Thick and Soft Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

I made these cookies for National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day, coming up on March 1.

But these aren’t just any peanut butter cookies. There’s: No butter, No white sugar, and No flour used.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies (GF) - No butter, No white sugar, and No flour used

The cookies are brownie-like in thickness and density, super fudgy, and not at all cakey. They’re slightly chewy around the edges with soft, tender, rich interiors that I just want to sink my teeth into. And the crackled edges are prime for picking off.

I was trying to decide whether they’re more chocolate-peanut butter cookies or peanut butter-chocolate cookies, and in the end chocolate-peanut butter wins. The chocolate intensity is bold and unadulterated, but the peanut butter is definitely present. Because there’s no butter or flour used, the peanut butter shines and gives the chocolate a run for its money. When I  was making the dough and before I even turned on the oven, my husband shouted out, It smells like peanut butter in here! There’s enough peanut butter in the dough to send the sweet fumes wafting through the house.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies (GF) - No butter, No white sugar, and No flour used

Recently I revamped an older recipe, turning Flourless Chocolate Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies into Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies, with some small but noteworthy tweaks. Here, I’ve revamped the 2010 Flourless Chocolate Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies. In both revamps, I removed all white sugar and replaced it with brown sugar for a moister, softer, and richer cookie. And also made sure both revamps turned out nice and thick.

The recipe makes a baker’s dozen, 13 cookies, perfect for times you have a chocolate and peanut butter craving, but don’t need too many cookies lingering around the house.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies (GF) - No butter, No white sugar, and No flour used

Make them by combining peanut butter, brown sugar, one egg, one tablespoon of vanilla, and mix until well-combined, about 5 minutes. The brown sugar is gritty and granular for the first few minutes of beating, so make sure to cream the ingredients until the sugar has smoothed out, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. There’s very little harm in over-mixing here and even with a powerful mixer, it takes time for the ingredients to come together smoothly.

I used light brown sugar but they’d be scrumptious with dark brown sugar. I like using Peter Pan Honey Roasted Peanut Butter for these cookies, but regular Jif or Skippy is fine. Don’t use natural or Homemade Peanut Butter. As lovely as they are for eating with a spoon or spreading on toast, they lack the structure that storebought peanut butter has and I don’t recommend them for baking. Good old-fashioned Jif, Skippy, or Peter Pan are my recommendations.

Chocolate peanut butter like Dark Chocolate Dreams (code AVE630 will save you $10 on your first order) could be used, but because not everyone has access to it, and I kept things more universal with old-school peanut butter. Creamy peanut butter is the only way for me, but if you like little marbles in your cookies, go with crunchy.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies (GF) - No butter, No white sugar, and No flour used

Add the baking soda, cocoa powder, and mix to incorporate them. I use Trader Joe’s unsweetened natural cocoa but a Dutch-process cocoa or Hershey’s Special Dark would be nice. I have the hardest time finding it, but if you use it or a similar very dark cocoa, you may want to use slightly less than the half-cup indicated so the cookies don’t turn bitter. For cookies, I don’t bother sifting cocoa powder, but sift if you wish.

The dough should come together into a big mass. If there are crumbly pieces, that’s fine as long as when you go to press them into the rest of the larger mass, they stick together. If for some reason your dough is too dry, sandy, and not combining, add a little more peanut butter, one tablespoon at a time, blending to incorporate. I’ve found with this dough that even one tablespoon can make the difference. Because climates and brands of peanut butter and cocoa vary, it’s possible you may need to add a touch more peanut butter.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies (GF) - No butter, No white sugar, and No flour used

With a medium cookie scoop, form two-inch diameter mounds. My scooped mounds weighed 1.80 ounces each and the recipe makes just 13 cookies. If you don’t have a scoop, roll them into balls. Make a criss-cross pattern on top of the mounds with a fork. This not only gives them that old-fashioned, classic peanut butter cookie look, but it serves to flatten them just enough so when baking they don’t stay too domed. With properly chilled dough, they don’t spread or flatten much, so smooshing them just a touch is recommend, but not too much or you won’t wind up with thick-as-brownies cookies

