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Gluten-free Peanut Butter M&M Cookies

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My youngest son always wants the M&M cookies we see at the store, so it was time for me to make a gluten-free M&M cookie recipe! I went with a classic gluten-free peanut butter cookie with M&Ms that can be easily customized for holidays!

Cookie Rack with Valentine's Gluten-free Peanut Butter M&M Cookies

I’ve had many people ask me over the years for a cookie similar to my gluten-free monster cookies but without the oats, as they’re unable to tolerate them. It’s not as easy as just leaving out the oats, this required working on a new recipe. This week, I thought, hey, why don’t I adapt my gluten-free peanut butter cookies recipe and add m&ms to it. Worked perfectly!

I love that these gluten-free m&m cookies can be made year-round by using plain M&Ms and around any holiday, just use the colored M&Ms for that holiday!

Since Valentine’s Day is this month, I used the Valentine’s M&Ms for these cookies. If you’ve been wanting to make a gluten-free Valentine’s Day cookie, you’ve got to try this one! Much easier than frosted cookies!

Ingredients for gluten-free peanut butter m&m cookies

Notes on Ingredients for these gluten free m&m cookies:

  • Peanut Butter: I’ve made these with many peanut butters. My go-to is Jif Natural Creamy. Feel free to use your favorite creamy peanut butter. Note that I’m counting on you using a salted peanut butter. If your peanut butter is unsalted, please add an additional 1/4 tsp salt in addition to the 1/4 tsp. already called for in this recipe (so 1/2 tsp salt).
  • Butter: I see no reason to substitute the butter for a dairy-free alternative since you’re adding milk chocolate m&ms. Definitely use the butter!
  • Gluten-free flour blend: As always, I only recommend baking with a good quality all-purpose gluten-free flour blend. All flour blends are not created equal! I recommend avoiding flour blends that contain any bean flours or that are primarily rice flour, as you’ll get a more gritty result. This recipe has been tested with successful results with King Arthur Measure for Measure gluten-free flour, gfJules gluten-free flourGluten Free Mama’s Almond Flour Blend, Cup4Cup, and Pamela’s. Please note whether the gluten-free flour blend you are using already has xanthan gum or guar gum added to it.
  • Xanthan Gum: If the gluten-free flour blend you use already has xanthan gum or guar gum in it, then omit the xanthan gum called for in this recipe.

Are plain m&ms gluten-free?

Yes! While Mars does not label their products gluten-free, they say they will list any gluten containing ingredients on the label. Some varieties of M&Ms do have gluten (the pretzel variety for one) and you can tell by reading the ingredients label.

I only use plain milk chocolate brand name M&Ms which I’ve previously confirmed are gluten-free and are not made on shared equipment with wheat. If you are wanting to use a generic or another flavor/variety, you’ll need to investigate their safety.

I’m not aware of a dairy-free equivalent for M&M’s that is not made on shared equipment with wheat.

How to make gluten-free peanut butter m n m cookies:

After using your mixer to mix all the ingredients as directed in the recipe below, you’ll hand stir in the plain M&Ms.

Then you’ll grab a cookie scoop to scoop cookies that are all the same size. I wanted mine small for an event I was bringing them to, so I used my smallest cookie scoop, a #60 scoop. Using this small scoop, this recipe yielded 60 cookies! You can see them here, just scooped and ready to bake:

Scooping gluten-free m and m cookies

I like to place each dough ball spaced apart about 2 inches on my parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Then bake at 350 degrees.

Don’t worry if you can’t see any M&Ms on top of the cookies. In fact, any M&Ms that are on top of the cookies already will crack while baking.

Instead, I suggest that when you pull the cookies from the oven after baking, place the rack on a cooling rack, then hand place 2-3 more M&Ms on the top of each cookie. Don’t push hard and make your cookies collapse though! 

Here’s a look at them just out of the oven and then after I added the additional M&Ms to them:

Baking gluten-free peanut butter m and m cookies

It really only takes a minute or two tops to add the M&Ms to the tops of these cookies when each pan comes out of the oven, and I think it makes for a much prettier presentation. But if you really don’t want to mess with that, feel free to stir in all the M&Ms before baking instead!

