No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Oat Squares

If you happen to have just returned home from a vacation

And realize that your cupboards are sort of bare and that even your freezer stash of desserts is looking pretty bleak, but you happen to have the following on hand:

Stick of butter


Cocoa powder


Jar of peanut butter

…You’re in business and can make these.

Bare shelves crisis averted.

Well, at the least the dessert and snack crisis was averted.

Going to the store to pick up apples, green beans, lettuce, and broccoli was still necessary.

But not quite as fun as one of these.


No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Oat Squares (Vegan, Gluten Free) – Adapted from my own recipe

1/2 cup butter (1 stick; or margarine, Earth Balance)

2 cups white sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

6 tablespoons cocoa powder (I used TJ’s)

1/2 cup milk (cow, vegan, soy, nut, etc.  You could probably use water, too, and if so, I’d use about 2/3 c water)

1/2 heaping cup peanut butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3.5 cups oats (I used whole rolled Old-Fashioned Quaker Oats)

1/4 cip chocolate chips, 1/4 cup peanut butter chips (or butterscotch/white chocolate chips, toffee bits, chopped candy bits, Reese’s Pieces, etc.), optional


Line an 8×8 or 9×9 pan with aluminum foil and spray it with cooking spray and set it aside.  In a medium saucepan, combine butter, sugars, cocoa powder, milk and heat over medium-high to high heat, stirring to encourage the ingredients to melt and combine.  Once all items have melted and combined, allow the mixture to boil for 90 seconds, stirring continuously.

After 90 seconds, turn the heat off and add the peanut butter and vanilla extract (careful when you add the vanilla, it could bubble up a bit on you) and stir until smooth. Then add the oats and stir to coat.

Pour batter into prepared pan, spreading it evenly into the pan. If adding any optional chips to the top of the bars, add them now; pressing them into the mixture lightly with a spatula.  (If you press them into the batter too deeply, they will probably melt; not bad, but not what I intended for which is why I kept them at the surface level to avoid complete melting)

Place pan into the freezer and freeze at least 30 minutes, or until bars have set up, before slicing and serving.  (I take the bars out of the pan by holding the edge of the foil and place the whole foil “slab” onto a cutting board rather than cutting them inside the pan because I can be neater on a cutting board and I also don’t carve up the bottom of my pan with knife marks).

Optional: Frost them with a vanilla or cream-cheese/buttercream frosting, or use a melted white chocolate drizzle or a melted peanut butter drizzle over the top, too.

Yields: 16 squares.  Or cut them into bar-shapes for approximately 12 bars, depending on size used.  Store extra squares on the countertop, refrigerator, or freeze, plastic-wrap them for use in lunches or snacks.


Everything used was vegan and gluten free.  If you need to use certified gluten-free oats, do so.  As with all recipes, take care all ingredients used are appropriate for your personal dietary needs.

If you like very intensely flavored chocolate desserts, increase cocoa powder to 8 tbsp (1/2 c) and if you like a less robust cocoa taste, reduce to 4 tbsp (1/4 c) cocoa powder and taste batter before adding 6 tbsp of cocoa powder.


These took about 10 minutes to whip into shape.

No-bake, vegan, gluten-free, one sauce-pan.

Are you sold yet?

They are based on my Microwave Chocolate Peanut Butter and Oat Snack Bars which has a recipe yield of only three bars.

These oat squares will wrap up perfectly for Scott’s lunches this week.

Those that haven’t already been eaten.  We’re down to less than half pan in a blink of an eye.  Funny how that happens.

And what few I can hide in the back of the freezer that aren’t gobbled up will keep as good emergency snacks to throw in my purse for those errands or shopping excursions where carrots sticks and broccoli spears won’t quite cut the mustard.

These should do the trick.

Do you have any “throw together” desserts that you’ve made recently with the ingredients found in your cupboards?

I made Double Chocolate Caramel Corn & Cocoa Rice Krispies Candy Bars (No-Bake with Vegan & GF options) with the odds and ends and mishmash of ingredients I had accumulated in my Aruban cupboards.

If you have random Christmas cookies, holiday treats, fudge, baggies of this or that with just a few pieces left from pretzels to candy canes to caramel corn to marshmallows, you can re-purpose it in those bars.  Throw it all in and stir.


Thanks for the DAHLicious Giveaway entries

79 Responses to “No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Oat Squares”

  1. Claire @ Live and Love to Eat — December 29, 2011 at 5:05 am (#

    I LOVE the side view shot – these look amazing!


  2. Heather (Where's the Beach) — December 29, 2011 at 5:22 am (#

    I don’t really make desserts often. I guess the chickpea cookie balls might be my new go-to throw together dessert b/c they’re beyond easy – but you do bake them. Or white chocolate bark with almonds and cranberries.


