These chocolatey, delicious no bake cookies without peanut butter are the perfect allergy-friendly addition to any dessert table. Made with decadent dark chocolate chips, cocoa powder, old-fashioned oats, and a touch of vanilla, you won't be able to resist having more than one of these delicious sweet treats. The best part is, no oven is required!
🌟 How to make No Bake Cookies Without Peanut Butter
I'll be honest, no bake cookies without peanut butter can be challenging to make. But do not worry, my recipe will explain step-by-step how to make the cookies and you will be done in no time!
Unlike traditional no bake oatmeal cookies with peanut butter, this recipe requires sugar to bind the dough together. The sugar-cooking process, which requires very precise temperatures, can make or break the dough. If the sugar mixture does not heat up enough, it will be too runny to hold together. On the other hand, if it overheats, it will be too dry and crumbly!
To make the dough, we will heat the sugar until it reaches the thread stage. At this stage, it will be syrupy enough to bind but not hot enough to reach the soft ball or hard ball stage, where it thickens into a caramel. Because sugar is essential in holding together the dough, it is a required ingredient and cannot be omitted.
In this no bake oatmeal cookies recipe, I also add chocolate (which naturally hardens at room temperature) to give the dough more structure and help offset any risk of not cooking the sugar properly.
🌟 Why this is the best Chocolate Oatmeal No-bake Cookies recipe
- It is nut-allergy friendly - Unlike many other no-bake cookie recipes, I do not use peanut butter to bind the dough. Even those who have nut allergies will love this delicious no peanut butter recipe!
- It is the most delicious - I only use the most high-quality ingredients to give the cookies the best taste and structure.
- No fancy ingredients or equipment - This no bake chocolate oatmeal cookies recipe only uses nine simple ingredients, most of which you already have at home. No oven or stand mixer is required!
- It uses the best technique - Other versions of this no bake cookie recipe that relies solely on sugar aren't always easy to make or set. However, I add chocolate to the recipe to help the cookies set properly and explain the technique step-by-step so will have success at the end!
- It is foolproof - No bake cookies without peanut butter can quickly go wrong if you don't follow the steps correctly. However, unlike other short recipes that skip over the science behind baking and achieving the best results, for these easy no bake cookies without peanut butter, I dive into the details and provide Expert Tips to give the perfect outcome!
📝 Ingredient notes
- Granulated sugar - White sugar is key in almost all baked goods and helps give the cookies their sweet flavor. The sugar holds the dough together in this recipe, so keeping the quantity the same is necessary. Read my sugar guide to learn more about the different types of sugars and how they are used in baking.
- Unsalted Butter - To fully control the amount of salt in the recipe, always use unsalted butter. You can also make your own butter at home! The butter needs to be at room temperature for this recipe, so make sure to take it out of the fridge beforehand.
- Milk - The milk will provide creaminess.
- Cocoa powder - Cocoa powder adds intensity to the delicious chocolate flavor. I recommend using a high-quality Dutch-processed, unsweetened cocoa powder as it is lower in acidity and will give the cookies a beautiful dark brown color and delicious taste.
- Oats - Old fashioned oats are best for this recipe. However, you can also use quick oats.
- Chocolate chips - To prevent the cookies from being overly sweet, use semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips. Use high-quality chocolate chips (i.e., Callebaut or Lindt) for the best taste and results.
- Vanilla extract - Vanilla extract helps enhance the flavor and sweetness of the cookies.
- Salt - Salt is a critical ingredient when baking to balance out the sweetness. Do not skip it!
🛒 You’ll find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the Recipe Card at the bottom of this post
👩🍳 How to make this recipe
1. Step-by-step process of making No Bake Cookies Without Peanut Butter
- In a saucepan, combine the sugar, butter, and milk. Bring to a full rolling boil over medium low heat until the mixture becomes syrupy. Use an infrared thermometer gun to ensure the syrup reaches 107°C / 225°F. At this temperature, it has reached the thread stage. This stage is the most important part of the recipe.
- Combine the cocoa powder and old-fashioned or quick cooking oats (your dry ingredients) in a separate bowl.
- In the meantime, use a microwave to semi-melt the chocolate chips. Then, add them to the bowl with the dry ingredients and the vanilla extract.
- Pour the hot sugar syrup over the oatmeal and chocolate mixture. Stir until the dry ingredients are thoroughly and evenly coated with the sugar syrup.
- Prepare a baking tray, lining it with parchment paper.
- Using a tablespoon or cookie scooper, divide the dough into 10 portions and place them on the prepared baking sheet. To shape the cookies, use a cookie cutter or the back of the spoon to apply a circular movement and round out the dough.
- Place the cookies in the refrigerator for one hour to rest and set.
- Once the dough is set, move them to an airtight container and store them at room temperature for up to two weeks.
