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 34 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. Sarah

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

    1. meggan

      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. 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!5 stars

  3. Jillian

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

  4. Matthew

    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.5 stars

    1. meggan

      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!

  5. Emilia

    Is this recipe gluten free? 

    1. Barbara

      Hello, Is it 5 Tablespoons of butter per 1 cup of chips to melt? When I use your slider to increase the recipe it doesn’t change the butter in the recipe. Thank you.

    2. meggan

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

  6. Jerrica

    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?5 stars

    1. meggan

      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. :)

  7. Amanda

    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. 

    1. meggan

      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!

  8. Mark Powell

    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.

    1. meggan

      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.

  9. S

    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.

    1. meggan

      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!

  10. Lisa

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

  11. james

    dark chocolate every time 5 stars

    1. meggan

      YES! Love to hear that. :) Thanks James!

  12. Harvey Abel

    Bang on!!
    I like milk chocolate, the wife prefers dark chocolate!5 stars

  13. Lynn

    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. 5 stars

  14. plasterers bristol

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

    Simon5 stars

  15. Donna

    Quick, easy and soooo good! Will be making these again and again. Thanks for this recipe! Directions were perfect also! :)5 stars

    1. meggan

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

  16. Ray

    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.5 stars

    1. meggan

      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!

  17. Candace C.

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

  18. CC

    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!

    1. meggan

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

  19. Hamiltonian

    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 !!

    1. meggan

      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!

  20. Jeanie

    Do you use light or dark brown sugar?

    1. meggan

      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!

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