20+ delicious retro recipes for old-fashioned peanut butter cookies

Delicious classic recipes for peanut butter cookies (and other PB treats)

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Indulge in an American original: Peanut butter cookies

Peanut butter cookies are a classic American treat — and they have been a favorite for generations. 

Peanut butter was first introduced as a commercial product in 1884 (see more about PB history here!), and soon after, recipes for peanut butter cookies began appearing in cookbooks.

In 1916, George Washington Carver an agriculturist at Tuskegee Institute, developed three peanut cookie recipes to help promote the practice of rotating peanut crops with cash crops like cotton and tobacco. The recipes don’t seem to be quite up to today’s taste standards, as you can see in this video:

YouTube video

Peanut butter cookies are a quintessentially American treat

Making peanut butter cookies is easy, and requires only a few simple ingredients: flour, sugar, baking soda or powder, salt and vanilla (optional), creamy peanut butter (or crunchy if you prefer), an egg, and some type of fat such as shortening or melted margarine/butter.

To make them even more indulgent, you can add chocolate chips or chopped nuts to your batter before baking!

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03/13/2024 03:30 am GMT
There’s more than one peanut butter cookie

From the Tampa Tribune (Florida) March 5, 1970

Peanut butter cookies are everyone’s favorite. And everyone has a favorite peanut butter cookie.

Most of us prefer the peanut butter cookie we grew up with. But for some, it’s the peanut butter cookie they like best to make. And, usually, it’s the only peanut butter cookie they make.

No one knows how many different peanut butter cookie recipes there are. Probably hundreds, if not thousands. In the Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey test kitchens of a food company that produces tons of peanut butter each year, many varieties of peanut butter cookies are baked, tested and scored annually.

Old-fashioned peanut butter cookie recipes from 1970

1. Double peanut butter cookies: PB pockets (1974)

From the Sioux City Journal (Iowa) March 30, 1974


1-1/2 cups sifted flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup shortening
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 cup peanut butter for filling

Sift together dry ingredients. Cut in the peanut butter and shortening until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Blend in corn syrup and milk.

Shape into a roll 2″ thick. Chill. After chilled, cut into slices a little less than 1/4 inch thick with a thin knife.

Place half of the slices on two ungreased baking sheets — 12 per sheet. Spread each slice with 1/2 teaspoon peanut butter. Cover the peanut-butter topped cookies with the remaining cookie dough slices.

Bake at 350 F for 12 to 15 minutes. Cool slightly before removing from baking sheet. Makes 2 dozen cookies.

DON’T MISS: Classic peanut butter blossoms: Step-by-step cookie recipe, with photos

2. Coconut peanut butter bar cookies (1970)

1 cup sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup margarine
1/2 cup creamy or chunk-style peanut butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flaked coconut
Confectioners sugar (optional)

Grease 11x7x1-1/2-inch baking pan. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Mix together margarine, peanut butter and sugar until blended.

Stir in eggs and vanilla, mixing well. Stir in flour mixture, then coconut. Spread evenly in prepared pan.

Bake in 350 degrees F (moderate) oven 25 to 30 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched. Cut into (2-1/2 x 3/4-inch) bars; if desired, roll in confectioners sugar while warm. Makes 32 bars.

NOTE: An 8x8x2-inch cake pan may be used. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Makes 32 (2 x 3/4-inch)  bars.

Den Mother Alice saves the day with crackle top cookies. (c1967)

When the “gang” troops in, don’t panic. Save the day with your Crackle Top Cookies. They’re guaranteed to turn out perfect every time. Because you make them yourself following a tested and proven recipe from the Kraft Kitchens. With good things from your kitchen. And delicious Kraft Peanut Butter that keeps fresher in the jar than peanuts in the shell.

3. Crackle-top peanut butter cookies


3/4 cup Parkay margarine
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 egg, slightly beaten
3/4 cup Kraft smooth or crunchy peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Granulated sugar


Cream margarine and sugars. Blend in egg, peanut butter and vanilla. Add flour, sifted with soda and salt; mix well.

Chill 20-30 minutes. Form rounded teaspoons of dough into balls, roll in sugar and place on ungreased baking sheets, Bake at 375 F, 10-12 minutes. Yield five dozen cookies.

Peanut butter crackle-top cookies - Vintage recipe

ALSO SEE: 31 essential cookie baking supplies for a very merry Christmas in the kitchen

A perfect peanut butter cookie recipe lets you bake half a dozen different treats (1963)

Cincinnati Enquirer (Ohio) October 28, 1963

Just as peanut butter is so typically American, so are peanut butter cookies.

This is a classic American cookie in a modern setting. This peanut butter cookie with half a dozen varieties was offered to the nation’s food editors during our annual conference held this year in Chicago.

