Give your childhood lunchbox favorite a sweet makeover with this easy recipe for Peanut Butter and Jelly Vegan Thumbprint Cookies! Made with just 6 ingredients, these sweet & salty gluten-free peanut butter & jelly bites are both easy and delicious, making them a favorite for holiday cookie plates.
Looking for more easy vegan baked goods for your dessert table? Check out my gooey Vegan Nutella-Stuffed Cookies, sweet & spicy Vegan Ginger Cookies, crispy Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats, or fudgy Vegan Oreo Truffles next!
As much as I love spending time in the kitchen, I’m all about keeping low-lift, simple recipes on deck for whenever a specific food craving strikes. Now that the days are growing shorter and colder, my sweet tooth is appearing with greater frequency. The desire for cozy baked goods is at an all-time high, and I hope I'm not alone!
Luckily, this quick and easy recipe for vegan peanut butter and jelly cookies ticks all my boxes! They're made in under 30 minutes using just 6 easy-to-find ingredients (most of which are probably already in your pantry). They also are the perfect balance of sweet and salty flavors, easy to customize, and are downright craveable.
What more could you want from an easy vegan cookies recipe?? Nothing, I tell you. These delightful peanut butter & jelly thumbprint cookies are my newest dessert obsession, and I have a feeling they’re about to be yours, too.
As promised, you don’t need much to make these vegan peanut butter cookies with jelly centers. Here’s what to grab:
- Oat Flour - Made by processing rolled oats into a fine powder, oat flour is easily one of my favorite alternative flours. If you’re fresh out, you can easily make your own using a high-powered blender or food processor and rolled oats.
- Baking Soda - For leavening. Make sure you don’t mistake it for baking powder or your cookies will end up dense.
- Peanut Butter - I prefer using natural creamy peanut butter made with just peanuts and salt. You’re welcome to use conventional peanut butter if you prefer, or use crunchy peanut butter for some extra texture.
- Maple Syrup - Maple syrup is my preferred liquid sweetener, especially during the fall. Feel free to swap in agave nectar, brown rice syrup, or date syrup as needed.
- Vanilla Extract - For depth of flavor. Feel free to use equal amounts of either vanilla paste or vanilla powder, or use about half as much ground vanilla bean instead.
- Jam or Jelly of Choice - Here’s your chance to choose your own adventure! Go classic with grape or strawberry jam, get grown up with raspberry or lingonberry preserves, or opt for something totally out of the box like my homemade mango ginger jam.
Pro Tips for Vegan Peanut Butter Thumbprint Cookies
- Make-Ahead Tips - This vegan peanut butter thumbprint cookie recipe is perfect for making ahead of time. The dough can be made and refrigerated for up to a week or frozen for up to 3 months. Once baked, the thumbprints can be stored at room temperature for up to 5-7 days.
- Make a distinct well with your thumb, a small spoon, or my favorite... the back of a teaspoon.
- Don’t overfill the holes. While I often fall into the “more is more” camp — especially when it comes to dessert — try to resist the urge here. Overfilling the wells of your cookies will result in them overflowing, which leaves them sticky and less pretty (but still totally delicious and edible).
- Gluten-Free - While oats are naturally gluten-free, many processing facilities used to roll oats or turn them into flour are also used for processing wheat and other ingredients. Make sure to reach for certified gluten-free products to make your peanut butter jelly cookies celiac-friendly.
Why are my thumbprint cookies so crumbly? Sounds like your fat-to-dry ratio is off a bit. The dough itself shouldn’t be crumbly; if it is, add about a tablespoon of nut milk at a time to help it gather back together.
Why did my thumbprint cookies spread? If your peanut butter jam thumbprints spread out a lot during baking, it’s possible that the dough was too warm when you tried to use it. I suggest giving the dough a 45-minute – 1-hour rest in the fridge to help firm it up.
If that didn’t solve the problem, the issue is probably related to the fat ratio. Make sure that you stir your peanut butter thoroughly so the oil isn’t all in the top part you’re using. In addition, consider using a kitchen scale to ensure that you’re getting the right amount of dry ingredients in the batch.
Can thumbprint cookie dough be refrigerated overnight? Absolutely! In fact, it’ll keep in the fridge for about a week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Can PB&J Thumbprint Cookies be shipped? Sure! Just be sure to pack them in plastic wrap AND a baggie with as much air removed as possible, and be sure to give them ample cushioning.
Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
In a large mixing bowl, add the oat flour and baking soda and whisk to combine.
Add the peanut butter, maple syrup, and vanilla extract to the mixing bowl and mix with a hand mixer until well combined.
Scoop about 1 ½ tablespoons of dough, roll into balls, and place on the prepared baking sheet.
Flatten each dough ball slightly, then using your thumb or the back of a teaspoon make a small well in the center of each cookie. Make sure not to press too hard so you don't go all the way through the cookie.
Spoon ½ teaspoon of jelly into each well.
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the bottoms of the cookies are just starting to brown. Allow the cookies to cool slightly on the baking sheet (about 10 minutes) before moving them to a cooling rack to cool completely, and enjoy!
While I love these vegan peanut butter thumbprint cookies just the way they are, there is always room for you to customize just about any recipe to fit your family’s needs and preferences. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Swap the jelly for vegan “milk” chocolate kisses, vegan caramel, or vegan ganache. One of the best things about peanut butter is that it plays well with just about everything. Feel free to swap in something other than jelly to fill the thumbprints. Just note that if you’re adding chocolate, ganache, or caramel, you may want to bake the cookies first, then redefine the well with the handle of a wooden spoon before adding your filling.
- Swap peanut butter for a different nut butter. Nut butters abound these days. Try cashew butter, macadamia nut butter, almond butter, or even pistachio butter for a fun new twist on PB&J cookies.
- Make them nut-free. Swap in sunflower seed butter or tahini in place of the peanut butter if you need to make these safe for friends with nut allergies.
- Add some crunch. Before filling and baking the vegan peanut butter oat cookies, roll them in finely chopped nuts, seeds, or sprinkles to add some textural interest.
- Edible peanut butter cookie dough. Since oats are fine to eat raw and there are no eggs in the vegan cookie dough, feel free to swipe some nibbles of the raw dough. You’re also welcome to keep a full container in the fridge for when those cookie dough cravings strike! I promise I won’t tell…
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
I love these easy vegan peanut butter cookies with jam filling because aside from being super yummy, they’re also:
- Made With Only 6 Ingredients - SO SIMPLE! You probably already have everything you need.
- Quick & Easy. All you need is one bowl and about 10 minutes of active time to make these bad boys.
- Refined Sugar-Free. Don’t you just love when something is sweet without being loaded to the brim with sugar?? Me too.
- Super Versatile. Swap in different nut or seed butters, try different jams, jellies or fillings, and/or roll the cookies in nuts or jimmies to make dozens of variations of these easy vegan thumbprint cookies!
- Allergen-Friendly - Since this recipe is vegan, it’s naturally dairy-free and egg-free. It is also naturally gluten-free and easy to make soy-free and nut-free!
Let me know if you try out these peanut butter & jelly thumbprint cookies, and if you do, I would love it if you left a rating and review below! Make sure you also follow along on Instagram and Pinterest for more food inspiration.
More Vegan Treats Recipes:
- Ginger cookies
- Nutella stuffed cookies
- Chai cupcakes
- Chocolate peanut butter rice krispie treats
- Oreo Truffles
- Apple Galette
- Millionaire Shortbread Bars
- Funfetti Protein Bites
- Lemon Poppy Seed Donuts
Pin the image below to save your new favorite vegan holiday cookie recipe!