No need to heat up the oven for these classic Chocolate Peanut Butter No Bake Cookies! They are quick, easy, and a super tasty treat that is one of the first recipes I learned to make when I was a kid.
What are No Bake Cookies?
Drumroll please… cookies you don’t have to bake! Genius! These are quick and easy and require common household ingredients. Most no-bake cookies are quite similar and call for some variation of ingredients that include: sugar, milk, butter, cocoa powder, peanut butter, vanilla extract, and oatmeal. You can add nuts, chocolate chips, raisins, or whatever you want to the mixture.
Why you’ll love these No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies
I made so many batches of this no bake cookies recipe when I was growing up! We always had the ingredients on hand and they were just so darn simple to whip up that they were sort of my go-to recipe. Especially since you didn't need a mixer to make the cookie dough and I didn't need my mom to help me get pans into and out of a hot oven.
Truthfully, anything involving peanut butter and chocolate is pretty much a slam-dunk in my book.
But it's the addition of quick oats that completes the trifecta of chocolate, peanut butter, and oatmeal in these classic no bake cookies.
I am a huge fan of oatmeal cookies in all their delicious varieties. It's that wonderful chewy texture and oat-y flavor that just speaks to me.
If you have the same feelings about oats as me, then you need to go make these oatmeal rolled sugar cookies and toffee oatmeal chocolate chip cookies soon!
But unlike those options, these chocolate peanut butter no bake cookies are naturally gluten-free, so long as you make sure you are cooking with gluten-free oats.
Easy No Bake Cookies Ingredients
- Granulated Sugar
- Unsweetened cocoa powder
- Creamy peanut butter - I don't recommend using the natural peanut butter that you have to stir first.
- Quick oats: If you don’t have quick-cooking oats you can use old fashioned oats. The cookie will just be a little chewier since the oats are bigger and thicker. You can also throw the old fashioned oats in a blender and ground them down a bit to get the desired texture of cookie you want.
- Vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
What kind of oats for no bake cookies?
I use quick oats when making no bake cookies as I think that they result in the best texture in the finished cookie. But if old fashioned oats are what you have in your cupboard, they can be used in no bake cookies as well. The cookie will just be a little chewier since old fashioned oats are bigger and thicker than quick oats.
Best No Bake Cookies Substitutions and Variations
If you want to change up your no-bake cookies and try some variations, here are some ideas to try!
- Add 1-2 cups shredded sweetened coconut.
- Top them with frosting! A delicious mint, peanut butter, or marshmallow frosting would be excellent on these cookies.
- Add caramel and pecans for a turtle variation.
- Leave out the cocoa powder for a peanut butter no bake cookie.
- Leave out the cocoa powder and replace the peanut butter with sesame butter, almond butter, or better yet, cookie butter for an allergy friendly version.
- Add M&M's, mini marshmallows, or toffee bits to the cookies right at the end before scooping them onto your baking sheet.
How to Make No Bake Cookies
- Combine butter, sugar, milk, and cocoa powder in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir frequently until the mixture starts to bubble.
- Set a timer for 60 seconds and stir occasionally while the mixture bubbles and boils. Remove from heat immediately once timer goes off.
- Stir in peanut butter, oats, and vanilla until combined.
- Drop 2 tablespoonfuls at a time onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, spreading slightly using the back of the cookie scoop. Allow to set for 20-30 minutes.
- Store in an airtight container.
Tips for Making the Best Chocolate Peanut Butter No Bake Cookies
- Measure and set aside all of the ingredients before you start making these no bake cookies. The only tricky thing about this recipe is that things move quickly towards the end, so having everything measured out beforehand makes a big difference.
- Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set a medium cookie scoop (I use a 2 tablespoon scoop) next to it so it's ready to go because the cookie mixture will start to set up quickly once everything is combined.
- Use a timer. Once the mixture starts to bubble, set the timer for 60 seconds and stir the mixture a couple of times during that minute, then remove it from the heat immediately. The flipside is that if you don't boil the mixture long enough, the no bake cookies won't set up properly.
- That said, each stove is a little different and you might need to make these once or twice to figure out how this works on yours. I cook these on medium heat and set my timer when I very first see bubbles showing up without waiting for a full rolling boil.
- Spread the cookies just a bit using the back of your cookie scoop or spoon right after dropping them onto the parchment-lined baking sheets. This will give them a nice shape and make them a bit thinner.
- Store the cookies in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks, or freeze for up to 2 months.
Troubleshooting Chocolate Oatmeal No Bake Cookies
Why are my no bake cookies crumbly?
The biggest problem most people seem to have when making no bake cookies is getting dry, crumbly cookies or sticky, gooey cookies that don't set up right. There are two main causes that I am aware of.
