Rich, decadent, and delicious classic no-bake cookies are the perfect summer dessert. Make on the stovetop, or use the microwave to keep your home cool!
This is another recipe I can’t make too often, because I will eat the entire thing in one sitting. For those who aren’t familiar, classic no-bake cookies are a fudgy, peanut-buttery wonderland of melt-in-your-mouth goodness. They’re also a fantastic way to sate that sweet tooth without heating up your home. With temperatures reaching 100 last week, that’s a real plus for us!
The standard way to make these cookies is over the stovetop in a saucepan. It’s sweaty work in the heat, which means that these cookies were out of reach in the summertime for me. However, after much experimentation, I’ve found a microwaving technique that gives you that same fudgy goodness without any of the sweaty stirring! I’m looking forward to applying the technique to some other no-bake favorites, like these avalanche cookies, or these scotchies.
What do I need?
Cocoa: I love Hershey’s Dark Cocoa powder, which lends a decadent depth to these cookies. If you’re not a dark chocolate lover, any cocoa powder works here.
Butter or margarine: These can be used interchangeably, but be aware that there will be a difference in the consistency of your cookie. Butter has less water in it, and will give you a thicker cookie. Margarine makes a more spread-out cookie. You can fight that tendency a bit by leaving the batter in the fridge longer before spooning it into cookies, and then put the cookies back into the fridge to set up.
Oats: The kind of oats you use will change the consistency of the cookies. Instant oats are finer, and have less chew to them in the final cookies. They almost disappear into the rest of the ingredients. Regular oats are going to be less chewy and more obviously in your cookies.
Creamy peanut butter: This is the glue that holds the cookie together. You want something like good old Jif. I use the cheap Great Value creamy peanut butter. Do NOT use any natural peanut butters that separate and have to be stirred. These don’t have enough “stick” to create a solid consistency, and you’ll end up with goopy cookies that never set up.
How do I make no-bake cookies?
Heat the ingredients: Normally, you’d do this on the stovetop, bringing the sugar, butter/margarine, milk, and cocoa to a boil and boiling it for 3 minutes. However, in the new, improved microwavable version, you can mix all 4 ingredients together in a large microwaveable bowl. Then you microwave for 2 minutes, mix the melted butter/margarine in, and microwave again for 2 minutes. That’s it. That’s all the heating you have to do. It’s much faster than the classic method!
Mix in the rest and let it rest: Add the peanut butter, oats, and vanilla in to the heated mixture. Then, you let the batter rest for at least 15 minutes. I typically use margarine, so I put mine into the fridge to start to set up. I also will leave it for longer so that my cookies are thicker, like in the pictures. If you like the thinner ones (like these), you can start scooping sooner!
Scoop and let it rest: Once the batter has thickened a bit, scoop it onto wax paper. Then, you’ll let the cookies set up completely, which can take an hour if you leave them on the counter, but as little as 30 minutes if you put them in the fridge.
Enjoy! The best part of any recipe.
Classic No-Bake Cookies
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- ¼ cup cocoa
- ½ cup milk
- ½ cup butter or margarine
- 1 cup peanut butter
- 2 cups oats
- 1 tsp vanilla
- pinch salt
- Combine sugar, cocoa, milk, and butter in a large microwaveable bowl.2 cups granulated sugar, 1/4 cup cocoa, 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup butter or margarine
- Cover and microwave for 2 minutes.
- Remove from microwave and stir until combined completely.
- Cover and microwave for 2 additional minutes.
- Add peanut butter, oats, vanilla, and salt to the heated mixture and stir until combined.1 cup peanut butter, 2 cups oats, 1 tsp vanilla, pinch salt
- Allow to rest for 15 minutes.
- Scoop the batter by rounded spoonfuls onto wax paper.
- Allow batter to set up for 30 minutes to 1 hour.