The No-Bake Peanut Butter Cookie

There seems to have been a moment in American history when every mother made a version of this no-bake cookie for her children. A large number of the people contributing ideas to this book submitted a version of this dessert and they all claimed to have watched (or helped) Mom make it. Perhaps the ease with which this recipe comes together explains its ubiquity. It was something every mother could make, regardless of time constraints or baking ability. It is surprisingly good, and well textured. It is fully capable of inspiring a classic midnight craving—I found myself sneaking them from the fridge along with a glass of milk. I am hesitant to call it a cookie, though, as it isn’t baked, but you can call it whatever you like.


  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¼ cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder (like Valrhona)
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, cut into ½-inch cubes, softened
  • 1 cup chunky peanut butter
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stir together the milk, sugar, cocoa powder, and butter until the butter is melted and the sugar is dissolved. Bring the mixture to a boil, stop stirring, and boil for a full 90 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat and add the peanut butter, oats, and vanilla. Stir until the mixture is combined.

Use a small ice scream scoop with a release mechanism or, alternatively, a tablespoon to drop the no-bake cookies onto the baking sheet (leave some room around them; they will spread). Let the cookies cool, then refrigerate them for at least 1 hour. They can be eaten directly from the refrigerator or at room temperature.

Store the cookies between layers of parchment paper in a tightly sealed container for up to 3 days.