No-Bake Cookie Dough Bars (Vegan & Gluten-Free)

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These are the BEST cookie dough bars you will ever try! Made with just six ingredients, they’re an easy no-bake treat to satisfy any sweet tooth. Plus, they're vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free, and oil-free so they're a healthy, allergen-friendly, feel-good treat.
Prep Time: 20 mins
Chill Time 30 mins
Total Time: 25 mins

I am so excited to be sharing my new favorite easy dessert recipe with you today, No-Bake Cookie Dough Bars. I’ve been making these healthy treats for the last couple months, and literally everyone has loved them, from junk food addicts and omnivores to health-conscious vegans and food snobs (hello, that last one is me).

It’s not surprising that everyone who has tried these has absolutely loved them because…what’s not to love? This recipe features a vegan, gluten-free, and nut-free cookie dough that is not only healthy and safe to eat but also tastes like real cookie dough! Then the cookie dough is turned into bar form and drizzled with melted chocolate! Are you drooling yet?

And these cookie dough bars couldn’t be simpler to make! The dough takes 5 minutes to come together in the food processor and they require no baking, making them a perfect summer dessert idea.

chocolate chip cookie dough bars arranged in a line on parchment paper

Why you’re going to LOVE these No-Bake Cookie Dough Bars

6 main ingredients. Yep, that’s it! This recipe is so easy and accessible.

I can be skeptical of recipes that have just a handful of ingredients because that often means they skimp on flavor or texture, but you really don’t need more than these basic six ingredients to make these delicious cookie dough bars!

No baking required. Whether baking intimidates you or you’re just looking for a quick, easy, and foolproof treat, this is the recipe for you! The food processor does 95% of the work for you and it’s so easy that even young kids can help.

Cookie dough but better for you. Everyone loves edible cookie dough, but unfortunately most versions are not very healthy. In contrast, these bars feature healthy ingredients like tahini, oats, maple syrup, and vegan chocolate chips, so they’re so much better for you but they still taste just like cookie dough.

Allergen-Friendly. These bars are free of dairy, gluten, nuts, soy, and oil, so they make an excellent allergen friendly treat, whether you’re packing them in your kids’ lunch boxes for school or bringing them over to a potluck.

no-bake cookie dough bars food photography

Ingredient Rundown

Medjool Dates. These sweet and sticky gems are going to help sweeten the dough and also bring it together. The stickiness of the dates, in part, makes the addition of oil unnecessary. Be sure to use soft Medjool dates fo the best possible texture.

If you can’t find Medjool dates in your local grocery store, you can find them on Amazon.

Rolled oats / Oat flour. If you can believe it, oats are actually the primary ingredient in this cookie dough! Which is could why I say these cookie dough bars are healthy enough to eat for breakfast!

You have two options: (1) blitz old-fashioned rolled oats in a food processor until they’re finely ground or (2) use store-bought oat flour. The benefit of the store-bought variety is that it’s more finely ground than you can do at home, so the consistency of the bars will be smoother and finer. That said, I make my own oat flour because it’s cheaper and so quick, and the bars still come out delicious.

Be sure to buy certified gluten-free rolled oats if you or someone you are making these for has a severe gluten intolerance or allergy.

Tahini. If you’ve been following along for awhile, you know I LOVE tahini. And I really love the way it pairs with Medjool dates, salt, and vanilla to make this cookie dough taste like actual cookie dough. Just be sure that your tahini is smooth and somewhat runny, not thick and chunky (usually, the bottom of a jar of tahini is left with thick chunks).

Store-bought tahini can be hit or miss, depending on which brand you buy. Some brands are quite bitter, so the brands I’ve used and love include the following:

  • Whole Foods 365 brand: A very decent tahini for the price, this is my everyday tahini and works great in this recipe.

  • Seed+Mill: pricy but the best artisanal tahini. Made with organic white sesame seeds, it’s extremely creamy.

  • Soom Tahini: Silky, smooth tahini made from Ethiopian white sesame seeds.

The tahini is the major source of fat here, making the use of oil unnecessary. If you don’t have tahini, you can easily substitute a smooth almond butter or cashew butter (the bars won’t be nut-free anymore, obvi). Or another nut-free option is sunflower seed butter (I like this one from Sunbutter).

If all you have is peanut butter, you can substitute that for the tahini, but it will taste less like cookie dough and more like a Snickers bar (I’ve been told my some readers). Snickers bars are delicious, so you do you.

Maple Syrup. This is my go-to sweetener in the kitchen. Plus, using a liquid sweetener such as maple syrup also helps the dough come together in a way that obviates the use of oil.

