The Best No-Bake Haystack Cookies

A great version of an old-school classic.

Serving Size: Makes about 24 cookies

The Best No-Bake Haystack Cookies / Mia / 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.

The Best No-Bake Haystack Cookies / Mia / Katie Workman /

You could try these with all chocolate or all butterscotch for another flavor twist, and you could also use crushed pretzels along with or 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.

Haystack Cookies / Mia / Katie Workman /

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 – encouraged thwacking?  With a stick or a mallet?  It’s Christmas in July, or whatever month you’re in).  This also works for pretzels, but you want to be a bit less zealous with the pounding.

The Best No-Bake Haystack Cookies / Mia / Katie Workman /

Haystack cookies are excellent in the summertime, when you don’t want to turn on the oven.  But I’ll also be loving these during the holidays when the ovens are occupied with miscellaneous roasts and side dishes.

And then I’ll definitely be loving the fact that these can be made ahead.  Store these in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.


The Best No-Bake Haystack Cookies


  • 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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9 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!

  4. Marcia says:

    the chow mein noodles are too hard . How can I soften them now that they are already in the cookies?

    1. Katie Workman says:

      Sorry for the delay – I haven’t had this experience (I mean, yes they are crunchy but not so much so that I wanted them softer!). I might put the cookies in a tin with a piece of bread and sea it up for several hours, or maybe even a day. I’m thinking that since bread helps keep brown sugar soft, and makes hard brown sugar soft again, it might do the trick. If you try it let me know if it works!

  5. Sandra McFarland says:

    We melt one regular pkg of butterscotch morsels in the top of a double boiler, add one cup of whole Spanish peanuts, and one can of chow me in noodles and mix (I just break up the noodles as I add and further crush as I mix. Drop by spoonfuls onto wax paper and let harden….soooo easy!

    1. Katie Workman says:

      Spanish peanuts! Just rediscovered them – great idea.

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