Vegan Peanut Butter Date-Sweetened Cookies

date sweetened peanut butter cookies on a pan

I’m on a roll with the date-sweetened desserts. Since many people are already loving the date-sweetened brownie recipe I posted last week, I thought I’d try my hand at sweetening another favorite dessert with dates: peanut butter cookies.

You know those super-easy peanut butter cookie recipes that call for only three ingredients? Usually it’s something like 1 cup of sugar + 1 cup of peanut butter + 1 egg. I’ve made that recipe numerous times using coconut sugar and a vegan egg, so it got me thinking… what if I substituted one cup of dates for the one cup of sugar? Could it be that easy??

peanut butter cookie dough in food processor

The simple answer is, yes. It’s that easy.

This recipe is one of the easiest and healthiest cookie recipes I’ve ever made. It calls for slightly more than 3 ingredients because I wanted to add a splash of vanilla for flavor, and a touch of baking soda and vinegar to help them rise, but they still have a short ingredient list and quick preparation.

These cookies are also:

  • Flourless!
  • Gluten-free and grain-free
  • Date-sweetened with no added sugar
  • Dairy-free
  • Egg-free
  • Vegan
  • Paleo-friendly, if you use a different nut butter
  • Moist and delicious

They’ve passed my picky 3-year-old’s taste test with flying colors, so I hope you’ll love them, too.

date sweetened peanut butter cookie split in half

4.79 from 14 votes
Print
Vegan Peanut Butter Date-Sweetened Cookies
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
13 mins
Total Time
23 mins
 

NUT/SEED/DRIED FRUIT  |  Gluten-free, Egg-free, Soy-free, Dairy-free

A healthy cookie recipe naturally sweetened with only dates. They are moist and delicious! 

Course: Dessert
Servings: 20 cookies
Calories: 99 kcal
Author: Detoxinista.com
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Medjool dates , pitted (8 ounces)
  • 1 cup peanut butter (or other nut butter)
  • 1 tablespoon flax seeds , ground
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • Coarse sea salt (optional; for topping)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. 

  2. In a large food processor fitted with an "S" blade, process the dates until crumbly. (It's okay if a ball forms, too.)

  3. Add in the peanut butter, ground flax, water, vanilla, baking soda, and vinegar. Process until a sticky, uniform batter is created. Be careful not to over-process the mixture, as the peanut butter will release excess oil when over-mixed, and that will make the batter feel very oily to work with. (Don't worry if this happens, though-- the cookies still turn out totally fine!)

  4. Use a heaping tablespoon to scoop the dough into your hands, then roll the dough into a ball between the palms of your hands. Repeat with the remaining batter, making about 20 balls. Place each ball onto the baking sheet about an inch apart, then use your hands to gently flatten each ball into a cookie shape. Sprinkle a bit of coarse sea salt over each cookie, if desired, then bake until the edges of the cookies start to feel dry, about 13 to 15 minutes. (The cookies will still feel fragile at this point, but that's okay.) The longer you bake the cookies the more firm they will be, so at 13 minutes of baking you'll have a soft, almost under-baked middle (which is how I love them!) and at 15 minutes they will be a little more firm and brown around the edges. I imagine you could bake them up to 20 minutes without burning them, if you want a cookie that is even more firm, but my family likes our cookies to be soft and tender in the middles.

  5. Allow the cookies to cool completely before removing them from the baking sheet and serving. Leftover cookies can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer. (The cookies will soften if you leave them out on the counter overnight, so chilling them is best for texture and shelf life.) 

hand holding date sweetened peanut butter cookie

Substitution Notes:

  • I imagine these cookies could be made using any nut butter you love, so if you want to use almond butter or sunflower seed butter (for a nut-free cookie!) go for it. Beware the sunflower seed butter + baking soda can produce a green-colored cookie due to a chemical reaction, so don’t be startled by that if you make the substitution. (It’s still totally safe to eat!)
  • I haven’t tested this recipe using date paste yet, but I would guess you could replace the dates with 1 cup of date paste with similar results. (Maybe omit the extra water in the recipe?)
  • If you don’t need this recipe to be vegan, I think you could swap a real egg for the “flax egg.” Simply omit the flax seeds and water and use a real egg instead.
  • As always, please leave a comment below if you try making any modifications to this recipe so we can all benefit from your experience.

Reader Feedback: What’s your favorite type of cookie? My dad’s favorite is Oatmeal Raisin, so I’m thinking of tackling a date-sweetened version for Father’s Day!

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Comments

Julia Mueller

These cookies look so delicious! Can’t wait to try them without feeling guilty!

Amy Groff

These cookies are very easy and delicious!?

Rachel

Megan you’re a star! These sound unreal, can’t wait to make some for the fam bam. My fave cookie would have to be triple chocolate chip: milk, white and dark chocolate chips, or white choc and macadamia. Confession: before I knew better, Subway cookies were my fave, they tasted like cookie dough batter … nom noms

Jay

Do u have the nutritional info including sugar?

Miranda

Can I use the PB Fit or PB8 powder instead of peanut butter for less fat?

    Megan Gilmore

    Hmmm… I haven’t tried that so I have no idea. The fat in the peanut butter might be important for these cookies, but I couldn’t say for sure. Let us know if you try it!!

Laura

Can wait to try these. You are so creative. Thanks for all of the great recipes. Also love your books!!!

