Who doesn’t love a no-bake treat? This quick and easy recipe, cooked on the stove top, is more like a confection than a cookie. But Southern food authority Edna Lewis called these chewy, nutty treats one of her very favorite childhood cookies, which is good enough for us.

Recipes notes: These are gluten-free as long as you buy oats marked as such.

The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week or frozen for several months.

Scale and get a printer-friendly version of the recipe here.


  • 3 cups (255 grams) quick-cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup (125 grams) crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick/113 grams) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup (120 milliliters) whole milk
  • 2 cups (400 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (50 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Step 1

In a large bowl, stir together the oats, peanut butter and vanilla until combined.

Step 2

In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, heat the butter and milk, stirring a few times, until the butter is melted. Whisk in the sugar, cocoa and salt until the mixture is smooth. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for 1 1/2 minutes, stirring often to prevent scorching. Stir in the oat mixture and continue cooking for 1 minute longer, stirring constantly.

Step 3

Drop the cooked mixture by tablespoonfuls onto wax paper or aluminum foil. Let the cookies cool and become firm. Serve at room temperature.

Adapted from “The Gift of Southern Cooking” by Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock (Knopf, 2003).

Tested by Lynn O’Brien and Lisa Cherkasky; email questions to voraciously@washpost.com.

Scale and get a printer-friendly version of the recipe here.

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Calories: 140; Total Fat: 6 g; Saturated Fat: 3 g; Cholesterol: 10 mg; Sodium: 35 mg; Carbohydrates: 20 g; Dietary Fiber: 1 g; Sugars: 13 g; Protein: 3 g.