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This recipe for Haystacks is an easy no-bake treat you can make year-round. Made with just a few ingredients this treat ready can be ready in no time.

No-bake haystacks are delicious and easy-to-make treats. They typically consist of a mixture of chow mein noodles, melted chocolate, and peanuts or butterscotch chips. These crunchy and sweet delights are perfect for satisfying your sweet tooth without the need for baking.

Pin Haystacks to make later.

Close up of holiday haystack on a Christmas plate.

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I’ve decorated these to be Christmas Haystacks but just use everyday colored candies and sprinkles to make them any time of year.

Overhead photo of Haystacks on a holiday plate.

What are Haystacks, candy or cookies?

Haystacks are so named because they look like a raggedy pile of hay once they have set. They are made with just a few ingredients and are super easy.

Usually, haystacks are made with butterscotch chips, and they are perfectly fine to use. We don’t love butterscotch (though I do have a cat named Butterscotch), so I chose to use peanut butter chips.

Haystack on a baking sheet.

While you could use chocolate chips by using butterscotch or peanut butter the clusters look more like a real haystack. Chow mein noodles are essential for haystacks.

Some call these haystack cookies but I think of them more like candy. While there are hundreds of no-bake cookies this just doesn’t fit the bill for me. Tell me your thoughts in the comments, I’d love to hear what you think.

Overhead photo of ingredients needed for Haystacks.


I often make holiday haystacks year round just swapping out the red and green M&Ms for the multi-colored. The mini version works better as the regular-size M&Ms seem to overpower the candy. 

But if you only have regular-sized candies, it’s fine to use them.

  • Chow Mein Noodles
  • Shortening
  • Peanut Butter Chips
  • Mini M&Ms
  • Sprinkles  – I used nonpareils

During the holidays these peanut butter haystacks are part of my edible gifts. I’ll add them to cookie trays that include some favorite cookies and candies such as my cherry pecan thumbprint cookies, Christmas sprinkle cookies, coffee almond fudge, and Christmas chocolate chip cookies.

Haystack candy with multi-colored M&Ms being held.

Tips for Making Haystacks

  • When melting the peanut butter chips melt them slowly and stir between times if melting in the microwave. Start with 15-second intervals. This is not a process to be rushed.
  • Don’t worry about breaking some of the chow mein noodles when combining the peanut butter chips with them and the candies.
  • When you drop the chow mein noodles, use a tablespoon and spatula to move them on the pan. This keeps your fingers from getting messy.
  • To speed up the setting time of the candy, you can pop the baking sheet in the refrigerator for 5 minutes. Once set you can store or wrap for gift-giving.
  • Store these haystack cookies, in a covered container, for up to 4 days. You can keep them in the refrigerator but it’s not necessary.
  • Use the multi-colored mini M&Ms at other times of the year. Like the photo below.

More Recipes that Use Peanut Butter

If you enjoy this peanut butter haystacks recipe, here are more peanut butter recipes to try. Peanut Butter Glaze is perfect for donuts, cakes, and cupcakes. Lunch Lady Peanut Butter Bars will take you back to your childhood school days and Peanut Butter Pie with Chocolate Crust.

Did you make this recipe? If so, please leave a comment and 5-star review on the recipe card below. If you really love this recipe, please share it on your social media!


Haystacks are a fun treat to make any time of year.
5 from 10 votes
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time2 minutes
Setting Time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 7 minutes
Course: Candy and Treats
Cuisine: American
Servings: 15


  • 5 ounces Thin Chow Mein Noodles 1 can
  • ½ cup mini red and green M&Ms
  • 1 bag 10 ounces peanut butter chips
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable shortening such as Crisco
  • Christmas or Rainbow Nonpareils


  • Line a baking sheet with wax paper or a silicone baking sheet.
  • In a medium bowl combine the chow mein noodles and M&Ms. Reserve some M&Ms to put on top of haystacks.
  • In a microwave safe bowl combine the peanut butter chips with the shortening. MIcrowave according to package directions. About 1-2 minutes on high stirring until smooth.
  • Pour peanut butter chip mixture over chow mein noodle mixture and stir until everything is coated.
  • Working quickly, drop by tablespoonful onto prepared baking sheet, a few at a time. Top with a couple of M&Ms and sprinkle with some non-pariels to make them festive.
  • Allow to set for at least an hour before storing.

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