No Bake Cookies-Haystack Cookies

Oats (can be quick or old fashioned), peanut butter, sugar, and butter, just to name a few ingredients in this haystack cookies recipe! No bake cookies can be difficult to make. The recipe my family has been using for the past 15 years is worded extremely confusing, which does not help! Here is an easy to read recipe instead. Contrary to popular belief, you can use either quick or old fashioned oats in these peanut butter oatmeal cookies. Read my #6 on the oats for more details. This no bake recipe has peanut butter in it too. This no bake chocolate oatmeal cookie recipe makes about 30 cookies.

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How to perfect haystack cookies:

It is all about that boil time. You do not stir together the ingredients, for 1 minute for quick and 2 minutes for old fashioned, and remove from heat. You set the timer for your minutes AFTER the mixture is begins a pretty rapid boil, and remove from heat IMMEDIATELY after the timer goes off.

So many people make the mistake of setting the timer after all the ingredients are added or remove it from heat too soon. The boiling instructions are everything.

No Bake Cookies Didn’t set up?

A common question after making no bake cookies is why didn’t my no bake cookies harden? Will no bake cookies harden in the fridge? You can try to get them in harden in the fridge, but probably not. Putting them in the fridge speeds up the process, but if they are undercooked, they will not set up even in the fridge.

There are plenty of reason why no bake cookies fail with very little ways to fix the problem once they are already on the wax paper. When no bake cookies won’t set, this means they should have been boiled longer. You will know this after 20 minutes of letting them set when they are still gooey to touch. You can try to put them in the fridge and see if that makes a difference. The most common issue is the boil time.

The opposite effect can also happen which covers the question of why are my no bake cookies dry. One reason could be too high of heat. You should never have the burner on high, only medium heat. If you are not paying attention and don’t catch the first few bubbles in the center of the pot and set the buzzer for 1 minute if using quick oats and 2 minutes of boil time if using old fashioned oats, then they will get dry and fall apart from the over boiling. The timer needs to be set when bubbles start forming in the center.

It is very easy to either under or over boil the cookies. Just like basketball or any other sport of always keeping your eye on the ball: with these cookies, keep your eye on the pot.

What to do with ruined cookies:

We have all been here before. Adding cookie crumbles to a bowl of ice cream or to a smoothie or malt is a way to salvage the cookies. If your cookies are gooey, you can always eat them with a spoon so your hands don’t get sticky.

How to store no bake cookies:

I put mine in an air tight container room temperature for about a week. These vanilla no bake cookies usually eat eaten up before then though because they are just that good. How long do no bake cookies last in the freezer? You can freeze these cookies in a ziplock bag for up to 3 months.

Favorite ingredient brands for this no bake oatmeal cookies recipe:

  • butter- stick butter
  • milk-whole milk
  • cocoa powder-adds chocolate
  • sugar-adds sweetness
  • peanut butter-Jif. I used natural because the grocery store always seems to be out of the original. Natural has been working just fine for years now!
  • oats-You can use either old fashioned or quick oats. For old fashioned, you would set the timer to let boil for 2 minutes. For quick, you would only let it boil for 1 minute.
no bake cookies on a brown napkin.
no bake cookies

No Bake Cookies

No bake cookies can be difficult to make. Luckily, this recipe is for easy no bake cookies. Contrary to popular belief, you can use either quick or old fashioned oats in these no bake chocolate peanut butter cookies.
5 from 7 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 2 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 30 cookies
Calories 147 kcal

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medium sized pot
liquid measuring cup
tablespoon measure
dry measuring cups
wax paper
wooden spoon
rubber spatula


  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • Dash of salt
  • 3 cups old fashioned or quick oats *see above note on cooking time*


  • Measure out peanut butter, vanilla, salt, and oats before doing anything else. Can place in a large bowl together or just leave in measuring cups to prepare for later. Also, place at least 3 feet of waxed paper on a hard surface so the cookies will have a safe place to harden after being boiled. Doing both of these things will help save you the hassle later.
  • In a large sauce pan over medium heat, start to melt the butter. Add in milk, cocoa powder, and sugar WHEN butter is about halfway melted. Keep stirring constantly or else it could burn.
  • When the mixture STARTS to boil, set a timer for 2 minutes if using old fashioned oats, and 1 minute if using quick oats. Let it boil as you stir during those 1 or 2 minutes. As soon as the timer goes off, IMMEDIATELY shut the burner off and remove the pot from heat. Stir in the remaining ingredients (the ones you prepped in step one) quickly.
  • Using a spoon and a spatula, scoop tablespoon sized cookies out onto the waxed paper you got out in step 1. Repeat until no more batter is left. These No Bake Cookies usually harden in about an hour and will be ready to eat when cooled and hard.


the debate on quick or old fashioned oats:
You can use either old fashioned or quick oats. For old fashioned, you would set the timer to let boil for 2 minutes. For quick, you would only let it boil for 1 minute. 


Calories: 147kcal

All information presented on this site is intended for informational purposes only. Nutritional facts listed are a rough estimate and should only be followed as a general idea.

Keyword no bake cookies, no bake cookie recipes, easy no bake cookies,
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  1. 5 stars
    These are the ideal cookies to make on a warm day when you don’t want to turn the oven on. Simple and so very delicious!

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