Healthy No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars – This yummy treat tastes like peanut butter cups in bar form! (Gluten-Free, Vegan)
I moved a TON growing up (9x by the time I graduated high school), but I finished my high school years in an adorable small town in Ohio. It was (in so many ways) an idyllic small town, full of some of the NICEST people I’ve ever met, a close-knit sense of community, a single k-12 school (really!), one stoplight, and gorgeous country life I’d never experienced before.
I also wasn’t prepared for the amount of pride Ohioans take in their state and schools. Almost everywhere you turned, you could shout “O-H!” (*clap* *clap*) and someone–anyone–would call back “I-O!” (*clap* *clap*) It was the land of THE Ohio State University, Cincinnati/Skyline chili, and buckeyes–a cute little chocolate-dipped peanut butter balls that were eaten and enjoyed everywhere.
I never really picked up the OSU pride (my sincerest apologies OH friends!), but I’ll never forget the people, the community, and the FOOD. These no-bake chocolate peanut butter bars channel that nostalgic Buckeye flavor that’s impossible to forget.
With their creamy peanut butter layer and generous chocolate topping, they taste like a peanut butter cup in bar form. They’re the perfect no-bake treat to try right now! There’s no butter, no sugar, no eggs, and no baking required.
Here’s all you need to make a batch of these yummy chocolate peanut butter bars…
HERE’S WHAT I PUT IN MY NO-BAKE CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER BARS:
While these peanut butter cup bars are definitely a treat, I re-worked the traditional recipe to be a bit healthier (and easier on your blood sugar). Here’s what you’ll find in the recipe:
NATURAL PEANUT BUTTER. I recommend using natural peanut butter for this recipe. You’re looking for peanut butter with JUST peanuts or just peanuts + salt. It’ll have a more runny consistency and set up beautifully when combined with the other ingredients.
OAT FLOUR OR ALMOND FLOUR. Then, to help these bars set up, I add a bit of oat flour (it’s easy to make your own from oats in a blender!) or almond flour. Either works great, so use what you have! Note: I don’t recommend using white or wheat flour for this recipe.
PURE MAPLE SYRUP. Instead of the powdered or white sugar you often find in chocolate peanut butter bars, mine are sweetened with a little pure maple syrup. You can sub honey or agave if you prefer!
VANILLA EXTRACT. Vanilla is kind of my secret ingredient here. It ties all that chocolate-peanut butter flavor together BEAUTIFULLY.
SALT. Then, I love adding a *tiny* pinch of salt to round things out. It won’t make your chocolate peanut butter bars taste salty, it’ll just keep them from being too sweet. (You’ll notice if you forget it!)
CHOCOLATE CHIPS. For the chocolate layer, I add a blend of chocolate chips + a little more peanut butter. It’s SO YUMMY!
IDEAS FOR TOPPING & DECORATING YOUR NO-BAKE CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER BARS:
- ADD SPRINKLES! What isn’t more fun with sprinkles? A few confetti sprinkles (THESE and THESE are dye-free) make these extra cute. (Or change them up based on the season!)
- SHAVED CHOCOLATE. I’ll never say no to more chocolate! Try adding some chopped or shaved chocolate on top for a cute effect.
- COARSE SEA SALT FLAKES. My personal favorite. I love a tiny sprinkle of coarse flaked sea salt on top right before serving.
- DRIZZLE THEM WITH WHITE CHOCOLATE. Or, you can add a small drizzle of white chocolate over the chocolate layer and use a toothpick to create a marble design.
FAQ+ TIPS FOR PERFECT CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER BARS:
CH-CH-CH-CHILL THEM! Before slicing the bars, it’s important to make sure you chill them. You’ll want to let them set at least 40-60 minutes in the fridge. You can try to hurry things along with 25-30 minutes in the freezer instead, but I recommend the fridge route if you have time.
GLUTEN-FREE? READ THIS. You’ll want to use certified oat flour or make your own (It’s easy!). Oats themselves don’t contain wheat gluten, but they’re often farmed or processed in ways that cause cross-contamination.
OUR FAVORITE DAIRY-FREE CHOCOLATE CHIPS. If you’re vegan or avoid dairy, you’ll want to use dairy-free chocolate chips. Our favorites are THESE and THESE. They both taste awesome and are allergy-friendly!
CAN I USE ANOTHER KIND OF NUT OR SEED BUTTER? I’ve only tested them with peanut butter, but I don’t see a reason that other nut or seed butters wouldn’t work. I bet almond butter or cashew butter would be delicious!
CAN I DOUBLE THIS TO MAKE A 9×13″ PAN? Yep! If you’d prefer to make a 9×13″ pan of chocolate peanut butter bars, you’ll just double the recipe. (Pro tip: tap or click the “2x” button by the ingredients list in the recipe card to easily double the amounts!)
HOW TO STORE LEFTOVER CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER BARS. I recommend cutting the chocolate peanut butter bars into squares and storing covered or in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months. (They’re actually REALLY good that way!)
LOVE CHOCOLATE + PEANUT BUTTER? I BET YOU’D LIKE…
- Healthy Snickers Shake
- Chunky Monkey Overnight Oats
- Healthy No-Bake Cookies
- Peanut Butter Banana Muffins
- No-Bake Cookie Energy Bites
- Peanut Butter Crunch Brownies
HELPFUL TOOLS & INGREDIENTS FOR THESE NO-BAKE CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER BARS: