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Peanut butter reindeer cookies are a festive spin on a well-loved, classic cookie. With pretzel antlers, candy eyes, and an M&M nose, they are hands-down one of the cutest Christmas cookies!
If your little ones are big fans of Santa’s reindeer, be sure to check out some of my other reindeer-inspired treats! My reindeer brownies, reindeer bark, and reindeer cupcakes are just as delicious as they are adorable.
Rudolph Peanut Butter Cookies
Not only are these cookies adorable, but they are incredibly tasty too. The cute reindeer cookies are packed with rich peanut butter flavor and have a perfect amount of sweetness. The added pretzels give them a sweet and salty cookie vibe that earned them a spot as one of my best Christmas cookie recipes.
Sick of the mess that comes with decorating sugar cookies every holiday season? This year, ditch the messy frosting and decorate these adorable reindeer peanut butter cookies instead!
Like my old-fashioned peanut butter cookies, each moist and chewy peanut butter cookie is bursting with sweet and salty peanut butter flavor. These cookies are the perfect treat to serve at your next holiday party, bring to cookie exchanges, or leave out on Christmas Eve for Santa to enjoy! Check out these Christmas peanut butter cups for another sweet peanut butter treat for the holidays.
We Love This Recipe Because It’s…
- A fun alternative to decorating sugar cookies.
- Nutty, chewy, buttery, sweet, and salty.
- A one-bowl, 45-minute holidsay treat.
- Great recipe for Christmas cookie trays or a cookie swap.
This section includes ingredient notes and substitution options. Get all measurements, ingredients, and instructions in the printable recipe card at the end of this post.
- Peanut Butter—Your favorite salted creamy peanut butter will work best.
- Pretzel Twists—Look like little reindeer antlers.
- M&Ms—The red candies will act as your reindeers’ noses. I usually grab a bag of Christmas M&Ms and pull on the red ones but you can also buy a bag of only red M&Ms. Red hots would work for the nose, too.
- Candy Eyes—Can be found on the baking aisle of most grocery stores or on Amazon.
- Common Cookie Ingredients— All-purpose flour, white granulated sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla extract, baking soda, and salt.
- baking sheets
- parchment paper (these parchement sheets fit my baking sheets perfecly)
- measuring cups and spoons
- mixing bowl
- hand mixer or stand mixer
- 2-Tablespoon cookie scoop
How to make Peanut Butter Reindeer Cookies
This section shows you how to make the recipe with step-by-step photos and instructions. For the full printable recipe, see the recipe card below.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, peanut butter, eggs, and vanilla extract. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients and mix until combined.
- Form dough into balls and gently flatten each cookie dough ball into an upside-down triangle with rounded edges (see image below). Place cookies on a parchment-lined cookie sheet with about 1 inch inbetween each cookie.
- Press two mini pretzel twists into the top of the cookies. Press a red m&m into the bottom.
- Bake until the edges are set and golden brown.
- After the cookies have cooled use a little bit of peanut butter to “glue” two candy eyes onto each of the little faces.
If you happen to have any Ruldolph peanut butter cookies left over, you can store them in an airtight container on the counter for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months.
Additions and variations
Below are a few ideas to help you put your own spin on these fun cookies.
- You can use chocolate-covered pretzels instead of regular pretzels to act as your reindeer’s antlers. Just be sure to put them on after you’ve baked your cookies.
- Can’t find candy eyes? You can make your own eyes with a few white candies and some brown frosting or melted chocolate. Brown M&Ms or mini chocolate chips make great reindeer eyes as well, and can be placed on before baking.
- Skip the M&Ms and use Red Hots for a cinnamony-touch to your Ruldoph cookies.
Tips & Tricks
- If you have kids who just love to decorate cookies, let them dress their adorable peanut butter reindeer cookies up to the nines! Licorice can look like scarves, Reeses cups can look like top hats, and gum drops can look like earmuffs. Get creative!
- If you find that any of your decorations aren’t sticking, try using a little melted chocolate or peanut butter as “glue”.
- Do not overbake your cookies or they will be dry. Remove them from the oven just when the edges start to become golden brown.
Unless you’re making this reindeer cookie recipe on a particularly warm day, there’s no need to chill the dough before baking. Rudolph peanut butter cookies don’t spread very much in the oven.
No, you don’t need to add form marks to these cookies. The classic criss-cross pattern you often see made on the top of peanut butter cookies is simply to flatten the dough
You may have baked your peanut butter reindeer cookies for too long. You want to pull these chewy cookies out of the oven before the edges darken too much and become crispy.
Yes, you can make the cookies out of sugar cookie dough, shortbread, or really any kind of cookie dough that doesn’t spread much in the oven. Make your dough according to the recipe directions, decorate with the pretzels and M&Ms, bake, add any finishing touches, and enjoy!
More Festive Christmas Favorites
- Christmas Cookie Bars
- 10+ Grinch Treats for Christmas
- Chriatmas Snowball Cookies
- Santa Hat Rice Krispie Treats
- Christmas Puppy Chow (aka Reindeer Chow)
Peanut Butter Reindeer Cookies
- 2-Tablespoon cookie scoop optional
- 1 cup salted butter room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 72 small pretzel twists
- 36 red M&Ms
- 72 candy eyes
- Preheat oven to 375℉. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the butter, sugar, peanut butter, eggs, vanilla extract, and salt together in a bowl until smooth and creamy.
- Mix in the flour and baking soda until combined.
- Scoop or roll the dough into 2-inch balls. Slightly flatten each ball, shape into a rounded triangle (see photos), and place on the lined baking sheets at least 2 inches apart.
- Press 2 mini pretzels into the two top corners of each triangle to form the reindeer’s antlers.
- Press a red M&M “nose” into each cookie.
- Bake for 12- 15 minutes, or until the cookies are golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to cooling racks to cool fully.
- Once cool, place a dab of peanut butter onto each candy eye and place on the reindeer’s face.