Butterscotch No-Bake Cookies

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Exam week in college was always brutal. I’d be up late studying most nights, fueled by coffee and junk food from the dining hall. My brain would be fried, but I still had to push through big tests and papers. During those stressful weeks, the one thing that kept me going was my roommate’s famous no-bake cookies.

My roommate Leah was constantly baking, and her go-to study snack was a batch of peanut butter or chocolate chip no-bake cookies. Our tiny dorm kitchen would fill with the inviting aroma of warming peanut butter and oats. She’d mix up a huge platter of cookies to fuel our study sessions. I’d take a study break to enjoy a soft, chewy cookie, and instantly feel re-energized to hit the books again. 

Leah taught me her simple secrets to the perfect no-bake cookies using just a few pantry staples. Soon I was whipping up my own batches to power late night study sessions. No need to even turn on the oven! Whenever I needed a pick-me-up, I’d stir together a quick dough and soon have a plateful of chewy cookie goodness.

Now as a parent helping my own kids get through exam time, I make sure to have the ingredients for no-bake cookies on hand. One bite of these easy, comforting cookies takes away the late-night study stress, just like during my college days. I hope this recipe can provide your family the same snacking joy and sweet rewards during stressful times!

Why You’ll Love These Butterscotch No-Bake Cookies

  • Super soft and chewy – The texture rivals any baked cookie. Sweetened condensed milk is the key.
  • Rich butterscotch flavor – Brown sugar and butter provide that signature buttery caramel taste.
  • Quick and easy – Ready in just 10 minutes with no baking required.
  • Kid-friendly activity – Kids will love helping make these no-fuss cookies.
  • Easily customizable – Swap in different mix-ins like chocolate chips or nuts.


  • Use sweetened condensed milk for a rich flavor and ideal texture. Do not substitute.
  • Mix over very low heat just until combined to prevent seizing up.
  • Chill the cookie dough for at least 30 minutes so it sets up nicely.
  • Scoop cookies using a small ice cream scoop for uniform size and shape.
  • Store no-bake cookies in an airtight container at room temperature.
  • If cookies become dry, microwave to soften back up.

Key Ingredients

Sweetened Condensed Milk

Provides a deliciously chewy texture and caramel-like flavor. Don’t substitute evaporated milk.

Brown Sugar

Dark brown sugar gives deep, butterscotch notes. You can use light, but the flavor won’t be as pronounced.


Butter is necessary for the rich flavor. Do not substitute oil. Salted or unsalted works.


Old-fashioned whole rolled oats give the cookie base. Quick oats can also be used.

Nuts (optional)

Chopped pecans or walnuts add crunchy texture and nutty flavor if desired.

With just a few humble pantry ingredients, you can make bakery-worthy cookies at home with no oven required!

How to Make Butterscotch No-Bake Cookies

Here is an easy step-by-step method:

Mix Dry Ingredients

In a bowl, stir together the oats, brown sugar, and nuts if using.

Mix Wet Ingredients

In a saucepan, combine the sweetened condensed milk and butter. Cook over medium-low heat until melted and smooth, about 5 minutes.

Combine Mixtures

Stir the dry ingredients into the pan with the wet ingredients until no dry bits remain.

Chill the Dough

Scoop dough by rounded tablespoons onto a baking sheet. Chill until firm, about 30 minutes.

Shape the Cookies

Use your hands to gently roll dough into balls. Flatten slightly into cookie shapes.

Store or Serve

Place finished cookies into an airtight container. Enjoy at room temperature.

What to Serve with Butterscotch No-Bake Cookies

  • A big glass of cold milk or coffee
  • Ice cream – caramel, vanilla and butter pecan work nicely
  • Sliced fruit like apples, bananas or strawberries
  • Whipped cream or drizzled caramel sauce
  • Crumbled bacon for a sweet and salty twist


  • Oats: Try quick oats or sub with crisped rice cereal or granola
  • Sugar: Use light brown sugar or mix in some coconut sugar
  • Mix-ins: Add mini chocolate chips, raisins, toffee bits, crushed candy, etc.
  • Nuts: Pecans, walnuts, peanuts or almonds work great
  • Extracts: Mix in almond, maple, vanilla, coconut extract, etc.


Why are my no-bake cookies dry?

If they turn dry, the dough likely overheated or you used too many oats. Microwave 10 seconds to soften again.

Why didn’t my no-bake cookies set?

Be sure to chill them fully so they set up. Too much liquid or undercooking the mixture can also prevent setting.

Do no-bake cookies go bad?

Properly stored in an airtight container, they stay fresh at room temp for 1 week. Freeze for longer storage.

Can you make no-bake cookies with stevia?

Yes, you can substitute stevia for some of the sugar. But you still need sweetened condensed milk for the best texture.

What happens if you bake no bake cookies?

Baking no-bake cookies makes them dry and crispy like granola bars instead of soft and chewy.

With my tips for success, you can now make perfect chewy no-bake cookies at home – no oven required! Let me know if you have any other questions.

Butterscotch No-Bake Cookies

Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time5 minutes
Chilling time2 hours 40 minutes
Total Time3 hours
Course: Snack
Keyword: Cookies


  • Medium saucepan
  • Mixing bowls
  • Spatula
  • Baking sheet
  • Airtight container


  • 1 1/2 cups sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts optional


  • In a saucepan, melt butter with sweetened condensed milk over medium-low heat until smooth.
  • In a bowl, mix together oats, brown sugar, nuts if using.
  • Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients until no dry bits remain.
  • Scoop dough by tablespoons onto a baking sheet. Chill 30 minutes until firm.
  • Roll dough into balls, then flatten slightly to shape cookies.
  • Store finished cookies in an airtight container at room temperature. Enjoy!