💡 Top Tip: To create evenly sized cookies, divide the dough into equally sized cookies using a digital scale.
🍫 Flavor Variations & Substitutions
Oatmeal craisin cookies - Throw some raisins or craisins into the batter to add more flavor, as I do in my oatmeal craisin cookie recipe.
Espresso Cookies - Did you know that ground coffee can intensify the flavor of the chocolate? Give your cookies a delicious coffee flavor as I do in my coffee cookies.
White chocolate chips - Add some variety to the color and flavor of the chocolate by folding in white chocolate chips into the dough.
With coconut - Add some coconut shavings to the dough before it hardens to enhance the flavor profile and texture.
With nuts - Assuming nut allergies aren't why you're opting for no peanut butter cookies, chopped nuts are another great addition to add nutty flavor and texture to chocolate cookies. Try this recipe with chopped walnuts or pecans, as I do with my chocolate chip walnut and pecan chocolate chip cookies.
Different flavored extracts - Swap out the vanilla extract for another flavored extract, such as almond, peppermint, or lemon.
🎓 Expert tips
- Use a digital scale for the most accurate measurements and best results.
- Use high-quality Dutch-processed cocoa powder and chocolate chips for the most delicious and balanced taste.
- I strongly recommend using an infrared thermometer gun (or any other food thermometer) to ensure the syrup reaches the "thread" stage of 107°C / 225°F. If not hot enough, the syrup will be too thin, and the cookies will not set. If too hot, it will caramelize and harden.
- Use a cookie scooper to place the dough onto the parchment paper more easily. A cookie cutter or the back of a spoon also helps to round out the cookies and create a nice shape so that you don't end up with flat cookies.
- Do not omit or change the quantities of the salt or sugar in the recipe, as both are critical to the cookies' structure and flavor.
🥣 Equipment notes
A digital scale will help to measure your ingredients with accuracy, precision, and consistency every time. Use a rubber spatula to fold together the dry and wet ingredients without overmixing. An infrared thermometer gun ensures the sugar syrup reaches the proper temperature without going over the soft ball stage.
Once the dough is set, move the cookies to an airtight container. They will remain fresh at room temperature for up to two weeks.
To freeze, place the cookies in a sealed plastic bag and store them in the freezer for up to three months. To defrost, place them in the refrigerator for 24 hours or set them out at room temperature for a few hours in advance.
You must heat the sugar syrup to the thread stage temperature of 107°C / 225°F. Otherwise, it will not be thick enough to hold the dough together. Likewise, the syrup will harden if overheated, and the dough will crumble and fail to stick together. For the best results, use a food thermometer to monitor the syrup's temperature closely.
While rolled oats are naturally gluten-free, they may become cross-contaminated during packaging. To ensure gluten-free cookies, you will want to use gluten-free oats.
Sugar is a critical ingredient that helps the cookies to hold together. Unfortunately, I do not have any alternatives for making sugar-free no-bake cookies without peanut butter.
🍪 More Cookie Recipes
No Bake Cookies Without Peanut Butter
US customary cup measurement is an indicative figure only. Measure the ingredients with a digital scale by weight (gram). Baking is art but also science which requires precision and accuracy.
- Combine sugar, butter, and milk in a saucepan and cook it over low/medium heat until the mixture is syrupy. Concretely the syrup should reach the thread stage but don't go over the soft ball stage, meaning the temperature has to reach 107°C / 225°F.
- In a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients; cocoa powder and the oatmeal.
- Semi-melt chocolate chips in the microwave and place them into the bowl with the dry ingredients, then add the vanilla.
- Pour the hot sugar syrup over the oatmeal mixture and stir until the dry ingredients are evenly coated with the syrup.
- Prepare a tray with parchment paper.
- Use a tablespoon or cookie scooper and divide the dough into 10 portions onto the parchment paper. To shape the cookies use either the back of a spoon or a cookie cutter and apply circular movement around the dough to make it round.
- Let the cookies rest for 1 hour refrigerated.
- The cookies will set as they cool. Once set, store them in an air-tight container at room temperature, for up to two weeks.
- Measure your ingredients with a Digital scale for accuracy.
- Use semi-sweet or dark chocolate to avoid overly sweet cookies.
- Use the best quality dark cocoa powder for the best taste.
- Do not reduce the sugar, as the sugar syrup itself is what holds the cookie dough together.
- Do not forget the salt to balance the sweetness.
- Make sure you read my Expert tips section above to maximize your success. A short recipe alone is not able to cover all the necessary details and science behind baking.
- It is critical to heat the sugar mixture to the correct temperature in order for the syrup to hold the cookie dough together. The syrup should reach the thread stage with a temperature of 107°C / 225°F. If the mixture is not syrupy enough, the cookie won´t set. If the syrup is overheated, it will harden or even caramelize. Make sure to use a thermometer or observe the texture of the syrup carefully.