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What are No Bake Cookies?

By Bethany Keene
Updated May 16, 2024
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No bake cookies are cookies that do not need to be baked in the oven. They can be fun to make with kids, because they are usually relatively simple. No bake cookies are also good on hot summer days when you don't want to turn the oven on.

In some recipes, some of the ingredients for no bake cookies will need to be cooked on the stovetop or in the microwave. Other times, the ingredients are simply mixed together and eaten. It is a good idea to measure out all of your ingredients before you begin, because you will need to work quickly to make sure the ingredients stick together to form cookies. Even though these are fun to make with kids, children still need to be supervised in the kitchen, especially if there are hot items around that could burn. This is a good way for kids to start baking, however, and to learn about being safe in the kitchen.

Many no bake cookies recipes are quite similar. Most call for some variation on the following ingredients: sugar, milk, butter or margarine, cocoa powder, peanut butter, vanilla extract and oatmeal. Some additions to the cookies could include chocolate chips, nuts, raisins or honey. One of the easiest no bake recipes for cookies are treats made with marshmallows, butter and crispy rice cereal. The marshmallows and butter simply need to be melted and mixed with the cereal for a quick and easy snack that requires no baking.

Most no bake cookies do not even need to be refrigerated, but it is important to follow the instructions on the recipe for safe food handling. It is a good idea to spoon the cookie mixture onto a sheet of wax paper, even if the cookies are going into a pan, because the mixture can be quite sticky and difficult to remove and the wax paper will prevent sticking. If you are making a tray of cookie bars, it may be helpful to cut the cookies up immediately and serve them on a tray or plate.

No bake cookies are equally convenient if you've forgotten to make dessert for an event or a party, as you can usually get them together in just a few minutes if you already have the common ingredients on hand. Placing them in the refrigerator will help them harden faster. You could also decorate the cookies for a more festive treat, using sprinkles, small marshmallows or frosting. Kids will especially love that step.

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Discussion Comments
By Rotergirl — On Jan 31, 2015

@Pippinwhite -- It must be a man thing. My hubby loves them, too. Yes, I almost always use a big dollop of peanut butter in the cookies. I add it after I take the sugar/cocoa mixture off the heat, and before I add the vanilla. Sometimes, I use the extra chunky peanut butter, for a little extra texture for the cookies. It seems to work very well.

I have a friend who used to add dried cranberries to the sugar mixture, along with peanut butter. Gave the cookies a sort of chocolate-covered cherry feel. It was really good, but my hubs isn't into the dried fruit thing, so I usually leave it out.

By Pippinwhite — On Jan 30, 2015

My husband absolutely craves these things. I don't make them too often anymore, since neither of us needs the extra sugar, but for an occasional treat, they're great, and he always is so happy when I do make them.

I've found that using peanut butter helps them come set a little better. Has anyone else found that to be the case? The peanut butter also adds a little hint of salt, which is very good with the chocolate. I also make sure I use good vanilla and not the cheap stuff. It just makes the whole batch taste so much better.

By anon322046 — On Feb 25, 2013

I've never actually heard of these before my girlfriend brought them up. They're really delicious!

By anon44389 — On Sep 07, 2009

No bake cookies were one of my mom's favorite quick sweets to make. My husband also loves them.

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