Healthy No-Bake Cookies

Impossible to resist, these decadent little no-bake cookies are, unfortunately, completely banned from my home starting now. Um, actually, can I take that back? Starting tomorrow. Despite being a bit healthier than the classic no-bake cookie that’s been around for decades, I’m pretty sure they still don’t justify eating the entire batch. And I’m not kidding, I cannot stop snitching these things out of my refrigerator every time they somehow seem to appear again.

I brought a couple dozen of these delectable cookies when we spent several blissful days catching up with dear Minnesota friends last month. Devoured within hours. I made some more when my dad came to visit a few weeks ago. Gone. Quickly. My kids have also made them during long summer days when a quick, chocolatey cookie is in order. Best decision ever (the cookies and delegating the making of to the kids).

Healthy No-Bake Cookies

Basically, we love, love, love these little cookies. They are fast and easy, and they provide the perfect amount of sweetness when you just need a little something to finish off a meal or provide a mid-afternoon pick me up (or mid-morning for all I care; no judging here). But be warned, if you take to them like I have, you might have to stop making them completely or else try to find your missing self-control ASAP.

I’ve included several notes in the recipe so be sure to read through those if you have lingering questions and as always, feel free to adapt and change as inspiration hits (at your own risk of course; don’t want anyone suing me over failed no-bake cookies). One thing I plan on trying is to grease my mini-muffin tin (maybe with coconut oil?) so I can portion the batter into the tiny cups and pop them out after they set up. Kind of like a miniature peanut butter cup with lots of other yummy goodness thrown in. Heaven help me. Actually, maybe that’s a bad idea. The last thing I need is for these to be cuter and even harder to resist…

One Year Ago: Good Morning Power Muffins {Full of Whole Grains and Superfoods!}
Two Years Ago: Salted Peanut Butter Cup Chocolate Chip Cookies
Three Years Ago: Cheesy Zucchini Rice

Healthier Chocolate No-Bake Cookies

Yield: Makes 2-3 dozen cookies, depending on the size

Healthier Chocolate No-Bake Cookies

I have not used everyday (think: Jif or Skippy) peanut butter for this recipe but I'm assuming it will work fine (I also have not tried crunchy peanut butter). If I had to choose, almond butter is my favorite of the two options listed in the recipe but peanut butter is delicious, too.

The chopped almonds are optional; normally I'm not a nuts-in-cookies fan but in my opinion, the almonds contribute to making these cookies phenomenal. That extra nutty crunchiness is super delicious. I hate to admit this out loud, but I think you could also get away with 1/2 cup chocolate chips. Since I'm not one to shy away from bittersweet chocolate, I will probably always and forevermore add the full cup. Ghirardelli's bittersweet chocolate chips (no affiliation) are my favorites.

These cookies do best if they are refrigerated - they will soften up at room temperature (still fabulous just slightly messier). UPDATE: I've now made these with both quick oats and old-fashioned and they work great either way. Obviously the old-fashioned oats lend the cookies a bit more texture (and I add a bit more so the cookies hold their shape) but either will work wonderfully.

Also, I popped mini muffin liners in my mini muffin tin and scooped this batter into them - it was like the best little treat ever (and because these cookies soften at room temperature, the little liners help keep them sturdier at room temp).

Ingredients

  • 1 cup natural peanut or almond butter
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 2 1/2 cups quick cooking or old-fashioned oats (see note above)
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped almonds (toasted is optional but awesome)

Directions

  1. In a medium saucepan, melt the peanut or almond butter and coconut oil over medium heat, stirring constantly, until melted and smooth. Off the heat, stir in the honey and vanilla until combined.
  2. Immediately stir in the chocolate chips until melted (if the mixture is too cool to melt them completely, return the saucepan to low heat to help it along without bringing it to a simmer).
  3. Add the oats, cocoa powder and almonds and stir until well-combined.
  4. Drop by heaping spoonfuls (the medium cookie scoop works great) onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Refrigerate until set.
  5. The cookies will keep in a tupperware-type container (layered between sheets of wax paper or parchment) in the refrigerator for a week or more.
http://www.melskitchencafe.com/healthier-chocolate-no-bake-cookies/

Recipe Source: adapted from a recipe my Aunt Jeanette sent to me by way of my cousin, Mel Y, who is famous for these cookies among our family 

Follow along on Instagram and use the hashtag #melskitchencafe to show me the recipes you’re making from here. It’s like the next best thing to cooking and baking (and chatting up a storm) in the kitchen with you!