Cindy

Oh, I can’t wait to try these! I LOVE date sweetened desserts, so I’m really enjoying your recent posts!
I’ll probably try these with a chicken egg… and maybe add in a few chocolate chips because PB and chocolate is my favorite combo ever! 🙂 Thanks so much for posting this!

Kate

I’ve always wondered, and maybe you know….can you sub other types of dates for medjools?

    Megan Gilmore

    I imagine other types of dates would work well, but I haven’t had the opportunity to try them yet. I would measure out 8 ounces of dates, or a tightly packed measuring cup, to keep things consistent.

      starre

      thank you for putting the dates in ounces. They are kind of hard to measure

Sharon

I am so loving your recent vegan recipe streak – please please keep them coming!! I haven’t been eating eggs lately, meaning baking has pretty much not been an option (sad face) which is why I’m so excited to try all your new stuff! I’m sure they’re great, as are all your recipes 🙂 Thanks again Megan!

Berneda

Looking forward to making these cookies. Your recently dates recipes as the sweetener in cookies, would it work with your flourless peanut butter cookies in place of the honey? Substitute the same amount? Those have always been my favorite. Thanks for all your recipes!

    Megan Gilmore

    My flourless peanut butter cookie recipe with honey is very similar to this one already, so I would make sure you use equal parts dates to peanut butter for them to turn out well.

Kathleen

This recipe looks delicious

Kate

Just made these cookies with my kids. Love them! Thanks for another great recipe!

Jerri stark

Just wondering how you measure the dates. Are they diced or left whole, and are they put in the measuring cup loosely or packed down?

    Megan Gilmore

    Good question! I leave them whole after removing the pit and pack them down in the measuring cup. If you want tp use a food scale instead, I’ve found that one packed cup of dates is usually 8 ounces of pitted dates by weight.

Suzanne

I don’t eat peanuts and have been trying to figure out what else might be good for these. What do you think about tahini? Would it work?

    Suzanne B

    Holy cow! Tahini and cinnamon! Delicious!

Christine

Yummy! We love these straight from the freezer. In a pinch, these would make a great breakfast on the go, much healthier than stopping off at Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts.

Kathleen Casey

These were so good. I added 5 stevia-sweetened chocolate chips on top of each cookie, and this was unnecessary decadence, but very nice when you have them around. I baked them the first time for 20 minutes because I love a well-done cookie, but yes, 14 minutes turned out to be tastier even for me. Also, I later made a version with almond butter and added 1/2 tsp almond extract to the recipe, and my roommate and I liked them even a bit more. Such a great recipe! I’m so grateful to have something so delicious that’s truly healthy, not to mention easy. Also, if you don’t have medjool dates, adding another tablespoon of water to compensate for the dryness of the dates worked well for me.

Macy @ Paleo Crumbs

I love how simple + delicious these cookies look! Must try these! ?

Audra

LOVED these! My son has FPIES (food protein induced enterocolitis syndrome), and can’t have dairy, soy, wheat, oats, bananas or avocados. It’s hard to find fun treats for a 3 year old with those cut out. He LOVED these! I need to figure out the cooking time exactly with my oven, because mine burned a little on the bottom after 13 minutes. They still tasted great and we’ve been fighting over them the last few days. 🙂 Thanks!! 3 year old boy approved!

    Megan Gilmore

    I’m so glad your son was able to enjoy these cookies! My 3-year-old son and I fight over them, too. 😉

Nicole

The ingredients are quite healthy. Ill be trying this recipe out.

Sandra

This look great. I was actually craving cookies for breakfast this morning. Then I look at my email and see this post. The Universe always has a way of answering us. I look forward to giving these a try this weekend or tonight.

Gina

Can apples be used in Place of flax? Thank you 😊

    Megan Gilmore

    I don’t think apples would bind the cookies as well as flax or chia seeds would, but let us know if you try it!

daryl

i had never baked with large amounts of dates as the sugar before, and although I liked the texture of these cookies fine, i wasn’t a huge fan of the flavor. the dates seemed to overpower the peanut butter, and since I like my peanut butter cookies really peanut-buttery, i think I will stick with the more neutral coconut sugar going forward. it did get me thinking about how much i miss fig newtons — damn my gluten allergy — and made me hopeful that your blog or next cookbook would tackle that specific recipe. Until then, I will be popping trader joe’s new organic dried figs like adderall.

Kelly

These are great! I made them with half PB and half almond butter (because i didnt have a full cup of pb) and used a chicken egg inStead of a flax egg. They have a great taste and nice, moist texture. Be warned: these little dough balls are very greasy before baking. The resultant moist cookies make it all worthWhile.

Not sure why the site will only let me write in all caps riGht now. I promise im not shouting…

    Megan Gilmore

    I’m so glad you enjoyed the cookies! Thanks for sharing your modifications. (I’m not sure why the comments are in all-caps when they are written, because they show up normal once you post them! I’ll have my designer look into it.)

Jennifer

Thanks for the great recipe! These cookies were delicious – especially the next day after the flavors had a chance to meld! Please keep the date-sweetened dessert Recipes coming!

callie

i made these with 25% almond butter, 75% crunchy peanut butter. Fantastic!

Shawn

I put 6 table spoons of water. easier to blend the cookies were hard on the outside and so soft on the inside.. I love this recepi thanks so much.

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