Let's all admit it, peanut butter cookies taste even more amazing when they are fresh right out of the oven. This easy recipe makes only a dozen perfectly delicious peanut butter cookies. So when you make a small batch of peanut butter cookies, they will likely be gobbled up right away. With our big family that means that every single one will be enjoyed freshly baked and warm.
Small-batch cookies are also great for those that live alone or have other dietary/food cravings that those in the same household. I love this recipe when you want to offer a dessert buffet, charcuterie board, or party desserts. So when you want just a personal amount of cookies, this is your recipe. Typical recipes for small batches of cookies are 2-3 dozen. This recipe is even smaller, it is just 1 dozen, 12 yummy cookies.
Cookies are good any time of day and any time of year. So when you have a craving, bake some up. Thanks to this small-batch recipe for making fresh-baked peanut butter cookies crave no more. This quick recipe mixes up in 5 minutes and bakes in 10 minutes and all in just one batch.
This recipe was inspired when I was trying to perfect baking cookies in a toaster oven. A small oven can only bake a half dozen cookies at a time. That meant I wanted to create a peanut butter cookie dough recipe that didn't have you standing over the toaster oven for hours to make 3-4 dozen. A dozen cookies are what I aimed for and this small-batch recipe was created.
To make a small batch of cookies you need all the same classic ingredients. You however just need them in smaller amounts. The science of baking is precise so make sure you follow the amounts as written for this recipe. This recipe calls for both baking powder and baking soda. I like the puff or leavening that the baking powder does but also the tender soft texture that the baking soda brings. It makes these peanut butter cookies mouth-watering if I say so myself.
Here are the ingredients needed to make small-batch soft & chewy peanut butter cookies.
- Creamy Peanut Butter
- Salted Butter
- Egg Yolk
- Granulated Sugar
- Brown Sugar
- Vanilla Extra
- All-Purpose Flour
- Baking Powder
- Baking Soda
See the recipe card for quantities.
Begin by setting out your butter and egg so they come to room temperature. This should take only about 20 minutes since the butter is a small amount. Room temperature ingredients are important when making cookies. The soft butter will cream with the sugar better. Also, a cold egg has a harder time binding and blending with ingredients.
Grab a small mixing bowl and your hand mixer. The dough for this cookie recipe is a small amount so you do not need the usual huge mixing bowl that holds 4-5 dozen cookies worth of batter.
If you do not have a hand mixer, you can whisk this recipe. Since it is a small amount of dough it can be hand whisked if you have strong muscles and an even stronger whisk.
Mixing the Small-Batch Cookie Dough
Once the ingredients are at room temperature, preheat the oven to 350°. Prep a baking sheet with non-stick spray and/or foil.
Now it is time to start mixing up the dough. Making a small batch of cookies has all the same steps as it would when making a regular-sized batch. It starts with creaming together the wet ingredients with sugar. You then add the dry ingredients and mix.
Hint: Save the white of this egg to use later. Add it as an extra egg white to one of my favorite breakfast recipes, leftover spaghetti with eggs.
To the small mixing bowl add the peanut butter, egg yolk, soft butter, and sugars. Using a hand mixer, mix on medium until creamy and smooth - about 1 minute.
Next add the dry ingredients - flour, baking powder, & baking soda, to the creamed peanut butter & sugar mixture. Mix again on medium speed for 1 minute.
The dough will seem crumbly and pebble-like. This is ok.
Using a rubber spatula, press the peanut butter cookie dough together. It will then be soft and ready to start baking.
This recipe does not require the peanut butter cookie dough to be refrigerated. You can bake these right away. No waiting!
Baking a Small Batch of Cookies
Once the oven is preheated to 350° it is time to bake. In a small bowl add the reserved 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar. Scoop out and roll 1 ½ tablespoons of dough in your hands. Next, roll the dough ball in the granulated sugar to coat.
Drop the sugar-coated peanut butter dough ball on the cookie sheet. Repeat with the rest of the dough. You should have 12 balls of dough evenly spaced on your cookie sheet.
Using a fork press lightly on each dough ball. Press 2x on each dough ball in a criss-cross pattern. The dough ball should not be too thin. Only press it about ½ way down so it still is a bit thick.
Bake the cookies for 10 minutes. Use an oven mitt to carefully remove the baking sheet when they are ready. The cookies will still be light in color. Let them rest for 2 minutes on the cookie sheet before using a spatula to move them to a cooling rack.
How Long to Cool Peanut Butter Cookies?
The need for a cooling rack after baking cookies is vital. Letting cookies cool on all sides allows them to come down in temperature without getting a soggy or overdone bottom. This allows cookies to firm up as they cool long after cooking.
Let the cookies cool for 10 minutes on the cooling rack before enjoying them. Then bite in and enjoy the soft tender peanut butter goodness. Let them cool for 20-30 minutes before storing them away to enjoy later.
Substitutions & Variations
This recipe is important to make as is if you can. The hard thing about small-batch baking is getting the ratios just right. This cookie has the right combination of wet and dry ingredients so the peanut butter cookies are soft & chewy. If you mess with the recipe you may have soggy, dry, or cookies that fall apart.