PS: If you’re wondering why the recipe has 4 1/2 tablespoons of maple syrup, it’s because I found that just 4 tablespoons was slightly under-sweet, and that extra half tablespoon made a noticeable difference.

Vanilla. Any cookie dough recipe needs a good-quality pure vanilla extract.

Vegan Chocolate Chips. These are chocolate chip cookie dough bars, after all! I love the vegan mini chocolate chips from Enjoy Life, but you can use any dairy-free chocolate chips or chunks you can find. I use half the chocolate chips in the dough, and reserve the remaining half for the chocolate topping.

cookie dough bars covered in chocolate on wire rack with knife

How to Make No-Bake Cookie Dough Bars

Add the oats to a food processor and blend they turn into a fine flour. This should only take 1-2 minutes with a high-powered food processor.

 

Then add in the Medjool dates, tahini, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt and blend together until a sticky dough forms. Usually it will come together into a ball (it shouldn’t take very long).

Note: the photos here feature peanut butter instead of tahini, but the concept and texture is basically the same.

 

Transfer the dough to a bowl and stir in half of the chocolate chips by hand. If the dough is too sticky to handle, chill in the fridge for 15-20 minutes to help firm it up. Then press the dough into a parchment paper-lined loaf pan, using your fingers and/or a flat-bottomed steel cup to press it into every corner.

Freeze the cookie dough for 30 minutes to set it, and then pour or drizzle on the remaining melted chocolate chips. If desired, sprinkle with a bit of flaky sea salt.

Once the bars are coated in chocolate, if the chocolate immediately hardens up, you can start enjoying them. If not, pop the bars back in the freezer for 5-10 minutes to let the chocolate set, then enjoy!

Watch! How to make No-Bake Cookie Dough Bars

Tips for making these vegan cookie dough bars

If your dates are not soft, soak in hot water for 5 minutes, then drain and pat dry well. Only have deglet dates (smaller, less sticky than Medjool)? You may need to add more coconut oil or maple syrup to bring the dough together.

If you prefer the smoothest texture possible for the dough, store-bought oat flour is a better option. It’s more finely ground than you’ll be able to grind your own oats in a food processor.

To keep these cookie dough bars free of added oil, just melt the chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl in the microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring after every interval (or using a double boiler on the stove). Prefer a glossier, firmer chocolate like hardened ganache and don’t mind a little oil? Then add the optional coconut oil to the chocolate when you melt it.

If you don’t have an 8×4-inch (20×10 cm) or 9×5-(23×13 cm) inch loaf pan, you can also use a similar-sized Tupperware or glass storage container. If you only have a square baking pan (e.g. 8×8-inch or 20×20 cm), you can use that too, but the bars won’t be as tall/thick as they are in these photos.

Store leftovers in the freezer. They’ll stay good in the freezer for many weeks, if not months. After removing from the freezer, let them rest for 5-10 minutes – it’ll make them a lot easier to slice and eat.

no bake vegan cookie dough bars on wire rack

Frequently Asked Questions 

How to store these cookie dough bars?

Store bars, covered, in the freezer. They’ll last for at least a few weeks, probably longer.

Can I substitute nut butter for tahini?

Yes, I’d recommend a smooth, creamy almond butter or cashew butter. If all you have is peanut butter, you can use that. But it will taste more like peanut butter cookie dough, instead of classic chocolate chip cookie dough.

More Easy No-Bake Treats 

Can’t get enough of these cookie dough bars? Then be sure to try my No-Bake Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars or my No-Bake Nutella Fudge Bars.

Or, for bite-sized treats that are secretly healthy, try these Fudgy Chocolate Truffles.

And for a crowd-pleasing elegant dessert that’s extremely simple, make this Salted Chocolate Cream Tart.

If you try these No-Bake Cookie Dough Bars out, be sure to rate and review them below and tag me on Instagram with your remakes :)

 

No-Bake Cookie Dough Bars (Vegan & Gluten-Free)

4.95 from 20 votes
These are the BEST cookie dough bars you will ever try! Made with just six ingredients, they’re an easy no-bake treat to satisfy any sweet tooth. Plus, they're vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free, and oil-free so they're a healthy, allergen-friendly, feel-good treat.
Prep Time: 20 mins
Chill Time 30 mins
Total Time: 25 mins
Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American
Diet Vegan
Keyword: cookie dough, gluten-free, no added oil, no-bake, nut-free, soy-free
Serving size: 16

