You will love these soft peanut butter snickerdoodles! Enjoy a chewy cookie with a slightly crisp exterior, cinnamon-sugar coating, and a little crunch from chopped peanuts. I appreciate there’s no extra decorating required. These are sweet and simple, but mega flavorful!
This recipe is part of my annual holiday cookie countdown called Sally’s Cookie Palooza. Every year since 2013, I work on a handful of new cookie recipes and publish the 10 best ones for readers to enjoy! You can browse dozens of recipes on the Sally’s Cookie Palooza page. 🙂
Does anything really live up to the mighty snickerdoodle cookie? The answer is not much, but there are several variations of the cinnamon-sugar-coated treats that come close. And it’s so much fun to play around with different flavors, including these maple pecan snickerdoodles and white chocolate chai spice snickerdoodles. Today, we’re adding peanut butter to the lineup!
Tell Me About These Peanut Butter Snickerdoodles
- Flavor: Two cookies in one! And no, I’m not talking about a cookie sandwich. Today’s soft-baked cookies are like snickerdoodles and peanut butter cookies combined.
- Texture: Soft and crinkly with crisp edges and chunks of chopped peanuts in every bite.
- Ease: This is a wonderful recipe for a beginner baker because there aren’t any complicated steps. These rolled and drop-style cookies have built-in garnish and decoration from the cinnamon sugar coating. (And, honestly, rolling the dough into balls is probably the hardest step!)
- Time: Peanut butter always makes a super soft dough, so it’s imperative that this cookie dough takes a 3-hour nap in the refrigerator. I know what you’re thinking… I wish I could take a 3-hour nap! 😉 And yes, that’s a long time to wait, but I promise it’s worth it. If you want to avoid peanut butter cookie puddles, let that dough sit in the fridge for 3 hours, or even overnight!
If you’re baking multiple cookie recipes in a day, bake a batch of this easy shortbread while you wait.
Testing This Recipe
I’ve made more batches of peanut butter snickerdoodles than any other cookie recently. My original thought was to just coat these peanut butter cookies in cinnamon sugar—and that definitely works—but I wanted to challenge myself by making a new dough that yields a chewier, crispier-edged cookie. A few failed test batches later, I landed on a dough that’s similar to these peanut butter chocolate half moon cookies.
That recipe comes from King Arthur Baking’s cookie cookbook, and proved to be the best jumping-off point for today’s variation. Instead of all brown sugar, I swapped in some granulated white sugar, just so the brown sugar flavor didn’t overpower anything. I also added 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar, for that classic snickerdoodle flavor, and a little extra flour, as over-spreading was an issue after rolling the dough in cinnamon-sugar.
Key Ingredients in Peanut Butter Snickerdoodles
- Flour: This recipe requires 1 cup + 2 Tablespoons of flour. I know, such a random amount! Like I mention above, 1 cup wasn’t enough unless you want to chill the dough for days. To prevent the cookies from over-spreading, the super soft dough benefits from *a little* extra flour. Remember that peanut butter is a special ingredient in cookie recipes—it actually acts as a dry ingredient, so you don’t want to overdo it on the flour.
- Cream of Tartar: This standard snickerdoodle ingredient adds a unique tangy flavor to the cookie, which sets it apart from sugar cookies and makes it a classic snickerdoodle.
- Sugars: For extra soft cookies, use more brown sugar than white granulated sugar. You also need a bit of white granulated sugar for coating the dough.
- Peanut Butter: The best peanut butter to use for today’s peanut butter snickerdoodles is a creamy processed peanut butter like Skippy or Jif. I do NOT recommend natural-style. While it’s so tasty for eating and cooking, it’s just going to make your cookies dry out and crumble.
- Chopped Peanuts: I like using salted roasted peanuts for extra flavor. You could also use peanut butter baking chips, or both!
You also need baking soda, salt, butter, egg, and vanilla.
Do I Have to Add Peanuts?
Yes. I don’t recommend leaving out the chopped peanuts because they add so much peanutty flavor. I actually prefer adding chopped peanuts over using crunchy peanut butter, which tends to dry out cookies. Give the peanuts a good rough chop.
Expect a Very Creamy Cookie Dough
Peanut butter acts more like a dry ingredient in cookies because it soaks up a lot of moisture. Since there’s not too much flour, the dough is really soft… like peanut butter frosting soft. You might even think you’re doing something wrong. Don’t worry, you’re not! After the dough comes together, chill it in the refrigerator for 3 hours. As it chills, the cookie dough solidifies and is much easier to shape.
Look how thick the cookie dough is after chilling:
Coating in Cinnamon Sugar
Roll the chilled dough into balls, about 1 heaping Tablespoon (25g) of dough each. Then, roll the dough balls generously in cinnamon sugar for that classic snickerdoodle-y taste. 😉
Arrange about 3 inches apart on your lined baking sheet and bake:
The cookies puff up in the oven, and then fall to their crinkly destiny as they cool. These cookies are fragile right after baking, so let them cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
3 Success Tips for the Best Peanut Butter Snickerdoodles
- Do not use natural peanut butter. I find the cookies taste dry, crumble, and fall apart.
- Chill the dough. I’m a broken record here. Do not skip this step!
- Enjoy with a steamy mug of hot chocolate. Clearly the most important success tip I could give you…
Soft, cinnamon-sugar-coated peanut butter snickerdoodles are in your future! Chilling the cookie dough for at least 3 hours is imperative. It may seem like an odd amount of flour in the dough, but 1 cup + 2 Tablespoons (142g) makes for a tender peanut butter cookie that still holds shape. For best results, use creamy peanut butter.
- Make the dough: Whisk the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- In a large bowl using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together until completely creamed and smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and beat until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed. Add the peanut butter and vanilla extract and beat until combined.
- Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and beat on low speed until combined. Add the chopped peanuts and beat until just incorporated. The dough will be very creamy and soft. Cover and chill the cookie dough in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, and up to 3–4 days.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
- Roll & coat the dough: Place remaining 1/3 cup (70g) of sugar into a bowl, and mix in the cinnamon. Roll chilled cookie dough into balls, about 1 heaping Tablespoon (25g) of dough each. Roll each ball generously in the cinnamon sugar and arrange on baking sheets about 3 inches apart.
- Bake for 11–12 minutes or until the edges appear set and are very lightly browned. The centers will still look very soft.
- Remove from the oven. Cool cookies on the baking sheets for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely. Cookies puff up in the oven, but slightly deflate as they cool.
- Cover and store leftover cookies at room temperature for up to 1 week. Their flavor is even better on day 2!
- Make Ahead Instructions: You can make the cookie dough and chill it in the refrigerator for up to 3–4 days. You can also freeze the cookie dough balls. Roll the dough into balls then freeze the balls for up to 2–3 months. You can freeze the cookie dough balls with the cinnamon sugar topping or without, but I recommend freezing without the topping. When you are ready to bake, remove the dough balls from the freezer, let sit for 20 minutes, preheat the oven, and then roll into topping. You can also freeze the baked cookies for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
- Special Tools (affiliate links): Electric Mixer (Stand Mixer or Handheld) | Baking Sheets | Silicone Baking Mats or Parchment Sheets
- Cream of Tartar: You can skip the cream of tartar if desired, but you will lose some flavor. Cream of tartar adds a unique tangy flavor to the cookie, which sets it apart from sugar cookies and makes it a classic snickerdoodle.
- Peanut Butter: It’s best to use a processed peanut butter like Jif creamy or Skippy creamy. I do not suggest using natural-style, oily peanut butter. Crunchy peanut butter adds peanut chunks, but also makes for a crumblier texture. I strongly recommend using creamy in this recipe.
- Peanuts: For a salty/sweet cookie, I recommend using roasted salted peanuts. If desired, you can use unsalted or raw (not roasted) peanuts. I don’t recommend leaving these out because they add a lot of flavor (and structure!) to the cookies. You could also use the same amount of peanut butter chips or chocolate chips.
Keywords: peanut butter snickerdoodles
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