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Easy Vintage Haystacks Candy

4.96 from 84 votes

Four ingredients and just 10 minutes are all you’ll need to make this Easy Vintage Haystacks Candy recipe. Crunchy chow mein noodles, butterscotch, and peanut butter collide in this no-bake treat for the holiday season or any time of year. It’s an easy to make vintage candy recipe that’s a perfect combination of sweet, salty, and crunchy!

Finished haystacks candy on a white serving plate.

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‘Tis the season for holiday baking and candy making! And though I do enjoy a leisurely day in the kitchen making Christmas candies, I also appreciate recipes that can be whipped up in just a few minutes.

This vintage recipe for No-Bake Butterscotch Haystacks Cookies is one of the quickest and simplest recipes I know. It takes about 10 minutes from getting the ingredients out of the pantry to dropping them onto the paper to cool.

This retro haystacks recipe has been in my files forever. It’s a delightful combination of sweet, salty, and crunchy and makes a lovely addition to your assortment of more traditional Christmas candies.

🛒 Ingredient Notes


Ingredients used in the recipe.

This post contains affiliate links. Lana’s Cooking is reader-supported and earns a tiny commission at no extra cost to you when you shop from our links.

You’ll find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the recipe at the bottom of this post.

🔪 How to Make Easy Vintage Haystacks


Melt the Chips

Melted butterscotch chips in a large bowl.
STEP 1.

STEP 1. In a large bowl, microwave the butterscotch chips and peanut butter on 50% power for 3 to 5 minutes or until the chips have melted, stirring after each one-minute increment.

👉 PRO TIP: It’s important to use 50% power on the microwave or you’ll wind up with butterscotch chips that have seized or burned. Stir the mixture every minute. Alternately, you can melt the chips and peanut butter in the top of a double boiler.

Stir in the Peanuts and Noodles

STEP 2. Remove the bowl from the microwave and stir in the peanuts and chow mein noodles. Stir gently until everything is coated very well. Take care not to break the noodles too much.

Drop Onto a Baking Sheet

Teaspoonfuls of haystacks candy dropped onto a baking sheet.
STEP 3.

STEP 3. Drop the mixture by teaspoonfuls onto waxed or parchment paper. Let it sit at room temperature until completely cooled and firm. It may take several hours for the candy to become firm depending on the humidity that day.

Finished haystacks candy on a white serving plate.

🍚 Storage and Make Ahead Information


  • Make Ahead: It goes without saying that these can, and should, be made in advance.
  • Storage: Best stored at room temperature. Refrigerating the haystacks tends to make them too firm. Place the finished candy in an airtight container and keep for 5 to 7 days (they would be fine for longer but the noodles tend to become stale after a while).
  • Freezing: Not recommended.

🔀 Variations


  • Swap out the peanuts with slivered almonds, chopped pecans, cashews, or walnuts.
  • Use milk chocolate, semi-sweet, or white chocolate chips in place of the butterscotch.
  • Add sprinkles for a pop of color and interest.
  • Drizzle the finished haystacks with melted milk chocolate.
  • For an Easter theme, shape the haystacks into the form of a nest and add a few egg-shaped candies in the center.

❓ Questions About Haystacks Candy


Why is it called “Haystacks?”

These candies are called haystacks because they resemble an old-fashioned stack of hay.

What are “chow mein noodles?”

The chow mein noodles you’ll use in this recipe are the crispy, quick cooked noodles available in most U.S. grocery stores. The most popular brand (and the one used for this recipe) is La Choy.

Lana Stuart.

More Questions? I’m happy to help!

If you have more questions about the recipe, or if you’ve made it and would like to leave a comment, scroll down to leave your thoughts, questions, and/or rating!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

📖 Recipe

Finished haystacks candy on a white serving plate.

Easy Vintage Haystacks Candy

You’ll need just four ingredients and 10 minutes to make this simple, no-bake Haystacks Candy recipe with crunchy chow mein noodles, butterscotch, and peanut butter.
4.96 from 84 votes
Print It Rate It Save Text It
Course: Desserts
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 24 servings
Calories: 147kcal
Author: Lana Stuart

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butterscotch chips (recommend: Nestle Toll House brand)
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • ½ cup salted peanuts
  • 2 cups chow mein noodles (La Choy brand recommended)

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, microwave the butterscotch chips and peanut butter on 50% power for 3 to 5 minutes or until the chips have melted, stirring after each one minute increment.
  • Remove from the microwave and stir in the peanuts and chow mein noodles.
  • Drop by teaspoonfuls onto waxed or parchment paper. Let sit until completely cooled and firm. It may take several hours for the candy to become firm.

Notes

  • It’s important to use 50% power on the microwave or you’ll wind up with butterscotch chips that have seized or burned. Stir the mixture every minute. Alternately, you can melt the chips and peanut butter in the top of a double boiler.
  • Storage: Best stored at room temperature. Refrigerating the haystacks tends to make them too firm. Place the finished candy in an airtight container and keep for 5 to 7 days (they would be fine for longer but the noodles tend to become stale after a while).
  • Freezing: Not recommended.

