Peanut Butter Cup Cookie Dough Crumble Bars

It’s been awhile since I’ve made a gooey pan of bars.

Or baked peanut butter cups into something. These make up for lost time.

Peanut Butter Cup Cookie Dough Crumble Bars

They’re the best bar I’ve made in recent memory, and I can’t keep my hands off them. If you’re looking for a fast and easy layer bar with results that far exceed the minimal effort spent, these are the ones.

Prep and assembly takes 10 minutes, no mixer is required, and you can stir everything together in one bowl. I love bars and desserts that come together in no time and that create a minimum amount of dishes.


Peanut Butter Cup Cookie Dough Crumble Bars

They have a cookie dough base layer, which is topped with mini peanut butter cups. Sweetened condensed milk is poured over the top and handfuls of cookie dough are crumbled before baking. So easy.

Begin by melting one stick of butter. Stir in an egg, sugars, vanilla, flour, and baking soda. The dough is thick and dense.

Peanut Butter Cup Cookie Dough Crumble Bars

Press the dough into an aluminum foil-lined and cooking sprayed baking pan, but not all of it. Reserve one-half cup of dough and set it aside. It’ll be crumbled on the top later.

I urge you to line your pan, leaving overhang, so you can just lift the bars out. Plus, it makes cleanup a breeze. Nothing says dealbreaker on a quick and easy dessert like sweetened condensed milk that caramelizes all over your baking pan and you have to literally chisel it off.

Peanut Butter Cup Cookie Dough Crumble Bars

Sprinkle the mini peanut butter cups over the dough base. Or use diced full-size peanut butter cups, or other diced candy bars. Use up leftover Easter candy, or whatever odds and ends you have. Candy is candy, it’s all going to be good, use what you have. Rolos, Snickers, Milky Way, Three Musketeers, or similar.

Pour just over half of one can of sweetened condensed milk over the top. Use the other half to make 7-Minute Microwave Caramels. You can make those in the microwave while the bars bake in the oven, which is exactly what I did. My house smelled wonderful from caramels in the microwave with peanut butter, chocolate, and cookie dough in the oven. And this is why I run, every day.

Peanut Butter Cup Cookie Dough Crumble Bars

After flooding with sweet milk, lightly crumble the reserved cookie dough in irregular, marble-sized chunks.

Try not to sample too much along the way. Easier said than done.

Peanut Butter Cup Cookie Dough Crumble Bars

The hardest part of the recipe is that you must let the bars set up for about 3 hours before slicing or you’ll have a literal hot mess. Let them cool on the counter for an hour, then place the pan in the fridge for at least two hours, or overnight. Lift out with the foil overhang and make nice, clean, pretty squares.

Alternatively, you could just dig in with spoons as soon as they’re cool enough from the oven if you don’t care about clean cuts or devouring this, family-style. As in, the whole family dives in with a spoon.

Peanut Butter Cup Cookie Dough Crumble Bars

The cookie dough base is squishy soft in the middle, dense and buttery. The edges raise while baking and turn firmer and chewy. They’re no chocolate chips added and the richness and pure cookie dough flavor really shines. These are for cookie dough lovers who can appreciate a really flavorful slab of dough.

There’s just enough golden cookie dough on top to sandwich in some of the gooey filling, but not so much that the dough overpowers the other flavors. I prefer crumbles and crisps to double-crusted pies because that top layer of crust is just too much dough. I like things sprinkled rather than totally enclosed with dough.

Peanut Butter Cup Cookie Dough Crumble Bars

The peanut butter cups provide texture and a nice pop of peanut butter and bit of chocolate in every bite.

The creamy, rich, sweetened condensed milk takes on caramel and vanilla tones while baking. It cloaks the cookie dough and peanut butter cups in a sweet, milky, luscious bath.

Peanut Butter Cup Cookie Dough Crumble Bars

Gooey and sticky, sweet and creamy, soft and chewy, chocolate and peanut butter, vanilla and caramel, all in one.

Please pass the napkins.

Peanut Butter Cup Cookie Dough Crumble Bars

Peanut Butter Cup Cookie Dough Crumble Bars - Soft, chewy, gooey & loaded with Peanut Butter Cups! Easy recipe at

Print Recipe

Peanut Butter Cup Cookie Dough Crumble Bars

The best bar I've made in recent memory. Loved these! They're fast, easy, and a cinch to make. They come together by hand with just one bowl in minutes. There's a soft, chewy, dense, buttery cookie dough base, topped with peanut butter cups, and creamy, rich, sweetened condensed milk coats it all. Gooey and sticky, sweet and creamy, soft and chewy, chocolate and peanut butter, vanilla and caramel flavors, all in one.

