Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Classic Peanut Butter and Chocolate No-Bake Cookies

You know 'em. You love 'em. Old-school, classic no-bake cookies. A super quick-to-make, well-loved treat that was a staple of so many of our childhoods. They certainly bring me a real sense of nostalgia every time that I make them. And, I love seeing my own kids enjoy these cookies just as much as I did when I was young.

And, really ... what's not to love here? Chocolate and peanut butter collide amid a sea of oats, sugar and butter. {The ingredient list is a short one and consists of stuff most of us keep on hand.} And, you'll literally be in and out of the kitchen in like, ten or fifteen minutes making these. 

This is my mother's recipe and one that she made like, weekly when I was growing up. In our family, we prefer a combination of both quick oats and old-fashioned oats in this recipe. It just seems to create the perfect texture. But, just using regular quick-cooking oats works fine if that's what you have on hand or prefer. {Most recipes call for just quick oats.}

NOTE:  I would pretty much never recommend margarine for any recipe. However, my mother always used margarine in this recipe when I was growing up. I have tried making these many times using real butter, but they just never seem to turn out the same. So, I list margarine in the ingredient list. However, the recipe can very well be made with butter if that is all you prefer to purchase or have on hand.

Now, isn't it time you whipped up a batch of these today? You'll be so happy that you did.

Yields 24 - 28 small cookies or 12 - 14 large cookies.


1 stick {1/2 cup} margarine or butter {see note above}
2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup milk
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup peanut butter {creamy or crunchy per your preference}
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups uncooked oats {a combination of quick-cooking oats and old-fashioned oats is recommended}


Melt butter over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Once melted, stir in sugar, cocoa powder, milk and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and boil for 1 - 2 minutes while continuing to stir.

Remove pan from heat. Add peanut butter and vanilla extract.

Working quickly, stir until peanut butter is fully melted. Add oats.

NOTE:  If you prefer very soft, loose no-bake cookies, lessen the amount of oats by a couple of tablespoons. Using the full three cups called for will yield a firm cookie with a somewhat dryer texture.

Stir quickly until well-combined.

Drop by the spoonful onto parchment or waxed paper. {Per your preference, cookies can be made small - yielding 24 - 28 cookies - by making each with one heaping spoonful's worth of cookie mixture OR they can be made large - yielding 12 - 14 cookies - by making each cookie using two heaping spoonful's worth of cookie mixture.}

NOTE:  If the mixture gets too cool/thick before all of the cookies are dropped onto the paper, the pan can be put back over a low-temp burner on the stove for a quick shot of heat to loosen things back up {maybe one or two minutes while stirring}.

Allow to cool until cookies have set up - about thirty minutes. Store in an airtight container for up to one week.

01/17/18:  Updated photos and made clarifications to recipe/post.


  1. These are JUST like my mom used to make, and one of my favorite cookies. Funny story: when I was a kid, my family used to drink whole milk (I know). It wasn't until maybe, high school sometime that my mom switched over to even 2%.

    She made a few batches of these cookies, and they turned out kind of dry and just not how we'd always remembered them. None of us could figure it out. We didn't even THINK about the milk think (I knew absolutely nothing about baking at that time). Finally, it dawned on us. The milk! She went back to getting just a little botte of whole milk for these, and the deliciousness was restored :)

    1. My hubby doesn't like anything other than whole milk. I will usually only drink 2% or skim. :)

      Love your story about these cookies. This is one of those recipes that either turns out perfectly or the cookies are a flop - too dry and crumbly or too soupy. HA! So many variables - from the humidity to the time the mixture gets boiled and apparently even the type of milk that is used - can alter the results. :) When they are great, there is nothing better! One of my all-time faves, too! :)

  2. It's been wayyyyy too long since I've had one of these cookies! I just signed up for a holiday food swap on Food 52. Now I know for sure that I'll be sending my person a batch of these! Can't wait to taste them again.

    1. Now I have to go check out this holiday food swap! :)

  3. Here's the info: http://food52.com/blog/8977-the-third-annual-food52-holiday-secret-swap