Whether you call them preacher cookies, no bake cookies, stove top cookies, chocolate no bake oatmeal cookies, or drop cookies, these chocolaty delights are a familiar sight to most.

According to tradition, homemakers called these easy to make, inexpensive cookies preacher cookies because you could start making them when you saw the preacher pulling into your driveway and have them done and ready to serve by the time he was knocking on the door to announce his visit.

Here's an updated version of these old-fashioned cookies that swaps the sugar for honey, shortening for coconut oil, and skim milk for whole milk. These small substitutions add up to big calorie savings—1183 calories, to be exact—that your waistline and diet will love.

Traditional Preacher Cookies Get a Healthy Makeover(97149)
Credit: Copyright 2012, D. Cosmato, all rights reserved

Equipment You Will Need

These no bake cookies are super simple to make and you’ll just need a few kitchen tools:

  • Medium size mixing bowl
  • Medium saucepan
  • Waxed paper
  • Large spoon


3 cups quick cooking oats

3/4 cup organic honey

1/4 cup coconut oil

5 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa

4 tablespoons skim milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

Optional: 1 cup chopped walnuts


  1. Combine the oatmeal and cocoa in the mixing bowl and stir well. Set aside while you prepare the liquid ingredients.
  2. Put the coconut oil, milk, honey and vanilla into a saucepan placed over medium heat. Stir constantly until the coconut oil is melted and the mixture is just starting to develop bubbles around the sides of the pan.
  3. Stir and cook for one minute; remove from heat.
  4. Add the dry ingredients in small increments, stirring well after each addition. Stir until the mixture forms a smooth, cohesive dough ball. Add walnuts if using them.
  5. Scoop up dough in a tablespoon measure (rounded) and drop onto waxed paper. If you like your cookies to be somewhat regular in size, you can shaped the dough mounds into spheres with your fingertips or leave them as is.

How to Make No Bake Cookies

Are These Chocolate No Bake Oatmeal Cookies Really Healthier?

I felt like this was a slimmed down version of these old-fashioned preacher cookies, but I did not have any hard data to support my conclusion.

Therefore, I did the math and here is what I discovered:

  1. 2 cups sugar = 1548 calories versus 3/4 cup honey = 720 calories
  2. 1/2 cup butter = 800 calories versus 1/4 cup coconut oil = 480 calories
  3. 1/2 cup whole milk = 75 calories versus 1/2 cup skim milk = 40 calories
  4. Total for the three original ingredients = 2423
  5. Total for the replacement ingredients = 1240

Therefore,  there is a total savings of 1183 calories obtained by swapping higher fat and calorie ingredients for healthier lower calorie ones. 

The caloric count for the cocoa, oatmeal and vanilla extract is constant—no changes made from the original version—so if we add:

  • cocoa (50 calories)
  • oatmeal (450 calories)
  • vanilla (12 calories)

to the total for the liquid ingredients (1240), the entire recipe has 1752 calories. The yield is two dozen cookies, so the per cookie calorie count is 73. The total calorie count for the original recipe is 2935 or 123 per cookie.

Where's the Peanut Butter?

While I was researching the correct name for these chocolate spheres of decadent delight, I discovered that my hand-me-down recipe was missing a vital ingredient – peanut butter! We made a test batch and discovered that you have to cut the amount of coconut oil to 2 tablespoons if you want to add ½ cup peanut butter to the mix.

All other ingredients and instructions stay the same, but ½ cup peanut butter adds a whopping 760 calories to the total. Food for thought on how you want to enjoy your chocolate no bake oatmeal cookies - with or without guilt!

This recipe was adapted from “No-bake Chocolate Cookies,” Women’s Circle Home Cooking, page 204.