These no-bake cookies without peanut butter are incredibly chewy, are super chocolaty and are so easy to make. You can make a totally traditional version with butter and granulated sugar, or a healthier and/or allergy-friendly version!
I’ve had a few requests for seed-free and nut-free no-bake cookies. I already have these No-bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies which use almond butter or sunflower seed butter. I find that nut/seed butter adds great taste and complexity to no-bake cookies, so I didn’t think I could come up with a version that was just as delicious without that addition.
I’m happy to say that I was successful!
Before I came up with this recipe, I had tried several other no-bake chocolate cookies and they were all SO sweet. I have a big sweet tooth, but those cookies were just ultra-sweet concoctions with some chocolate flavor.
So I decreased the sugar and increased the cocoa powder. They’re just as tasty as my nut butter no-bake cookies mentioned above!
By the way, if cookies aren’t your thing but you want something sweet and it’s too hot to bake, check out my other No-bake Recipes.
I’m pretty sure you have everything in your kitchen right now!
- Butter (or coconut oil for vegan)
- Milk (dairy-free milk for vegan)
- Sugar (granulated or coconut sugar)
- Cocoa powder
- Oats (quick or rolled)
Key to success
Another issue I have with some no-bake cookies is that they’re too chewy. I love my cookies chewy, but not when they’re like… hard to chew.
So in this recipe, you let the mixture boil for a minute, stir in the oats, and then you let the mixture sit for 5 minutes. That softens up the oats a little bit, making the cookies easier to chew.
I’ve tried these cookies with coconut oil instead of butter and coconut sugar instead of granulated sugar.
If you use unrefined coconut oil, there is some coconut taste to the cookies, but it’s not strong. I normally really dislike the taste of coconut in my goodies, unless they’re coconut-flavored, but I loved it in these.
Should you not want any coconut flavor, be sure to use refined coconut oil.
If you’ve followed me for a while, then you know I usually decrease the coconut oil when using it in place of butter. That’s because butter is 80-82% fat and coconut oil is 100%.
If you add a bunch of extra fat to a recipe, then the result is often greasy, and in the case of pie crusts, just won’t work at all. But in this recipe, no reduction was necessary! I tried it both ways and preferred the cookies without any reduction of fat.
And for another healthy no-bake dessert, try this Healthy Peanut Butter Ice Cream. I absolutely loathe ice cream that tastes healthy, but this is not one of those recipes! It’s insanely rich and decadent.
I really wanted everyone to be able to enjoy these cookies because I really do love them so much. Unfortunately, there’s no keto or paleo option (as there are no subs for the oats).
If you want to make today’s recipe and you’re gluten-free, vegan or dairy-free – I’ve got you covered!
Just make sure to use gluten-free oats. Easy! Most full-sized grocery stores have them.
For more info about gluten-free oats, check this out → Are Oats Gluten-free?
Vegan and dairy-free
Use vegan butter or coconut oil in place of the butter.
Use dairy-free milk in place of regular milk. I loved cashew milk in these, but you can use whatever you’d like.
If you want to use canned coconut milk, I’d recommend watering it down a bit so it’s thinner, like other types of milk. I think 50% water and 50% canned coconut milk would work well. And of course, it’ll add a bit of coconut flavor.
You could use the leftover coconut milk in one of these recipes:
Or you can freeze leftover coconut milk in silicone baby food trays and use the frozen cubes in smoothie-making.
Substitution questions about these cookies?
- Can I use something instead of butter or coconut oil?
Vegan butter would work. I don’t believe that canola oil, olive oil or any liquid oils like that would work.
- Do I have to use milk?
I haven’t tried water, but it could work; however, I really recommend using milk. You can use whatever type of milk you’d like!
- Can I omit the vanilla?
You could replace it with water. Or maybe use 1/2 teaspoon almond extract + 1/2 teaspoon water. Or another type of extract.
I recommend using only 1/2 teaspoon of almond (or coconut or orange or whatever) extract because I think they’re quite a bit stronger than vanilla.
- Can I use something other than granulated or coconut sugar?
You need to use a type of granulated sugar, but not a liquid sweetener. You could experiment with using a liquid sweetener like honey or maple and then reduce the milk, but without trying it myself, I have no idea how much you’d need to reduce the milk.
I’ve seen the recommendations on how to sub liquid sweeteners for granulated, but I’ve never found them to be accurate. So I recommend sticking to a granulated one!
- Do I have to use Dutch-process cocoa powder?
No, but your cookies will be more chocolaty if you do. Hershey’s Special Dark is easier to find and cheaper and you’ll get similar results with that.
- What can I use instead of oats?
There unfortunately isn’t a good sub for oats in no-bake cookies. I’ve tried shredded coconut but the results are always greasy and not at all tasty.
If you decide to try these no-bake cookies or any other recipe you see here, I would love to see pictures 📸! Just tag #texanerin on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter so I can easily find them. You can also find all my recipes on Pinterest, just hit the follow button. Enjoy!
No-bake Cookies Without Peanut Butter
- Prep Time:
- Cook Time:
- Ready in:
- Yield: 16 cookies
- 1/3 cup (75 grams) unsalted butter or coconut oil for vegan
- 1/4 cup (60ml) milk (use dairy-free milk for vegan)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar or coconut sugar
- 3 tbsp (27 grams) Dutch-process (or Hershey's Special Dark) cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/2 cups (230 grams) quick or rolled oats (if gluten-free, use GF oats)
- In a saucepan, add everything except the oats. Turn the heat to medium and bring it to a roiling boil. Let it boil for 1 minute, stirring occassionally, and keeping the heat at just the right level (you don't want it to burn) and then remove from the heat.
- Stir in the oats until totally combined.
- Let sit for 5 minutes to let the oats soften a bit so they're easier to chew.
- Use a medium cookie scoop to scoop out cookies and place them on a piece of parchment paper.
- Refrigerate them for about an hour or until firm and set. They freeze great and can be frozen for a few months.