No Bake Cookies

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No Bake Cookies blend peanut butter, cocoa, sugar, and oats for fudgy treats. Add sea salt for a sweet-salty combo. No chilling or baking needed!

Looking for more no bake treats? Try our No Bake Brownie BitesPretzel Peanut Butter Bars, and Oreo Truffles.

Three No-Bake Cookies on a plate

No Bake Cookies Recipe

Step into the enticing world of no bake cookies! Designed to simplify your baking experience, these treats do have their quirks. Sometimes they’re a gooey delight, other times, a grainy mystery. Here’s the secret: they’re more candy than cookie! Bound by homemade fudge, it’s essential to approach them with a candy-maker’s precision. Fear not, for I’ve packed this guide with all the tips and tricks you’ll need, ensuring you master these goodies without even needing a candy thermometer. Let’s get sweet and savvy!

(This all said, if you are consistently running into issues making no bake cookies, a thermometer may be worth the investment–see “quick tip” box below!)


Using a candy thermometer takes out the guesswork and ensures you get the fudge mixture to the perfect temperature. Here is the candy thermometer I use and recommend. And once you have one, you can use it in all our favorite candy recipes. I’d recommend starting with this Buttercrunch Candy, Homemade Toffee, or Honeycomb Candy!

Process shots of no-bake cookies-- images of the butter, sugars, cocoa powder, salt, and milk being added to a pot

No Bake Cookies Ingredients

  • Unsalted Butter: Adds richness and binds ingredients.
  • Whole Milk: Offers moisture and a creamy fudge texture. (Whole milk gives the best results, offering a richer flavor and preventing the fudge from breaking or separating.)
  • Salt: Balances and enhances flavors.
  • Mixed Sugars (Brown and White): Sweeten the cookies, with brown sugar adding caramel undertones.
  • Unsweetened Cocoa Powder: Provides a chocolatey flavor. Read more about the differences in cocoa powders here.
  • Creamy Peanut Butter: Brings in creaminess and nutty taste.
  • Vanilla Extract: Adds depth and complements other flavors.
  • Oats (old-fashioned or quick): Gives the cookie structure and texture.


Dark brown sugar has more molasses than light, giving No Bake Peanut Butter Cookies a deeper color and a richer, more pronounced flavor.

Process shots-- images of the mixture cooking

How To Make No Bake Cookies

  1. Prep: Assemble ingredients and line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. Cut butter into 1 tablespoon chunks.
  2. Chocolate Base: In a medium pot on low heat, mix butter, milk, salt, combined sugars, and cocoa. Stir frequently until butter melts. Keep heat low to avoid graininess.
  3. Boil: Once butter melts, raise heat to medium. Stir constantly until the mixture boils fully. Boil for 1 minute, aiming for 230°F if using a thermometer. Remove from heat after and stir for 10 seconds.
  4. Finish: Mix in peanut butter until smooth, then add vanilla and oats. Stir well.
  5. Shape & Set: Scoop 1.5-2 tablespoon portions onto the sheet. Allow to harden for 30 minutes or speed up by chilling in the fridge.

Process shots of no-bake cookies-- images of the peanut butter and vanilla being added

Tips For Successful Cookies

  • Ingredient Preparation: As this no bake cookies recipe moves swiftly, have all ingredients measured and ready to go before starting. This ensures the process runs smoothly.
  • Stovetop Temperature: It might be tempting to turn up the heat, but stick to the suggested temperatures. A low and slow approach, especially during the chocolate base phase, ensures a smoother texture and prevents graininess.
  • Boiling: Achieving the right boil is crucial. Once the mixture reaches a full rolling boil, not just a simmer or edge bubble, time it for exactly one minute. This ensures the proper setting of the cookies.
  • Thermometer: If you have a candy thermometer, aim for the mixture to reach 230°F during the boiling phase. This ensures the ideal consistency.
  • Mixing: Once off the heat, mix in ingredients in the order mentioned (like peanut butter first, then vanilla, then oats). This helps to achieve the desired no bake cookies texture and flavor.
  • Shaping Cookies: Using a cookie scoop can help ensure uniformly sized cookies which will set consistently.
  • Setting: Patience is key! Allow cookies to fully harden for about 30 minutes. If you’re in a rush, placing them in the fridge can speed up the process

Process shots of no-bake cookies-- images of the oats being added and it all being dropped onto a prepared pan and shaped into cookies

No Bake Cookies FAQs

Why Did My No-Bake Cookies Not Set?

