No Bake Peanut Butter Bars

No Bake Peanut Butter Bars take only 5 ingredients and 10 minutes (plus chilling time). My Grandma calls them “Almost Reese’s” for good reason! Scroll down for an easy video tutorial. 

Here is a delightfully simple candy recipe with that eternally delicious combination: Chocolate and Peanut Butter.  With 5 ingredients and about 10 minutes, you can be on your way to a batch of homemade “Almost Reese’s”!

No Bake Peanut Butter Bars - a photo of square chocolate and peanut butter dessert bars on a silver plate on a blue background - click photo for full written recipe

My grandma coined the term “Almost Reese’s” for obvious reasons (she also gave us this chocolate cream pie; thanks Grandma!).  These luscious bars are perfect for the holiday parties, for gift-giving, or for a Friday night at home.

Just try to stop eating them.


The recipe calls for milk chocolate chips and those would most closely align with a traditional Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.  However, I have always preferred dark chocolate so I made my chocolate-covered peanut butter bars with semi-sweet chocolate chips.  Delicious!

I have an informal poll going that men prefer milk chocolate and women prefer dark chocolate.  Am I right?  Please leave your chocolate preference in the comments below.

By the way, these bars have to chill for at least a few hours, preferably overnight.  Make your next party less stressful by preparing these the day before! Or, freeze for up to 2 months in advance and thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Save these No-Bake Peanut Butter Bars to your “Desserts” Pinterest board!

And let’s be friends on Pinterest! I’m always pinning tasty recipes!

A square photo of four no-bake peanut butter bars on a wilver tray with a blue background.
4.69 from 16 votes

No Bake Peanut Butter Bars

No Bake Peanut Butter Bars take only 5 ingredients and 10 minutes (plus chilling time). My Grandma calls them "Almost Reese's" for good reason!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours 10 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 15 minutes
Servings 16 servings
Calories 380 kcal


  • 1 ½ cups brown sugar
  • 1 ¾ cups powdered sugar
  • 10 tablespoons butter room temperature, divided
  • 1 ½ cups peanut butter
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips or semi-sweet chocolate chips


  1. Line an 8-inch or 9-inch square pan with aluminum foil (see notes).
  2. In a large bowl, cream 5 tablespoons butter, brown sugar, and powdered sugar until smooth. Stir in peanut butter. Mix well and press into prepared pan.

  3. In a small, microwave-safe bowl, heat chocolate chips and remaining 5 tablespoons butter for 1 minute. Stir carefully and continue to microwave in 30-second increments until smooth, stirring after each increment. Pour over peanut butter crust and spread evenly.

  4. Chill until completely firm, at least 3 hours or overnight. Let stand 10 minutes at room temperature before serving. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Recipe Notes

Lining the pan with aluminum foil is optional. In theory this should make it easier to extract the bars from the pan, but I didn't have any trouble when I made and photographed the bars above for this post. So, you can still get clean edges without the foil.

If for some reason you find you have no brown sugar on hand when you set out to make these, you can substitute 1 1/2 cups sugar + 1 1/2 T. molasses. In the pre-chilled state, the molasses flavor will be strong and noticeable (just in case you happen to taste the peanut butter mixture!). But, after they are chilled, the flavor is indistinguishable from store-bought brown sugar.

Based on these notes, you can confidently assume that I set out to make these bars WITHOUT aluminum foil on hand and WITHOUT brown sugar in my pantry. :)

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No Bake Peanut Butter Bars take only 5 ingredients and 10 minutes (plus chilling time). My Grandma calls them

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  1. Wow these look awesome! Certainly on my to-do list. I make my own brown sugar too at home, the best part is I can adjust the molasses to my own liking. Love picture by the way. Cheers 

  2. These are drool worthy, Meggan! I can’t believe how simple they are to make, dangerously simple!! Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

    p.s. Keith and I are both in the dark chocolate camp – Theo 85% is our favorite!! :)

  3. Why can’t all-natural peanut butter be used?

    • Hi Liann, this is a note from my grandma’s original recipe. I guess I can’t think of a good reason WHY natural peanut butter wouldn’t work here. Might taste different but I would think it would still hold the shape… ? I guess I would have to test it myself to know if it actually makes a difference which I haven’t done.

