Give the oven a break! Whip up a batch of these 8 ingredient chocolate peanut butter no bake cookies. This family favorite recipe is super simple.
Today I’m bringing an older family recipe back into the spotlight. I make these peanut butter chocolate no-bake cookies more than any other cookie recipe on my website.
Why This is My Repeat Recipe
- No mixer and no oven
- Little clean-up
- Only 8 basic ingredients—nothing weird
- Chocolate + peanut butter
- Shockingly easy
- Dairy free + egg free if needed
I married into a food-loving family. My husband grew up baking zucchini bread, soft pretzels, and these no-bake cookies with his siblings. He said he made these no-bakes so many times growing up that he could mix them together in his sleep. Partly because they’re so easy and partly because everyone craves chocolate and peanut butter at bedtime, right?!
Simply put, these are awesome cookies. They’re as classic as a good batch of chocolate chip cookies, sugar cookies, or rice krispie treats. And after one bite, you’ll understand exactly what the fuss is about. Let’s do it!
There are a billion and a half recipes for no-bakes on the internet and most of them call for the same ingredients as our family recipe. What makes each recipe a little different, though, is the ratio of ingredients. More butter, less sugar, more cocoa, less peanut butter… you get the idea. Our recipe, in my eyes and on my tastebuds, perfects that ratio. There’s just enough sugar, just enough cocoa, and definitely enough peanut butter.
Ingredients in No Bake Cookies
- Butter: Like all the best desserts, butter and sugar make the base of this recipe.
- Sugar: I swear by 1 and 1/2 cups of regular granulated sugar here. Over the years, I’ve tested several different amounts and even tried brown sugar once. For success, stick with the recipe below.
- Milk: Milk also creates the base of these cookies.
- Cocoa Powder: Cocoa powder not only flavors the cookies, it acts as a thickener and binder. Remember this post on dutch-process vs. natural cocoa powder? Fun fact: Since we’re not using a chemical leavener, you can use either in this recipe.
- Peanut Butter: For best taste and texture in baking recipes, I usually push you to use standard commercially processed peanut butter. While I typically use Jif creamy here, you can substitute your favorite natural peanut butter. Same option goes for these flourless peanut butter oatmeal cookies, too. Give it a good stir before measuring and using. Nut-free? Scroll below.
- Vanilla Extract & Salt: A little salt and a splash of vanilla extract adds flavor. Bonus: You can use homemade vanilla extract if you have it!
- Oats: I used to use quick oats in this easy cookie recipe, but lately I swear by using whole rolled oats. The difference between quick oats and whole oats is their size and that can definitely affect the success of a recipe. Surprisingly, these work with either type. (Just another reason to love this recipe!) You need 3 cups of oats.
If using certified gluten free oats, these cookies are gluten free. For my gluten free readers, you’ll also appreciate this recipe for no-bake chocolate fudge oat bars. You can also browse all my favorite gluten free dessert recipes here. After you make these cookies, of course.
Overview: How to Make Easy No-Bake Cookies
Have I mentioned yet how easy these cookies are? Besides using super basic ingredients, the method couldn’t be simpler. Whisk the butter, sugar, milk, and cocoa powder together in a medium (3 quart) pot until the butter melts. Once boiling in the center, start a timer. Let it simmer for 1 minute. After that, immediately remove from heat and stir in the peanut butter and vanilla extract. Once combined, stir in the oats.
Grab your timer again and let the mixture cool for 4-5 minutes. This gives the oats some time to absorb the liquid, which makes scooping and shaping much easier. If you used a super thin natural-style peanut butter, let it sit for about 10 minutes.
Line a couple baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Drop 1 Tablespoon sized mounds about 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Feel free to slightly flatten down the cookies with the back of a spoon. Let the cookies set in the refrigerator for about 30-60 minutes. That’s it, we’re done.
Best Part of All
If you haven’t realized by now, there’s no turning on the oven for no-bake cookies. Instead, the cookies firm up in the refrigerator. I love that! They’re perfect if you’re having a marathon baking day and other items need the oven.
Other Flavor Variations
- Nut-Free No Bakes: Swap peanut butter for sunflower seed butter or Biscoff spread.
- Almond No Bakes: Swap peanut butter for almond butter.
- Nutella No Bakes: I have that recipe in Sally’s Cookie Addiction cookbook
- Sprinkles: Add sprinkles to the tops of each wet cookie before refrigerating.
Success Tips for No Bake Cookies
- Have your ingredients ready: Once the chocolate mixture comes off the stove, the remaining ingredients must be stirred in right away. It’s helpful to have all your ingredients on stand-by.
- Follow the recipe: Sounds like a silly success tip, but it’s worth mentioning. The cookies work because we’re using a particular wet to dry ingredient ratio.
- Avoid crumbly cookies: Don’t overcook the chocolate mixture. Doing so will over-thicken it, which inevitably leads to crumbly no-bake cookies.
- Use a cookie scoop or spoon: 1 Tablespoon of dough will give us perfectly portioned cookies. Use a cookie scoop, a spoon, or your Tablespoon measuring spoon.
Give the oven a break! Whip up a batch of these 8 ingredient no bake cookies. Have your ingredients ready and review the recipe notes before beginning.
- 1/4 cup (4 Tbsp; 56g) unsalted butter*
- 1 and 1/2 cups (300g) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (120ml) milk*
- 1/4 cup (21g) natural unsweetened or dutch-process cocoa powder
- 2/3 cup (170g) creamy peanut butter*
- 1 Tablespoon (15ml) pure vanilla extract (yes, a full Tablespoon!)
- 3 cups (255g) old-fashioned whole rolled oats or quick oats*
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- Combine the butter, sugar, milk, and cocoa powder together in a medium saucepan (about 3 quart) over medium heat. Whisk constantly until the butter melts. Whisking occasionally, bring to a boil. Once boiling, stop whisking and allow to boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat, then immediately stir in the peanut butter and vanilla extract until completely combined. Stir in the oats and salt.
- Allow mixture to sit for 5 minutes. This allows the oats to soak up some moisture.
- During the 5 minutes, line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. And make sure there is enough room in your refrigerator for the baking sheets.
- Using a 1-Tablespoon cookie scoop (or simply a spoon), drop a Tablespoon of dough onto the lined baking sheets. If desired, slightly flatten down with the back of a spoon. Repeat with the rest of the dough.
- Refrigerate the cookies for 30-60 minutes so they set. Remove from the refrigerator and enjoy!
- Cover and store leftover cookies in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- Freezing Instructions: Once completely set, the no-bake cookies can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
- Special Tools (affiliate links): Saucepan | Whisk | Rubber Spatula | Baking Sheets | Silicone Baking Mats or Parchment Paper
- Butter: Coconut oil works instead of butter because like butter, it solidifies when cold.
- Peanut Butter: (updated note) This recipe works best if using a non-natural style peanut butter like Jif or Skippy. However, you can substitute your favorite natural peanut butter if desired. Give it a good stir before using and in step 3, let the oat mixture sit for about 10 minutes to thicken properly. Nut-free? Substitute sunflower seed butter or Biscoff spread.
- Milk: Use your favorite milk, dairy or nondairy.
- Oats: I used to use quick oats in this easy cookie recipe, but lately I swear by using whole rolled oats. Surprisingly, these cookies work with either type of oat! Do not use steel cut oats.
Keywords: chocolate peanut butter no-bake cookies, no-bake cookies