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
Should the cookies be stored in the refrigerator or just in a container at room temperature?
You can store them on the counter for up to 1 week.
Can you use sugar substitutes? I have just made 2 batches and they tasted awful. Had to throw them all away.
Sugar substitutes don’t work well in these cookies, Patsy. I suggest using actual sugar so they taste right and set properly.
Wow! These cookies were delicious! My husband and I made them for one of our family Christmas get togethers last weekend and they were a huge hit. We’ve tried a few other recipes before for these cookies and this one is best. We used skim milk because that’s what we had here, and we also stirred the butter, sugar, milk and cocoa powder mixture pretty much the whole time. Thanks for sharing this recipe Danielle!
I’m so glad everyone loved the cookies, Tammy! I’ve tried a few no-bake recipes as well and this one has always been my favorite 🙂
Do u suppose I could use chocolate milk instead of white milk? It’s all I have on hand. Thank you.
I haven’t tried it yet, but I think it would work. I’ve used skim, 2%, and whole milk and they’ve always turned out fine.
I made these with my daughter on a snow day. We had all the ingredients we needed in the pantry. They were absolutely delicious! I halfed the recipe and it still made a good amount! We will make these again!
These are definitely perfect for a snowy day, Kate! I’m so glad you liked them! 🙂
Glad you liked the cookies, Vanessa!
I made these but instead of cocoa powder i used shakeology… For anyone who also has this in their home and used 1 1/2 cup sugar and natural pb just a healthier option! These were my favorite as a kid and I’m so glad i found this recipe to make it again just healthier
Thanks for sharing about the substitutions, Chantey! I’m glad to hear they turned out great!
Yum! My husband and I made these tonight. The recipe is fast, fun and easy. Thank you for the delicious recipe!
I’m glad you both liked the cookies, Cassandra!
I was taught to not use tub margarine with these cookies because they will not set up. Stick only.
Cocoa powder is difficult to find in Singapore. Can I substitute the cocoa powder with Hersey’s chocolate syrup? Thank you.
I’ve never tried it in this recipe, but I don’t think that it would substitute for the cocoa powder very well.
My girlfriend used to.make these for me and ioved them. Unfortunately I llost her in 2012 and haven’t had them since. Brought back a lot of good memories I thought were lost
I’m sorry to hear that, Tom. I’m glad you enjoyed the cookies and that they brought back those good memories for you though 🙂
I’m out of parchment paper what should I do
You can use foil or wax paper instead. The parchment paper just makes it easier to clean up when you’re finished. You can just drop them on the cookie sheet too if you don’t have anything to line it with.
Thank you for your quick response
Can you use rice krispies instead of oatmeal?
I haven’t tried it before, so I’m not quite sure.
Terrible. Followed the recipe EXACTLY. Turned out all crumbly. What did I do wrong? Such a waste of ingredients.
It sounds like the mixture boiled too long. Did you boil the mixture for just 1 minute?
Yes. I set the timer on my iphone for 1 minute. I must have had the heat too high… 🙁
Did you have it on medium heat? If so, you may try slightly reducing the heat next time to see if that helps.
Hi Danielle – tried these again and didn’t have the heat so high and they turned out perfect. THANKS!!!
I’m so glad to hear that, Julie!
I’m planning to whip these up this evening! I have everything except oats, and I’m thinking about using shredded coconut instead. Do you think the omission of oats would require adjusting the boiling time? I hope they’ll hold together without oats! Worst case, I have a few packets of peaches & cream oatmeal, but I’m not sure how old they are as the box has been tossed. Eeek. Thanks!
Hi, Andee! I haven’t tried using just coconut before, so I’m not quite sure. It would probably be okay to use some coconut in place of the oats, but I’m not sure if the cookies will set up properly without any oats.
Followed recipe exactly and the cookies were amazing. Had these growing up as well. You don’t have to wait for these to harden, just cool a bit. This recipe makes Yummy, smooth, chocolatey, warm, goodness.
Glad you enjoyed the cookies, Erin! I usually end up eating them before they cool too, they’re definitely delicious that way! 🙂
As a husband and a father I’m always trying to come up with something to cook I’m trying this for the first time I’ve always enjoyed cooking on the weekends to help my wife out so here goes a try!
Hope the cookies turned out great for you, Kevin!
These Cookies were Awesome! Thanks for the Recipe! 😀
I’m so glad you liked the cookies, Sierra!
I just tried these tonight. I was out of the quick cooking oats, so I used old fashioned oats. I was surprised they turned out fine with them. I still prefer the quick cooking, but the other works fine. I added more peanut butter, probably about a half cup more.
Glad you liked the cookies, Julie! I’ll sometimes use regular old-fashioned oats, I just find the quick oats to have a better texture. You can even pulse the old-fashioned oats in a food processor a few times so they’re not quite as large.
I love them gooey !!!! I really don’t like them hard !!!! But been making them since I was a kid with my Grandmother and Mother and now with my Granddaughter….
They’re definitely still delicious when they’re gooey too! 🙂
Will these work without boiling? We used to make no bake cookies all the time but I lost my recipe, I don’t remember ever boiling them, so I’m wondering if this is the same?
No, the cookies would not set up. You do need to boil this mixture for the cookies to set up properly.
Hi. Please can I replace butter with Margarine in this recipe?
Yes, you can use margarine in this recipe.
I did not enjoy this. I would suggest less cocoa powder and more peanut butter, maybe even fewer oats.
Sorry you didn’t like the cookies, Kayla. You can feel free to add more peanut butter next time.
I was just wondering. Would it work if I replaced peanut butter and oats with nutella and chocolate chip?
I haven’t tried either, so I’m not quite sure. It may be okay to replace the peanut butter with Nutella, but I wouldn’t suggest replacing the oats.
So yummy and good. My college kid requests this specific recipie everytime he comes home.
So happy to hear that, Joy!
How many calories are there per cookie? Thank you!
I’m not sure on the nutritional info, but you can plug the ingredients into a website like My Fitness Pal to get an estimate.
Just made these cookies, used margarine instead of butter, crunchy peanut butter and put chocolate chips onto the top. Made one big one on a baking tray and cut it into smaller bars. Absolutely delecious and so easy 🙂
The chocolate chips sound like a great idea, Chloe. Glad you enjoyed the recipe!
I just want to say thank you for this recipe. I have tried so many different no bake cookie recipes and never could get them to turn out. My family’s favorite cookie is no bake. I tried this recipe a 4 months ago, just to add it to my list of ones I’ve tried. To my surprise they turned out great. I have been making them 2-3 times a month since. I even have our 10 year son helping make them some. He loves them.
So glad you enjoyed the cookies! I’ve tried a few recipes as well over the years and this one has always been my favorite 🙂
I make these cookies all the time. I like to keep them in the freezer and when company come over I just take them out of the freezer and serve them. They thaw out very quickly. Plus my husband prefers them frozen especially in the summer.
Thanks for sharing, Judy! I think they would definitely be delicious frozen during the summer too 🙂
I left my cookies in the fridge over night there still not that light brown color and there still mushy. What did I do or need to do ??
If the cookies were soft, it’s because the mixture did not boil long enough. Did you set your timer once it came to a rolling boil (the top was covered in bubbles)?