No Bake Peanut Butter Bars Recipe

Ready for the best, most decadent chocolate peanut butter dessert in the world? No Bake Peanut Butter Bars, aka Almost Reeses, are just that. My Grandma’s recipe is naturally gluten-free, needs only 5 ingredients to make, and disappears in seconds.

We want candy! Homemade candy hacks are so much better than running to the convenience store. Satisfy that sweet tooth with Homemade Snickers Bars or Homemade Twix Bars, made with regular club crackers! And if you’re looking for no-bake recipes, well, then, turn off your oven and roll up your sleeves—there’s a bunch of great ones to choose from.

No bake peanut butter bars on a white platter with a knife.
Pin Now To Save! PIN IT

Everyone just goes wild for this recipe, and I can't blame them. Chocolate and peanut butter are the ultimate power couple, when it comes to desserts. If you're the kind of person who sorts out the Halloween candy and saves the peanut butter cups for themselves but gives everything else away, this easy recipe is going to rock your world.

It only takes 10 minutes to do. Make one batch, and they'll probably vanish within the day. But make a double batch and hide half in the freezer for later, and you'll be glad you did. (I've been doing it for years--there's no reason to stop now.)

Need No Bake Peanut Butter Bars to round out your dessert table? Click and slide the number next to “servings” on the recipe card below to adjust the ingredients to match how many you’re feeding—the recipe does the math for you, it’s that easy.

No Bake Peanut Butter Bars ingredients:

Only 5 ingredients, I promise.

  • Butter. I like salted butter in this recipe, but it's up to you. If you only have unsalted butter, add a pinch of salt to the peanut butter mixture.
  • Brown sugar. If you don't have it, make your own light brown sugar with molasses and white granulated sugar. Mix together 1 cup granulated sugar with 1 tablespoon molasses, and voilà!
  • Powdered sugar. To make confectioner's sugar at home, pulse white granulated sugar in a high-speed blender for a few seconds until powdery.
  • Peanut butter. My grandma always used a processed, store-bought peanut butter for this recipe, like Jif or Skippy. I have yet to try it with a natural or homemade peanut butter, because it's just so delicious as it is.
  • Chocolate. Whatever kind of chocolate you like! Hershey's kisses, Ghirardelli (blue bag) chocolate chips, semi-sweet, milk, or 60% cacao chocolate. You can even use white chocolate with peanut butter.

No bake peanut butter bars ingredients in various clear bowls.

Don’t get me wrong, I love every kind of peanut butter, and nut butter, under the sun, whether it’s the fancy stuff or the basic butter at the convenience store on the corner.

But for some reason I always feel that the best peanut butter for this recipe is the smoothest, most everyday peanut butter I can find. It makes for the incredible texture that Reese’s are loved for.

What's the best chocolate for peanut butter bars?

There’s a bit of a debate about milk chocolate vs. dark chocolate, and the only thing I suggest is that you conduct, ahem, extensive research on which chocolate your household prefers for this recipe.

Milk chocolate makes the bars, in my opinion, taste more authentic, but ultimately the decision is completely up to personal preference. I’m a dark chocolate lover, so I veer towards a 60% cacao chocolate.

(Whatever you decide, let me know in the comments, as soon as you lick the chocolate off of your fingers.)

How to make No Bake Peanut Butter Bars:

Are you really, really ready? Let's do this. You need an 8-inch or 9-inch square baking pan to make one batch of bars, as well as some foil and nonstick baking spray. Also, this walkthrough doesn't give exact ingredient quantities, so check the card for the details. 

