These vegan peanut butter cookies are from a classic family recipe, now made dairy-free and egg-free simply by using a flax egg! The decadent but simple vegan cookies are beautifully crumbly and will legit melt in your mouth. They are easy to make without applesauce – the BEST vegan peanut butter recipe for the holidays or anytime of year!
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Peanut butter cookies were always my favorite Christmas cookie. My aunt would make a huuuuuge batch every year and gift us each with our own tin of them. Our OWN tin! They were THE BEST: soft and crumbly while still melting in your mouth. It was heaven.
My Nana tells me this peanut butter cookie recipe originated from the kitchen staff at the elementary school her kids attended. Apparently, they kept telling Nana how delicious the peanut butter cookies at school were, so – being the head of the PTA – she marched down and secured the recipe herself. That part always makes me smile because no one says no to Nana.
Luckily for me (and all of you, trust me), these peanut butter cookies were super easy to veganize. All that needed to be done was replace the chicken egg with a flax egg and bing, bang, boom – vegan cookies to knock your Christmas socks off.
This recipe would make a GREAT holiday gift; your friends and fam will be STUNNED there’s not a hint of dairy or eggs in there!
Why We Love These Vegan Cookies:
- They hold together well but are still beautifully crumbly and legit melt in your mouth.
- There’s a gluten-free option – making these vegan Christmas cookies perfect for lots of different dietary needs!
- This recipe makes a lot of cookies – 4 dozen to be exact. Perfect for holiday gift-giving or freezing for the week to come!
- They’re easy to make – mix, roll, bake. Easy peasy!
Vegan Peanut Butter Cookie Ingredients
You only need 9 simple ingredients to make these epic vegan peanut butter cookies:
- Vegetable shortening
- White sugar + brown sugar
- Ground flaxseed + water (These will be mixed to make your “flax egg”!)
- Peanut butter
- Baking soda + salt
- Pure vanilla extract
- All-purpose flour (see substitution options for gluten-free)
If you don’t have one of the ingredients listed above or need to substitute an ingredient, here are our best tips:
For the shortening: Shortening is what is used in the original recipe, and I have never subbed anything else for it because I’m pretty sure it’s the magic ingredient here. However, I do think this recipe could work using vegan butter, but you may need to refrigerate the dough for up to an hour before baking if the texture isn’t pliable enough to roll right away.
For the sugar: These are full-fledged indulgent bombs of sweetness…just like a good Christmas cookie should be! On principle alone, I would not recommend reducing the sugar too much, but I DO think you could replace the brown sugar with coconut sugar (although I haven’t tried it myself).
For the peanut butter: Feel free to use your favorite nut butter here or even sunflower butter! I use commercial peanut butter most often, but natural could work too. If the dough is too thin, just place it in the fridge for up to an hour until it’s pliable enough to roll into balls easily.
To make these vegan cookies gluten-free: Simply replace the all-purpose flour with ½ gluten-free all-purpose flour + ½ coconut flour. The credit for this recipe development goes to my aunt. She uses this trick to make herself gluten-free cookies and says it really does work like a charm! Christmas cookies for all!
How to Make Vegan Peanut Butter Cookies
This vegan peanut butter cookie recipe is super straightforward, and if you’ve ever made vegan cookies before, you’ll be very familiar with the process.
First thing: Get stuff prepped. Preheat your oven to 325F and mix your flax egg in a small bowl. Set it aside to thicken.
Mix the ingredients in this order: First, cream together the vegetable shortening and both sugars. Then, mix in the peanut butter and flax egg. Next, add the baking soda, salt, vanilla, + ½ cup of the flour.
Finally, mix in the rest of the flour, ½ cup at a time, until everything is combined. This will result in a crumbly (but still moist) dough that’s super easy to roll into balls!
Next, we will form and bake our vegan cookies: Use a cookie scoop or regular old spoon to scoop up the mixture and then roll it into a 1-inch ball. You should have 48 cookie balls total.
Finally, put these babies in the oven to bake at 325F for 13-15 minutes.
The final step is an important one: Allow the vegan peanut butter cookies to cool completely before eating them. I know it’s tough to resist cookies straight from the oven. And these vegan peanut butter cookies smell particularly fantastic if I do say so myself, which makes it even more difficult.
But resist you must because they need a little time to firm up for optimum deliciousness. You know I wouldn’t lead you astray here. 😉
Cream Cheese Frosting: When I want to be a little dramatic with my holiday baking, I serve these vegan peanut butter cookies with a quick frosting made out of vegan cream cheese + powdered sugar (HEAVEN).
Chocolate Chips: Feel free to fold some vegan chocolate chips into the cookie dough after it’s all mixed to make vegan peanut butter chocolate chip cookies! I haven’t tried this myself, but I think it would work well. Let us know if you do!
Should I refrigerate the cookie dough?
If your cookie dough comes out runny or your kitchen is super warm, you may want to refrigerate the dough for an hour before baking it. As long as you can easily roll the dough into balls though, you’re good to go.
How to Store Leftover Vegan Cookies
How to freeze vegan peanut butter cookies: You can freeze these vegan cookies before or after baking. If you freeze after baking, freeze them overnight on a baking sheet or cooling rack then move to an air-tight container or freezer-safe bag for up to 2 months. To freeze the raw dough, freeze the cookie dough balls (with fork marks) on a baking tray before transferring them to an air-tight container or freezer-safe bag.
How to bake from frozen: Simply place frozen cookie dough balls on a parchment-lined baking sheet and complete the recipe as-written. You may need to bake 1-2 minutes longer this way, but most of the time we find the upper end of the originally suggested time range works!
More Vegan Desserts:
Happy baking, Plant Power People!
- PREPARE: Preheat your oven to 325F and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Then, mix the water and flaxseed in a small bowl to make your flax egg. Set it the flax egg aside to thicken while you start your dough.
- MAKE THE DOUGH: In a very large mixing bowl, cream together the shortening and sugars. Add the peanut butter and flax egg and continue mixing until completely combined. Add baking soda, salt, vanilla, + ½ cup of the flour. Mix well. Slowly add the rest of the flour, ½ cup at a time, mixing after each addition. The result should be a crumbly (but not dry) dough that can easily be rolled into balls.
- FORM YOUR COOKIES: Then, use clean dry hands to roll the mixture into 48 1-inch compact balls. Place each cookie ball on the parchment-lined baking sheet at least 1 inch apart. Bake these cookies in your 325F preheated oven for 13-15 minutes.
- COOL + SERVE: Allow the cookies to cool completely before eating them and enjoy!
*Peanut Butter Notes:I use commercial peanut butter most often, but natural could work too. If the dough is too thin, just place it in the fridge for up to an hour until it’s pliable enough to roll into balls easily.
**MAKE IT GLUTEN-FREE: Simply replace the all-purpose flour with ½ gluten-free all-purpose flour + ½ coconut flour.
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Serving Size:2 cookies
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 203Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 321mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 5g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated and may not always be accurate.