Home > Desserts > Cookies > No-Bake Cookies No-Bake Cookies December 16, 2022 | 2 Comments SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Jump to Recipe This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy. Classic No-Bake Cookies combine creamy peanut butter, cocoa powder, sugar, and oats into sweet, chewy, and ultra fudgy cookies. Top with a sprinkle of sea salt for the best sweet and salty treat. These cookies are the best — no dough chilling and no baking required! Looking to make this treat a bit more nutritious? Try our Healthy No Bake Cookies instead! No-Bake Cookies Recipe While no-bake cookies are intended to be easier than making cookies from scratch, they are also notoriously finicky–sometimes they don’t firm up fully and stay gooey OR they end up dry and grainy. This is because the base of these cookies is more of a candy recipe than a cookie recipe. No-bake cookies are bound together with homemade fudge–aka homemade candy. So for the fudge to set properly and not be dry/grainy, you have to treat this recipe like a candy, not cookie, recipe. The best way to do that is by following the directions precisely paying close attention to stovetop temperature and timing. My aim is to provide all the necessary details, tips, and tricks to arm you with the ability to make this recipe without needing a candy thermometer. (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!) QUICK TIP 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! What No-Bake Cookies Are Made Of Unsalted butter. Stick to real butter here, not margarine which won’t offer the same rich flavor. We recommend starting with unsalted butter so you can perfectly control the saltiness of the cookies. Whole milk. We’ve tried all different fat percentages and always have the best results with whole milk. Not only will you get a richer flavor, the fudge mixture is also less prone to breaking or separating. Fine sea salt. Salt is going to help balance the sweetness of these cookies while enhancing flavors. Brown sugar. Use light or dark brown sugar. Dark is our favorite here–see “quick tip” box below! QUICK TIP Both light and dark brown sugar contain molasses, but dark brown sugar has more. Because of the increased amount of molasses, dark brown sugar has a darker and deeper color with a stronger and more pronounced flavor and richer sweetness in these No-Bake Peanut Butter Cookies. Ingredients, Cont. Unsweetened cocoa powder. We love dutch-process cocoa powder in a lot of our chocolate dessert recipes (hello best ever chocolate muffins and our favorite bakery-style chocolate cookies!) But for these no-bake cookies, be sure to use unsweetened cocoa powder, not Dutch-process. Creamy peanut butter. Use creamy, not crunchy, peanut butter for best results. I recommend using a peanut butter that you love — if you like a spoonful of the peanut butter plain, you’ll love it in this no bake cookie recipe. We love and highly recommend Skippy® Creamy Peanut Butter (not sponsored). Vanilla extract. This is a flavor enhancer that adds a subtle richness to these No-Bake Oatmeal Cookies. 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! I love the chewiness and additional texture these oats provide. The full recipe is in the recipe card at the bottom of this post, but below we’re sharing our top tips for success in making this No-Bake Cookie Recipe. How To Make No Bake Cookies Assemble everything before starting. These cookies move quickly once the fudge mixture is boiling so it’s best to have everything set out, measured, and ready to add. This way the fudge mixture won’t over-cook. Stir through the peanut butter, vanilla, and oats off heat. Remove the pot from the stove-top entirely before adding in these ingredients. Use a timer. Once the mixture reaches a full boil, set a timer for 1 full minute. If the mixture doesn’t boil long enough the cookies might not harden or set up properly. If the mixture boils too long, the cookies will end up dry and crumbly. No-Bake Cookies FAQs1What makes No-Bake Cookies harden?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. 2Why did my No-Bake Cookies not set?Cookies won’t set if the fudge mixture wasn’t boiled long enough. 3Why aren't my no bake cookies shiny?If the heat was cranked up too high (to speed things up) or the fudge mixture was boiled too long, you’ll lose that shiny exterior ending up with dry, crumbly no-bake cookies. 4Can I use steel cut oats instead of rolled oats in No-Bake Cookies?No, the two are interchangeable in this recipe. Steel cut oats won’t soften properly in the fudge. Even though we don’t recommend using steel cut oats, you can choose between quick oats and old fashioned oats–both work. We like the chewiness and heartiness that old fashioned oats offer. 