Baking Cookies Made Easy (And Kid-Friendly!)

8 Aug

I love to bake, and I’m well known among family and friends as being an avid scratch baker. I do, however, make an exception for one thing: peanut butter cookies. I still make my peanut butter cookies the way my mother taught me when I was five years old; I use cake mix. I have made these cookies for bake sales, parties, and a host of other occasions and they always get rave reviews. I’ve tried other recipes and I still find mine to be the tastiest, not to mention easiest, recipe around.

I know that cake mix recipes are all the rage right now, but they’re definitely nothing new. My cake mix cookie recipes came from my great aunt, who I knew as Auntie Dal. These recipes have been in my family for generations.

The best thing about these recipes is that they are perfect for baking with small children! For little ones who are eager to help in the kitchen, but aren’t quite ready for all the precise measuring involved with baking from scratch, these cookies are just right.

To make my Auntie Dal’s famous cake mix cookies, combine the ingredients for one recipe and drop rounded spoonfuls of dough on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake all cookies at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes (check at 9 or 10 minutes to prevent over-browning).

Peanut Butter Cake Mix Cookies

Peanut Butter Cake Mix Cookies

1 package yellow cake mix
1 cup creamy peanut butter (I use Jif)
½ cup vegetable or canola oil
2 large eggs

Chocolate Chip Cake Mix Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cake Mix Cookies

1 package white cake mix
½ cup vegetable or canola oil
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon water
1 cup chocolate chips

Check out part two of this post here!

More to explore:

95 Responses to “Baking Cookies Made Easy (And Kid-Friendly!)”

  1. Ali February 20, 2013 at 9:17 am #

    These look awesome AND easy. I can’t wait to give these a try :)

    • Katie February 20, 2013 at 11:01 am #

      Thanks! I hope you like them. :)

      • Kathleen Hirschler December 19, 2013 at 11:37 am #

        Hello, my husband is missing a chocolate cookie his mom used to make, he said it was cake like with a thin layer of chcolate on top. Do you know of a recipe like this?

      • Katie December 19, 2013 at 11:46 am #

        It’s not something I’m familiar with, but these chocolate chip cookies are very cake-like so it might be a good place to start. :)

      • Mer May 31, 2014 at 9:36 am #

        Katie, I just came across this recipe on Pinterest and really want to make the PB cookies with my kids. BUT all we have is olive oil. Can I use that in the place of the veg or canola oil?

      • Katie June 1, 2014 at 12:40 pm #

        Personally, I wouldn’t. Olive oil has a pretty strong flavor that might not go well in cookies.

      • Cassandra December 23, 2014 at 4:38 am #

        I tried the peanut butter cookie recipe and used chocolate cake mix instead and 1 stick of butter which is equal to the amount of oil needed. I then added MINT chocolate chips (they are chocolate chips with a mint filling. OH MY GOODNESS they were GREAT! Everyone loved them and it gave the whole cookie a different taste. I called them mint peanut butter chocolate chip.

    • Jamie Duhon September 29, 2014 at 6:00 pm #

      The peanut butter cookies look delicious!!! I actually have all of those ingredients already, so I am going to make them right now!!! :). All I have is crunchy peanut butter, we’ll see how it goes.

  2. Selina February 20, 2013 at 10:37 am #

    I’m definitely going to have to try those chocolate chip cookies! I’ve been trying to find a cakey chocolate chip recipe, and this might be the winner :)

    • Katie February 20, 2013 at 11:04 am #

      I hope you like them! They turn out very light and fluffy.

  3. flyingmonkey0880 February 26, 2013 at 2:28 pm #

    I make these peanut butter cookies all the time, but I’ve always used spice cake mix to amp up the fall flavor.

    • Katie February 26, 2013 at 2:59 pm #

      What a cool idea! I will definitely give that a try.
      Thanks so much for your comment! :)

  4. Renee@MD BookReviews (@MDBookReviews) March 8, 2013 at 9:44 am #

    I have got to try that!! My kids love peanut butter cookies! :-)

    • Katie March 28, 2013 at 11:19 am #

      They’re my favorite. ;)

  5. Rachelle Kennedy March 14, 2013 at 7:26 pm #

    I am trying the peanut butter tonite!

