No Bake Cookies

No bake cookies cause me to reminisce. The first time I made no bake cookies was when I was in mini 4-H. I’m fairly certain I entered those cookies in the county fair every year of the 3 years I was in mini 4-H. I think I mixed it up one year by using chunky peanut butter instead of smooth. But when something is a sure thing you go with it, especially if you’re only getting a participation ribbon.
I moved on to bigger and better things when I hit the big leagues– regular 4-H when I turned 8. I won Grand Champion overall at my county fair and went to the state fair twice for cake decorating, earning special merit (top honors) both times. I came a long way from no bake cookies.
I broke out the no bake cookie recipe last weekend. We were heading to a pool party, and I didn’t have time to make something elaborate. So I channeled my inner 7 year old and whipped up my participation ribbon winning cookies.
4 from 1 vote
The BEST No Bake Cookies!
No Bake Cookies
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
18 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cookies, no bake
Servings: 2 dozen
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup butter, cut into pieces
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups quick oats
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Place sugar, milk, butter, cocoa, and salt in medium/large saucepan. While ingredients cook, place some wax paper on countertop.

  2. Bring ingredients to a boil, stirring often.

  3. Once boiling, remove pan from the burner.

  4. Stir in quick oats, peanut butter, and vanilla.

  5. Drop cookies onto wax paper. Allow to cool.


What is your stance on no bake cookies?
Are you a fellow former 4-H member? Head, Heart, Hands, Health, baby.
The BEST No Bake Cookies!

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  1. I pledge my to head to clearer thinking….

    Totally a 4-H kid. My pig was reserve champion one year and my duck won best pet. Man, I miss the fair.

    My stance on no bake cookies…I am 100% pro no bake cookies!

  2. We love no bakes!
    There was no 4H in Detroit 😉 but these were a sorority house staple in college!

  3. Oh man, no bake cookies are my favorite!! You just reminded me of how much I love them and now I’m going to need to make them! My sisters were in 4-H but I never was, seems like it was a great experience though! 🙂

  4. yeah i was a 4H girl too! i tried to do cake decorating but quit. ha ha. i was more of a crafty girl, myself.

  5. Is it 1/2 cup of butter? The recipe just says “1/2 butter” – I’m totally getting cocoa at the store today so I can make these this weekend! 🙂

    I was never in 4-H, but I always loved looking at their exhibits at the fair. I was a scouts girl for a while, but we moved too much to stick with one thing.

    1. Good catch, Ash! This is why I shouldn’t be allowed to create recipe cards after 11PM. The “1/2 butter” issue has been fixed. 🙂

      1. Too much salt! I posted on facebook and alot are saying they dont put salt in theirs.

        1. Salt helps bring out the sweet flavors. Every no bake recipe I have seen, or any dessert actually, calls for salt.

          1. if you use salted butter you don’t need salt…but if you use unsalted you definitely need it!

  6. I cannot BELIEVE you made that cake. Wow! No-bake cookies is still where it’s at. Participation ribbon or not, they are fabulously delicious.

  7. Good Old 4-H! I took cooking and baking, but we didn’t have a local fair to enter in or anything like that.
    I don’t think I have ever had a no-bake cookie before. I might have to try these out sometime!

  8. Um, yes. I need these today. My mom pushed me into 4-H as a kid. She ended up making my pasta salad the morning of the show and then threw me to the wolves. (“We keep our commitments young lady.”) When the judges came around I couldn’t answer any of their questions as I had no idea what was in it or how it was made. My 4-H career was short-lived.

  9. Oh mini 4-H! And the ten years of real 4-H that followed… at least we gained some mad skills from it all! 🙂

  10. Marci Spell says:

    I JUST made them with 100% Whole Grain Quick Oats… Licking the spoon tasted Great…

  11. That looks almost exactly like our recipe, except we double it. And one of our kids has peanut allergies so we use wowbutter brand soy nut butter in place of the peanut butter. Probably one of our favorite cookies ever.

  12. The one year I was in 4-H (I think in 4th grade), my dad helped me make (by helped, I mean, he did most of the work) book ends that looked like books. 🙂 I still have them.

  13. These sure bring back memories. Do you think we could use Stevia in place of sugar? My DH is diabetic and I hate to make things that he shouldn’t have. Thanks again for sharing the recipe, and I love the beautiful wedding cake. It looks awesome.

  14. Hi, I have been making these no-bake cookies for years, as a substitute for the cocoa…you can you 3-4 instant hot chocolate packages, the cookies taste more ‘milk chocolate’ with the hot chocolate and is a great substitute if you don’t have cocoa!!

  15. This is the exact recipe I use for these cookies–we call them Chocolate Oaties in our house. My kids have each made them for 4H-when they were Cloverbuds. (K5-2nd grade and they can enter anything in the fair and can use mom and dad’s help on the projects). It’s County Fair time this week for my kids. My daughter is in Cake Decorating. She got a Merit award last year, but not this year. Not a happy 11 year old this year! My son got a Merit this year on his Rocket. A couple years ago, his rocket was chosen for State Fair. He loved it! I was never in 4H as a kid, buy DH was. Now, he’s our 4H Leaders Board President and I help out at 4H camp ever year. It’s amazing how much kids learn-from leadership skills to public speaking. I think it’s great!

