Peanut Butter

How to Make Homemade Dog Biscuits

April 25, 2014

It's always more fun to DIY. Every week, we'll spare you a trip to the grocery store and show you how to make small batches of great foods at home.

Today: Our test kitchen assistant Erin McDowell shows us how to make dog treats -- from scratch.

Dog biscuits

The first time I cooked for my dog was, not surprisingly, when he got sick. As a puppy, Brimley had an iron stomach. Seriously, this little guy could eat anything (and did) without getting sick.

So when he had some stomach troubles at the tender age of one and a half, I rushed to the vet in a total panic. He was given medicine and the vet said that kibble might be hard on his tummy for a few days. That night, I cooked rice in some homemade chicken broth, and added a few pieces of shredded dark meat and some carrots. He ate it voraciously -- then sat looking at his bowl, then back at me, hoping I'd get the hint and refill it.

I started cooking for him once or twice a week, incorporating foods that I might be eating (grains, vegetables, lean meats) into meals for him. Learning the basics of cooking for my pet allowed me flexibility and freedom -- now, as an experienced dog mom, I don't panic if he shows signs of stomach troubles. And I've never had last-minute, late-night runs to the pet store because I'm almost out of dog food.

Dog treats from Food52

But while I love cooking for him, I've been unable to maintain it more than a few times a week. Making my own treats for him has been the perfect compromise -- they are easy, quick, and can be made in batches so he can enjoy them for a couple weeks. It's a money-saver, but the main draw for me is controlling what goes into the treats and how big they are. I make bite-sized treats, which are good for training, and larger treats to keep him occupied while I slip out the door on my way to work. 

Since doggie nutrition can be a tricky subject, I turned to a friend who runs a dog biscuit-baking business, who gave me a recipe. These basic peanut butter treats are as easy as can be, and my dog loves them. They keep well -- up to 2 weeks in an airtight container. I’ve tried other variations using broth in place of the water or even incorporating bacon (for a very special treat), but these plain versions are my go-to. Just be careful, they smell pretty similarly to human cookies while they are baking -- don’t let anyone in your household get the wrong idea (though they’re safe to eat, they don’t have our requisite butter, sugar, or eggs to make them palatable). 

For more info on making your own dog treats and food, check out the blog See Spot Bake, which has dozens of recipes for all kinds of dog-friendly foods.

Dog biscuits from Food52

Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits

Makes about 3 dozen large biscuits

1/2 cup natural, unsalted peanut butter
1 cup water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (or use the oil that has separated from the natural peanut butter inside the jar)
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 350º F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the peanut butter, water, and oil. Add the flours gradually, mixing until the mixture comes together to form a smooth dough, 2 to 3 minutes. (This can also be done by hand, though the kneading will take longer -- 6 to 8 minutes.)

Kneading dough from Food52

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to about 1/4-inch thick.

Rolling dough from Food52

Cut out biscuits using a floured cookie cutter, and transfer to the prepared baking sheets. Leave at least 1/4 inch between each biscuit to ensure even baking (the biscuits don’t spread much).

Dog biscuits from Food52

Bake until golden brown on the bottom and edges, about 12 to 18 minutes (depending on the size of the cookie cutter). Cool completely before serving to your pooch. 

Dog biscuits from Food52

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by Sarah Stone

32 Comments

Benedikt January 29, 2016
we have (this dog,a Chowkita) now since 10 years, we always had cats before only. so when the puppy arrived we thought we will buy the best dog food only. well done indeed. he sat in front of the bowl and looked at me, like he wanted to ask me, this crap i should eat? I AM ADOG I WANT MEAT! and ever since that time we are cooking fresh for him, like for us. WE eat rice,pasta, sorghum and other =grain= dishes as sides. he does not eat potatoes. and we cook stewing beef, liver, tripe, kidneys and the likes. either boiled or sautéed without any spices. mixing all this with a good bouillon, NO CUBES, the thrives on it. and we can see the difference with dogs of the same age, who get only commercial dog food. when he finishes his bowl, and he does. because he knows, if he will not eat, it goes into the refrigerator, not staying in the kitchen all day long. at the end he gets half a buttermilk cookie. when he is eating alone and we are not there, he comes looking for us to give him his cookie. he does not eat any dry food, does not like this doggie treats and no canned food. except one brandsince we live in Russia, wonder if you get THAT in your place. it is called EXXI and is made in Belarus. contains only meat and sub products and carrots. no grains, corn or the likes.we keep a few cans when we are on the road or out where we might not cook.
 