  3. Sally @ Spontaneous Hausfrau — December 29, 2011 at 5:26 am (#

    These look delish and cut so perfectly – you must have the hands of a surgeon!


  4. raquel — December 29, 2011 at 5:28 am (#

    I really like your blog would love to stay to read your other post, I am looking for a healthy recipe such as salad and other dessert that yummy but healthy and I think this is perfect.


  5. Brooke — December 29, 2011 at 5:29 am (#

    GREAT side view shot Avery!



  6. Rebecca @ Naturally Healthy and Gorgeous — December 29, 2011 at 5:36 am (#

    Welcome back to the real world! Hope you had a great time on vacation!


  7. Leanne @ Healthful Pursuit — December 29, 2011 at 6:24 am (#

    The bar queen is at it again :) haha that was the state I was in on Sunday when we returned from vacation. There were NO grocery stores open because it was Christmas day, so I had to get really creative with our lunch, snacks and dinner.


  8. Amelia — December 29, 2011 at 6:45 am (#

    These look sooo yummy. I need to track down some vegan PB chips.

    My throw together dessert is that cookie dough dip from CCK. I don’t view it so much as a dessert, more so a munching addiction. I have to make more like every three days!


  9. jackie @ marin mama cooks — December 29, 2011 at 7:09 am (#

    Welcome back Averie! I feel the same as you when I return from a trip. I just want to hunker down and unpack, clean up and hit the grocery store. I don’t feel at home till I get all of those things done.

    Right now I am over anything sweet. I am taking a break from sweets for a week as I ate way to much over the holidays. I swear I eat way more over the Christmas Holidays than I do Thanksgiving and Halloween combined. It’s all the rich foods, cakes, cookies and various chocolate barks. I just can’t say no! Well, now I am saying no, at least for a week or so. I’m back to green smoothies, veggies, quinoas and soups.

    My kids are not psyched with the menu this week. They slowly ate the curried parsnip soup I made last night. I know they hated it, but they were nice enough to eat all that they were served. Right after dinner they hit me up for dessert. It’s funny that my kids are not over sweets, they look at me each night with those big brown eyes wondering what treat I whipped up for them. Maybe you can send me some of the extra treats you bake and I can give your creations to them. My daughter loves seeing all the yummy creations you come up with.

    Anyway, welcome back to Cali!



  10. Bev Weidner — December 29, 2011 at 7:49 am (#

    Glad you’re home safely!


  11. katie @ KatieDid — December 29, 2011 at 8:02 am (#

    oh man you hit the ground running right when you returned with another new recipe, good for you! These look simple and really delicious and obviously gorgeous pictures as always!


    • Averie @ Love Veggies & Yoga replied: — December 29th, 2011 at 5:28 pm

      thanks :) and meant to reply to you re the tripod stuff…I find shooting freehand easier. Once you get everything locked into the ‘pod if it’s not “just right” you have to re-do it all and it’s a pain!


  12. Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. — December 29, 2011 at 8:10 am (#

    yum I love everything about these. Happy New Year! Let’s meet in person in 2012


  13. Maris (In Good Taste) — December 29, 2011 at 8:31 am (#

    Sounds like you had a fantastic vacation! Welcome back!


  14. Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers — December 29, 2011 at 9:18 am (#

    Mmmm, those look good. Way to get creative in the kitchen. :)


  15. kyleen — December 29, 2011 at 9:49 am (#

    You had me at chocolate and peanut butter, my favourite flavour combination of all time. These bars look delicious! I love that their no-bake.


  16. Anna @ The Guiltless Life — December 29, 2011 at 10:17 am (#

    Ooh the texture on those look just fab – and I love the simple list of ingredients – the simpler the better!


  17. Deborah — December 29, 2011 at 10:32 am (#

    Oh my goodness – these look soooo good!


  18. Stacy @ Say It With Sprinkles — December 29, 2011 at 10:44 am (#

    I bet the oats make these extra hearty- not to mention healthy! =) Yum yum yum


  19. Amber K — December 29, 2011 at 10:50 am (#

    These look absolutely delicious. Right up my alley. I’m not great about figuring out what to do with my various odds and ends. I can follow a recipe, but I’m not a creator. Thankfully there are geniuses like you out there that can help me create such yummy treats :)


  20. Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries — December 29, 2011 at 10:52 am (#

    you can never go wrong with a PB & chocolate combo! these look delicious!


  21. Erica — December 29, 2011 at 11:10 am (#

    mmmmm! These remind me of those no bake cookies I used to make with my sister ALL the time when I was younger. So good- they didn’t last two seconds! I usually have stuff to make pumpkin bars and oatmeal chocolate chip cookies on hand


  22. Kris | — December 29, 2011 at 11:25 am (#

    oooooo yum!!!! Ok, I just bought peanut butter from Whole Foods!! Butttttt, am off grains….bum. I will need to alter a wee bit ;)



  23. Cassie — December 29, 2011 at 11:57 am (#

    Trying these very soon. Love the addition of PB chips!


  24. Ela — December 29, 2011 at 12:27 pm (#

    I love odds and ends desserts! And these sound pretty similar to the staple “energy bars” I make for Phil, except that I use honey instead of sugar and chocolate protein powder instead of cocoa, and the proportions are a bit different (more pb, lots more protein powder, but about the same amount of honey/sugar and oats).


    • Averie @ Love Veggies & Yoga replied: — December 29th, 2011 at 5:25 pm

      Same ratios, good to know…and yes, granola bars, energy bars, so many different ways to slice them, cut them, label them…but in the end, many are quite similar!


  25. Char @ — December 29, 2011 at 12:43 pm (#

    omg…I love how simple your dessert recipes are, and that I usually have everything to make them. I want to make these right meow, but, but…I have soooo many desserts leftover from the holidays!! haha, will have to save this for later :D welcome home, Averie!


  26. Scott at Real Epicurean — December 29, 2011 at 3:09 pm (#

    These look like the kind of thing I used to make when I was young – and that’s not a bad thing. I wonder why I’ve stopped making no-bake desserts??


  27. Christine (The Raw Project) — December 29, 2011 at 4:05 pm (#

    These look simply amazing, awesome job! I hate an empty kitchen
    After a trip, especially when I’m not in the mood to grocery shop! Lately raw dessert balls have been my go to dessert.


    • Averie @ Love Veggies & Yoga replied: — December 29th, 2011 at 5:24 pm

      thanks, Christine…I know you were traveling recently too so know about the bare cupboard phenomenon.


  28. Andrea — December 29, 2011 at 4:28 pm (#

    Yum! These look delicious. i love your recipes and can’t wait to try them all!


  29. Gena — December 29, 2011 at 5:07 pm (#

    Youve got to be kidding me with these. So, so spectacular looking, and easy as melt and spread! You have quickly become the doyenne of easy and impressive baking.


    • Gowtham replied: — February 11th, 2012 at 9:50 pm

      That sonuds like something I definitely need to stay away from; it would be demolished in no time flat!


  30. Sue @ Cakeballs, cookies and more — December 30, 2011 at 6:04 am (#

    They look amazing, and they are calorie free you know. The oats cancel out all the bad stuff. Yummy!


  31. Jolene ( — December 30, 2011 at 9:24 am (#

    I don’t think I have made a throw together dessert in a long time, if ever. I am not as creative as you!


  32. Ruby — December 30, 2011 at 6:02 pm (#

    Delicious! These look dangerously easy… :)


  33. theminx — January 4, 2012 at 10:39 am (#

    I tried these last night. Essentially, they are fudge (the dry and grainy type of fudge my dad always preferred) with oatmeal inside. “Healthy” fudge!


  34. Kait — January 10, 2012 at 11:20 am (#

    Is that produce picture from your Trader Joe’s?! If so, I’m sorely jealous because the New England stores are dismal in comparison!


    • Averie @ Love Veggies & Yoga replied: — January 10th, 2012 at 11:53 am

      Regular groc store. They share the same parking lot so I bounce from TJ’s to reg groc store.


      • Kait replied: — January 10th, 2012 at 12:29 pm

        *whew* I was going to be mighty upset because it is gorgeous!

  35. jane maynard — January 19, 2012 at 3:13 pm (#

    just made these and wrote about them on my blog – super yum! love that they are in bar form, so great. THANK YOU! :)


  36. Heidi @ Bits of Sunshine — January 25, 2012 at 4:42 am (#

    The No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Oat Squares look so tasty with a bit of ‘healthy’thrown in there with the oats. Look easy and divine! Just what i like! P.S – love the new coffee machine!


  37. Linda Yockel — February 4, 2012 at 9:25 pm (#

    I make the chocolate, peanut butter and oatmeal no bake cookies alot but would like to use agava instead of sugar could you please help me to figure out how much agava would be needed if i only am using 1 1/2 cups of sugar now? The reason I need help with this is because the agava is adding extra moisture to the recipe and I am not sure how much milk I should cut back on if I change the recipe.
    thanks for your help
    this is my recipe:
    1 stick of butter
    1/3 c. dark cocoa
    1/3 c. milk
    1 1/2 c. sugar
    1 tsp. vanilla flavoring
    1/3 c. peanut butter
    3 c. oats.


  38. Genelle Pretty — March 30, 2012 at 10:54 am (#

    I made these last night…so good! I didn’t have any brown sugar, but they were still delicious. Thank you for the wonderful recipe!


  39. kristi — November 16, 2012 at 3:32 pm (#

    I LOVE YOUR BLOGS!!! But I have just become informed that earth balance is putting Orangutans into endangerment because the palm oil is their main food and habitat. So I think its important for people not to buy products that contain palm oil. Do you know of any other butter substitutes for raw vegans?