Ingredients

  • 1 packed cup of soft Medjool dates, pitted*
  • 2 3/4 cups rolled oats (~260-275g), certified gluten-free if needed**
  • 1/4 cup smooth tahini (56g) (or almond butter or cashew butter)
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 cup (170-180g) vegan chocolate chips, divided (I use these mini chocolate chips)
  • 2 teaspoons refined coconut oil, melted (optional; omit to keep oil-free)

Instructions

  • If the dates are not very soft, cover them with hot water for 5 minutes, then drain and pat dry.
  • Place the oats in the bowl of the food processor and pulverize them until you have a fine oat flour. Alternatively, you can use store-bought oat flour. See note below.
  • Add the pitted dates, tahini, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt to the oat flour. Blend until the mixture forms into a sticky dough (it should turn into a ball). If it feels dry, add a spoon of plant-based milk a teaspoon at a time until the dough just sticks together when pressed.
  • Transfer the dough to a large bowl. Fold in 1/2 cup of the chocolate chips into the dough using a silicone spatula.
    Note: If the dough is too sticky to handle with your hands (this is more likely if your kitchen is warm), place the dough in the fridge for 20 minutes to firm it up a bit.
  • Line a 8x4-inch (20x10 cm) or 9x5-inch loaf pan (23x13 cm) with parchment paper, letting the excess hang over the long sides to form a sling. Spread the dough out into the prepared pan and smooth the top out evenly, pressing all the way into corners using your fingers or a flat-bottomed steel cup to get the mixture even on top.
    Place the pan in the freezer for 30 minutes (or longer) to set. Once chilled, remove from the freezer and using the parchment paper as handles, lift the cookie dough out of the pan.
  • Before removing from the freezer, melt the chocolate.
    1. Double boiler method: Add a few inches of water to a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Nestle a large heatproof glass bowl that sits on top of the saucepan without touching the water to create a double boiler. Once the water is simmering, add the vegan chocolate chips and coconut oil to the bowl. Whisk frequently with a spatula until the mixture is just melted.
    2. Microwave method: Add the chocolate and coconut oil to a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high in 25 to 30-second intervals until the chocolate is almost melted (about 3 intervals). Use a spoon to stir the chocolate until it is melted.
  • Drizzle the melted chocolate over the cold cookie dough and lightly sprinkle with flaky sea salt, if desired. If the chocolate doesn’t immediately harden, return it to the freezer for 5-10 minutes to set, then slice into 8 thick bars or into smaller squares. Store leftovers in the freezer (they’ll stay good for several weeks).

Notes

* After pitting the dates and packing them into a 1 cup measuring cup, you should have about 7 ounces or 200g of dates.
** If using store-bought oat flour, you’ll need slightly less than the amount of oats - about 2 1/4 cups oat flour.

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53 comments on No-Bake Cookie Dough Bars (Vegan & Gluten-Free)

  1. Emmy

    Why do you tag your recipes as "oil-free"? Why is oil suddenly bad? Just asking out of curiosity as you are a health-oriented blog, but I have yet to see any science behind this trend, and many oils are very healthful. Also, doesn’t tahini have naturally occurring oil which would not make this recipe "oil-free"?

    1. Nisha Vora

      Hi Emmy, I don’t think oil is bad and most of my recipes do contain oil. But I do get lots of requests from followers who follow an oil-free, whole food plant based diet for more oil-free recipes so I am trying to offer more options where removing the oil doesn’t negatively affect the taste or texture of the recipe. Oil-free refers to oils pressed out and processed, not naturally occurring oils that separate from whole foods, such as tahini or nut butter.

    2. Michelle Bean

      Some plant based people do not eat oil or added fat. High carb low fat is the life style. All of her recipes are totally adaptable because she is awesome.

  2. Allie

    Highly recommend this recipe! You almost can’t even tell it is allergy friendly. Very easy to follow along and relatively quick to prepare. The dates really help give it that cookie dough consistency. It was my first time using tahini in a dessert recipe and now I’m hooked. This will be my new go-to dessert to bring to parties or just eat all to myself 😊

    1. Nisha Vora

      Thank you so much for the lovely feedback, Allie! I love the use of dates here too :) And tahini is such an amazing, versatile ingredient :) I definitely won’t judge you if you eat them all to yourself (I do it often lol).

  3. I loved! I searching for a substitute ingredient for vegan brownies and that Tahini option is amazing!!! Thank you!

    1. Nisha Vora

      Oh yay! I am so happy you like them, Pedro! Tahini is one of my favorite ingredients to cook/bake with!

  4. Ben Fiedler

    Simple and delicious! Question: when you make the oat flour from scratch, does it every superfine?