Yield: one 8-by-8-inch pan, 9 to 12 squares

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes


1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (1 stick)
1 large egg
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt, optional and to taste
1 heaping cup mini Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (or diced full-size cups; or substitute with another type of diced candy bar such as Snickers, Milky Way, Butterfinger, Heath, Rolos)
about 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk (just slightly more than half of one standard 14-ounce can)


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter, about 1 minute. Allow the butter to cool momentarily so you don't scramble the egg. Add the egg, sugars, vanilla, and stir or whisk vigorously to combine, for about 1 minute. Add the flour, baking soda, optional salt and stir until just incorporated. Batter will be quite thick and dense.
  3. Reserve 1/2 cup batter; set aside. Turn remaining batter out into prepared pan, smoothing it lightly with a spatula. Evenly sprinkle the peanut butter cups over the batter. Pour sweetened condensed milk over the top (just eyeball slightly over half of the can as you're slowly pouring). Using your fingers, lightly crumble the reserved cookie dough over the top in irregular, marble-sized chunks.
  4. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out without cookie dough batter clinging; it may not be clean because you're going through other layers and you may have to peck around to find a testing place). Edges will be firm, raised, and golden. The sweetened condensed milk should nearly be set in all places, and possibly only a little jiggly in the very center of the pan. Bars will firm up more in pan as they cool.
  5. Allow bars to cool in pan for at least 3 hours before slicing and serving. Lift out using the foil overhang. I recommend cooling for 1 hour on the counter, and at least 2 hours in the refrigerator, or overnight. This ensures clean, pretty cut marks. If you don't care about that, bars may be consumed as soon as they are cool enough to eat; grab a spoon and dig in. Extra bars will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Only Eats

Related Recipes:

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookie Bars – All the taste and texture of cookies, minus the work of making individual cookies. Bar cookies are so much faster and these are soft, chewy, and loaded with chocolate chunks

Milky Way Chocolate Cookie Crumble Bars – The chocolate answer to today’s bar, made with Milky Ways instead of Reese’s, and every bit as soft, chewy, and gooey

Cookie Butter Brown Sugar Streusel Bars – Soft, chewy and moist from the cookie butter and all brown sugar dough base that’s topped with crunchy streusel bits

Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups – If you tend to have issues with cookies spreading, it’s impossible with these since they’re baked in a muffin pan. They’re thick, soft, chewy and extremely moist

Coconut Peanut Butter Magic Cake Bars – One of my favorite desserts of 2011, and similar to Seven Layer or Magic Bars, but a cake base is used instead of a graham cracker crust. Soft, dense, rich, chewy, tons of textures and flavors, and so easy

Marshmallow Peanut Butter Double Chocolate Pillowtop Bars – One of my favorite desserts of 2011. Creamy, sweet, rich. A soft and sweet marshmallow-peanut butter top layer adorns a base of oats, sweetened condensed milk, and white chocolate. An all-time favorite

Peanut Butter Cocoa Krispies Smores Bars – No need for campfires, make s’mores at home. These smores have three layers, including a cocoa-crispy cereal top layer that’s made with peanut butter

Peanut Chewy Payday Bars – Like the storebought candy bars, but I prefer these. Sweet and gooey meets salty and crunchy with an abundance of peanut butter, peanuts, and plenty of chewy texture

Ritz Cracker Stuffed Peanut Butter Cups (No Bake, Vegan) – Make your own peanut butter cups in minutes and stuff them with your favorite surprises because everything tastes better sandwiched with peanut butter and chocolate

Do you have a favorite bar recipe or fast and easy dessert?

Feel free to leave links in the comments.

Thanks for the entries in the KithenAid 5-Quart Stand Mixer Giveaway!


  1. PB cups are one of my favorite candies so I’m pretty much drooling over here! Pinning these and making them for sure! :) I’ll have to make sure that when I bake these that I bring them to someone else’s house because my waist line will thank me. ;)

  2. I started drooling as I was reading your post. My daughter saw all these and asked if we can bake this weekend. Looks like I’ll be busy. Thanks for sharing the yumminess.

    • LOL – My 6 yr old does that with blogs all the time. She’s like, Mom what girl made those!!!? Kids are too cute. But seriously these bars take no more than 10 mins get from cupboard to oven. So easy! LMK how they turn out!