Place the dough mounds on a large plate, cover with plasticwrap, and refrigerate for at least two hours, or up to five days, before baking. If you don’t chill the dough and bake with warm, limp dough, your chances for thick, puffy, fat cookies go out the window.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies (GF) - No butter, No white sugar, and No flour used

Bake at 350F oven for 8 to 10 minutes, but I really recommend the lower end of the range. The cookies in the photos were baked for eight minutes, with the trays rotated once at the four-minute mark. It’s hard to really determine if the cookies are done then because the dough is dark and they’ll look underdone at eight minutes, but firm up as they cool.

Cocoa powder has a way of inherently drying things out and not over-baking is key to having them set up soft and chewy, and stay moist and fresh as the days pass. If you prefer slightly more well-done cookies, go for nine minutes, maybe ten, but don’t bake them longer than 10 minutes or they’ll set up too firm and crunchy and turn dry and crumbly.

They’re thick, dense, moist, and soft in the middle. I love the fork impressions on the surface and how the edges became crackled. Picking off crackled cookie edges is the cookie equivalent to picking off muffin tops, both of which I’m very good at. I relish breaking them apart at the splits and seams. Big morsels of fudgy cookie just chunk right off and easily find their way into my mouth.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies (GF) - No butter, No white sugar, and No flour used

They have a bit of fine-grain grittiness, a result of the cocoa powder and peanut butter combining. It gives the cookies an old-fashioned and distinctly homemade taste like something from an old-fashioned diner where a little old lady is still making the desserts from scratch.  The exclusive use of brown sugar serves to keep them softer and moister than using granulated and they keep well for up to a week.

There’s no flour to cloud the chocolate flavor, which packs a punch. The cookies aren’t too sweet and are more adult-themed than your typical peanut butter-based cookie. Although my six year old never says no to chocolate, they go just as well with a few shots of espresso as they would with a glass of milk. The honey roasted peanut butter makes for a slightly sweeter cookie than using plain peanut butter, but either way keeping butter out of the recipe allows the boldness and purity of chocolate and peanut butter to shine through.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies (GF) - No butter, No white sugar, and No flour used

National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day is a nostalgic holiday for me. Ironically, this week last year I had just inked my contract to write my cookbook, Peanut Butter Comfort. I almost shared the news for the holiday, but decided to wait. For another 51 weeks. Until I just announced it last week, My Cookbook: Peanut Butter Comfort. And then for National Peanut Day in September, I almost announced the book again, but instead I simply shared 35 National Peanut Day Recipes.

But now, a peanut butter holiday to be celebrated with a peanut butter cookbook under my belt, and with chocolate and peanut butter in full force.

Chocolate and peanut butter is probably the best flavor pairing on earth. Sure, twist my arm.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies (GF) - No butter, No white sugar, and No flour used

Thick and Soft Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies (GF) - NO butter & NO flour used in these thick cookies that taste like peanut butter brownies!

Thick and Soft Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies (gluten-free)

There’s NO Flour, NO Butter, and NO White sugar used! The flavor is intensely chocolaty, balanced by the sweet and creamy peanut butter. The cookies are brownie-like in density and thickness. They’re soft, chewy, and moist. They’re more rich and bold than they are overly sweet. For those who love pairing chocolate and peanut butter, these cookies are for you. It’s a small-batch recipe, and makes just a baker’s dozen, perfect for quick cravings when you don’t need a huge batch of cookies.