    • Katie March 14, 2013 at 8:44 pm #

      Oh, I’m so glad! I hope you like them! :)

  6. Brian Richardson March 16, 2013 at 5:54 pm #

    How long do you bake them for?

    • Katie March 17, 2013 at 12:29 am #

      Hi Brian! The baking instructions can be found above the first picture. All of these cookies bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

  7. Melanie March 21, 2013 at 5:35 am #

    This might be a silly question but do you melt down the Peanut Butter a little???

    • Katie March 21, 2013 at 4:57 pm #

      Hi Melanie! It’s not necessary to melt the pb at all; once you mix it with the oil and the egg it thins it out quite a bit. I just spoon it directly from the jar into a measuring cup and then out of the measuring cup and into the mixing bowl.

      • Melanie March 22, 2013 at 5:57 am #

        Thank You!!! Can’t wait to make them today!!!

  8. Lucy Wesson March 25, 2013 at 8:49 pm #

    I tried the peanut butter cookie recipe. They were delicious!

    • Katie March 25, 2013 at 9:28 pm #

      I’m so glad you liked them!! Thanks for coming back to comment! :)

  9. Bebe Hancock March 28, 2013 at 11:00 am #

    I made the peanut butter cookies. I have been a professional baker with my own bakery and I have to say that these are very good cookies. They are simple to make and have a good flavor. I usually make everything from scratch but this is a good recipe for the home cook that doesn’t know how to do more. I would recommend this recipe to any new cook or someone who wants great results without a lot of work.

    • Mary Lou Colussy April 5, 2013 at 4:18 am #

      Try extra crunchy peanut butter; gives it extra flavor.

  10. Marlyn April 18, 2013 at 5:50 pm #

    Would it be possible to use Nutella instead of peanut butter? :)

    • Katie April 18, 2013 at 5:59 pm #

      I’ve never tried it, but they’re about the same consistency so it would probably work. If you try it, please let me know! I would LOVE to hear how that turns out! :)

  11. Emma Weston April 25, 2013 at 2:20 am #

    Hi Katie, thanks for the follow and the cookie recipe ideas. My daughter and I made ANZAC cookies today which are a special Australian and New Zealand biscuit or cookie, first made by women in WW1 to send to their loved ones at the Front. The cookies last really well hence why they were a favourite during the War. Btw ANZAC stands for Australia and New Zealand Army Corps and today (25 April) is ANZAC Day (a public holiday for us) when we commemorate those who fought for us and our country. We made ANZAC cookies this morning of course as part of our celebrations and to remember (Lest We Forget). Cheerio Emma

  12. Kelli R Schulba May 17, 2013 at 3:28 pm #

    I just made the first batch (2nd still in the oven) and I want to say the peanut butter taste is phenomenal but the cookies seem to crumble when I try to pick them up. I was wondering if anyone else experienced this and if so what should I do different. I want to add the real test will be when my hubby gives them a taste….

    • Angel McCoy May 18, 2013 at 2:52 pm #

      I had that issue too, but they still taste great and the kids don’t seem to mind it at all lol

    • Katie May 17, 2013 at 5:28 pm #

      Hi Kelli! Assuming all your measurements were correct, my guess is that they either baked for a bit too long or your oven is running a little bit hot. 10 minutes at 350 is what works for me, but every oven is different. Best of luck! :)

  13. Denise May 28, 2013 at 8:30 pm #

    You had an oatmeal raisin recipe that I had tried. I made it for my father and its one of his favorites. I was wondering if you could repost the recipe. Thank you!

    • Katie May 29, 2013 at 10:17 am #

      Hi Denise! I’m so glad to hear that you enjoyed the oatmeal raisin cookies. I took the recipe down because I am making some tweaks to it, but here is the recipe as it was originally posted:
      1 package spice cake mix
      3 cups uncooked quick oats
      ¾ cup vegetable or canola oil
      2 large eggs
      ½ cup milk
      ¼ cup brown sugar
      1 cup raisins (optional)
      1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

      • Denise May 29, 2013 at 10:55 am #

        Thank you so much! My father’s birthday is coming up and I will be making them for him! He will be ver happy!

