It takes just 5 simple ingredients to make these No-Bake Peanut Butter Buckeye Bars! They are rich, creamy, and delectable, and you don't even need an oven!
Buckeye Balls are a famous treat from Ohio! Little balls of sweet peanut butter are dipped in chocolate. They look like the nut from Ohio's state tree, the Buckeye tree!
These chocolate peanut butter balls were a personal favorite of mine because I am a huge chocolate peanut butter lover! The trouble is that they are a pain to make!
Good news! This easy Buckeye Bars recipe takes such little effort, it will become a favorite for all chocolate peanut butter fans! They are even easier than my super simple peanut butter no-bake cheesecake!
Why You Will Love This Recipe
- Easy - You get the same great flavor of buckeye balls without having to spend time individually rolling each treat. It is so much less work and you end up with the same delicious treats!
- Chocolate and Peanut Butter - They are like Reese's Peanut Butter Cups but in bar form! Kind of like the Christmas tree Reese's that have a high peanut butter to chocolate ratio! Another of my favorite chocolate peanut butter candies is peanut butter whiskey fudge!
- Make Ahead - Buckeye bars will last in the refrigerator for up to a month and can also be frozen!
- Great for Gifting - These bars can be cut into triangles or small squares to make more than a hundred candy-sized servings! They are a perfect addition to holiday candy boxes, and are also a hit at large gatherings!
Looking for the full recipe? See the recipe card at the bottom of this post for the full list of ingredients, including measurements and instructions.
Peanut Butter - Use regular creamy peanut butter like Jif or Peter Pan. If you use natural or homemade peanut butter then the peanut butter layer will not be as creamy.
Butter - Salted or unsalted butter both work equally well in this recipe. Make sure that the butter has been softened to room temperature so that it blends well with the peanut butter and sugar.
Powdered Sugar - Also called confectioners' sugar, powdered sugar sweetens the bars and also provides structure to the peanut butter layer. Some like to replace ½ cup of the powdered sugar with brown sugar, which adds a hint of molasses flavor.
Vanilla Extract - Adds depth of flavor and makes these bars taste like you really worked hard to make them!
Chocolate - High-quality chocolate will make the best bars. I like Guittard or Ghiradelli chocolate chips. You can also use semi-sweet baking bars. Substitute dark chocolate for semi-sweet chocolate if you prefer.
How to Make Buckeye Bars
1) Make the Peanut Butter Layer
- Combine peanut butter, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract in a large bowl and beat until smooth.
- This can be done with a hand mixer but it's a very thick dough so I prefer a stand mixer.
2) Press Into Pan
- Line a 9x13-inch pan with parchment paper. You could also use wax paper or heavy-duty aluminum foil. Make sure the sheet is large enough that you can grab it to remove the bars from the pan.
- Press the peanut butter mixture firmly into the bottom of the pan with your hands.
3) Make the Chocolate Mixture
- Melt chocolate chips and 1 tablespoon of butter in a microwaveable bowl by microwaving for about a minute and a half. Stir the chocolate about every 30 seconds.
- Pour the melted chocolate over the peanut butter layer.
- Use a beveled spatula to spread evenly.
4) Set the Bars
- Let the bars sit on the counter for 45 minutes to an hour to set. You can also place them in the refrigerator to set faster, but make sure you cut them before the chocolate hardens.
- Remove the bars from the refrigerator and lift up on the parchment paper to remove the bars from the pan.
- Place them on a cutting board and use a sharp knife to slice them into squares. Wipe the knife off after each cut for clean lines. For triangles, cut each square across diagonally.
- How to Avoid Cracks - Cut the bars once the chocolate has thickened but is not fully set. At room temperature, this takes about 45-60 minutes. If you place them in the refrigerator, cut them after 15-20 minutes.
- For the Best Texture - Be sure to use regular creamy peanut butter instead of natural or homemade. The added oil and emulsifiers help create a smooth, creamy peanut butter layer.
- Use Quality Chocolate - High-quality chips, like Guittard or Ghiradelli, melt the smoothest. You can also use Ghiradelli melting wafers.
Buckeye Bar Variations
- Thick Chocolate Layer - I prefer a thick layer of peanut butter with a thin layer of chocolate, but if you would like a thicker layer of chocolate then you can double the amount of chocolate used.
- Sweetened Condensed Milk - For a fudgy chocolate layer, add a 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk to the chocolate chips before microwaving.
- Rice Krispies - Turn these into crispy buckeye bars by adding 4 cups of Rice Krispies to the peanut butter mixture.
- Graham Crackers - Adding graham crackers makes these a little more like cookie bars versus candy. Mix 1 ½ cups of fine graham cracker crumbs into the peanut butter mixture.
Refrigerate your Buckeye Bars in an airtight container and they will keep for up to a month!
Yes, Buckeye Bars freeze great! Place the cut bars in a single layer on parchment paper and freeze for one hour. Remove from the parchment and transfer to an airtight storage container or freezer bag. They will keep for up to 4 months. Thaw for 24 hours in the refrigerator before serving.
Most Buckeye Bars are naturally gluten-free. However, some powdered sugar brands include a starch ingredient that has gluten. If you are sensitive to gluten then it is important to always check your labels.
If you try to cut the bars after the chocolate has fully set then it will crack instead of giving you straight lines. For best results let them set at room temperature for about 45 minutes before slicing, then refrigerate for an hour or until ready to serve.
Yes, cut each ingredient amount in half. The smaller version of this recipe will fit in a 9x9 square pan.
More Tasty Treat Recipes
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No Bake Peanut Butter Buckeye BarsRecipe by:
Peanut Butter Layer
- ½ cup butter, softened and divided
- 2 cups creamy peanut butter
- 3 ½ cups powdered confectioners sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups chocolate chips or chunks 12 ounces
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Place ½ cup of butter, peanut butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract in a large bowl. Beat using an electric mixer until smooth. The dough will be very thick and a little crumbly.½ cup butter, softened and divided, 2 cups creamy peanut butter, 3 ½ cups powdered confectioners sugar, 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- Line a 9x13-inch pan with parchment paper. Transfer the peanut butter dough into the pan. Press the dough firmly into the dish.
- Add chocolate chips and the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter into a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 30-second increments, stirring between intervals, until smooth (about a minute and a half total).2 cups chocolate chips or chunks, 1 tablespoon butter
- Pour the melted chocolate over the top of the bars and spread evenly. Let sit at room temperature until the chocolate has set, 30-60 minutes. Carefully remove the bars from the pan by pulling up on the excess parchment paper, and transfer to a cutting board. Slice with a sharp knife.
- Place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, or until ready to serve.
Freeze in individual portions for up to 4 months. Thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours before serving. Cutting: For best results, let the bars set for 30-60 minutes before cutting. Do not allow the chocolate to fully set before you cut it, or it will crack.