Only one thing is better than the aroma of freshly baked peanut butter cookies; when you take a bite and the flavor hits your palate!
The richness, sweetness, and nuttiness come together to create such a delicious treat. Unfortunately, that’s not always the experience you get from store-bought mixes!
Luckily, that’s going to change starting today! In this guide, I’m letting you in on some tips to help you transform dull cookie mix into delectable peanut butter cookies every time.
So if you’re wondering what to add to peanut butter cookies to make them tastier, you’ve come to the right place!
A store-bought peanut butter cookie mix sure is a convenient option when it comes to baking such treats. It can save you the time and hassle of measuring and gathering each ingredient individually.
A cookie mix is still a commercial product at the end of the day. It often lacks certain “oomph”, yielding okay-tasting cookies at best.
Peanut butter cookie mix is no exception.
The good news is, you can do something about it!
You can enhance your trusty peanut butter cookie mix by adding one or more of the following ingredients to the batter. This lets you enjoy the convenience of a store-bought mix along with the extra deliciousness of homemade recipes.
You can make your peanut butter cookies richer, tastier, lighter, crunchier — you name it!
If nothing else, this should be your go-to substitution.
Milk instead of water is the #1 secret to creamier, softer cookies. The fats in milk enrich the cookies while the liquid makes them more moist.
Water, on the other hand, can easily leave you with a dry texture and a weak flavor. I honestly believe companies should’ve never suggested this in the first place!
Not to mention, the milky taste brings out the nutty flavor of these cookies like no other ingredient.
To make the switch, follow a 1:1 ratio. This means you should add the same amount of milk as you would have if you were using water.
I use full-fat regular milk, but you can use any type you want, including vegan versions such as almond milk and coconut milk.
Most peanut butter cookie mix brands call for adding vegetable oil.
While it does the trick, vegetable oil doesn’t bring any flavor to the table. It’s also not the best option if you want moist cookies.
To improve both of these aspects, swap the oil for melted butter in an equal amount. Your peanut butter cookies will come out richer with a softer inside and crispier outside.
Adding a few drops of vanilla may not seem all that effective, but they can take your peanut butter cookies to a whole new level.
Vanilla highlights the nuttiness and smokiness of the peanuts while giving the cookies a sweet undertone and a delightful aroma.
While more people know of the vanilla extract tip, fewer are familiar with the almond extract trick.
Adding a few drops of almond extract alone or alongside vanilla extract creates a more intriguing flavor. You’ll notice a hint of sweetness and fruitiness that beautifully balances the saltiness of the peanut butter.
I bet you were thinking of chocolate when you read the word “chips”, but I’ve saved those for a section below. In this tip, however, I’m talking about peanut butter chips.
These are exactly what they sound like, so adding them is the same as throwing in bits of peanut butter that melt in your mouth with every bite.
They’re a great option if you want to boost the flavor of peanut butter in the mix or simply like your cookies extra strong.
Most cookie mix brands feature white sugar in their ingredients list.
If yours also has sugar in it, or even if it doesn’t, I suggest adding brown sugar to the batter. Use less brown sugar if your mix already contains sugar and more if it doesn’t.
Brown sugar won’t make your peanut butter cookies too sweet. Instead, you’ll enjoy hints of caramel thanks to the higher molasses content. It can also give the cookies an appetizing golden brown hue.
If eating peanut butter cookies with a soft, chewy center sounds yummy to you, try adding pudding mix to the peanut butter batter. I recommend chocolate or butterscotch pudding, but you can pick your favorite flavor.
Yes, sour cream.
It makes a wonderful addition to peanut butter cookies because it doesn’t only improve the flavor depth, but also helps it stay soft and airy even after baking.
And don’t worry, the tangy taste of sour cream won’t overpower the cookies. Instead, it’ll balance out any overwhelming sweetness.
Incorporating fudge mix into your batter gives your peanut butter cookie a tender, gooey center. This effect is similar to that of adding pudding mix
If you don’t feel like munching on chewy peanut butter cookies, consider adding a crunchy twist by mixing nuts into the batter.
Not only will nuts introduce a fun texture to your cookies, but they’ll also enhance the flavor profile with an extra dimension. Not to mention, nuts are a great source of healthy fats, amino acids, minerals, and vitamins.
I love adding walnuts, pecans, or almonds, but you can add your favorite type of nuts. Remember to roast them first!
A pinch of salt can go a long way when baking peanut butter cookies. Besides balancing the sweetness of the batter, salt also improves the texture of the cookie and results in delightfully chewy bites.
To give your peanut butter cookies more body and deepen their flavor, I recommend whisking in an egg.
You don’t need to do this if the box already calls for adding eggs. But if it doesn’t, mix an egg into the batter to yield chewier, richer cookies.
I’ve excluded chocolate chips from the list above on purpose as they deserve a section all on their own.
Adding chocolate chips, in my opinion, should be a staple when baking peanut butter cookies.
As simple as this ingredient is, it makes for a fantastic addition to your store-bought mix. It can easily elevate your peanut butter cookies to mouthwatering heights of flavor.
The sweet, slightly bitter taste of chocolate perfectly complements the nuttiness and savoriness of the peanut butter.
You can use milk chocolate chips for tried-and-tested deliciousness, or go for dark chocolate chips if you want to enjoy a more intense cocoa flavor. White chocolate chips are also a terrific option for folks with a particularly sweet tooth.
The amount of chocolate chips to add to your batter depends on your taste. Be careful, however, of going overboard and having the chocolate flavor smother that of the peanut butter.
Now that you have your cookies out of the oven, it’s decoration time!
Peanut butter cookies look and taste delicious on their own, but you can make them even more inviting with a topping. Here are a few of my favorites:
Melt white chocolate chips along with some butter and cream. Stir and wait for the mixture to cool a bit.
Now dip the tops of your peanut butter cookies in the melt and let the cookies sit until the mixture solidifies again or just serve right away!
This is probably the easiest way to decorate peanut butter cookies and make them tastier. Drizzle chocolate syrup over your cookies, drawing whatever pattern that comes to mind!
Fluffy chocolate frosting on top of peanut butter cookies is a match made in heaven.
You’ll just need to combine butter, sour cream, heavy cream, cocoa powder, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Mix until airy and then spread onto the cookies.
Peanut butter cookies only get better with a layer of peanut butter frosting on top. Not only do you get a stronger peanut butter flavor, but also one that’s creamier and richer.
To make peanut butter frosting, combine powdered sugar, peanut butter, salted butter, and vanilla extract.
This is a classic frosting that works with all sorts of cakes and cookies, not just peanut butter ones. The basic ingredients include powdered sugar, pure vanilla extract, butter, and full-fat milk or heavy cream.
Sweet with nutty and caramel notes, maple glaze is another mouthwatering topping option for peanut butter cookies. It’s even a breeze to make; simply mix maple syrup, powdered sugar, and milk.
With today’s list, you longer have to wonder what to add to peanut butter cookies to make them better. The best part is that most of these extra ingredients are probably sitting in your kitchen right now!
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.