Healthy No Bake Cookies (Gluten Free, Vegan)
Healthy No Bake Cookies – All the chocolate peanut butter flavor you love from traditional no-bakes, made with healthier ingredients. These are gluten free, vegan, and delicious!
One of the first recipes I ever learned to make was no bake cookies. I loved standing by the stove, stirring and sneaking taste after taste after taste of the batter. The combination of chocolate and peanut butter was so delicious to me, and I loved that I didn’t have to monitor batch after batch of cookies in the oven.
The love has continued! These days, my recipe doesn’t include the 2 cups of sugar that the original had, but it still has the chocolate peanut butter flavor and the ease I love from the original. (PS – For a good time, look at the photos of that first no bake cookie recipe–ha!)
Here’s how I made my childhood favorite a bit healthier…
What You Need to Make Healthy No Bake Cookies:
PEANUT BUTTER. I use natural peanut butter, with just peanuts or just peanuts and salt. Crunchy or smooth peanut butter will work beautifully. (I like crunchy, my kids like smooth).
PURE MAPLE SYRUP. Pure maple syrup–the real stuff, not pancake syrup–doesn’t add any maple flavor, just sweetness. I love it for these cookies and tend to find the best price at Costco or online. If you need a substitute, I wouldn’t recommend honey as it tends to overpower the other flavors, but you can get away with agave if you need to.
UNSWEETENED COCOA POWDER OR CACAO POWDER. – Here’s where the chocolate flavor comes from! Cacao powder is raw, where cocoa powder has been roasted. Both work in this recipe, so pick your favorite! (Just be sure it’s unsweetened)
COCONUT OIL. I use virgin coconut oil which does have a tiny bit of coconut taste, but you can use expeller pressed (refined) coconut oil for no coconut taste. Or, you can sub vegan butter or regular butter, if you prefer.
VANILLA EXTRACT. A little vanilla is the “it” factor for me in these cookies. If you leave it out, you’ll notice something’s missing. PS – If you can ever find Mexican vanilla, dive on it!
SALT. Another one of those essentials you’d miss if you left it out. Salt will wake up the other flavors and keep the cookies from tasting flat. If you use unsalted peanut butter, you may want to add an extra tiny pinch to the batter. (I also sometimes like to put a pinch of this coarse salt on top of the finished cookies)
(GLUTEN FREE) ROLLED OATS. Oats themselves don’t contain wheat gluten, but they’re often farmed and processed in ways that cause cross-contamination. If you’re gluten free, make sure you buy certified gluten free oats. I like Bob’s Red Mill and Trader Joe’s brands. (You *can* use quick oats if you have to, but I recommend rolled/old fashioned for best results).
Are Healthy No Bakes Really Healthier?
Calorie-wise, these healthy no bake cookies are very close to my classic no bake cookies. However, the macronutrient breakdown (carbs, protein, fat) of those calories looks a lot different:
HEALTHY NO BAKES – 151 Calories, 7.9g fat, 15.8g carbs, 3.3g protein, 7.2g sugar, 2.1g fiber
CLASSIC NO BAKES – 149 Calories, 5.2g fat, 23.5g carbs, 2.9g protein, 17.8g sugar, 1.2g fiber
So, the healthy no bakes have about 1/3 fewer carbs, less than 1/2 the sugar, more protein, and more fiber than the classics. I’d say–yes! They’re a healthier treat.
Tips for Perfect Healthy No Bake Cookies
Don’t over-boil. I know a watched pot never boils, but an unsupervised pot will over-boil. These healthy no bake cookies will go grainy and crumbly fast if you boil them much longer than directed. Once you see bubbles coming to the surface of your mixture, you know they’re boiling. Let it go 2 minutes from that point.
Parchment or a nonstick silicone baking mat. Use parchment paper or a reusable silicone baking mat to line your baking sheet. It’ll make removing the cookies MUCH easier after they’ve set.
Cookie scoop – I use a 1 1/2 Tbsp cookie scoop and I usually get 12-14 cookies from my batch. You can use a larger scoop for fewer cookies or a smaller scoop for more cookies.
Pat them down a bit. These won’t spread like traditional no bakes do, so after scooping, use your fingers or the back of your cookie scoop to flatten them out a bit.
How to store. These healthy no bake cookies keep best in the refrigerator, and they’ll last about 1 week in an airtight container in the fridge. If you need to, you can freeze them.
More Delicious Treats to Love:
- The BEST Healthy Homemade Popsicles
- Perfect Gluten Free Brownies
- The BEST Vegan Chocolate Pudding
- Toasted Marshmallow Rice Krispies Treats
Healthy No Bake Cookies (Gluten Free, Vegan)
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 12-14 Cookies 1x
These healthy no bake cookies have all the same chocolate peanut butter flavor as the original, but are made with healthier ingredients. They’re the perfect treat!