  3. WOW! These are amazing. I swear… you make the best stuff! I can’t wait to see your book!

  4. Lora @cakeduchess Reply

    It’s been took long since I made bars. If my kids see them they’ll beg me to make them asap. Easy and dangerous…I’d love a sample now:)

  5. I would be all over these! The squishy middle from the condensed milk must make these taste heavenly – and this being a one bowl recipe makes it even more perfect.

  6. You had me at “no mixer is required.” Well, actually, I lied, I was already hooked by “…gooey pan of bars.” This is just what I need in my life – at this very second! Thanks for making these in an 8 x 8-inch pan, my summer shorts say “thank you!” too. :D

  7. I totally see myself eating these with a fork straight from the pan. Wait for them 3 hours to cool, me = no patience
    Thank you for sharing and thank you for the wonderful comment left on my guest post on Sommer’s blog.

  8. i looove layer bars. if you say these are the best then i must make them! :)

  9. These look fabulous Averie, I completely understand the lack of patience in waiting for these to cool, I’d be exactly the same!

  10. yum! I just made these yesterday and they were delicious! I agree that the hardest part was to wait for three hours but they were easiest to cut that way. Thanks for the recipe!

    • So glad to hear that you made them! Woo-hoo! And there are two approaches with the cooling…wait and make nice clean pieces. Or don’t wait and dig in with spoons and make a total mess. Both have their selling points :)

  11. These are insaaaane! OMG if there’s cookie dough AND pb cups I’m def. in love!

  12. O. M. G. That is all.

  13. OMG–the crumbled cookie on the top totally does me over!! Plus, ummm, do you ever not cook your cookies and bars perfectly? Every single time they are that perfect amount of just done enough to be set. EVERY SINGLE TIME. And those peanut butter cups and sweetened condensed milk too? Drrrooooollll.

    • I stalk my oven door when making a new recipe and try so hard to get it right….thanks for the compliments and noticing. And with things like cookies or cakes, even 1-2 minutes overdone and it’s dry and not nearly as good. Same with bars so I really watch them like a hawk!

  14. Oh my….These look delicious. I think I need an endless supply of sweetened condensed milk.

  15. These would be incredibly dangerous for me, and those mini Reese’s just get me every time! They look fabulous, and I love your photos!

  16. I love the magic of sweetened condensed milk! And these bars are a must on my list to make …Pinning! Have a fun weekend coming up, Averie! (=

  17. Oh my! Love everything about these bars! These would be devoured at my house in no time!

  18. I love the addition of the condensed milk on top. Definitely pinning this recipe for future making! …and preferably for a time when I have guests who can help me eat them!

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  20. Oh my, you can not go wrong with peanut butter cups! These look amazing :)

  21. Thank you for this recipe! I just made these and they were a huge hit! So easy to make too.

  22. I think I would have to run for days to work these off, but it would be completely and totally worth it. I have such a weakness for peanut butter cups!

  23. Maybe a silly question…can parchment paper be used in place of the foil?mi feel like foil gets tuck when I bake.

  24. Love the cookie dough crumble on top, makes perfect sense. Great looking recipe!

  25. Oh. My. Goodness. I’m a total sucker for anything with peanut butter cups and these bars look TO DIE FOR! Gorgeous!

  26. Made these last week to have over the weekend. They were SO GOOD. I preferred them stored in the fridge. Made them stay together better when eating. Thanks for the yums!

    • I am so glad to hear you liked them! Thanks for coming back to LMK and yes, I went back and forth between fridge and room temp. Both have their selling points for me on storing. Fridge definitely makes them firmer and less messy :)

  27. Um, can I please come live with you? I’ll clean your house top to bottom every day and all I need is payment in these bars. Oh my word, they look AWESOME, Averie! I love how simple they are, yet they look so stunningly chewy and delicious.

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  29. I have no words to describe how delicious these bars look. Mmm!

  30. Ooh, I was hoping there’d be a hint (or generous dollop) of cookie butter or peanut butter in the blondie base :) maybe I’ll have to add my own, but these sound amazing as they are!! The best of all worlds, thanks for sharing.

  31. I just want to tuck myself right into one of these bars and eat my way out!

  32. WOW WOW WOW! I knew as soon as I saw this post I had to make these and they are every bit as amazing as I expected they would be. Since I have a weakness for sweets, I tend to always try to cut recipes in half so I have less temptation to deal with. In this case, I had a feeling they would be so good that I went in the opposite direction and doubled the recipe from the start. I figured why not use the whole can of condensed milk and double the pleasure from the start. Good choice because they are perfection. BTW – I think you mentioned you run every day and I’m curious how far. I do run, but not enough to keep up with my dessert testing/tasting habit. Guess I need to find a better balance – HA. Thanks for another great recipe that will go on my “repeat” list.

