No Bake Peanut Butter Bars Recipe

My Grandma calls these no-bake Peanut Butter Bars “Almost Reese’s” for good reason—they’re as close to the real deal as I’ve ever tasted. They come together in 10 minutes with only 5 ingredients and they’re naturally gluten-free; the only hard part is trying not to eat them all.

No matter what day it is, if you love chocolate peanut butter candy as much as I do, Halloween is just around the corner. As a kid, I always hoarded the Reese’s cups, keeping them in the freezer to enjoy the eternally delicious combination of peanut butter and chocolate throughout the year.

Ever since my Grandma shared her recipe, though, I can make a batch whenever inspiration strikes. Sometimes, I’ll make a double batch and freeze half of them to savor, just like I used to.

My Grandma calls these no-bake Peanut Butter Bars “Almost Reese’s” for good reason—they’re as close to the real deal as I’ve ever tasted. They come together in 10 minutes with only 5 ingredients and they’re naturally gluten-free; the only hard part is trying not to eat them all.

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Need No Bake Peanut Butter Bars for a bake sale or cookie exchange? 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.

Is there a way to make No Bake Peanut Butter bars healthy?

There’s always a way to make your favorite treats a little more treat-able. 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!

Is this a gluten-free recipe?

While many other recipes for peanut butter bars call for cornflakes, graham crackers, or even oatmeal, this recipe lets the pure, silky texture of the peanut butter shine through with each bite. And as long as there’s no cross-contamination, this recipe is gluten-free.

My Grandma calls these no-bake Peanut Butter Bars “Almost Reese’s” for good reason—they’re as close to the real deal as I’ve ever tasted. They come together in 10 minutes with only 5 ingredients and they’re naturally gluten-free; the only hard part is trying not to eat them all.

What’s the best peanut butter for Peanut Butter Bars?

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.

Can I make No-Bake Peanut Butter Bars with other nut butters instead?

Today, there are so many different varieties of nut butters out there that I just haven’t had a chance to test them all. Feel free to substitute your preferred nut butter: almond, cashew, sunflower seed, and by all means let me know how it goes.

One tip, though: you may want to mix the nut mixture in a food processor to make sure it’s mixed well—some nut butters are more stubborn than others!

Whatever nut butter you try, you could get fancy and press some chopped nuts in the top of the chocolate while it’s still soft, to let people know which nut the candy is made from. Or just let them be surprised!

How to I keep these Peanut Butter Bars from getting gritty?

Because these are no bake bars, the brown sugar might not completely dissolve into the peanut butter.

Some people like the texture, but if you’re a smooth operator, try melting the butter and adding the brown sugar into the warm butter, stirring to dissolve before adding the powdered sugar and the peanut butter.

How far in advance can you make these No Bake Peanut Butter Bars?

These 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.

Better yet, make a big batch and freeze them for up to 2 months in advance— thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

My Grandma calls these no-bake Peanut Butter Bars “Almost Reese’s” for good reason—they’re as close to the real deal as I’ve ever tasted. They come together in 10 minutes with only 5 ingredients and they’re naturally gluten-free; the only hard part is trying not to eat them all.

What is the best chocolate for Peanut Butter Bars?

There’s a little 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.

4.8 from 30 votes

No Bake Peanut Butter Bars Recipe

My Grandma calls these no-bake Peanut Butter Bars “Almost Reese’s” for good reason—they’re as close to the real deal as I’ve ever tasted. They come together in 10 minutes with only 5 ingredients and they’re naturally gluten-free; the only hard part is trying not to eat them all.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword chocolate, peanut butter
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours 10 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 15 minutes
Servings 16 servings
Calories 402kcal
  • 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
  • Line an 8-inch or 9-inch square pan with aluminum foil (see notes).
  • 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 crust 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.

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. :)

Nutrition

Calories: 402kcal

 

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  1. 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.

  2. Kellianne

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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. Kelly Ryan

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

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. Renee

    Just put them in the fridge to chill.. They look great.5 stars

  15. Will

    Dang these are good! My three sons devoured the whole tray in a weekend. Easy enough to modify and make a double batch next time.5 stars

  16. Shannon

    I made these yesterday to take to a potluck. I did everything correct and when it was time to pull them out of the fridge and cut them, it was a disaster. First it was really hard to cut without breaking them and ALL the chocolate separated from the bar itself. And I mean all of it. I was so mad. I NEVER bring a new item to a potluck that I haven’t already made before or tested before and this item was no exception. Thank god I made 2 things to bring in case these bars didn’t turn out. They looked beautiful until I went to cut them and the chocolate top separated from the bar. Does anyone has a suggestion on how to fix that?

    1. Will

      Bummer. Mine turned out perfect.5 stars

  17. yourmoneywise.in

    Fabulous, what a weblog it is! This blog provides helpful data to
    us, keep it up.5 stars

  18. Victoria

    These ARE way better than the ones that use graham crackers. I probably never will get them cut as perfectly as you , though, but I’ll have fun trying. 5 stars

  19. This is my kind of dessert. Give me all the chocolate and peanut butter :)
    These look amazing!!5 stars

  20. Karla

    Do NOT use natural pb for this recipe! Way to oily!!! Am going to try melting butter and combining with brown sugar and then mixing with the other ingredients. Gritty or not it’s yum yum yum! Nothing beats peanut butter and chocolate! Thanks for the recipe without graham crumbs….have tried those and didn’t really like the graininess. Thanks again! Will make again for sure!4 stars

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