51 Responses to Healthier Chocolate No-Bake Cookies

  1. Helen says:

    Oh how I love you Mel!! Such amazing posts all the time and so fun to read!!! We are such no bake cookie fans and I can’t wait to try this version. Tell me please where to buy almond butter and what brand. I’m hoping Costco has it. I now wilingly travel the 45 mins to the closest one because they have what I need. It would also be great if I could get it from Amazon ❤️ Small town problems .

    • Mel says:

      Hey Miss Helen – I usually pick up almond butter at Costco or Trader Joe’s (the Costco brand is a bit more oily/hard to stir than TJ’s but I still like it). I’m 100% sure you can get it on amazon too although I haven’t bought it there so I don’t know what brand to recommend but there are several with lots of positive reviews.

      • Hcoxmom1 says:

        Thanks for your suggestions.. but because I am who I am, this presented more questions 🙂 In searching Amazon I find that the Trade Joe’s brand in available in salted crunchy and also unsalted creamy.. of course there are lots of other options too, but since you recommended that I’m leaning toward getting it. Which version of the almond butter will be best in this particular recipe and in anything else I decide to use it for… I totally always listen to your advice, because you never steer me wrong !! Thanks Mel and sorry to bug you again. 🙂

  2. Adrienne says:

    These look really yummy! Going to rummage through my cupboard now to see if I can whip these together before the boys wake up!
    Also, your cookbook is super cute! I love the formatting and how I now have all my fav recipes in one little place.
    Thanks so much for keeping my family so well fed! 🙂
    Have a great day!

  3. Teresa R. says:

    I have been making “quickie candy” for years using basic peanut butter. I can’t wait to try this healthier recipe. I always have almond butter on hand but I’ve never used it in a recipe. Thanks again for sharing and making life easier for all of us!

  4. Megan says:

    You just made my day! “No bakes” are my family’s favorite cookie. My 6 year-old daughter knows the recipe and can make them herself (with a little help). Can’t wait to try a new, healthier recipe.

  5. Meghan says:

    Hi Mel–these look delicious! Quick question–do you think I could sub the quick-cooking oats for regular old-fashioned oats?

  6. Misty says:

    I think I will run across the street and talk to your Aunt Jeanette about these cookies today! thanks!

  7. Laurel says:

    How in the 20 years I’ve been making these little beauties have I never tried almond butter! Hello genius idea! I love adding coconut or cinnamon is fantastic but almond? you’re brilliant! My mind is blown. I’m totally making these soon! Sounds so so good for one of my most favorite cookies ever. ill have to make a trip to the city to get almond butter at a decent price, my tiny town store is a rip off when it comes to stuff like that. Hmm..
    Cinnamon almond or coconut cashew no bakes wrapped in a tiny mini muffin tin shape. Wowza talk about the perfect gift to wrap up adorable and give away. You just made me the most popular person ever!

    P.s. That ebook was a total surprise that was so super cute. I loved it. I can’t believe how much work you put in for us all the time. I’m totally going to cook my way through the ebook. You’re amazing!

  8. lauren says:

    thank u so very much for this recipe! my husband has been asking me to eliminate sugar, so thus I have a couple of large containers of honey in my pantry begging to be used.
    I’m thrilled to have this recipe at my finger tips. thx, mel~

  9. Jodi says:

    These look amazing. Can’t wait to try them. We are HUGE no-bake cookies fans at our house. Thanks Mel, you rock!!

  10. Brittany C says:

    Oh Mel, you are my favorite! It’s kinda refreshing to know there’s someone else out there that can 1. polish off a whole batch of no-bakes and 2. admit to it. I love it! I can’t wait to try these babies, though I better have an excuse or someone to take them to, or this could be trouble. 🙂 I will definitely start using your insta hashtag, I am CONSTANTLY using your recipes, cause, well, they’re the best!

  11. Lenn says:

    Thank you! I used old fashioned oats and added a little unsweetened coconut to raving approval from my children. You’re right, the chopped almonds really did add to this fabulous cookie. That it’s healthy and no bake (so hot here in DC) means we will be having these A LOT.

