Soft and Puffy Peanut Butter Coconut Oil Cookies

I could not get the last cookies I made with coconut oil out of my mind. They were some of the best cookies I’ve ever had.

But they didn’t include peanut butter. So I changed that.

Soft and Puffy Peanut Butter Coconut Oil Cookies

I have been in love with baking with coconut oil. I won’t go into my full diatribe again about how it doesn’t make your baked goods taste like tanning oil. It makes food taste tropical vacation-scented, but not like you’re eating a straight up bottle of Hawaiian Tropic. The smell of coconut oil is stronger than the actual flavor it imparts, which is present but not overwhelming.

The flavor of peanut butter definitely dominates these cookies, which is what I was hoping for. The previous coconut oil cookies have been very different; namely White Chocolate and Brown Sugar-Molasses. It was time to pair my beloved peanut butter with coconut oil. The result is a soft, puffy, and very lightweight peanut butter cookie with hints of coconut in the background.


Soft and Puffy Peanut Butter Coconut Oil Cookies

Looking at them, you’d think they were heavy bricks because they’re made with peanut butter and coconut oil, neither of which are exactly lightweight. But a secret ingredient keeps them deceptively soft, light, and almost airy. If they were any airier they’d be cakey, but thank goodness they’re not. I only want cakes to taste cakey, never cookies or brownies.

Make the cookies by combining peanut butter, coconut oil, light brown sugar, an egg, vanilla, and cream until very light and fluffy, about five minutes. It’s important to use coconut oil that’s softened to the consistency of softened butter. The same consistency you’d use for creaming butter, sugars, and eggs in traditional cookies.

Soft and Puffy Peanut Butter Coconut Oil Cookies

If your coconut oil is rock hard, microwave it in a small bowl for five or ten seconds, or just until it begins to soften. Conversely, if it’s runny or melted, place it in the freezer momentarily until it firms up. A tiny amount of runniness is fine; it’s an oil and that happens. But do not use melted or purely liquid coconut oil because you can’t effectively cream a liquid; it would be like trying to cream liquid butter. Doesn’t work.

I used light brown sugar, which is less robust than dark brown sugar, used here. Either will work but I didn’t want molasses-laden dark brown sugar to compete with the peanut butter, so chose light brown. I used 1 tablespoon of vanilla, because I love it and this dough is bold and can stand up to it, but if you prefer less, add to taste. I used Homemade Vanilla Extract, full of vanilla bean flecks and specks.

Please don’t write to tell me that brown sugar is white sugar with molasses added. I’ve been told that about 500 times. I am making a taste claim about dark brown sugar, not a health claim. You cannot get the flavor from white sugar that brown sugar lends.

I always use creamy peanut butter for baking, and always storebought, never Homemade Peanut Butter. Homemade is thinner and doesn’t have the same structural integrity as good old-fashioned Jif, Skippy or Peter Pan. Baking with natural peanut butter is a recipe for flat-as-pancake cookies that spread like crazy and I don’t recommend it.

Peanut Butter

Add the flour, corn starch, baking soda, salt, and mix to just incorporate. Cornstarch is the secret ingredient that keeps the cookies so soft and light. I used it in Soft Batch Dark Brown Sugar Coconut Oil Cookies and in my favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies. It does the job of both softening and tenderizing dough, and cookies made with it bake up extremely soft. If you’ve ever made Pudding Cookies and love how they always turn out super soft, it’s because one of the first ingredients in pudding mix is ‘modified food starches’, code for cornstarch.

The same is true of cake mix cookies, like Strawberry Cake Mix Cookies or Mounds Bar Chocolate Coconut Cake Mix Cookies. The cornstarch in both pudding and cake mix helps cookies stay soft, light, and fluffy.

In the past it’s always done a great job of making my cookies soft, but between the coconut oil and peanut butter, these cookies are the lightest, puffiest, and fluffiest of all.

Soft and Puffy Peanut Butter Coconut Oil Cookies

For many cookies, I use a combination of bread and all-prose flour in cookies, but for these, I used all-purpose because cookies made with it are softer and I was going for Keebler Soft Batch-style softness. When adding the flour, start with 1 cup. If your dough seems quite wet, sloppy, or isn’t combining, add up to another one-quarter cup, for a total of 1 1/4 cups. The more flour added, the more prone these cookies will be to getting cakey. I don’t like cakey cookies and would rather my dough be a little on the loose side than dry, so that the cookies bake up chewy and not cakey.

Because brands of coconut oil vary, as well as moisture content in brown sugar, coupled with different climates and personal taste preferences, add the flour as needed. The dough shouldn’t be sticky or tacky, a little loose and oily is preferred to dry and crumbly. It should have a Play-Doh like consistency, and if pinched and squished, it’ll stick together and to itself, but not to your hands. Like Play-Doh, you can just push any tiny dough pebbles in the bottom of the mixing bowl onto the master dough ball and they will stick.

Soft and Puffy Peanut Butter Coconut Oil Cookies

I used my medium 2-inch cookie scoop and made 18 mounds, about two heaping tablespoons of dough each. I didn’t flatten them, shape them, or touch them in any way. I let the tops stay ‘feathered’, which is the impression the wire-release mechanism on the cookie scoop makes.

Place the dough mounds on a large plate, cover with plasticwrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 5 days before baking. The dough is too warm, limp, soft and is unsuitable for baking until it’s been chilled. If you bake with warm, soft, dough your cookies will spread. However, of all the coconut oil-based cookies I’ve made, these spread the least and stayed very puffy and flattening the dough mounds just slightly before chilling the dough is recommended. After chilling and the coconut oil solidifies, shaping the dough is much more challenging.

Soft and Puffy Peanut Butter Coconut Oil Cookies

Bake the cookies at 350F for 8 to 9 minutes, and if you like really gooey, super soft cookies, or your dough wasn’t extremely cold, these could be 7-minute cookies. My dough was rock hard coming out of the refrigerator after two days chilling, and I allowed it to sit on baking sheets at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking. I baked for 8 minutes, rotating trays midway through.

Pull them from the oven when the tops are just barely set. They’ll be glossy, pale, and appear underdone, but they firm up as they cool. Baking any longer than 9 minutes and you run the risk of the bottoms browning too much and as the days pass, they’ll be prone to drying out and turning cakey. Everyone’s ingredients, oven, climate, and personal preferences are different, but they taste best when they’re not overbaked.

Soft and Puffy Peanut Butter Coconut Oil Cookies

The edges and bottoms are chewy with soft and lightweight interiors. It’s paradoxical that two heavy ingredients like coconut oil and peanut butter produced such puffy softies, but it’s true. When I handed these to the family and they tried them, I was met with looks of confusion. They were expecting really heavy cookies, and instead bit into these lightweights. Scott loves lighter cookies whereas I’m a dense slab girl, so he especially liked these.

There’s no white sugar and no butter used, so the intensity of the peanut butter flavor really shines. If you don’t like coconut, I’d still try them anyway. They’re definitely peanut butter cookies, with hints of coconut in the background. But if you’re dead-set against it, make these Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies (GF), still my favorite peanut butter-based cookie.

Soft and Puffy Peanut Butter Coconut Oil Cookies

Pairing my beloved peanut butter with coconut oil was one of those things I just had to try.

And I’m so glad I did.

Soft and Puffy Peanut Butter Coconut Oil Cookies

Soft and Puffy Peanut Butter Coconut Oil Cookies - NO Butter & NO White Sugar used in these soft, puffy cookies that are bursting with peanut butter flavor. If you've wanted to start baking with coconut oil, these are so easy!

Print Recipe

Soft and Puffy Peanut Butter Coconut Oil Cookies

There's no butter and no white sugar used in these soft, puffy, and very peanut buttery cookies. They're made with coconut oil, which smells stronger than it tastes, and although you can 'taste it', it's much milder and more subtle than coconut flakes. The peanut butter flavor really shines through. If you've never tried baking with coconut oil and replacing it one-for-one with butter in cookies, these cookies are a great place to start. A bit of cornstarch is the secret ingredient that helps the cookies bake up soft, light, slightly chewy, and very thick and puffy.

