These peanut butter and jelly cookies turn your favorite childhood sandwich into the most perfect treat! Easy, chewy peanut butter cookies get rolled into chopped peanuts, baked, then pressed into a thumbprint cookie and filled with a bit of creamy peanut butter and strawberry jam (or your favorite jelly).
Why You'll Love This Recipe
These peanut butter and jelly cookies would be a great school snack with a cold glass of milk. But honestly, forget the school part, because this adult is honestly always living for a classic pbj&j sandwich turned cookie! The peanut butter cookie recipe at its core is that of a peanut butter blossom, and who doesn't love those?!
These chewy cookies are packed with peanut butter, and also get filled with a thin layer of delicious peanut butter, followed by a teaspoon of jelly. I'm personally a fan of strawberry preserves, but you can use whatever type of jelly brings that nostalgia factor for you!
They truly are the most delicious pbj thumbprint cookies, made with simple ingredients, and are the ultimate comfort food that is sure to be a huge hit with your guests, family, or just for your own personal enjoyment!
If you're a big peanut butter lover, try some of these, as well:
- Fluffernutter Cookies
- Swirled Peanut Butter Marshmallow and Chocolate Cookies
- Fluffernutter Fudge
- Peanut Butter & Jelly Oat Bars
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart
These pb&j thumbprint cookies use simple ingredients and mostly pantry staples. Here are a few ingredients of note:
- Peanut butter. You want to use a non-natural peanut butter like Jif, Skippy, or Peter Pan. Natural varieties are too loose and contain too much oil for this recipe.
- Peanuts. I like to use roasted, and lightly salted peanuts.
- Brown sugar. This is what makes the peanut butter cookies oh so chewy and delicious.
See recipe card for quantities. Note that it is important for the eggs and butter to be at room temperature for best results.
Substitutions & Variations
There are a few ways you can mix up this recipe to your liking:
- Omit the step of rolling the cookies in finely chopped peanuts. However, I love the peanut butter flavor and texture this brings to the cookie!
- Use crunchy peanut butter in the dough rather than creamy peanut butter.
- Use different types of jam, jelly, or preserves. Seedless raspberry jam, grape jelly, grape jam (or any sweet jelly) would make for a delicious dessert!
How to Make This Recipe
Step 1: Beat together the butter and sugar on medium speed, then add the peanut butter, egg yolk, milk, and vanilla extract. Then, mix in the dry ingredients.
Step 2: Roll the peanut butter dough balls into 1-inch balls and place them on prepared cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.
Step 3: Roll the dough through the whisked egg whites, then through the finely chopped peanuts until completely coated.
Step 5: Use a round object like a drinking glass or cookie cutter to "scoot" the cookies. This helps to patch any cracks that may have appeared during the indentation process.
Step 4: Bake the cookies evenly apart with enough space to spread slightly until slightly golden brown, then use a ½ teaspoon measure to press a well into the center of each cookie.
Step 6: Fill the bottom of the well with a ½ teaspoon of melted peanut butter, then top with your favorite jam. Cool completely on the pan, then enjoy!
- Wipe off the bottom of the ½ teaspoon measure in between making each indent. The cookies will look underdone in the center but will finish baking as they remain on the warm pan.
- Use your fingers to hold the outside of the cookie as you press down to help it not crack as much
- Be sure the peanut butter and jelly are melted so they can easily pour into the wells of the cookies.
Yes! Once baked, simply place the cookies in an airtight container and freeze for up to two months. Allow the cookies to thaw at room temperature.
The amount of sugar used helps with creating a moist cookie. However, allowing the dough to rest also results in a chewier cookie, as it allows some of the moisture to evaporate and also fully hydrate the flour.
Yes, you do need to chill the cookie dough for about two hours so the cookies bake accordingly and hold their shape. This also aids in better flavor and texture!
How do I keep my thumbprint cookies from spreading?
Because this isn't a shortbread cookie, they are likely to spread a bit. This is why I chose to add the thumbprint after baking to limit the amount of spread.
Store the baked cookies in an airtight container for up to 3 days. You can also freeze the baked cookies in an airtight container or zip-top bag for up to two months. Allow the cookies to thaw uncovered at room temperature, then enjoy.
More Cookie Recipes
PBJ Thumbprint Cookies
- Stand mixer with paddle attachment, or handheld mixer
- Large baking pans
- Parchment paper
- ½ Teaspoon measure
- ½ cup + 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour 83g
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ cup unsalted butter room temperature (57g)
- ¼ cup granulated sugar 50g
- ¼ cup light brown sugar 50g
- ⅓ cup creamy peanut butter 90g
- 1 large egg yolk white reserved
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
- 1 cup roasted peanuts very finely chopped
- ¼ cup creamy peanut butter for the centers (70g)
- ¼ cup strawberry jam for the centers (85g)
- Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer (or using a hand mixer) cream together the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar for two minutes over medium speed, then scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add the ⅓ cup of peanut butter, egg yolk, milk, and vanilla, and beat to combine. Scrape down the sides and the paddle or beaters.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough for two hours.
- Preheat the oven to 375℉ and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Be sure the oven is fully preheated prior to adding the cookies (at least 15-20 minutes of heat time).
- Chop the peanuts to a very fine consistency and whisk the egg white until broken down and frothy.
- Scoop the dough and roll them into 1-inch balls. Then, roll each dough ball through the egg whites, then through the peanuts until completely covered.
- Bake the cookies (in their ball form) for 8 minutes and remove them from the oven.
- Use a ½ teaspoon measure to press a well into the center of each cookie and use your fingers to keep the cookie together as you press down.
- Use a drinking glass, cookie-cutter, or anything with an opening larger than the cookie to move it around the cookie to round it back up and re-seal any cracks. Repeat the previous steps with each cookie.
- Heat the additional peanut butter and the jelly (in separate bowls) until liquid, then add a ½ teaspoon of peanut butter to the center of each cookie. Fill the rest of each indent with jelly.
- Allow the cookies to cool completely on the pan, then enjoy!