It is hard to find a cookie recipe that is as easy as no bake cookies.

There is no baking required and all you have to do is follow the instructions and you will end up with crowd pleasing, quick and easy cookies every time.

I have been making these cookies for many years and have seen and followed a variety of recipes.

Sometimes they turned out dry, sometimes they didn’t set up at all, and other times they were the so delicious that they never made it to the cookie jar!

No-bake cookies placed on the tray - they won't be there long!
No-bake cookies placed on the tray – they won’t be there long!

The two biggest secrets to make sure that these cookies are award winning every time is all about the timing.

First of all you will see many recipes that calls for you to boil the mixture from anywhere from 1-3 minutes.

They don’t tell you that you should start timing the boil when it is at a full and rapid boil, not when you first start to see bubbles.

We NEVER go over 1 minute and 15 seconds when boiling, otherwise you end up with too dry of a mixture that results in crumbling cookies.

The second secret may seem silly, but it holds true every time – Do not make these cookies when it is raining outside.

The change in the atmosphere does something that causes the cookie mixture to fail to set properly. Sounds crazy, but don’t risk it.

Chocolate and Peanut Butter No Bake Cookies Recipe

Have your remaining ingredients ready to go for ease of preparation.
Have your remaining ingredients ready to go for ease of preparation. Get your must have Push Up Measuring Cup

Full Recipe Card At The End Of The Article

1/2 cup butter (1 stick)

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup milk

4 tablespoons cocoa

1 cup creamy peanut butter

3 cups instant oats

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


1. In a medium sauce pan, add butter, sugar, milk and cocoa. Place on medium heat.

Tray of no bakes cooking cooling.

2. While you wait for the mixture to begin to boil, measure out your peanut butter and oats and have your vanilla jar handy. (once this process gets started – you have to work quickly.

3. Next, bring the mixture in the sauce pan to a rolling boil – once it is at a full boil – boil for 1 minute and 15 seconds.

4. Next, Remove from the heat immediately.

5. Add in the peanut butter – stir.  Add in the oats – stir. Add in the vanilla – stir.

6. Drop by tablespoons onto baking sheets lined with wax paper.

7. Let cool for 30 minutes or until set.

Store in air-tight container.


You might enjoy some of our other holiday cookie recipes, click on the link below to see the recipes:

Our Favorite Holiday Cookie Recipes

Grandma’s Easy Peanut Butter Fudge Recipe

Sugar Cookie Recipe “Lofthouse Style” – A Holiday Classic

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Mary and Jim

The Secret To Making No Bake Cookies


  • 1/2 cup butter 1 stick
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3 cups instant oats
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


  1. In a medium sauce pan, add butter, sugar, milk and cocoa. Place on medium heat.
  2. While you wait for the mixture to begin to boil, measure out your peanut butter and oats and have your vanilla jar handy. (once this process gets started - you have to work quickly)
  3. Bring the mixture in the sauce pan to a rolling boil - once it is at a full boil - boil for 1 minute and 15 seconds.
  4. Remove from the heat immediately.
  5. Add in the peanut butter - stir. Add in the oats - stir. Add in the vanilla - stir.
  6. Drop by tablespoons onto baking sheets lined with wax paper.
  7. Let cool for 30 minutes or until set.

Recipe Notes

Store in an air-tight container
Recipe courtesy of Old World Garden Farms

67 thoughts on “The Secret to Making the Perfect Chocolate & Peanut Butter No Bake Cookies

  • December 3, 2016 at 5:43 pm

    Can you make these cookies without coco.My husband can’t not have any chol. of any kind

    • December 5, 2016 at 9:20 am

      I have a friend who makes them without cocoa. They prefer them that way!

      • December 11, 2016 at 8:18 am

        Yes, they are delicious!

  • November 22, 2016 at 8:36 am

    My mother made these cookies back in 1959. We were stationed in Germany, my Dad in the army. She made these for us and our friends. Our friends loved these cookies. I never saw her ever make a bad batch.

  • November 20, 2016 at 6:54 pm

    I made these cookies this afternoon. I am so disappointed. EVERY TIME I make these they never firm up. We have to eat them with a spoon. I carefully measured each ingredient and went by the recipe completely. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong!