  1. To start, line the baking pan with foil and coat with cooking spray. This will help the bars release.
  2. Next, cream half the butter together with the brown sugar and powdered sugar until smooth. You can do this in a big bowl or with an electric mixer. Then stir in the peanut butter and mix well.
    Dough for the peanut butter layer of no bake peanut butter bars in a mixing bowl.
  3. Press the peanut butter mixture into the foil-lined pan, using your fingertips.
    The peanut butter layer of no bake peanut butter bars in a baking pan lined with tin foil.
  4. To make the chocolate layer, melt the remaining butter together with the chocolate. You can use a microwave (50% power for 1 minute, stir, then 30-second intervals always at 50% power) or a double-boiler method, with a heat-safe bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Once the chocolate and butter is melted and blended, pour it over the peanut butter mixture and spread evenly.
    Someone pouring chocolate over a layer of the peanut butter bars.
  5. Pop the whole thing into the refrigerator to chill completely (3 hours to overnight) before serving. Take it out and let it sit out at room temperature before cutting into squares and serving.

Tips for making your best No-Bake Peanut Butter Bar ever:

  • Make ahead. These bars need some time to set up, so plan on chilling them at least a few hours, preferably overnight. No one could blame you if you wanted to make these a few days before a party, if you have the willpower to steer clear of them until then.
  • Freezing peanut butter bars. Better yet, make a big batch and freeze them for up to 2 months in advance— thaw overnight in the refrigerator.Cover bars tightly as a whole and freeze. Or cut into squares, place them in a freezer-friendly container between sheets of parchment paper, and freeze.
  • Slicing peanut butter bars. After they chill, take them out of the fridge and let them sit out for 10 minutes. Then run a sharp knife under some hot water and make careful slices. The smaller,  the better--they're rich!
  • Peanut butter bars in a 9"x 11" pan. If I'm using a 9"x 11" or 9"x 13" baking pan, I will usually make a double batch of the recipe. BUT, readers have used a larger pan for a single recipe and have been happy, too, claiming it makes a thinner bar that is more like the real thing. That's purely up to you.
  • Less gritty peanut butter bars. Because these are no-bake bars, the brown sugar might not completely dissolve into the peanut butter. Some people like that texture, but if you’re more of a smooth operator, try melting the butter on the stove and adding the brown sugar into the warm butter, stirring to dissolve before adding the powdered sugar and the peanut butter. It takes a few more minutes, but it's worth it.

No bake peanut butter bars on a white platter with a knife.

Variations of no-bake peanut butter bars that you'll go crazy for:

Remember, this glorious chocolate peanut butter is a candy-like dessert and very sweet. It's why we love them!

That doesn't mean that you can't get lower the sugar a bit or use a healthy nut butter instead, but it may taste different than sticking to the recipe.

  • Healthy peanut butter bars. Substitute Splenda brown sugar blend for the brown sugar, and consider using a powdered peanut product like PB2 made into peanut butter in this recipe. Cuts down on the sugar and the fat!
  • Gluten-free peanut butter bars. Already a gluten-free recipe, as long as there's no cross-contamination with your other ingredients. Read your labels carefully.
  • Keto No Bake Peanut Butter Bars. Make this recipe keto-friendly by using Swerve icing sugar, sugar free creamy peanut butter, and sugar-free chocolate chips in the recipe.
  • Other nut butters. Maybe this is a little embarrassing to admit, but I can't get past the old fashioned peanut butter variety. Feel free to substitute your preferred nut butter: almond, cashew, sunflower seed, or homemade peanut butter, then make sure to let me know how it went. One tip, though: with oily nut butters and homemade nut butters you may want to blast the nut mixture in a food processor to make sure it’s mixed well. Some nut butters are more stubborn and separated than others!
  • Crunchy peanut butter bars. Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't. Lots of cooks prefer crunchy-style peanut butter for the bottom layer, and even chop up peanuts for pressing over the warm chocolate before it sets up.
No bake peanut butter bars on a white platter with a knife.

No Bake Peanut Butter Bars Recipe

Ready for the best, most decadent chocolate peanut butter dessert in the world? No Bake Peanut Butter Bars, aka Almost Reeses, are just that. My Grandma’s recipe is naturally gluten-free, needs only 5 ingredients to make, and disappears in seconds.
5 from 39 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours 10 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 16 servings
Calories: 402kcal
Author: Meggan Hill

Ingredients

  • 10 tablespoons butter room temperature, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups peanut butter
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or milk chocolate chips

Instructions

  • Line an 8-inch or 9-inch square baking pan with a foil sling for easy cleanup and coat with nonstick spray.
  • 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.
  • 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 filling and spread evenly.
  • Chill until completely firm, at least 3 hours or overnight. Let stand 10 minutes at room temperature before serving. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Video

Notes

  • Foil sling: 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.
  • Brown sugar substitute: 1 1/2 cups sugar + 1 1/2 tablespoons 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.