From this basic recipe, many shapes and flavors can be designed. The variations include cookie sandwiches, refrigerator cookies and coconut patties. The recipe makes about six dozen cookies, and the dough may be prepared in the early part of the day and baked as needed.

Crispy peanut butter cookies and variations 1969

4. Crisp peanut butter cookies – base recipe (1970)


1 cup margarine
1 cup creamy or chunk-style peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-1/2 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt


Stir together margarine, peanut butter and sugars until blended. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt over sugar mixture. Stir until well blended.

Chill dough until it can be easily handled. Shape into 1-inch balls. Place about 2 inches apart on greased cookie sheet. Flatten with floured bottom of glass or with floured fork, making crosswise pattern on each if fork is used. Bake in 350 degree (moderate) oven 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Makes 6 dozen (2-inch) cookies.


5. Orange peanut butter cookies: Follow recipe for crisp peanut butter cookies, adding 2 tablespoons grated orange rind with eggs and vanilla.

6. Coconut patties: Follow recipe for crisp peanut butter cookies, rolling 1-inch balls of dough in flaked coconut before placing on cookie sheet and flattening them with floured bottom of glass.

7. Peanut butter sandwich cookies: Prepare crisp peanut butter cookies. Make sandwiches with cookies, using peanut butter as filling.

8. Jelly thumbprint cookies: Follow recipe for crisp peanut butter cookies, pressing small indentation into each 1-inch ball of dough with thumb after placing on cookie sheet instead of flattening. Remove from cookie sheet while still warm and press again with thumb. Cool. Fill each indentation with jelly or jam.

9. Peanut butter spritz cookies: Prepare dough as directed for crisp peanut butter cookies. Chill. Put through cookie press onto greased cookie sheet, making desired shapes. Bake. Makes about 8 dozen.

10. Peanut butter refrigerator cookies: Prepare dough as directed for crisp peanut butter cookies. Chill until firm enough to handle.

Shape into 2 reels about 1-1/2 inches thick. Chill until firm enough to slice. Cut into 1/4-inch slices and place on greased cookie sheet. Press with floured fork, making crosswise pattern on each. Bake. Makes about 8 dozen cookies.

TRY SOME CHOCO CRACKLES: Chocolate crackle cookies: Double chocolate treasures

11. Irresistible peanut butter cookies with shortening (1993)

ld-fashioned peanut butter cookie recipes

Irresistible peanut butter cookies

Yield: 2 dozen cookies
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Additional Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 38 minutes


  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1-1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda


  1. Heat oven to 375 F. Combine peanut butter, Crisco, light brown sugar, milk and vanilla in large bowl. Beat at medium speed of electric mixer until well blended. Add egg. Beat just until blended.
  2. Combine flour, salt and baking soda. Add to creamed mixture at low speed. Mix just until blended.
  3. Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheet. Flatten slightly in crisscross pattern with tines of fork.
  4. Bake at 375 F for 7 to 8 minutes, or until set and just beginning to brown. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet before removing to kitchen countertop.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 24 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 434Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 158mgCarbohydrates: 80gFiber: 2gSugar: 30gProtein: 9g

Click Americana offers approximate nutrition information as a general reference only, and we make no warranties regarding its accuracy. Please make any necessary calculations based on the actual ingredients used in your recipe, and consult with a qualified healthcare professional if you have dietary concerns.

Irresistible variations

12. M&M’s candies: Stir in 1 cup M&M’s. Decorate top with more M&M’s. Bake 6-7 minutes. Yields 3 dozen cookies.

13. Peanut butter treasures: Shape into 1-inch. balls. Roll in chopped peanuts. Press center with a teaspoon. Bake 7-8 minutes. Press mini peanut butter cup into depression. Yields 3 dozen cookies.

14. Chocolate/peanut butter chips: Stir in 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips and 1/2 cup peanut butter chips (or cup Chocolate chips). Decorate top with more chips. Bake 6-7 minutes.

1993 irresistible peanut butter cookies recipe

Three uniquely delicious peanut butter cookie recipes (1987)

From The Star Tribune (Minneapolis, Minnesota) April, 15 1987

Let’s continue the long saga of cookies made with peanut butter and oatmeal, a recipe that appeared to be difficult to find, because we had so few in our files. Last week we printed some of the recipes. Here are more.

MORE: 6 collections of sweet & spicy gingerbread recipes – the ultimate Christmas treat!

15. Giant oatmeal peanut butter cookies

The giant oatmeal peanut butter cookies has many origins. Ellen Mallery, Farmington, Minnesota, said hers came from the Farm Journal in 1976. Becky Hofcamp, Minneapolis, said hers is from “Bethel Reformed Church Women’s Cookbook.”

Doris Berger, Good Thunder, Minnesota, noted that either raisins or chocolate chips can go into the dough. She said she likes to take the cookies out of the oven and let them sit on the baking sheet for a few minutes before removing them to a cooling rack. Jean Desilets, Bloomington, said she adds a bit more peanut butter to this recipe.


1 cup sugar
1 cup firmly-packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup margarine, room temperature
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 cup raisins, optional


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease baking sheets. Cream sugars with margarine and peanut butter in large bowl of electric mixer on medium speed. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in milk and vanilla.

Mix in flour, soda, cinnamon and salt. Stir in oats and raisins. Drop dough onto prepared sheets by heaping tablespoons, spacing inches apart. Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to waxed paper and cool. Store in an airtight container. Makes about 40 cookies.

16. Cowboy peanut butter cookies

Cowboy peanut butter cookies came from Marj Brichacek, Bloomington. The recipe makes a larger number of cookies — six dozen.


1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats, undercooked
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl, cream together butter, peanut butter and sugars. Beat in eggs. Combine flour, soda, baking powder and salt; stir into creamed mixture. Mix in oats and chocolate chips. Mixture will be crumbly.

Roll into 1-inch balls; place on lightly greased baking sheets. Flatten with a fork. Bake 7 to 9 minutes or until lightly browned. Makes 6 dozen cookies.

17. Oatmeal-peanut butter cookie bars (1987)

E.M. Prosser, Minneapolis, sent this easy oatmeal-peanut butter cookie bar recipe that makes a big batch of bars.


4 cups rolled oats, uncooked
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1-1/2 cups chocolate chips
3/4 cup chunky peanut butter


Mix oatmeal, brown sugar and butter and shortening as for pie crust and press into a buttered jelly-roll pan (10 by 12 inches). Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler and add the peanut butter. Mix well. Spread over baked mixture, cool slightly and cut into squares.

Old-fashioned peanut butter cookies
Photo by Lynne Mitchell via Twenty20

18. Peanut butter honey oatmeal cookies recipe

Star Tribune (Minneapolis, Minnesota) April 15, 1987

Ten years ago, Elayne Fries, Robbinsdale, and Mrs. Robert Anderson, Crystal, clipped the following recipe from the Taste section. Anderson said she makes the cookies often, and the honey helps them keep for a long time.


1 cup butter (or margarine, shortening)
1-1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 egg
1/2 cup buttermilk or soured milk
1-1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg
3 cups rolled oats, uncooked
1/2 whole or chopped peanuts, optional


Cream together the shortening, brown suger, honey, peanut butter and egg. Stir in the buttermilk. Sift the flour with the soda, salt and nutmeg. Blend this into the creamed mixture. Stir in the oats and peanuts.

Drop about 2 inches part onto lightly greased cookie sheets. Bake at 75 degrees 8 to 10 minutes.

Makes 4 to 5 dozen cookies

19. Salty peanut butter cookies (1958)

From the Central New Jersey Home-News (New Brunswick, New Jersey) June 15, 1958

It’s easy to fill the cookie jars with these crispy cookies. Time to prepare: 25 minutes | To bake: 5 to 7 minutes


3/4 cup salted peanuts, coarsely chopped
1-3/4 cups sifted flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup butter
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs, well beaten (until thick and piled softly)


Sift together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.

Cream butter until softened. Add brown sugar gradually, creaming until fluffy after each addition. Add beaten egg in thirds, beating thoroughly after each addition.

Mixing until well blended after each addition, add the dry ingredients in halves. Blend in the peanuts. Drop by half-teaspoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake at 375 F 5 to 7 min. Remove cookie sheets to cooling racks and cool about 3 minutes before removing cookies. Store in a covered container.

Makes about 14 dozen cookies (168 cookies)

20. Peanut butter cut-out cookies (1953)

From the Miami News (Florida) October 25, 1953


1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup shortening (or butter/margarine)
2 cups brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 cup chopped nuts
2-1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped raisins
2 cups rolled oats


Cream peanut butter and shortening until well combined. Add sugar and vanilla and continue creaming until fluffy. Add eggs and beat well.

Sift together flour, soda and salt. Add raisins, dry ingredients, rolled oats and nuts to peanut butter mixture, blending well.

Divide dough into four parts. Place each part on a square of waxed paper. Put another piece of waxed paper on top. Roll out each piece of dough between layers of waxed paper, to 1/4 inch thickness. Chill. Remove top waxed paper. Cut dough with cookie cutters which have been dipped in flour.

Bake on a cookie sheet in moderate oven (350 F) about 15 minutes. Store in a loosely covered container to assure cookies retaining their crispness. Makes eight dozen cookies. (96 cookies)

NOW SEE THIS: Chocolate chip cookies: Your ultimate guide to the best ever vintage recipes (1930s-2000)

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