The Best No-Bake Haystack Cookies

An old-school classic.

Serves: Makes about 24 cookies

The Best No-Bake Haystacks from Katie Workman/

I was so curious about haystack cookies for the longest time. No bake cookies are genius, but the idea of chow mein noodles in them? Crazy. Haystacks are one of the quintessential no-bake cookies in the cookie lexicon, and for very good reason – they are delicious, easy and they offer up such great crunch. You could try these with all chocolate or all butterscotch for another flavor twist, and you could also use crushed pretzels instead of the cocktail peanuts.  Coconut, mini marshmallows, other nuts, and various cereals are other possible add-ins.  People who grew up with haystacks in their families often have a very specific version that they feel is the real haystack.  I grew up with no such cookie, so I am highly flexible on the definition.

To crush peanuts, place them in a sturdy zippertop bag, press the air out of it, seal it, and whack it with a rolling pin, or a mallet, or anything that is heavy and can stand to be thwacked against a bag of peanuts. Don’t crush them into a powder, you want some texture. You could also pulse them in a food processor, but the first way is more fun (and the kids will love it!).

I’ll be loving these during the holidays when the ovens are occupied with a roast chicken, or a juicy boneless roast beef, and also during warm weather when I don’t want to turn on the oven to bake. Store these in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.


  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter, crunchy or smooth
  • 1 (6-ounce) package chow mein noodles (3 1/2 cups)
  • 1 cup cocktail peanuts, unsalted or lightly salted, lightly crushed (see recipe intro)

1. Line two baking sheets with parchment or wax paper.

2. Melt the butterscotch and chocolate chips in the microwave or in a double boiler (If you don’t have a double boiler you can make one by nestling a metal or heatproof glass bowl over a pot with a bit of water in the bottom – bring the water to a boil, and stir the chips frequently until they melt) . If using the microwave, heat for 30 seconds, then stop and give the chips a stir, and stop and stir every 15 seconds until they are melted. Stir in the peanut butter until well combined.

3. Combine the noodles and the cocktail peanuts in a large bowl. Pour the butterscotch-peanut butter mixture over and stir to combine.

4. Drop the mixture by tablespoons onto the prepared baking sheet. Allow to set (in warmer months this is best done in the fridge, though let them sit at room temperature for several minutes before serving).

Haystack Cookies on baking sheet from Katie Workman/

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5 thoughts on “The Best No-Bake Haystack Cookies”

  1. Sally says:

    The instructions say to add peanut butter to the melted chips, but there’s no peanut butter listed in the ingredients.

    1. Katie Workman says:

      Sally it’s there now! the new format of the blog made me drop a line – sorry about that!

  2. bug says:

    We called these “chocolate covered spiders” when I was a kid. We didn’t add the peanut butter. Keeping the peanuts whole makes it look like spider bodies. Great for Halloween.

  3. Molly says:

    How many cookies does this recipe yield?

    1. Katie Workman says:

      about 25!

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