Nutrition

Calories: 402kcal
Tried this Recipe? Pin it for Later!Mention @CulinaryHill or tag #CulinaryHill!

Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




This form collects your name, email, and content so that we can keep track of the comments placed on the website. For more info check our privacy policy where you will get more info on where, how and why we store your data.
This form collects your name, email and content so that we can keep track of the comments placed on the website. For more info check our privacy policy where you will get more info on where, how and why we store your data.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. Liz

    Any tips for cutting these into squares without the chocolate topping cracking? When I cut mine sometimes the chocolate top cracks.

    1. Meggan

      Hi Liz, you can try adding one tablespoon of oil (coconut or vegetable) to the hot chocolate mixture before pouring. You could also try using a hot knife (soak the knife in water, then dry it before slicing. Repeat the process when cutting all the squares.) Good luck! -Meggan

  2. milissa clark

    Definitely a Reese’s dup!!! Nice job! Very delicious….and I am hard to amaze….my dad who is a junkie is going to try them next….he will be the real test! But me and my husband – 5 Stars All Around!!!Easy to make too!5 stars

  3. Hollie

    I’m so excited to try this recipe! My mother used to make about a dozen different cookies, candies and bars to hand out as Christmas presents. My grandparents, aunts and uncles always received their own tin full of the wide variety of goodies. The only rule was to return the said tin if they wanted it filled again the following year. My favorite part of this process was the month leading up to the big day. I was her #1 taste tester, of course! I’ve not had one in years since her passing. I can’t wait to try this recipe as I have no doubt these will taste just like home.

  4. Aliceanne Davidson

    My Aunty Jean made these years ago! Always looked forward to Sunday afternoons and her peanut butter bars! Just delicious!

    1. Meggan

      Awww, I just love stories like this! Thanks Aliceanne! -Meggan

  5. Mely A Cogswell

    I don’T like peanutbutter, but i do like almond butter i will try this with that. I can not have regraler sugar so i wil try a unsugar brand. I will let you know who it came out at all or it good and i will keep making them.

  6. Diane

    Sooooo good!! 5 stars

  7. miranda

    HI, should I pack the brown sugar when measuring?

    1. meggan

      Hi Miranda, yes! I’ll fix the recipe so it says that. Thanks! -Meggan

  8. Becky S Lamb

    Reese’s is making several of their candy bars with white chocolate which I love. I’m going to make my bars with the white.

  9. Kellianne

    Mmmmcmmm these are delicious I’ve made these almost every week during quarantine and my family loves them. Taste just like reeses!!

  10. Jenna Huff

    Would I use light or dark brown sugar?

    1. meggan

      Hi Jenna, I always use light brown sugar because that’s what I have on hand. I should start specifying it thought. Thank you! -Meggan

  11. Missy

    I have a ridiculous amount of Hershey kisses on hand, and I use those for the chocolate? These look delicious

    1. meggan

      Hi Missy, I think so I can’t think of why not! You can melt them either in the microwave (50% power for 1 minute, stir, then 30-second intervals always at 50% power) or double-boiler method. You should be good! Thanks – Meggan

  12. Juliet

    I love this recipe and have tweaked it to make it my own. I use coconut oil and usually opt for the homemade brown sugar as it tastes more like reese’s. I make these into cupcake-like candies and all my friends ask for them when we get together!5 stars

  13. Kelly Ryan

    Can I add oats to the recipe and what else would be needed to add?

