No Bake Cookies Teach Kids Cooking Basics

The boys wanted to pack these cookies before we left for the lake today, as the lunches from Tuesday have been devoured by now. These no-bake cookies are a great last-minute snacks.  Karen asked if I have posted this recipe, and I haven’t until now because it’s so common — yet this recipe is often missing from all but one cookbook in our house.  Once you know it, you know it.  So, I’m posting the no-bake cookie recipe for all of you searchers trying to find that same recipe from you elementary school cafeteria.  This is it — warm peanut buttery, chocolate goodness.

If you’re looking for a way to introduce your kids to kitchen basics, as I am, this no-bake cookie recipe is a great one to start with. The sense of accomplishment they get from creating these masterpieces is unsurpassed. However, there is some skill involved. They need to learn how to identify the difference between a simmer and a full boil, set the timer, and watch the cooking process very closely, and make good use of hot pads — all great introductory cooking skills.

If you haven’t had success with no bake cookies the reason lies in the boiling time. Start the timer for 1.5 minutes the second the pot reaches a FULL boil — simmering won’t cut it. You’ll end up with cookies that don’t set up if you start too soon. If you over-boil, you will get cookies that crumble and don’t form at all. And your child will have instant feedback on whether he missed the mark or not.

With those instructions, here is the recipe for no bake cookies:

Ingredient List

  • 1 3/4 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 3 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. First thing, pull out the waxed paper on the counter and have it ready.
  2. Pull out the hot pads so they’re ready.
  3. Figure out which kitchen timer you’re going to use, and instruct your child how to use it. Do a practice run for 1.5 minutes.
  4. Set out all your ingredients, and measure them.
  5. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, milk, butter, and cocoa.
  6. Bring to a full bubbling boil, and set timer for 1 1/2 minutes.
  7. As soon as timer goes off, turn off heat and remove pan from heat.
  8. Stir in peanut butter, oats, and vanilla.
  9. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto wax paper. Let cool until hardened.

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4 comments to “No Bake Cookies Teach Kids Cooking Basics”
  1. My mom taught us to make these cookies when my sisters and I were little. 20-something years later, we still beg her to make them for us. No-bake cookies taste best when mom makes them!

    Thanks for the tip on the full boil, I think that’s where I always go wrong.

  2. Never mind the kids being challenged by this recipe! I think I would be!!! If it is anything to do with timing you can be sure I will mess it up 🙂 But my curiosity is piqued. Maybe we’ll try these in the up coming holidays?

  3. Have you ever thought about creating an e-book or guest authoring on other sites? I have a blog based upon on the same topics you discuss and would love to have you share some stories/information. I know my audience would enjoy your work. If you’re even remotely interested, feel free to shoot me an e mail.|

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