Skip to Content

Peanut Butter Cut Out Cookies

I think the most popular cookie to roll and cut out is a sugar cookie. But what about other flavors? This peanut butter cut out cookie is easily one of my favorite cookies to roll and cut. It’s full of peanut butter flavor, holds the cookie cutter shape nicely and has a soft, but firm texture.

Making these Peanut Butter Cut Out Cookies is a Halloween tradition from my childhood.

The recipe was clipped (about a million years ago) from a Cleveland newspaper, The Plain Dealer.  I remember the recipe was called, “Peanutty Pumpkin Cookies,” and employed the use of a one pound coffee tin lid as the large cookie cutter.

It was probably a 5″ circle; once cut, we would then individually carve out each stem and a piece of the bottom to make the circle resemble a pumpkin.

(Seriously…were there really no pumpkin cookie cutters back then?)


Once these jumbo sized cookies were baked, we gathered around the table to frost them with a simple powdered sugar icing.

Then, came the good part, because these weren’t your average sugar cookie cut out, but a peanut butter cookie cut out.  We used melted chocolate to make the faces, giving each cookie its own delicious personality.

The cookies are full of peanut butter flavor and, depending upon how thin you roll them and how long you bake them, a nice soft cookie.

The following paragraphs contains affiliate links. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites. 

Ingredients for Peanut Butter Cut Out Cookies

  • Butter-I use unsalted butter in this recipe. It should be at a cool room temperature, so soft enough to make an indent with your finger. The indent should holds its shape. If you use salted butter, then reduce the salt in the recipe to 1/2 teaspoon instead of 1 teaspoon.
  • Creamy peanut butter-You can use Jif or Skippy. I’ve also used Smart Balance. I haven’t tried any natural peanut butters that required stirring.
  • Brown sugar-I always use light brown sugar, but you can definitely use dark brown sugar. It will bring a little more of that molasses flavor to the cookie. When you measure it, remember it should be packed firmly into the measuring cup.
  • Eggs-I generally use large or extra large eggs. These should also be at room temperature. It’s easier to incorporate them into the batter if they are room temperature.
  • Vanilla-I love Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla, {aff. link} but use your favorite.
  • Flour-This recipe makes a big batch of cookies. It uses 4 1/2 cups of all purpose flour. It’s VERY important that you measure your flour correctly or you’ll end up with dry, crumbly cookies. I use the spoon and sweep method. Just lightly fluff the flour so that it’s not packed, spoon it into a measuring cup and use the back of a knife or other flat edge to sweep the excess off of the top. (If you weigh your flour, my cup equals 4.25 ounces.
  • Baking powder-This acts as a leavener in the cookies.
  • Baking soda-This neutralizes acids, helps with tenderness while also acting as a leavener.
  • Salt-The recipe calls for a teaspoon of regular table salt. If you use salted butter instead of unsalted, reduce the amount to 1/2 teaspoon.

I use smaller, albeit ready made, modern pumpkin {aff. link} and other cookie cutters {aff. link} for this recipe.

If you want to go jumbo or be retro, all you need is the lid from a one pound can of coffee, a sharp knife to cut out a stem and shape the pumpkin, and you’re in business.


You don’t often see iced peanut butter cookies, but the icing works so well here.  It adds a nice creamy sweetness to the slight saltiness of the peanut butter.

It also helps keep the cookie soft.  Of course, the chocolate is a perfect partner as well, and we use semi sweet or dark to balance the sweetness of the icing.

Simple Icing Ingredients for Peanut Butter Cut Out Cookies

  • Confectioner’s sugar-This is the main ingredient for a really simple icing.
  • Water or milk-You can use any liquid as long as you like the flavor of it. I just use water or milk.
  • Food coloring-Either gel or liquid food coloring is fine here. If the orange you have isn’t quite orange enough, a small drop of red will deepen the color nicely.

How to melt chocolate to decorate cookies

I make this as easy as possible and just use semi-sweet chocolate chips. Then, instead of turning on the stove, I use the microwave and heat the chocolate, stopping at 15 second intervals to give a quick stir and redistribute the heat.

You want the chocolate to melt slowly and not burn, so don’t leave them in the microwave unattended for long periods of time. The short intervals will help you keep your eye on how well the chocolate is melting.

If you need to loosen up the melted chocolate a bit to make it easier to decorate with, just add a 1/2 teaspoon of shortening during the melting process.

Then, just transfer your melted chocolate to a zip top bag, snip off just a bit of a corner and you are ready to decorate!


We rekindled this Halloween cookie tradition with my own family when the kids were small.  We used to set aside a day for pumpkin cookies and then we would carve our  pumpkins.

Now that they’re a bit older, they invite their friends over for cookie decorating and leaf pile jumping.  I must mention, as fun as these cookies are to make and decorate, they are not just another pretty iced cookie meant for kid consumption.

If you love peanut butter cookies, you will definitely love these.  They are delicious!  Every time we make them, I wonder why we only make them once a year.  I think it’s time to change that…


Peanut Butter Cut Out Cookies.  This is one deliciously sweet tradition.

Click on the images below for some decorating inspiration from past years…

Click here for more fun Halloween Treats, Drinks and Games!

Love peanut butter and chocolate? Check out these Fudge Topped Peanut Butter Cookie Tarts! 