To ensure cookies that firm up and harden, the chocolate fudge mixture needs to be boiled for 1 full minute or boiled until it reaches the temperature of 230 degrees F.

Can I Use Crunchy Peanut Butter Instead?

Yes, you can use crunchy peanut butter, but I don’t recommend. It will change the cookie’s texture and may require slight adjustments in the amount.

What Is A Substitute For Peanut Butter In No Bake Cookies?

A substitute for peanut butter in no-bake cookies is almond butter, cashew butter, Nutella, or sunflower seed butter, ensuring a similar texture and flavor profile.

Image of the treats stacked on top of eachother


Can You Freeze No Bake Cookies?

Yes! Place the finished cookies on the lined sheet pan in the freezer for 1 hour or until very firm. Once firm, transfer to freezer bag (layer cookies separated by parchment paper in bag) and freeze for up to 6 months. 

Do No Bake Cookies Have To Be Refrigerated?

No Bake Cookies don’t require refrigeration but can last a week at room temperature in an airtight container. However, they taste great cold and can last up to two weeks in the fridge.

Closeup of No-Bake Cookies

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No Bake Cookies

5 from 1 vote
No Bake Cookies blend peanut butter, cocoa, sugar, and oats for fudgy treats. Add sea salt for a sweet-salty combo. No chilling or baking needed!
Print Recipe

No Bake Cookies

5 from 1 vote
No Bake Cookies blend peanut butter, cocoa, sugar, and oats for fudgy treats. Add sea salt for a sweet-salty combo. No chilling or baking needed!
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American, Vegetarian
Keyword no bake cookie recipe, no bake cookies
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 minute
Setting Up 30 minutes
Total Time 51 minutes
Servings 20 -24 cookies
Chelsea Lords
Calories 204kcal
Cost $4.89


  • 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 1-tablespoon pieces
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1-1/4 cups light or dark brown sugar, lightly packed (we like dark best!)
  • 3/4 cup white, granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (Note 1)
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter (Note 2)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats (or quick oats) (Note 3)


  • PREP: Assemble all the ingredients, this recipe moves quickly! Line one extra-large (15x21-inch) or 2 large cookie sheets with parchment paper or a silpat liner and set aside. Cut butter into 1 tablespoon pieces.
  • CHOCOLATE BASE: In a medium pot over low heat, mix butter, milk, sugars, salt, and cocoa. Maintain low heat to prevent graininess. It'll be tempting to increase the heat, but don't! Stir often with a spatula, ensuring butter melts fully and scraping the pot's sides.
  • BOIL CHOCOLATE BASE: After the butter melts, raise the heat to medium. Stir until the mixture reaches a full boil, then continuously stir for one minute. Avoid under or over-boiling. Aim for 230°F if using a candy thermometer. Once done, remove from heat and stir briefly for 10 seconds.
  • FINISH COOKIES:Add peanut butter, stirring until smooth. Mix in vanilla, then oats, ensuring even coating.
  • LET COOKIES SET UP: Using a 2-tablespoon scoop, place cookie mixture on the sheet. Let cool until hardened, about 30 minutes or faster in the fridge.
  • STORAGE: These cookies taste great cold from the fridge and last up to 2 weeks in an airtight container there, or 1 week at room temperature. To freeze, set cookies on a pan in the freezer until firm, then store in a freezer bag with parchment layers for up to 6 months.


Recipe Notes

Note 1: Unsweetened cocoa powder: Be sure to use unsweetened cocoa powder, not Dutch-processed cocoa powder.
Note 2: Creamy peanut butter: Use creamy, not crunchy, peanut butter for best results. We love and highly recommend Skippy® Creamy Peanut Butter (not sponsored) in these cookies. If you use a no-stir (natural) peanut butter be sure it is well mixed before measuring for this recipe.
Note 3: Oats: Most no bake cookies recipes call for quick oats, which work fine in this recipe. However, we are hooked on using old-fashioned oats instead! You can't beat the chewiness and additional texture these oats provide. Use whatever you prefer.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 204kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 3.9g | Fat: 8.8g | Cholesterol: 11.2mg | Sodium: 93.5mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 16.8g

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.


I love hearing from you when you've made one of my recipes! Tag me on Instagram at @ChelseasMessyApron or leave me a comment below.

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