- Incorrect measuring of ingredients. It happens to the best of us. But if you get too many or too few oats, that could be the cause of no bake cookie crumbles or the oats not absorbing enough of the liquid mixture. Also, although these can be made with old-fashioned oats, they won't absorb the moisture from the chocolate mixture as well as the quick oats.
- The bigger issue though, is overcooking the mixture. This is one of those times where the cooking time is so short that you do not want to walk away. It's just 60 seconds once the mixture starts to boil. Set a timer and as soon as it goes off, pull the mixture off the heat and add the peanut butter, oatmeal, and vanilla.
Why are my no bake cookies dry?
If your no bake cookies are dry and crumbly, chances are you overcooked them by boiling the sugar mixture for too long.
Why are my no bake cookies sticky?
Once set, these cookies shouldn't be sticky at all. If they are, chances are they haven't finished setting up all the way.
Why are my no bake cookies gooey?
The most common reason for gooey no bake cookies is not boiling the mixture for long enough. Your sugar needs to get to the right consistency to hold the cookies together.
How to fix no bake cookies that don't set up.
If for some reason your cookies don't set up after 20-30 minutes, you can stick them in the fridge and everything will turn out fine. (And if that happens, chances are you probably didn't boil the sugar mixture quite long enough. But don't worry, that's not going to happen to you.)
What to do with failed no bakes?
If your batch of no bake cookies fails (it happens from time to time) you could refrigerate what you've got and mix it into a bowl of ice cream for dessert or even add it to a bowl of yogurt oatmeal for a breakfast treat! These solutions work whether you overcook the mixture and it gets all crumbly or you undercook it and it never sets completely.
Storing No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies
No bake cookies can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container or Ziploc bag. You can also store them in the fridge to help them last longer.
How long are no bake cookies good for?
When stored in an airtight container or ziploc bag, the cookies are good for a week. If you store them in the fridge they can last up to two weeks.
FAQs for Chocolate Peanut Butter No Bake Cookies
You shouldn't need to put your no bake cookies in the fridge to firm up. They will do that on their own within about 20-30 minutes of dropping the cookies onto a cookie sheet as the oats soak up additional moisture and the chocolate peanut butter mixture cools.
Sticking the still-warm cookies into the fridge to speed up the process can actually affect the cookies negatively by resulting in setting the chocolate portion before the oats have a chance to absorb moisture, which changes the end texture of the cookies.
BUT, if for some reason your cookies don't set up after 20-30 minutes, you can stick them in the fridge at that point and everything will turn out fine. (And if that happens, chances are you probably didn't boil the sugar mixture quite long enough. But don't worry, that's not going to happen to you.)
There are about 115 calories in one no bake cookie, but remember that this can vary a lot depending on the ingredients you use (especially the peanut butter) and the size you make your cookies. I use an online nutritional calculator to determine nutritional info for recipes, but I'm not a nutritionist and recommend you do your own calculations for the most accurate info.
It usually doesn’t take long for the cookies to harden and set up. Usually.
The process of cooking the butter and sugar is similar to making fudge and once it cools, the cookies will set and harden even at room temperature.
Yes! A batch of these no bake oatmeal cookies freezes great for up to 3 months. Just let them thaw on the counter for 30 minutes or so before enjoying.
More No Bake Recipes
For other delicious no-bake recipes, be sure to check out my Easy No-Bake Blueberry Delight, No-Bake Chocolate Eclair Cake, Strawberry Pretzel Icebox Pie, Easy Lemon Icebox Cake, and No-Bake Sour Cream Lemon Pie.
More Cookie Recipes
Did you make this recipe?
Let me know what you thought with a comment and rating below. You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @houseofnasheats or share it on the Pinterest pin so I can see.
Chocolate Peanut Butter No Bake Cookies
- ½ cup butter
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- ½ cup milk
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ cup creamy peanut butter
- 3 cups quick oats
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- Pinch of salt
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a large heavy pot, combine the butter, sugar, milk, and cocoa powder. Heat over medium heat until it starts to bubble, then set a timer and boil for 60 seconds (no more!).
- Immediately remove from heat and stir in the peanut butter, oats, vanilla, and salt until combined.
- Working quickly, drop about 2 tablespoons of the chocolate peanut butter oats mixture at a time onto the prepared cookie sheet, pressing gently on the tops of each cookie to flatten slightly.
- Let the cookies sit at room temperature until cool and firm. Store in an airtight container.
Reader questions and reviews
This brought back so many memories. My mother and grandmother made these for us. For a treat, they would serve it warm over ice cream. Oh my.
I've somehow never make these before!
Oh I love these! Easy and yummy and the whole family would enjoy them!