  4. You can’t put foil in micro.

    • Hi Pat, I will have to fix my wording of this recipe so it’s not as confusing. There isn’t a point where you actually put foil in the microwave. Basically, you line a pan with foil and then, in a separate bowl, microwave different ingredients. And ultimately those melted ingredients end up on the foil, but the foil never goes in the microwave. Sorry for confusion. I’ll reword this!!! Thanks.

  5. I’m a dark chocolate fan (mainly because I’m lactose intolerant and I have less of a reaction to dark chocolate). My husband prefers milk chocolate.

    • And also because dark chocolate is better. :D But I really do think there are some excellent dark chocolates out there, even if they are vegan. They are so flavorful! Thanks for stopping by Jenn! 

  6. I like the sound of these will make them after shop day. But to answer your question I am more a normal chocolate rather then dark,I find the dark to strong. Oh just for the record I am Female.

    • Thank you for weighing in, Julie! :D I do really like semi-sweet too, that’s a great balance. Have a lovely day!

  7. This looks like fun to make and I’ll certainly try it out. I prefer either or, but more over I like milk chocolate.

    • Another vote for the milk chocolate! :) Thanks for your comment and I hope you get a chance to try the bars at some point.

  8. I want to try this with sunbutter or almond butter so my daughter can have it. Yum!

    • And then blog it! I’d love to hear how it goes, and then I can list your recipe for people who have allergies. :)

  9. Delicious looking recipe! Back in our day (your Grandma’s and mine) natural or homemade peanut butter always had a layer of oil on it which probably would have made the bar runny. My chocolate preference? I’m a Milk Chocolate lover!

    • Hi, Deborah! You know, I’ve recently discovered that if it’s imported milk chocolate (from Europe or Australia), it’s really really REALLY good! So I guess I’m becoming a milk chocolate lover also! I do think the natural peanut butter might make the bars strange, too. Plus, if you are worried about the sugar in peanut butter, then the sugar in these bars probably isn’t right for you, either. :) Thank you so much for stopping by my blog!

  10. Have you made this for large crowd using a Costco size jelly roll pan, wondering how they turn out? And would I need to double or 1.5x, what is best?

    • Hi Renee! I haven’t made this in a Costco jelly roll pan. I am not sure the best way to proceed, but you could try doubling it and if you have too much peanut butter mixture, you could set some aside and press it into another smaller pan just to use it up. Good luck!

    • Just an update, I doubled the ingredients and it was perfect for the Costco size jelly roll pan! Great, easy recipe and they’re delicious, very rich!! So it’s more like the candy bar, but bite size pieces were great!! Served them at Teachers Appreciation and they were a hit!

    • Perfect, Renee! Yes, they are quite rich. When my grandma saw the size of the pieces I cut for the photos in my post, she was quite surprised and said they were WAY too big. :) Well, I guess that’s just how I roll…. but I’m glad doubling worked out and I will add that info to the post and credit your insight. :) Thank you so much and I’m glad it all worked out!

  11. Do you use light or dark brown sugar?

    • Hi Jeanie, I always use light brown sugar. I feel like it is more readily available (i.e., if stores have only one kind, it will be light; Target is an example). I will start specifying this in my recipes and I apologize for the confusion!

  12. Hi Meggan,
    Thanks for the great recipes.  I enjoy your blog !
    My husband definitely prefers milk chocolate and me, dark chocolate rules.  We meet in the middle, for most recipes, with semi-sweet chocolate !!

    • Thank you so much, I’m glad you are finding recipes you like. Semi-sweet is a good catch-all. Plus they taste the best in cookies I think. :) Take care and thank you again for commenting!

  13. ok, finely got to make these after I saw how many friends pinned these! The results are in……… Easy to make, very, very rich, freeze well but they are to rich for us!  Will not be making these again, to each their own!

