These gluten-free no-bake cookies only take a few minutes to put together and are naturally vegan and dairy-free. They have a perfectly chewy texture, that’s almost caramel-like and even better than other no-bake cookie recipes I’ve tried!
I first posted this recipe 6 years ago, and I still regularly make them when I need a quick and easy treat. Everybody always asks for the recipe!
I don’t know why people call these no-bake cookies. They’re more candy-like or granola bar-ish to me. There’s lots of peanut butter (or almond butter) and maple goodness, though, so they definitely are dessert!
If you’re after granola bars, by the way, I’ve got these amazing gluten-free granola bars, which are also vegan and maple-sweetened.
Nothing fancy here. Just normal stuff you almost definitely already have in your pantry!
- Coconut oil or butter – those are the only two types of fat that I’ve used and can recommend.
- Peanut butter or almond butter – if you want to use something else, read the section below!
- Vanilla extract – if you’re allergic to it and have to omit it, use the same amount of water.
- Oats – I used rolled, but quick oats also work. Instant oats and steel cut oat do not work.
- Mini chocolate chips, optional – I usually omit them because these cookies are really so delicious on their own, but chocolate + peanut butter is never a bad thing!
What type of fat to use
To keep them vegan and dairy-free, I used coconut oil, but you can also use unsalted butter. I’m assuming vegan butter would also work!
You can use refined coconut oil or unrefined coconut oil in these cookies. If you use unrefined, it adds a slight coconut taste, which is actually pretty nice and doesn’t take anything away from the peanut butter flavor.
If you don’t want to use peanut butter, check out my other versions of these no-bake cookies, which are all also gluten-free and vegan. And if you would like to make peanut butter, but you just don’t have any on hand, here’s How to Make Peanut Butter:
- No-bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies – they’re super chocolaty and have an amazing texture (as do my other no-bake cookies!)
- No-bake Almond Butter Cookies – cinnamon, maple and almonds make a great autumnal cookie.
- No-bake Lactation Cookies – these cookies are like today’s recipe but made with a few extra ingredients that are especially great for lactation.
I want to use X type of nut/seed butter!
You can certainly experiment, but the trick is boiling the mixture enough so that it thickens properly, allowing the cookies to hold up properly. If you don’t boil long enough, the mixture won’t become caramel-like and will just be a liquidy mess.
I’ve had this happen several times with sunflower seed butter. If you boil it a bit longer, it thickens up properly like the almond butter and peanut butter versions.
Key to success
These gluten-free no-bake cookies are super easy, but you have to follow the directions. If you make subs, they might not work.
If you don’t follow the instructions and just try to put them together without boiling for two minutes first… that won’t work, either. You’ll have a runny mess on your hands once you add the oats.
You must boil the mixture for 2 minutes or until it’s glossy, like you see above, and looks like caramel. Depending on your nut/seed butter, it may take a little more or less time.
If you halve the recipe, you’ll need less time (about 1 minute and 20 seconds). If you double it, you’ll need more time.
But don’t boil too long! If you do that, the mixture will separate. I’ve had that happen a few times when I got distracted and forgot a timer or left the stove (which you really shouldn’t do – you need to stir constantly!).
In that case, I just stir very vigorously for a minute or two until it comes back together. But it’s a pain. Definitely set a timer. :)
Aren’t no-bake cookies already gluten-free?
As long as you use gluten-free oats, then yes, they usually are! Read this article if you’re interested more -> Are Oats Gluten-free?
However, I needed a title for the post. To be honest, if I had just called them “no-bake peanut butter cookies,” nobody would have ever found this recipe while googling, because there’s no way I would find my way to the front of 36,000,000 search results (that’s the actual number!).
Other questions about these cookies?
- If using coconut oil, can you taste the coconut?
If you use unrefined coconut oil, it adds a little coconut taste, which is actually pretty nice and doesn’t take anything away from the peanut butter flavor. If you don’t want any coconut flavor, use refined coconut oil.
- Can I use something other than coconut oil and butter?
Those are the only two I’ve tried. I don’t think using canola or other liquid-at-room-temp oils would work.
- Can I use a different type of nut/seed butter?
Other than peanut butter and almond butter, all I’ve tried is sunflower seed butter. I find that the mixture is too runny with sunflower seed butter but if you boil it a bit longer, it thickens up like the peanut butter and almond butter versions.
Whatever you use should be natural nut/seed butter, meaning no added fat or sugar. It doesn’t work the same as the natural kind.
- What can I use instead of maple syrup?
I’d love to say that you can use any liquid sweetener, but I haven’t had a good experience with honey in my no-bake cookies. I don’t use agave syrup but that might work.
I’ve tried these several times with honey and the texture comes out totally different, and not in a good way. The cookies also taste overwhelmingly of honey.
- Can I use something other than oats?
I haven’t found a good sub for them in no-bake recipes like this. Some people have said quinoa flakes, but I personally can’t stand the taste. I’m also not sure how chewy they would be in a no-bake recipe since they’re not cooked at all.
I’ve tried to make these paleo by using shredded coconut but the final result was extremely greasy. I do not recommend that!
That’s it! I hope you’ll enjoy the cookies. If you make them or any of my recipes, I’d love to see 📸 pictures of your creations on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! Please hashtag them #texanerin so I can find them.
Resources if you’re new to gluten-free/vegan eating!
- Are Chocolate Chips Gluten-free?
- Is Maple Syrup Gluten-free?
- Is Peanut Butter Gluten-free?
- Is Vanilla Extract Gluten-free?
- Are Chocolate Chips Vegan?
- Is Maple Syrup Vegan?
- Is Peanut Butter Vegan?
- Is Vanilla Extract Vegan?
Gluten-free No-bake Cookies (vegan, dairy-free)
- Prep Time:
- Cook Time:
- Ready in:
- Yield: 10 cookies
- 3 1/2 tablespoons (49 grams) coconut oil1 or unsalted butter for a non-vegan version
- 1/2 cup (128 grams) salted natural peanut butter (the kind with just nuts and salt) or almond butter
- 1/2 cup (120 milliliters) maple syrup - I do not recommend honey2
- 1/8 teaspoon salt if your peanut/almond butter is unsalted
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups (138 grams) rolled oats (make sure to use gluten-free oats)
- about 1/4 cup (43 grams) mini chocolate chips (use dairy-free / vegan chocolate chips, if necessary)
- In a medium pot, melt the coconut oil over low heat.
- Add the peanut butter, maple syrup, and salt, if using, and stir until well combined.
- Turn the heat up to medium, and while stirring constantly, bring the mixture to a boil.
- Boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. The mixture should become glossy and caramel-like. Don't boil it longer or it may separate.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and oats until well combined.
- Use a medium cookie scoop to scoop out balls of the mixture onto a piece of parchment paper.
- Let the cookies cool until almost room temperature. Place the chocolate chips in a small bowl and roll the tops of the cookies in the chocolate chips. You can also stir the chocolate chips into the almost cooled mixture if you don't mind them melting and partially combining with the peanut butter mixture.
- Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 week. They can be kept at room temperature but they don't hold up as well and are a bit soft.
- I've made these with refined and unrefined coconut oil and they taste almost the same, with the unrefined version having just a slight coconut taste.
- I've tried these several times with honey and the texture comes out totally different, and not in a good way. The cookies also taste overwhelmingly of honey.