Thank you so much for this recipe! I found the tips about the cooking time very helpful and even though I used old fashioned oats, they still set up pretty well. I've tried other versions over the years and sometimes it worked, but most often it didn't and I could never figure out why. In case anyone else is interested, they turned out great substituting almond milk for the regular milk and almond butter instead of peanut butter.
It's been a hot minute since I've made these. Delicious! Brings back memories of the school lunch ladies who made them fresh twice a week to go with our lunches. We used to bring extra money to buy an extra cookie lol
Chocolate and peanut butter is definitely the best combo. Thanks for the tip on not refrigerating these no bake cookies. I would definitely have popped them in the fridge to speed up the process!
I don't know why I don't make no bake cookies more often. What a fun and delicious sounding treat!
They look perfect, shiny and delicious!
These will be so fun to make with my niece! Love the little heart shapes.
My mom made a variation of these my whole childhood. We called them tweedle dee dees. This brings back such fun childhood memories! No bake cookies are so delicious!
These remind me so much of my childhood!
I love no-bake cookies like this! The recipe is simple but perfect!
We call these mud cookies. They are a family favorite.
I love having a few no bake cookies in my stash. These looks so chocolaty and good!
Thanks for the no bake cookie tips! I definitely will these!
Unfortunately I followed the instructions exactly and boiling the mixture for just 60 seconds was not enough time to allow the cookies to harden in the end. I recommend using a candy thermometer and heating the mixture until it reaches the "soft ball" stage and then your cookies will be perfect every time.
Mine didn’t firm up ! Two batches .. went exactly by the recipe ... set my timer !
I found the same thing - you need to boil them for over 2 min. Mine did not harden either.
Going to soft ball stage (235 degrees) resulted in SUPER crumble. That was too far. I think sticking closer to the "one minute" rue is better!
Do you use unsalted butter or salted in this recipe?
I always use salted butter.
The comments on these make it seem like they must be hard to make...heck no. If you screw these up, then stick to top ramen and rice krispy treats for the rest of your life, because you officially struggle. Im homeless and live in a hotel and i didnt have vanilla, or salt, and only had a microwave and small bowl to work with. I didn't even have a spoon. But i cut the recipe in half and made it work. They stiffened right up, they taste amazing and they cured the craving id been having for the last month. Thank god. I used quick oats as well, natural peanut butter and foil instead of parchment. And they are delish. Next time im gonna try half brown sugar. So dont be scrrrrrd. Just make em. Good luck.
When do you add the salt?
It's in step three when you add the vanilla.
If you don't want to overindulge, don't make these! We make them about once a week, and they are so insanely delicious!
You're welcome! Also, sorry! LOL. 🙂
Thank you, thank you, thank you! This is absolutely my favorite Christmas cookie! My mother would have a tin of these ready for me when we arrived on Christmas Day. She passed away years ago without leaving behind a written recipe. I have tried for years to duplicate these "easy" cookies and have always failed with other internet recipes. My cookies were either crumbly and dry or wet and sticky. I was determined to try again this year and found your recipe and fantastic tips! I found out the other recipes have you boil the mixture way to long and they double the butter, every single time led to disappointment and terrible cookies.
With your recipe my cookies turned out PERFECT! They LOOK and TASTE just like my Mother's! It has been the delight of my Christmas season this year. Thank you for taking the time to post. Bless you and Merry Christmas.
Merry Christmas to you, too! I'm' so glad that my recipe and tips were helpful to you! I always do my best to be thorough!
As a child, in elementary school, I recall having something very similar to these cookies for desert every now and then. They were always my favorite. Having been in elementary school in the 60s, I had no way of finding the recipe. That is, until a couple years ago when I googled the ingredients. Wouldn't you know that I would come across your recipe and so very happy I did, especially when my fear was that they were so old, I had not much chance in doing so. This will be my third year making them and I have not been one bit disappointed! So happy, I am, after all the years of searching in any and all books I could get my hands on, only to find it once the internet was up and running, and I actually mastered navigating it!
Thank you for sharing your recipe. Finally, there is something I am actually capable of making, that, not only do I love, but is worthy of sharing as gifts to others during the holidays! Again, Thank you for ending my 40 to 50 years of searching for this recipe!
Thank you for sharing, Jeanie! I'm so glad I was able to help! I've had a few of those like that myself that I still haven't been able to recreate or find!
Have you ever doubled the recipe? If so, did you still boil 60 seconds?
Yes, you can double the recipe and still follow the same instructions by boiling for 60 seconds.
Chocolate peanut butter no bake cookies. I tried this recipe several times. I love how easy they are to make. Plus it's fast and the ingredients are common items I already have in my kitchen. Thank you for this recipe.
I love no bake cookies so I'm really excited to make these!
Hello! If I don’t have cocoa powder available, can I use chocolate chips instead and have the same or similar consistency of the cookies?
