No-Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookie Recipe

A few readers requested I share my no-bake cookie recipe on the blog sometime. Which, of course, gives me an opportunity to make and eat more cookies, so I promised I would. 

These no-bake chocolate oatmeal cookies are probably my all-time favorite and one that ALWAYS reminds me of summer in the Midwest.

Growing up, once our air conditioner was turned on for the summer, we no longer would use the oven. So, no-bake cookies were the only way to go if you wanted to make cookies.

Over the years when I’ve posted about these cookies, I’ve seen them called by other names. My favorite is “cow patty cookies.” Lol. My grandparents had a cattle farm we visited as a lot as kids so … I get it. Tell us in the comments if you call these by another name.

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Although no-bake chocolate oatmeal cookies are pretty simple to make, they can be a little bit finicky. So I’m sharing my tips to make these foolproof.

Why didn’t my no-bake cookies set?

Likely, you didn’t boil the mixture long enough. You want the butter, milk, sugar, and cocoa mixture to boil for 2-3 full minutes and reach between 190°F-200°F.

If you don’t boil them for long enough, they will turn out gooey and will not set.

My favorite no bake cookie recipe (click through for recipe)

How do you fix gooey no-bake cookies?

Freeze them. Once you have added the peanut butter and oats, the only option to fix gooey no-bake cookies is to freeze them so they will hold together enough that you can eat them.

It might not be perfect, but it’s not the end of the world and they will still be delicious!

Why are my no-bake cookies dry and crumbly?

This means you boiled the mixture too long. The sugar got too hot (above 200°F) so it began to harden. This is a good thing if you want to make homemade candy. But for no-bake cookies, you want to boil the mixture for 2-3 minutes until it reaches between 190°F and 200°F.

A candy thermometer is best. But honestly, I don’t usually use one when I make no-bake cookies—I just set a timer during the boil period. And it’s best to err on the side of under boiling the mixture rather than over boiling.

You can freeze soft, gooey cookies. But once the mixture is hard and crumbly, your cookies are basically ruined.

Substitutions you can make to this recipe:

  • Peanut butter can be swapped for any nut butter, like almond butter.
  • Dairy milk can be swapped for any non-dairy milk, like soy milk.
  • You can make this with quick oats instead of old-fashioned oats, but I prefer the texture of old- fashioned oats.
  • You can also swap the oats out for sliced almonds or a mixture of nuts and unsweetened coconut flakes if you want these to be grain-free.
  • Vanilla extract could be swapped for any cooking extract (like mint extract) if you want these to have a chocolate mint flavor. You may want to adjust the amount. I would use less mint extract than vanilla since it’s a stronger flavor.

How to make no bake cookies

No-Bake Cookie Ingredients:
1/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats

I like to already have my peanut butter and oats measured out in separate bowls or containers. It’s good to have them ready to go, because once it’s time for them, you better have them ready.

Best no bake cookie recipe

Other No-Bake Desserts:

Will aluminum foil work for no-bake cookies?

I usually spoon no-bake cookies onto parchment paper, but you could also use aluminum foil or wax paper instead.

For a reasonable option, you could also spoon these onto a baking mat, even though you will not bake them after (they just need time to set, then you can remove them from the mat).

My favorite no bake cookie recipe (click through for recipe)

These no-bake chocolate oatmeal cookies are so easy, fast, and addictive. Enjoy! xo. Emma

Print Pin
5 from 5 votes

No-Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword cookies, no-bake cookies
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 3 minutes
Total Time 8 minutes
Servings 12 cookies
Author Emma Chapman

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa
  • teaspoon cinnamon optional
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ½ cup peanut butter creamy
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups oats old-fashioned
  • sea salt optional

Instructions

  • I like to already have my peanut butter and oats measured out in separate bowls or containers. It's good to have them ready to go because once it's time for them, you better have them ready.
  • In a medium pot, begin melting the butter over medium heat. Just before it's all melted, add in the milk, sugar, cocoa, and cinnamon if using.
  • Stir this together so it's well combined. Now, turn up the heat. As soon as the mixture comes to a boil, begin a timer.
    Allow the mixture to boil for a full two to three minutes. If using a candy thermometer, you want the mixture to reach between 190°F and 200°F.
  • Turn off the heat and stir in the vanilla and peanut butter.
  • Once the peanut butter is mixed in, stir in the oats.
  • Quickly spoon the mixture into small mounds on parchment paper, topping with a little sea salt if using.

Notes

  • Peanut butter can be swapped for any nut butter, like almond butter.
  • Dairy milk can be swapped for any non dairy milk, like soy milk.
  • You can make this with quick oats instead of old-fashioned oats, but I prefer the texture of old-fashioned oats.
  • You can also swap the oats out for sliced almonds or a mixture of nuts and unsweetened coconut flakes if you want this to be grain-free.
  • Vanilla extract could be swapped for any cooking extract, like mint extract if you want these to have a chocolate mint flavor. You may want to adjust the amount, like I would use less mint extract than vanilla as it’s a stronger flavor.

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. 

  • I enjoy your site and I’m disappointed. I want to try some of your recipes but cannot print them for my files. The heading and ending show up but the details or over-written and unreadable. Hope you can fix that.

    • So sorry about this! I’m not seeing the error on my end. Could you email us at support AT abeautifulmess DOT com and let me know which browser you’re using?

  • 5 stars
    I grew up in Pennsylvania and we called these Cocoa Ball Cookies!

  • As I’m currently staring down a heat index of 105 degrees in the next few days, this no bake recipe is ideal! I love to make things at home so not having to use the main oven is great. Thanks for this!

