Sometimes you just want a simple dessert without any chocolate. When those cravings strike, reach for this dairy-free peanut butter no bake cookies recipe. These treats are a bit like fudge in consistency, but with the wonderful chewiness of oats. They are perfectly sweet and richly peanut butter – or peanut-free butter if you prefer – and balanced with warm hints of vanilla. And as a bonus, they just happen to be naturally egg-free and gluten-free.
These Dairy-Free Peanut Butter No Bake Cookies are a Real Treat
No bake cookies are so easy to make, but they can have a bigger margin for error than baked cookies. Which is why I’ve put together these quick FAQs on the ingredients, substitution options, and trouble shooting.
What Butter Alternative Do You Use?
I prefer to use dairy-free buttery sticks, rather than spread for these peanut butter no bake cookies because the sticks are often formulated to firm up better. I tested with Country Crock Plant Butter, which is on the salty side. As noted with the peanut butter, I prefer to use salted ingredients in this recipe for optimal flavor.
Can I Substitute Oil for the Butter Alternative?
It should work, but I haven’t tested it with this particular recipe. I have successfully used coconut oil in other no bake cookies, and think it would work well in these. But I would test with just 3 tablespoons coconut oil. If you do use oil instead of a salted butter alternative, you might want to add a pinch of salt to the recipe.
What Type of Peanut Butter Do You Use?
I use a natural peanut butter that’s salted to make these peanut butter no bake cookies. So the only ingredients are peanuts and salt. For the ones pictured, I used Smuckers Natural Creamy Peanut Butter. I prefer to use a salted peanut butter for this recipe as the salt helps to heighten the flavor and mitigate the sweetness.
What Substitutes Do You Recommend for the Peanut Butter?
You can use sunflower seed butter, almond butter, or another nut or seed butter. Whichever type you choose, I would personally try to pick a natural variety that is salted, or add a pinch of salt to the recipe.
How Much of the Oats Should I Use?
The peanut butter no bake cookies shown in my pictures were made with the full 1 1/2 cups oats. They are delicious, but on the oat-y side. I would start with 1 1/4 cups, and add more as desired. The oats do soak up some of the liquid as they set.
Can I Use Rolled Oats?
I’m not a fan of rolled oats in peanut butter no bake cookies because they can be very chewy. But if you like them, go for it!
Is it Safe to Eat Uncooked Oats?
Well, you are still heating the oats a little. When you stir them into the pan, the contents are still hot. That said, it is considered safe to eat raw or uncooked oats. Eating raw oats can have unwanted digestion side effects, but the heating and absorption time in this no bake peanut butter cookies recipe should help mitigate these issues.
Can I Reduce the Sugar?
You might have noticed that these dairy-free peanut butter no bake cookies are already lower in sugar than similar recipes. They are still sweet, like a true dessert, but not candy-sweet like many others. If you reduce the sugar more, it will affect the ability of the cookies to set up.
Help, My Cookies Aren’t Setting Up!
Be patient. For some people, the cookies will take about 15 to 30 minutes to set up. But I’m in a humid climate and waiting for these peanut butter no bake cookies to set up was like watching paint dry. It took 2 hours, maybe more. I finally left the kitchen so I wouldn’t be tempted by them until they were ready.
Will these Peanut Butter No Bake Cookies Set Up Quicker in the Refrigerator?
Oddly, no. I put some in the refrigerator and left the rest on the counter. I took the refrigerated ones out after an hour and they weren’t setting up. They then took longer to set up than the other ones on the counter. Just leave them at room temperature and be patient!
It’s Been Hours and the Cookies Still Aren’t Firm. What Now?
If they still don’t set up, it’s because the wet mixture wasn’t cooked hard and long enough. You need to bring the mixture to a full rolling boil – those big bubbles – and then start the 1 minute timer. If you did this, it’s possible that your climate is on the warm and/or humid side. Either way, you can actually return the cookies to your pan, melt down, and bring it back to a boil just briefly to get them to set. This will also soften the oats a little.
My Dough is a Crumbly, Dry Mess. How Can I Fix It?
In this case, the mixture was boiled for too long. But all is not lost! Return the cookies to your pan, and melt them back down. Splash in just a little milk beverage, only as needed, to get a smooth consistency. The addition of liquid will help dissolve any granular sugar and add moisture to your peanut butter no bake cookies.
Special Diet Notes: Peanut Butter No Bake Cookies
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, tree nut-free, soy-free, vegan, and vegetarian. Just be sure to choose the milk beverage, butter alternative, and oats that suit your dietary needs.
For peanut-free no bake cookies, you can substitute almond butter or sunflower seed butter (for tree nut-free).
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup packed brown sugar
- ¼ cup unsweetened dairy-free milk beverage
- ¼ cup (1/2 stick) dairy-free buttery sticks
- ½ cup peanut butter
- ¾ teaspoon vanilla
- 1¼ to 1½ cup quick oats (use certified gluten-free, if needed)
- Lay out a large piece of parchment paper.
- Place the sugars, milk beverage, and butter alternative in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir the ingredients together as they melt. Once the mixture comes to a full rolling boil, let it boil for 1 minute.
- Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the peanut butter and vanilla. Once incorporated, stir in the oats.
- If you mixture is a little too soft or runny, let it cool for about 10 minutes. If not, work immediately to scoop out the cookies.
- Scoop the dough by the level tablespoon onto your parchment paper. If needed, shape the cookies with your hands. The dough will be a little loose, crumbly, and slightly sticky, but you should be able to shape it.
- Let the cookies set up at room temperature. This could take 15 minutes or a few hours, depending on your climate.
- Once set, peel the cookies away from the parchment paper, and store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a few days, or freeze them for longer storage.