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1 cup + 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter (i.e. one heaping cup – I prefer creamy honey roasted; plain or crunchy may be used; do not use natural or homemade peanut butter, it’s too runny)
1 cup light brown sugar, packed (dark brown may be substituted)
1 large egg
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder (Dutch-process or Hershey’s Special Dark may be substituted)
1 teaspoon baking soda


  1. To the mixing bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine peanut butter, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed until well-combined and the sugar is fully incorporated and is mixture is no longer gritty or granular, about 5 minutes. Stop to scrape down the bowl as necessary. Note regarding peanut butter – although natural peanut butter or homemade peanut butter may work, I recommend using storebought peanut butter like Jif, Skippy, Peter Pan or similar so that cookies bake up thicker and spread less. Using natural or homemade peanut butter tends to result in thinner, flatter cookies, that are prone to spreading.
  2. Add the cocoa powder (I don’t bother to sift), baking soda, and beat to incorporate, 1 to 2 minutes. Dough may be a bit crumbly in pieces, but pieces should all stick together forming a large mound when pinched, squeezed, and pushed together. If your dough seems dry, adding 1 to 2 additional tablespoons of peanut butter will help it combine.
  3. Using a 2-inch medium cookie scoop (about 2 heaping tablespoons of dough or 1.80 ounces by weight), form dough mounds or roll dough into balls. Recipe makes 13 cookies; dividing dough into 13 equal portions is another way to do this.
  4. Place dough on a large plate and flatten each mound with a fork, making a criss-cross pattern on top. Slightly flattening the mounds before baking ensures they don’t stay too domed and puffed while baking because this dough, when properly chilled, doesn’t spread much; just don’t over-flatten. Cover plate with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 5 days, before baking. Do not bake with warm dough.
  5. Preheat oven to 350F, line 2 baking sheets with Silpat Non-Stick Baking Mats, parchment, or spray with cooking spray; set aside. Space dough 2 inches apart (8 to 10 per tray) and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until edges are set and tops are barely set, even if slightly underbaked in the center. It’s tricky to discern if they’re done or not because they’re so dark, but watch them very closely after 7 minutes. I recommend the lower end of the baking range. Cookies firm up as they cool, and baking too long will result in cookies that set up too crisp and hard (The cookies shown in the photos were baked for 8 minutes, with trays rotated at the 4-minute mark, and have chewy edges with pillowy, soft centers).
  6. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 to 10 minutes before removing and transferring to a rack to finish cooling. 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 cookie dough can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, so consider baking only as many cookies as desired and save the remaining dough to be baked in the future when desired.

Adapted from Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies (GF) and Flourless Chocolate Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (GF)

Related Recipes:

Flourless Chocolate Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (gluten free) – These cookies inspired today’s cookies and I’ll never tire of chocolate and peanut butter. These cookies use chocolate two ways, cocoa powder and chocolate chips, along with a hefty does of peanut butter

Quintuple Chocolate Fudgy Brownie Cookies – For the ultimate chocolate lover and chocolate is used five times: Cocoa powder, melted bittersweet baking chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate chips, diced chocolate and caramel-filled truffles, and chocolate-filled Oreos. There’s no peanut butter in them, but hands down, my favorite chocolate cookie recipe of all time

Mounds Bar Chocolate Coconut Cake Mix Cookies – Chocolate and coconut is a winning combination and I baked both chocolate chips and Mounds Bar candy bars into these easy, goofproof chocolate cake mix cookies that turn out soft and moist every time

Dark Chocolate Chocolate-Chip Cookies Stuffed with Chocolate Covered Strawberries – Any dried fruit may be used but there’s something about the combination of chocolate and chocolate-covered strawberries that is especially good

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge – Fast, easy, no-cook, foolproof fudge that’s as peanut buttery as it is chocolaty

Homemade Peanut Butter (vegan if plain peanuts are used, GF) – Ready in 5 minutes and you have not lived until you’ve made your own. Just eat it, but don’t bake with it

Peanut Butter Cocoa Krispies Smores Bars – No need for campfires, make s’mores at home. These smores have three layers, including a cocoa-crispy cereal top layer that’s made with peanut butter

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies – The BEST PB Cookies I’ve ever had. There’s NO Flour, NO Butter, and NO White sugar used! Soft, chewy & oozing with dark chocolate. Crazy good!

