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Indulge in Peanut Butter Goodness Guilt-Free: Simple Ways to Make Them Healthier

Indulge in Peanut Butter Goodness Guilt-Free: Simple Ways to Make Them Healthier

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The lovely aroma of warm peanut butter cookies wafting through the kitchen always brings me a unique sense of nostalgia and comfort. This chewy, soft treat maintains its status as a timeless classic and one of the most delicious cookies across generations.

But one question that many people wondered over the years is whether it’s actually a healthy treat, and that’s what this article is all about!

Join me as I walk you through a brief analysis of the nutritional value of peanut butter cookies along with some tips to make them healthier.

A Nutritional Breakdown of Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut butter cookies can be a good source of various nutrients. However, classifying one as healthy heavily depends on the recipe’s ingredients and portion size as well as your dietary habits.

Ideally, peanut butter cookies are considered healthy when compared to other types of cookies and sweets.

However, they’re still considered just a treat, so you should always consume them in moderation to avoid the negative effects associated with too much sugar, fats, and calories.

Here’s a quick look at the main ingredients in the classic peanut butter cookie recipe:

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is the distinguishing ingredient of these delicious cookies. Peanut butter is considered a source of vegetable protein and an excellent source of healthy fats, whether they’re monounsaturated or polyunsaturated.

Additionally, peanut butter can be a source of some essential vitamins and minerals like magnesium, phosphorus, and manganese.

That being said, you should keep in mind that commercial peanut butter typically contains a lot of sugar, salt, and calories.


Flour is a source of fiber and complex carbohydrates. It’s also essential for supporting the cookie’s structure and making it more filling.

However, the type of flour used can heavily impact the healthiness of the cookies, especially heavily refined ones with higher caloric content and lower nutritional value.


Peanut butter cookies typically contain sugar, which contributes significantly to the overall calories of the cookies.

In fact, too much sugar is not good for health and can lead to various health problems, including:

  • Weight gain and obesity
  • Higher risk of type II diabetes
  • Increased risk of heart disease
  • Fatty liver
  • Developing acne


Butter is one of the most critical ingredients in most cookie recipes because it contributes to the texture and flavor of the final product.

However, butter, especially animal-based varieties, is also extremely high in saturated fats and cholesterol, which can lead to many heart problems in the long run.


The classic recipe for peanut butter cookies can also include a variety of additional ingredients. These additives mainly include leavening and flavoring agents like baking soda, baking powder, and vanilla extract.

Peanut butter cookies are among the most popular edible cookie dough because they don’t contain eggs, which carry a risk of salmonella infection when consumed raw.

That being said, some peanut butter cookie recipes still contain eggs to add extra moisture, flavor, and color to the cookies after they’re baked.

Eggs are a popular source of protein but they’re high in cholesterol, but since there are few eggs in the dough, they don’t heavily impact the health profile of the cookies.

Besides the previously mentioned ingredients, some peanut butter cookies may also include chocolate chips or chopped nuts for decoration and extra flavor. Each one of them contributes to the nutritional and caloric content of the cookies.

You should also be mindful of added sugars, artificial flavors, and preservatives in these ingredients.

How Many Calories Are There in Peanut Butter Cookies?

As previously established, there are tons of peanut butter recipes out there, and each one has its unique set of ingredients and measurements, which typically affect the number of calories in peanut butter cookies.

Additionally, the size and number of peanut butter cookies per serving can heavily impact the total calories you gain by eating some.

That being said, you can use the following rule of thumb as a reference to estimate the number of calories in your peanut butter cookies.

According to Nutritionix, a medium-sized peanut butter cookie (around 3 inches in diameter) contains about 145 calories, with over 50% of these calories coming from butter and peanut butter alone.

How Can You Make Peanut Butter Cookies Healthier?

Now that you know more about the content of peanut butter cookies, here are some tips to help you make it a healthier treat.

Opt for Low-Salt, Sugar-Free Peanut Butter

Ditch the hidden sodium and added sugars in commercial peanut butter by making it yourself or by choosing peanut butter with minimal processing.

Luckily, many brands now are offering low-sodium, sugar-free options, which are far healthier than regular peanut butter.

This simple swap instantly cuts down on unhealthy ingredients without sacrificing that delicious peanut butter taste.

Reduced or Substituted Sugar

Refined sugar is a major culprit in the calorie count of peanut butter cookies. Most recipes include too much sugar, so consider reducing the sugar content in the recipe by 20 to 50%.

Alternatively, you can experiment with other sweeteners like honey, pure maple syrup, mashed dates, or stevia. These options add sweetness without adding too much sugar and unnecessary calories.

Use Whole-Wheat or Gluten-Free Flour

Whole-wheat flour contains less gluten than refined flour while boosting the amount of protein, minerals, and vitamins in the cookies.

Since it’s less refined than all-purpose flour, it also makes you feel fuller for longer, which helps eat less.

Control Portion Size

Speaking of eating less, portion control is one of the best ways to enjoy peanut butter cookies without altering your favorite recipe.

At the end of the day, most ingredients in peanut butter cookies are okay when consumed in low quantities.

A good trick to adjust your portions is to bake smaller cookies and enjoy them more often as a part of your balanced diet.

Remember, even healthy cookies like peanut butter cookies are still calorie-dense, so a little portion control can go a long way.

Go with Healthy Fats

As you now know, butter is the single main contributor to the caloric content of peanut butter cookies.

By replacing butter with healthy fats, you can make your cookies a lot healthier. One trick to do this is by using avocado oil or coconut oil instead of butter.

You can also ditch the butter entirely and add extra peanut butter, which gives a more amplified flavor as well!

Add Protein and Fiber to the Recipe

Boost the nutritional profile of your cookies by incorporating some protein and fiber-rich ingredients into the cookie dough.

Add a scoop of rolled oats, chopped nuts, or chia seeds to the dough. These additions not only add to the overall flavor and texture of your cookies, but they also become more filling and nutritious, which helps with portion control.

Final Thoughts

There you have it! A brief guide that shows you whether peanut butter cookies are healthy and how to turn them into a healthier treat.

As you can see, the healthiness of peanut butter cookies heavily depends on the ingredients of the cookies and how often/much you eat them.

Luckily, by following the tips above, you’ll be able to massively improve the healthiness profile of the cookies.

But even then, remember to always consume them in moderation to avoid weight gain and other potential health problems.

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