  14. Stephanie May 29, 2013 at 2:23 pm #

    My 3 year old and I just made PB cookies using devils food cake mix. I can’t stop eating them!!! Thank you for the inspiration!!

    • Katie May 29, 2013 at 2:26 pm #

      You’re very welcome! I’m so glad to hear that you enjoyed them! :)

  15. Su T June 11, 2013 at 7:06 pm #

    i tried the recipe and had the same issue with cookie crumbling. Agree they were delish, but trying to figure out what I did wrong. Measured, checked them at 9 mins and took them out at 11 mins. Coloring looked good. Put in the second batch and same thing. Wondering if it had to do with it being a yellow cake mix that had pudding in it?? Will try again with the Duncan Hines brand. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

    • Katie June 13, 2013 at 9:19 am #

      I’ve never used one of the cake mixes with pudding in them, so I don’t know how that would affect the outcome.
      Like I’ve said to other commentors, some ovens run hot, so 11 minutes might have been too long to bake them. I usually take mine out at 10 minutes, but every oven is different. I’m glad to hear that they tasted good and that you’re planning on making them again! Best of luck.

  16. ashlee June 12, 2013 at 1:18 pm #

    I was not impressed. They are kinda just blah for me, from scratch isn’t that many more steps anyway. Would use in a pinch for cheap quantity kinds of things but not for family traditions or anything.

    • Katie June 13, 2013 at 9:29 am #

      I’m sorry to hear that you didn’t like them.
      I would like to point out that this is a post about baking with young children. I never tried to claim that cake mix cookies were faster or better than scratch cookies, but for a preschool-aged child, measuring exact quantities of flour, sugar, baking soda, etc. can be a daunting task.
      As far as whether this recipe is worthy of family tradition, perhaps not. It is a very simple recipe, after all. But we’ve been baking them in my family for decades. To each his own.

      • melanie November 22, 2014 at 9:58 am #

        Hi we make these all the time . And the peanut butter have become a tradition in our house but I add a secret ingredient and I feel I should share your cookies will never crumble again……honey yep so easy omg it’s just sooo yummy give it a try.

  17. kwill July 4, 2013 at 8:14 am #

    My boys and I (4 and 6) just made these, we added 1C milk chocolate chips, they are so yummy! Turned out perfect! Thanks for sharing the recipe:)

    • Katie July 4, 2013 at 9:55 am #

      I’m so glad you liked them! Milk chocolate chips sounds like a great addition. :D

      • Thuy Vi July 13, 2013 at 1:19 pm #

        Just got done making these cookies, I made a couple changes/additions and they turned out great! I subbed half the oil for applesauce to make it healthier and less greasy, and I also added a cup of oats to it to make oatmeal peanut butter cookies! For the people who had crumbly cookies, I found that instead of just making drop cookies, roll them into balls then pressing a criss cross pattern into them helps them not crumble. It also is a must to flatten the cookies a little before baking because these cookies hardly spread. Next time I’d like my cookies to taste a little more peanut buttery…. Could I add in another half a cup or so of PB without it messing up the recip?

  18. Sharon July 15, 2013 at 2:09 pm #

    Just made these today. I used 1/2 cup Nutella and 1/2 cup peanut butter (looking for a chocolate peanut butter cup flavor?) otherwise made exactly as printed using Pillsbury Moist Supreme (pudding in the mix) yellow cake mix. I baked them for 10 mins and let them cool just a bit before removing from cookie sheet. I think that helps with crumbling. I also took advice from another comment and flattened slightly with a fork in a criss-cross pattern. The flavor is quite good. Not too chocolatey but good. Very quick & easy to make. I would make these again but maybe chocolate cake mix next time or yellow mix and add chocolate chips. Many variations. The recipe made about 45-50 cookies with my small scoop. Give or take the ones I’ve already sampled ;-)

    • Katie July 28, 2013 at 7:12 pm #

      The nutella/pb combo sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing your experiences. :)

  19. Bonnie Terlecki July 26, 2013 at 5:03 pm #

    I tried these cookies.they are delicious and so so easy.good job.

