After the lazy lull of summer vacation, back-to-school season can feel like a real shock to your system. Suddenly, you're scrambling to fill backpacks, stock up on school supplies, and figure out a brand-new schedule. Then, of course there's those daily lunch boxes to fill. With a tiny bit of planning ahead, homemade no-bake cookies can help check at least one element off the lunch box list—the all-important sweet treat—and also get your kids involved in a fun, tasty project. We'll share top-rated no-bake cookie recipes and tips.
Getting kids involved with cooking projects isn't just a delicious bonding experience; it's also full of learning opportunities. From reading recipes, to learning fractions, to following directions, cooking presents plenty of chances for parents to help kids learn new skills. No-bake recipes are a great way to get your kids started in the kitchen, as even the littlest hands can get involved. If your kids are new to cooking with you, measure out your ingredients first, and then give them the job of dumping them in the bowl. As they get older and more experienced in the kitchen, you can start teaching them how to measure and mix on their own. A bonus of no-bake cookies: no raw eggs to worry about. Encourage kids to sample as you assemble ingredients and they'll be even more likely to volunteer to help another time.
Allrecipes has lots of homemade no-bake cookie recipes to choose from, so we rounded up 10 of the tastiest and healthiest recipes for a lunch box treat that's easy for kids to help make—and fun for them to eat at lunchtime. You'll be glad to know that none of these no-bake recipes have flour as an ingredient, so don't worry about kids getting sick from eating uncooked flour. Look through these recipes with the kids and let them choose one that sounds good to them—then make it together! After all, the easiest way to get your kids involved in packing their own lunch box is to let them have a say in what goes in it.
(Note: Many schools are nut-free. Check your school's rules before choosing a recipe that contains nuts or nutbutters, or substitute sunbutter—or another seed or nut butter—in any recipe that calls for peanut butter.)
10 Healthy and Delicious No-Bake Cookie Recipes to Try
Oats and peanut butter add whole-grain goodness and protein to these decadent no-bake bars. "These bars can be frozen; just thaw 10 minutes before serving," suggests recipe author Traci. That makes them a perfect snack to keep in the freezer, where they'll stay fresh until you need a treat to pack in a lunch box. By lunchtime they'll be just right. Watch the video for a step-by-step how-to.
Photo by SavedByGrace
Crispy cereal marshmallow treats are a perennial favorite for lunch boxes and bake sales for good reason: They're relatively low in calories, allergen-free, easy to make—and, of course, absolutely irresistible. Some users suggest adding mix-ins like chocolate chips, candies, raisins or a big spoonful of peanut butter—your choice, or let your kids decide! Momof2 gives the recipe a thumbs up, saying "the kids love it (and the adults do too)."
Granola bars are a perfectly portable snack, and this fun take on a classic recipe is tasty and endlessly customizable. SHMANESSA8 raves, "So yummy! These are better than any store-bought granola bar for sure!" She likes to use honey in place of corn syrup and adds 4 tablespoons ground flax for a nutritional boost—plus mixes it up with additions like chopped pecans and coconut. Experiment until you find a mixture you love.
This recipe is a classic. Keep it simple, or take a cue from user Doris Betts, who shapes her no-bakes into cute butterflies and flowers. User Karen Knox raves, "I can't say enough about this recipe! It's delicious, fast and if you make them tiny (the way we prefer them) you can get over 100. My 3-year-old son helps me stir up the batches and the whole thing lasts about 2 days. I dare you to eat just one!"
Made with just a handful of (mostly healthy) ingredients, these simple but tasty bars are the ultimate lunchbox treat. "My son has type 1 diabetes so I am always looking for whole grain, high-protein snacks and desserts. This one is wonderful and so easy!" says Jennifer S. Now that's a win!
These no-bake cookie balls are just as magical as their name implies. Kids can help stir the ingredients, then have fun rolling them into balls—and who cares if they sneak a few bites along the way? Recipe author MBMCD says, "a great recipe for kids to make. No baking!" (And the wheat germ adds vitamins, minerals and protein, too.) For a special treat, coat them in sprinkles instead of coconut.
These popular no-bake cookies have been recorded as "made" over 2,000 times on Allrecipes.com! According to recipe author Denise, the secret to making perfect cookies lies in the timing of the all-important boil phase. "Start timing when mixture reaches a full rolling boil; this is the trick to successful cookies. If you boil too long, the cookies will be dry and crumbly. If you don't boil long enough, the cookies won't form properly." (Watch the video to see how it's done!)
Whatever you want to call this delicious and healthy treat, it's a great no-bake for lunch boxes. "It tastes like you are eating a candy bar but there is NO sugar added—it's nature's candy!" brags recipe creator WickedCreations. "Quick and easy, great for snacking, a grab and go bar! Kid-friendly too!!" With just dates, peanut butter, coconut, and unsweetened cocoa powder for ingredients, this is a snack bar you can feel good about feeding to your kids.
Reviewers rave about these kid-friendly no-bake cookies, noting that they're super easy and that the key to success is to let the mixture really boil for 3 minutes (just make sure it doesn't boil over!). A perfect riff on peanut-butter no-bakes (these ones skip the PB), "These are frighteningly addicting!" raves HappyHousewife.
Almond butter and honey create the "glue" for these power bites, which come together with only a little stirring and rolling—perfect for little helping hands. "Nothing processed and jam-packed with nutrition," says recipe creator Risa Robertson. She also notes that to make it even healthier (i.e., lunch box-appropriate), you can sub unsweetened dried cherries for the chocolate chips and chia seed or ground flax seed for the cocoa nibs.