These easy Paleo “Peanut” Butter Cookies are soft, chewy and pretty much irresistible.
You only need 1 bowl and 5 ingredients!
Plus they’re nut-free, gluten-free, dairy-free and soy-free.
But everyone can enjoy them, whether they eat nuts or not!
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Why this recipe works
The classic peanut butter cookie is a classic for a reason – it’s easy to make, uses only a few ingredients and everyone loves peanut butter.
But these cookies are off limits for those that can’t tolerate peanuts, can’t bring anything made with peanuts to school, or if you’re Paleo, since peanuts aren’t Paleo. And some versions contain flour which doesn’t work if you’re gluten-free.
That’s why I wanted to create a version that everyone can eat, because I’m a people pleaser like that.
So instead of peanut butter, we’re using sunbutter, which is incredibly similar to peanut butter but is made with sunflower seeds. So these nut-free Paleo cookies are perfect for a bake sale!
Plus we’re swapping out the white sugar for coconut sugar, which is unrefined, retains some minerals and has a lower glycemic index than white sugar.
You end up with soft, chewy cookies that are just sweet enough. And coconut sugar peanut butter cookies have a deeper, almost molasses-like flavor compared to the version with white sugar.
And you still get the classic criss-cross pattern on top!
If you prefer crispy cookies, I include instructions in the recipe notes.
What you need for Paleo peanut butter cookies
- 1 cup sunbutter – I use the organic SunButter kind, as it contains no additional oils or sugar
- 1 egg
- 3/4 cup coconut sugar – I like this brand or this brand
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- a mixing bowl (get this whole set! The little bowls are extremely handy!)
- a sturdy spatula or a hand mixer
- measuring spoons (these are my favorite because they fit in spice jars)
- baking sheets with cooling racks
- parchment paper
- a small cookie scoop (I use a #60 1 tablespoon/1″ scoop with a trigger)
- A thin spatula for moving the cookies to the cooling racks
Nothing like a good one-bowl cookie recipe!
Blend together the sunbutter, egg, coconut sugar, vanilla and salt.
Scoop up two tablespoon-sized balls onto your hand, roll into a ball (smoothing out the crack where the 2 pieces were combined) and place on parchment-lined cookie sheets.
Flatten each cookie with a fork to create a criss-cross pattern.
Sprinkle with a little extra coconut sugar.
Bake for 10-11 minutes, swapping and rotating the pans halfway through the cooking time (meaning, rotate each pan 180° and swap the one on the top rack to the bottom rack and vice versa; this ensures even baking).
Let the cookies rest so they set up properly, the eat!
Can I make substitutions/variations?
I haven’t tried this with crunchy sunbutter but if you want a bit of crunch, I think this would work.
You can use other nut butters like almond, cashew or even peanut, but some can be gritty so the texture might be different.
And if you use one that has added sugar, you might want to cut down on how much sugar you add to the dough.
Can I make these Paleo Peanut Butter Cookies in advance?
The cookies can be stored either at room temperature or in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Can I freeze these cookies?
Yep! You can place them in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet and place in the freezer until frozen, at least one hour. Then transfer them to an airtight, freezer-safe container/baggie and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Thaw overnight in the fridge.
Is peanut butter paleo?
Nope. Peanuts are actually a legume, and legumes are off-limits on a Paleo diet. Peanuts and other legumes contain lectins, which can cause problems in your gut.
Plus some people are allergic to peanuts and some schools are completely peanut-free, so it’s nice to have a peanut-free peanut butter cookie option.
Peanuts actually grow in the ground, making them different from other nuts (walnuts, pecans, etc.) which grow on trees and are therefore known as tree nuts.
What is a good paleo peanut butter substitute?
Almost any nut butter is a good Paleo peanut butter substitute. Cashew butter is especially good as it gets as smooth as peanut butter. Almond butter also works well but some brands tend to have a gritty texture.
Tahini, made from sesame seeds, can also be a good substitute for peanut butter and is completely nut-free. But some tahini brands are very runny and not as thick as peanut butter.
Similarly, sunbutter, made from sunflower seeds, is a great option because it has a smooth, peanut butter-like texture while also being completely nut-free. Which is why these Paleo sunbutter cookies work so well!
Other cookies and treats
For another Paleo cookie option, try these big, buttery Paleo chocolate chunk cookies.
You might also love these Paleo Italian hazelnut cookies.
For something chocolate-y, try these fudgy Paleo brownies.
For another healthy snack, try these Paleo chocolate protein balls.
Paleo "Peanut" Butter Cookies (gluten-free, nut-free)
- 1 cup creamy sunflower seed butter, a.k.a. sunbutter (preferably with no added oils or sugar)
- ¾ cup coconut sugar, plus more for sprinkling
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- Heat the oven to 350°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and blend until smooth and no streaks remain.
- Use a small cookie scoop to scoop two tablespoon-sized balls into your hand. Roll them into one ball, smoothing out the crack where they were combined. Place on the baking sheet 2" apart from each other.
- Use a fork to make a criss-cross pattern as you flatten the cookies to between ¼-½". Sprinkle each one with a bit more coconut sugar.
- Bake for 10-11 minutes, rotating and swapping the baking sheets halfway through, until the cookies have spread and look dry.
- Let the cookies rest on the sheets for 5 minutes, then carefully transfer the cookies from the sheets to cooling racks. Let them rest for 30 minutes so they set.