Why Peanut Butter Cookies Don’t Need Flour

Here’s a trivia question for you: What are the 4 essential ingredients in a cookie recipe?

We’ll get to the answer in a minute – but first let me tell you why this is on my mind. One of our favorite cookies is John’s Gluten Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie. It’s simple enough that my 7 yr old can make it by himself, and I almost always have the ingredients at hand: peanut butter, sugar, eggs, and chocolate chips. In fact, we love this recipe so much that I’ve included it in the short cookbook that’s included in our Gluten Free Survival Guide Ebook.

However, I frequently get emails from new readers who ask, “Hey, did you forget to include the flour in the Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe?” That’s a reasonable question and the answer is, “No, I didn’t forget.” and the explanation of why the peanut butter cookies don’t need flour is a good way to illustrate the essential ingredients in a cookie.


Please direct your attention to the lovely whiteboard diagram from one of our recent homeschool lessons. The left side shows the ingredients in a basic cookie recipe: flour, butter, sugar and eggs. (That’s the answer to the trivia question!) The right side shows the ingredients in our peanut butter cookies. As you can see, the peanut butter replaces the flour and butter.

Why is this?

Peanut butter is basically ground peanut flour mixed with peanut oils. Next time you’re at the store, take a look at the peanut butters that are not hydrogenated and you can see how the peanut oil separates form the peanut solids and rises to the top of the jar. The combination of the ground peanuts and peanut oils just happen to be present in the correct ratio for easy cookie-making.

By the way, this article is a great example of the kinds of articles that are included with my cooking classes. If you’d like to see this kind of analysis applied to gluten free bread, pizza, bagels,and many other yummy dishes, click here.


  1. Camille Becker says:

    Hi Mary Frances,
    I am allergic to peanuts, but miss the peanut butter cookies. Can I use almond butter, either raw or roasted? Its the good kind. I do love Trader Joes almond butter.

  2. What is the ratio of ingredients for the cookies? Peanut Butter/Sugar/Eggs

  3. Hi, my daughter recently was diagnosed with celiac, I’m interested in your all purpose GF flour.

    I live in Canada and for some reason masa harina is not available here… go figure.

    So may I sub corn flour for masa harina?

    I’m thinking of going across to Washington State this summer; which masa harina is GF? I looked for Bob’s Redmill but the store doesn’t carry the masa harina from Bob’s and they won’t bring it in since I’m the only one looking for it… so sad ;(

    I sure hope you can help me out.

    Have a wonderful day.

    • Lucy » Have you checked to see if you can have it shipped through Amazon? I know that they carry the Maseca brand of masa harina, but not sure of the international shipping status. Even in the U.S. masa harina is hard to find in cities that have a very small or non-existent Hispanic community. If the corn flour that you’re wanting to use has been treated with lime, then it would work just fine. The lime treatment that is used to make masa harina make the flour very absorbent and that’s the most important characteristic to look for to replace this particular flour.

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