- 3 Tbsp coconut oil (can sub vegan butter or butter)
- 1/2 cup peanut butter (creamy or chunky)
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- 3 Tbsp cocoa powder or cacao powder
- 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 1/2 cups rolled oats (Certified gluten free, as needed)
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a reusable silicone baking mat. Set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, gently melt coconut oil, peanut butter, syrup, and cocoa powder together over low heat.
- When the mixture is combined, increase the heat to medium and continue stirring until the mixture comes to a boil. Boil 2 minutes, whisking or stirring constantly, then remove from heat.
- Add vanilla extract, and salt. Stir to combine.
- Add oats and stir to coat in the peanut butter chocolate mixture.
- Using a 1 1/2 Tbsp cookie scoop or a spoon, scoop cookies onto your prepared baking sheet. Gently pat down with your fingers or the back of your scoop or spoon to spread a bit.
- Chill in the refrigerator until set, about 1 hour.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 1 week.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Category: Dessert, Cookies
- Method: No Bake, Stovetop
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: no bake cookies, vegan no bake cookies, gluten free no bake cookies, healthy no bake cookies, no bake dessert, no bakes, healthy no bakes,
Can you use Sunbutter?
I haven’t tried them with sunbutter, but I don’t see a reason they wouldn’t work! I’d love to know how it goes if you give them a try! 🙂
What is sunbutter
Sunbutter is sunflower seed butter. It’s nut free, so it’s a good choice for folks with allergies. 🙂
Can you offer any substitutes for the rolled oats?
Daureen – They’re the main component of these, but you could possibly get away with shredded coconut or chopped nuts. The results won’t be quite the same texturally or from a flavor standpoint, but if you’ve got an oat allergy/intolerance, they’d probably be your best bet for a substitute 🙂
I saw a recipe using quinoa flakes instead of oatmeal. Problem is, they are hard to find. Any suggestions for artificial sweetener that isn’t a “tol”-diabetic and the “tols” are very unfriendly with me.
Marge – I don’t bake with alternative/artificial sweeteners, so I’m not a great resource for this–I’m so sorry! This recipe will only really work with the syrup listed.
What could be a reason of mixture (coconut oil, peanut butter, maple syrup and cocoa) getting too dense? I got it right the first time, but every other time the mixture was too dense and I couldn’t put even a cup of oats, also when combined with oats it was just falling apart. I added water to make it more liquid, but I guess I put too much or too little of something?
Oh dear! I’m sorry that happened! I’d love to help. What kind of peanut butter are you using? If it’s got more than peanuts (or peanuts + salt) in it, that *could* be the problem, as peanut butters with sweeteners or oils tend to be thicker and more dense.
I am using an organic peanut butter with only peanuts in it. And it is rather smooth, so no salt, sugar or any additives. And it is not crunchy. I put three tbsp, as I assumed that’s equal to a 1/2 of a cup of peanut butter, maybe that could be wrong?
Max – Ooh, this helps! Sounds like the perfect kind of peanut butter to use. The trouble is the amount. 1 cup = 16 Tbsp, so 1/2 cup = 8 Tbsp. It just wasn’t quite enough peanut butter! That’ll be an easy fix for next time! 🙂
Really excited about finding this easy, simple, and healthy recipe! First one I found and realized I had all the ingredients in the house! Thank you for sharing, my husband and I are very excited for this late night snack!
YES! I’m so glad to hear that. I love how simple and straightforward this recipe is. Hope you LOVED THEM! 🙂
These turned out great! The kids loved them. I pulled them off 20 seconds before the two minutes as the mixture was getting thicker. They formed perfectly! It’s really hard to get the time right , if your off just a little on the time they can come out dry or too sticky! So glad to have found the vegan option, thank you!
Amanda – I’m so glad you loved them, and way to go trouble-shooting in the moment!
Can something other than maple syrup be used? I would like to make these sugar free.
Crystal – I haven’t tested this with any sugar free substitutes. I’m sorry!
Can the rolled oats be replaced with quick oats? 1:1?
You’re welcome to give it a try! I’d love to know how it goes if you do 🙂
I would like to add some shredded coconut. Any suggestions on how best to do this.
Linda – I can’t guarantee results, since I haven’t tested it this way, but if I were going to add coconut, I’d remove some of the oats and add an equal amount of coconut. (So, if you removed 1/2 cup oats, you’d add 1/2 cup coconut). I’d love to know how it goes if you give it a try!
I reduced the oats by 1/4 cup and added 1/2 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut and they turned out well.
I think next time I will use almond butter. Although I do like peanut butter, I found it a bit too much. Not awful, just a personal taste preference.
Sounds like a great plan for next time!