Nutrition Information

Serving 1 | Calories 147kcal | Carbohydrates 22g | Protein 5g | Fat 5g | Saturated Fat 1g | Cholesterol 1mg | Sodium 189mg | Potassium 59mg | Fiber 2g | Sugar 7g | Vitamin A 7IU | Calcium 6mg | Iron 1mg

Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.

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— This post was originally published on December 11, 2012. It has been updated with new photographs and additional information.

Haystacks - An easy candy recipe from "back in the day." Perfect combination of sweet, salty, and crunchy! https://www.lanascooking.com/haystacks

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46 Comments

  1. can you recommend a substitute for the peanuts?

    1. If you can’t have peanuts, I think cashews would be delicious in this!

  2. Charlotte says:

    5 stars
    Recipe was easy and worked very well.

  3. 5 stars
    Tried it. They’re delicious ❤️

  4. Linda Adame says:

    I made these Haystacks. I used a double boiler and followed the recipe exactly. I left them overnight on wax paper. They never set up. I used Nestle butterscotch chips. What could I have done wrong?

    1. You may have overcooked the mixture. It’s really hard to say what someone did wrong without being in the kitchen with them. Next time try it in the microwave.

  5. Laura Power says:

    5 stars
    Super easy, crazy addictive! My family will often shape them into bars for easy of making large batches the same way you would Rice Krispie treats.

    1. I never thought of making them into bars, but that’s a nice idea. Might try it myself!

  6. Alicia B. says:

    5 stars
    This is a perfect recipe! Thank you for sharing!

  7. Victoria Devereux says:

    5 stars
    Great! Love it so much. My neice and I love eating them and we had such a fun time making them. Definitely recommend these haystacks. Deliciosos!!!!

  8. Raegan Bunn says:

    5 stars
    I made these years ago, but can’t find my recipe. These are delicious and easy to make. I made about 7 batches since December 18th til January 12th. So glad I found this recipe.💕

  9. Connie Roar says:

    Can you use almond bark?

  10. Gail Hyatt says:

    5 stars
    I tried this and WOW awesome!!!! I used walnuts instead of peanuts. A very different taste. I love your recipes!!!

      1. 5 stars
        My family has been making these for as long as I can remember…and I can remember my 2nd birthday party in 1969. Many years ago, my husband asked me to try cashews in place of peanuts. For once, he was right about something :)

  11. Hazel Shuford says:

    I make these with shoestring potatoes in lieu of noodles. Works perfect

    1. That sounds like a really delicious alternative to the chow mein noodles!

  12. I can’t get morsels to melt!?

    1. The butterscotch chips always melt easily in the microwave for me, but you can also do it in a double boiler. Also, I do recommend the Nestle Toll House brand. Some cheaper brands have inferior ingredients.

  13. Mine never set up. They stayed Sticky. Even left them out overnight. Finally put them in the fridge so they would and that’s where we had to leave them to eat them. Nice taste but they need something to ensure dryness like maybe some coconut oil? We could only find Walmart Brand butterscotch chips. I hate using generic products for candy because I alway seem to have bad results, so maybe that was the issue as well ?

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      That’s interesting. I’ve never had that problem! I think you may be right in thinking it could be the lower quality chips that caused a problem. I always use the Nestle brand.

  14. My Mother made haystacks in the 1960s. I make them today so they have been enjoyed for at least fifty years in this family!

  15. ‘Yum, I haven’t made these in years! Thanks for bringing these back to my thoughts and I think I will whip up a batch for Christmas and maybe bring back some pleasant (and tasty) memories for my kids.

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      You’re welcome, Lenoria! I hope you make them again and enjoy them.

  16. I have been looking for this recipie for haystacks for some time. My neighbor made these a while ago I just loved them. Thank You! for the recipie!!

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      Glad I could help!

  17. We make these at Easter; we press 2-3 tiny jelly beans into the center and call them “bird’s nests”.

    At a bake sale last fall, someone made these haystacks with a candy-corn pumpkin pressed into the center of each. Versatile for any season or holiday!

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      Great ideas for using Haystacks year-round! Thanks, Lynnae.

  18. We make them, too. But we use mini marshmallows in place of the peanuts. They’re always gone in a hurry :)

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      That sounds good, Amanda. I’ll try some with marshmallows next time I make them.

  19. Jeff Crane says:

    We made this as kids and still do today but we never knew what they were called. We used a bag each of Chocolate chips and a Butterscotch chips and a bag or can of Chow Mein Noodles. We called them spider cookies.

  20. My family loves these..we prefer them with cashews. I buy the halves and pieces and give them a rough chop.

    1. Cashews sound good too! I think you could use any nut you like for these.

  21. Stephanie says:

    Approximately how many pieces does the recipe make? Thanks.

    1. Hi Stephanie – it makes about 24 pieces.

  22. Your cookie tins – and their recipients – will surely thank you!

  23. yes indeed, these are a classic… I have not made these in a few years, and I think the cookie tins have been a little sad. Time to bring them back.
    Have a great weekend.

  24. icakepops says:

    What a happy little blast from the past! I had forgotten about these delights. They are so tasty!

    1. They are really good and so quick to make. Perfect for this busy time of year!

  25. Barbara | Creative Culinary says:

    I make these too!! They disappear. I might be the culprit. :)

    1. These disappeared, too. They went right out the door to work with Bill. Guess that means I’ll just have to make another batch. Oh, darn.