  16. Lora Terry-Steele says:

    I was in 4-H! I lived in the country in Idaho. We were crop farmers. I have fond memories of 4-H, especially baking! We baked perfect 2″ cookies, tapioca on the hottest summer day ever, sandwich galore, sewing and drawing! My mom was one of the leaders. Good memories of an easier time. Thank you for the no bake recipe!

  17. I was in 4-H. I was also a Cloverbud. That’s what the group from age 5-7 or 8. I also did livestock judging and meat judging. The cooking/crafty stuff was always lost on me. Now I cook all the time. My son is starting Cloverbuds soon.
    I’m going to use this recipe tomorrow at my home schooling co-op as a life skills lesson on measurement.

  18. My heart skipped a beat when I saw these! My grandmother used to make these for us when we were little. I have no seen them in over 20 years. I think I will surprise my siblings with a batch!

    1. gwendolyn alston says:

      It has been that long for me too. I loved these in North Carolina. That picture brought back great memories.

  19. What am I doing wrong? Mine come out dry and crumbly.

    1. Sometimes mine come out crumbly if I boil the sugar mixture too long. My recipe says to boil it for exactly 1 minute.

  20. coffeegirl says:

    good.. but i guess less salt? not sure where i went wrong…

  21. momof2daughters says:

    i have to agree, to much salt…. i really was craving these to, now i gotta re-make them w/no salt!!

  22. No bakes are one of our favorite cookies. I decided to use your recipe instead of mine and I was very pleased. I could taste the salt so next time I will cut it down a little but otherwise they are delicious. Thanks for sharing!

  23. The best no-bakes I’ve ever eaten were made with cream cheese instead of peanut butter; it took the edge off the sweetness a bit. However, mine would never harden. One day my sister mentioned that she had seen our aunt shaving (food grade, canning) paraffin wax into the pot!

  24. gwendolyn alston says:

    I loved these cookies as a child growing up in North Carolina. My school cafeteria used to serve them. We called them peanut butter delights. So delicious!! I think I will make a batch this weekend.

  25. I remember my mother made these with coconut in them. They were great!

  26. Laurie@moosetracks says:

    “…for my club, my community, my country, and my world.” Wow, you just took me back 30 years! Thank you!
    Love, love the no-bakes. Although I’m before your time, I too entered them in our state fair. 🙂
    Live on 4-H, live on….

  27. Fairy Boyce says:

    What is the secret for getting the cookies to firm up? Sometimes I make them and they are perfect and other times when making them they turn out to soft and will not firm up. Love, love, love these cookies but they are always better when firm.

    1. Weird how sometimes they firm up and sometimes they don’t, right? Sometimes I have to add a little more peanut butter and oats to get the consistency a little thicker. Try that next time.

  28. My Grandma always made them with chunky peanut butter, I’ve had them once without nanda didn’t care for them.
    I learned how to make them when I was 6 years old. My favorite childhood cookie.

  29. I had totally forgotten about these! Thanks for the quick trip down memory lane, made me smile 🙂

  30. Yay for 4-H! I did all 9 years- raised pigs, did cooking, showed my horse, did art! Great program! 🙂 getting ready to make your no-bake cookies now 🙂

  31. These are what my grandma use to call real cool cookies. This is the exact same recipe she used.

  32. Every time I see a recipe for these I can’t figure out how they would turn out okay with such a short cook time. My family uses almost the same recipe, except no salt and a whole stick of butter + we add the vanilla in the beginning. We boil them on low for about 10 minutes, until they reach the “soft ball” stage (they form tiny balls when dripped into a cup of cold water). We add the oats as needed, so probably less than 3cups, and we add a tiny splash of milk to keep them shiny and not too dry when they harden. If we don’t cook them long enough they are complete mush.

    If you want to do fudge, start out with mostly the same ingredients. 2 cups sugar, 3tbs cocoa, 1tsp vanilla, 1 cup milk, and a half stick of butter. Bring to boil and reduce heat to low for about 20 minutes, checking often toward the end. When it reaches the soft ball stage, remove from heat. Carefully use an electric mixer to beat the mixture. It will eventually start to get thicker. When it starts keeping its shape a bit, add a splash of milk and beat for about one more minute. Then pour into a buttered pan to cool/harden. Best fudge ever.

  33. I was in 4H & Girl Scouts. Loved and stilll love no-bakes. So do my granddaughters. Teaching them all to cook. Their mom doesn’t cook and Dad works. Their mom works hard at home so Granny cooks and gives cooking lessons. So fun!

  34. Sue McIntyre says:

    Great memories, great no bake cookies. In the south, cosider the humidity. It really does effect the firmness of the cookies. Thanks for sharing.?

  35. This recipe was published in either Women’s Day magazine or Family Circle in the summer of 1965. I was staying in Kentucky with my sister that summer. It is my family’s favorite cookie recipe. It can be changed a bit by leaving out the chocolate and substituting brown sugar for the white. We cook it just under 3 minutes at a full boil. I have also added crushed up nuts instead of peanut butter to the brown sugar version. Have never added vanilla as the recipe did not call for it.

  36. Pat McCollem says:

    This recipe was published in either Women’s Day magazine or Family Circle in the summer of 1965. I was staying in Kentucky with my sister that summer. It is my family’s favorite cookie recipe. It can be changed a bit by leaving out the chocolate and substituting brown sugar for the white. We cook it just under 3 minutes at a full boil. I have also added crushed up nuts instead of peanut butter to the brown sugar version. Have never added vanilla as the recipe did not call for it.

  37. Can you freeze these cookies. I am starting my Christmas baking and would like to add this one to my list.

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