Chocolate Peanut Butter No Bake Cookies

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. 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. Fun fact: Since we’re not using a chemical leavener, you can use either dutch-process or natural cocoa powder.
  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.

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.
Print
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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
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: No-Bake
  • Cuisine: American

Description

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.


Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  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.

Notes

  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

152 Comments

  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. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      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!

  2. Shirley Bridges says:

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

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      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!

  3. Nina Emanuel says:

    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 🙂

  4. Ward Vanderberg says:

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

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      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!

  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.

    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.

  6. Susan Marshall says:

    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. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      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!

  9. Brenda Harper says:

    Stayed too soft even though I followed instructions to the letter.

  10. 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.

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