Classic No-Bake Cookies
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
- 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
- Snickerdoodle Cookies
- Peanut Butter No-Bake Cookies
- Soft Peanut Butter Cookies
- Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Classic No-Bake 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
- 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!
Slightly adapted from All Recipes
SO YUMMY. Me and my fiance loved these so much!
So glad you both enjoyed the cookies, Samantha!
Can you line the cookie sheet with them mixture then cut as its cooled to make squares?
I haven’t actually tried it before, but I think it may work. If you do try it, I’d love to hear!
Yes, you can, it sets better in the refrigerator covered, though. I prefer them this way sometimes.
Yes! That’s the only way I’ve made them and stick them right in the freezer for a bit!
How long do you keep in freezer and then do you put in frige
You will need a cake pan will side also called a casserole dish. My grandma makes all kinds of bar stuff form cookies to breads.
No need for freezer in less u like hard cookies. If u just let Kool and eat they are very soft good for all ages and teeth or no teeth LoL .
I have been making these since I was a little girl with my aunt. And even though I know how to make them i was not really sure of the measurements and lost all my recipes. This by far is the closest I have come to the actual “”real” cookies we have been making for 50 plus years. Thank you so mush for bringing a little bit of “home” back into our lives. Many,many thanks to you!
I’m so happy to hear that, Donna! 🙂
I want to make these cookies but I only have regular old fashioned oats? Will they still turn out okay?
Quick oats are just smaller and work better in these cookies, but rolled oats will be fine too.
Would like to use rice krispies cuz the kids like them. would they work? BTW LOVE YOUR RECIPES
Thank you, Brandy! I’m honestly not sure about the rice krispies, I haven’t tried them in these cookies.
I’ve always been a HUGE fan of these types of cookies. When I was younger and my mom would make them, I thought she bakes them. I’m so glad to know that there are no baking cookies, because that just makes things a whole ton easier. Thanks for the recipe, I appreciate it greatly 🙂
Definitely much easier! Hope you enjoy the cookies, Willow!
I followed the recipe exactly but my cookies
Will not set up no matter what. I put them in
the freezer but as soon as I take them out they
are just as soft as before I put them in could I warm everything back up and add more oats to see if that helps
Did you set your timer when the mixture came to a rolling boil (the top was fully covered with bubbles)? If you set it to early before it comes to a rolling boil, the cookies will not set properly. I’ve never tried reheating the mixture, so I’m not sure if that will help or not.
How much milk do u use for this recipe
You’ll need 1/2 cup for this recipe.
By trial and error I found that if the cookies don’t set you can microwave them for a few minutes. Odd as it sounds it works.
Thank you for sharing, Dona!
Try coconut instead of peanut butter. Yummy!!
As in coconut oil?
Hi everyone, has anyone replaced butter with olive oil?
I wouldn’t suggest it for this recipe, Roxana.
I did because I didn’t have any butter and they are delicious and setting up just fine. I looked it up and said for every cup of butter use 3/4 cup of oil.
Did you use coconut oil or a different kind, Jessica? I’m glad to hear it worked well!
For those with nut allergies like me, I use Sunbutter, or one of the other non peanut butters on the market, just as good. Vicki.
Thanks for sharing, Vicki! I’m glad to hear these work great with Sunbutter as well.
I made these except left the peanut butter out due to nut allergies. They came out wonderfully and tasted delicious.
So glad you like the cookies, Kimberly! Thanks for sharing about the peanut butter too, that will be helpful for others who made need to do the same 🙂
How long will these cookies last ?
Hi, Connie! They’ll stay fresh for up to a week in an airtight container on the counter.
It’s like the old Tootsie Roll Pop commercial. How long will they last? Nobody knows! They are always gone before anyone can time it! 🙂
Haha, so true! 🙂
I halved the recipe and then halved it again to make a small batch. This tasted absolutely delicious. Thanks alot for making our task easy. Next time by the will of Almighty I shall add sliced almonds or peanuts or pistachios or mix them up! God Bless you!