  12. Kathy says:

    Can I omit the baking powder?

  13. Kathy says:

    Oops I meant cocoa powder!

  14. julie says:

    Made these last night – husband said they were addictive. A friend said they reminded her of lactation cookies?? I looked those up and they are full of butter, sugar and flour – crazy.

  15. Debbie says:

    I have been a huge fan of these cookies for years! I never thought to replace the butter with the coconut oil! And adding the almonds – I’ve got to try that! I will be making these tonight!

    I follow several cooking blogs but by far you are the best! I have two huge bookshelves full of cookbooks but I use your recipes at least several times a week. I hope you are making a nice income from this site – you really do a great job – so professional! Please keep the good stuff coming!

  16. Teresa says:

    I made these last night and they were so delicious. I did not add the nuts, but put in some dried cranberries and a small bit of unsweetened coconut. I did sub butter for the coconut oil and I only used half the amount. They came out just great. More like a candy than a cookie, but so yummy!!!

  17. Mia Phillips says:

    Mel just wanted to say, NO SUGAR, you are awesome! I lovelovelove this trend! Life is better with honey. These sound delicious AND legal.

  18. Sarah says:

    I made these with almond butter, chopped almonds and bittersweet chips (Canada: Bulk Barn – I splurged for the expensive ones but I’ll go with semi-sweet chips in future). Very good. They also got soft right out of the fridge. A+ – these were something special.

  19. Jane says:

    I made one batch with almond butter and almonds, and the two went together rather well, I thought, so I went all creative and made some with peanut butter and replaced the almonds with chopped peanuts, also very good 😉
    Thanks a lot for a really great recipe!!

  20. Jessie says:

    Made these and loved them! I hadn’t’ made no-bake cookies in years and these are definitely a winner! Loved the coconut oil and almond butter, I didn’t have almonds, so I subbed chopped pecans and added dried cranberries–yummy.

  21. Jessi says:

    I’ve never made these before, and I have no idea why. They’re SO easy. I had everything on hand, and they are DELICIOUS. I’m terrified of baking because nothing ever seems to turn out for me, but I’ve been inspired to give baking another try with your recipes. 😀 Tomorrow…we try using the oven.

  22. Diane says:

    These are terribly delicious! Glad they’re at least slightly healthy!

    • Diane says:

      Also, I used 1 cup of regular oats in addition to the 1.5 cups of quick and it worked just fine. I have more regular oats than quick so that’s why I wanted to used at least part of those.

  23. Marie-Jeanne says:

    These look delicious, but a a professional pastry chef and registeted dietician, I must point out that they are no “healthier” than any other no-bake cookie recipe. Honey is 55% fructose and is processed by the liver exactly as granulated sugar is. Honey is, despite the internet hype, no healthier than sugar, and for many people, dangerous. It should not be fed to children under one year of age or those with compromised immune systems because of its potential to harbor life-threatening illness-causing bacteria. Also, again contrary to internet food “experts”, nut butter is nut butter, no matter what type. The only thing that could make a difference there is how processed and how much added sugar and processed oils are included. Also, many oils like coconut, canola and other “healthier” oils are HIGHLY processed to become useable in cooking, and that brings with it another whole set of issues. Oats that are refined in any way (i.e. quick cook/instant) are also processed and not healthier simply because they come from a health food or “natural” food company or store. They’re still processed, and lose nutritional value because of that. In conclusion, your recipe looks great, but please do not label it as “healthier” because it’s really not.

  24. IG says:

    Mel, I have made these several times, they are awesome!! I used homemade maple cinnamon almond butter and chopped almonds, but the last time I took my 9 year olds suggestion and added chopped pretzels instead of almonds. Salty/sweet, crunchy, yummy! Thanks for another wonderful recipe!

    • Krista says:

      Oooh, I like the idea of adding pretzels! My kids aren’t big fans of nuts in things but I think they would love that!

  25. Nic says:

    I don’t usually love no-bakes, but when it was 90 degrees here in MN earlier this week & I was craving something sweet, I knew there was no way I was turning on the oven. 🙂 These were GREAT! Truly. Peanut butter + chopped, salted peanuts for us. Melted in our mouths. Thank you!

  26. Sarah says:

    Made these tonight. Yum! We all loved them. Thank you!