5Will No-Bake Cookies set up if its raining?As with a lot baking recipes, excess moisture in the air from humidity can cause baked goods (especially candy!) to not work properly. 6How do you thicken No-Bake Cookies?If cookies are remaining too soft, this means the fudge mixture wasn’t boiled long enough. VARIATIONS Change Up These Chocolate Peanut Butter No-Bake Cookies Add some fun mix-ins. Stir in shredded coconut, dried fruit, coarsely chopped nuts, mini chocolate chips, M&Ms, etc. when you add in the oats. Don’t add more than 1 cup of mix-ins of the cookies will be too dry. If you add chocolate chips or candies, they will melt down a bit (delicious!) from the residual heat of the pan. Make No-Bake Cookies without peanut butter. Replace the peanut butter with a different nut butter entirely! Another (delicious) option is to replace it with Nutella or even Cookie Butter (Biscoff spread)! Add a sprinkle of sea salt flakes before the cookies have set-up for the best sweet & salty treat! STORAGE Do No-Bake Cookies Freeze Well? 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, they don’t! They’ll last about a week stored in an airtight container at room temperature. That said, we prefer them cold–they’re SO good straight out of the fridge! They’ll also last a bit longer in the fridge — about 2 weeks in an airtight container. More Chocolate & Peanut Butter Treats Rice Cake With Peanut Butter and chocolate topping Lunch Lady Peanut Butter Bars oatmeal cookie base with peanut butter & chocolate fudge frosting Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie with an Oreo Pie Crust Peanut Butter Bars with a chocolate topping Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies soft and chewy! FOLLOW ALONG! Subscribe to my newsletter and follow along on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram for the latest updates, recipes and content. No-Bake Cookies 5 from 1 vote - Review this recipe Classic No-Bake Cookies combine creamy peanut butter, cocoa powder, sugar, and oats into sweet, chewy, and ultra fudgy cookies. Top with a sprinkle of sea salt for the best sweet and salty treat. These cookies are the best -- no dough chilling and no baking required! SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Print Recipe No-Bake Cookies 5 from 1 vote - Review this recipe SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Print Recipe Classic No-Bake Cookies combine creamy peanut butter, cocoa powder, sugar, and oats into sweet, chewy, and ultra fudgy cookies. Top with a sprinkle of sea salt for the best sweet and salty treat. These cookies are the best -- no dough chilling and no baking required! 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 Calories 204kcal Author Chelsea Lords Cost $4.89 Ingredients▢ 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)US - Metric USMetric InstructionsPREP: 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: Combine butter pieces, milk, salt, brown sugar, white sugar, and cocoa powder in a medium-sized pot over low heat. It'll be tempting to increase the heat, but don't! This base needs to heat low and slow for everything to combine correctly and not end up grainy later. Use a silicone spatula to stir frequently until butter is completely melted. Scrape sides of the pot as you stir. BOIL CHOCOLATE BASE: Once butter is completely melted, increase heat to medium. Stir constantly until mixture is at a full rolling boil (not just bubbling at the edges). The minute it turns to a full boil, set the timer and stir constantly for 1 full minute. Don't under-boil and don't over-boil or cookies won't set up properly. (If you have a candy thermometer, we're looking for this mixture to hit 230 degrees F). Immediately remove pot from heat and continue to stir for 10 seconds. FINISH COOKIES: Add peanut butter and stir until it is completely melted and integrated. Next stir in vanilla and finally the oats. Stir to coat. LET COOKIES SET UP: Use a 1-1/2 to 2 tablespoon cookie scoop to scoop the mixture from the pot into cookies on the sheet pan. Let fully cool and set until cookies are nicely hardened, about 30 minutes (quicker if you pop in the fridge!) STORAGE: These cookies don't have to be refrigerated, but we prefer them cold--they're SO good straight out of the fridge! They'll also last a bit longer in the fridge -- about 2 weeks in an airtight container. (They'll last about a week stored in an airtight container at room temperature.)To freeze: 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. Video Recipe NotesNote 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 FactsServing: 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. DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? 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.