The idea of no bake cookies is almost too good to be true. After taking the time to measure ingredients, make the batter and scoop the cookie dough, who wants to wait the extra time for the cookies to bake- I want to eat them now!
Luckily, there are tons of no-bake cookie recipes out there however, a lot of the recipes involve peanut butter. While this may be great for some people, it can also be a problem.
So let’s take a look at how to make no bake cookies without peanut butter.
Why Skip the PB?
There are several reasons that you may want to avoid peanut butter in general, the first being allergies. Lots of people in the US have nut allergies and allergies to peanuts tend to be the most severe.
About 2.8% of kids also have peanut allergies and many schools and day cares do not even allow peanut products within the building- forget about bringing any peanut butter cookies to your kid’s school!
Peanut fields are also known to be heavily treated with pesticides. Even though peanuts have a shell, that shell is pretty thin- some of the chemicals from the pesticides can leach through the shell and onto the nut.
Organic peanut butters are typically safe, yet you should be very wary of the non organic varieties.
Peanut butter is very high in fat. While a little bit may be okay, too much may cause health problems. No bake cookies that use peanut butter tend to use lots of the ingredients making the cookies very fatty.
They may taste good but that taste comes with a consequence!
Typical Ingredients in No Bake Cookies
Many no bake cookie recipes contain about the same ingredients. Butter, sugar, milk, cocoa powder and oats can be found in almost every no bake cookie recipe- and of course, peanut butter is also very common!
Little add ins such as vanilla, salt, almond extract, raisins and chocolate chips are frequently use in no bake cookies too. But what to do about that peanut butter…
Many times, no bake cookie batter is made by mixing all of the ingredients together and then simply scooping the batter onto a tray. No baking, no cooking, nothing.
This ease is in part because the peanut butter in the recipes holds the cookies together so well. Yet, we are going to try to skip that. Time to learn how!
1 – No Bake, Just a Little Cooking
One of the easiest ways to make no-bake cookies without peanut butter is to cook some of the ingredients in a sauce pan. Boiling the sugar, butter, milk and cocoa powder for a few minutes allows the mixture to thicken and the sugar to crystallize.
This thick, hot batter is then dropped onto a sheet pan (view some of our favorites) and allowed to cool. Voila! Cookies are done! No peanut butter needed! Add some oats to the mix and you’ll have even heartier cookies.
Try boiling maple syrup and then stirring in some shredded coconut and letting the mix cook until it is thick. Drop the hot batter onto a sheet tray and you will soon be eating some of the most delicious two ingredient cookies you have ever tried.
Since you skipped the oven, these cookies only take about 5 minutes to make. This is the kind of recipe I love!
2 – Try Some Dates
Dates can be soaked and pureed into a nice thick, healthy paste. Date puree, oats, nuts and flavorings are all simply mixed together and scooped to make very easy and delicious cookies.
Dates are full of potassium, antioxidants and fiber- all of which are lacking in peanut butter. Many recipes that use dates for no bake cookies have no added sugar since dates are naturally sweet.
What a healthy way to make no bake cookies!
3 – Dried Fruits
If you don’t have dates or aren’t really a big fan of the fruit, raisins or dried figs can be used in the same manner. If you use figs, just be sure to soak them well so that they are easier to puree.
I know from experience that pureeing dried figs can be sticky business (which is why they make great, no bake cookies!).
Dried apricots are another great binder for no bake cookies. Apricots add a bright, fruity flavor to no bake cookies. Apricots can be chopped in a food processor (see which one we like the best) and mixed into no bake cookie batters for a sweet sticky treat.
4 – Not Really Peanut Butter…
A super simple substitute for peanut butter is Nutella. While Nutella is still nut based, it is made with hazelnuts rather than peanuts which makes it perfect for those who avoid peanut butter due to allergies.
Nutella is also made with chocolate so it adds a nice rich, chocolatey flavor to the cookies. Nutella can usually be substituted for peanut butter in a no bake cookie recipe by using the same amount.
Easy and extra tasty (not quite healthy but hey, it beats turning on the oven!)
5 – Try Other Nuts
Grinding up almonds, cashews or hazelnuts is another great ingredient to use in no bake cookies rather than peanut butter. Use a small spice grinder to make nut ‘flour’ to use in cookie recipes.
Ground nuts, powdered sugar and vanilla extract can be mixed together to make a nice cookie batter. Roll the mix into balls and then into powdered sugar for some yummy three ingredient cookie snowballs.
6 – Chocolate Is The Way To Go!
Using melted chocolate in no-bake cookie recipes helps make a nice firm cookie batter. When making cookies using melted chocolate, you will have to act quickly so you can stir and scoop the cookies before the chocolate sets up.
Of course, any recipe with melted chocolate will be delicious- chocolate is always great in anything, right?!?
We Clearly Do Not Need Peanut Butter
If you though that you could only make no bake cookies by using peanut butter, you now see that there are so many other options, many of which are healthier and easier.
So forget the peanut butter, we don’t need it! Also skip the oven, we don’t need that either! Cookies have never been easier or more delicious. Happy cookie making!
On a related note, check out these ways to make baked cookies without an oven.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.