Some sliced almonds or peanuts would be delicious in these too! So glad you enjoyed the cookies!
Chucky Peanut Butter works great.
I’ve made this recipe (or one very similar) for years. Sometimes it’s just the humidity that doesn’t allow them to set up nicely. You soon get use to ‘what it looks like’ when you’re boiling the cookies and know when to remove them from the heat. Soft or dry, they’re good.
I think you’re right about the humidity, Karen, I’ve noticed that as well. And yes, these are always delicious soft or dry 😉
If you use evaporated milk they set up every time.
I just wanted to chime in because for the longest time I use to have the same troubles with any type of fudge or cookie that gave similar direction. It didnt matter when I started timing, it never seemed to set up. Then I finally tried something that solved all my issues with this. I think it is partially because I use an electric stove. However while, I heat the sugar, milk, butter, and cocoa over medium heat, I stir continuously without stopping! Do not stop stirring the sugar mixture until it reaches a rolling boil on its own. And then STOP stirring and start timing 60 seconds. Works for me perfectly every time. 🙂
I tried these and they are far too sweet for my taste, has anyone tried reducing the sugar? Will they still firm up if I use 1-1/2 cups?
I haven’t tried reducing the sugar that much, so I’m not quite sure.
You can and I even used sweet and low same amount and it does the same it also works as well
I just made them with 1-1/2 cups of sugar and increased the cocoa a bit, just under 1/3 cup, and they’re still super sweet.
No-bake cookies are much sweeter than regular cookies 🙂 If you had success reducing the sugar by 1/2 cup, you may be able to reduce it some more. However, I haven’t tried reducing the sugar by that much, so I’m not sure well how the cookies would set up with less sugar.
I used 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of stevia I also add ground flaxseed with the oatmeal about 1/4 c.in the 3 cups of oatmeal I replace 1/4 of it with that so youhave less sugar and some health benefits of the flaxseed the cookies are delish I like them in the refrigerator 🙂 I hope this helps I substitute a lot with stevia I buy the bag for baking good luck
Thank you for sharing, DeAnna! That will be helpful for others who may want to make these cookies a bit healthier.
I use special dark chocolate cocoa.
I use Splenda Naturals baking sugar – it’s half sugar and stevia leaf – works great- everyone in my family loves them – even the adults who say they hate splenda
Thanks for sharing, Connie! 🙂
I first made these cookies in 1974. The recipe came from the Mulligan Stew Magazine that we got in elementary school. They were 4-4-3-2 cookies.
I’ve never heard of the magazine or the 4-4-3-2 name, I’ll have to look that up! Thanks for sharing, Gail!
I remember that magazine and the 4432, I got the recipe from there too!
I need to make 200! Should I do smaller batches or all at once? Can you freeze them? Thanks!
I would just make one batch at a time, if you try to make it all at once the cookies probably won’t set up properly. If you make them a little smaller, you can probably get about 40 or so cookies in a batch though. I haven’t tried freezing these either, but I imagine that they’d freeze fine.
you can make a double batch, i do it all the time and they turn out great! also yes you can freeze them. there really good cold too!
Thanks for sharing, Rhonda! I’m glad to hear the double batch works out great too!
My mother made these cookies for years. Her recipe was called boiled cookies, known by some in the neighborhood as “cow piles”. My mother passed away 2012 at the age of 92 years.
My mother made these for years too, Joan. I’ve also never heard them called cow pile cookies before, that’s so funny! 🙂
My kids have called them cow pies since they were lil bitty lol
So funny, Colleen!
In Maine we call them cow flats
So funny, Brenda! I love hearing the different names these cookies go by 🙂
In Tennessee we call them “Cow Patties” Lol. They are also delicious made with the silk almond milk & if u like Hazel nut flavor ITS AWESOME AS WELL.?
So funny, Donna! I’ve never tried hazelnut flavored milk in these before, but it sounds fantastic!
Can you use alternative milk? Like almond milk in substitution for real milk? What about coconut oil in substitution for butter? Has anyone tried these two options??
I haven’t tried almond milk yet, but I think it would work. I’ve used anything from skim to regular milk and they work fine too. As for the coconut oil, I’m honestly not sure. I’ve only ever made these cookies with butter.
My question was going to be can u use 1% milk in ?
I’ve used 2% and skim milk, so I think that should be fine!
I have used coffe creamers the flavor is great and mix well with everything went less on sugar because cream is sweet hazelnut..amaretto my favorite
I’ve never tried coffee creamer, but I love that idea Carolyn!
Can the sugar be substituted for coconut sugar?
I haven’t tried coconut sugar yet, so I’m not quite sure.
Heather, how did the coconut sugar work out? How much did you use?
I’m sure it IS awesome as is. However, people’s diet restrictions don’t always allow that. So while I will use dairy free milk and dairy/soy free vegan butter so that my daughter can enjoy them, I of course will not judge the result.
I know some readers have had success using dairy-free milk, Julia. I’d love to hear how they turn out with the vegan butter! 🙂
I made these and mine wouldn’t set up!!
Sorry to hear that, Jillian. No-bake cookies can be a little tricky the first time or two and even small things like humidity can affect whether or not they set up.
If your cookies didn’t set up it could be because the mixture did not boil long enough. I always set my timer once the mixture comes to a rolling boil (when the top is completely covered in bubbles). Did you do that? If so, then you may want to try cooking the mixture for up to 30 seconds longer if you try them again. If they’re partially setting up, but not all the way, you can refrigerate them and that should help.
Your school lunch may have a recipe for larger quantities of cookie sizes as here in our district and surrounding districts use this recipe as treats for the kids on special occasions.
That’s a wonderful idea if someone is needing to make a larger batch! Thanks for sharing, Carol 🙂
These were an exciting part of my childhood. My grandmother made them, then my mother and now all of my siblings and cousins are carrying on the tradition. We make these without the peanut butter and they are wonderful warm or cold, hard or soft. They are our comfort food!
I love to hear about other’s family traditions with these cookies, Gayle! My mom used to make them without peanut butter sometimes too, they are delicious that way too 🙂
Best no bakes I’ve had so far! I used flax milk and it worked just fine 🙂 any milk substitute should
So happy to hear that, Madeline! Thanks for sharing about the flax milk too, glad to know it worked great 🙂
I use to make these kind of cookies back in the 80s for my kids after school they loved them I still make them its fast, easy and so good
These are definitely a great after school treat! I love how fast and easy they are too 🙂
I have used a very similar recipe for years now! The only thing I do different is I use 1 cup of peanut butter and sometimes even add another spoon full on top 🙂 We love peanut butter in my family, and I love how creamy the extra peanut butter makes them! Great recipe!
I need to try adding more peanut butter next time I make a batch, Megan! We love peanut butter around here too 🙂
Good to know about adding more peanut butter. I love no bakes but this recipe was way too sweet for me. More peanut butter is just what it needs.
We used to call these “grandmas favorit cookies” growing up. I lost my copy of the recipe and was searching for one online and stumbled upon yours. We liked to make them with half oats/half coconut. Can’t wait to make them!
Love that name for these cookies, Hilary! I’ve heard of using coconut in them, but I haven’t tried it before. I’m thinking I may need to try it next time I make a batch though. Hope you enjoy the cookies!
My sweet mom simply called these yummy cookies, “Fudgies”. Our favorites growing up and the first “sweet” my mom taught me to make. A favorite with my kiddo’s, as well. I sometimes use Jif crunchy, which add another dimension to the texture and flavor. 🙂
Love that nickname, Cindy! I need to try these with crunchy peanut butter sometime, I think it would be great as well!
