Thick and Chewy Gluten Free Apple Peanut Butter Cookies

Thick and Chewy Gluten Free Apple Peanut Butter Cookies

Delightfully thick and chewy gluten free apple peanut butter cookies with tiny, fork-tender chunks of diced apple throughout and rich peanut butter flavor.

Apple peanut butter cookies and a bowl of peanut butter on a marble surface

I used to think of “cookie season” as the fall and winter holiday time. I now consider it to be all year, and just doubling down around the holidays.

It is in that spirit that I give you these delightfully thick and chewy gluten free apple peanut butter cookies. They really are the perfect fall cookie.

Thick and Chewy Gluten Free Apple Peanut Butter Cookies, Step by Step

Baking with peanut butter and apples

Something pretty amazing happens when you bake with both peanut butter and apples. Baking with peanut butter tends to make cookies crispy, like standard crosshatch peanut butter cookies.

And since apples have lots and lots of moisture in them, baking with them tends to produce a cake-like cookie. Baking with both, in the very same cookie? Boy oh boy.

Apple peanut butter cookie dough in a bowl

What to expect from the raw cookie dough

You can see in the photo above how moist the raw cookie dough is. You can easily squeeze it together in your hands.

Unlike the dough for many other cookies, you won’t chill this dough before baking it. The peanut butter in the dough helps to keep the cookies from spread too much.

You do want to roll the dough into a ball, and then press it into a disk. Otherwise, your cookies will be more like puffy little buttons than actual cookies.

Apple peanut butter cookie laying on edge of other cookie on white surface

What is the texture of these apple peanut butter cookies?

Thick and chewy is indeed the very best way to describe these cookies. They spread just enough to make a proper cookie but not so much that there are any lacy, crisp edges.

The tiny, tender apple chunks add the unmistakeable flavors of fall, and the peanut butter flavor is rich and full, just as it should be. Say hello to a new family favorite.

Apple peanut butter cookie broken in half on white paper on tray

Ingredients and substitutions


If you’re dairy-free, you will need to replace of the butter in this recipe. I would try vegan butter. Melt brand and Miyoko’s Kitchen brands are my favorite.

Earth Balance buttery sticks generally are not a good substitute for butter in any recipe like cookies that need to maintain their shape during baking. They have a lot more water in them than butter, and that causes the cookies to spread a lot more than intended.


Since there is only one egg in this cookie dough, you should be able to replace it relatively easily. I would try a “chia egg” (1 tablespoon ground white chia seeds + 1 tablespoon lukewarm water, mixed and allowed to gel).


These are peanut butter cookies, so you need, well, peanut butter. The recipe calls for a smooth, no-stir peanut butter, which is just the type of nut butter the oil in which doesn’t naturally separate from the rest of the mixture at room temperature.

If you would like to try using another nut butter, I recommend trying smooth, no-stir almond butter. Barney Butter is a really good brand (although it’s crazy expensive, and seems only to have gotten worse!).

Apple peanut butter cookie dough in a bowl, and cookies baked on a tray, one broken in half

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 18 cookies


2 cups (280 g) all purpose gluten free flour (I used Better Batter)

1 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar

1/2 cup (109 g) packed light brown sugar

8 tablespoons (112 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup (128 g) smooth no-stir peanut butter

1 egg (50 g, weighed out of shell) at room temperature, beaten

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 large apple, peeled, cored and finely diced (about 180 g) (Granny Smith works best)


  • Preheat your oven to 375°F. Line rimmed baking sheets with unbleached parchment paper and set them aside.

  • In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and granulated sugar, and whisk to combine well. Add the brown sugar and whisk again to combine, breaking up any lumps. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the butter, peanut butter, egg and vanilla, mixing to combine after each addition. The dough will be thick but soft. Add the finely diced apple, and mix carefully until the apple is evenly distributed throughout the dough.

  • Pull off portions of cookie dough that are about 2 tablespoonsful each, roll into a ball between your palms and flatten into a 1/2-inch thick disk, then place about 1 1/2-inches apart from one another on the prepared baking sheets. Place in the center of the preheated oven and bake until the cookies are lightly golden brown all over and set in the center, about 14 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for at least 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. If you attempt to move the cookies from the baking sheet too soon, they won’t hold together.

  • Adapted from Taste of Home. Originally published on the blog in 2015. Recipe unchanged; video and some photos new; some text new.


