These Classic No-Bake Cookies only require a few simple ingredients and are incredibly easy to make. Loaded with peanut butter, oats, and cocoa powder, these cookies are perfect for an easy dessert!

Several no-bake cookies on a piece of parchment paper.

Do you have a favorite cookie? One that you absolutely love and could probably eat the entire batch if you’re left alone with them? Besides a good chocolate chip cookie, I’ve always loved no-bake cookies.

Whenever we were kids and we wanted something sweet, my mom would whip up a batch of these cookies. And to be honest, we hardly ever waited for them to cool completely before we dug in.

One thing that I love about these cookies is how easy they are to make. You can prepare a batch in about 15 to 20 minutes, then all you have to do is wait for them to cool. 

And the best part? You probably have everything on hand to make these right now! And even if you don’t, once you make a batch you’ll make sure to have everything on hand for next time. Trust me.

The ingredients needed to make classic no-bake cookies in different bowls and measuring cups on a gray surface.

Ingredients For This Recipe

Before you get started making the cookies, I suggest getting all of your ingredients ready and measuring them out. This will make the process go much smoother, and the quicker you get everything combined after the mixture has boiled the better the cookies will turn out.

Here’s a quick overview of exactly what you will need:

  • Butter: I prefer to use butter in this recipe because it tastes better. I have tested it with margarine though and it does work just fine.
  • Milk: Any kind of milk will work in this recipe! I typically use whole milk, but 2%, 1%, skim, or even a non-dairy milk like almond milk will work.
  • Granulated Sugar: To sweeten the cookies and help them set up.
  • Unsweetened Cocoa Powder: This adds a delicious chocolate flavor to these cookies. Natural unsweetened or Dutch-process cocoa powder both work great.
  • Peanut Butter: I recommend using a no-stir creamy peanut butter like Jif or Skippy. Crunchy peanut butter is fine too!
  • Vanilla Extract: For a little flavor.
  • Quick-Cooking Oats: I find that quick-cooking oats work best in this no-bake cookie recipe because they’re smaller and not quite as chewy.

The butter, sugar, milk, and cocoa powder in a large saucepan after it's been melted together and boiled for one minute. A rubber spatula rests inside the saucepan.

How To Make No-Bake Cookies

To start, line a couple of large baking sheets with parchment paper and set them aside.

Next, combine the sliced butter, granulated sugar, milk, and cocoa powder in a large saucepan and place it over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, bring the mixture to a rolling boil and allow it to boil for one minute.

Now here’s another important thing, set a timer for exactly 60 seconds once the mixture comes to a rolling boil. In other words, the top is completely covered in bubbles. If you boil it too long, the no-bake cookies will turn out dry and if you don’t boil it long enough they won’t set properly. Timing is very important here!

Once the timer goes off, remove it from the heat, and stir in the peanut butter and vanilla extract until it’s nice and smooth. Add the quick-cooking oats and stir them in until all of the oats are coated with the mixture.

Then, use a cookie scoop to scoop the mixture and drop cookies onto the prepared baking sheets. I like to use the back of the cookie scoop or a spoon to flatten each one out a bit so they cool faster.

The cookies will be very soft at first, but will continue to set up more as they cool. Mine usually take about 20 to 30 minutes to fully set up, but they’re delicious warm too!

Several no-bake cookies on a piece of parchment paper. A cookie with a bite taken out of it is leaning on top of another cookie.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why did my cookies not set?

The main reason that chocolate peanut butter no-bake cookies don’t set up is because the mixture did not boil long enough. Make sure to wait and set your timer once the mixture comes to a rolling boil. In other words, the top is completely covered in bubbles. If you set the timer too soon, then the cookies may not set up.

If you’re cookies don’t fully set up after 2o to 30 minutes, you can place them in the refrigerator to help them firm up. Some readers have also mentioned that they will microwave a few cookies at a time for a few seconds and this helps them to finish setting up too.

Can you freeze these cookies?

Yes, absolutely! Once the cookies have cooled completely, you may freeze them in a freezer bag or freezer-friendly storage container for up to 3 months. When you are ready to enjoy the cookies, place them on the counter and let them come to room temperature. 

Can I use old-fashioned rolled oats?

You may used old-fashioned rolled oats in these cookies, but they will be chewier. I recommend using quick-cooking oats if possible or pulsing the old-fashioned rolled oats in a food processor 2 or 3 times to break them down. 

A stack of several no-bake cookies.

Baking Tips

  • Make sure to gather your ingredients and measure everything out before you get started with these cookies, it will make the whole process much smoother!
  • After you remove the mixture from the heat, work quickly to stir in the remaining ingredients and scoop the mixture. If you let it sit for too long, the cookies may turn out dry.
  • For cookies that are perfectly round and uniform in size, I highly recommend using a cookie scoop!

More Classic Cookie Recipes

Video Tutorial

Several no-bake cookies on a piece of parchment paper.

Classic No-Bake Cookies

4.97 from 127 ratings
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 5 mins
Cooling Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 45 mins
These Classic No-Bake Cookies only require a few simple ingredients and are incredibly easy to make. Loaded with peanut butter, oats, and cocoa powder, these cookies are perfect for an easy dessert!

Ingredients

Servings: 30 cookies
  • 1/2 cup (115 grams) butter (sliced into pieces)
  • 2 cups (400 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) milk
  • 1/4 cup (20 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup (125 grams) creamy peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups (300 grams) quick-cooking oats

Instructions
 

  • Before getting started, make sure to gather all of your ingredients and measure everything out. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  • Combine the butter, sugar, milk, and unsweetened cocoa powder in a large saucepan and heat over medium heat, making sure to stir often until the butter is melted and everything is well combined. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil and allow to boil for 60 seconds (make sure to set a timer!) stirring occasionally.
  • Remove from the heat, and stir in the peanut butter and vanilla extract until fully combined. Stir in the oats and mix until all of the oats are coated with the mixture and everything is well combined.
  • Drop spoonfuls of the mixture onto the prepared baking sheets (I like to use a 1.5 tablespoon cookie scoop). Allow to cool for 20 to 30 minutes, serve, and enjoy!

Notes

Storage Instructions: Cookies may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.
Freezing Instructions: Once the cookies have cooled completely, store them in a large freezer bag or freezer-friendly storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw the cookies to room temperature before serving.
Milk: I prefer to use whole milk in this recipe, but 2%, 1%, skim, or even almond milk will work.
Oats: You may used old-fashioned rolled oats in these cookies, but they will be chewier. I recommend using quick-cooking oats if possible or pulsing the old-fashioned rolled oats in a food process 2 or 3 times to break them down. 
Cuisine: American
Course: Dessert
Author: Danielle
Did you make this recipe?Mention @livewellbakeoften on Instagram or tag #livewellbakeoften.

Slightly adapted from All Recipes