Substitutions to not make include the following:
- Peanut Butter - do NOT use natural or crunchy peanut butter. Also do not add chopped nuts to it. The cookies will turn out too dry and crumble.
- Flour - I have not tried to make this with gluten-free or almond flour. I cannot recommend this substitution at this time.
If you want to add a few mix-ins to this recipe here is what I tried and came out great. (unlike the chopped nuts or crunch PB that did not work)
- Mini Chocolate Chips - add 1 Tablespoon of mini chocolate chips to the dough. Regualr-sized chips are too large and keep the dough from holding together.
- Flaky Sea Salt - Sprinkle with flaky sea salt when they are hot right out of the oven.
Baking in a Toaster Oven
These cookies are also great for baking in convection or regular toaster oven. If you are in a dorm, office, RV, or have a small kitchen without a regular oven you can still bake these delicious cookies.
I also find this recipe is a hit with college students who may only have a toaster oven - yes, they can be baked in your toaster oven, see below for the fun recipe! Check out my easy recipe for Toaster Oven Peanut Butter Cookies recipes.
No special ingredients or equipment is needed for this recipe. But if you do not have the standard kitchen tools for baking cookies, here are the products I recommend.
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Storing & Freezing
These cookies are best fresh from the oven. But if you do not eat the full dozen the same day, you can store them to enjoy later. Place cooled cookies in an air-tight container. Store in a cool & dry place for up to 5 days.
The dough and the baked cookies can be stored in the freezer. To freeze small-batch cookie dough, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Then place it in an air-tight Ziploc bag. Freeze for up to 2 months. To defrost, place the dough in the refrigerator for 1-2 days. Bake as directed above.
Store baked cookies by wrapping them in plastic wrap and also placing them in an air-tight Ziploc bag. Store baked cookies in the freezer for up to 30 days. Defrost on the kitchen counter overnight to enjoy.
Though many recipes do not call for both baking powder and baking soda, it really works when making a small batch of cookies. Peanut butter cookies can be dense and simply adding another egg or more milk just isn't easy when working with a small ratio of ingredients. Make sure you use both.
The baking powder helps these cookies rise. While the baking soda does that as well - the combination adds even more carbon dioxide to the cookie. That "airiness" is what makes these cookies decadent, tender, & beyond amazing.
Most recipes do benefit from a chill in the fridge. However, this recipe has a different ratio of dry to wet ingredients to create a smaller amount. The recipe will hold up without being chilled first. You can go from mixing to rolling to baking in just minutes - another great reason for making this fast recipe.
The flattening of peanut butter cookies helps them cook up evenly. The dense dough doesn't spread like traditional cookies when baking. So the pressing down of the dough helps the cooking process. The fork marks create a criss-cross design that is much prettier than just a flat press.
Yes, cookies firm up once they cool. This is why it is important to let them cool a bit on the pan before moving them to the rack. And then let them cool completely on the rack.
The main reason cookies fall apart is too much flour. The ratio of wet to dry ingredients is off. It can also be that the brown sugar is old and has lost some of its moisture.
If you add the entire egg it will have the wrong consistency and come out "eggy". I do not recommend using a whole egg even if it is a small egg.
Small-Batch Peanut Butter Cookies
- baking sheet or toaster oven pan
- hand mixer or whisk
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- 3 tablespoons salted butter softened
- ⅓ cup creamy peanut butter
- 1 tablespoons brown sugar packed
- 3 tablespoons divided granulated sugar reserve one TB for rolling cookies
- 1 large egg yolk room temperature
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Let your egg and butter come to room temperature. Preheat oven to 350°
- To a small mixing bowl add the peanut butter, egg yolk, soft butter, brown sugar, and only 2 tablespoons of the granulated sugars. Using a hand mixer, mix on medium until creamy and smooth - about 1 minute.
- Next add the dry ingredients - flour, baking powder, & baking soda, to the creamed mixture. Mix again on medium speed for 1 minute.
- The dough will seem crumbly and pebble-like. This is ok. Using a rubber spatula, press the peanut butter cookie dough together.
- In a small bowl add the reserved 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar. Scoop out and roll 1 ½ tablespoons of dough in your hands. Next, roll the dough ball in the granulated sugar to coat.Drop the sugar-coated peanut butter dough ball on the cookie sheet. Repeat with the rest of the dough. You should have 12 balls of dough evenly spaced on your cookie sheet.
- Using a fork press lightly on each dough ball. Press 2x on each dough ball in a criss-cross pattern. Press each dough ball about ½ way down so it still is a bit thick.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. They will still be light in color and that is ok. Using an oven mitt, carefully remove the baking sheet from the oven.
- Let the cookies rest (which continues to cook them) on the hot baking sheet. Give them 2 more minutes on the baking sheet. Now you can use a spatula to move them to a cooling rack to finish cooling. Let cool for 10 minutes before eating. Or let cool for 20-30 minutes before storing in an air-tight container.
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 6.9g||9%|
|Saturated Fat 2.7g||14%|
|Total Carbohydrate 10.2g||4%|
|Dietary Fiber 0.6g||2%|
|Total Sugars 5.4g|
|Vitamin D 4mcg||18%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.|