    • December 7, 2016 at 10:08 am

      I see this recipe calls for butter but butter has NEVER worked for me. They fall apart every time. Use margarine instead and they should firm up.

      • December 11, 2016 at 8:14 am

        Sorry about that Shannon. We use butter and it works ok for us, but I hope Lynn’s hint of using margarine works for you! Thanks Lynn for sharing the tip!

  • November 19, 2016 at 8:10 pm

    I was wondering if anyone knew how much better evaporated milk was for these. It makes a big difference in taste! I always use butter also.

  • November 17, 2016 at 9:19 am

    Even a wrll played batch is great in the freezer. They thaw relatively fast. It’s like they melt in your mouth but a nice cold treat. LOVE them frozen!

  • November 16, 2016 at 10:45 am

    I have made these for 40+ years and have always been a favorite of my family. Instead of cocoa I use 2-3 squares of bakers chocolate and yes the cooking time is key to these cookies.

  • November 15, 2016 at 9:28 pm

    Raisins… add in a cup YUM

  • October 28, 2016 at 9:51 pm

    My mom made a version called Stove Top cookies with no peanut butter in the recipe. We prefer it this way and now I add chopped roasted almonds and mini marshmallows (and call them Rocky Road) after adding the oats. Wait til the mixture cools slightly so marshmallows don’t completely melt.
    I cut the sugar by half and always use old fashioned oats.

    • November 16, 2016 at 12:47 pm

      I would love to have the NO PEANUT BUTTER recipe since my granddaughter is alergic to it.

      • November 18, 2016 at 12:19 am

        I made these for my Grandson with Nutella and they were delicious!

  • October 26, 2016 at 6:09 pm

    it’s nothing to do with the atmospere, it’s the humidity

    • October 27, 2016 at 11:37 am

      I ALWAYS make sure it is at a soft boil stage….never have made a mistake by doing this….if you don’t know how to test for a soft boil stage it is very easy: get a glass of cool water (the tap should do it), use a see through glass and drop a bit of it in the glass…if it holds together OK it is at a soft boil stage and ready to use! Yeah…it is that simple.

    • November 20, 2016 at 8:00 am

      Thats the same thing.

    • December 3, 2016 at 1:05 pm

      Totally agree!!

  • October 26, 2016 at 4:14 pm

    You have said the 2 things that I have said myself, for years!!! This is the exact recipe I have used for 25 years & the only time it has ever failed is when I let it boil for longer than 70 seconds or tried to make it on a rainy day.

    • November 12, 2016 at 10:57 am

      What are the best kind of oats to use? I made these today using Quaker old fashion oats. They were good but the oats we’re chewy and hard.

      • November 19, 2016 at 10:50 pm

        I have made these cookies for years and have found that the instant oats are the best.

      • November 21, 2016 at 8:35 am

        I use the Quick 1 minute….it is perfect… I add coconut to mine:)

      • December 3, 2016 at 1:06 pm

        I use Quick cooking Oats.

  • October 26, 2016 at 8:56 am

    I add 1/2 cup coconut to mine. So true on boiling time and rain. Thought it was an ole wise tale but unfortunately I have not had success on rain days.

  • October 25, 2016 at 7:01 pm

    I have never had trouble making these when raining. Maybe I am just lucky. I do however think the best texture is gotten when you do half old fashioned oats and half instant. Make them that way all the time. I sell lots of them. Never had a bad batch

  • October 24, 2016 at 6:57 pm

    Love these cookies Thank you for all the ideas

  • October 24, 2016 at 6:39 pm

    The MAIN ingredient is PEANUT BUTTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! KEEP SCROLLING!!!!

  • October 24, 2016 at 2:45 pm

    I have been making these cookies for 30 years. They are my signature cookie and everyone loves them. I make them for Christmas gifts, parties, and I even get requests for them as birthday presents. I tell people I have a secret recipe when they say they can’t make them and I have used the cooking pot forever. I make them with all percentages of milk and I use light margarine, I also use 3 tablespoons of cocoa and 3/4 cup reduced fat peanut butter, it doesn’t make a difference in them setting. The trick is definitely the cooking time from boiling. And it does make a difference when it is raining, I try to avoid it, but if I have to, just cook them a little longer or use a little extra oats. If you really like peanut butter, skip the cocoa.

