Sunflower Butter Cookies – Recipe

Sunflower Butter Cookies
Sunflower butter cookies (like peanut butter cookies for folks with peanut allergies)

My wife, Sarina, is severely allergic to both peanuts and every kind of tree nut. Like, epipen and straight to the hospital allergic. This meant that she has never tasted a peanut butter cookie, and neither have my kids. It seemed to me that this was a grave injustice that needed to be rectified.

We long ago determined that sunflower butter was our favorite replacement for peanut butter. The flavor is much nicer than soy butter. I love tahini too, but tend to use it most often in Middle Eastern recipes, although I like it occasionally on toast as well. But sunflower butter is great – I’d happily eat it even if I could have peanut butter in the house. My favorite brand (and no,  they aren’t a sponsor or anything) is Sunbutter – specifically the organic, unsweetened variety. Here is it on Amazon in case you can’t find it locally.

Does sunflower butter work in “peanut butter” cookies? Absolutely. The taste is very close, and texture is spot on. This recipe tends toward the sandy end of the spectrum. If you prefer a moister, chewier peanut butter cookie, simply use half brown sugar and half white. Brown sugar is hygroscopic – it tends to retain moisture from the atmosphere.

Sunflower Butter Cookies (Like Peanut Butter Cookies for the peanut-allergic)
Vegetarian and kosher
Yields 15 big cookies 

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, room temperature
  • 1 scant cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup unsweetened sunflower butter
  • 1 cup (130 grams) flour
  • 1 teaspoon Maldon salt (use only 1/2 teaspoon if substituting a different salt)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  1. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar at medium speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Lower the speed and add the egg, then gradually add the sunflower butter.
  2. Whisk together the flour, salt (rubbing a little to break up large crystals), and baking powder. Add slowly to the running mixer. Mix until well combined, about 1 more minute.
  3. Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375. Line baking sheets with parchment or silpats. Dish dough out into approximately 2-tablespoon balls. Flatten, then use the tines of a fork to make the traditional criss-cross pattern. Bake about 12 minutes until lightly browned. Cool on a rack for at least 10 minutes, then enjoy.
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Posted by Michael Natkin on Monday, December 24th, 2012 in Baking, Recipes.

13 Responses to “Sunflower Butter Cookies – Recipe”

  1. Reply
    December 24, 2012 at 3:19 pm #

    Hi Michael, I am not allergic to peanuts, but I hate it, so I never has peanut cookie either. Yes to sunflower butter! It gives to cookies such a nice flavor, especially if you make your own roasted sunflower butter… 🙂
    How is your new job? I hope you enjoying it.

    • Reply
      December 26, 2012 at 6:01 am #

      I’m absolutely loving my new job at ChefSteps – it isn’t often that you find yourself in a situation where you can use everything you’ve ever worked on and been passionate about!

  2. Reply
    December 24, 2012 at 9:08 pm #

    In general and in principle, I like unsweetened nut and seed butters, but the sunflower seed butter I’ve become addicted to (as someone who had no trouble with peanuts or tree nuts) is Once Again brand. I go through jar after jar of the stuff. Sweetened, but organic and cooperatively owned. And delicious.

    • Reply
      December 26, 2012 at 6:02 am #

      I haven’t seen that brand, I don’t think… I’ll be sure and pick up a jar if I run into it.

  3. Reply
    December 28, 2012 at 9:55 pm #

    I, too am a great fan of sunflower seed butter (especially the sunbutter brand), and honestly would choose it over peanut butter any day. I’ve used it with great success in many recipes, and even used it in a batch of hummus when I ran out of tahini. My favorite, thought, is homemade salted chocolate sunflower seed butter!

    • Reply
      October 18, 2014 at 2:28 pm #

      That’s a great idea! I just made my first batch of sunflower seed butter and I can’t wait to use it!

  4. Reply
    December 29, 2012 at 9:00 am #

    My son has allergies to nuts, coconut and sesame – we also recently discovered Sunbutter – it’s amazing. I’ve been using it for baking, thai noodles, any recipe that calls for nuts, it’s very versatile. I prefer the crunchy version for texture – just wish it wasn’t so expensive here in Canada! Love your blog and have been trying recipes from your cookbook. My son and I are vegetarian whereas my husband and other son are not – it’s nice to find recipes that are so flavourful that they don’t miss the meat. cheers!

  5. Reply
    January 1, 2013 at 6:04 pm #

    These look very good! I have sunflower butter. Guess I will go to work making these vegan and gluten free. Beautiful picture too! ~ Bella @

    • Reply
      January 2, 2013 at 5:09 am #

      I’ve experimented further with this recipe and just leaving out the flour and butter worked for a gluten free version. I added some mini chocolate chips and they were very yum! It didn’t work as well if I also cut out the egg so I’m not sure how to make it vegan, perhaps with an egg substitute? cheers!

  6. Reply
    January 6, 2013 at 8:54 pm #

    Happy New Year Michael, We’ve enjoyed your blogs and books for years and wanted to take a moment to introduce ourselves. We’re Avanti Cafe in Costa Mesa, organic, vegetarian restaurant going on 8 years. This year we’re launching our online retail store, selling our sweets, salt & spice blends. We’re spreading the word nation wide and looking for support from all the vegetarian communities we admire online. Please spread the word, come visit Avanti when you’re next in our area & check out what we have to offer online at

  7. Reply
    April 27, 2013 at 10:07 am #

    Thank you for this recipe. My son is peanut/egg/gluten free due to food allergies. I used flax powder and water for eggs and king Arthur gf multi-purpose flour. The came out awesome. They were so good that everyone else in the house ate them. They already requested more.

    • Reply
      April 28, 2013 at 7:27 am #

      Thanks for letting us know how the substitution worked out, I know there are lots of folks that will want to know that!

  8. Reply
    July 25, 2015 at 11:36 am #

    thank you for this recipe. I can not eat peanut butter. when i found out there was a sunflower butter is was so happy. then I found your recipe for sunflower butter cookies. THANK YOU !!!

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