No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
All you need is 5 ingredients to make these easy no-bake chocolate peanut butter bars! Their layers of rich and creamy peanut butter filling and crunchy semi-sweet chocolate topping makes them a completely irresistible and fun homemade treat.
A lot of us grew up with some version of this recipe— a super easy, homemade cousin to Reese’s peanut butter cups. And these are the no-bake chocolate peanut butter bars of my childhood. They’re what I craved as a child, and what I still crave as an adult.
With just 5 ingredients, only a few minutes of prep, no oven required, and the winning combination of chocolate and peanut butter, this treat has just about everything going for it!
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Peanut butter— Do not use “natural style” or your bars will be too soft. You can use either smooth or crunchy peanut butter. I think most prefer the texture of smooth peanut butter, but I grew up with crunchy and love it that way too!
- Graham crackers— Graham cracker crumbs add structure and help hold these bars together.
- Powdered sugar— Using powdered/confectioners’ sugar adds sweetness and easily combines with the other filling ingredients.
- Butter— You can use either salted or unsalted, per your preference and what you have on hand.
- Semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate— You can use a chopped chocolate bar or chocolate chips. (I typically use semi-sweet chocolate chips.)
How to make these chocolate peanut butter bars
- Prepare peanut butter layer. Beat butter and peanut butter until smooth, mix beat in powdered sugar. Pulse graham crackers in a food processor, or place in a ziplock bag and beat until they are crumbs. Mix into the peanut butter mixture.
- Make chocolate topping. Melt chocolate in a double boiler set over a pan of simmering water, or melt in a microwave-safe bowl in 30-second intervals in the microwave until smooth. Spread over peanut butter filling.
- Spread into a 9×13-inch pan. If desired, line pan with greased foil or parchment paper for easy removal and slicing later, or grease with cooking spray. Spread peanut butter filling evenly into the prepared pan and top with an even layer of melted chocolate.
- Chill in the fridge. Store in refrigerator for at least 1 hour until solid.
- Slice and enjoy! If you lined the pan, use the edges of the foil/parchment to lift bars out of the pan and transfer to a cutting board. Slice into bars (slicing tips belpw), 4×6=24 small bars or 3×4=12 large bars. Bars are best stored in the fridge.
How to slice these bars
Since the peanut butter filling remains somewhat soft while the chocolate topping is very firm, these bars have a tendency to crack when you slice them. They taste amazing either way, but here’s my tips for getting clean square slices:
- Chill in the fridge according to recipe instructions.
- Score slice lines in the chocolate with a sharp knife. This can be done when the chocolate is completely set, or while it is still somewhat soft.
- Use the parchment paper to lift bars out of pan and transfer to a cutting board.
- Dip a sharp knife into hot water and wipe dry with a towel. Make a cut in the bars and wipe clean with the towel.
- Repeat until bars are sliced.
A few tips for this recipe
- Do not overheat the chocolate or it will scorch and seize up, making it unusable. Stop heating the chocolate when it’s mostly melted but a few small chunks remain. Give it a good stir and the remaining chunks should melt so chocolate is smooth.
- Sometimes I like to add a sprinkling of flaky salt or chopped peanuts on top of the chocolate before chilling, for a bit of flair and visual appeal. But it’s not necessary.
- This recipe should work with another nut butter, such as almond butter.
- This recipe doubles easily to fit into a standard baking sheet pan.
- These peanut butter chocolate bars will become too soft if kept out of the fridge for too long, especially on a hot day. Try to keep in the fridge as much as possible. They also freeze very well!
More chocolate peanut butter treats to love
- Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
- No-Churn Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream
- Peanut Butter Blondies with Chocolate Frosting
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Note: This recipe was originally published January 2016.
No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
- 8 sheets (100 grams) graham crackers (1 sleeve, about 1 cup crumbs)
- ½ cup (113 grams) unsalted butter , at room temperature (113 grams)
- 1 cups (270 grams) smooth or crunchy peanut butter (see Notes) (270 grams)
- 2 cups (227 grams) powdered sugar (227 grams)
- 1 ½ cups (255 grams) semisweet or dark chocolate chips (255 grams)
- Coarse salt , for topping (optional)
- Pulse the graham crackers in a food processor until they are crumbs. Or place them in a ziplock bag and beat with a rolling pin. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer or in a large bowl with a hand-held mixer, beat together the butter and peanut butter until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and beat on high until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
- Add the graham crackers and mix to combine. At first mixture will be very thick, but keep beating on medium high speed until it lightens and starts to stick to the sides of the bowl.
- Dump contents into a quarter-sheet pan or 9×13-inch pan lined with parchment paper and press into the pan evenly, using greased fingers or a greased spatula (I actually like to use the paper wrappers from the butter, they are perfect for a job like this.)
- In a double boiler over barely simmering water, melt the chocolate chips, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and pour on top of peanut butter mixture. Use a spatula to spread evenly. Sprinkle with salt, if desired.
- Chill in the fridge for 1-2 hours until set. Slice and serve. For best results, store in the fridge.
- Not natural-style peanut butter will work best for these bars. You can use natural style if you’d like, but the bars will be much softer.