  • October 24, 2016 at 7:59 am

    I have made these forever. You need to use nothing less than 2% milk. While milk works best and the secret definitely is all in the cooking.

    • October 25, 2016 at 2:25 pm

      I use almond milk with no problem

  • October 24, 2016 at 4:41 am

    Rice Krispies would be worth a try, but the oatmeal has stuff in it that absorbs moisture and provides a glue factor. I’m going to try a batch with half oatmeal and half Rice Krispies, thanks for the idea!555rrr555555555trrtt6555555tt55qwtr. (my cat agrees)

  • October 24, 2016 at 1:10 am

    We make these with all kinds of crispy or flaked cereals. The very first recipe I had of these called for sugar Frosted Flakes. Were great but with 5 kids , kind of expensive. We have tried with or without peanut butter, with raisins, craisins. Nuts , coconut, lots of stuff. We substitute some of the oats for the add ins. My sister uses cheerios.
    BTW you can use butter or regular margarine but lite margarine tends to make them hard.

  • October 23, 2016 at 10:08 pm

    U stored them to long before dropping them on waxpaper.

  • October 23, 2016 at 9:12 pm

    I use a whole can of evaporated milk, less sugar and butter, whole oats, boil until it thickens….maybe 3-4 min. They alrays come out creamy n chewy

  • October 23, 2016 at 3:33 pm

    I learned in my teenager years (eons ago) not to make these when it’s raining outside. I did twice and they were gooey both times! These are a favorite of our whole family!

  • October 23, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    My husband has made theses for me for years. He does not use any peanut butter at all because I’m allergic. They’re great!

    • October 24, 2016 at 8:58 am

      What does he use instead of peanut butter. My son is allergic to

      • October 24, 2016 at 9:19 am

        I use cashew butter in this recipe with great success

      • October 24, 2016 at 10:50 am

        Just skip the Peanut Butter. They work great without it.

    • October 26, 2016 at 8:49 pm

      When I was young in school, our lunch ladies made them from scratch, never knew the recipe until I was much older. Now I know the recipe I too could not use peanut butter because my child was allergic. You can use a not nut butter substitute, while I have tried different brands the best substitute for peanut butter is Sneaky Chef which I purchase at our local Target store. I think it is hands down even better than peanut butter, I absolutely love it!

  • October 23, 2016 at 1:30 pm

    I make my own version of these cookies. I only use 2 1/2 Tbsp of cocoa and 2 cups of old fashioned oats. 1/2 cup of pecans (chopped fine) and 1 cup of coconut.

    • October 23, 2016 at 6:09 pm

      I do this too and also add raisins!

  • October 23, 2016 at 11:02 am

    I prefer using 1/2 cup all natural peanut butter and old fashioned oats. I prefer the texture and they do not come out dry at all.

  • October 23, 2016 at 8:46 am

    yes I have made them with rice crispies

  • October 23, 2016 at 12:49 am

    That about the weather holds very true when making divinity. Rainy days it will not set up. Thanks for the advice on the cookies.

    • October 24, 2016 at 4:45 pm

      I used to help my mom make sick ity. Best candy in the world when done right. Weather is everything.

  • October 22, 2016 at 10:16 pm

    No sugar substitute won’t work. And as a diabetic as well The fat in this cookie is of much more concern. Sounds like a trip to a nutritionist together would be beneficial. I know how difficult it can be to understand what is ok and what is not. These are basically fudge with oatmeal in it the real sugar is what sets them. Hope this answers your question.

  • October 22, 2016 at 10:07 pm

    I, too, have noticed the changes in the weather affecting the outcome of the “finished product”! Being a Frugal Yankee, up here in Maine, I can’t let food go to waste, so, on those occasions when the cookies would set too quickly and I was unable to make actual cookies, I simply chipped the mix out of the pan, put it in an airtight container and kept it in the freezer. It makes a TERRIFIC ice cream topping!! You’re welcome!!

  • October 22, 2016 at 8:03 pm

    I have been making these cookies for 40 years. They must be good because everyone is always bugging me to make them too lol. My biggest tip to get them to turn out that I have found after all these years is to make sure to measure the sugar right. I have found that for some reason if the sugar is wrong (to much or to little) they don’t harden. Also, this thing about making them when it is raining, I just made them two nights ago during a thunderstorm and they turned out just fine. I have never had a problem with them not turning out when it was raining…just saying.