  27. OMGeeeee!!!! Mel, I made these last night and pressed them into mini muffin tins to be sent off for lunches for Dave and Ryan. We loved these so much AND I cannot be trusted with these being in the fridge with me home alone all day! I seriously don’t want to tell you how many I’ve eaten today (it might be in the double digits, though). These are super similar to a recipe I have on my blog for Hazelnut Energy Bites. Next time, I might add some chia seeds and unsweetened coconut. Loved them and love you. You rock!

  28. Ruth Link says:

    These are incredible. My colleague, after sneaking one whilst I was out of the office :), told me that she is “declaring them a new food group!” Thanks so much, Mel.

  29. Beth says:

    I agree with the other comments about how amazing these are! Although I do beg to differ on the name. I do NOT think they are healthier. Regular no bake cookies are good and all, but I can usually get by eating a moderate amount. I can’t stop eating these! Which makes them much less healthy, by the way. I would consider changing the name to “Crack Cookies.” Seriously. They have supplanted chocolate chip cookies as public enemy number one. At least those I’m only tempted by fresh out of the oven (I can’t escape without 5-6 of those babies). These are available any blessed time of the day. Thank you and no thank you, Mel. Just kidding, I love you. 🙂

  30. Malinda says:

    These taste great!!! Super easy and quick to make.

  31. Nan Rasor says:

    Hi! I’m wondering what can be substituted for coconut oil? Maybe grapeseed? I’ve developed an allergy to coconut oil. My son also breaks out from eating it! We are bummed. Any suggestions? When you use the coconut oil is it solid or liquid state? Here in Texas mine was always liquid unless I put it in the fridge. Thanks for help.

    • Mel says:

      I scoop the coconut oil as a solid into the pot but since it melts, it doesn’t matter whether it’s a solid or liquid as long as it is measured correctly. Can you have butter? That’d be my first choice for a substitution.

  32. Whitney says:

    My 2 year old and I made these while big brother was at preschool today. I wanted an easy cookie that she could help with and that wouldn’t make this 38.5 week pregnant mama too tired. This fit the bill. They are delicious too! However, any health benefits may have been negated when my daughter dumped in at least a cup of mini marshmallows. 🙂 Thanks Mel! (The marshmallows are actually a delicious addition.)

  33. Jan says:

    Hi Mel!
    These look so fabulous! One very weird question: My husband and I are in the process of moving so are stuck in a hotel (with a kitchenette) until our new place is ready. Thus, do you know if I could melt the ingredients in a microwave vs doing it on the stovetop? I’ve made similar cookies before & I know I had to bring them to a boil for a couple of minutes in order for the cookies to set up properly. Any thoughts? Many thanks in advance!!

  34. Michelle L says:

    Just made these and they are amazing! They harden quickly in the fridge too. Skipped the chocolate chips, you’re right as they are rich enough with the cocoa powder. The chopped almonds are a must! Finding it very difficult to not pop one in my mouth each time I open the fridge.

  35. Wendy says:

    This is an AWESOME recipe! I am an Ultrafit follower and don’t do sugar, flour or dairy. I love a chocolate snack at night. This is perfect. I like the chocolate chips so prefer to keep them but would reduce the cocoa powder to a tablespoon (or even omit) next time. I left out the almonds as I didn’t want the extra calories. These will be made regularly in my house. Thank you for a great recipe!

  36. Trisha says:

    Thank you for the awesome recipe! The chopped almonds were my favorite part I think. The crunchy almonds kept me going back for another and another.

  37. corinne says:

    is the honey essential ?

  38. laura says:

    Corrine: You can definitely cut back the honey serving if you want. 🙂 I did that with the batch I made last night and I completely omit the chocolate chips and they still turned out great and are quite sweet still. I also use natural crunchy peanut butter and chia seeds instead of almonds – you could even add flax or any other seeds really. I also put in coconut flakes in mine too SO GOOD!

  39. Marie says:

    Great recipe. Much better texture than my recipe…creamier and silkier with the use of coconut oil and honey instead of butter and sugar.

  40. Linda says:

    Love seeing all the variations! I tried your recipe but used corn oil, almond butter and old fashioned oats. I was looking for a high protein snack for my hubby going through chemo, so I added a scoop and a half of vanilla flavored whey protein powder,tchopped almonds and a handful of flaked coconut.
    Yummy! Can’t wait for him to try them tonight!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *