Are you looking for a sweet treat that doesn't require the oven? These no bake cookies are just the thing to satisfy your sweet tooth without heating up the kitchen from the oven.
If you love cookies, then we know you will enjoy these cookie dough bites and our copycat chocolate chipper cookies!
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Fortunately, this recipe for no bake cookies uses pantry staples that you'll probably already have at home. Here's the most important ingredients you'll need.
- Sugar: you can use granulated sugar, or half white and half brown.
- Cocoa Powder: use unsweetened cocoa. You can leave it out or substitute with carob powder if you want.
- Butter: I like to use unsalted here since it's fresher than salted. Use coconut oil for a vegan/dairy free option.
- Peanut Butter: this adds a delicious nut flavor! Substitute with almond if you're allergic to peanuts.
- Oats: this is the binding agent that holds the cookie together. I prefer old-fashioned rolled oats for a chewier texture, but use quick oats if you prefer.
How to Make
- Measure out all the ingredients before you start, then whisk together the sugar and cocoa powder in a saucepan.
- Add the butter and milk and set over medium-high heat, then whisk continuously until it is melted.
3. Bring the mixture to a full boil, with lots of bubbles and steam. Insert a meat thermometer and cook the mixture until it reaches 230°F, which will take about 1-2 minutes.
4. Immediately remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the peanut butter, vanilla, and salt. Gradually add the oats to get the texture you're looking for. (Too many oats will make your no bake cookies dry and unappetizing.)
5. Drop the mixture by rounded tablespoonfuls onto cookie sheets lined with wax paper.
6. Let them sit at room temperature until they're fully set, which can take 35 minutes to 1 hour, depending upon the humidity. You'll know they're ready when you can peel the cookie off the paper easily without it breaking.
Enjoy them right away, or store them at room temperature for up to 3 days. You can also freeze them for up to 3 months.
Believe it or not, the ambient air temperature or humidity doesn't affect whether they will harden or not. It's all about the temperature of the cookie batter before the peanut butter, vanilla, salt, and oats are added. Basically, this first step is similar to making fudge.
It's super important to let the fudge cook until it reaches precisely 230 F on a candy thermometer. If you let the fudge get above 230 F, they will harden way too fast, and be super dry and crumbly. Yep, it's happened to me more than once.
Chances are, you haven't cooked the 'fudge' (the liquid chocolate part of this recipe) long enough. It's extremely important to get the fudge to exactly 230 F when you're cooking it on the stovetop.
It takes about 35 minutes, or even up to 1 hour depending on how long the fudge mixture was cooked and the humidity in the room. If they weren't made correctly, or if it's too humid in your kitchen, they may not set properly at all. Make sure to use a candy thermometer!
Yes, If you're stuck with a batch of gooey no bake cookies, pop them in the freezer until hard, then enjoy. They'll still taste fantastic!
- Peanut Free: use almond butter, cashew butter, or even Nutella.
- Nut Free: make your own sunflower seed butter by grinding the seeds in a food processor. Use that in place of the peanut butter.
- Vegan: use non-dairy milk and coconut oil instead of the butter.
- Gluten Free: make sure to use certified gluten free oats.
- Dairy Free: use your favorite non-dairy milk, such as almond or coconut milk.
- Extra Chocolatey: double the cocoa powder to make it ½ cup (40g).
- Change up the texture by using different oats. Old-fashioned rolled oats have a chewier texture, while quick oats are less so. Do not use steel-cut.
- Don't have peanut butter? Grind roasted peanuts, sunflower seeds, or almonds in a food processor or blender to make your own.
- Use a thermometer (digital is preferred) to see if the fudge mixture is cooked enough. Otherwise, no bake cookies may not set properly.
- Messed up batch? Chill gooey ones in the fridge or freezer. Sprinkle dry, crumbly ones on ice cream.
- Store leftovers at room temperature for up to 3 days or the freezer for up to 3 months.
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No Bake Cookies
- 1 ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ cup whole milk
- ½ cup unsalted butter, cubed
- ½ cup all-natural creamy peanut butter
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 2 to 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper or wax paper. Measure out all the ingredients.
- Whisk together the granulated sugar and cocoa powder in a medium saucepan until blended. Add the milk and butter and set over medium high heat, stirring constantly until all the butter has melted and it's evenly mixed.
- Bring the fudge mixture up to a full boil, keeping the pot uncovered. Insert a candy thermometer and let the mixture cook until it reaches 230 F, stirring frequently, then immediately take it off the heat.
- Stir in the peanut butter, vanilla extract, and pinch of salt until thoroughly mixed, then gradually add enough oats to get a thick and fudgy, but not dry, consistency.
- Drop the mixture by rounded tablespoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheets. Allow them to harden at room temperature, about 35 minutes to 1 hour, then serve. Store the no bake cookies in an airtight container at room temperature.
- Guarantee a good batch by using a digital thermometer to see if the fudge mixture is cooked to 230 F. Otherwise, the no bake cookies may be too gooey or too dry.
- Want a different texture? Use old-fashioned rolled oats for a chewier texture or quick oats for a smoother texture.
- Substitute the peanut butter with almond butter, Nutella, or homemade sunflower seed butter.
- Failed batch? Freeze gooey ones, and crumble up dry ones and sprinkle on ice cream.
- Store the no bake cookies at room temperature for up to 3 days or the freezer for up to 3 months.
Serving sizes and nutritional information are only an estimate and may vary from your results.
This recipe was originally published on June 22, 2018 and has been expanded with tips and helpful information.
I don't ever remember putting peanut butter in these. We made them all the time as kids, and it was a super simple recipe, but not with peanut butter. My mom agrees. I tried this recipe and they didn't set up.
We're sorry these cookies didn't work for you, Zoe. Using a thermometer and cooking the mixture to the right temperature should ensure that they set next time.
I love the oats surrounded with chocolate! These are really cool!
I'm really glad that you like these cookies, Beth!
These cookies are chewy, fudge, and chocolatey. They are one of my favorite cookies! Yum, yum!
I'm so glad that you like these cookies!