No Bake Cookies Without Refined Sugar!

No Bake Cookies are definitely my favorite cookie from childhood. We ALWAYS made them at Christmas time and I’m sure I probably made them a few times throughout the year as well. It’s one of the first cookies I remember making all by myself. Even before I paid attention to what was processed foods versus ‘real foods,’ I always knew there was a TON of sugar in these cookies. And when I doubled my batch before Christmas time, I would always gasp a little as I poured FOUR cups of sugar into the pot. That’s A LOT of sugar! So, this year, I set out to make my childhood favorite WITHOUT refined, white sugar. I will tell you this about the results… After two batches, I have the flavor RIGHT ON. The ‘setting up’ part? Not so much. The chocolate isn’t firming up like I’m used to. As much as this is frustrating to me…it’s ‘fixable.’ I just popped them into the freezer and problem solved! They were nice and firm when I ate them last night, though a little cold…but I actually enjoyed it that way! It made for a nice little dessert. 🙂 Oh…and my kids LOVE them, too!

So, if you’re looking to make No Bake Cookies, but want a little cleaner recipe, this will work for you! I would just store them in the freezer until you’re ready to eat one!

If I had more time (and more patience), I would keep playing with this recipe until I got it ‘right’…but after making two batches of cookies, I have to stop. There are only so many calories I can burn in a day to keep the weight off when I start making too many delicious foods. 🙂 We eat everything I make/bake/cook and I, unfortunately, don’t have an endless supply of money to keep trying new recipes over and over. (I will keep them in the freezer and eat them little by little.) This recipe will have to do until the next time I want another batch (probably next Christmas, if I’m being honest with myself). I’m excited to have come up with a little cleaner option, though. This gives me my ‘no bake cookie fix,’ yet I don’t have to consume crazy amounts of refined sugar in the process!


Processing No Bake Cookies (Without Refined Sugar!)

Author: LeAnn at Real Fit, Real Food Mom

Serves: Approx. 40 cookies


  • 6 T organic butter
  • ¾ cup pure maple syrup
  • ⅓ cup cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup milk (I used organic whole milk)
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ½ cup natural peanut butter (peanuts & salt only)
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • ⅔ cups unsweetened coconut flakes


  1. Before starting, measure out the oatmeal, coconut, and peanut butter so they’re ready to add when the time comes.
  2. In a large pot over medium-high heat, stir together butter, maple syrup, cocoa, and milk.
  3. Bring to a boil, while stirring, for 1 minute.
  4. Add vanilla, salt, and then peanut butter. Stir until peanut butter melts.
  5. Take pot off the stove and stir in the coconut and oatmeal.
  6. Drop by teaspoonful onto waxed paper and let sit.
  7. Once they have cooled, transfer to the freezer until you’re ready to eat them! (Alternatively, you could also roll these into ball-shaped cookies so they would hold together a little better.)

Note: I now use raw cacao powder instead of cocoa powder. It’s higher in antioxidants and less processed.

The taste of these no-bake cookies reminds me exactly of what I always enjoyed growing up, but I think the lack of white sugar is why they didn’t set up properly. (In the second batch, I used less butter and milk and that didn’t seem to make any difference.)

(Update: I’ve eaten a few of these cookies every day since I made them. They are so incredibly good…even right out of the freezer!)

We had to test a couple… 😉

*Here’s a little funny story for you. As I said before, I made these cookies very frequently as a kid, but there were usually several months between each time I made them. Anyway, I was in 4-H for a few years until I got too busy with running and basketball. I didn’t show animals… I was involved with the projects. Yep, that’s right, I’ve won Grand Champion trophies in both ‘gift wrapping’ AND ‘collections!’ Back on topic, though… one evening, I was asked to bring in cookies for a club meeting, so I decided to make a batch of No Bakes. Since most of the ingredients at the beginning of the recipe are measured in cups, when I got to the salt, instead of adding 1/4 TSP salt, I added 1/4 CUP salt! Wow…those were some SALTY cookies! At the time, I didn’t know enough about baking to really think through the fact that that was WAY too much. ha! I think ever since then I’ve always double-checked every ingredient as I add it in. 

I’m also going to include another option for you, that I have not tried, but a friend tested for me and she said they set up well for her! So, if you’re going to be taking these cookies to a party where they need to sit out at room temperature, this is the recipe you’ll probably want to use. 

No Bake Cookies (Using Cane Sugar)


  • 1 1/2 cups organic cane sugar
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder (or cacao powder)
  • 6 T butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
  • 3 1/2 cups rolled oats

Before starting, measure out the oatmeal and peanut butter so they’re ready to add when the time comes. In a large pot over medium-high heat, stir together butter, cane sugar, cocoa, and milk. Bring to a boil, while stirring, for 1 minute. Add vanilla, salt, and peanut butter. Stir until peanut butter melts. Take pot off the stove and stir in the oatmeal. Drop by teaspoonful onto waxed paper and let set up. Enjoy!

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