  • 5 stars
    Thanks for sharing this recipe it looks great! What are your thoughts about range hoods? I’m trying to decide if I should get one.
    https://prolinerangehoods.com/blog/proline-range-hoods-customer-reviews/

  • I made these today and good gracious I need to make them all the time! Like, seriously, I need them in my house at all times. Thanks so much for the recipe!

  • This is the same recipe that I’ve been using for years. The first time I made them by myself was for a speech class in high school. A teacher down the hall was allergic to peanuts and had to go home because of this recipe.
    For the past year or so I’ve been making these vegan by subbing coconut butter and oat milk and they taste just as good. Also, I’ll sometimes add a tiny amount of Cayenne pepper for a bit of heat.

  • No wheat flour + no bake cookies = all round yay! With a wheat allergy, it’s hard to come across no-bake recipes that also don’t taste a bit like dust. can’t wait to give this a try with a big batch! I’m definitely throwing in some shredded coconut for extra yum, because peanut butter and coconut … how can you not?
    The Sorted Hats

  • Why is there a bottle of syrup next to the ingredients there?? Secret ingredient possibly?? What’s the scoop?

  • no bake cookies are my favourite – not only are they so easy, they’re nostalgic and therefore so comforting!
    xx

  • O I love these cookies! My mom, sis, and I would make these all the time. We always used coconut. Haven’t tried e peanut butter before…so going to have to! Thanks!

    Kelli
    www.blog.bodeoo.com

  • YUMMY! This sounds so delicious. I definitely want to try these. I want to make them now but first I need to go get the ingredients. Haha!

  • Wow, this looks too good to be no-bake! Definitely trying this out soon, thanks for the recipe 🙂

    http://mindfullyaudrina.blogspot.com/

  • Those seem like they’d be amazing! And really good for whipping up something quickly, on account of the no-baking feature! Very cool. Pinned!

  • These cookies are some of my favorite! I haven’t thought about them for a while. I’m so glad for the reminder cause now I really want some

  • I have been making a version of these for Christmas for years I love them. Do you think it would be possible to make pumpkin flavored ones?

  • I tried these but they did not harden at all, batter was too thick and very dry at first so I tried adding some milk but I must have added too much, and it was very runny, tried adding oats like the recipe suggested but it didn’t change much. So I added some apples and am making a strudel, its in the oven and it smells fantastic, am really looking forward to it. Gonna try them again soon though, might have not let it thicken long enough/too long.

  • “No-Bake” recipe is my favorite as it’s easier for beginner like me 😉 i hope ABM post more about it 😀 Thank You.

    filiandyelny.blogspot.com

  • Or almond butter? My husband isn’t a big fan of peanuts, but these cookies take me back to my childhood and I just want to make some RIGHT now! 🙂

    <3 dani

    http://blog.shopdisowned.com

  • The recipe is so straightforward that it makes me want to have a go! I’m usually not one for cooking otherwise 😛
    Seeing these has made me hungry, they look delicious!!

    Ayesha xxx
    Http://alycheeaday.blogspot.co.uk/

  • I make these sometimes too, their great. It’s true that once you get the hang of it it’s so easy to make modifications adding other ingredients like nuts or raisins.. I have to try it with some coconut, I hadn’t thought of that!

  • I had to laugh when I saw this because I am eating these right now. I make at least 3 batches of these a week because I (we) love them so much!!

  • I’m not positive, as I’ve never tried it. BUT, I have a hunch it may work as the peanut butter is added after all the “cooking” is done, so it’s more adding flavor and a little more thickness to the batter, which I think sunflower butter would likely be able to do just as well.

    If you try it please let us know how it went. Thanks!

    -Emma

  • Such a great recipe! LOVE the no-bake option! It may be September, but it’s still hot!

    http://sometimesgracefully.com

  • Yum! Summer is just hitting us here in Australia, so these have come at the right time! Thanks! 🙂

  • No-bake cookies are awesome, especially when they’re straight from the freezer!

  • Yum! These look delicious. I’m thinking about making something similar to this soon!

  • This sounds amazing! I’m not a huge fan of peanut butter, so I was thinking about substituting it for Nutella instead. Nutella makes pretty much everything better 🙂

    Cat
    http://oddlylovely.com

  • These look so delicious and I love two things about them “no bake” and “peanut butter”!!! definitely going to try them this week! I think I might have 80% of the ingredients at home already 🙂

    http://wideseanoanchor.com

  • This is basically my favorite no-bake recipe too (sans cinnamon)!!
    My college dining hall usually had something like these for lunch a few times a week, so when my friends and I moved out of the dorms, I looked up a recipe and started making these from time to time because no-bake peanut butter and chocolate cookies were the one thing we really missed. These really couldn’t be any easier/tastier! Glad the masses now know about this recipe too 😉
    -E

  • My best friend’s mom used to make cookies just like these all the time when we were growing up! They’re easy to make and soooo delicious. These are nostalgia in cookie form for me. 🙂

    Neha // http://nehasharmaphoto.com/blog/

  • Those cookies look so yummy! I think that I’m going to make them because they look so delicious.

    sparklydaydreamer.blogspot.com

    XOXO, Susy

  • My mom has a similar recipe, minus the peanut butter, and it was a godsend to me, being a frequent baker, and living in Fiji with no oven. Once, I replaced all the cocoa powder with cinnamon and it was magical.

  • No bake anything is seriously the best! These look amazing!

  • Wondering if you can substitute PB with sunflower butter for peanut allergies, thoughts?

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