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Give the oven a break! Whip up a batch of these 7 ingredient chocolate peanut butter no bake cookies. This family favorite recipe is super simple and best of all, the cookies are deliciously addictive. 

stack of chocolate peanut butter no bake cookies

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 7 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. And after one bite, you’ll understand exactly what the fuss is about. Let’s do it!

no bake cookies

Video Tutorial

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

  1. Butter: Like all the best desserts, butter and sugar make the base of this recipe.
  2. 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.
  3. Milk: Milk also creates the base of these cookies.
  4. 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.
  5. 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. Give it a good stir before measuring and using. Nut-free? Scroll below.
  6. 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!
  7. 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 gluten free fudge no bake cookies.

2 images of no bake cookies ingredients and the combined mixture

2 images of no bake cookies mixture in a bowl and placing onto baking sheet

no bake cookies on baking sheet

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.

no bake cookies

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.
chocolate peanut butter no bake oatmeal cookies on a red plate

Success Tips for No Bake Cookies

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Avoid crumbly cookies: Don’t overcook the chocolate mixture. Doing so will over-thicken it, which inevitably leads to crumbly no-bake cookies.
  4. 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.
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stack of no bake cookies

Chocolate Peanut Butter No-Bake Cookies

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 24 cookies 1x
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: No-Bake
  • Cuisine: American


Give the oven a break! Whip up a batch of these 7 ingredient no bake cookies. Have your ingredients ready and review the recipe notes before beginning.


  • 1/4 cup (4 Tbsp; 60g) 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 (240g) old-fashioned whole or quick oats*
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


  1. 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.
  2. Allow mixture to sit for 5 minutes. This allows the oats to soak up some moisture.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Refrigerate the cookies for 30-60 minutes so they set. Remove from the refrigerator and enjoy!
  6. Cover and store leftover cookies in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.


  1. Freezing Instructions: Once completely set, the no-bake cookies can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
  2. Butter: Coconut oil works instead of butter because like butter, it solidifies when cold.
  3. 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.
  4. Milk: Use your favorite milk, dairy or nondairy.
  5. 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

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. I love these cookies, but I’m wanting to try an all peanut butter version. Can you tell me what adjustments will need to be made?

    1. Hi Chasity, we haven’t personally tried it, but some readers have reported success making an all-peanut butter version. You may need to play around with the ratio of ingredients to ensure the cookies still set properly. You could also try simply replacing the cocoa powder with peanut butter powder. Let us know what you try!

      1. I made these without the cocoa powder, and substituted peanut butter powder as suggested. The cookies turned out amazing, just like the chocolate ones!

      2. I was actually looking to do a quick si.plified version of lactation bars and ended up realizing I upstairs needed to do oats with a healthy fat. I did this exact recipe except I only did 1 cup of sugar and it ended up setting well for me, though I wasn’t looking for a particular setting. It was still so tasty!! Thanks for the recipe!

      3. All I can say is”Thank You” for this recipe!!! This took me back to high school lunches! We would trade like crazy for these no bakes! I just made nostalgic no bake for my kids so they could taste what we would get with school lunch and love them! Will play with recipe because I have one “no chocolate” lover within my brood lol I have lived every recipe I have baked or made from you! Thank you so much Sally!!! You rock!!!!!

  2. I’m not able to eat oats. Do you think that Rice Krispies or Corn Flakes could be substituted? Other options? Many thanks!

    1. Hi Shirley, we haven’t tried that substitution — you’d likely have to play with the ratio of other ingredients, as the cereal would absorb them differently than the oats. If you decide to try, let us know how it goes!

      1. I want to try this recipe. I haven’t made these cookies since I was a child. Because I love my sweets, I try to use stevia when possible. Do you think I could stevia would work? 1.5 teaspoon would be the equivalent to the 1.5 c sugar.

      2. Hi Patricia! We’d love to help but we are not trained in baking with sugar substitutes like Stevia. For best taste and texture (and so you don’t waste your time trying to adapt this recipe since it may not work properly), it may be more useful to find a recipe that is specifically formulated for sugar substitutes. Thank you!

  3. Love these cookies. Appreciate all the helpful hints. I struggled to make them repeatable despite it. I think I finally realized that you don’t mention transferring to a bowl to add the oats. It appears you recommend adding it all in the same warm saucepan and letting it rest there. If that’s the case, I’ve overlooked it a few times 🙂

    1. I don’t transfer to a bowl before adding oats and mine come out great.

  4. Delicious! I followed the recipe exactly, but they came out quite soft – mushy – and I can’t figure out why. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi Ward, is it possible that they need a bit longer to set in the fridge? Also, storing them in the fridge will help to keep them cooler (rather than at room temperature), especially during the summer. Thanks so much for giving these a try!