    • Katie July 28, 2013 at 7:04 pm #

      Thank you! Glad to hear you liked them.

  20. Kim July 28, 2013 at 1:55 pm #

    Would you be able to make these into cookie bars?

    • Katie July 28, 2013 at 7:10 pm #

      Probably. I’ve never tried it so I can’t vouch for the results. If you try it out and are successful I’d love to hear about it!

  21. Jennifer July 28, 2013 at 4:44 pm #

    I made the recipe for brownie cookies and no longer can find it. Can you share it.

  22. Lindsay August 12, 2013 at 11:30 am #

    I had to bake my cookies for almost 20 minutes per sheet and they kind of crumble. But I would add (& did add) a little salt because these are quite sweet. I also added chocolate chips. I just think the recipe calls for too much oil/fat and that makes the cookies crumbly. Good idea but for me, something didn’t quite work out. Though I’m sure my family will eat every last one! A cookie is a cookie, right?? Haha!

  23. Annie October 2, 2013 at 5:38 pm #

    These were unbelievable. I only had a vanilla cake mix in the house, so I used that, and they were awesome. just an FYI for anyone who doesn’t have yellow mix in the house. Thanks for the great recipe!

    • Katie October 2, 2013 at 6:22 pm #

      I’m so glad you liked them! I’ve never tried making them with vanilla cake mix, thanks for the tip!

  24. Maria Murphy October 10, 2013 at 11:36 am #

    I was quite happy with how these turned out. I had no crumbling problems. My daughter loved helping me make them. Thank you!

    • Katie October 10, 2013 at 12:16 pm #

      I’m glad to hear that! :)

  25. Yolandie November 10, 2013 at 9:29 am #

    I love these!! We don’t eat sugar, so I replaced the cake mix with Pillsbury’s Sugar Free cake mix!! I’t’t awesome and so easy!!

    • Katie November 10, 2013 at 12:03 pm #

      Ooh, I’ll have to try that sometime! Glad it turned out well. :)

  26. Barbara Couillard November 23, 2013 at 12:54 pm #

    Just made these, they turned out great! I split the batch, half with chocolate chips and half without. The ones with the chocolate chips turned out better. They were a little larger size scoops and I think this is key to solving the crumbling issue. Can’t wait to try it with another flavor cake mix!

    • Katie December 10, 2013 at 9:13 pm #

      I’m glad to hear you liked them!

  27. Mona Allen November 25, 2013 at 1:32 pm #

    I just made these with Marble Cake mix…used all of the yellow mix part and added about half of the cocoa part into the batter. They are sooo good! Thank you for such an awesome and super easy recipe! Can’t wait to try your Brownie Cookie recipe :)

    • Katie December 10, 2013 at 9:14 pm #

      That sounds good! I’ve never made anything with marble cake mix before.

  28. Kambree Christensen December 10, 2013 at 4:12 pm #

    Hi! I am trying the recipe for the peanut butter cookies, but I was wondering if you squish them with the fork before or after you bake them?

    • Katie December 10, 2013 at 9:12 pm #

      Before. :)

      • Kambree Christensen December 10, 2013 at 9:13 pm #

        Thank you! :D

  29. Tammy February 20, 2014 at 8:58 am #

    Has anybody tried making these with melted butter instead of the oil?

    • Katie September 16, 2014 at 8:40 am #

      I’ve never tried it, but I imagine the finished product would have a slightly different texture since butter is solid at room temperature. If somebody tries it this way I’d love to hear the results!

    • Jennifer October 3, 2014 at 6:10 pm #

      I have and they just have a chewy consistency but still the same flavor.

  30. Aaron February 25, 2014 at 8:51 am #

    An even easier recipe for peanut butter cookies:

    1 cup peanut butter
    1 cup white sugar
    1 egg

    Roll 1/2 to 1 tsp ball of dough in additional sugar, bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.

    Easier and there are fewer ingredients, without the harmful chemicals and GMOs found in conventional cake mixes.

    • Katie February 27, 2014 at 4:39 pm #

      Thanks for sharing!

    • Vee July 21, 2015 at 10:48 am #

      great point. thanks for sharing.

  31. Melvin March 11, 2014 at 2:33 pm #

    My wife made your recipe for peanut butter cookies today. She used a yellow cake mix that was gluten free and they were great. Firm,but melted in your mouth.yummy!!

    • Katie March 11, 2014 at 5:15 pm #

      I’m so glad to hear that! Good to know the recipe still works with GF cake mix.

  32. Kaitie September 14, 2014 at 10:40 am #

    I was out of peanut butter so instead I used Hershey’s chocolate spread and they turned out great!!!!

    • Katie September 14, 2014 at 2:32 pm #

      Sounds delicious!

  33. Katharine September 16, 2014 at 8:15 am #

    I am making these right now for my daughter’s bake sale and they are super yummy! Not even a little crumbly, even less than the PB cookies my mom has been making forever. They are soft but not chewy, an absolutely delightful texture. I am so happy I found this recipe, thank you so much! I’m not sure why people are having trouble with crumbles, but just for information I used Jif creamy, Crisco vegetable oil and a Duncan Hines yellow cake mix. Thank you again!

    • Katie September 16, 2014 at 8:38 am #

      Thanks for your comment, Katharine! I’m so glad you liked them. Your results sound similar to mine; I’ve never had crumbling issues either so it’s difficult for me to troubleshoot it for people. I also use Jif creamy so maybe that’s part of it! :)

  34. Janet October 13, 2014 at 3:06 am #

    I make these all the time but I use butter instead of oil. They are a family favorite.

  35. Jillian December 21, 2014 at 8:24 pm #

    Hi! Thanks for the recipe for peanut butter cookies! I did alter the recipe with substituting the cake mix with gluten free cake mix. (Our son has celiacs) and they turned out great! Well minus the funny gf sometimes leaves lol! I will say my first few were horribly crumbly, BUT I found they werent cooled all the way. We ket them sit for a bit and they were perfectly fine! I wonder if in your recipe readers may not have let them cool and set completely. Thank you again!!

    • Katie December 31, 2014 at 10:48 pm #

      Thanks so much for your comment! I’m glad to know the recipe works with GF cake mix. Thank you for sharing how you solved your crumbling issue. I’ve never found these cookies to be crumbly, but I always let them cool fully. I think you may have solved the mystery!

  36. Jen December 23, 2014 at 5:26 pm #

    Just made these for Christmas! They are delicious! I added hershey kisses once they started to cool down.

  37. Amanda January 7, 2015 at 3:04 pm #

    I am about to try this recipe, but I don’t have the cake mix you have suggested. I will be using a chocolate cake mix that has pudding in it. I hope it still comes out delicious.

    • Katie January 7, 2015 at 7:20 pm #

      That sounds yummy! Let us know how it turns out!

  38. mellie July 11, 2015 at 6:33 pm #

    Wow!! These were awesome! I’m kicking myself because I didn’t know about this sooner. So easy to prepare and we loved them! I will be making them again many times to come. Thank you for taking the time to share, we grately appreciate it! Hope you have a great day!

    • Katie July 13, 2015 at 8:44 am #

      Thank you so much for your kind comment, Mellie! I’m so glad you enjoyed them. :)

  39. Judith Fisk July 27, 2015 at 9:44 am #

    I love these ideas, I’m going to try them today!

  40. Karen August 7, 2015 at 8:49 am #

    These are delicious!! I added a little brown sugar, put the dough in the freezer for a bit to get cold, rolled them in balls and sugar and of course the criss cross lines and they are delicious! They are a bit crumbly at first but put them directly on a cooling rack and let cool a bit before eating……then they are fine! Thank you for the easy and delicious recipe!


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