    1. Nisha Vora

      Yes so easy and satisfying :) Thank you. It never gets super fine but I found that it didn’t matter for this particular recipe (I tested it with store-bought oat flour, which is super fine, and there wasn’t any noticeable difference). Hope that helps.

  5. Ben Fiedler

    Also, buy Nisha’s NEW book. Great, delish recipes!

    1. Nisha Vora

      Haha, you are so kind. Thank you, Ben!

  6. Arcelia R.

    What’s not to love about this recipe? Not only is it SUPER EASY to follow, contains a small # of common and easy to find ingredients, and it comes together so quickly! No mess, no fuss, incredibly yummy, and beginner friendly. I don’t have to worry about dessert for the holidays, parties, or gatherings – this recipe is all I need moving forward to satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth.

  7. Em

    I made this for the first time yesterday & it’s DELICIOUS! I had to tweak it because I didn’t have enough maple syrup, so I used honey. I will be making this again, as it is so good!

    1. Nisha Vora

      Hey Em! I am so happy you loved them and will be making them again :) Thanks for stopping by!

  8. Lindsey

    can you sub anything for the dates? these look amazing!

  9. Sharwari Salvi

    I just made these and subbed the tahini with maple syruP! It was delicious and so worth it!

    1. Nisha Vora

      That’s great to hear :) Thank you for sharing, Sharwari!

  10. Tammy

    These were so good. I didn’t even take the time to add the extra layer of melted chocolate chips and they are still amazing. Thank you for a great WFPB sweet treat.

    1. Nisha Vora

      Hi Tammy, so nice to hear that you loved them even without the melted chocolate on top :) I love keeping a stash of these in my freezer for when those chocolate cravings hit!

  11. Brandy

    These are AMAZING!! Our family has been whole Foods plant based for almost 8 years and tonight (first time serving these bars), we have a new #1 dessert!

  12. Christy

    Sub for maple syrup..just find that’s a lot of sugar for me with the dates ♥️ can’t wait to try this recipe!

  13. Erin

    Wow!!! These far exceeded expectations. Sooooo much better than I imagined they could be. Thanks for the lovely treat Nisha!!!!

  14. britt

    10 out of 10!!! These are amazing, thanks for the recipe!!

  15. June

    These are incredible! I rolled them into little cookie dough balls for a mini treat. Delicious 😋

  16. Denise

    Absolutely yummy! I will be making them all the time.

  17. These bars are INCREDIBLE! Super easy to make and delicious. I’ll be making these again, and again. I can’t recommend Nisha’s recipe enough – bookmark this gem now!

  18. Ashley

    How long can you freeze the leftovers? They were amazing!

    1. Jess D.

      I made a batch and kept them in the freezer for at least a month and they were just as good as the first day :)

  19. Jennifer

    Made these tonight as I have been craving sweets after dinner and haven’t been able to find the right dessert. Welp, I found it! These were so easy to throw together and even easier to throw down! I would highly recommend these; so quick, so easy, so delicious, so chocolatey.

  20. Michele

    Is there a sub for the dates? Kind of expensive and hard to find where I live.

    1. Jwhoss

      I used figs because it’s what I had on hand and they were awesome. If you are going to freeze them I bet you could also use banana, which would be inexpensive.

  21. These cookie dough bars are incredible! Made a batch to give to a friend and my husband refused to let me give them away because they were so good! So easy to make too!

  22. emi

    hi i think these look sooo delicious but i was wondering if i could sub the tahini with some peanut butter?

  23. mel

    hey there! i tried making these yesterday, but they were fairly crumbly. when i sliced into them after keeping them in the freezer for 30 minutes, they crumbled. and after setting it for another 20 minutes, then another 30 minutes, they still fell apart. only difference in my recipe was using Adam’s crunchy peanut butter and semisweeet chocolate chips.. any tips on how to keep it together? it was super tasty in the end so id like to try again and have it hold its shape

    1. Nisha Vora

      Hi Mel, I suspect it’s the crunchy peanut butter. As I mention in the most, you’re looking for a smooth, drippy variety seed or nut butter, as it’s the oil replacer. If it’s not the proper consistency, it can make them dry and crumbly. For a visual of the tahini consistency I used, I recommend watching the video in the post. Another tip is to really pulverize your oats until they’re as fine of a flour as can be, or for even better results, use store-bought oat flour.

  24. Emi

    Do you have the nutritional info?