Comments are closed.

  • Meghan
    October 28, 2015 at 1:57 PM

    I baked these last night and I followed the recipe exactly except that I used Sunbutter instead of reg. PB. Today, my cookies are turning green. Inside and Out. They weren’t even 12 hours old when I noticed the process starting. And the green keeps spreading. I don’t see how it can be mold. Could some of the ingredients be having a weird reaction?

    • Meghan
      October 28, 2015 at 2:02 PM

      Never mind! Thanks to google I discovered that it is a reaction between the sunflower seeds and the baking soda/powder. :)

  • Pat Coyne
    October 28, 2015 at 8:00 AM

    I was diagnosed with celiac disease over 30 years ago. I think it is really great that people like yourself work so hard to provide us with different recipes to try. I made these cookies and my husband and I really enjoyed them. The only thing I did was leave the salt out, because of a low sodium diet. Thanks Nicole.

  • Julia Burgess Cantley
    October 25, 2015 at 12:22 PM

    Is the xanthan gum imperative in this recipe? What does it do? Forgive my ignorance. Btw, I love my GF on a shoestring book!!!

    • Monique C.
      October 25, 2015 at 2:41 PM

      If your flour mix doesn’t contain it, it really helps to add it. Improves texture (makes gf baked goods more doughy) and helps bind /hold baked goods together. It is expensive but I store mine in a jar and seems to last for a long time.

      • Julia Burgess Cantley
        October 26, 2015 at 9:58 AM

        Thank you!

  • Monique C.
    October 25, 2015 at 11:17 AM

    Can I use fresh ground peanut butter or does it have to be the type with oil, etc in it? They have a machine at my local store and I’d love to just buy enough rather than a whole jar of the stuff that I probably won’t use. They look delicious!

  • Trudy Niehaus Ray
    October 21, 2015 at 7:47 PM

    Because I’m lactose intolerant, I wonder if I can use coconut butter as a replacement for the butter? Or, may I use ghee? Apparently, that’s less difficult on the system. Also, is the sugar necessary for the success of this recipe? I’m also sugar free. Thanks!

    • October 22, 2015 at 8:12 AM

      Trudy, I would recommend vegetable shortening as a butter replacement. You can’t omit the sugar, though! Eliminating an ingredient from a recipe will ruin it.

      • Trudy Niehaus Ray
        October 22, 2015 at 11:41 AM

        Thank you, Nicole.

  • Nancy
    October 21, 2015 at 4:25 PM

    I am also vegan….can you use flax eggs and/or some other substitute egg for this recipe? It sounds delicious.

    • October 22, 2015 at 8:13 AM

      I haven’t tested this recipe with any substitutions, Nancy, so you’ll have to experiment! Generally, my favorite egg sub is a “chia egg” (just google it!) and it should work fine in this recipe, since there is only one egg.

  • youngbaker2002
    October 21, 2015 at 2:50 PM

    these look so GOOD! love your pictures by the way. you take the most amazing photographs of food! i’m a little disappointed that there isn’t going to be a cookie cookbook though :( . am glad that the blog is here when we need a cookie recipe (or any gluten-free recipe). thanks again Nicole!

    • October 22, 2015 at 8:15 AM

      I promise to blog about every cookie recipe you could ever desire, Mena! And thanks for the kind words about the photos. I shudder when I look back at my old stuff and have to resist the urge to trash those posts. We all have to start somewhere though, right? ?

  • Jennifer S.
    October 21, 2015 at 10:22 AM

    I’m super sad – I really thought you needed a cookie cookbook. What is wrong with the editors these days???? This recipe might make up for it…. and since I have your blog on speed dial for like everything I guess I’ll live…. :)

    • John Lachett
      October 21, 2015 at 11:14 AM

      I, too, am on “team cookie-book”!
      Yet another item I shall be making. Can’t wait, they look super yummy!
      Thanks as always Nicole!!
      John L
      PS- I’ve been making those breakfast egg muffins almost non stop. They’re. Just. Perfect.

      • October 22, 2015 at 8:14 AM

        John! Love to hear from you. So glad you’re loving those bacon and egg muffins. They’re a favorite of mine, too! ?

    • October 22, 2015 at 8:13 AM

      I know, Jennifer! I had to come to terms, though. ?

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