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What’s your favorite way to eat peanut butter and chocolate?

Recipes links welcome.

Thanks for the Momofuku Milk Bar Cookies Giveaway and $100 Swanson Vitamins Shopping Spree and Coconut Oil Giveaway entries!

244 comments on “Thick and Soft Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies”

  1. Pingback: Trail Mix Peanut Butter Cookies

  2. Pingback: Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies: No Butter, No Flour! | Bake Me Better

  3. Averie,

    I made these yesterday. They are really good! My husband really likes them as well. Thanks for the recipe!

  4. Pingback: No butter? Fear not! | Sonya

  5. My daughter and I made these last night. Now only were they really rich and satisfying cookies, they were so fast! This is my new go-to cookie recipe.

  6. Lol, I tried to press these down after chilling.
    Also, you are SO RIGHT about the Silpat!

    • Yes BEFORE chilling is definitely preferred as is always baking on a Silpat. Sounds like you’re a fan!

      • I made these today because I’m packing for a pretty big move and needed some cookies! So much of my baking gear is packed already; it was so nice to dig through your site and find something I could make with what’s still out. Thank you!

      • Some of the best recipes I’ve ever made/blogged about have happened right before big moves. Something about cleaning out that pantry and I’ve come up with some winners. That’s not how these happened but glad you enjoyed them! Good luck moving!!

  7. I made these last week and they didn’t work for me at all. The dough was oily but crumbly. I had to really squeeze them into a ball and pressing with a fork made them explode. I watched them like a hawk in the oven but they never seemed done. Even though they were still glossy I finally took them out at 8 1/2 min for fear of overbaking. They remained crumbly, though soft. People at work still ate them but they were not the chewy nuggets of awesomeness I was hoping for! Good thing I made some of your coconut peanutbutter magic cake bars at the same time to satisfy my chewy cravings!

    • Cocoa powder can dry dough out very easily and based on brand of cocoa powder, PB, climate, this dough can be a little tricky to work with. Sorry they didn’t work for you. Next time I would reduce the amt of cocoa you use by 2 to 4 tbsp and see if that helps things out – I bet it will.

      Glad you enjoyed the coconut peanutbutter magic cake bars! They’re a fave of mine!

      Thanks for trying so many recipes!

      • That may be it! I do live in a dry climate. I’m loving your recipes and most are working out beautifully! You have totally sold me on the ‘bar’. Sooo easy, versatile and delicious. I’m loving exploring the endless flavour and texture combinations. Keep them coming!

      • Oh if you’re in a dry climate, cut back the cocoa powder. It’s acidic and super drying and will zap the moisture out of your batter really quickly. That should do the trick!

  8. hi:
    what’s the (health) difference of using brown instead of white sugar – I understand the textural issue, but the heading sort of indicates that it will be healthier because there’s no white sugar. Thanks, Andrea

    • It’s darker, richer, and has more depth of flavor and lends more moisture to the cookies.

      • Actually, there is no real health difference between white sugar and brown sugar but for added molasses. I do think the heading for the cookies is a bit misleading in this way, because brown sugar – whether light or dark – IS white sugar which is covered in molasses. A more pure sugar choice might be turbinado sugar. It is less processed, and can be interchanged in recipes for brown sugar.

  9. I just made these and they turned out excellent! Precisely the same texture and flavor you described. My family loves them too! It seems like everyone is going gluten-free nowadays, so these will be perfect cookies to bring to get-togethers. Thanks for the great recipe, so simple and with just a few basic ingredients.