Yield: about 18 medium-sized cookies

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 8 minutes

Total Time: about 3+ hours, for dough chilling


3/4 cup creamy peanut butter (use Jif, Skippy, Peter Pan or similar; not natural and not homemade peanut butter)
1/2 cup coconut oil, softened (softened to the consistency of soft butter; not rock hard and not runny or melted, see below)
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (yes tablespoon, not teaspoon), or to taste
1 to 1 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (see below)
2 teaspoons corn starch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt, optional and to taste


  1. To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine peanut butter, coconut oil, egg, sugar and beat on medium-high speed to cream until light and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes. Note - Coconut oil should be the consistency of soft butter like you'd use to cream with sugar and eggs in traditional cookies. If coconut oil is rock hard, microwave it in a small bowl for 5 to 10 seconds or just until it begins to soften. If coconut oil is runny or melted, place it in the freezer momentarily until it firms up. A tiny amount of runniness is fine; it's an oil and that happens. But do not use melted or purely liquid coconut oil because you can't effectively cream a liquid; it would be like trying to cream liquid butter.
  2. Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the vanilla and beat to incorporate, about 1 minute.
  3. Add 1 cup flour, corn starch, baking soda, optional salt, and mix until just combined, about 1 minute. If your dough seems quite wet, sloppy, or isn’t combining, add up to another one-quarter cup flour, one tablespoon at a time, for a total of 1 1/4 cups. The dough shouldn’t be sticky or tacky, and a little loose and oily is preferred to dry and crumbly. It should have a Play-Doh like consistency, and if pinched and squished, it’ll stick together and to itself, but not to your hands. Over-flouring the dough will cause the cookies to be prone to cakiness and dryness.
  4. Using a medium cookie scoop, form mounds that are 2 heaping tablespoons in size; or divide dough into approximately 18 equal-sized pieces. Place dough mounds on a large plate, and slightly flatten each mound. Get the dough mounds in the exact shape you want to bake them in because after chilling, flattening or re-shaping the dough is difficult. Cover with plasticwrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours; up to 5 days. Do not bake these cookies with dough that has not been properly chilled because they will spread.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°F, line a baking sheet with a Silpat Non-Stick Baking Mat, parchment, or spray with cooking spray. Place dough on baking sheet, spaced at least 2 inches apart; I bake a maximum of 8 per sheet.
  6. Bake for 7 to 9 minutes, or until tops have just set, even if slightly undercooked, pale, and glossy in the center. They firm up as they cool and I recommend the lower end of the baking range. The cookies in the photos were baked with dough that had been chilled for 2 days, left at room temp for 30 minutes to warm up slightly, then baked for 8 minutes, with trays rotated once at the 4-minute mark.
  7. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 to 10 minutes before moving. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Alternatively, unbaked dough can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months, so consider baking only as many cookies as desired and save the remaining dough to be baked in the future when desired.

Adapted from Soft Batch Dark Brown Sugar Coconut Oil Cookies

Only Eats

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  1. These cookies look like happy mounds of freshly-scooped cookie dough! (Not heavy-looking at all!) And you’re forcing me to finally get on the ball when it comes to coconut oil, thanks. :D

  2. These look AMAZING and it makes so much sense that the coconut oil should be soft-not hard or liquid!!

    • I’ve tried years ago with melted coconut oil and never quite get the right consistency. I know it can work, I just haven’t mastered it :) Same with melted butter though – I always get better results with cookies when I cream butter rather than use it melted.

  3. Oh my those look crazy good! I am on a huge pb kick lately. I love how these look like they barely spread and are perfectly underbaked in the middle. I tried using bread flour in cookies for the first time the other day and loved the results. Now I’ll have to try cornstarch.

    • These particular cookies held their shape especially well, spreading almost none. Less flour than I usually use, and same amt of baking soda, and they still stayed virtually 100% spread-free! If you like bread flour, wait til you work in a little cornstarch. It’s like uber chewy meets super soft, all in one!

  4. oooo…another good reminder to get my coconut oil and use in the kitchen…gosh the sound of these with peanut butter sounds soo good….like really good…i wish it wasn’t my bedtime or i would whip these up right now…or maybe i should since they need to chill…can’t wait to try :-)

    • it’s your bedtime at 6:22pm? You must be in another timezone than me…lol! My bedtime is like 8+ hrs away. So much work to do before then! And yes, start the cookies now, the dough comes together in like 5 mins. Form into balls. Chill…for as many day(s) as you want! That’s what I would do but get your sleep if you need to!