    • Appreciate the feedback, CC! Yes, they are quite rich. Thanks for giving the recipe a shot! :) Take care.

  14. Can’t wait to taste these! My husband and I are indiscriminate chocolate fans. However, he prefers dark, whereas I usually crave milk chocolate.

  15. I have always preferred dark chocolate by far, although with Reese’s I still like the milk chocolate so that it does not over power the peanut butter flavor (and maybe I just like the traditional flavor). I do like Mounds and other candies in the newer dark chocolate variety. I was looking for my elementary school peanut butter bar recipe that did not include chocolate, The no-bake recipe attracted me to your website. I’ll now bookmark it and come here for future recipes.

    • Hi Ray! I do think with Reese’s I like the milk chocolate an awful lot, too. Especially the holiday peanut butter eggs that they put out because the Peanut butter-to-chocolate ratio is skewed in favor of PB. I love it! Thanks for the bookmark, I hope you find what you like if you come back. :) Best wishes and thanks again!

  16. Quick, easy and soooo good! Will be making these again and again. Thanks for this recipe! Directions were perfect also! :)

    • Hooray Donna, that’s great news! I’m so happy you liked them. Thank you so much. :) I hope you have a teriffic week!

  17. Oh yummy. These are just delicious. Thanks for sharing this recipe.


  18. Dark chocolate is my favorite. Besides that, it’s good for you. My husband prefers milk chocolate but will eat whichever I use in a recipe because he doesn’t want to do the cooking. 

  19. Bang on!!
    I like milk chocolate, the wife prefers dark chocolate!

  20. dark chocolate every time and I am an english male scouser

  21. Making these tonight for my boss! I’lol let you know how they turn out.

  22. Super yummy but I do not like the grit from the brown sugar. I like the smooth peanut butter bottom. Next time I will use all powdered sugar.

    • It’s weird, I actually like that grittiness so that must be a personal preference. I make peanut butter balls and I grind up graham crackers in them to make them grittier! Glad you can find a way that makes you happy, that’s what counts. Happy New Year!

  23. My wife and I seem to break your “survey” on dark vs milk chocolate. I prefer extra dark chocolate (75% and above cacao content) while my wife prefers milk chocolate and would prefer to stay below 65% cacao.

    These “almost Reeses” sound wonderful. I can also see adjustments to the recipe, such as not just which chocolate to use, but also creamy vs chuncy peanut butter, almond butter, chocolate hazelnut spread (you know the brand) You could make a whole variety pack for yourself or as holiday gifts.

    • That’s so interesting, Mark! And you’re right, there are a lot of ways you could change these up. Nutella definitely needs to be added here, among other things. :) Thanks so much for your comment.

  24. I made these today with my 3 year old. They were super easy! However, I miss read the directions and microwaved the sugar with the butter. That’s what happens when cooking with a 3 year old. They came out really gritty. I was expecting a smooth crust. 

    • Hi Amanda, I think it’s a bit gritty. I don’t know about “a lot” gritty, but definitely some grit. Chances are you didn’t do anything wrong and you just don’t care for the recipe, but I’m speculating. :) I can’t really see why microwaving the sugar would make it “more” gritty! Great you’re cooking with a child, though. Mine always want to help!

  25. I LOVE this recipe! I was wondering if you think they would hold up rolled into balls and put on abstick before dipped into the chocolate?

    • Hi Jerrica! I think so! But I would roll the balls and chill them for 30 minutes or so before dipping in chocolate. Then you should have no problem! Thanks for your question. :)

  26. Is this recipe gluten free? 

    • Technically yes, provided none of your ingredients have been cross contaminated. But none of the ingredients inherently contain gluten. Great question! Thanks Emilia.

  27. I am from Utah and have found that in general here men prefer dark, and women prefer milk chocolate. Odd that this preference is upside down from other places. I teach cooking classes, including a whole class dedicated to just chocolate, and so have had opportunities to speak with lots of people about this. How interesting.
    I thought your comment about imported chocolate being preferable for milk chocolate interesting. Traditionally there have only been one or two American manufacturers that make edible chocolate. All the other stuff like Hershey’s and Nestlè are just terrible. The problem is they use inferior beans, and don’t process them well. The gourmet chocolate being produced by a few French and Italian companies has changed the way I think about chocolate, both milk and dark. Because of this, I think, there are now a number of American bean-to-bar companies that are doing amazing and wonderful things with chocolate.
    Thanks for the delightful recipe.