      1. These are my mom’s favorite cookies. She makes them by heart, but I found this recipe a couple years ago and have been making them for her ever since. We both absolutely love them! Just the right level of sweetness, and the balance of chocolate and peanut butter is perfect. I am allergic to gluten so there are lots of things I can’t eat, but these cookies are something we can both enjoy!

  5. The cookies were totally mushy, despite 12 hours of refrigeration. I consider that a fail. And I noticed that you have been having “they never set up” comments since 2016 but have yet to address it other than blame the cooks, who followed your directions scrupulously.

    So I Googled and learned that the mixture must be BOILED, not simmered for 1.5 minutes until it reaches 230F. Please–after 5 years of complaints–fix your recipe accordingly! It’s irritating to waste ingredients on a problem you should have corrected years ago!

    1. Hi Sue, this recipe was updated in 2019 with improvements to the method so the cookies set up a little better. Thank you for additional feedback. It’s always helpful as I revisit recipes to update them if needed.

      1. Several times I have made these now and they do not set. I use a timer and I know what boil means. It’s December 21, 2021 so whatever 2019 update was made did not correct the non-setting issue. Also I was not the school bully just trying to save people from wasting materials, not exactly wasting because of course the batter still gets eaten, however they are not cookies.

    2. Wow! Were you the playground bully or what? If you don’t like the recipe go somewhere else, obviously you can Google recipes. This isn’t titled Sue’s.

    3. Sue she does say boil and when it comes to cooking sugar with any kind of candy or cookie that has to harden up like that you do have to be really precise n what you’re doing that’s why I’ve been going over it and over it this is an old recipe actually this is the old kind of way you made peanut butter fudge and yeah you do have to reach it to 2:40 actually but that’s what happens when you cook it for that long she don’t start counting it until it starts a rapid boil. Don’t be mad and start at the very top and read all the way down but it even says boil on the second time she gives you the recipe the first recipe doesn’t give measurements I think some people might make the mistake of skipping over it.

    4. Good morning Sue. I have been making these for a good many years. And h have not found a recipe that doesn’t require to bring to a boil for a short time and then once it comes to a boil then u just simmer at the required time. I re-read this one and seen it does say bring to a boil then Simmer. I did not know if this was corrected later but I wanted to make sure u knew. And 99% of all ingredients and the directions are the same for each recipe.

  6. I too, make this candy on a regular basis. You need to bring the sugar butter and milk to a boil – USE A TIMER and boil for 90 seconds. Stir in all other ingredients and spoon on waxed paper. Just let them sit out to reach room temperature and they will firm up without any refrigeration.

    Also, someone asked about just peanut butter flavor – can definitely make these as peanut butter candy. Just omit the cocoa and they still set beautifully and taste incredible.

  7. I make these all the time; never put in fridge…just set on wax paper and let set until solid. If humidity is high, I turn them over once the top is “set” to “dry” on the bottom. Also, adding raisins makes them set even quicker!

  8. These are sooo delicious! I’m so glad to have come upon them. I do love the chewy whole oat aspect. I will try a longer boil time next time. They are a bit soft — like cookie dough. But a friend said they have the consistency of “pecan pie” so that can’t be bad. I do love a pecan pie texture-wise!!
    Yum, yum, yum.
    I do have a question….I should not eat butter (it can be a headache trigger for me). I “treated” myself. But next time…. is there ANY margarine that could make this work??

    1. Hi Cynthia! We’re so glad you enjoyed these cookies. We haven’t tested this recipe with margarine, but other readers have had success using a non-dairy butter like earth balance brand. Let us know if you give it a try!

    2. I grew up making these cookies with margarine (sticks) and they always turned out perfect. I never tasted real butter until I moved out of my parent’s house, LOL. Also, I never refrigerated the cookies.

  9. Firstly, flavor is great! The extra vanilla is a must, and the ingredient ratios are spot on.

    But… I see a lot of replies to comments about cookies not setting saying these are meant to be soft or chewy. I’ve been eating no bake cookies for 30+ years (and I’m barely over 30), and they are NOT meant to be soft. They’re meant to be fully set, and when you hold one, it doesn’t bend, or melt in your hand.

    The error most likely comes from the instructions on the initial heating. The mixture needs to be fully boiled (not simmered) for several minutes until it reaches the “soft ball” temperature of 239 F (115 C), much like fudge. Then, after it has cooled to about 150 F, give it a good “beating” with a spoon until thickened.

    You want them to look dull, not shiny, and they should set up firm, not be floppy/soft. If they bend when you pick one up, or stick to your parchment, they weren’t heated enough. They *should* set fully at room temperature, and stay set but the fridge can help.

    I had to find all this out the hard way, since I lost my Mum’s recipe, but got some family tips and made a new batch with these changes, and they were perfect.

