5 Ingredients or Fewer

Salted Almond Butter Cookies

June 23, 2022
18 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland. Prop Stylist: Sophie Strangio. Food Stylist: Anna Billingskog.
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 14 minutes
  • Makes about 18 cookies
Author Notes

In addition to their namesake, classic peanut butter cookies call for butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder, and baking soda. But you can get crispier, chewier, gooier, better results if you ditch most of these. Peanut butter, some sort of sugar, and eggs are all you need. Maybe you’ve stumbled upon this bare-bones style by way of Ovenly Bakery, or Shirley O. Corriher, or Susan Purdy, among other blogs.

Sweetened nut butter is the default, but unsweetened works wonders in its own way. Not only does unsweetened, aka “natural” (depending on the brand), nut butter lead to a less sweet, more balanced dessert, but it opens up a world of other unsweetened nut and seed butters, like sunflower, cashew, and tahini. In this recipe, we're using almond, which might be my favorite for its roasty, marzipan-y energy.

Note: You can swap out the granulated sugar for 1 cup (213 grams) of light or dark brown sugar. This will yield a cookie that’s less almondy, more caramelly. You can even do a mix if you’d like.

Freezing the dough blobs before baking helps the cookies look their best. Once they’re firm, you can also toss them in a container and store them in the freezer, for up to a month, to bake on a whim. No need to thaw—just add a couple minutes to the baking time, and let me know when to come over. I’ll bring the milk.

This is one of our Big Little Recipes, our weekly column all about dishes with big flavor and little ingredient lists. Do you know (and love) a recipe that’s low in ask, high in reward? Let us know in the comments.Emma Laperruque

Test Kitchen Notes

These cookies part of our Big Little Recipes column, which showcases great meals with five ingredients or fewer (not counting staples like salt and pepper, butter or oil). They are great on their own, yes, but why stop at great? If you’d like, you can sandwich them with whipped cream, chocolate frosting, or, best of all, ice cream. Here are a few favorites from the column:

Salt & Pepper Ice Cream: Yes, salt and pepper. Though these seasonings are often pulled out for lunch or dinner, they want to be part of dessert, too. Black peppercorns get infused into heavy cream, then more pepper gets stirred in (the little specks look like vanilla). Turn even more pepper into a crunchy brittle, if you dare.

No-Churn Butter Pecan Ice Cream: For an extra-nutty ice cream sandwich. This brown-buttery ice cream doesn’t even need an ice cream machine. And if you’re the sort of person who eats ice cream all year (as you should be!), this combo would be a dream at Thanksgiving.

Cookies & Cream Frozen Yogurt: Not quite ice cream, but close. This frozen yogurt was inspired by Max Falkowitz’s Genius recipe, with just plain yogurt, granulated sugar, and a pinch of salt. In this case, chocolate wafer cookies, like Oreos, make it even better.

Orange Sherbet Also not quite ice cream, sherbet is ideal for really, really hot summer days. This one tastes like a Creamsicle—sweet, sour, and super citrusy. Besides almond butter cookies, it would be wonderful with chocolatey cookies, too. —Food52

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Salted Almond Butter Cookies
  • 1 cup (256 grams) unsweetened almond butter
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • Flaky salt (optional)
  1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
  2. Combine the almond butter, sugar, and egg in a bowl and mix until smooth and thick. Use a tablespoon-size cookie scoop to drop heaping tablespoons of dough onto a plate. Sprinkle with flaky salt if you’re using it, then pop in the freezer for about 15 minutes to firm up.
  3. Transfer the cookie dough blobs to the baking sheets, spreading out about an inch apart (you might have to bake a couple rounds). Bake for about 14 minutes, rotating halfway through, until the edges are just starting to brown and the tops are crackly.
  4. It’s so important you let these cool completely before trying—that’s the only way you’ll get the contrast between a crisp crust and fudgy middle.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Brenda Boston
    Brenda Boston
  • Karen Brooks
    Karen Brooks
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    Judith Lagacé
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    Sue Stenehjem
Emma was the food editor at Food52. She created the award-winning column, Big Little Recipes, and turned it into a cookbook in 2021. These days, she's a senior editor at Bon Appétit, leading digital cooking coverage. Say hello on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.