  14. Marilyn Swanston

    How much peters chocolate melts should I substitute for the chocolate chips? Prefer using them In recipes calling for chips as less paraffin

    1. meggan

      Hi Marilyn, I wish I knew! I never actually heard of Peters Chocolates before, but after visiting their website, it looks like I’m probably missing out big time. I guess I would assume you’d use the same amount as chips, but if you are familiar with them you probably know more than I do. Wish I could help you more. Thanks for introducing me to them. I am going to track some down and play around and put them to use! -Meggan

  15. donna g

    I’d like to make this tonight and was wondering if people are using SKIPPY type peanut butter that already has sugar in it OR using natural non-sugar added peanut butter.
    Would it hurt to cut back on the brown sugar and powdered sugar amounts if I’m using the Skippy? We tend to like our sweets a bit less sweet. :)
    I don’t want to mess it up and would love to get feedback.
    Thanks,
    Donna

    1. Meggan

      Hi Donna, my Grandma always used regular peanut butter, like skippy, so that is the only way I have ever tested it. Unfortunately, I won’t have time to test it for you in the next few days. Some people have said that they are too sweet, but I don’t know what it would do to the consistency if you changed the sugar. My initial thought is to use a natural peanut butter and keep the sugar amounts the same, just because I don’t think that would make the consistency that different. I’m sorry that I don’t have better information for you right now. Good luck! -Meggan

  16. Amy

    Couple of brands i liked when making these…i used the Adams no stir peanut butter, half creamy and half crunchy..and i also use the Ghiradelli Blue bag Milk chocolate chips! So delicious!!5 stars

  17. Sheryl Landers

    How firm are these bars? I’m making a chocolate peanut butter cake for my son’s birthday and was thinking I could either cut letters out of the bars or simply form them into letters instead of putting them in a pan. Suggestions? Would they stay together if I coated them in chocolate after they are chilled?

    1. Ashleigh

      I am this is a few months old.. But when I made these last week.. I was keeping them out in my garage only – set the chocolate out there and everything. I found I like them a lot better at room temperature – I like the peanut butter consistency better. Anyways.. Having ate some being cold, and some being room temp.. They help up fine being cut, and thrown into a baggy.. So I dont see why this wouldn’t work.

    2. meggan

      Hi Sheryl, yes I think they would stay together if they are chilled. If you know the cake will be sitting at room temperature for a long time, you could even freeze them to give them a little extra staying power. But if you serve it straight from the refrigerator, you should be fine just like hat.

      Here are all my ideas:

      If you decide to go with the cookie-cutter letters, you might want to use a larger pan (such as a 9×13) for the peanut butter base so you have more to work with. In fact, I would spread the pb base, chill it, cut the letters but NOT REMOVE THEM, and remove (sort of peel away) the remaining pb base that isn’t letters. Then I would transfer the pan to the freezer (on wax or parchment paper so they don’t stick) so those letters are frozen solid, and then I would coat them in the chocolate. That way you are working with the stablest version of the pb letter as possible.

      If you are going to form the letters by hand, you’ll have to see how it handles as the pb base warms in your hands. Frequent re-chilling may be required (depending on if your son’s name is Tim or Bartholomew). I would still probably freeze the formed letters before coating them in chocolate.

      I hope this was helpful. I love your idea. Good luck! If you have any other questions or you think I didn’t answer your sufficiently, just let me know. Thank you! -Meggan

  18. Nancy

    Do I double or triple the recipie for a 9×13 pan?

    1. Meggan

      Hi Nancy, I would double the recipe for a 9×13 pan. The final product will just be a little bit taller than they are in my recipe, so you will be able to get away with cutting them a little smaller than if you were using an 8×8 or 9×9 pan. -Meggan

  19. Ariana

    I make these so often, they are the best dessert in the entire world. I love Reese’s, it’s my favorite treat, and these are seriously so close to that but even better. Seriously amazing. My son is allergic to gluten, too, so the fact that these are gluten-free is so freaking awesome. Thanks for sharing!!!5 stars

  20. Renee P

    It’s the next morning. They are fantastic, just tried one. No issues with separation of chocolate. I’m going to try the Twix recipe next.
    Thank you for the recipe!5 stars

Scroll to top