These healthy peanut butter oatmeal cookies have quickly become a favorite in our house!
Not only are they delicious and made with wholesome ingredients, but you may also already have everything you need to make them in your pantry. You can even make them vegan (egg-free here) if you want by using the substitution below.
There are a few very important ingredient notes to make sure your dough is thick enough, so be sure to read those below for peanut butter oatmeal cookie success. I recently updated this recipe and added a few ingredient notes based on some people saying their dough was too runny.
Also, watch this short tutorial video to see me quickly pull these cookies together so you know what it should look like (there is a short ad before the video, which helps us run this blog, thanks for watching it!):
Healthy Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies Recipe Tips
This recipe is super simple and comes together in a snap. Here are a few notes for choosing your ingredients:
Use Thick Peanut Butter (No-Sugar & No-Salt Added)
THICK peanut butter is the star of our peanut butter oatmeal cookies.
Choose creamy or chunky peanut butter depending on how you like the texture, and, if possible, choose the thickest peanut butter you can find. I used drippy peanut butter in my first batch and the cookies did not hold together. Choose something that holds together on the spoon and doesn’t drip off.
Choosing the right peanut butter:
I used Justin’s brand Peanut Butter and it worked perfectly. (I get it on Thrive Market at a great price.)
The freshly ground peanut butter that comes through the machine at the store is usually too soft (I love it for other things, though!).
If using natural peanut butter with oil that has settled to the top, drain the oil out before scooping it out for this recipe (then add the oil back to the jar if needed and stir it into what’s left for another use.)
Also, I recommend an unsweetened, no salt peanut butter so you can control the nutrition and flavor. Read the ingredients—if your peanut butter has any sugar, then use 1/2 the maple syrup. If your peanut butter already has salt, omit the salt in the recipe.
Peanuts have a bad rap in the health community as the way they’re stored in the manufacturing process often leads to mold growth that you may not even be able to detect. Use all-natural, organic peanut butter if you can.
Substitutions: you can substitute thick almond butter or sun butter (sunflower seed butter) one-for-one in this recipe if that suits your needs better. Again, make sure it’s thick.
IF your dough is runny or thin, add more whole rolled oats 1/4 cup at a time until the dough loosely holds together on the cookie sheet.
Use Real Maple Syrup to Sweeten Healthy Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies
Use real maple syrup here—none of that pancake stuff as it’s full of artificial ingredients.
Read the label and make sure the only ingredient is maple syrup. I prefer real maple syrup in this recipe as it’s a natural sweetener and it’s deep flavor goes well with the other ingredients. Honey also works if needed and will yield a more floral, lighter flavor.
If desired, you can use one cup of lightly packed brown sugar instead of the maple syrup; the dough will be much thicker and you’ll need to roll each 1-tablespoon scoop into a ball and flatten a bit with your hand.
Use Whole Rolled Oats in Healthy Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies
The oatmeal part of this peanut butter oatmeal cookies recipe comes from whole rolled oats. Whole rolled oats will give you the best consistency here.
Steel-cut oats are too thick and won’t become soft during the baking process. Oats are gluten-free by nature, but they are generally stored with gluten-containing grains. If gluten is a problem for you, then look for whole rolled oats specifically labeled “gluten-free.” For most people, the slight chance of cross-contamination isn’t a problem.
You can also pulse the oats in a food processor to make a coarse oat flour before adding to the recipe if you prefer the texture. I just add them in whole because I prefer the thick texture of whole rolled oats.
Egg (or Egg Substitute)
I use an egg here to bind these cookies together.
If you avoid eggs, you can easily substitute it with a flax egg by combining 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds with 3 tablespoons tepid water. Let it sit for 15-30 minutes (up to 2 hours) and the flax will become thick and gel-like. The cookies will be a little more crumbly with a flax egg instead of a regular egg, but still delicious. This also makes the cookies vegan for those who prefer it.
Use a high-quality vanilla extract that doesn’t contain extra preservatives. I like the Madagascar vanilla from the Savory Spice Shop online.
Salt brings out the sweet flavors of the maple syrup. Finely ground sea salt or Kosher salt works best as it will dissolve into the dough. I use Real Salt brand sea salt. As I mentioned above, if your peanut butter already has salt, omit the salt or just use a dash.
I also like to sprinkle the tops of these peanut butter oatmeal cookies with flaky salt right out of the oven to give them an extra gourmet look and flavor. Omit if you prefer. I use Maldon sea salt to sprinkle on top.
Optional: Chocolate Chips
Sprinkle mini chocolate chips on top before baking if desired. You can mix them into the dough, but they look prettier sprinkled on top. You’ll need about 1/4 cup total.
These healthy peanut butter oatmeal cookies are easy, fun and delicious. If you enjoy this recipe, please leave a star rating and comment below to share with other readers in our community.
1 cup thick peanut butter (preferably no-sugar & no-salt-added); runny peanut butter will not work
1 egg (or substitute a flax egg if desired)
2/3 cup real maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt (omit if your peanut butter contains salt)
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup whole rolled oats (plus a few tablespoons more if needed, see recipe note); use 3/4 cup whole rolled oats for a thicker cookie
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
optional garnish after baking: flakey sea salt to sprinkle on top
Preheat the oven to 350°F and position one of the baking racks in the middle of the oven.
In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients together mix until well combined. I use a hand mixer for about 60 seconds to make quick work of it, but if you don’t have a hand mixer, you can also mix it all together with a large wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Test your dough*
On a parchment-lined baking sheet for easy cleanup, spoon 2 tablespoons of cookie dough onto the baking sheet for each cookie.
Bake for 10-14 minutes until the cookies are set in the middle and the bottom is light golden brown. They should not brown too much around the edges as the bottoms will become too brown. The cookies will continue to set for a few minutes after you pull them out of the oven. I bake mine for exactly 10-12 minutes (I’m at sea level) and they turn out perfect. Ovens vary, so check them at 10 minutes and let them bake up to 14-15 minutes if needed.
Let cook on the baking sheet for 5 minutes (check the bottom, if they are turning darker brown move them to a cutting board or cooling rack. Enjoy or store at room temperature, covered, up to 3 days. These cookies freeze well.
*To Test your dough: The dough will be sticky, but the raw cookies should stay held together when placed on the parchment. If your test cookie spreads flat and does not stay together, your peanut butter may have not been thick enough. Remedy this by adding more whole rolled oats, 2 tablespoons at a time, until the cookies hold together. 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup extra whole rolled oats should remedy this.
Optional: Sprinkle with flaky sea salt while they’re still hot out of the oven for extra flavor.
Choosing Your Peanut Butter (or Substituting):
Thick peanut butter works best here; I used Justin’s brand. Avoid drippy peanut butter for the best texture. Both smooth or crunchy peanut butter work. Or, you can substitute almond butter or sun butter (sunflower seed butter) one-for-one in this recipe if that suits your needs better.
You can increase the amount of maple syrup to 3/4 cup to 1 cup a sweeter cookie; add an extra 1/4 cup whole rolled oats if you do to ensure the dough is thick enough.
Egg (or Egg Substitute)
I use an egg here to bind these cookies together. If you avoid eggs, you can easily substitute it with a flax egg by combining 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds with 3 tablespoons tepid water. Let it sit for 15-30 minutes (up to 2 hours) and the flax will become thick and gel-like. The cookies will be a little more crumbly with a flax egg instead of a regular egg, but still delicious. This also makes the cookies vegan for those who prefer it.