Using just 5 ingredients, these easy no bake peanut butter bars are a rich and decadent treat that taste exactly like homemade Reese’s peanut butter cups!
These no bake peanut butter bars are an old-school cafeteria recipe from back in the days when the lunch ladies would come in at the break of dawn and set to making the day’s meals from scratch. These ladies were our mothers away from home, always there to make sure we got enough to eat! Peanut butter treats were usually in abundance since peanut butter was a government commodity, provided in large quantities to lunchrooms.
This is a great homemade dessert recipe that uses only 5 ingredients, requires no baking, and ends up tasting like what a Reese’s peanut butter cup aspires to be. It features a rich and thick peanut butter layer that’s boosted with sugar, vanilla extract, and butter flavors. Then it’s topped with a decadent chocolate layer. This recipe results in treats that are fudgy, creamy, and will disappear in an instant!
- Creamy peanut butter
- Confectioner’s sugar
- Brown sugar
- Unsalted butter
- Semi-sweet chocolate chips
You don’t have to have a whole tub of peanut butter like I have pictured here so don’t worry about that. My family just happens to think peanut butter is the best thing since… well, peanut butter, so I tend to buy it in large quantities.
How To Make No Bake Peanut Butter Bars
Place all ingredients into a large bowl.
Microwave until the butter and peanut butter are both melted. This will take about a minute or so.
NOTE: Check it after 45 seconds and make sure though because microwaves vary so greatly.
This is our melted “stuff”.
Now take a spoon and give it a really good stir.
NOTE: At first this peanut butter bar mixture will seem like a big old mess, but after several stirs, it will all come together and leave the sides of the bowl.
Now transfer your peanut butter mixture into the bottom of a 9×13 pan.
Pat it out into the pan with your hands.
Time to crank up that microwave again! Pour the entire package of chocolate chips into a bowl and microwave them at 30-second intervals, stirring in between each, until completely melted.
Pour the melted chocolate chips over your peanut butter mixture.
Spread it all around until the top is evenly covered.
Now the hard part: waiting for these no bake peanut butter bars to harden.
TIP: You can do this at room temperature or you can do like me and place it in the fridge for about half an hour or so.
Cut into bars and serve.
- Leftovers can be stored in your cookie jar on the counter or in the refrigerator, whatever cranks your tractor. They will last up to 1 week.
- These no bake dessert bars also freeze beautifully for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before serving.
- You can add a cup of graham cracker crumbs to your peanut butter layer for added flavor.
- I don’t recommend using crunchy peanut butter, natural peanut butter, or any natural nut butter like in this recipe. They just don’t have the same consistency as processed smooth peanut butter like Jif and Skippy.
- If you like, you can use an 8×8 baking pan or a 9×9 pan. The cooling time will be the same.
- While I prefer , feel free to top your bars with melted .
- To make the chocolate peanut butter bars easy to remove from the pan, line it with parchment paper you can lift and remove with ease.
You may also like these bar recipes:
Lemon Bars Recipe and Video Tutorial
And here are some peanut butter recipes you might like:
3 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies
Peanut Butter Brownies with Peanut Butter Fudge Icing
Refrigerator Peanut Butter & Milk Granola Bars
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar light or dark
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups creamy peanut butter
- 2 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
- 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Place all of the ingredients (except the milk chocolate chips) in a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave until the butter and peanut butter are melted (1 to 2 minutes). Time will vary by microwave.1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 2 cups creamy peanut butter, 2 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
- Remove from the microwave and use a large spoon to stir all of the ingredients together (except chocolate chips) until they form a ball of dough that leaves the side of the bowl. Pat into a 9x13 pan.
- Pour the chocolate chips into another microwave-safe bowl and microwave at 30-second intervals, stirring after each, until completely melted. Spoon over the top of the peanut butter mixture and spread evenly.2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Allow the peanut butter bars to cool completely at room temperature until the chocolate hardens again or place in the refrigerator for faster hardening. Cut into squares and serve to some awfully happy people!
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Ah, lovely things….I do remember these from my school days–MANY years ago! LOL
Our dd is allergic to PB; we use Sun Butter (made from sunflower seeds) in place of it and they truly are wonderful!
I am as well wanting the pizza and apple crisp recipes as well. The topping on the crisp was a butter brown sugar flour topping and it was the best.
Wow!!!! That is so simple! Thanks for the idea’s! I have soooo much peanut butter, and didn’t know what to do with it! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!! Hope you have an awesome and fun day, Christy!
I believe I’m gonna be making these today for a snack! I’ve been wanting to make your peanut butter balls too, but I just don’t keep powdered milk on hand! I’m gonna HAVE to buy some tho, cause really wanna make soon!
I have a recipe that is nearly identical but we call them Buckeye Bars. Instead of the added brown and white sugars, we add a stack pack of graham crackers that are totally pulverized. It adds that little “grit” texture that Reese cups seem to have and is no quite so sweet. I remember schools having tons of butter, peanut butter, cheese and powdered milk to use up and yes our cafeteria food was all home cooked and pretty wonderful most of the time.
My recipe sounds like your Elaineraye!
Whoa! Christy! ‘Bout fell off my chair! I saw a stick of butter sittin’ up there all proud of itself!!! It sorta looked strange! Bet you got a good deal on it! OK…enough teasin’…let’s get down to business! These look so good and I’ll tell ya Snickers is my favorite candy bar and then next is Reese’s PB Cups, so I know this will be a hit! Thanks for the recipe and for your ‘Soapbox Chat’ !! Was great, as always! Continue to have fun at Southern Living. You sure do give us a lot to be proud of!! So happy for your sucess!
Years ago I was looking for a recipe that did not contain graham cracker crumbs .Found this recipe and been using it since .Love these so much !! Taste just like the cafeteria ones at school!
I am so glad you like them Michelle!!!
Thank you Christy! I always loved these when I was in school and have wanted the recipe!
Oh girl, do you know how MUCH I love these?!? Drooling on my laptop now 😉
I just made these and followed the recipe exactly how it is written and I have to say that I didn’t enjoy this recipe. For me it was WAY too sweet and the sweetness overpowered the pb taste. And I like really sweet sweets. Also my powdered sugar turned into big hard lumps and wouldn’t dissolve into my peanut butter mixture. If I were to do this again first way less powdered sugar perhaps a pinch of salt and I would try melting everything except for the powdered sugar together and then fold it in a little at a time. Regardless thanks for the recipe. I just wanted to share the problems that I had with it to maybe help someone from having the same bad experience that I had with this.
Oh Christy, you are either a divine angel or an evil genius…I just started a diet!!! OK, well tomorrow after these are gone I am going to start a diet!! 🙂
I’ve been looking for the school pizza recipe from the 70’s. Any idea where where I could find it? As well as the apple crisp?