No Bake Peanut Butter Bars

These no-bake bars are a fudgy, rich take on peanut butter cups that I whip up at home when I need a last minute dessert. Simple and quick, they’ve become my go-to treat that everyone is guaranteed to love.

This is a ridiculously easy treat to whip up- and requires only 5 basic ingredients to make! You’ve found the perfect, fast solution to all your peanut-butter chocolate cravings.

These no-bake bars are always the first thing to go at every potluck and party, and the recipe can easily be scaled up for large batches! I also keep a batch in my freezer to defrost when I really need a chocolate fix.

No Bake Peanut Butter Bars with Chocolate

Before You Get Started

Take the butter out of the fridge at least 30 minutes prior to cooking so it’s at room temperature when you need it. This will help ensure that your peanut-butter layer has the right consistency.

Gather the rest of your ingredients and all equipment needed before starting so that they’re on-hand for quick preparation.

For this recipe, you’ll need an 8” x 8” baking pan, 2 microwave-safe mixing bowls, a rubber spatula, and parchment paper or aluminum foil for lining the pan.

Suggested Equipment/Appliances

  • 8” x 8” square baking pan
  • Parchment paper or aluminum foil
  • 2 Medium, microwave-safe mixing bowls
  • Rubber spatula

Recipe Cook Time and Yield

  • Recipe Yield: 16 servings
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Rest Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 1 1⁄2 cups creamy peanut butter plus 1⁄3 cup set aside
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 cups milk chocolate chips or melting wafers
  • 2 cups powdered (confectioner’s) sugar

Instructions

  1. Line the baking dish with aluminum foil or parchment paper, leaving extra on 2 sides to use as tabs later.
  2. In a medium, microwave-safe mixing bowl, combine the butter and 1 1⁄2 cup of peanut butter. Microwave on low-medium heat for 20-30 seconds, stirring and repeating until the mixture is creamy and smooth.
  3. Add the powdered sugar to the butter-peanut butter mixture and stir until evenly combined.
  4. Then, add the graham cracker crumbs to the mixing bowl, half at a time, and mix until the
    ingredients are fully combined. The mixture should have a thick, paste-like consistency at this
    point.
  5. Scoop the peanut butter mixture into the lined baking dish and spread it evenly using a spatula,
    making sure the mixture reaches all of the edges and corners. Using your hands, press the
    peanut butter mixture down into a neat, dense layer.
  6. In a clean microwave-safe bowl, add in the chocolate chips or wafers and the remaining 1⁄3 cup
    of creamy peanut butter. Microwave on low-medium heat for 15-20 seconds at a time, stirring afterward and repeating until the combination is smooth and thoroughly mixed together. Avoid heating the ingredients for too long or at too high of a heat or else your chocolate will burn!
  7. Pour the chocolate-peanut butter mixture over the layer of peanut butter in the baking dish and use the spatula to spread it evenly around to all of the edges. Your goal is to end up with two clean, even layers of peanut butter and chocolatey goodness.
  8. Cover the top of the baking dish tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil, making sure it doesn’t touch or press into the no-bake bars. Place in the refrigerator to cool for a minimum of 2 hours. If you can’t wait that long to dig in, put the pan in the freezer for an hour to speed up the cooling time.
  9. Make sure to let the bars sit at room temperature for at least 10 minutes after taking them out of the refrigerator before cutting into them! Use the excess aluminum foil or parchment paper tabs to pull the cooled dessert up and out of the baking dish. You can also cut the bars right into the baking dish if it’s utensil-safe.

Tips and Tricks

  • If stored in an airtight container or bag, these peanut butter bars will keep well in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Make sure to let them sit at room temperature for a few minutes before serving so they can soften a bit.
  • These delicious peanut butter bars will keep well if frozen for up to 3 months! You can use aluminum foil or parchment paper to stack layers of bars on top of each other for freezer storage to prevent sticking. These can be frozen as individually-wrapped treats or as a full, uncut sheet. Make sure to let the bars thaw overnight in the refrigerator and then a few minutes at room temperature before serving.
  • Processed creamy no-stir peanut butters will work the best for this recipe. Natural, oily, or separating peanut butters won’t give the bars the right texture.
  • If whole graham crackers are what you have around- shove them in a freezer-safe storage bag and crush with a heavy jar or glass bottle to make crumbs yourself! If you have a food processor around, you can also use that to very quickly grind the crackers down into crumbs.
  • A 9” x 9” baking pan can be substituted for the 8” x 8” pan, the bars will just be a tad thinner.

Substitutions

The following ingredients can be swapped out for your desired alternative at the same quantity included in the recipe:

  • Unsalted butter can be swapped for salted butter. It will give your sweet peanut butter bars a slight savoriness that balances well with the sweet chocolate and confectioner’s sugar.
  • Milk Chocolate Chips/Wafers can be swapped for your chocolate of choice! Whether it is semi-sweet, dark chocolate, or white chocolate, any kind will work for this recipe!
  • Graham Cracker Crumbs can be substituted for crushed crisped rice cereal- it adds a slightly crunchy, crispy texture to the peanut butter bars.
  • Creamy Peanut Butter can be swapped out for crunchy peanut butter if that’s what you have in the pantry.