This recipe uses an entire bag of M&Ms (a bag that’s about 9-10 oz). I used 1 and 1/4 cups of M&Ms in the dough, and then used the rest from the bag to add to the tops of the cookies. 

If you’d like to make bigger cookies than the little ones I made, you can use a medium size scoop instead (this one) and you’ll get about 32 cookies instead. They’ll take about 11-13 minutes to bake at that size.

I hope you get a chance to bake these Valentine’s m n m cookies for your family!

Gluten-free Valentine's Peanut butter cookies

If you make these and love them, please come back and give this recipe a 5 star rating in the recipe card! Feel free to comment with tips or to share any successful substitutions you made.

Gluten-free Peanut Butter M&M Cookie Recipe:

Yield: 60 cookies

Gluten-free Peanut Butter M&M Cookies

Cookie Rack with Valentine's Gluten-free Peanut Butter M&M Cookies

Gluten-free peanut butter cookie with M&Ms that can be easily customized for holidays! Use plain Valentine's M&Ms for gluten-free Valentine's cookies!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Additional Time 10 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup good gluten-free all-purpose flour *
  • 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum or guar gum (omit if your flour blend has already)
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened (1 stick)
  • 1 cup peanut butter at room temp (creamy)
  • 3/4 sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 Tbsp. milk or dairy-free milk alternative
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 bag (9-10 oz.) plain M&Ms

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the gluten-free flour, xanthan gum*, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a bowl of your mixer, beat the butter and the peanut butter until fluffy. Add the sugars and beat until smooth. Add the egg and mix well. Add the milk and vanilla extract and mix well. Add the flour mixture and beat thoroughly.
  4. Hand stir in 1 1/4 cups of the M&Ms.
  5. Use a small #60 size cookie scoop to scoop round balls of cookie dough. Place onto the parchment or silicone lined cookie sheets, leaving several inches between for expansion. Don't worry if you can't see any M&Ms on top of the cookies. In fact, any M&Ms that are on top of the cookies already will crack while baking. You'll add more after baking instead!
  6. Bake at 350° for 9-10 minutes. Do not overbake. Cookies may appear to be underdone, but they are not. Remember, these are a soft cookie, don't bake until firm! I pull out when they don't seem sticky anymore. I recommend making a couple test cookies so you can discover exact doneness in your oven. I wouldn't suggest baking more than 10 minutes if you indeed made them with the small scoop like I used.
  7. Remove from oven and place on cooling rack. Then hand place 2-3 more M&Ms on the top of each cookie. Don't push hard and make your cookies collapse though! Leave the cookies on the parchment lined cookie sheet for a few minutes, then slide the whole parchment paper with cookies off onto your cooling rack to cool completely.
  8. Makes about 60 cookies, depending on how much of the yummy dough you eat. I recommend using 3 cookie sheets so you can be rotating between scooping, baking, adding more M&Ms, cooling and repeating so you can get through them all! I have large sheets and with this size dough, I could easily get 12-15 per cookie sheet.

Notes

Salt: I assume in this recipe that you are using a peanut butter with some salt in it, thus the small amount of salt called for in the recipe. If you are using a natural peanut butter that has no salt added, I would bump up the amount of salt called for in the recipe to 1/2 teaspoon.

*If using a flour blend that already includes xanthan or guar gum, then omit the xanthan called for in the recipe. As always, be sure to double-check all of your ingredients to ensure they are gluten-free.

This recipe uses an entire bag of M&Ms. I used 1 1/4 cup of M&Ms in the dough, and then use the rest from the bag to add to the tops of the cookies. 

If you'd like to make bigger cookies than the little ones I made, you can use a medium size scoop instead (this one) and you'll get about 32 cookies instead. They'll take about 11-13 minutes to bake at that size.

Pin this to your gluten-free cookies board on Pinterest:
Gluten-free Peanut Butter M&M Cookies for Valentine's Day

I hope you and your family and friends enjoy these gluten-free m m cookies as much as we did!

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Kathy

Tuesday 11th of February 2020

I love that you used the brand of peanut butter that you used. Most people don't know that most peanut products have cottonseed oil in them. I am very sensitive to cottonseed oil so I know about that. The producers have found that they can sell their peanut oil and purchase cottonseed oil and make a handsome profit. So please realize that anytime that oil is involved in what you are wanting to eat you need to do your research first.

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