Patroit January 27, 2016
My puppy has PICA what veggie or fruit or vitamin stops her from eating poo, cloth, sticks, stones etc?<br />
 
Patroit January 27, 2016
My puppy as PICA what veggie or fruit or vitamin helps to stop her eating her poo<br />
 
Shelley M. January 12, 2016
My biscuit recipe includes pumpkin puree and apple sauce and chicken broth to make the dough come together. They're always a big hit.<br />
 
Andrew H. February 3, 2015
I really wanted to thank you for sharing this article because I felt that the other <a href="http://www.bobandlush.com/blog/how-many-dog-treats/">types of dog treats</a> are not usually healthy and I can't risk with health of my dog. This post has taught me a wonderful way of making peanut butter biscuits. Not only this is healthy but it also looks tasty. Bruno, is going to be very happy now onwards :)
 
Andrew H. February 3, 2015
Hey
 
Petite F. December 10, 2014
Brimely is darling!!!
 
lynne November 17, 2014
you might try reaching out to a farm in your area - they often sell various organ meats and scraps as dog food. You'd need to add a little supplement to that, but it's a good place to start for meats. If you google this topic, you will find a lot of info out there.
 
Tiffany November 3, 2014
Does anyone have any website recommendations for cooking for your dog or cat? I'd love to move away from processed pet foods but don't know where to start. A great website or book with balanced recipes would be awesome.
 
bev N. November 3, 2014
Check out the Healthy Pets with Dr. Karen Becker website. Great articles and also a link to here cookbook, which is good for beginners. Good luck!
 
lynne September 4, 2014
I used to bake cheese or peanut butter treats for our dog. But my vet says that both peanut butter and grains (wheat, corn, soy) are inflammatory to dogs. Our dog's digestion, weight and energy level were noticeably better after going to a raw food (Instinct and Zeal) diet. We give her dried fish skins for treats. Now, I'd love to figure out how to dehydrate a chicken breast or something, as those treats are really pricey and not all are organic / non-GMO.
 
gigiaxline December 13, 2014
Lynne, I dehydrate chicken tenders for my dogs. You can do it in an oven but having a dehydrator works really well. Just get some tenders, split in half lengthwise [butterfly all the way through] so that it will dry faster. I cut them then in 1/2 crossways b/c I have small dogs but you can leave them whole. Then just dry for 8-10 hours on high.
 
kimikoftokyo September 4, 2014
How cute. Would you have anything that is cat friendly ? Is it even possible to make something as so for my kitty?
 
Myfoodie P. July 16, 2014
So "yummy" after my Kyle tasted it. And thanks for your sharing this helpful post, so I can succeed in making these dog biscuits by following your recipe at home. Hope to your post update!
 
DanaERT April 28, 2014
A recipe I found online uses brown rice flour and oat flour (which I make by pulverizing them in the Cuisinart). I ran out of the rice flour once while making a double-batch and substituted AP flour, but the texture was gummy and the treats didn't taste the same (yes, I do eat them with the hound!). Those two flours seem to be great, both texture- and taste-wise.
 
Carling April 27, 2014
I would recommend Cup4Cup Flour for a flour substitute. It's one of my favorite gluten-free, wheat-free ingredients! It's a literal cup-for-cup substitute for as many regular cups that a recipe calls for. Very simple to use and bakes well too!
 
bev N. April 27, 2014
try using chick pea flour instead of the wheat....
 
Gail H. April 27, 2014
Dogs do not digest wheat well. Please, don't use wheat, corn or soy when preparing food or treats for them. Brown rice, oats, barley and rye are good choices that are nutritious and won't upset their tummies.
 
Gail H. April 27, 2014
Perhaps I should have said that I have 25 years of experience breeding, raising, and training dogs; I have made it my business to understand their nutritional needs. I have and also own a *gourmet* dog cookie bakery.
 
Cheryl M. April 27, 2014
where is your bakery. I have a westie and they cannot have some foods how can I make cookies for her without using wheat?
 
boh April 27, 2014
My question too: what do you use instead of wheat flour?
 
lonewolf April 29, 2014
I use spelt flour. Brown rice flour is good. I make my own liver treats and dont like wheat or white flour
 
Stephanie C. December 13, 2014
Is white rice flour bad for them or coconut flour?
 
Brette W. April 25, 2014
This makes my heart melt.
 
susan.loch.1 April 25, 2014
my dogs are allergic to wheat, what can I substitute?
 
Tucker &. April 25, 2014
Any thoughts about gluten free treats. I know it sounds crazy, but my wheaten terrier is grain and soy sensitive. Just a thought.
 
lonewolf April 29, 2014
Here is what I do.....boil about a lb of chicken liver. Drain them and puree them with an egg and some olive oil. Then I use the "broth" saved from the livers and cook barley, millet, amaranth....a blend or whatever, at least a cup. I cook this for a good while until its very mushy. Then I add it to the liver, and mix in spelt flour (you could easily use coconut flour, cashew flour or other grain alternative blend. Brown rice flour was a good recent addition. So I mix this all together, adding more "flour" until I can roll it out. I bake them on parchment at 325 until they are hard. My dogs love them.
 
lonewolf April 29, 2014
I also add flax meal! Mashed sweet potatoes are a good addition..... very nutritious. Lately, I've been sautéing chopped carrots, squash, sweet potatoes with garlic then adding lean ground turkey (buffalo/bison) is a good lean protein source. Then I add chopped kale. Mixed with cooked barley, its a good addition to boring kibble. Freezes well. Have fun.
 
Kenzi W. April 25, 2014
These photos are beyond great.