My friends and I love this recipe. So easy 🙂
So glad everyone loves the cookie, Abbie! They’re one of my favorites.
Wow! These cookies are delicious! So easy! My mom made these. I thought they’d be so hard to make. Thanks for tip about measuring beforhand and the timer. I can’t wait to make them again.
I’m glad you liked the cookies, Holli! I make these all the time! 🙂
I have made these cookies for years! They are very temperature sensitive. Any humidity or cooking over the 60 seconds will make them not set properly. I don’t use a cookie sheet to put them on because the metal pan holds heat and makes them take longer to cool. I put wax paper directly on my counter top and spoon them onto that. Even if your kitchen is warm your counter top is cool so it works perfectly!
I’ve noticed this with the humidity as well, Barbie. I live in Arkansas where it gets very humid during the summer! Thanks for the tip about the cookie sheet, I’ll sometimes use the countertop as well just to make it easier. 🙂
The sugar is considered a liquid ingredient and there is oil in the peanut butter and butter so it’s important to use real butter, NOT margarine to keep the oil % low enough that the cookies will set up. If you’re having trouble then try reducing the amount of sugar slightly. You have to stir the mixture constantly when going for a rolling boil. Then after 60 seconds move the pan off the heat, stir in the vanilla and peanut butter until fully melted. If you like the taste of cocoa powder like me then now is your chance to stir in a few more spoonfuls. OR you can leave out cocoa completely to get a peanut butter no bake cookie. Last step is stirring in the oats then you’re ready to spoon out some cookies.
I prefer to use butter in these cookies, but I’ve used margarine a few times and they set up fine.
I made these using ur measurements and they aren’t like I remembered at all,so I found my grandmas recipes and they came out perfect ,I figured out what was wrong ,ur recipe called for 3 cups of oats for a half recipe when it should be 1 1/2 cups of oats and also add 1/8tsp of salt,they come out smoother and u can taste the peanut butter a lot more. I’m not knocking ur recipe at all I just like less oats .
Hi, Eileen! I’m not quite sure what you mean by 3 cups of oats for a half recipe?
I made these tonight and they turned out extremely dry. I had some left in the pan so I had a couple teaspoons of milk. There was enough mixture remaining to make like 6 cookies. They were perfect. Any suggestions what I did wrong in the orginal process?
If they came out to dry, the mixture likely boiled too long. Did you set your timer as soon as it came to a rolling boil and remove it from the heat after 60 seconds?
These cookies sound and look so amazing. My daughters school cafeteria made these frequently !! They were such a treat!!
Thank you, Connie! Your daughter is so lucky, I wish my school made these growing up 🙂
I didn’t like them. They set up nice and whatnot but I felt I needed more “fudginess” … I may use evap milk next time… maybe the sugar I use (raw unbleached) who knows. It was sweet enough but not fudgy
Also do you chop your oats? While looking the in picture I do not see a single oat that is full?
These cookies aren’t meant to be fudgy, they’re supposed to fully set. You can try boiling the mixture a little less longer, but the mixture will be pretty sticky. I also use quick oats (not rolled oats) and don’t chop them.
I add a half cup of karo syrup to the sugar and butter to make the cookies stay shiny.
Love these dang things. Mom used to make these when I was a kid. Gladd to come across this recipe. Thanks for your share. It’s heart wRming having these in my life.
My mom made them all the time too! Hope you enjoy the cookies, Ron.
Almond milk works great can’t tell the difference, I even used blue bonnet light margin super good and vegans can eat them also
Thanks for sharing, Laurie! 🙂
I love these cookies! I read above about using Karo syrup to make them shiny. Now, how can I make them more flat and round like your’s? I can’t seem to master that part!
I use a cookie scoop (1.5-2 tablespoons) to get them all even in size and then just flatten them down with the back of the scoop. You can use a spoon to kind of shape them while they’re still warm.