    • Hey Matthew, thank you so much for your thoughtful comment. It’s slightly anxiety-inducing to have a professional such as yourself be on my blog, ha ha! I didn’t know much about the process big American chocolate companies were using to make their inferior product, but what you said makes perfect sense. It still begs the question, why can’t they do a better job? Perhaps Americans just don’t know any better or don’t care how it tastes as long as it’s sweet. Thanks again for stopping by and I appreciate your input. Take care!

  28. After these bars firm enough to make in candy molds for a specific shaped bar for a party?

  29. Hello! Lovely recipe! I made these on the fly after my husband requested something – I didn’t have to run to the store! I usually completely fail and the PB balls, so am thrilled these turned out well. I noticed another comment about cooking with a toddler and wanted to comment also. We used crunchy PB, and I made them with my 3 year old. The brown sugar is still gritty, but I assumed that was because of how slow I work with a toddler. I suspect that if we blended the brown sugar with the butter quickly, and while still warm, and then added the rest, we might have a smoother consistency. Either way, a true win for a quick and easy treat!

  30. I made these and used exact recipe and instructions. The brown sugar left the peanut butter grainy instead of smooth. Any thoughts.

    • We tested this recipe extensively using melted butter, room temperature butter, and cold butter. Room temperature butter was the clear winner and we’ve updated the recipe accordingly. I’m so sorry for the inconvenience! Thanks for your feedback. You help make the recipes on this site the best they can be!

  31. I used Splenda brown sugar because that’s what I had and regular powdered sugar, I did use PB2 made peanut butter with the last of the jar of regular smooth stuff( my kids use the PB2 for smoothies) and dang they still turned out amazing. Slightly and I mean slightly more healthy, as healthy goes!!!

    • I’m obsessed with PB2! What a great idea. So many great ideas Chari! Thank you for sharing! Even slightly healthy is better than nothing. :)

  32. hello.. i’m really looking forward to trying this recipe, however it seems that the 24 servings in an 8×8 or 9×9 pan would be somewhat small and i’d like to share the bars between home and my husbands work so i’d like to make them using a 9×13 cake pan.. could you tell me how I should increase the amounts of the ingredients for this recipe, because I think just doubling them might be a bit too much? thank you for your time :)

    • Hi Danielle! These bites are small but rich, but yes, 24 servings seems to small. First, I’ll change that to 16 servings. Next, I think doubling the recipe would be fine. If anything, the bars might be slightly taller (but not by much) and you could cut them to whatever size you see fit. Thanks for the question and sorry about that! Thank you for your help on the size, too! :)

  33. Hi! The recipe looks great! I have a question though-do these stay firm at all at room temp? I know they need to be refrigerated to set up, and it states to refrigerate leftovers so I’m curious. 
    I have made a similar recipe in the past and while they were amazing-they were almost gooey at room temp. Far too messy for gifting at the holidays etc.
    Thank you!

    • Hi Maria! These start to get gooey at room temperature. They will last for a bit, maybe an hour, but I wouldn’t set them out for hours on end. If you wanted to take them to a potluck or something, I would probably freeze them in advance. Then by the time you get there and it’s time to eat or whatever, they should still be cold. I don’t think they’d make an ideal gift-giving treat, unfortunately (unless you are having an outdoor party in a cold climate, ha ha!). Glad you asked!

  34. Hi Meggan, I noticed the bars in your photo look perfectly cut—any secrets to that? I’d like to make these for a friend’s going-away, and I want them to be presentable. :) Appreciate any insight!