    1. Moira with u I’m glad you wrote that I haven’t ate them since I was a little girl other than out of stores that is and I’ve been watching videos and I found that old fashioned peanut butter fudge and that’s what I found out you have to cook it 2 240 are 239 and then when she made her fudge she put the butter in there and melted it and then she put her peanut butter and that’s when she stirred it for 6 minutes I think it was this was for fudge though but pretty much the same as far as heating it goes. Soft ball stage on the heating and stir it for about well a little bit after you take it off before you put everything else in right.

    2. I tried this technique – bringing thr mixture up to 240 F – and it most definitively did not work. As described in the original recipe, it got very overcooked and crumbly.

  10. I’m trying to cook with less sugar due to the onset of blood sugar problems, but I LOVE these cookies. Is there any chance I could make them with 1/2 Splenda (the kind that measures equal to sugar) and 1/2 sugar? Or is the full amount of sugar required for them to set properly? (I think making them with just Splenda would be a losing proposition, so hoping the half and half idea might work!)

    1. Hi Barb! We’d love to help but we are not trained in baking with sugar substitutes. For best taste and texture (and so you don’t waste your time trying to adapt this recipe since it may not work properly), it may be more useful to find a recipe that is specifically formulated for sugar substitutes. But let us know if you give it a try!

    2. I use Splenda for everything using sugar and have had absolutely no problems.

  11. I made these today with no issues! They turned out amazing. I will note that once mine started coming to a full boil I turned the heat down to medium and then let it continue to boil for the one minute. I then put the last 3 ingredients in stirred well let it sit for the 5 minutes and then I spooned them out on my cookie sheets and put them in the fridge for 30 minutes. I had no issues with this recipe these are fantastic! Thanks for this wonderful recipe I will continue to make these in the future!

  12. I made these cookies today using some substitutes because of food allergies. I used Pnut Free Wow Butter, gluten-free quick oats and soy milk. They turned out great after following your recipe measurements. Thanks! I have missed these!

  13. not sure if people are not reading the recipe, or misreading it? It Absolutely says” 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”. i take this to mean once it reaches a boil, let it continue to simmer-IE continue to cook at that boil point!. It is pretty straight forward.

  14. After being gifted two no bake cookies in a homemade Christmas cookie assortment, my husband and I were craving these. It was my first time making no bake cookies and I followed the recipe exactly and they turned out perfectly! They firmed up nicely and are delicious.

  15. I have had problems finding right recipe. Yours sounds close, but I love coconut in my no bake. Any ideals?

  16. Turned out perfectly! My
    First time using rolled oats and they were delicious! Thank
    You for the recipe! Definitely my favorite no bake oatmeal cookie.

  17. These are so delicious! Is this recipe really meant to make just 24 cookies? I want to make sure I’m getting the portions down correctly and not over eating them, haha!

    1. Hi Maddy, If you follow the written recipe and use about 1 TBS per cookie, you should get about 24.

    1. The texture of steel cut oats is much too hard for these no bake cookies.

    1. Hi Linda, how strange. I can’t imagine how these would come out dry – did you make any changes to the recipe? Thank you for giving these a try!

  18. Just made a batch using coconut oil and almond milk and they came out AMAZING. So delicious and fast to make!

  19. I have made these countless times both following the exact recipe and making the vegan option. Turns out fantastic every time. I think people are having trouble from starting the timing before it comes to a complete rolling boil. I like to keep these in the freezer too. I’ve never been disappointed from any of your recipes!!

  20. This recipe is awesome i make these all the time they are great thanks for the recipe.

  21. Sadly I am shocked as I love and trust all of Sally’s recipes but this is a no, just no. Terrible. The simple no bake cookies we all know are easy and delicious. This recipe is a big fail. The taste is bland, and recipe does not set.

  22. I know some people are having trouble with their cookies being too soft, but don’t be afraid, mine were great on the first try! I made sure to give the chocolate fudge base a good rolling boil for just over a minute, which makes them nice and thick and chewy when they cool.

  23. I love this recipe! They come out perfect every time. My mom and I have been using it for years and have never had a problem. Thanks for all your wonderful recipes over the years!

  24. What? This was the recipe we all had to learn in middle school Home Ec class. Did someone in your husband’s family go to middle school with us?! We make it all the time; I still have my original recipe from class with my penciled-in answers to the “nutrition” questions. They are perfect every time.

  25. Kind of disappointed in how these came out. My cookies have been in the refrigerator for over 2 hours and they are soft and not firm as I expected them to be. They are also flat and don’t really look like cookies.

  26. hey! this is a great recipe ! I was wondering would it taste even better if I dipped them in melted dark chocolate?

    1. Hi Sarah, You certainly can! We find most taste testers are never mad about extra chocolate 🙂

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