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.
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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 35 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
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  1. 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

  2. yourmoneywise.in

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

  3. 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

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

  5. 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!

  6. Alexandra

    Your peanut butter and chocolate bars where so easy to make and they where extremely good5 stars

  7. clarence

    Where is the video tutorial

    1. meggan

      Hi Clarence, it should be immediately below the line of text that reads “Or, freeze up to 2 months in advance and thaw overnight in the refrigerator.” Right there, right below that. If you still don’t see it, it’s also on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9SJG-Any2AQ&t=8s
      Thank you! Sorry about that!

  8. Krista

    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 ?  

    1. meggan

      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!

  9. Teresa Mayo

    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!5 stars

  10. Sumit Jaitely

    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 indiatourfood.com5 stars

  11. Judith Hill

    I doubled the recipe, got 2 pans cooling in the fridge.5 stars

    1. meggan

      Hi Judith! One for me, one for you I hope? LOL! Thanks for trying out the recipe!

  12. Emily

    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.

    1. meggan

      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!

    2. meggan

      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.

  13. Jennine

    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. 

  14. Shenee'

    Dark chocolate all the way. The darker the better.5 stars

  15. Judith Hill

    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!5 stars

  16. Cheryl

    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 texture5 stars

    1. meggan

      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.

  17. Penelope

    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!

    1. meggan

      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. :)

  18. Maria

    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!

    1. meggan

      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!

  19. danielle

    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 :)

    1. meggan

      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! :)

  20. Chari

    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!!!5 stars

    1. meggan

      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. :)

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