These cookies are my very favorite in all the world.  I think I like them for their simplicity and the fact that I almost always have all the ingredients on hand.  I.e. “on a whim” cookies.  This can be a good and a bad thing, as there’s really nothing stopping you from making these bad boys every single week.  Except your thighs.  Your thighs might scream in protest.

I’ve had a problem lately though.

For the past 5 (ok maybe 10 years), I haven’t been able to make these cookies set up.

I’ve quadruple-checked the recipe.  I’ve measured once, twice, three times.  I’ve used less milk, more milk, less boiling time, more.  And before you tell me not to make them on rainy days, I already know that tip.  We wait until the sun is blazing at high noon before I even dare pull the pot out.  Sometimes I’ll get a fluke batch that sets up, but I believe my failure rate is 90 percent.

They just do not work for me.

But that doesn’t stop me from making them.  Because they taste even BETTER on a spoon.  Because Clara “yoves” them.

And because I’m not a quitter.

Stove Top Cookies

(my mama’s recipe)


  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/2 cup milk (whole)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 tbsp. dark cocoa
  • 2 1/4-2 1/2 cups quick oats
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Combine first four ingredients in a pot.  Heat until boiling.  Allow to boil for 2 minutes.  Stir in last three ingredients.  Drop by spoonfuls onto wax paper.  Allow 15-30 minutes to set up.  (or just eat them with a spoon)


QUESTION:  Do you have a recipe that just will NOT work for you??  I’m afraid to ask…but what are you tips on these cookies?


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  1. These are my dad’s favorite! One thing I have noticed is with the peanut butter. They usually won’t set up for me if I use any kind of “natural” peanut butter. It has to be regular JIF or Peter Pan!

  2. These were my childhood favorite. My grandmother & I used to make them when I visited her. I would sit on the counter and pour in the ingredients as she stood in front of the stove and stirred. I’ve never made them myself though and wish my granny was still around so I could ask her secret. ;) I think she may have used old-fashioned oats though.

  3. Nearly identical to my mom’s recipe except the amount of oats.
    We use around 3 cups of old fashioned oats.
    I would think using quick oats would require a little more than what you’re using so you have a more balanced “glue” ratio. (I know, I know….it’s mama’s recipe though!)Maybe try at least 3 cups next time.
    (I’ve played around with the quick oats before, just liked the old fashioned ones’ texture more)

  4. I love these cookies too. It’s been too long since I’ve made them and need to fix that pronto. One “secret” ingredient I add is a handful of small marshmallows – kinda like glue to hold them together.

  5. These are one of my all time favorite cookies! We make them pretty darn often around here too. My recipe is fairly similar to yours with just a couple changes that may help them set better. I use 3 1/4 cup quick oats and 1/4 cocoa powder. Maybe that will help thicken them and help them set better? Just an idea. But hey, eating the batter with a spoon is totally acceptable too. ;)

  6. I’ve seen your recipe online and many blogs, but have yet to give it a go. All I can say in relation to your recipe is bring to a boil over medium heat then boil 1 min, remove from heat, whisk in pb & oats and scoop.
    Here is my recipe for No-Bake cookies. My mom and grandma have made this recipe since before I was born. Maybe you’ll give it a go? I promise it NEVER fails!!

    Boil the following for 1 min:
    2c. White sugar
    1/2 c. Milk (skim, 1%, 2% or whole)
    1/2 c. Butter, unsalted (cold cut into chunks)

    Remove from heat and immediately add:
    2 1/2 c. Quick oats
    1/2 c.smooth peanut butter
    8 ounces of semi sweet chocolate chips (mini chips melt faster but they can be regular size. Weigh your chocolate!!!!)

    Mix well. Immediately drop spoonfuls onto ungreased wax paper. Cookies will begin to set within minutes. Can be stored at room temperature or in airtight container in the fridge. Enjoy!

  7. My mom always told me the tip on no bakes was patience, slow low heat and that you could NOT stop stirring or leave them to do anything else while ‘boiling/baking’ them….yes I have a few recipes that I know I should be able to get work and I swear I do it just as it says AKA cold butter/room temp butter and it just won’t work -but I like you accept it as a challenge to get it right and hey ifn othing else the batter tastes good ;)