  10. Oooo, I just made these, too, and they’re lovely! They turned out just as I hoped they would – crispy on the outside, squishy on the inside. And SO chocolately. Yum! Thank you xx

  11. Hi — probably should adjust the “total time” to include the 2 HOURS of chilling required prior to baking. SMH.

  12. Hi Averie — have you tried substituting the brown sugar with Truvia or an alternative sweetner?

    • I haven’t but if you do, LMK! I have a feeling you would actually be ok in this recipe as long as the bulk/quantity of the Truvia is about the same as the bulk/quantity of real brown sugar.

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  15. Can you just chill the dough in a bowl or do you have to roll them first? (Space issues in fridge!) Can’t wait to try!

    • If you chill the bowl, the dough will turn into one big ROCK that you then need to chisel out and it will be too firm/hard/impossible. So…you really are better off putting it on a plate in the fridge, covering with plasticwrap, and chilling. I know it’s annoying and I have the same space issues but if you do it the mixing bowl way, you’ll hate yourself.

  16. The total time on this recipe does not include chill time. While they are fast to prep and bake, you still need to let them chill for 2+ hours. Total time at minimum is 2hrs 20min.

  17. Just tried these today and I just want to say they tasted amazing!! Definatly going to make them again!!

  18. I made these cookies a couple nights ago! They turned out amazing, and tasted even better than that! I was wondering if you happened to know how many calories are in each cookie? Thanks!

  19. Since finding this recipe on Pinterest last week I have made it literally 5 times in a row. It is my absolute favorite chocolate fix…ever! I made a few substitutions, such as natural (whole foods brand) peanut butter instead of JIF, because it’s all I had. But they turned out so well! Thanks for the great recipe!

    • I love hearing stories like this, how a random find can really come in so handy and be a little gem :) So glad to hear you’ve made these 5 times! And that the WFs natural PB is working out!

  20. These look really yummy! I just have a regular old hand mixer, do you think I could use that and they would still turn out? Thanks for the help. I don’t bake enough to buy a fancy one

  21. I followed your recipe as it is written, had to add more peanut butter, about 2 tablespoons worth because the dough was very dry and crumbly. I hoped that after the hours if chilling the dough and then baking that the sugar would dissolve a bit, but it never really did bind with the peanut butter. My boyfriend compared these cookies to lumps of “wet sand”. They taste fine, but the consistency is nothing like a brownie – they crumble to the point that it is impossible to eat a whole cookie without loosing some (or most) of it to gravity, they are very gritty, as the brown sugar has nothing to melt into. I thought this would be an easy recipe because it has so few ingredients. And I looove anything that is compared to a brownie. But no matter how long I mixed the ingredients (I mixed w an electric mixer for close to 15 minutes) I was not able to achieve the necessary consistency; (the recipe calls for a mixing time of 5 minutes but says one cannot over mix). The best part about this recipe is the blog/website, as it did illustrate what I thought would be a delicious, fun little recipe. Unfortunately, my results did not match.

    • Sorry that you had trouble with them and thanks for trying the recipe. I wish I could offer you troubleshooting advice for how to get the brown sugar to meld into the PB better, but since I’ve never experienced that when making these, not sure what to say. Thanks for trying the recipe.

  22. Is it possible to use natural PB and add a little flour to firm them up? I know the point is that they’re flourless but I can’t bear to use regular PB!

  23. so I just baked these…I’m pretty sure my diet is now completely gone forever. Sooooooooo good. Thanks for the recipe.

  24. after beating in all the cocoa powder and baking soda, the batter was very oily. i didn’t add much peanut butter and the other ingredients were added as stated. so why is my batter so oily? or is it suppose to be like that? will this affect the texture of the cookies?

    • It’s an oily batter because there is no flour to absorb the natural oils in PB; there’s also no butter so you need that oil. Chill the dough as stated and bake as directed and I think you will be just fine!

  25. Since we buy/use Adam’s, I’ll have to do some experimenting. I’ll also need to cut the brown sugar somewhat for our tastes. I like the fact that this recipe automatically omits white, something I’ve been doing with my cookie recipes for years. Thanks for sharing.

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