Peanut Butter Cut Out Cookies

Peanut Butter Cut Out Cookies

Yield: 4-5 dozen cookies, depending upon the size of your cookie cutters


For the Cookies:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 cups firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour (see note to insure you're measuring this correctly)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the Icing:

  • 3 cups confectioner's sugar
  • Water or milk
  • Food coloring
  • 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips


  1. In a large bowl, cream butter and peanut butter until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  2. With mixer on low, add in sugar, eggs and vanilla until well combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  4. Add flour mixture to peanut butter mixture and stir until combined. (I used the lowest setting of my stand mixer for this, but it can be done by hand)
  5. Place plastic wrap directly on top of the dough in the bowl and chill for 2 hours.
  6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  7. Roll dough out on a floured surface and cut into desired shapes, flouring your cookie cutter between cuts.
  8. Place cut out cookies onto a greased cookie sheet or on a sheet lined with a silpat or parchment.
  9. Bake about 8-10 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned and set. Time will vary widely based on your oven and the size of your cookies.
  10. Cool on cookie sheets for a few minutes until set, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
  11. Mix the confectioner's sugar with enough water or milk to create your preferred spreading consistency. I generally use water for this icing. Color, as desired, with food coloring.
  12. Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave at 15 second intervals, stirring at each interval until chocolate is smooth and glossy. I sometimes add 1/2 teaspoon or so of shortening to loosen it up a bit.
  13. Transfer the melted chocolate to a zippered plastic bag and cut the corner tip off, or use a piping bag.
  14. Decorate cookies as desired.


*If you use salted butter, reduce salt to 1/2 tsp.

*My cookie cutters ranged from about 2 1/2" to 3 1/2". This recipe yielded about 45 of the smaller size and 13 of the larger size. If you use the coffee can lid, I would estimate you'd yield about 3 1/2 dozen cookies.

*Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature. We've also frozen them, and while the decorations don't fare as well from a visual standpoint, the cookies still taste delicious.

*Update 7-17-16-There's a lot of flour in this recipe so please be careful to measure it correctly. Too much flour will result in a dry dough. I use the spoon and sweep method which leaves me with a cup of flour that weighs about 4.25 ounces. The spoon and sweep method starts with fluffing the flour to loosen it up. Then lightly spoon the flour into your measuring cup until it's overfull. Use a butter knife to scrape across the top to level the flour.

Adapted from The Plain Dealer, article by Mary Krohme

The Merchant Baker Copyright © 2014

Sharing is caring!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Wednesday 27th of May 2020

Well mine were crumbly. I didn’t know what to do so scratched the whole bowl.


Wednesday 27th of May 2020

Hi Millie, I'm sure the problem was with the flour measurement. It's a large amount of flour, so if every cup is over measured you'll end up with way too much flour and therefore a dry crumbly dough. I have notes next to the flour measurement and in the notes section to make sure the measurement is taking correctly. If you have a scale, that's best, but read the notes about fluffing the flour to lighten it and then use the spoon and sweep method. Sorry it didn't work out for you.


Thursday 21st of December 2017

I would love to try this recipe! How long do the cookies last? Wanted to make them in advance


Thursday 21st of December 2017

Hi Larissa, you can bake and frost them and they'll be good for 3-5 days if stored at room temperature in an airtight container. Or, if you need to make them much farther in advance, you could bake them and freeze them before decorating. Then, ice/decorate them the day before you need them. (Be careful to measure your flour correctly. Too much flour will ruin the cookie!)


Sunday 10th of December 2017

Can you use self-rising flour instead of AP flour? If so, do you leave out the baking soda, baking powder, and salt? Thanks


Sunday 10th of December 2017

I can send you to this link at King Arthur that tells you how and if you can substitute. I never use self rising flour in general. For me, I just don't like the way it works or tastes. But, you can try the sub using their tips. They don't say anything about salt, so I don't know how you manage that one. The other issue is you have to be really careful in measuring your flour. You don't want to over measure and end up with a dry cookie. If it were me, I would wait until I had AP flour on hand and then just follow the recipe. I can't guarantee how the self rising will really work and I'd hate for you to make such a large batch of cookie dough that doesn't turn out the way you had hoped. You'd really have to experiment and see if you like the result.


Monday 4th of December 2017

Hello, I was curious if the eggs used in this recipe are large eggs. I currently have medium eggs in stock in my refrigerator and am not sure what the conversion ratio would be between large and medium eggs…Thanks!!


Monday 4th of December 2017

Hi Ali! Yes, they are large eggs. Check this link for conversions for future reference. For this recipe, you can just go with 2 medium for the 2 large. Be careful about not over-measuring your flour, especially since you have just a teeny less liquid from the medium eggs.


Wednesday 1st of November 2017

I attempted your fluff and spoon and knife flour measuring method and the dough still came out crumbly :( I managed to get a dozen cutouts as I promised them to my daughter for decorating fun but baked the rest as thumbprint cookies with a giant chocolate chip in the center for moisture. Maybe we use different brands of flour and that matters? I'm bummed as we all love peanut butter and this would be perfect instead of sugar cookies for the holidays!


Wednesday 8th of November 2017

Hi Kat!

Also be aware of adjusting for altitude and climate. I live high in the Rockies in a mid latitude desert, so I often need to add extra liquid and decrease the leavener. Also, different brands of flour can have different moisture content. And be sure you are using butter - margarine is unpredictable from brand to brand. Finally, natural or freshly ground peanut butter has different oil/water/sugar balance than a regular brand like Jif.

Hope this is useful!


Wednesday 1st of November 2017

Hey Kat, I've read the recipe a few times now and I think it could be an issue with the butter. Was yours cold or room temperature? I'm going to add another note to make sure it specifies room temperature. If that was the issue, I apologize. I'm normally very careful about what temp the butter should be, but this is the original recipe, not one I personally developed, and I didn't change the wording. The butter should definitely be room temperature so that you create a creamy, fluffy mixture with the sugar. This is why it needs to be refrigerated and very possibly why it ended up crumbly. Try a half of the recipe with the softened butter and let me know how that works out for you. And, if you're at all uncertain about the amount of flour, and you have a scale, I would weigh it. You'll need about 19.1 ounces.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Skip to Recipe