22 Reviews

Brenda B. July 16, 2023
I doubled the recipe and used 1/4 cup Tahini because I didn't have enough almond butter. So delicious and chewy. Video was really helpful. These are my breakfast this week :), with some raw cookie balls in the freezer for later.
Karen B. August 24, 2022
Not a big cookie fan. I could eat these every day! Plus a breeze to bake.
Judith L. November 1, 2020
Fantastic recipe! I added a few drops of pure almond extract to give them an amaretti spin.
Judith L. November 1, 2020
Fantastic recipe! I added a few drops of pure almond extract to give them an amaretti spin.
KurrerBell October 28, 2020
Thank you so much for this simple but wonderful recipe! Five stars for a recipe I memorized in one swoop and can complete in 30 mins (plus a little waiting time. This one is genius.
Anne G. October 19, 2020
Many thanks for this wonderful recipe, Emma. Just made them, baked all, ate two and trying to save some for the rest of my family. :) At first I reduced the sugar by 25%, but then added back all but 2 T. Mine are a little flatter than yours so perhaps will add all of the sugar next time. Love them!
marielasmith October 9, 2020
The almond butter I had was sweetened so I reduced the sugar by 25% and I also added some kosher salt to the dough itself. Using brown sugar definitely gave it a caramelly, almost candy-like flavor and gooey texture. Yummy, but I can see how some might find it cloying. A LOT of oil oozed out of the dough after a few minutes standing in the fridge. Did anyone else have this issue? I mixed the almond butter and sugar first, then added the egg, could that be the reason why the oils separated?
orit R. October 9, 2020
These are easy to make and are great for passover. I am not sure what I was doing wrong, but the cookies fell apart as I was taking them out of the oven. Any suggestions?
Emma L. October 12, 2020
Hi Orit R! I like to let them cool on the baking sheet for at least a few minutes to further set before I transfer them to a cooling rack. Hope that helps!
orit R. October 12, 2020
Thank you. I put them on silicone so when I took it out it kind of broke but the next batch was perfect 👌
Pam October 6, 2020
These turned out great! I had almost a cup of salted crunchy almond butter, so I added a little peanut butter to top it up. I made my rounded tablespoons a bit large so I ended up with about about 13 cookies, and I baked them for about 17 minutes until they looked crackly on top. I might cut down the sugar next time since they were pretty sweet, but overall they were very tasty.
Sue S. October 2, 2020
Just a question, how much cocoa or chocolate do you add? I only see the almond butter, sugar and egg. Thanks.
Joan D. October 16, 2020
I think there is neither cocoa nor chocolate in this recipe; there's no mention of either in the video or in the recipe. I believe the color of the cookie is due to the color of the unsweetened almond butter.
Lisa October 1, 2020
I have never baked cookies before. I usually don’t like cookies, chocolate, and peanut butter. But I LOVE almond butter. Naturally, this recipe caught my attention. It only needs 3 ingredients that I happen to have. I had about 2/3 cup raw crunchy almond butter left in the jar. I added 1/3 cup of sugar, one large egg. Stirred in the jar, the dough was kind of runny. So I added some almond flour to the right consistency. It came out very well. Crunchy outside. Soft chewy inside. Not too sweet. It is delicious and very filling! It had protein, sugar, fat, and fiber, a complete nutrition in one cookie. I love it. Simple recipe, easy to make, very forgiving. Thank you!
jjr September 29, 2020
For those of you who say there is a lot of sugar, try monkfruit. No calories, no carbs and no after taste.
Anne Y. September 29, 2020
In what form? Equivalent measures? Is stevia an option for full or partial substitute?
GER September 29, 2020
Does the recipe use salted or unsalted almond butter.
Emma L. September 29, 2020
Either works! I prefer salted for the added savoriness, but whatever you have around (or can get your hands on) works.
Anne Y. September 29, 2020
That's a LOT of sugar. Would they work with less sugar?
Emma L. September 29, 2020
They might, but I wouldn't recommend cutting it by more than 25 percent as an experiment—the sugar adds moisture and structure as well as sweetness. As written, it's less than 1 tablespoon of sugar per cookie.
Anne Y. September 29, 2020
1 TB = 3 tsp, almost half of daily allowance, but perhaps worth it if they are really good and you can eat just one.
n F. October 1, 2020
I lowered sugar by 20% and still a bit too sweet to my taste; will try to further reduce sugar next time. The texture is good. Thank you for the recipe!