  • October 22, 2016 at 3:57 pm

    Yes you should. Add them slowly. Only add what you need.

  • October 22, 2016 at 12:26 pm

    I’ve also found that it works much better with real butter. I’ve never had much success with margarine.

    • October 22, 2016 at 5:06 pm

      I’ve been making these since about 1960 with chocolate or crunchy peanut butter, or both. Cooking time is 1 minute from a rolling boil or 3 minutes from the time you first begin to see some bubbles. I usually wait for the rolling boil. I have a small measuring cup with water in it, to do the soft boil test just to make sure. Then I add the peanut butter and vanilla and mix til pb is melted. Add oats, mix quickly and spoon out on wax paper. Don’t dally around. My recipe says refrigerate. However, mine never last long enough to make it to the frig.

    • October 24, 2016 at 8:34 am

      If you use margarine they won’t set. Took me many times to realize this and the cooking time is key. This also depends on your stove.Cooking them slowly helps. I melt my butter , add next two ingredients then bring slowly to a rolling boil then begin time. But heck, even the mishaps are good! If they don’t set, roll them into balls!

  • October 22, 2016 at 12:06 pm

    Random question – WHERE did you get that measuring cup??

    • October 22, 2016 at 9:12 pm

      That looks like a pampered chef measure – push up from the bottom to empty.

    • October 23, 2016 at 2:19 pm

      Pampered chef….I have the two cup version.

    • October 23, 2016 at 4:14 pm

      I have a measuring cup that is similar. I got it from Pampered Chef.

      • October 27, 2016 at 1:34 am

        I have the larger one from Pampered Chef and LOVE it—it is perfect for measuring peanut butter!!

  • October 22, 2016 at 11:48 am

    That is a very easy thing to fix. The real secret to perfect cookies is to either add a little milk to the finished mixture if they look too dry or to add only a handful of oats if they look too runny. The cookies should be a slightly thick mixture that stirs easily.

  • October 22, 2016 at 11:09 am

    Similar to my recipe except that we don’t use that much peanut butter. It’s way too much for our taste. We like them chocolatey with a hint of peanut butter flavor. Maybe 1/4 cup at the most. You are correct about the boiling times though, when you start timing is very important. I also find that when I make them, I measure out 3 cups of oats. I add them gradually so that I can judge when I’ve used enough so they don’t get too dry. Usually I end using about 2 -1/2 cups but you never know how things are going to turn out lol.

    • October 22, 2016 at 6:38 pm

      I agree about the too much peanut butter! One whole cup is way too much. I only use 2 tbs. Also, if you want golden brown cookies like the ones in the picture DO NOT use 4 tbs!!! Way too much, they will be dark colored and dark chocolatey in flavor!

  • October 22, 2016 at 9:21 am

    I might try to fashion this recipe to make lactation cookies. Just have to figure out how much more pb/butter to add to incorporate some ground flax seed and brewers yeast. Or if I should just replace some of the oats with them.

  • October 21, 2016 at 11:11 pm

    Cooked to long. I use softball stage in water

  • October 21, 2016 at 1:09 pm

    So the margarine name is a secret?,,, or is it just a “trick” post?

  • September 12, 2016 at 12:14 pm

    I have been making these cookies for years and have had them turn out too wet or dry a few times. I have also learned how to make opera cream fudge. There are some similarities, I believe. I’m talking specifically about boiling until it is in soft ball stage. In fudge, it will go either way, if you aren’t careful. Two quick checks are dropping the hot batter into a cup of cold water. Then you see if you can form a soft ball with your hand. The other thing that might solve this dilemma is to use a candy thermometer. I don’t know what temp you would be trying to get…maybe the same as fudge. It really has similarities to candy making !

  • August 24, 2016 at 3:45 pm

    Made these for the first time a couple of weeks ago. Used Hershey’s Dark Cocoa. They came out perfect and I had no difficulty. Very nostalgic as my late mother used to make them. I tasted her love in every bite. Thanks for the recipe!

  • August 20, 2016 at 9:42 am

    I use 2 tbs of cocoa, more than that and we think they are a little bitter.

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