If you’re here then you’re probably already a huge fan of no-bake cookies. So many of us have fond memories of snacking on no-bake cookies as kids, or making them for our kids! My mom made these easy cookies all the time when I was a kid, and I was always overjoyed about them! They never lasted more than a day or two at our house.
I took the recipe my mom has always used and tweaked it a little for a “healthier” version – I use that word lightly, because I don’t think these cookies are actually healthy. But they’re better for you than the original! They’re made with olive oil instead of butter, raw turbinado sugar (and less of it!), and plant-based milk. I also prefer using old fashion oats for my no-bake cookies, but you can use quick oats if you prefer!
If you’ve made your own no-bake cookies before then you know just how finicky they can be. Will they set? Will they get too hard and crumble in your hands? Is it the weather? I’ve wondered these questions many times!
The secret to perfect no-bake cookies every time actually has everything to do with how hot the sugar mixture gets. For this no-fail recipe, you’ll want to use a candy thermometer since timing the mixture alone doesn’t guarantee that it will reach the right temperature to set without becoming hard. Once your sugar mixture ingredients come to a rolling boil (bubbling all over the surface) you’ll pop your candy thermometer into the mixture – making sure it doesn’t touch the bottom of the pan – and watch for the temperature to reach 100°C. I found that this temperature lends to a very gooey cookie (you’ll think they’re not going to set!) that after sitting out for a few hours turns into a soft, stackable no-bake cookie!
Some of the ingredients I love for this recipe:
Olive oil is a better-for-you alternative to regular butter (and even some dairy-free butters). It works just as well as other fats in this recipe, so don’t let its liquid state deter you!
Turbinado sugar is the raw, unrefined sugar you can find at almost any grocery store. Since I tested this recipe using only turbinado sugar (not regular granulated white sugar), I only recommend using turbinado! White sugar may cook/set differently and could affect the outcome of the cookies.
Dutch process cocoa powder gives these cookies a richer chocolate flavor. And look at that color! You can use natural cocoa powder in its place if you prefer it or have it on hand.
Natural peanut butter is the best peanut butter! Made with only peanuts, it has no extra sugar or fillers to affect these cookies.
Unsweetened almond milk works wonderfully as a dairy milk replacement in these cookies. I like the unsweetened, original variety for this recipe.
- 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 2 Tbsp dutch process cocoa powder (or natural cocoa powder)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3/4 cup turbinado sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup natural (sugar-free) peanut butter
- 1 - 1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
- Prepare your ingredients and workspace. Have your candy thermometer ready, your peanut butter measured out, and your oats available/ready to measure. Lay out a piece of parchment or wax paper on your counter (about the size of a baking sheet) and have a mixing spoon and cookie scoop ready.
- In a medium pot, whisk together the milk, cocoa powder, and oil. Whisk in the sugar. Set heat to medium-low for a gas range and medium-high for an electric range. Allow the sugar to melt, giving a quick stir with your whisk. Insert your candy thermometer and allow the mixture to come to a full, rolling boil until it reaches 100°C or 212°F. If you're using a gas range, I recommend turning the flame lower during this waiting period to ensure none of the mixture gets too hot.
- Immediately remove from the heat and mix in the vanilla extract and peanut butter. Working quickly, stir in 1 cup of the oats. If the mixture looks thin, add more oats by the 1/4 cup (I added 1 1/4 cups oats to my cookies).
- Quickly scoop your cookies onto the parchment or wax paper, making them as big or small as you'd like - I used a 1.5 Tbsp scoop. For uniformity in cookie size and shape, I highly recommend using a cookie scoop. Then, once your cookies are all scooped, you can use the back of a spoon to re-shape them as you see fit - flatten them a bit, "tuck in" any rough edges, etc (this is totally optional and won't affect how delicious the cookies will be!).
- Allow cookies to set for at least 30 minutes. They will be gooey. The longer the cookies have to set, the firmer they will be. After sitting overnight, these cookies will be completely firm but not dry and crumbly.
- Store set cookies in an airtight container at room temperature. If you wish to store the cookies while they're still gooey, avoid stacking them or place parchment paper between stacks for storage.
- I highly recommend using a candy thermometer to cook the chocolate mixture. I've found the timing method (where you boil the mixture for 60-120 seconds) that most recipes call for to be inconsistent at best, especially when taking different range types into consideration! A thermometer ensures that your cookies will set up without turning too hard or dry.
- I don't recommend any sugar substitutes for this recipe.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 142 Total Fat: 8g Saturated Fat: 3g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 5g Cholesterol: 11mg Sodium: 33mg Carbohydrates: 16g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 10g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 1g