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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Easy and amazing!
So glad you loved it Tracy. Appreciate your kind words and the rating.
These taste great but I ruined two whole batches because the mix burnt the brown sugar and the powdered sugar prevented everything from melting correctly. So I redid it and melted some butter with the brown sugar then added it to the peanut butter, melted that and then added the other ingredients and it worked much better.
This very recipe seems to be the highly desirable dessert served in my Indiana high school lunchroom in the late 90’s. They were the best part of lunch! I have looked all over the internet and made recipes claiming to be them but none have come close to my memory. They absolutely did not have crushed graham crackers- they were smooth, creamy and fudge-like. Thanks so much for satisfying my sweet tooth and putting the search to rest!
These look so good, but mine turned out a big sticky mess that couldn’t be patted, but could be poured. ♀️ I’m not sure how it tasted bc it didn’t set up.
Hmm, I am so sorry to hear that Jill. You may have left it in the microwave a bit too long. The images may be helpful if you decide to give these another try. It should be microwaved just til the butter and peanut butter are melted and the rest of the ingredients mixed in should be mixed together and then able to be patted such as in the images on the post. If you give this a try again, lessen the time in the microwave would be my suggestion. Thanks for your feedback.
Made these last night. Very easy to make. They were a huge hit!!!!
I would absolutely love these! One of my picky grandkids has decided she does not like peanut butter or chocolate—silly girl! But her siblings sure would enjoy them. Next overnight for them and I am whipping some up with their assistance.
Hi Kathy, it’s hard to say without being there but you may have needed more peanut butter or it was microwaved a little too long. Each microwave is a bit different so another attempt may turn out a better result. Good luck!