Usually we talk about no-bake recipes in summertime, when turning on the oven and heating up the kitchen is the last thing you want to do. But taking the oven out of the equation can be appreciated in cooler weather as well. Maybe you’re one of the many people whose appliances have gone kaput during the pandemic, and all you have is a microwave or single portable burner. Perhaps you’re cooking with kids and you’d just as soon not bother with the oven. Or perhaps at a particular moment when you want something sweet, your oven is already in use. You could even be someone who merely uses the oven for … storage.

Whatever the reason, you’ll get no judgment from me. There are plenty of no-bake options that you, your family or friends will be delighted to make and eat this holiday season. Here are some from our archives.

Buckeye Bars, above. Buckeyes, an Ohio specialty, are usually rolled into balls, but in bar form, they’re especially easy to make and serve. Let the kids help with this one — the only heat required is a microwave to melt the chocolate chips. If nut allergies are an issue, I offer a variation using Biscoff cookie butter.


Peppermint Chocolate Slices. Imagine a peppermint patty, mint chocolate chip ice cream and Canadian Nanaimo bars all rolled into in one. It’s best enjoyed chilled.

Boiled Peanut Butter Cookies. You just need a few minutes on the stovetop before you simply scoop these treats, flavored with a classic chocolate and peanut butter combo, onto a sheet pan. The recipe from cookbook author Edna Lewis also happens to be gluten-free. For a similar option, have a look at Food editor Joe Yonan’s No-Bake Chocolate Oat Cookies, which include almond butter and dried cherries along with the oats.


Rum Balls. Yes, this grown-up, boozy recipe actually came a 1970s Bacardi rum recipe booklet. And it’s really good, not to mention simple. Also check out these Chocolate Rum Balls and Bourbon Balls for a variation on the theme.


Salted Marshmallow Walnut Fudge. Fudge makes for a nice inclusion in a box of treats to share since it’s neat and stores well. Another possibility: Quick No-Bake S’mores Bars.

No-Bake Hemp Brownie Bites. For the nutrition-minded folks in your life, consider these raw, vegan and gluten-free sweets that boast a rich chocolate flavor.


Cranberry Divinity. These meringuelike puffs are a retro recipe from the 1950 edition of “Betty Crocker’s Picture Cook Book,” though our version uses dried cranberries instead of the nuts for a festive touch.


No-Nut Butter Cups. Here’s a fun take on a classic candy, which uses sunflower seed butter instead of the peanut butter.


Puffed Rice Squares (No-Bake Elves). Puffed rice cereal squares with marshmallows — a.k.a. Rice Krispie treats — are a nostalgic and easy no-bake dessert. Kids will have fun decorating this recipe, made with brown rice cereal and almond butter, any way they want.

Hippie Crispy Treats. Here’s another puffed rice option, which takes the genre to a new level with chocolate and almond butter as part of the mix, as well as melted chocolate and sliced almonds on top. For a few more recipes, see Neapolitan Nice Crispy Bars (vanilla, chocolate and strawberry layers) and White Chocolate Honey Crisp Bars (milk chocolate with the cereal, white chocolate on top).


Date Pastries (Batheeth). Use the cookie cutter of your choice to create this specialty of the United Arab Emirates. You make a simple dough on the stovetop with chopped dates, which is then rolled thinly and cut.


Spicy Peanut and Toasted Coconut No-Bakes. Many people know these no-bakes as haystacks. This version is inspired by a flavor of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams.