These healthy peanut butter cookies couldn't be easier! Rich and tender, these gluten-free peanut butter cookies are made without oil or butter and with (very) minimal natural sweetener. Just one bowl and six ingredients are required!
While I haven't calculated it exactly, I'm betting that cookies are one of the most extensive categories on this blog. There's a lot of variety, from rainbow cookies to pizzelles to palmiers, but there's a common theme -- these cookies qualify as desserts.
As a big fan of everything in moderation, cookies definitely have their rightful place in my diet. In fact I'm eating a chocolate chip cookie as I type this. 😉
But sometimes a healthier version is welcome, with 'healthier' meaning more than just low-calorie. Whole grains, naturally-sweetened, gluten-free, dairy-free...there's a time and place for everything. And as luck would have it, these healthy peanut butter cookies fit the bill on all four.
With just six ingredients, the dough for these cookies comes together in just one bowl (always a plus) and holds together very well.
Peanut butter makes up the majority of the dough, bringing a rich flavor. For this recipe I recommend using a creamy or no-stir peanut butter. While I like natural peanut butter on/in other things, I'm afraid the separated oil, even if stirred in well, would make these cookies too greasy.
And FYI, this recipe works great with other nut butters, too. Halfway through making these healthy peanut butter cookies on one occasion I realized I didn't have enough peanut butter and subbed in about a third of a cup of almond butter for the remaining. Delicious!
While we still have a bold peanut butter flavor, one major difference between these cookies and your standard variety peanut butter cookie is the sugar content. Here only two tablespoons of maple syrup are used to sweeten the batch of fifteen cookies (you can also use honey if you want).
This means that each cookie contains approximately 3.5 grams of sugar. When compared with a store-bought cookie mix peanut butter cookie (from a brand that rhymes with...Sweaty Rocker), these healthy peanut butter cookies contain per cookie:
- Half the sugar
- Half the carbohydrates
- More than double the fiber
- Five times more protein
These aren't low-calorie or likely to satisfy the most serious sweet tooth, but are a more wholesome and healthy cookie that can act like a filling snack instead of relegated to the dessert table only.
To keep these healthy peanut butter cookies gluten-free, I ground old-fashioned oats and used them in place of flour. I just used my regular food processor...they won't get as fine as the consistency of flour, but that's okay. I also added in ground flaxseed for a little omega-3 and fiber boost.
When combined with one egg and a smidge of vanilla extract, these ingredients produce a tender cookie rich in peanut butter flavor and just-so on sweetness. We can never keep these around for longer than a few days after I bake them!
- While this recipe for healthy peanut butter cookies is gluten-free, if you're strict in that regard, be sure to use certified gluten-free oats here (but I'm sure you know that).
- These cookies aren't the most sturdy cookies out there as the main ingredient is peanut butter. They might get a bit crumbly if you pack them in a backpack or jostle them around, but cookie pieces are still delicious, too. 🙂
- I bought this food processor set (affiliate link) years ago and used it to grind the oats. It's super affordable and can also power through dates and nut butters wonderfully. It's what I use for all my chia bars.
Healthy Peanut Butter Cookies
- 1 cup peanut butter (I used creamy)
- 2 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoon ground oats, measure after grinding*
- 2 tablespoon ground flaxseed
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix well.
- Scoop dough (approx. 1 ½ tablespoon per cookie) onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Flatten the tops of the cookies using a flat surface like the bottom of a glass, You shouldn't need to spray the glass with cooking spray, but do so if the flattened cookies are tough to remove from the bottom.
- Using the tines of a fork, lightly press a crisscross pattern into the top if you like.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until bottoms of cookies have browned and cookies have set some. They will continue to harden as they cool. Let cookies cool for a few minutes on baking sheet, and then transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool completely.
Nutritional information is provided as an estimate. As it can vary due to many factors (brands used, quantities, etc.), we cannot guarantee its accuracy.Food Safety and Nutrition Disclaimer
P.S. If you're looking for a more classic peanut butter cookie recipe, check out these Loaded Chocolate Chip Reese's Peanut Butter Cookies!
Photos updated in July 2018, but the recipe remains the same.
I love the addition of maple syrup to these cookies!
I'm a big fan of moderation, but also believe you can never have too many cookies!! So, these healthy peanut butter cookies are right up my alley! So delicious, you don't even know they're healthy 🙂
These cookies are amazing! I love making cookies with oat flour - they always come out great. I can't wait to try these with almond butter. 🙂
Alex Munoz says
Tried it first time as suggested and even thou consistency was amanzingly good they were lacking a bit of taste for me ( tasted like peanut butter egg) tried them a second time with honey to please my sweet tooth and BAM! Magic! Thanks for sharing ❤️
You're very welcome - so glad you could tweak it to suit your tastes, Alex! 🙂
These are the best cookies ever! I didn't have maple syrup so I used the same amount of honey and I used crunchy peanut butter. First bite they were not as sweet as I expected but second bite was perfect. You may want to use a little extra syrup or honey if you like a sweeter cookie.
I'm so happy you enjoyed them, Valerie! Great tips - I'll have to try crunchy PB next time. 🙂
Christine @ Cooking with Cakes says
you just said healthy, PB, and COOKIES all in one sentence, so I am officially on board with this! pinned 🙂
License to indulge. 🙂 Thanks girl!
Phi @ The Sweetphi Blog says
Love how simple and healthy these cookies are, totally need to try them!
Thank you Phi!
Annie @ ciaochowbambina says
Peanut Butter Cookies was one of my favorite after-school snacks when I was a kid. Thanks for making it possible to eat them without guilt as an adult!
I've loved them my whole life too, Annie! My pleasure. 🙂
Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice says
These cookies look amazing, Alyssa! I'm in awe that they;re healthy, This might just be the best peanut butter cookie ever! Love how thick and soft they are too...yum!
Haha thanks Gayle! I won't tell you how many batches I've made of these already... 😉
Oh no! It sounds like you had a rough week last week! I hope you were able to recover and relax over the weekend! I bet these peanut butter cookies helped! I love that they are gluten free and they still look so soft and moist! I need to make these soon! I can't get enough peanut butter 🙂
Yesss, relaxation definitely happened! 🙂 Thanks girl!
Natalie @ Tastes Lovely says
These are amazing! I love how healthy they are Alyssa : )
Shelby @ Go Eat and Repeat says
I love how you make these cookies healthy! I would love to bring these into my boyfriends colleagues who are all training for a fitness test!
Thanks Shelby! These are definitely a nice treat without sacrificing too much in the way of nutrition!
Erin @ Miss Scrambled Egg says
I love how easy and healthy these are. I need to make these soon. I'm trying to stay away from junk food for a while, but I'll totally consider these a protein snack 😉
Yesss Erin - what a great way to put it. These are protein snacks. 🙂
Sherri@The Well Floured Kitchen says
Oh my gosh- these look perfect! My husband is a peanut butter addict and I love all the ingredients.
Thanks Sherri! We're huge PB fans over here too. These disappeared so quickly! 🙂
Oh my gosh, yes. The rain this week just drained me I think. I was so ready for the weekend! These cookies look absolutely fantastic!
Thanks Ashley! Here's hoping we get more than one day in a row of sunshine ASAP!