Hmm, that is a very good question, especially given the availability of ingredients at this time. I did a little research since I haven't tried this yet myself and it looks like you can probably use 1 cup of chocolate chips in place of the cocoa powder. Just cook the butter, sugar, and milk together for the 60 seconds, then remove it from the heat and add the peanut butter and chocolate chips at the same time, stirring until combined. I would probably also decrease the sugar slightly, by maybe 1/4 cup, to account for the additional sweetness in the chocolate chips, but sugar can impact the final texture as well as the flavor. I wish I had a better answer and may have to try this myself now!
Fabulous--followed the recipe and used your tips and they came out perfectly--I only made half a batch as I knew I would eat too many. I used Trader Joe's Old Fashioned Oatmeal and had no problems. Thanks--although I'm baking a lot during this stay at home time, this no bake reminder was just what I needed. (also, Please wear a mask to keep others safe.)
The cookies were amazing. AMAZING
It took me about 2 hours (LOL - but really) to get these to a point where I felt I could even move them to the refrigerator. Fingers crossed. I’m over 60, and there’s probably been like maybe 5 times in my life that this type cookie has turned out right with no issues. So I’m sure it’s me and not the recipe. My could-cook/bake/roast/fry/etc-everything-from-scratch/never-had-to-actually-measure-anything mother is tsk tsking me from her grave right now.
Can you sub almond milk for the regular milk? Would they still turn out OK?
I think they would turn out just fine!
Our family loves this recipe!
I was so happy when my kids were no longer in grade school so I could I bake with peanut butter again! These cookies really bring back childhood. Easy, gooey, chocolate peanut buttery-goodness to satisfy those sweet cravings. I like to add a dash of cinnamon in with the oats for that extra bit warmth. Delicious!
I cut the sugar in half and the cookies were plenty sweet.
Thank you for the recipe. I will be saving this one!
I've always wanted to try this type of cookie but was afraid it wouldn't set, I'd burn the chocolate, it'd be too sticky, etc. I'm happy to say I chose this for the February Chocolate Challenge and they turned out great! I will definitely make these again now that I know how simple it really is. Thanks for the great recipe!
These are so yummy! I love no bake cookies and this recipe is perfect! The cookies set up really well and the flavor is so yummy!
I have made these a lot my parent had to experiment without peanut butter since some one in our family couldn’t stand peanut butter but we learned y have to cook it longer and add more coco and sugar I believe to turn out the same look after done they looked exactly the same so you probably would not be able to tell one batch without and one with you may smell peanut butter one.
I made this recipe today totally dairy free and no granulated sugar half cup apple sauce and 1/2 cup maple syrup just divided sugar to equal one cup of sugar. I don’t like to sweet stuff Bre
I made these cookies for the June no bake dessert challenge. I have made these before, but a different recipe. These turned out great - followed the recipe exactly as written. Thanks for another tasty recipe and a great one for the summer when it is so hot in Houston.
Yes, these are great for the summertime when you want cookies but don't want to heat up the kitchen!
I am a school nurse. I bake for our staff every night. We have several students—one in particular that is severely allergic to peanut butter. I make these using sunflower seed butter. The staff loves them. I also add craisins and shredded coconut to the hot recipe. These are so delicious and nutritious………..and I don’t have to worry about anaphylaxis!
Thanks for posting this recipe is also used for chemo patients it’s supposed to prevent diarrhea, has any one substituted the oars with quinoa?
Loved this recipe! So decadent in a chocolatey yummy way. My husband says it brought back memories of his mom.
Can you use a plant based milk like Oat or Almond milk?
I haven't tried, but I think it would work out just fine.
Can you make this with natural peanut butter?
I haven't tried it but I think it would probably work okay, although the texture might be slightly off. I think it would be fine in a pinch though if that's what you have on hand.
I used natural peanut butter. I think it turned out ok. A little sticky though. Not sure if that was the peanut butter.
So delicious! I used half white and half brown sugar! And just a little less peanut butter, so yummy!
Awesome. Perfect level of moistness and sweetness
Just made came out very well.
I added raisins and nuts.
I'm glad you liked it!
5 stars love it. I use chunky peanut butter, and it's super easy and I just made a double batch for my family!♥️♥️❤️❤️❤️
Please add printable recipes, much easier to read and follow without cookie dough all over my device!
Hi Diane! There is a "print" button right under the picture in the recipe card! I don't like to cook from my device either for the same reason!
We followed the recipe but they did not set up. I believe you want to wait until these are a rolling boil and then go for 60 seconds not when they just start boiling. And I would say err on the side of over boiling because they will still set up amd be a little crumbly but if you don't get them hot enough (boiling long enough) they will just be goup and that is pretty useless. That is how ours ended up sadly.