This no bake cookie recipe without peanut butter is the holy grail of cookie recipes. Through years of trial and error and countless millions spent on research, I’ve come up with a tried and true, easy recipe for you to follow.
Why are there so many recipes for no bake peanut butter cookies?
The reason so many people use natural peanut butter in their cookie recipes is that it acts as a binding agent. Peanut butter also adds a deep level of flavor. It makes everything better unless you’re allergic, in which case it makes things much, much worse.
Still want that peanut butter flavor?
While this specific recipe is peanut butter-free, you can still use peanut butter if you’re feeling rebellious. Maybe you’re not rebellious, and instead, you’re one of the unlucky few that have deadly peanut allergies, yet you still want a nut-butter in your recipe. You’re in luck because there are a handful of other types of butters you can substitute:
- Almond butter
- Sunflower butter
- Soy butter
- Pea butter (I had to google this one)
If you do end up using one of these butters, add a 1/4 cup of your chosen butter at the same time you add the baking chocolate to the recipe.
If you use actual peanut butter use creamy peanut butter rather than chunky peanut butter.
Why this is the best recipe, hands-down
It’s a fool-proof, ridiculously simple recipe. And from personal experience, it’s a crowd-pleaser. As a new father, my wife, my 1-year-old daughter, and I are invited to countless birthday parties and events. And we’re often asked to bring a side dish or a dessert.
This recipe is legendary in our circle of friends (making us look cool) and is so incredibly simple to make (gives us more time to get ready for said events).
Reasons this is a great recipe:
- Incredibly easy
- You don’t need an oven
- Minimal cleanup
- Simple ingredients
- Gluten, egg, and dairy free (if you so choose)
How do I make dairy-free no bake cookies?
Fret not! You can replace the butter with virgin coconut oil. You can replace the milk with your favorite milk alternative. Mine happens to be almond milk. Use unsweetened almond milk, since this recipe is sweet enough as-is.
Coconut oil is actually a preferred alternative to butter, and you may want to use it for this recipe because it sets up better, is dryer than cow’s butter, and is overall a firmer fat.
If you don’t like coconut oil or are deathly allergic to coconuts, you can always use shortening or margarine. This recipe is filled with things that can kill you it seems.
“Hey recipe guy, this recipe isn’t dairy-free because it has chocolate in it.” True, but the chocolate you’re using is unsweetened and is most likely dairy-free since it has a higher level of chocolate.
Tips to avoid a no bake cookie disaster:
Tip 1: Use an ice cream scoop to measure your cookie dough
The ice cream scoops that have the release trigger are what I’m talking about. They result in perfect, 1 tbsp-sized dough portions. You can also use a small spoon or even your tablespoon tool.
Tip 2: Use instant Oats
Don’t make the mistake of using steel-cut oats or regular oatmeal for this recipe. You need to use old-fashioned oats or quick cooking oats for your no bake cookies.
The upside to the quick oats is that they’ll cook really quickly while soaking up the sugar mixture. Also, using instant oats will give your no-bake cookies the chewy texture that you know and love.
While you can get fancy, organic quick oats at the grocery store, I get the store brand. I buy the smaller container of oats and it runs me about $1.50.
I’m not knocking organic oats. If you can afford them, definitely go that route. Organic oats are purer and are raised with strict protocols in place–protocols that eliminate the use of cancer-causing pesticides, etc.
Tip 3: Use cocoa powder that is unsweetened
This recipe calls for plenty of sugar, so there’s no need to use sweetened cocoa powder. I use nestle unsweetened cocoa powder. This ensures that the ratios don’t get messed up (the cookies become too sweet).
It’s common practice to use unsweetened cocoa powder in baking in general. My wife makes a killer brownie recipe from scratch and she couples unsweetened cocoa powder with granulated sugar. It’s so good.
Tip 4: Get creative with flavors
Set your recipe apart from others by adding a complementary flavor. When I was making this recipe, I thought to myself, “Self, what flavors go well with chocolate?” While I immediately thought of vanilla extract, the more I thought about it, the answer I came up with was mint extract.
Mint and chocolate go together like Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks. They’re meant for one another.
If you’d like to get fancy you can use actual mint leaves rather than resorting to a mint extract. What you would do in this case is melt the mint leaves in the butter and let them simmer for 5-10 minutes. Next, strain the mint leaves and carry on with the rest of the no bake cookie recipe steps.
Tip 5: Be prepared with all ingredients
You need to have all your ingredients ready for this recipe since your success comes down to timing. The minute you pull the mixture off of the stove you need to add in the oatmeal and chocolate chunks. Have prepared baking sheets at the ready.
Tip 6: Add chocolate
The millions I spent on researching this recipe proved one thing. You need something in the recipe that stays solid at room temperature. Enter chopped chocolate.
That’s what makes this recipe disaster-proof–chopped chocolate added to the cooked sugar before the sugar cooling. If you follow this simple tip (and you should), you’ll avoid the pitfalls that come if you accidentally undercook the sugar.
In order to disaster-proof your no-bake cookies, you’ll need 4-6 ounces of unsweetened dark chocolate, chopped up into chunks.
Tip 7: Ensure good texture
Make sure you don’t cook the cookie mixture for too long. If you do this, it’ll result in dry, crumbling no bake cookies.
