No Bake Peanut Butter Bars

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.

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!

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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.

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!

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.
4.7 from 20 votes
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No Bake Peanut Butter Bars

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
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours 10 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 15 minutes
Servings 16 servings
Calories 380 kcal

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  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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