school cafeteria cookies made from peanut butter on a sheet pan

School Cafeteria Cookies

School Cafeteria Cookies taste just like the ones the lunch ladies made back in the day!  They’re huge, chewy, and made with lots of creamy peanut butter.

What Makes These Cookies Special?

Do you remember sitting at your desk in school and smelling the aroma of peanut butter cookies wafting though the air? Whenever the lunch ladies baked School Cafeteria Cookies, we couldn’t concentrate on anything else!

Throughout the years, I bet several fights have happened over these peanut butter cookies. When I was in school, the boys would beg the girls to hand them over…but I never faltered.

Nobody got between me and my peanut butter cookies. Not even my boyfriend, who happened to turn into my hubby several years later.

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • 1/2 cup cold butter or shortening
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • dash of salt

How to Make School Cafeteria Cookies

This recipe is in honor of Granny Mac, who worked as a lunch lady in a school cafeteria for many years. Sometimes she would bring home School Cafeteria Cookies and make my day. I’d stuff one or two in my pocket and head out the door on a wild adventure.

These peanut butter cookies can be made with shortening like Granny Mac used, or with butter, which is more acceptable today. Either way is good, but the original way is usually the best.

They’re so easy to make! Just mix the shortening and peanut butter until smooth. Add two types of sugar and mix well. Gradually blend in the flour and other dry ingredients…then you’re ready to start making peanut butter cookie balls!

My favorite part is when you take a fork and press the dough in a criss-cross pattern. They look just like the cookies you’ll remember from childhood! Dust them with sugar if you like, and bake for just 10 minutes at 350 degrees on a cookie sheet.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

School Cafeteria Cookies are sweet, salty, and filled with rich peanut butter flavor. They’re everything you want a cookie to be. Plus, they’re perfect when dunked in a cold glass of milk!

Chicago Public School system (CPS) is famous for their butter cookies, but down south, we lay claim to having the best school cafeteria peanut butter cookies you’ll ever taste!

Isn’t it great you don’t have to stare at the clock and wish class would end so you can get your hands on this yumminess? Now that you have this recipe, you can make them anytime you want.

More Cookies to Love

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stack of peanut butter cookies like the school cafeteria ladies used to make

School Cafeteria Cookies

  • Author: Debi ~ QuicheMyGrits
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 12 1x


Huge, chewy, peanut butter cookies taste just like the ones the School Cafeteria ladies made back in the day! 



  • 1/2 cup cold butter or shortening
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • dash of salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix the butter (or shortening) with peanut butter in a mixer until smooth.
  3. Add brown sugar, white sugar and beaten eggs.  Mix well.
  4. Gradually blend in the flour, baking soda and salt.
  5. Drop cookie dough onto a cookie sheet in 2 Tbsp. scoops.
  6. Pat dough down and press with a fork in a criss-cross pattern.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
  8. Cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to paper-lined sheets for cooling.


If you use butter, the cookies will spread more than if you use shortening.  Either way, they’re delicious!

Dust cookies with sugar after baking if desired.

  • Category: Desserts
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: peanut butter cookies, school cafeteria cookies, peanut butter, cookies

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  1. These are so delicious and take me back years ago to the divine aroma wafting through the halls and classrooms at school. Very easy too. Love your recipes.

  2. Thanks Jane! I have so many fond memories of these peanut butter cookies!

  3. Christy Jordan

    This recipe looks fabulous! I can smell them, just like you said 🙂
    Came over here from Meal Plan Monday looking for next week’s features. Make sure you check out the guidelines if you’d like to be featured some week as we’d love to have you!

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