't making a ton of money and had to enjoy ourselves on a fairly tight budget. This meant we often had to get creative with our food and drink recipes; we needed food that was quick, easy to make, and as cheap as possible. But as the old saying goes, "necessity is the mother of invention," and that's where our three-ingredient peanut butter cookies came in.

Peanut Butter Cookies
Courtesy of Samantha Boesch

Using ingredients that most people already have in their kitchen, these peanut butter cookies always came in handy when we were craving something sugary after a late night out.

Although I'm grateful to be in a bit of a different financial situation than I was back then, to this day, I still make these cookies whenever I am craving them. So, without further ado—here's how I've been making the easiest, cheapest, most delicious peanut butter cookies for almost a decade.

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The ingredients

cookie ingredients
Courtesy of Samantha Boesch

Let me first start off by saying these cookies aren't the healthiest you can find. While a major perk is that they only call for three ingredients, one of those ingredients is an entire cup of sugar. Because of this, if you're watching your sugar intake for any reason, you may want to try a lower-sugar dessert instead.

Even though these cookies contain a hefty dose of sugar, the nice thing is that the recipe is flexible in what kind of sugar you use. In our many years of baking these, we tried everything from white sugar, pure cane sugar, brown sugar, coconut sugar, and Sugar in the Raw. As long as the sugar is a fine consistency and not too coarse, you'll be fine.

Another benefit of this recipe is that it fits many dietary restrictions. One of the main reasons we always turned to these cookies, aside from their low price point, was that our friend with celiac disease was able to eat them since they're entirely gluten-free. They're also dairy-free and vegetarian, which makes these cookies great for sharing, too.

To make these cookies, you'll need to grab:

  • 1 cup of the sugar of your choice
  • 1 cup of peanut butter (which can be crunchy or creamy, depending on your preference)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 medium or large mixing bowl
  • A measuring cup
  • Parchment paper

Making the cookies

Courtesy of Samantha Boesch

Once you've gathered all that you need, you can preheat your oven to 350°, and then start mixing your three ingredients, peanut butter, sugar, and the egg. I'm not sure if a professional baker would agree with how I do this, but I usually mix the sugar and peanut butter together with a fork until it's evenly mixed. After that, I add in the egg, and mix it all together.

Depending on the type of peanut butter you use, this batter may get a bit too sticky for a fork. If that's the case, don't hesitate to get your hands a bit dirty!

Cookie dough balls
Courtesy of Samantha Boesch

After combining all of your ingredients, you can lay out your parchment paper and start rolling your dough into small balls. I don't have an exact measurement for how big they should be, but I usually use about a tablespoon full of dough for each cookie. When the cookies are all laid out, you may find that you have some dough left over. (I love to freeze mine and use it later!)

Your total baking time will be right around 15 minutes, but first start off by placing your cookies in the oven for approximately 10 minutes. At the 10-minute mark, I take the cookies out and very lightly press them down with a fork. You don't want to flatten them too much, but just enough to shape them. Then, I pop my cookies back in the over to bake for another five minutes.

The final product

peanut cookies
Courtesy of Samantha Boesch

Voilà! After just three ingredients, some sticky peanut butter-covered hands, and only 15 minutes of baking, you now have some of the easiest, most delicious peanut butter cookies ever.

I have years of fun memories sitting around a table laughing and eating these cookies with my best friends. I hope you now feel inspired to bake these cookies and make some new memories of your own, too!

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Samantha Boesch
Samantha was born and raised in Orlando, Florida and now works as a writer in Brooklyn, NY. Read more about Samantha