These no bake cookies are quick and easy to make with only 6 ingredients, but no eggs, no flour, no butter, no mixer, no baking – no kidding! Easily made gluten free, vegan and refined sugar free and a great recipe to make with the kids.
I grew up making (and eating) an absurd amount of no bake cookies. Between these and buckeye balls, I was basically fueled by peanut butter and chocolate until I graduated high school.
The difference between the ones I made growing up and the recipe I’m presenting you today is that it was loaded with melted butter and sugars. As I’ve gotten older, certain foods practically make my teeth ache if they’re too sugary – so I wanted to be able to enjoy these as an adult without hurting my sweet tooth.
When I was a kid, we weren’t shopping for raw or organic anything, I’m pretty sure there wasn’t anything except Hershey’s brand cocoa powder at our store, and I don’t think there was a single recipe in our home that didn’t have butter in it. We were the epitome of Midwest culture and I make no apologies for that.
And before you ask… yes, I did put Ranch dressing on everything.
The original no bake cookie recipe
These were the ingredients in our repeat recipe in my house growing up – all basic ingredients that we usually had around the house:
- Melted butter
- Peanut butter
- Hershey’s cocoa powder
- Granulated sugar
- Vanilla extract
- Rolled oats
It involved heating all the ingredients except the oats in a saucepan on the stove and stirring until it was all combined. Then we stirred in the oats and had to let it sit, off heat, for a little bit so that it would hold its structure when portioning out the cookies on a lined baking sheet. The whole process only took about 15 minutes, but then the cookies needed to chill in the fridge for about an hour to firm up.
Why this version is my go-to recipe now
- Swapping melted butter for coconut oil is easy. They’re both solid when cool and have a similar structure, so it’s a 1:1 substitute. Coconut oil is dairy free and a slightly healthier alternative to butter. Just make sure you’re using refined coconut oil – it has a neutral flavor, unlike unrefined coconut oil which has a distinctly coconut-y flavor.
- Raw cacao powder is another easy 1:1 swap for cocoa powder. It’s high in antioxidants, it’s not processed, and I honestly prefer the flavor. I’ve always liked darker, more bitter chocolate flavors.
- No refined sugars. Instead, I use maple syrup or honey as my sweetener. The only downside to this is that since you’re using a liquid sweetener instead of a solid one, the end product gets a little melty to the touch while you’re eating them. But frankly, with me they don’t last long enough for it to matter!
- It’s quicker to make, which means I’m able to eat cookies sooner! It all goes into the bowl together (and no hand or stand mixer is needed) at once and really only needs 30 minutes before they’re set and ready to eat. I’ve been known to stick them in the freezer to speed up the process even more, and I’m not even sorry.
How to make the best no bake cookies
- Prep your baking sheet and ingredients ahead of time. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick silicon mat and measure out all your ingredients. You’re adding all the ingredients in a bowl at once, and it comes together quickly.
- Use a medium cookie scoop for the perfect size. That size cookie scoop holds about 1.5 Tablespoons, and you’ll get around a dozen cookies in one batch of this recipe.
- Shape the cookies before you store them. Whatever shape in which you plop them onto the baking sheet is the shape they’re going to be. Since you’re not baking these, there’s no spreading of the dough. I like to use my cookie scoop to drop them on the baking sheet, and then use the heel of my hand to press down on the tops to make them more disc-shaped (rather than mounds).
- Oats: You can use rolled quick oats, old fashioned oats, or gluten free oats – just not steel cut oats. Steel cut oats don’t absorb as much liquid and are more firm with an almost nutty flavor.
- Coconut Oil: You want refined coconut oil as it has a neutral flavor (unrefined has a coconut flavor). You can also substitute melted butter for a 1:1 swap.
- Peanut Butter: You can substitute for your favorite nut butter like almond butter or cashew butter, as long as it’s creamy and well stirred. If it’s oily you’ll end up with a big chocolately, nutty mess.
- Raw cacao powder : You can substitute unsweetened cocoa powder for a 1:1 swap as well, you’re just losing some of the nutritional value raw cacao powder provides and it was be a slightly different flavor.
- Maple Syrup: You can substitute honey or agave syrup (but you’ll want far less agave, so start with a small amount and taste test). You can also substitute the same amount of granulated or light brown sugar for a 1:1 swap, but it’s best to combine it with the melted coconut oil or butter before adding it to the bowl with the rest of the ingredients.
- Vanilla Extract: You can substitute for vanilla bean paste or vanilla bean powder, both a 1:1 swap.
Storing your no bake cookies
Keep the cookies in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to eat for up to 1 week.
They can also be stored in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months – I’ve been known to make a triple batch and keep ⅔ of them in the freezer to make sure I’ve got some reserves for when the craving hits.
After you’ve made this recipe, please consider coming back to share your experience with others by leaving a comment below with a star rating!
No Bake Cookies
- 2 cups quick rolled oats or old fashioned oats
- ½ cup refined coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly
- ½ cup creamy peanut butter
- ¼ cup raw cacao powder or cocoa powder
- ¼ cup real maple syrup, or to taste (can substitute honey)
- ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt, optional
- Prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick silicon mat. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and stir until well combined using a wooden spoon. Taste, and if you want it sweeter add a little more maple syrup. If too sweet, add a small pinch of salt.
- Use a medium cookie scoop to portion the dough onto prepared cookie sheet. If desired, slightly flatten the tops with the back of the spoon.
- Transfer cookie sheet to freezer for at least 30 minutes until cookies are firm.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to eat. Enjoy!