Tip 8: Don’t deviate from the recipe
While I’m normally a big fan of using the measurements in a recipe as a rough guide, you need to stick to them precisely, with this recipe. We’re using specific ratios.
How to Make:
- 3 cups quick oats (old fashioned oats)
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 8 tbps unsalted butter
- 2/3 cup milk
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
- 1/4 tsp mint extract
While there are countless no-bake cookie recipes out there, most of them require peanut butter. Ours doesn’t. Something else that sets this recipe apart is the amounts/ratios of ingredients we use. We use less sugar, solid chocolate chunks, more cocoa powder, more butter, etc. As a result, everything works together perfectly–something you’ll witness when you take your first bite.
- Large baking sheet
- Wax paper (parchement paper) or silicone mats
- Large saucepan
- Metal whisk
- Ice cream scoop
Step 1: Mix & Simmer Ingredients
Grab your large saucepan (or medium saucepan) and add the sugar, milk, butter, and cocoa powder.
Whisk over medium heat until the butter has melted.
Bring the mixture to a gentle rolling boil and cook for 1 minute, whisking continuously.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and add 1/4 tsp of mint extract and whisk for an additional 5-10 seconds.
Step 2: Add chopped chocolate
Grab the bowl containing the 4-6 ounces of baking chocolate and add to your sugar mixture, whisking until all the chocolate has melted fully.
Step 3: Add the oats
Grab a large mixing bowl and thoroughly mix together your cocoa powder and oats.
Pour the chocolate sugar mixture over the free oats and cocoa blend and stir well.
Make sure every ounce of oatmeal is smothered in the chocolate mixture.
Step 4: Wait 10 minutes
Now that you’ve added the oats to the mixture, you need to give them some time to absorb the liquids. This will make it much easier for you to scoop and then shape.
Let the mixture sit for about 10 minutes.
Step 5: Scoop and Place
Line your baking sheet with parchment paper. Then, using your ice cream scoop, scoop out even amounts of the cookie mixture and place 2 inches apart on the baking sheet.
I’m using a silicone mat rather than parchment paper. These are high-quality, German silicone mats and are available almost anywhere.
I’d recommend smashing the mounds of cookie dough slightly with your ice cream scoop to help flatten them a bit.
Step 6: Cool in Refrigerator
Place the cookie sheet in the refrigerator and let cool for about 45-60 minutes. Once they’ve cooled, you should be able to easily remove them from the wax paper or silicone liner and serve!
Ridiculously Simple No Bake Cookie Recipe Without Peanut Butter
- Step 1: Mix & Simmer IngredientsGrab your large saucepan (or medium saucepan) and add the sugar, milk, butter, and cocoa powder.Whisk over medium heat until the butter has melted.Bring the mixture to a gentle rolling boil and cook for 1 minute, whisking continuously.Remove the saucepan from the heat and add 1/4 tsp of mint extract and whisk for an additional 5-10 seconds.¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 8 tbsp unsalted butter, ⅔ cup whole milk, 2 cups granulated sugar, ⅛ tsp kosher salt, ¼ tsp mint extract
- Step 2: Add chopped chocolateGrab the bowl containing the 4-6 ounces of baking chocolate and add to your sugar mixture, whisking until all the chocolate has melted fully.4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
- Step 3: Add the oatsGrab a large mixing bowl and thoroughly mix together your cocoa powder and oats.Pour the chocolate sugar mixture over the free oats and cocoa blend and stir well.Make sure every ounce of oatmeal is smothered in the chocolate mixture.3 cups quick oats
- Step 4: Wait 10 minutesNow that you’ve added the oats to the mixture, you need to give them some time to absorb the liquids. This will make it much easier for you to scoop and then shape.Let the mixture sit for about 10 minutes.
- Step 5: Scoop and PlaceLine your baking sheet with parchment paper. Then, using your ice cream scoop, scoop out even amounts of the cookie mixture and place 2 inches apart on the baking sheet.
- Step 6: Cool in RefrigeratorPlace the cookie sheet in the refrigerator and let cool for about 45-60 minutes. Once they’ve cooled, you should be able to easily remove them from the wax paper or silicone liner and serve!
How do I store my cookies?
An airtight container on the counter is what we use. Though, to be perfectly honest, our cookies rarely last long enough for this to be a concern.
You can also freeze them in a freezer-safe bag. If you’re going this route, I’d consider using a FoodSaver to create an airtight seal for your frozen no bake cookies.
Why won’t my cookies set properly?
After researching a few no bake oatmeal cookie recipes, I realized that many people had a similar issue. The recipe wasn’t working properly, even though commenters were following those recipes to a T.
The difficult thing about no-bake recipes is that you can’t measure doneness objectively. No hard and fast measurement guarantees readiness. You can’t use the toothpick method, or a candy thermometer, to gain any true insight.
The key with no-bake recipes is ensuring that a portion of ingredients will remain solid at room temperature. Don’t over or undercook your sugar. Instead, use binding ingredients like solid chocolate chunks to give your cookies structure.
Many variables can lead to your no bake cookies not setting properly when all is said and done. It could come down to things out of your control, such as the weather, humidity, or the type of equipment you’re using, etc.
Can I use brown sugar or maple syrup as sugar alternatives?
You can, but this will take a lot of experimentation to get right. I haven’t had success going this route.
Thank you for taking the time to read this recipe. I hope it was an easy recipe for you to follow!
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