Peanut Butter No Bake Cookies are packed full of peanut butter goodness! You only need six ingredients and 20 minutes to make a batch of delicious no bake oatmeal cookies with peanut butter that everyone will be in love with.
No bake cookies are something of a rite of passage, I think. I remember mixing up a similar recipe with my mother as a child, probably because they didn’t require the oven and are just messy enough for a kid to really have fun with.
No bake cookies come in a variety of styles, and are often the first to go from a cookie platter at the holidays. Along the same lines, you should try my Easy Christmas Truffles, or Chocolate Oreo Truffles. These don’t require any baking either!
These easy no bake cookies are now one of my favorites. The flavor of peanut butter along with the texture of oats makes for a simple, indulgent cookie that can double as breakfast too, if you want it too. I have no shame about enjoying cookies for breakfast!
If you’d like to bake cookies today instead, you should check out my Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies. They are easy and super soft and chewy.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Ready in Minutes – Aside from the time it takes for these no bakes to set, you’ll only be mixing or cooking for about 15 minutes. Compared to a traditional cookie recipe, that’s really quick.
- Fun for Kids – Little hands love playing with the cookie batter (make sure it’s cooled a bit!) and while they might have trouble being patient and waiting for them to harden, they’ll certainly enjoy liking the spoon.
- Easy Ingredients – All of these peanut butter no bake cookie ingredients are common household staples. I love recipes that use what I already have on hand.
Six simple ingredients are all you need to make these chewy peanut butter no bake cookies. Go check, I bet you already have them!
- Butter: Use unsalted butter for this recipe, as the peanut butter usually has enough salt to offset the sweetness. You can never really know how much salt is in salted butter, so I avoid it for most sweet things.
- Sugar: regular granulated white sugar sweetens the cookies and creates the magic that let’s the rest of the ingredients come together into a solid.
- Milk: a bit of milk adds creaminess and moisture to the oat mixture. Any variety of milk will work, even almond milk.
- Peanut Butter: Creamy peanut butter works best, but you could use crunchy peanut butter if you like that texture. You can also substitute it with almond butter for a different flavor variation.
- Vanilla Extract: for recipes like this one, I suggest using the best vanilla extract you can reasonably afford. The vanilla is the second most important flavor in this recipe.
- Oats: Either quick oats or old fashioned oats will work perfectly here. Old fashioned oats will have a bit more texture, but not by much.
Complete list of ingredients and amounts can be found in the recipe card below.
How to Make Peanut Butter No Bake Cookies
- Cook Sugar: The first step in this recipe is to cook the butter and sugar together to create almost a soft caramel. In a saucepan (I use my 3 qt All-Clad), combine the butter with sugar and milk. Stir continuously until the mixture comes to a rolling boil, then boil for 1 minute before removing from heat.
- Add Peanut Butter: Stir in the peanut butter and vanilla until the peanut butter is melted and the mixture is well combined.
- Add Oats: Stir in the oats, and mix until well combined. This mixture should be thick and easy to scoop up.
- Form Cookies: Spoon or use a cookie scoop to portion 1 ½ tablespoons of the mixture per cookie. On a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, drop scoops of cookie mixture, then gently press down with your fingers to create cookie shapes.
- Be Patient: The last step is to wait for the peanut butter no bakes to harden!
Place the cookies in the fridge to help them set up quicker!
Recipe Success Tips
Boil the sugar mixture. It’s very important that the sugar/milk/butter mixture comes to a full boil, and then it boils at that level for a full minute. If you don’t cook this mixture properly or long enough, the cookies won’t set.
Work Quickly. Once the oats are stirred in you should work quickly to get the cookies onto the pan. The mixture will start to harden as soon as it’s removed from the heat. If you accidentally let the mixture firm up before forming cookies, just warm it up again on the stove until it softens again.
Gluten-Free No Bake Cookies. Use gluten-free oats to ensure that these cookies are gluten-free.
Variations for No Bake Peanut Butter Cookies
Add Chocolate: Chocolate is peanut butter’s soulmate after all. Toss in some chocolate chips or chopped chocolate along with the oats. It will be delicious. Melted chocolate drizzled over the top would be so good too.
Decorate: For holidays or other fun occasions, you might want these cookies to be festive! Try sprinkling with sprinkles or colorful small candies before the cookies set.
Other Add-Ins: Add in ½ cup of raisins, chopped nuts, or other dried fruits. Some shredded coconut would be delicious as well. You could also substitute part of the oats with another crunchy cereal like cornflakes or rice Krispies to change the texture of the cookies. I wouldn’t substitute all of the oats though, just a ¼ – ½ cup or so.
These Peanut Butter Cheerio Bars will be ideal if you’re looking for a crunchier peanut butter treat.
Did you end up with peanut butter no bake cookies that are not firm? This is usually due to the sugar/butter mixture not being cooked long enough. Next time, be sure to boil the mixture hard for one full minute.
The other thing that can cause soft no bakes is your ingredient choices. Natural peanut butter can sometimes cause soft cookies, as it can be more oily than its processed style. Trying to use margarine instead of butter will also cause the cookies to not set up properly.
This problem is the opposite of the one above. If your no bake cookies are too hard, it means that you cooked the sugar mixture for too long. I suggest using a timer if you’re having trouble with this.
Absolutely you can use old fashioned oats. You can also use instant or quick cooking oats. We aren’t cooking them, so either of these processed, pre-cooked oat forms are perfect. You won’t want to use steel cut oats, they will be much too hard.
These cookies store best in the fridge, but are fine at room temperature as long as it’s not a super hot day. You should enjoy them within a week.
No bake cookies also freeze really well, making them great to put in school lunch boxes or just making ahead of time. Freeze on a sheet pan for half an hour, then take them off the pan, arrange them in a container, and freeze. You can wrap them individually and ship them to friends and family too!
You’ll be loving these peanut butter no bake cookies on holiday cookie platters and every day snacking! Make sure to pin this recipe so you’ll always have it.
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- ½ cup milk
- 1 cup smooth/creamy peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 cups quick oats or old fashioned oats
- In a saucepan, combine the butter with sugar and milk. Keep stirring as the mixture comes to a boil, boil for 1 minute then remove from heat.
- Stir in the peanut butter and vanilla until the peanut butter is melted and well combined in the mixture.
- Stir in the oats, mix until well combined.
- Spoon about 1 ½ tablespoons per cookie on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat (I like to use a cookie scoop), you have to work quickly before the mixture sets. Gently press down with your fingers, and allow the cookies to harden.
- Store. The cookies can be stored for up to 7 days in an airtight container at room temp.
- Freeze. Freeze the cookies on a sheet pan for half an hour, then take them out and arrange in a container and freeze. These cookies are also great for shipping.
- Gluten-free. For GF cookies, make sure that the oats you’re using are gluten-free certified.
- For the cookies to set and harden quicker, pop them in the fridge.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.
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