    • Hi Penelope! Thank you so much, you’re the nicest. :) I made the aluminum foil sling as outlined in the recipe notes so I could just lift the bars directly out of the bottom of the pan. And, obviously the bars are chilled. Beyond that, just use a long, sharp knife (I used my chef’s knife) and clean it between each cut. That last thing, the cleaning part, is not necessary as far as taste goes, but it is one of the secrets to “perfect” looking bars! Please let me know if I can help with anything else! Thanks. :)

  35. these are a great alternative to peanut butter balls, I would mix the brown sugar with the butter first to get a smoother and less gritty texture

    • Hi Cheryl, thank you so much for this tip! I’m going to recipe-test with your suggestion and see if it eliminates the grittiness. I appreciate you! Thanks again.

  36. I found a recipe just like this a few years ago. Every year since then i make them a few days before Christmas. Last year i tried a different recipe that used sweetened condensed milk. They wouldn’t set even after i put them in the fridge overnight. I won’t make that mistake this year! My family loves these and i usually make a few batches and give to friends and family. Better than Reese’s! I always use semi-sweet chocolate chips too!

  37. Dark chocolate all the way. The darker the better.

  38. Hi, I did make these and they are delicious but when I cut them they broke. Should I have let it stand out of the fridge longer or any addition tips? I did use the foil. Thanks. 

  39. I just made these today per directions. I would have to say less brown sugar and more peanut butter as all I taste is the brown sugar and the base is very gritty.

    • Hi Vicki, I’m so sorry about this. I’m going to recipe-test it again to see if combining just the butter and sugars first, before stirring in the peanut butter, makes a difference. A lot of people have had success with the recipe but enough (such as yourself) have had gritty results. It’s so sad! So I have to figure out what’s going on. Sorry for the trouble.

    • Hi Vicki, We tested this recipe extensively using melted butter, room temperature butter, and cold butter. Room temperature butter was the clear winner and we’ve updated the recipe accordingly. I’m so sorry for the inconvenience! Thanks for your feedback. You help make the recipes on this site the best they can be!

  40. Attempted to make these a couple nights ago for a cookie exchange and they came back out so gritty I ended up throwing everything  away. :( will use powdered sugar only next time.

    • Hi Emily, I’m so sorry about this. I’m going to recipe-test it again to see if combining just the butter and sugars first, before stirring in the peanut butter, makes a difference. A lot of people have had success with the recipe but enough (such as yourself) have had gritty results. It’s so sad! So I have to figure out what’s going on. Sorry for the trouble.

    • Hi Emily, We tested this recipe extensively using melted butter, room temperature butter, and cold butter. Room temperature butter was the clear winner and we’ve updated the recipe accordingly. I’m so sorry for the inconvenience! Thanks for your feedback. You help make the recipes on this site the best they can be!

  41. I doubled the recipe, got 2 pans cooling in the fridge.

  42. Thanks For sharing such a heavenly delicious mouthwatering recipe. I will soon visit your blog to check more interesting recipes to learn something new. I hope you will too like my blog

  43. I have loved these since I was a kid at school and I finally thought I found the recipe! But mine turned out sugary/grainy and not smooth. What did I do wrong?….. I really hope I did it wrong and can fix the problem. 

    • Hi Andrea, We tested this recipe extensively using melted butter, room temperature butter, and cold butter. Room temperature butter was the clear winner and we’ve updated the recipe accordingly. I’m so sorry for the inconvenience! Thanks for your feedback. You help make the recipes on this site the best they can be!

  44. This recipe looks amazing. Would like to make them and send to my mom in another state, but I am not sure they will be ok if you are saying that they need to be refigerated. Priority Mail takes 2 to 3 days. Do you think they would be ok if I froze them befire shipping?

    Thanks so much!

  45. The recipe only includes directions for 5 of the 10 TBSP of butter. I assume you cream the brown and powdered sugar with the other 5.   Melted? Or just softened ?  

    • Hi Krista! Sorry for the typo! 5 tablespoons room temperature butter is creamed with the brown sugar and the powdered sugar. The remaining 5 tablespoons is melted with the chocolate in the microwave. Thanks for the question!

  46. Where is the video tutorial

  47. Your peanut butter and chocolate bars where so easy to make and they where extremely good

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