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No Bake Cookies Too Dry or Gooey? Here's Why

Avoid dry and gooey no bake cookies with these smart (non) baking tips.

No Bake Cookies Too Dry or Gooey

For a cookie that’s supposed to be easy, many of us know that no bake cookies can cause a lot of problems!

Dry and crumbly. Gooey mess. What’s a savvy (non) baker to do?

Luckily, we’ve researched where good no bake cookies go wrong, and we’re eager to share the results with you.

No Bake Cookies Too Dry?

Most no bake cookie recipes call for melting together butter, sugar, milk, and cocoa. Then you bring the mixture to a boil.

The most common reason for dry no bake cookies is boiling the mixture for too long.

If you overcook sugar in a recipe like this, it turns into a crumbly mess (see more on why below!).

A good baseline is boiling the cookies for 1-2 minutes (start timing once the mixture is at a full boil). If you’ve made your no bake cookies too dry in the past, aim for closer to 1 minute.

Also be sure to use the kind of oats the recipe calls for. Don’t use rolled oats when the recipe says to use quick cooking or instant! Most no bake cookie recipes use instant or quick cooking oats for a softer, less chewy texture.

Why Are No Bake Cookies So Tricky?

It’s time for a little kitchen science!

No bake cookies work by boiling a sugar mixture until it is thick (viscous, technically speaking) enough to hold your cookies together. Think about making fudge or other kinds of candy by boiling sugar - what you’re looking for is the “soft ball stage” of candy making.

If you don’t boil your sugar mixture for long enough, the sugar will be too thin to hold your cookies together. They’ll be a runny mess.

How can you tell if your mixture has reached the right stage? Use a candy thermometer and look for the mixture to reach 235-240 degrees Fahrenheit. Then remove from heat.

If you don’t have a candy thermometer, try keeping a bowl of ice water near your stove while you cook. After you’ve boiled the mixture for 1-2 minutes, drop a small spoonful of the sugar mixture into the bowl. If it forms a soft, squishy ball in your hands as it cools, then you have the right temperature and should turn off the heat.

No bake cookies kitchen tip

Got Gooey No Bake Cookies?

Why do my no bake cookies turn out gooey? We’ve all asked ourselves that before. Here’s why:

The most common reason for gooey no bake cookies is not boiling the mixture for long enough.

As explained above, your cookies will not hold together if the sugar doesn’t reach soft ball stage. If you have had problems with runny cookies in the past, try cooking the mixture for longer on the stovetop. Try one of the methods above to get it just right.

You might be interested (or frustrated!) to know that other factors may also contribute to runny no bake cookies.

If it is raining outside or very humid, there may be too much moisture in the air for the cookies to set properly. Your tried-and-true method for boiling the liquid mixture might result in runny no bake cookies if you try it on a rainy or very humid day.

The solution? It might help to boil the mixture for longer than you would normally - aim for the higher end of the soft ball temperature range.

However, some bakers just avoid making candy and desserts like this (divinity has similar issues) on rainy or humid days to avoid this problem.

What do you do to fix runny no bake cookies? Send us your best tips (or favorite recipes) in the comments below!

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