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.
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 Chocolate Oatmeal 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?
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Easy Chocolate Oatmeal 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.