  5. Averie, these cookies are soooooo pretty! I love the gorgeous rounded tops, and they look so soft and gooey on the inside! I also really love coconut oil–in baking, in stir fry, in pretty much anything! I’ve loved all the coconut oil cookies recently!

  6. I am obsessed with coconut oil and was just thinking I need to give it a try in pb cookies! These looks so puffy and perfect! Seriously! LOVE!

  7. Are you kidding me with this?! I just made these and they are UH-mazing! Coconut oil and peanut butter…two things I love! Thanks Averie!

    • YAY!! I am so glad to hear you made these already and that you loved them! If you’re a coconut fan and a PB fan, it’s hard to go wrong on these. So now that you’ve made the molasses/dark brown sugar ones and these, could you pick a favorite? For me, I lean towards those; but it’s highly mood dependent. I go back and forth….haha!

  8. These bars look tasty, I wish I had a pan full of these right now! I think I have all the ingredients so these are on my short list.

  9. Wow, I loved the idea of soft coconut oil peanut butter cookies, now I have to try this one. thanks for the recipe.

  10. Thanks for inspiring me to use coconut oil in baking! I’ve always wanted to try, but haven’t gotten around to it. I’m planning on trying out this recipe this afternoon, however I’ll use organic evaporated cane juice (Florida crystals brand) instead of brown sugar. Brown sugar, both light and dark are processed the same way as granulated white sugar. The molasses that is extracted during the refinement process is then added back into white sugar to give it color, making it MORE processed. You would think the opposite! Also, I’m a fan of a flatter cookie, so I might up the baking soda a bit to increase the amount the cookies spread. I’ll let you know how they turn out!

    • “I’m a fan of a flatter cookie, so I might up the baking soda a bit to increase the amount the cookies spread” <-- in my experience, adding more baking powder and/or baking soda will only increase the amount of domed structure, height and lift a cookie has. If I wanted a flatter cookie, I'd use less but do whatever you think works.

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  13. They all look so good. Can you help me with a recipe for a all purpose gluten free flour replacement. I can not use wheat or rice flours. I have a very hard time finding a mix that doesn’t use the rice flour. Do you know want other alternative flour I can put together to make an all purpose baking mix .? Please HELP

  14. Where can I buy coconut oil? Cookies all sound wonderful but I’ve never heard of coconut oil.

  15. I was wondering what is the carb count on these cookies?

  16. I feel like a soft, puffy cookie is everything I want out of life at this moment haha:)) can’t wait to try these!!!! Also I am SOOO excited about your cookbook!! Is there a better topic than peanut butter?!

  17. I adapted this recipe into Chewy Peanut Butter-Nutella Swirl Cookies and they were TO DIE!! Thanks so much for this recipe! I’ve made several of your cookies, & they are always spot on!!

    • Thanks for LMK you tried & adpated this recipe as well as others. I just checked them out and commented on your site – they’re gorgeous! Like, I wouldn’t be able to resist them! Thanks for taking such beautiful photos and really bringing them to life and doing them justice! Gorgeous!

  18. Do you think these could be made with honey or maple syrup instead of the brown sugar? My mom is actually having to do some allergy testing and is avoiding sugar, but the rest of this recipe would be perfect!

    • 1. honey and maple syrup are still sugar!! It’s just in another form but it’s still sugar; your body still treats them as sugar! The only way to make these sugar-free would be to truly use an artificial sweetener or stevia, which I am not a fan of for cookies. Agave, honey, maple syrup, it’s all glucose. Sugar is sugar is sugar.
      2. you will NOT have the same result swapping out a dry sugar like brown sugar for a wet one like honey or maple. The recipe will not work.

    • I figured that with the wet vs. dry. Just wondered if you’ve had that question before or tested it (adding more flour, etc). My mom’s actually just allergic to cane sugar – kind of the worst allergy in the world! So she can have honey/maple syrup/agave.

    • What a horrible allergy to have – wow! Well maybe you could replace the brown sugar for maple sugar. I haven’t done it, but it may work and the flavor would be excellent. Or I know there’s coconut sugar – something I have never worked with but I would try to use another dry sweetener; or some of the stevia-based baking blends that you can replace 1:1 as sugar. If you try anything, LMK!

  19. These were so good! Thanks for the recipe. I wish I would have read this closer because I was bummed I had to wait for them to cool in the fridge before I could bake them. They were great! Will be making them again sometime.

