Vegan Peanut Butter Date-Sweetened Cookies

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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

hand holding peanut butter cookie
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4.76 from 37 votes

Date-Sweetened Peanut Butter Cookies

These vegan Peanut Butter Cookies are naturally sweetened with only dates. Just a handful of ingredients required!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword cookies, dates, peanut butter
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 13 minutes
Total Time 23 minutes
Servings 20 cookies
Calories 99kcal

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

  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. 
  • In a large food processor fitted with an "S" blade, process the dates until crumbly. (It's okay if a ball forms, too.)
  • 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!)
  • 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.
  • 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.) 

Nutrition

Calories: 99kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 86mg | Potassium: 138mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 10IU | Calcium: 12mg | Iron: 0.3mg
Calories per serving: 99, Fat: Carbohydrates: 8g, Fiber: Protein: 3g

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

Margo

These are delicious and comforting. Any suggestions or modifications for high altitude?

Cynthia

You mention that the peanut butter releases oil when overmixed, but I was wondering if you’re working with natural peanut butter (with the oil on top) or regular (cohesive and drier). Some recipes specifically mention not working out well with the natural one because of the oil, so it would be great clarify this in your recipe.

    Megan Gilmore

    I always use natural peanut butter, so I haven’t tested this recipe with the processed versions.

Cynthia

Just an added tip here, but chilling the dough will help minimize the cracks in your cookies if you want. Also, since I’m not completely clear on the texture, do these cookies end up completely hard or a little soft?

mal

I used one duck egg in this recipe in place of the flax egg and it worked perfectly! I still sprinkled some flax in just for fun though! I was also a little shy on dates (5.5oz) so I added a couple oz of maple syrup. I will def make these again!

Kay

What about using date syrup? How much u think?

    Megan Gilmore

    I haven’t experimented with date syrup enough to know how to use it as a swap. Please let me know if you experiment with it!

Betsy

Are these crunchy or chewy?

    Megan Gilmore

    They are soft, not really crunchy unless you leave them in the oven longer.

REUT

I tried to make this recipe twice, both times it was delicious but so crumbly- each cookie just crumbles with the first bite… any ideas why?

Christina Nunes

Delicious and simple recipe! I baked at 350 for 12 minutes. Then I turned off my oven and cracked the oven door open and let the cookies sit in the oven for about 10 more minutes to crisp them up. This allowed the whole cookie to get a crispy/chewy texture instead of having such a high contrast of crispy and soft textures.

Linda Xiong

Second time making this recipe! Perfect every time. Thank you!

Hannah

These are AWESOME! I’m in the middle of a 21 day sugar cut (processed and refined)and these the spot for my sweet tooth. Thank you for introducing me to the all natural sweetness of dates! Even my hubby and 13 month old loved them!

Elizabeth L.

Today I was craving almond butter cookies, but I wanted to make a lighter cookie. I came across your recipe and I must say your recipe is outstanding! It was exactly what I was looking for, using healthier, natural ingredients like dates in place of sugar. I was surprised that the recipe didn’t call for flour. I used decaf coffee instead of water, and soaked chia seeds in place of eggs for additional health benefits. Everything else in the recipe I followed, I used medjool dates, and I also baked the cookies for 13 minutes at 350 degrees F. They came out slightly crispy on the top and edges, and the middle of the cookie was so soft. I’d describe this cookie as a “brownie, Fudgy” like type of texture. This was an absolutely delicious cookie, I’m so happy I found your recipe, thank you for sharing.

Poiema

Great recipe! Very happy with results.

Tee

Can I sub acv for regular vinegar?

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