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How to Make No Bake Cookies Harden

No Bake Cookies

Having trouble with your no-bake cookies? Are they wet and gooey? Or dry and crumbly? Here’s how to fix them so you get perfect no-bakes every time!

Chocolate No Bake Cookies were a staple in my childhood home. My mom would pack me a lunch every day for school and always had a treat to include. These chocolatey, oaty, super chewy and moist cookies were one of our favorites.

Plus, No Bake cookies are such a fast and easy dessert, especially when you have a bunch of kids to feed! They were always a huge hit and I would share them with all of my friends. 

Since you don’t even need to turn on your oven, No Bakes are supposed to be super easy for anyone to bake. Even us kids could help mom make them.

So when I tried to make them recently and they didn’t turn out as awesome as mom’s, I had to figure out why!

Whether they turn out dry and crumbly, or a totally gooey, too wet mess, there’s got to be a reason. Stick around and I’ll share what I’ve found so we can all have deliciously perfect No Bake cookies!

Why Don’t My No Bake Cookies Harden?

There are a few key things that can cause no bake cookies to be too gooey or too dry. For the most part the success of your cookies will be based on temperature, ingredient consistency, and humidity in the air.

But most problems are caused by either boiling too long (or not long enough).

Most No Bake cookie recipes call for butter, milk, sugar, and cocoa to be melted and then brought to a boil. If your cookies consistently turn out too dry, it is probably because you are boiling it for too long. The sugar mixture needs to thicken enough to hold the cookies together.

But if you don’t boil long enough, the cookies won’t form properly and they’ll be a floppy mess. If you overcook the sugar, the dough just crumbles and doesn’t stick together then either.

Another weird reason that your cookies might not set properly is the weather! If it’s rainy or very humid, there might be too much moisture for the cookies. Even if you have perfected your boiling time, the moisture might still make a mess of your cookies.

But don’t worry! I have the solution so you can make perfectly formed cookies every time.

How to Fix No-Bake Cookies

If your cookies are too wet and don’t set, try boiling the mixture a little longer. Don’t start timing until it is at a full boil, and then it should be about 1-2 minutes of boiling. If your No Bakes are crumbly and dry, stick closer to 1 minute.

Another way to be sure your sugar mixture is at the right stage to set is the temperature. If you have a candy thermometer use this to check your mixture’s heat. It should be around 235-240 degrees Fahrenheit before you remove it from the heat.

If you don’t have a thermometer, there’s still a helpful trick to check your sugar. While you cook, keep a bowl of ice water nearby. After the 1-2 minute boil, drop a little bit of the sugar mix into the ice. When you pick it up, it should form into a soft ball in your hand, indicating it’s at the right temperature.

If humidity is your issue, try boiling a little bit longer than normal and aim for the higher end of the temperature range. But you can’t control the weather completely, so you may just want to try on another day!

Tips and Tricks for the Perfect No Bake Cookies

  • Make sure to use the specific oats written in the recipe. Most recipes suggest instant or quick cooking oats, so stick with those and not rolled oats. With so few ingredients, the oats are vital to the soft and chewy texture that you want in your No Bakes.
  • If your cookies are mushy even after they’ve set, try refrigerating them. Some of the ingredients, such as butter, chocolate, or peanut butter, will not stay completely set at room temperature. Just like a stick of butter, the longer they sit at room temperature, the looser and stickier the cookies will get. Sometimes refrigerating them produces a different consistency, but they will still taste great.
  • Another way to help the cookies set is to put them on cooling racks so the heat leaves faster.
  • Store your No Bake Cookies in an airtight container so they don’t dry out. They will last about a week on the counter, a little longer in the fridge.
  • If you boil everything correctly and your cookies still don’t seem thick enough, try adding more oats to thicken the mixture.
  • Bring your sugar mixture to a boil over Medium-High heat to avoid overcooking or burning. 
  • Usually No Bake recipes call for full fat peanut butter or a lot of butter or margarine. If you take out the peanut butter or tweak the ingredients in any way, make sure to replace the fat it was offering to the mixture. Without all the fat called for, the cookies will be dry and crumbly.

How to Make No Bake Cookies Harden


  • No-Bake Cookies


  • Don’t over or under-boil the ingredients. Boil them longer if the cookies are too wet or won’t set.
  • If the cookies are still not thick enough, add more oats.
  • Use a candy thermometer to monitor the sugar’s temperature. Remove sugar from heat once it reaches 235 to 240 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Let cookies cool on wire racks to help them harden faster.
  • If the cookies are still mushy, refrigerate them for several minutes to help them set.
  • Don’t make cookies when it’s raining or humid.
How to Make No Bake Cookies Harden

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

2 thoughts on “How to Make No Bake Cookies Harden”

  1. The no bake cookies have been my favorite for a long time we use to have them at school seems like forever ago. I made some today and used your recipe they turned out great. Only complaint is they were really, really sweet. Any way to make them not so overwhelmingly sweet?

    • Hi Sherry, you can certainly cut back the amount of sugar in the recipe! Start by going to 1 3/4 cups or 1 1/2 cups, then adjust as needed for your tastes.


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