    • So glad that you made them and that you made a double batch, right off the bat! They are crazy good. So good that next week I have another version-on-a-theme of this b/c I could not get these out of my mind!

      I run about 5 miles a day. I have been doing that for 20 years…literally since I was in junior high. I do not feel balanced if I don’t. It’s like brushing my teeth. Just a daily thing that has to happen :)

    • I can’t wait to see what you make next week. I think this cookie base could support lots of variations and I’ve got quite a few ideas for different ways I’m going to use it already.

      Great that you can run that far everyday! I do understand the need to exercise to get that balanced feeling. I workout 7 days a week, but only run on average 3 – 4 of the days. I workout in the morning and it really sets the tone for the entire day. I do feel the best on the days I run, so maybe when the weather in Michigan starts looking as nice as Aruba, I’ll be more motivated to get outside everyday. :-)

    • I live in San Diego full time so not quite as nice as Aruba, but not too shabby :)

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  34. Made these today and they turned out great! Used peanut butter chips instead of the Reese’s PB cups but could totally see myself making them again and trying out another candy. I’m thinking Rolo’s next time :)

    One issue I had was with the aluminum foil & cooking spray. I found that the dough wasn’t sticking to the bottom of the pan so I ditched the foil and used just cooking spray and it turned out fine. Cleaning wasn’t too terrible either. Just wanted to share my experience!

    Thanks for the awesome recipe!

    • So glad you made them and enjoyed them so much. Glad your bars weren’t sticking to the pan. I just NEED to have foil in order to lift out with the overhang and slice on a cutting board in order to make them look neat and tidy for the pics (plus it saves me cleanup time) but good to know it wasn’t a problem skipping it!

      And PB chips sound great and so do Rolos. If I had had any in the house, I would have used them, too. I have a new version of this bar coming out on Tuesday. Stay tuned. It’s crazy crazy good. :)

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  36. So everyone knows how awesome these are:

    I made the peanut butter crumble bars….they were AMAZING!! Dangerously good…..almost ate all of them by myself. But I did cut them smaller so it made about 12 to 14 for me.

  37. I made these last week! Next time I’m making a double batch!

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  39. Made these this morning for my husband who loves all things Reese! The moaning and groaning coming from the living room when he took his first bite was definitely my reward! Perfect dessert for the wife who can’t bake. Will make again and again! :)

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  44. Making this recipe today, here in Melbourne Australia. Just using quality organic chocolate chips instead of a candy bar. The recipe is easy to put together with the help of my Kitchen-Aid. If it’s a success then it will become a regular staple to go with our coffee & TV ritual. I can’t wait to try lots of different candy variations.

    • You don’t even need a mixer. Seriously just melt some butter, whisk in the rest, it takes a minute or two, tops, and you’re ready to go! :)

    • Well it was a success. And I am glad I used my Kitchen-Aid, that was one thick batter! Until they make a prosthetic whisk to swap for my prosthetic hand; the Kitchen-Aid will have to do the trick.

    • So glad you tried them and they were a success! thanks for LMK!

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  46. I hhave a huge family so everything I make I use a 9×13 baking pan what would I need ingredient wise to make the Pb cup cookie dough to fit the 9x13pan?

  47. Wondering if you could help me figure out what I did wrong! I baked them last night. The toothpick came out clean from the middle and the edges were golden and slightly coming away from the edges of the pan. I let them sit for one hour on the counter and then put them overnight in the fridge. Took them out this morning to cut them. I pulled them out of the pan w the foil and they started losing shape. I realized the milk was still the same consistency as when I poured it in the pan and had not hardened at all :( it also looked like the cookie dough base had risen to the top and it was just milk on the bottom and all the cookie dough was on the top! They just looked so good, would love to figure out what I did wrong. Did I not bake them long enough? I baked them for 35 mins.

    • I wasn’t in your kitchen with you and without a photo, it’s so hard to possibly guess what you did wrong. But I would say in this case, they were underbaked based on the losing shape part, as well as the consistency of the milk. Baking another 10 mins or so would probably do the trick. Also you may want to look into an oven thermometer just to make sure your oven is absolutely running hot enough!

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