    • With ANY cookie dough, not just this one, you will ALWAYS get better results if you chill and/or let it age for at least a day (or 4-5 days). If you’re in a rush, you can always bake at your own risk with unchilled dough – it’s just that with coconut oil, I fear the cookies will spread into thin puddles without chilled dough, but I could be wrong!

      Glad you enjoyed them & thanks for LMK you tried the recipe!

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  21. can you use natural almond butter in place of peanut butter?

    • I suspect that will not work. First, I never advocate using natural/homemade nut butters in baked recipes since they are prone to spreading. And secondly, AB is thinner than PB to begin with. So I don’t think you’d have much luck.

  22. Just took these out of the oven! The texture is incredible – I love that they are so lightweight and just melt in your mouth. Great recipe!

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  24. I made these last week and everyone loved them so much I am firming up my coconut oil right now! I used Jif natural peanut butter and had no problems… I also used half coconut flour and half regular just to boost the health a little! It def added coconut flavor to the peanut butter cookie but surprisingly, it works! I also added a packet of ground flax seed when my batter was a little bit loose at the end instead of adding more flour.
    So thankful for the recipe! It’s certainly addicting!

    • Thanks for trying the recipe and sounds like you made lots of little tweaks that all came together for you. I don’t ever call for coconut flour in cookies b/c almost no one uses is (people are just barely coming around to using coconut oil) but coconut flour is great stuff. Like a sponge though :) Your cookies sound delish!

  25. How would you replace the egg in this recipe.

    • I don’t know b/c I haven’t tried. You could try vegan egg replacers, a chia or flax egg, or any way you typically bake egg-free if that something you’re already familiar with.

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  30. Mine don’t have the consistency of an actual cookie…

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  32. Wow, these look amazing. Great texture and gorgeous photos. Great job! I’ll definitely try this recipe soon.

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  34. These look wonderful! Have you tried them with gluten free flour and if so, what have you used? Do to Celiacs I have to use gluten free products and was just wondering if this would change them a lot.


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  36. These look amazing! Does anyone think you could substitute almond butter for peanut butter? My daughter has a severe allergy and I don’t like her to miss out all all the treats.

    • Allee Hochmuth

      Maybe Sunbutter? It’s very smooth like Jiff/Skippy/Peter Pan but is peanut free! I’ve only seen it in health food/organic food stores. It’s made with sunflower seeds and is pretty darn tasty!

  37. I like your style girlfriend! “Don’t tell me that brown sugar is just white sugar with molasses added..”

  38. These look awesome and I need to see if I can make them over with low carb ingredients! I agree about the natural PBs though, I use Skippy because it bakes way better!

  39. These look delicious but you can’t advertise no white sugar when the recipe still calls for brown sugar! The come from the same source….no sugar generally means the recipe is sweetened with applesauce, honey, etc.

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  42. My cookies didn’t have the pretty texture as in your photos – they were smooth – would the extra 1/4 cup I flour helped with this?

    • I used a cookie scoop and let it ‘flick’ the dough off and didn’t handle it from that point. If you touch it and smooth it out, well, it will be smoother. And no, don’t add flour; that would just make them crumbly!

  43. Can I use honey or agave syrup in substitution for brown sugar?

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  45. These are my new favorite! I make them at least twice a month, thank you so much for the recipe.

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  47. Doesn’t processed peanut butter have a high sugar content? I am confused. They look so good.

    • This is exactly what I was thinking! JIF, Peter Pan, and Skippy creamy peanut butter all have about 1 gram of added sugar in each tablespoon. So there are probably about 12 grams of sugar in this recipe disguised in the peanut butter.

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  50. Hi Averie. I have just mixed the dough for these cookies. My coconut oil was just nicely scoopable to measure. As, I was beating the oil, pb, egg and brown sugar for 5 min., it went from creamy to separated looking. I added the other ingred. and started scooping into balls. But, they are totally smooth and quite oily looking. I have mixed them back together with a fork and put the bowl of dough in the refrigerator. I’m hoping the oil needs to firm up a bit so I can have those nice feathered cookies like last weeks molasses ones I made. The dough taste great so I know these cookies will be too. I think I will be trying all your cookies before I’m done. Thank God for Pinterest! Happy baking to you.

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