No-Bake Chocolate Haystack Cookies


No-bake cookies are perfect for those evenings when we realize we’ve run out of lunchbox snacks, or are in need of a speedy dessert for book club, a bake sale, or Sunday afternoon tea with friends.

My family has been making these chocolate haystack cookies for decades, but every few years I completely forget about them, pushing the recipe to the back of my binder in favour of all of the new ones I want to try. Then, when I stumble upon it again, I immediately turn to the kitchen to prep a batch for the coming days. They whip up quickly and can set on the counter or overnight in the fridge, and the ingredient list is brief and uses things you likely have on hand in the pantry.

I’m sure you probably ate a similar cookie when you were a kid, and personal experience has taught me that when an adult sees a platter of these classic cookies their face lights up with recognition and delight. Kids happen to be pretty fond of them, too, which makes them worth the time. In fact, I would deem this a recipe that kids could almost take ownership of, especially with the helping hands of a parent in the house, so why not start the new school year with a new routine: on the weekends the kids make the cookies for the coming week’s lunch. Sounds like a great idea to me!

I like to scatter some sprinkles over the cookies before they set to make them look a little prettier (they are admittedly a little brown). Feel free to use orange ones in the fall or red, green and white one during the holiday season.

Makes approx. 24 cookies

You’ll Need

  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (or 3 ¼ cups quick-cooking oats)
  • ½ cup mini chocolate chips
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • ½ cup milk
  • 5 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • ¾ cup granulated or cane sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Optional: sprinkles

Prep and Cook

  • Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment or wax paper. Set aside.
  • Stir together the oats and chocolate chips in a large bowl and set aside.
  • In a small pot, combine the butter, milk, cocoa powder and sugar. Place on the stove over medium heat and stir until the butter has melted. Let the mixture come to a boil and boil hard for one minute without stirring.
  • Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the oat mixture until thoroughly combined.
  • Spoon the cookies onto the prepared baking sheet in tablespoon-size dollops. Allow the cookies to set on the counter overnight or place in the fridge for a few hours or until firm. Cookies can be stored in the fridge for 5-7 days.



  1. Melissa on September 8, 2017 at 1:08 pm

    Would love to have a printable version of this recipe.

    • Heather Dixon on September 16, 2017 at 8:34 am

      We’re working on getting that function again Melissa! Thanks for your feedback! 🙂

  2. Kiran on March 18, 2020 at 5:30 pm

    These are great, but noticed that the vanilla and sugar are not included in the recipe instructions.

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