  25. Elisavet

    These are great! I had no issue with crumbling. Maybe those that had and as a tip for thos that are going to try it: Press the dough really hard on the pan! I also just keep them in the refrigerator (that keeps them softer I guess). And yes I am of those people that can definetely eat the whole batch really quick.
    Thank you Nisha for this great recipe! I’ll definetely try the other bars too!

  26. Leanne Archer

    5 stars
    Delicious! I’ve made these several times and they are always a hit with everyone 😊

  27. Natalia B

    5 stars
    Made these last night but I didn’t have enough dates so added prunes and some dried apricots to make up for the difference. Didn’t have the mini chocolate chips either so don’t think mine tastes like cookie dough much but it really reminds me of halvah and I’m not mad at it! :) I think this is a really great base and can definitely be customized with things that you have on hand. These were fantastic and super quick! Thanks, Nisha!

  28. Nita

    5 stars
    These bars were amazing and were a huge hit on my house! Tastes like real cookie dough. I was skeptical about the tahini because it’s so strong in flavour but I’m now a believer. It really works in there and adds more depth the flavour for sure. I also added some toasted coconut in the bars and on top of the chocolate drizzle. Thanks for the recipe!

  29. Marija

    5 stars
    Hi Nisha!
    I am enjoying these lovely bars now, they are amazing! Tahini and medjool dates are some of my (baking) favs, so I really wanted to try these! I only made a few tweaks: I put less oats because I like when cookie dough is less dense, and I also added some espresso powder because why not :) It worked very well for me.
    Thank you so much for this, and I am looking forward to making more of your recipes!

  30. Priya

    Absolutely love this recipe! I am making it again, twice in one week. I used regular chocolate chips instead of vegan. I think for my next batch I will reduce the maple syrup to accommodate for the chocolate chips and add some coconut oil. Also I only have deglet dates for the next batch!

  31. Nathalie Pajot

    5 stars
    Hi, I have just made this recipe. I wasn’t too sure about using tahini in a dessert but it works very well, super tasty and easy to make. I added a bit less maple syrup as I love “salty” dessert, and added a bit more coconut oil for stickiness.

    1. Thanks for sharing, Nathalie! Tahini is one of my faves, and glad you enjoyed it in these cookie dough bars. I’m excited to try it with less maple syrup next time for a sweet-salty mix!

  32. Cheryl

    Finally – an energy ball that sticks together! I made these into cookie balls instead of bars and they’re AWESOME! Pulsing the oats is a game-changer. My husband and I love all of your videos and recipes…keep them coming!

  33. Courtney

    5 stars
    These are absolutely delicious. And not just “really good for a healthy treat” delicious. My nonvegan, don’t-care-about-healthy-food, teenage daughters actually are going for these over the regular chocolate chip cookies we have. I was worried they might be like Larabars which are ok but aren’t really my jam. These were not at all like Larabars. The only change I made to the recipe was to add about 1/4 cup of finely chopped walnuts. I love adding an extra crunch to things and Dr. Gregor says they are healthy so I’m always trying to sneak a few in where ever I can :).

  34. Kathleen

    5 stars
    Made this recipe today!!! What a treat!! What is the nutritional information for this recipe. I just need calories per serving.

    Thank you

  35. Traci DeAngelis

    5 stars
    Yum!!! Best cookie dough bar recipe that I have tried. Any chance that the nutrition info is available?

  36. Sherida Hodel

    4 stars
    I made this recipe. My husband absolutely loved it! He usually asks for soft cookies, but he couldn’t stop eating this!

  37. Kathleen

    I made this and the PB&J cookie bars this weekend. DELICIOUS and meets the needs of my “sweet” tooth, in a healthy manner.
    I’m waiting for hazelnuts to arrive then I’ll make the nutella bars:)

  38. You rock! I have made your recipe 3 times already. Have just made it without chocolate chips but added apricot jam instead of the ganache.
    Now waiting patiently to taste it. Thank you for sharing your deliciousness 💕

  39. Kristen T.

    5 stars
    Um wow! Wow. Wow. Wow. This recipe is fabulous! I hate tahini but have some to use up and wow, you cannot taste it at all in this recipe, it taste just like cookie dough! I added raisins to half instead of chocolate chips for an “oatmeal raisin cookie” flare and they were devine! Will def keep these on hand in my freezer 😍 (slight modification to the amount of oats bc my container said 40grams per 1/2 cup which is 220 for 2 3/4 cups)

  40. M. Helms

    5 stars
    These no bake bars are amazing…so easy to make and chocolaty goodness. I used the mini chocolate chips and they did give a lovely crunch and the dates along with the chocolate chips made this recipe lovely and sweet.

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