All you need is 6 ingredients to make these easy no-bake peanut butter oatmeal cookies (or cookie bars if that’s more your style). They’re fudgy, chewy, and downright delectable!
These no-bake peanut butter oatmeal cookies are the ones you most likely remember from your childhood. We usually had them in a chocolate form like this no-bake chocolate cookie recipe. But I somehow ended up with an entire family who loves peanut butter. Anything peanut butter. Seriously.
We go through one of the huge jars each and every week. They love PB&J sandwiches, peanut butter on toast, peanut butter balls (which I try to always keep in the freezer), peanut butter cookies, and of course… my sensational homemade yellow cake with old-fashioned peanut butter fudge icing.
But you know what? I don’t mind if they enjoy this particular no-bake peanut butter oatmeal cookie recipe because it’s so easy to make. All you need is 6 ingredients: sugar, oats, peanut butter, vanilla extra, butter, and milk. The first step is to bring the butter, sugar, and milk to a boil in a saucepot. Then all you have to do is mix in the remaining ingredients and you have yourself a cookie “dough.”
Then it’s up to you whether you make cookies or cookie bars like in the picture above. I’ve included instructions for both. Either way, the hard part is letting them cool before serving. But y’all know they’re worth the wait! Fudgy, chewy, and every kid’s favorite, I think we’re all about due for a batch today. What do you think?
- Granulated sugar
- Oats (old-fashioned or quick oats work)
- Creamy peanut butter
- Vanilla extract
- Unsalted butter (or margarine)
How to Make No-Bake Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies
Place sugar, butter, and milk in a heavy-bottomed saucepan.
Stir constantly and bring it to a boil over medium heat.
Once it reaches a full rolling boil, continue to stir and boil for one minute.
(I usually boil for 1.5 minutes to be on the safe side).
After it’s boiled for a minute, remove it from the heat and add in the peanut butter and vanilla.
Stir until smooth and creamy and all of the peanut butter is melted.
Then add in your oats and stir those up really well.
Now, you have two options.
First, the old-fashioned way. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and grease it with cooking spray.
Then drop spoonfuls of the “cookie dough” onto the baking sheet (use a cookie scoop to make life easier). Shape them into cookies (press them down with a fork) and let them cool completely before serving.
Personally, I just prefer the pan method because it is so much less work and they make cute little cookie bites when you cut them. But you can do whatever cranks your tractor!
The second option is to line an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper or aluminum foil and grease it with cooking spray.
Pour the cookie mixture into the greased baking dish.
Now press the mixture into the baking dish and let it cool before serving.
You can speed up the cooling process by placing your baking pan in the fridge. In about one hour that’ll be set and you’ll be ready to roll!
Once they’re set, cut them however you like.
You might opt for small cookie bites or bigger cookie bars.
But let me tell y’all, no matter how you cut them or prepare them, they taste delicious in any shape or form.
Oops, I couldn’t resist—I had to take a bite!
- Store cookies in an airtight container in the fridge or at room temperature for up to one week.
- You can also freeze cookies for up to three months. Thaw them at room temperature before serving.
- For extra flavor, swap the white sugar for dark or light brown sugar.
- You want to use rolled oats, whether that’s old-fashioned or quick oats. Stay away from instant oats!
- As for the milk, any option will do.
- If you prefer your cookies to be more salty than sweet, you can use salted butter instead or use unsalted butter and add a pinch of salt.
- Want to add a little bit more flavor? Fold in 1/2 cup of coconut flakes.
Why are my no-bake oatmeal cookies not setting?
If your peanut butter oatmeal cookies are too wet or gooey, this means you didn’t boil the ingredients for long enough. Make sure it reaches a full boil before you start timing and then only let it boil for a further 1 to 1.5 minutes. Alternatively, if the mixture is too dry, you boiled the ingredients for too long.
Can you use natural peanut butter in cookies?
I don’t recommend using natural peanut butter in any cookie recipe because the oils and fats aren’t evenly distributed. When you mix it into the dough, you’ll find that it affects the cookie texture and some bits are drier than others.
Can you make no-bake cookies without peanut butter?
Besides peanut butter, you can use another creamy spread, like Biscoff cookie spread, Nutella, almond butter, or Sun Butter.
How do you make no-bake chocolate peanut butter cookies?
There are a few options when it comes to no-bake chocolate cookies:
- Drizzle melted semi-sweet chocolate over the top of the cookies before letting them cool.
- Add 1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder to the other ingredients you boil in the saucepan.
- Fold in 1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips when you add the oats. Besides choc chips, you can use Reese’s candy or mini M&M’s.
You may also like these peanut butter treats:
Peanut Butter Cornflake Cookies
Chocolate & Peanut Butter Balls (No Baking Necessary)
Easy Homemade Peanut Butter Cookies
Peanut Butter Cheesecake Cookie Bars
- 3 cups oats
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 cup butter or margarine
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Place butter, sugar, and milk in a heavy saucepot. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.2 cups granulated sugar, 1/4 cup butter or margarine, 1/2 cup milk
- Once it reaches a full rolling boil, continue to stir and boil for 1 to 1.5 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter and vanilla until peanut butter is melted. Stir in oats.3 cups oats, 1 cup creamy peanut butter, 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Drop spoonfuls onto a waxed paper-lined baking sheet to make cookies or pour the batter all at once into a greased 8x8 baking dish to make cookie bars. Allow them to cool completely before serving.
“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are
conscious of our treasures.”
– Thornton Wilder
Submitted by Jenny
I can’t wait to try this recipe! My family loooves PB! I’m making recipes for my adult children and grandchildren so I’m twice over sharing these recipes.
Can you please share the chocolate version!
I had those as a kid & they were one of my favorite treats my grandma made.
Christy, we, too, are peanut butter addicts and so I look forward to making these soon. My question is, Do you think I can use Swerve instead of sugar since my husband is diabetic? I know he would love these cookies as well as the chocolate ones, too.
This recipe looks delicious. Gonna try it tomorrow. Where did you get that awesome sugar container?
Or is it vintage? I would love one.
Thank you for such a great blog.
Hi Linds! I made my canisters. My father in law cut out the vinyl letters for me. The canisters themselves came from Walmart and I painted the lids 🙂