    Thanks so much you are inspiring =) I am going to make something off your blogs right now.


  40. Katie — December 19, 2012 at 2:23 pm (#

    Oh my goodness, I just made these and they are incredible!! You are my go-to blog for recipes, love your blog!!!


  41. Meg — March 2, 2013 at 4:25 pm (#

    Yeah, these definitely AREN’T gluten free in any way. I have Celiac disease, and gluten includes wheat, barely, rye, and oats. Soooo, I hope no one gluten-intolerant has actually tried to eat these. ‘Cause that will seriously hurt you. Just saying. You really shouldn’t advertise these as gluten-free. It could make someone sick.


    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — March 2nd, 2013 at 5:01 pm

      They most definitely ARE GLUTEN-FREE if you use GF oats. Oats are inherently a GF grain, but are cross-contaminated frequently in the milling and processing. Some people do not need to spend the extra money to buy ‘certified gluten-free oats’, some do. If you have Celiac, then you know this. But others read comments and blogs and are not aware; and there is so much mis-information put forth that I am spelling it out clearly for those who aren’t as versed on the topic.

      And with all my recipes, I always write a disclaimer. In this recipe I said “Everything used was vegan and gluten free. If you need to use certified gluten-free oats, do so. As with all recipes, take care all ingredients used are appropriate for your personal dietary needs.”


  42. Mel — July 9, 2013 at 3:08 pm (#

    These do look delicious, but I couldn’t bring myself to make something so full of refined sugar….. If I make them, I’ll try substituting some honey….


    • Averie Sunshine replied: — July 9th, 2013 at 4:46 pm

      Enjoy them how ever you choose to make them. Honey is still sugar and it’s not vegan (and for this recipe, I wanted to keep it vegan) – it’s a balancing act for me trying to create recipes for all the segments of my readers – the something for everyone approach can’t always please everyone, but I try.

      You could likely reduce the granulated sugar amt if you wished but I haven’t tried it.


      • Mel replied: — July 9th, 2013 at 6:52 pm

        Honey is still sugar for sure but I suppose I use it as a substitute because I can get away with using a smaller quantity than refined sugar while keeping the sweetness… Plus honey has some vitamins & minerals.
        It’s definitely hard to cater for everyone’s preferences, but its so good to have access to your fantastic recipes – we can always experiment ourselves to make them suit :)

      • Averie Sunshine replied: — July 9th, 2013 at 7:00 pm

        Thanks for understanding Mel that it’s hard for me at times and quite a balancing act b/c if I post ‘too healthy’ then people won’t try the recipe because they want a dessert – not health food. If I post too desserty, then the healthier eaters aren’t happy. If I post non-vegan, then I get the vegans writing in. So adapting to suit your needs is best – and I agree with you on honey for sure!

  43. Navika Gangrade — July 18, 2013 at 1:18 pm (#

    Hi Averie!
    I just made these bars and they were so easy AND delicious! Seriously, they’re beyond good. It’s fudge-y because of the chocolate-PB part and chewy because of the oatmeal. I’m bringing some over to a party tomorrow, I’m positive it’ll go over wonderfully with them all. THANK YOU!!


    • Averie Sunshine replied: — July 18th, 2013 at 4:59 pm

      Thanks for trying these and loving how easy and delish they are! I agree and so happy you’ll be making some people at the party very happy tomorrow :)


      • Navika Gangrade replied: — July 18th, 2013 at 7:14 pm

        Oooh, just wanted to add (I remembered while “taste-testing” them again ha ha ha) that I went with the 1/2 cup of cocoa powder which was perfectly chocolate-y for me! It may have made them a tad bit more crumbly, but still totally great.

  44. Kelly — April 29, 2014 at 5:54 pm (#

    These were very tasty (came from your blog, so of course they were!) but I did have a problem with the bottom layer not holding together. Once I cut into them, some–not all–of the bottom layer fell/crumbled apart.

    I did freeze the mixture for about 45 minutes after I stirred everything together and I thought that was plenty of time. But perhaps that was the issue–just needed to let it sit for a little bit more time in there?

    I also made sure to wait until the bars reached room temperature to cut them, thinking that’d lessen the chance of them crumbling.

    Any thoughts? Let’s be honest, though–these things are good as crumbles or actual bars! Thanks for the simple recipe!


    • Averie Sunshine replied: — April 29th, 2014 at 6:32 pm

      Maybe just add a touch more PB next time or slightly less oats. With recipes like this, 2 to 4 tbsp of either wet or dry, in either direction, can usually do the trick and solve all issues. Just eyeball it next time before adding quite as much dry ingredients and/or increase the wet slightly and you should be fine. Glad it didn’t effect taste at all :)


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