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
Help! I am all out of cocoa powder and no time to run to the store. Can I substitute milk chocolate chips?
Hi, Sally! I honestly haven’t tried it, but chocolate chips are much different than cocoa powder so I’m not quite sure how they would turn out. I do have a regular peanut butter no bake cookie recipe here that may work better for you.
Danielle, I love your receipes. Can we reduce the amount of sugar we use?
You can reduce it by 1/4 to 1/2 cup, but I don’t recommend reducing it more than that.
My all time favorite chocolate craving fix.
yes you can use milk chocolate chips but i recommend that you use a little bit less sugar or else it will be to sweet but i just made mine with milk chocolate chips and they turned out alright they are setting in my fridge right now.
I have made these for many many years when my kids were in elementary. It was my turn to bring the snack for the after a school event. I forgot and so I had to think kick on my feet and I grabbed this recipe because it was quick to make and harden. Since that first time I have made it so many many times for many many years. I now see these being sold in bakeries and stores all over the world. I am now thinking to make them with oatmeal and raisins because I love chocolate
I remember making these when I was a young girl. This recipe is right on target for me. Thank you for sharing
The cookies will not harden even after an hour of cooling. I’ve reviewed the ingredients and proper amounts and steps several times.
If the cookies aren’t setting up, it’s because the mixture did not boil long enough. Did you make sure to set the timer once it came to a rolling boil? If you set it too soon, that can happen. You can try either refrigerating them or microwaving them for a few seconds. I have a section in my post that explains what to do if they’re not setting up.
Does it have to be quick oats? I’m all out. I only have the other
I do recommend quick oats, just because old-fashioned oats tend to give them a much chewier texture. That being said, it’s fine to use old-fashioned rolled oats. If you have a food processor you can pulse them a few times to help break them up and make them similar to quick oats too.
I have used regular old fashioned oats and they work just as well. Some people don’t care for the chewier texture, but I think they are delicious!
I really enjoy your site. I have been out of commission for the past several months, so now I am up to the wonderful challenge of seasonal and Christmas baking. thanks for your great information.
Thank you, Elizabeth! So glad you’re enjoying my site and the recipes!
Do you cook the oats or just add them uncooked? Thanks
I add them uncooked, you don’t want to cook them first.
I’ve made your recipe a bunch of times, they always turn out. It’s that 60 timer as soon as you see a roll. Lol. Always delicious. Thanks for sharing.
Very easy for the novice. I think next time I will reduce oats to 2 1/2 cups. Mine came out a little too oaty.
My mom passed away when I was 11 but I have a very fond memory of her making these cookies and my brother & I would devour them as soon as she would let us! It’s such an amazing memory for me.
When I came across your recipe I immediately got that warm fuzzy feeling again!
My question is, I don’t remember there being peanut butter in the cookie. (I was very young so maybe I’m not remembering correctly??)
Can you make this recipe without peanut butter?
Thank you for sharing all your knowledge!
Yes, you can make these without peanut butter! You don’t have have to make any adjustments to the recipe either if you omit the peanut butter.
Overall taste is great, but waaaaay too sweet for me, and even for my kids. The peanut butter I used wasn’t sweetened, either, or it would have been worse! I’m surprised no one else mentioned it…maybe I did something wrong? I think I’ll try again but with half the amount of sugar.
These are no bake cookies, they’re meant to be pretty sweet 🙂 You can reduce the sugar some, but I wouldn’t suggest reducing it too much, otherwise they may not set up.
Is it possible to make these with an unsweetened almond butter? American style peanut butter is not available where I live
As long as it’s a creamy no-stir almond butter where the oil doesn’t separate, that would be fine!
I have not made them . I looked at the recipe and it’s way to much sugar for me and butter.
I am not good at changing recipes. Maybe you can help.
You can reduce the sugar by 1/4 to 1/2 cup, but I wouldn’t recommend more than that or they may not set up. You can replace the butter with margarine too, but there’s not another good substitute for the butter in this recipe.
I learned you. Ould subdtitute the butter for cocanut oil and i tried it with the same measurement for butter and it turned out fabulous. i used a whole cup of peanut butter and one and a half cups suger
Turned out perfect! Put in refridgerater to set up good and put in air-tight contsiner after about two hours.
I think your recipe is perfect. Thank You for sharing. God Bless. And stay safe.
What can I substitute for butter/margarine and vanilla extract? Can I substitute canola olive oil for the butter or just leave it out completely and maple syrup for vanilla extract?
I’ve only ever used butter or margarine. Coconut oil may work, but I haven’t personally tried it. You can leave out the vanilla extract.
These are so good! Dangerously so, I need to find a way to hide the rest of them from myself before my teeth fall out.
I wonder if it’s possible to reduce the amount of sugar without hindering their ability to set properly?
I have reduced it by 1/4 cup with success. It may be okay to reduce it by 1/2 cup, but I wouldn’t suggest any more than that or they may not set up.
Thank you for making this so easy to follow. I made these for years from a handed down recipe but they didn’t always turn out. I decided to try your way and they were perfect.
Great recipe, thank you for sharing it. I love no bake cookies and these are definitly the recipe I grew up eating. Delicious!!!!
Hi Danielle! I am 13 years old and I love your site and your recipes! I love baking and you have really encouraged me to bake amazing things! I really love all of your recipes! I hope you have a great day!
P.S – These No-Bake Cookies really hit the spot! Love them!
Hi! So, this recipe calls for creamy peanut butter, but can I use crunchy peanut butter, or would that not work? Thanks!
You can swap out the creamy peanut butter for the same amount of crunchy peanut butter.
Great! Thanks! I tried them with crunchy peanut butter and they turned out really good!
I think your recipe is perfect. These are delicious. I love them and so do my kids. Thank You for the recipe.
Does it have to be salted butter or unsalted? Or does it matter?
I typically use unsalted butter, but salted butter is fine to use in this recipe too.
Hi, my name is Tessa Burger, and I love baking, but since it is so hot outside right now, and we don’t have any air conditioning, I wanted to try no bake cookies so the oven would not heat up the house!
this is a great recipe, and I plan to make it more often! Thanks Danielle
P.S I reduced the sugar 1/4 cup and my mom who is no sugar person said they were a little sweet, but yummy, and my brothers keep asking for more.
Is there anything else I can use instead of cocoa powder? I haven’t got any at all?
You can make my no-bake peanut butter cookie recipe here instead.
I have no parchment paper what do I do?
Do you have any wax paper or foil? Either one would be fine to drop the cookies on.
Thank you for your recipes. I just came across a few of them today and can’t wait to try them. I’ve had trouble with cookies off and on and can’t figure out the science! Lol especially using flour. I learned to sift but I still have problems with chocolate chip cookies.
Now with no bake cookies I never knew to let it boil for 60 seconds. No other recipe says to do that and it never sets up. I haven’t baked in over a year or so because I get frustrated with it.
You have bought back my hope and excitement! Wish me luck! ?
Thank you, Alea! If you’re having trouble with cookies, this post on how to measure flour may be helpful for you!
Wonderful recipe! I made them yesterday. I used 1 cup sugar and replaced rest of the 1 cup sugar with 1/2 cup stevia, as stevia tastes much sweeter. I didn’t fully replace sugar with stevia because I was afraid it won’t set up. Anyways, this batch never got to a hard boil but it set up anyways in the fridge. Thanks for the wonderful recipe!
Just here to say I’m probably on my 15th time making your cookies and they have never failed me. Thank you! Such a quick, easy, delicious treat to have in my back pocket for a get together.
Thank you, Hayley! So happy to hear that!
I have old fashioned oats and the instant oats in the packages. Can I use instant oats?
Yes, that would be fine!
THESE COOKIES ARE SO DELISH!!!!! PEANUT BUTTER AND CHOCOLATE IN ONE COOKIE—WHAT A TREAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
THANK YOU FOR THIS WONDERFUL RECIPE. I HAVE ALWAYS MADE THE NO BAKE CHOCOLATE–OATMEAL COCONUT COOKIES AND NEVER THUGHT TO ADD PEANUT BUTTER, WE. LOVE THESE ONES SO MUCH BETTER.
Mine turned out dry and crumbly. Any suggestions?
If they turned out dry, it’s likely that the mixture boiled too long. Did you make sure to set a timer as soon as the mixture came to a rolling boil?
these are delicious!!!!!!!!! made these and they disappeared in minutes.